Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Valentine's Day Gifts




It’s crazy to believe that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I’ve started loving Valentine’s more because it’s a great excuse to buy fresh flowers for my home! I thought I would share some of my favorite picks that would make a perfect gift for your girlfriend/wife… or if you’re a girl and like buying “galentine’s” gifts for your friends. I love the idea of getting girlfriends and/or your mom gifts for Valentine’s Day – it’s a sweet reminder of how much you care about them. Every year my mom puts together a cute gift bag or basket which I think is so thoughtful! I truly get excited about getting it ever year.

Hope this helps with some ideas for Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day! Maybe you can even treat yourself to something on this list 😊 


Monday, January 23, 2017

Birthday Trip to New York

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. I know that we all enjoy spending extra time with family and being at home during the holidays. I’m not sure what this year holds out for me, but I do pray that I live each day glorifying the Lord and allowing Him to use me as He sees me. I hope everyone is starting their New Year with fresh new possibilities and imagination.

I’ve been wanting to travel to New York for a couple of years now, but never could make the time to go. The last time I went to New York was my sophomore year of high school and I went with one of my best friends. (check out her amazing blog) Heather had connections to the choir teacher so we got to attend the New York trip, but didn’t get to do what we wanted due to it being a school trip. When it comes to gift giving, Ryan would rather put his money he would normally spend on me towards traveling. He told me on my birthday this year that I could pick anywhere I wanted to go for my birthday. Woo hoo! That is the best present ever! I decided that I wanted to go to New York, but wanted to try to be able to go before they took down the Christmas tree and decorations.

Before I knew it the trip was booked! We actually got a good deal on the tickets. Due to our flights being delayed from Ryan’s birthday trip (if you missed the post here is the link) we had two vouchers to use. We used some of the voucher for my ticket and Ryan ended up using his Southwest points for his flight. The only thing he had to pay for was the hotel (not a bad deal). Ryan’s brother Tyler decided last minute to join the trip as well.

We all had a blast and enjoyed getting to experience new/old things in an amazing city. We knew it was going to be freezing but I will say that the experience was even more incredible since we got to experience real snow!

We did so much in so little time but made sure to relax and enjoy each spot. The first 2 days we were there we walked 30,000+ steps. Thank goodness I brought my tennis shoes! I’m usually the one that doesn’t wear tennis shoes when traveling, but I didn’t have any shame on this trip. I still wore cute clothes even though my jacket, gloves, ear warmers, and scarves never came off!

When we landed we hung out at the airport until Tyler arrived. We immediately all got into a cab and headed to our hotel. We decided to stay at the Westin in Times Square since this was Ryan’s first time in NYC. Our rooms weren’t ready yet and we were so ravenous we decided to grab something that was close to the hotel. Something you should know about Tyler he is a VERY PICKY EATER! So…. I didn’t get to go to every restaurant I had on my list, but no worries we will just have to go back. ;)

We found Junior’s Bakery around the corner. It is the home of the World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake! None of us got cheesecake, but Tyler ended up buying 2 slices of Marble Pound Cake. Something to know about this well-known restaurant/bakery is that it’s open until 12:00 am weekdays and 1:00 am Friday and Saturday. If you are in need of a restaurant during late hours this is a good place to enjoy something sweet or even a burger.  

After lunch we decided to explore Time Square before checking into our hotel. Ryan was already amazed at everything! I didn’t know that they kept the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball, that’s dropped on New Years Eve, out until they took down the Christmas decorations. I, in a way, may be freaked out a little when I saw the NYC Eve ball haha… I had dreamed of one day going to New York and seeing the ball drop but hey, this will do!


When it comes to traveling with me and Ryan we always opt for walking. It’s more fun to explore a busy city like New York this way so you can see all of the local businesses. Plus you feel less guilty about the treats you might be consuming. 

After checking into our hotel we went to pick up our New York Passes. If you don’t know about this it’s something to look into if you are planning on doing the more “touristy” activities. When purchasing the pass you decided how many days you will be exploring and that is the price you pay. You are able to skip long lines, book tours in advance, and save a lot of money. It even comes with a 200 page pocket guidebook with details on all the attractions and special offers for Pass holders. We ended up saving money because of all the different museums we went too and in the guidebook it had discounts at restaurants. BONUS! 

That night we went to Rockefeller Center to see if we could take the new NBC tour, book our time to go up to Top of the Rock, the tree, and the ice skating rink (of course!) We went ice skating in Central Park, admired the empirical Christmas decorations outside of 5th Avenue, walked through a beautiful church, walked through Niketown, and we had to see The Plaza. That was a lot of walking in itself. We finally ate dinner then walked through M&M World and Hershey’s Chocolate World. You could smell the sugar before entering both stores!





We had breakfast reservations at Sarabeth’s Central Park South, which meant we got to walk through Central Park. This was before the blizzard came Saturday. It was cold, but enjoyable since it had snowed the night before and hardly no wind. Words can’t describe how delicious the food was. Tyler had the buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and I had the morning crunch (fresh roasted granola, strawberries, bananas, raisins, honey, choice of milk or organic yogurt – I chose soy milk). Ryan wasn’t able to make it to breakfast so Tyler and I met up with him afterwards.

We finally booked a time to go up to Top of the Rock. This is an observation deck in the city (Midtown). I was actually surprised that the bars weren’t blocking the view. It was an overall amazing view of the city. The elevator ride was even amazing.

After we left there we went to Bryant Park to see the New York Library. The detailed artwork and history was just the beginning… there were so many different floors, rooms, and references all throughout the library. It was now time for some coffee and cappuccino! We walked through Lord & Taylor’s Christmas display and found a local coffee shop. It was the cutest!

While sipping on our warm drinks we walked through Penn Station (Madison Square Station) and past the New York Post Office. Tyler needed to charge his phone, so Ryan and I decided to stop at a local restaurant and bar to have a quick drink. We finished earlier than we thought so we decided to see if we could find a place to eat for dinner. We found this pizza place (Abitino's) that hit the spot. I don’t know if it was because we were both so hungry and didn’t realize it, but let me tell you it was a place we will have to recommend to friends/family. 

After dinner we decided to finally take the Subway. OUR LEGS WERE KILLING US! We went to Dylan’s Candy Bar – another plus when buying the New York Pass is you get to fill a paint tin with as much candy that will fit for $13.99. After sampling and filling the paint tin to the rim we went to the Empire State Building. That was a different view than Top of the Rock. It was dark outside so seeing the high line was something else! Again, the elevator ride was amazing.
We went to see the big Christmas balls in front of Radio City and the beautiful tree above Radio City. It was finally time for bed!

When we woke up the next morning it was a BLIZZARD OUTSIDE! We took the subway downtown since there was no way we were walking to Ground Zero/9-11 Memorial. The pools were even more remarkable with the snow flurries coming down. The names all around the pools were heated to make then visible! It brought tears to my eyes.


We walked through the Ground Zero/9-11 Memorial. It was incredibly well done and of course, heart breaking. I’m glad we were able to walk all the way through. You could spend an entire day there. It had so many things to read, look at, listen to, etc…. there were parts that were hard for me to handle, specifically the phone calls that were made to family members and spouses that were on the planes. I’m thankful we got to visit.

Since it was still snowing outside we decided to take the subway to Chinatown/Little Italy. We knew it wouldn’t be the experience we thought it would be, but we still wanted to go. Tyler ended up going back to the hotel to visit a friend. A friend of ours recommended Joe Shanghi's Restaurant that we were determined to get to. After walking through the wind, snow, and ice we finally find out. I had mascara all down my face, my shoes were soaked, but hey, we made it!


It was worth the trip! This place (I will put the name) was known for their soup dumplings! No wonder it was the only place that had a wait because they were so good. We asked people sitting next to us what we should order. They recommended scallion pancakes and the fried rice. I thought to myself I don’t know about scallion pancakes but they were delicious. That will be a place we eat at every time we come to New York.


That night we had tickets to the Broadway show Aladdin. This is my all-time favorite Disney Princess movie! Words can’t describe how detailed the costumes and backdrops were. Everything was more than expected! We took the subway back, took a nap, got ready, and thankfully the show was by our hotel. Our feet and legs were screaming for us to sit down.

When we got back to the hotel Tyler was back from meeting his friend. We walked to Carlos’s Bakery (since I’m a little obsessed with the Cooking channel) I had to experience it. Tyler bought a cupcake and cookie. I didn’t try the cupcake but had a bite of the cookie…. Delicious.

The next morning we grabbed a coffee and headed to the airport. Grabbed something small to eat and boarded the plane. Back to reality!