Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NYC | Part 4

Last time we visited NYC, we spent some time in Williamsburg and honestly, we weren't that impressed. We knew Brooklyn would be gritty and not as fancy as the city, but the impression we got this past summer wasn't the greatest.   We were determined to spend more time in Brooklyn to really decide if it was a place we truly loved or if it was a place we could pass on. Thank goodness we gave it another chance, because we totally fell in love with it! We rode the subway to the Financial District and got off at the last stop before the bridge. We knew we wanted to walk over it and we amazed by it's size! We knew it was big, but we didn't know it was that big!  That's what she said? Sorry, it seemed natural. 

I remember watching Million Dollar Listing and hearing about DUMBO {Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass} and ever since then, I've always said I wanted to check out what all the fuss was about. We walked over the bridge {I highly recommend doing that if you haven't before!} then walked down under the bridge for that iconic view. 

Here's that photo you've probably seen 8957483 times.

Cue impromptu photo shoot with cool brick background. Too bad it was freezing cold and I couldn't bare to take my puffy coat off. Don't make fun of my nikes. My feet were DEAD.

Jake's fave shot of the day!

I read this blog and she recommended checking out Jane's Carousel. It was so fun! We took a ride and felt like kids again! Best $2 I spent in the city.

That's it folks. After our day of exploring, we Jake tried some beer from Brooklyn Brewery then we had dinner at the Reynard in the Wythe Hotel, complete with pre-dinner drinks at the bar which has a killer view of the NYC skyline. For further reading, check out this blog post I wrote about Brooklyn for Dwellable. 

Stay tuned next week for the last NYC post of this trip. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

NYC | Part 3

We decided to explore different parts of the city on this trip, so on FRIDAY after a much anticipated tour of the Federal Reserve Bank including the gold vault which holds over 300+ billion dollars with of gold {this is a must do if you can get tickets}, we wandered around the Financial District. It was really cool to see Wall Street and the Stock Exchange especially after seeing it in so many movies over the years. Very iconic! 

Then, we walked by the new World Trade Center and saw the 9/11 memorial which was very overwhelming and sad. Again, this is something we had heard about and saw on TV for years..  decades even and to see the area in real life was just very powerful. I'm not sure I could go into the museum just yet, I really think that would be something I would have to really prepare myself for. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to step foot in there. 

We were watching TV the night before Thanksgiving and noticed that my alma mater - Gonzaga was playing in none other than Madison Square Garden - turned out it was a tournament with the Championship Game being played the day after Thanksgiving. So we bought tickets and made our way over the Madison Square Garden on Friday night - it was the first time for both of us and it actually seemed pretty small and intimate. It was nice to root for my Zags in person again. 

After that we hit the town and checked out Cask Bar in the East Village. I am proud to say that after a night of light drinking and a desire not to ride the subway or take a taxi, we decided to walk 26 blocks back to our hotel. Doesn't 26 blocks seem super far? Well, its actually only 1.5 miles and only took us about 30-35 minutes or so. It was nice and refreshing. And I met my step goal for the day, so I was a happy camper. 

The next morning {SATURDAY}, we had brunch reservations at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental along with this view of Central Park. Pretty nice, right? I could definitely get used to living the high life in this city... no pun intended!   

Below is the first course which included 4 small tastings.

I had the granola crusted brioche french toast. Let that sink in for a minute... and it tasted as delicious as it looks. Bon appetite! 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

NYC | Part 2

WEDNESDAY was rainy, cold and dreary. We spent the day meandering since we didn't really have plans {shocking, I know!} One thing I had wanted to do since the first time I read about it online was to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Parade balloons inflate the day before the parade. We made our way to the Upper West Side and after a quick stop at Momofuku milk bar, we walked along the route as we watched the balloons inflate. To me, Snoopy is one of the most iconic balloons just because I remember him from when I was a kid watching the parade. My mom worked at Macys for many many years so this parade has always had a special place in my heart. 

Seeing the balloons up close was very cool. I would highly recommend doing this if you ever find yourself in NYC the night before the parade.  

After seeing the balloons inflate for a few hours in the *pouring* rain, we headed to East Village to check into our second hotel of the trip -- The Standard East Village. Last time we stayed at The Standard at the Highline and it was amazing. This time I requested a west facing room but we ended up with a room facing another direction, that's okay though cause the view was still pretty cool.  The lips pillow in each room is my favorite. 

We took it easy that night, walked to a yummy dinner at the Smith and then turned in early since the next day we planned to wake up early to catch the parade.

on THURSDAY {Thanksgiving}, we rode the subway -- got off at Columbus Square stop and walked to the parade route. We settled in near the beginning of the route because it's usually less crowded and we managed to get a decent spot. We stayed for a couple hours and left when it got too cold to have lunch at Starbucks. We actually spent a lot of our day at Starbucks because a lot of places weren't open.

Jake's favorite balloon was Spiderman!

After the parade, we walked along Central Park West towards 5th Avenue.

<3 strolling through Central Park...

Somehow{!?!} we ended up at Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in the Upper East Side. Calories don't count when you're on vacation, right?

We definitely need more Cupcake ATM's in the world! I got Red Velvet and it was delish.

I would say our parade watching was a success. It definitely was VERY cold but I was proud of us for sticking it out that long. A couple hours later, we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Boathouse in Central Park which was very nice, but definitely not the same as a home cooked meal.

Monday, December 22, 2014

NYC | Part 1

Jake and I headed to NYC a day earlier than planned due to a "weather event" that was supposed to occur the day before Thanksgiving. I'm so glad that all worked out because the day we were supposed to arrive turned out to be rainy and cold and just miserable all together, so it was nice not to have to travel that day.

TUESDAY: After an impromptu lighter dinner at Toloache, we went to Times Square. Now, this is something we skipped over last trip because we ran out of time, but for some reason we really really liked T.S. We probably spent 2-3 hours there, just taking it all in. I had heard a few days before on NPR that the largest interactive billboard had just launched, and you can see it in a few photos below {to the right}. The billboard covers an entire city block! 

We found a stranger to take our picture, and managed to avoid the Elmo's, Superman's and various other super heroes that try to take photos with you and then make you pay them. I am curious though, how much money do those people make doing that? Just curious. 

I loved all the pretzel carts all over Times Square.

We took a little walk from Times Square over to Rockefeller Center because Jake wanted to go ice skating. Let me be clear: I was terrified to do this. But Jake really really wanted to try it. Background: Once, in 6th grade I went to Ice Palace which is an indoor skating rink {in Hawaii} I hobbled around the skating rink and was basically a mess. That's the last time I tried ice skating. I told Jake I couldn't even roller blade. 

We laid our eyes on the infamous rink and it looked smaller and more intimate than it seemed on TV. We ended up skating for about 45 minutes until it closed at midnight. Let's just say I made it around 3x without holding the edge and I almost fell 546776 times. But the important thing is that I looked up and enjoyed the scenery exactly four times when Jake reminded me. It's the little things. 

This photo is so romantic, right? Well actually, I had to hold onto Jake at all times so I wouldn't fall. So there's that.

Stay tuned for more NYC photos!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Up, Up & Away!

Last year Jake and I attended our very first Hot Air Balloon Festival {read my post here}. As we were leaving the Carolina Balloon Fest, we decided that this would become an annual tradition for us. 

This year, we debated whether to go on Saturday or Sunday and eventually decided on Sunday since the winds were supposed to be less strong - what a good call that ended up to be since the balloons didn't fly on Saturday due to the strong winds! 

My friend Megan was in town so she joined us and we had a blast. It's so fun to see the balloons inflate up close and then fly far away, to wherever the wind takes them.

As you can see, it was an amazing, bright day without a cloud in the sky. There was about 50 hot air balloons that participated in the festival.  We watched them all launch and then fly up, up and away.   I am still debating if I want to actually take a balloon ride. Maybe next year...

Have you ever been to a Hot Air Balloon Festival or ridden in a hot air balloon? Is ridden a real word? 


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