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?