“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharal Nehru

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Nick and I stayed in NYC for Thanksgiving this year. Our first holiday just the two of us. Kind of special.

We decided this was going to be the year we experienced Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nick was on board until he realized he would be waking up at 5am. It took a little more convincing after that. The night before I made some yummy blueberry muffins and cut up some fruit for our snack bag.

I woke up about 4am. Yeah, it's been a while since I've been up that early. I have no plans to do it again anytime soon. I decided that I would be breaking out my thermal underwear to keep me warm! I think I got ready in record time. I cooked up some cinnamon rolls for breakfast and yelled at Nick every 5 minutes to get up and not make us late!

At 5:40 we were out the door. The city feels different that early in the morning. It was so very quiet. The breakfast food carts were just setting up, newspapers were being delivered, and we saw very little cars on the streets. Absolute peace in a hustle and bustle city. Not to mention the very few people we did pass on the street said hello and good morning. If you live in New York City you know that is not the norm.

We walked over to the West side and found a nice spot on Central Park South near Columbus Circle. It was 6am and it was already starting to get crowded. Even better... we found a front row spot. Perfect viewing! We ended up next to a family from Tennessee who were incredibly nice. So friendly and generous. It was 6am and we had another 3 hours to go! A few chats, snacks, and short naps later the parade started!

I really think everyone should experience the parade just once in their life. It's quite the experience. I mean... it not only puts you in the holiday spirit but it's just so much fun! You almost feel like a kid again. Well I did... not sure how Nick felt. He kept saying he expected the balloons to be bigger! Go figure!

What really surprised us was the street performers. They were so incredibly happy and just really kept up the energy. I don't think that is something you can really see or feel through a television. They made the parade a lot of fun. I can't tell you how many times I was hit with confetti!

The parade lasted about 3 hours... and it was 3 hours of fun! Enjoy the pictures...

Macy's Band

Turkey Day!

These men "faeries" were pretty funny

After the parade we came home for a quick shower and change and headed to North Square for our Thanksgiving meal. It was this really quaint restaurant right across from Washington Square Park. I had the traditional Thanksgiving meal... turkey, dressing, stuffing, etc. Nick had the un-traditional meal... lobster bisque, steak, and potatoes. It was delicious!

What did we do next? Only partake in another Thanksgiving tradition... well if you live in Texas. Thanksgiving Day = Dallas Cowboy's football game. We came home and snuggled on the couch and watched our team play. And they won! We relaxed the rest of the day and I am not ashamed to admit I was in bed quite early. Up at 4am makes for a long day!

I took Friday off so Nick and I had the day to play. We took it easy in the morning. A little Black Friday shopping. We headed to the Shops at Columbus Circle for some lunch. We ate on the top level at Bouchon Bakery. The view was absolutely beautiful. There was Christmas decorations in the background and a view that looked straight down Central Park South to 5th Avenue.

What a view!

Our delicious lunch

Next up... ice skating in Central Park. The line wasn't too long so I decided we should do it. It's another one of those things you have to check off. Ice skating during the holiday season! The weather could not have been better. Clear blue skies, crisp air, and the NYC skyline in the background.

A must New York experience!

Needless to say we had another very busy day and were quiet tired. We cooked dinner and watched a movie that night!

Saturday was a nice day of relaxation. Nick did a bike ride in the morning and I ran some errands. But most of the afternoon was spent on the couch. We had dinner reservations with our friends Pam and Matt at ABC Kitchen. Apparently reservations are hard to come by at this place. The restaurant was so nice and the food was absolutely mouth watering. Calamari, date pizza, salmon tartar, salmon, and sundae for desert! It was such a nice place I felt a little odd pulling out my camera. So you are just going to have to take my word for it.

What did Sunday hold? Yep, you guessed it... we kept with our Sunday tradition of doing absolutely nothing. I cooked some lunch and later made dinner. We watched some TV and read. It was a great end to our holiday weekend!

It's hard to believe Christmas is only a month away! The countdown to going home has begun!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catch Up

It's been a little crazy! I haven't had any time to do blog posts. So I'm playing catch up with this post...

Thursday 11/10/11

It's time for mom and Alicia's visit! I can't even tell you how excited I was to have them come out. I hadn't seen mom since May.... way too long! She was supposed to arrive around 1pm. That didn't quite happen. It was more like 6pm. The city had some fog that morning which put a stop to any arriving flights into LGA. It made for a long day. But she made it!

We had dinner reservations at Balthazar at 6:30. We had to rush to make it there. I pretty much told the cab driver to drive as quick as he could. He then proceeded to tell us that he would not drive in any way that would get him a ticket, hit someone, or get in accident. Awesome. We get the one conservative cab driver in the city.

Dinner at Balthazar was really good. I think I had the BEST salmon EVER! I mean it was phenomenal. I seriously considered asking the waiter to get the recipe for me. Amazing! Everyone else had a great meal too.

Alicia was due in around 1am that night. Her train was an hour late so she didn't arrive until 2am. Let me tell you... that is the latest I have stayed up in years. This was Alicia's first time to the city and she was arriving into Penn Station. We offered to meet her there but she said she would grab a cab to the apartment. I was a little nervous... I mean I don't know if I would feel comfortable arriving to Penn station at 2am and then proceeded to navigate a city I knew nothing about. But she made it!

We chatted for a little bit and then settled in for the night... we had a very busy 3 days coming up!

Friday 11-11-11-11
We slept in a little on Friday. Nick had a NYU event he had to attend until noon so mom, Alicia, and me were on our own for a bit. We stopped by Starbucks for a little pick-me-up breakfast and then I showed them where I worked. It was nice for mom to get to see where I work... I practically call her everyday after work while I'm walking home. She now knows what I'm talking about.

Next we headed into Central Park. The park was absolutely beautiful. The colors were amazing! We walked around a bit and took quite a few different photos. It was just too pretty to pass up.

Look at that skyline!

Nick called and he was done with his event so we met up with him and headed to Luke's Lobster. Every visitor of ours is treated to Luke's Lobster. It's just so good!

We headed to Bryant Park next. They actually already had their holiday shops up. It put us in the holiday spirit... the shops, hot chocolate, ice skating. All that was missing was the big Christmas tree. It will be there soon enough. We walked around for a bit and then started to make our way back to the apartment with a few stops in between.

Ice skating rink at Bryant Park

Bite size cupcakes... yum!

No visit to NYC is complete without visiting Times Square! I realized why I never come to this area. People, people, people! You can hardly walk on the sidewalk without getting jabbed in the stomach. Not my idea of fun... but Alicia had to see it. There is nothing like seeing Times Square for the first time.

We made our way up to Rockefeller Center and saw the tree getting ready to be lit. It wasn't that pretty. Mom and Alicia thought it should be bigger... Nick and I were like, "It's huge!" Of course it will look different once all the lights are on.

I know, it doesn't look like much... but it will!

While we were hanging out at the ice rink we were treated to an unexpected event.... There was this couple that were skating on the rink by themselves. Everyone else was off the rink. We couldn't figure out why this couple was so special. They continued skating for a little bit and then stopped in the middle. The guy then proceed to get down on one knee and propose!!! How special is that. I'm glad she said yes to because there were a couple hundred people watching!

What a special moment!

We made our way back to the apartment to get ready for dinner at the Hurricane Club. One of my favorite restaurants in the city. Another must eat at restaurant for our visitors. Mom and Alicia loved it!

Saturday 11-12-11

Nick had some school work to do on Saturday so it was a girls day. We had brunch at Friend of a Farmer. Love this place. It reminds me of home... a great Southern, homey feel to it. And the food is great.

We caught the subway to Canal street. We were off to Chinatown and Little Italy. Touristy, yes. But a must for a first time visitor. We didn't spend a lot of time there ... just walked through, really. Mom and Alicia did buy some knockoff sunglasses and we were practically turning down women whispering, "Louie, Prada, Coach handbags" to us.

Streets of New York City

We made our way through SoHo and into Washington Square Park to show Alicia Nick's school. We took a little break in the park and watched some of the street performers. Oh, not only street performers but many protestors protesting whatever they wanted to protest.

Washington Square Park

After that we caught the subway to Herald Square. A trip to Macy's is a must. Boy, was it crowded. But not as crowded as it will be in the next few weeks. Alicia treated herself to a nice Coach handbag and even better it was on sale! You can't pass up a good sale!


Decorations inside Macy's

We headed home to get ready for our dinner reservations and our Broadway show, Wicked. We had dinner at Basso 56 down in the theater district. It wasn't my favorite Italian restaurant but not the worst either. All of us were really excited to see Wicked. Mom, Nick, and I had seen it when the show came to Dallas. It's just such a classic Broadway show that I thought it would be the best one for Alicia to see. And it did not disappoint. It was even better than I remember. Love that show!

Inside the Gershwin theater

Sunday 11-13-11

We grabbed breakfast at EJ's Luncheonette. Mom's favorite and one of mine too. Amazing french toast... which we all ordered! Nick had another meeting for about an hour so the girls headed to Bloomingdale's and H&M. Surprisingly, H&M did not have much success this time. Every time mom comes here we go there and she leaves with a few items. Not this time though.

Nick called and said he was done with his meeting so we decided to meet him at the beginning of the Brooklyn Bridge. Nick and I have only walked halfway and then turned around. We decided to go all the way and eat at Grimaldi's pizza. Apparently one of the best pizza places around. The walk was really nice...about 30 minutes in total. We got to Grimaldi's and the line was fairly long. We all took a bet on how long it would take... Nick won at 25 minutes! The pizza was very tasty. Probably in my top 3 of favorite pizza places in the city.

Alicia and Mom on the Brooklyn Bridge


We took a subway back into the city to Ground Zero. We had reserved tickets to see the memorial site. It was a somber feeling. The memorial was beautiful. It's really hard to believe it has been 10 years since that awful day. It makes you thankful for your life and the men and women who are serving to protect that life for you.


By this time all of us were exhausted. It had been a busy but awesome 3 days! I had an amazing time with mom and Alicia. I couldn't have asked for anything more!!!

Now the countdown begins for Christmas... a little over a month and we will be home!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday Night Concert

Last night Nick and I went to the 3 Doors Down and Theory of a Deadman concert! It was so very fun!

I met up with Nick after work at Brio, our neighborhood Italian restaurant. Nick had been on a long bike ride earlier so he was in desperate need of some carbs. Pasta it was!

The concert was at The Hammerstein Ballroom. It was actually a really nice venue. It almost had a feel of where you would see a ballet... at least the design of the building was similar. We bought tickets late so we were in the general admission area (standing room only). Oh man, my feet were already tired from working.

The first intro band was Pop Evil. I've never heard of them before and probably won't listen to them again. Not my favorite.

Theory of a Deadman was really good. Nick and I didn't know too many of their songs but they played really well. And the lead singer was quite funny.

Then came the main act... 3 Doors Down. Loved them! This band goes back to when Nick and I first started dating. So a lot of the songs had special meaning for us. The acoustics were great, the lead singer was amazing, everything was just perfect.

Amazing Wednesday night!