I’m in a New York State of Mind

Everything about this summer happened so quickly, and suddenly, we’re nearly in fall (well, everyone has said it’s fall since Labor Day, but it’s not officially fall yet…more on that later). Anyway, I shared part 1 of our Boston/NYC adventure last month but never got around to sharing part 2, the NYC part. I’ve had a draft saved for a few weeks now, photos uploaded and all, but hadn’t gotten around to actually writing.

I always miss the big city. Any big city. If you haven’t yet realized, I’m beyond obsessed with all things city, New York and Chicago being my absolute favorites. When we were visiting Boston this summer, our new adventure place to visit, I just knew that we had to somehow incorporate New York into this trip as well. Yes, we’ve already done NY together, but once is not enough. I want to go back again and again. Since we’re rarely in the Northeast, I knew we needed to take full advantage. (If we had all the money and all the vacation days in the world, we would have spent a good two weeks touring the entire Northeast/New England if it were up to me.) On our last full day of our trip, we took a bus from Boston down to NYC (I legitimately never realized just how far NE Boston really is on the map. Wow!). It was only about 4 1/2 hours or so on the bus down to NYC, so it wasn’t bad at all. About equivalent to our trips from home to Chicago. We got into NYC late morning, giving us a good full day after getting checked into our hotel (in Times Square! Tim did so good as usual :) ) to explore the city. We did a lot of big things last time we were in New York like tours, Times Square and we were on the TODAY Show (HUGE bucket list check right there), so this time we didn’t have a lot of big things planned, we just wanted to enjoy our day in the city. It was so perfect, especially since last time we were in New York, it was New Year’s Eve weekend, and it was bitter bitter bitter cold. Almost unbearable (but we made it bearable, nonetheless). This NY summer weather was the exact opposite of that.

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We tried to do a few of the things we didn’t have time to do the last the we were here. First stop, we had lunch at Shake Shack. I felt like I was in a movie eating outside in the park on a New York summer day. It was so fabulous. And, their food was pretty awesome too. Sometimes you just need a good burger and fries, you know? Gluten and all (more on that later, if you don’t follow me on IG and Twitter and know about my gluten sensitivity issues…yes, I’m one of those, and yes, it’s annoying, I know.).

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Following lunch, we needed to walk off our food. When we travel, we love to walk. We’re pretty active when time allows. Living in a city, any city, you have to know that walking will be involved, even if it’s just your usual walk from the car to your doorstep. We walked our way through New York’s finest shopping (shopping, my other love), and visited a few of my favorite places including Tory Burch and Kate Spade’s Madison Avenue flagship store. It was just as beautiful as I had ever imagined it would be. I bought one little thing with a gift card that I had been saving up just because I wanted just one of my KS pieces to really be from NY :) The flagship store was several stories tall, each floor being dedicated to its own Kate Spade department…shoes, homegoods, wedding. It was some form of Kate Spade New York Heaven I’m sure.

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One thing that we didn’t have time to do last time we were there was see the view of New York City from above. We decided to do the Top of the Rock tour, and it was amazing. New York City was even more beautiful from up above. 

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That evening, we explored SoHo which I absolutely loved, especially the building structures on each block. We also stopped in the Kate Spade and Jack Spade stores in SoHo to make sure there wasn’t anything we were missing out on, and we checked out the Kate Spade Saturday store too. If I were to ever have the opportunity to live in this city, I would love to live in this neighborhood. Even if $3,000 a month in rent got me something the size of a cardboard box. I still think it would be totally awesome. 

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Finally, we got to visit our friend, Carson, who lives in Brooklyn. We finally got to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn itself, what a neat place! I wish that we could have stayed and explored it more. Next time I would like to spend a full day there. 

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It was an amazing end to our trip. I dream of being in this city all the time. I need to figure out how more of it can be in our lives. And next time we go on a visit, we still need to do an NBC Studio Tour (obsessed with all things NBC!), see a real Broadway show and we absolutely must get tickets to see Jimmy Fallon live. New York City is like its own country. There are never ending things to do. I can’t wait until we can go back again! In the meantime, we’re already trying to plan where our next adventure trip will be. We’re really thinking about California because it’s been up there on our list (right up there with NYC actually) for a very long time, and neither of us have been any further west than Phoenix, AZ. There are so many options when it comes to California though. Talk about a state being like its own country. Phew. In the meantime, we’ve got to plan ourselves another weekend trip to Chicago, though. It’s quick, it’s easy, its (relatively) inexpensive (as compared to some of these other trips we take anyway), and we’re just all around in love with that city. I’m hoping we can get back up there this fall. I have a feeling big changes are to come in the spring, whether that be career moves, real life moves (our lease ends in five months!) or something of that sort. Only time will tell so we shall see! The countdown to that Masters degree is less and less each day. Cheers!

 

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Accepted

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Ah the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that’s been the most positive and enlightening thing consuming your Facebook newsfeeds as of late. Sounds surprisingly delightful on a 100+ degree day like today, doesn’t it? I knew it was only a matter of time before Tim or I were nominated, and on Friday night, our dear friends Kevin and Holly nominated us both. Within less than an hour, we accepted the challenge (at one in the morning, mostly because Tim didn’t want to wait until the following day to do it ;) ). Since we live downtown, we don’t have a backyard like most people who have done the challenge, so instead, we used the shower and two big bowls of ice water. We had about six outtakes of the video before we actually went through with it because Bentley stood there and barked at us the entire time and tried drinking out of the bowls of water. Once we finally did it, he ate ice and licked up the excess water off the floor. If we’re friends on Facebook, you can see our video there, or you can watch the 15 second version on Instagram.

There have been a lot of people complaining about this challenge, saying that it’s dumb and that people just need to donate money to the cause and move on with their lives. I completely disagree. This is the greatest viral movement I have yet to see. You probably know by now how much I love social media, and despite the fact that sometimes it really can be negative in many ways, it can also be so awesome and so beautiful, especially with things like this. I love seeing such positive things go viral and the impact that is made. Yea, it may seem silly that people are making videos of themselves dumping Ice on their heads, but is it making you talk? If you don’t know what ALS is, is it making you google it just to see what all the hype is about? People who didn’t know about this are learning about it, and they’re having fun along the way. Plus, people are still donating too. People that are doing the challenge are still donating, even if it’s in smaller increments, and people who don’t do the challenge but are still called out are donating too. Everything about this is awesome. As compared to so much negativity that has been filling my newsfeed and pushing me away from social media as of late, this has been refreshing and fun to see.

That ice water was cold, and my hair was a big wavy mess when I woke up the next morning, but it was awesome and worth it. I’m happy to say we were a part of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. I hope the friends that we nominated to partake accept the challenge too, in one form or another, if they haven’t already. Cheers (to an ice cold bucket of water!)!

Cheers to 27 Years

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This weekend was a fabulous weekend filled with very little plans (crazy, right!?) but lots of fun activities. I attempted to not check emails (a very big challenge for me) and to tune out the news, which right now is very tough to do, but I ended up with an enjoyable weekend ending with me turning 27 years old.

I had to get my license renewed on Friday afternoon which was not the most thrilling start to birthday weekend, but it had to be done. My license was last renewed three years ago, just days after we returned from our honeymoon, and I had to have my new ID with my new last name and my new signature. That ID was also two addresses ago, so an update really was necessary. I was oddly nervous about the ‘signs’ portion of the vision test (I literally studied them online before I left), but luckily, driving for over ten years now seemed to have been just enough to pass. I now have a piece of paper for an ID in my wallet. I can’t wait until the real thing comes in the mail.

Aside from my thrilling start to my birthday weekend, I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure, which I never do without an excuse of some sort, and paid a little visit to the new Tory Burch store that just opened up in Frontenac. It’s soooo pretty. They were even giving away cookies and champagne.

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The rest of the weekend was filled with quality time with my husband, good food, new restaurants, local coffee shops and just roaming around and exploring some of my favorite places in St. Louis. We ended with dinner with my family last night at Mission Taco in the Loop and drinks with my mom and dad on the rooftop at the Moonrise Hotel, one of my absolute favorite places in STL and our first time taking my parents here. It was a great weekend, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with some of my best girlfriends this weekend as a few of us share a birthday only a few days a part. I think 27 will be a good year. Cheers!

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Another year older, another year wiser (or so I’d like to think)

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This is one of my favorite statements by Tiffany & Co. This weekend, I turn another year older (27 to be exact). I have always been a big fan of birthdays, and I love reasons to celebrate. I always thought it was weird when older adults don’t share their age or dread birthdays because that only means their growing older (fact – I still can never remember how old my mom actually is because she never gives me a truthful answer ;) ). To me, a birthday is a chance to be grateful and an opportunity we’re given to have lived yet another year of our lives. They always told me that someday ‘I’ll understand.’ I still never really got it. Until last year. I’ll admit, something strange happened to me in terms of turning 26 years old. For some people, 25 seems big, for others it’s 30, and everything above that, but for some reason, 26 seemed to be a very odd turning point for me. It was the first year that a birthday was more stressful than celebratory in my mind (although Tim and I did have a really fun weekend celebrating in Chicago…ultimately taking my mind off of my age). I’m not sure if it was that hump that went over 25, suddenly putting me into the ‘upper’ or ‘late’ twenties category? Regardless, it just felt a little strange. Although, I still get carded everywhere, and when we were in Boston, our tour guide even sold me a children’s ticket (which was for 12 and under). Ha. I know I look young, yet I’m oftentimes bothered by that too, yet I’m told that someday I’ll really appreciate it. I suppose so. I just can’t seem to win here. I know the to older adults, twenties is so young (and so it really seems with so much life ahead of us), but compared to some people whom I still know in college, they seem so young, and I feel so old. Anyway, this weekend I turn 27. For quite possibly the first time ever, I nearly forgot that my birthday was so quickly approaching. Birthdays are usually a month long celebration for me, or at least a week. I assume this is just due in part to the fact that so much other stuff has been going on in life lately. I tend to focus on pretty much everything other than me. You know what though? Turning 27 isn’t bothering me one bit. Not like 26 was. I’m excited for it. I’m ready. I feel like saying I’m 27 years old sounds so adult-like, and I’m finding myself saying more and more lately that Tim and I are nearly 30 (I don’t want to jump the gun here, but still). We’ve set some pretty big goals for ourselves for 30…ie. that’s the time that we want to finally ‘settle down’ a bit (determine where it is we really want to live, where we want to be, what we want to be doing in our careers) and start to focus on family at this time. So what does that mean? We’ve got a lot more living to do in these next three years :) I’m excited for 27. The last few years have been interesting and exciting and pretty awesome to say the least, but I feel like as I approach this upper twenties hump, I’m starting to realize a little more what it is I really want out of life. I hear you never really know, and I’m starting to believe that a bit too, but for my life right now, I think I know where it is I really want to be, and that’s what 27 will be about. Focusing on myself, on finishing grad school, on the next step in my career and on what’s next for Tim and me. We’re ready for adventure. Now’s the time to have it. Cheers!

 

I Love STL

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One of my first Instagram posts of this week upon coming home from last week’s family vacation. My how my mindset changed coming home to the news of such turmoil so close to home. This unfortunately has not been the most enlightening news week we’ve seen in awhile. For one whom is so passionate about social media, it’s been incredibly difficult to look at these past few days. There has been an overwhelming amount of sadness and heartache in the news and in our community alone, all of which is very real and very eye opening in more ways than one. Despite the thoughts that I have had on everything that’s currently going on in and around this city, I’ve been quiet, and I’ve just been listening and trying to take it all in. In the midst of it all, though, it is encouraging to me to see the ways that people and the local community are pulling together. I’ve seen local coffee shops posting that journalists and reporters and anyone covering the Ferguson story can come in for free coffee and places like Straub’s are providing information for customers to send contributions to the victim’s family. In a time like this, in a city like this, no matter which ‘side’ of the story you choose to take or believe, these are the things that we need the most right now. People are hurting everywhere from both ends, people in the community directly, and people all around this city and the surrounding county. I’m still hesitant to say too much, as the story is still unraveling, even more so just today, but ultimately, I’m praying for peace in St. Louis because, after all, this is the city that we call our home.

 

I think I’ll go to Boston

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When Tim and I got married, one of our vows to each other was to keep adventure in our lives. One thing that we both really love to do is to travel, and one thing that we really wanted to promise to each other is that we would travel to new places and see new things together. Every year, we are lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take short weekend road trips with each other or with friends to places close be like Chicago (our very favorite!), Kansas City, Nashville and Memphis. These places are a short drive away and are perfectly suited for bachelor/bachelorette parties or just a quick weekend away. We also have our annual family beach vacation in Florida that we look forward to every year too. As much as we love these places, we also have a really big passion for seeing the world and exploring new places too so each year, we try to plan a trip to someplace new. Being young and just a few years out of college, it’s especially helpful that we have friends living in other places too that we can go visit. Our first year married, we did NYC (during NYE and Christmas time mind you!) (a very big dream come true and check off the bucket list for me), last summer we did New Orleans with friends and this summer we visited Tim’s cousin who lives in Boston (and seeing as how much I obsess over New York and being so close, we included a day back in NYC in this trip too).

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Boston was a very cool city. A lot like I had expected, but a like I like I didn’t particularly expect either. So many things in the Northeast and in New England are just so different than what we’re used to in the Midwest. I could really really see myself living in the northeast. I’ve always dreamt this and thought this since I was a little girl, but having finally made the commitment to going there once we were married, I can see it in our future more and more. I don’t see us living in Boston, per se, but New York? Now that’s a different story.

This post in particular, though, is about our experience in Boston (don’t worry though, the next post will be all about our day in NYC). I’m currently writing this post from my ipad on a plane ride to Florida. Isn’t that ironic?! Anyway. Back to Boston. In Boston, we walked a lot. Good thing Tim and I are walkers. We tend to walk a lot, living in the city, but even more so when we travel. It’s to be expected. (We also just became a part of the Fitbit club last month, so now we’re even more into getting our steps in every day). As soon as we met up with Tim’s cousin after we got off the train (or subway, or trolly, or Charlie or whatever it actually is that they call it there…I could never actually figure this one out…) we started to explore the city of Boston. I was really trying hard the three days that we were there to get an explanation as to what was considered ‘downtown’ Boston or what neighborhood or part of the city that we were in. I tend to always compare everything to St. Louis. I need to stop that. Nothing is setup the way St. Louis is, and although I love stl, there are some much bigger and brighter cities out there. (I’m obsessed with all things city if you haven’t figured that out just yet.). We explored so many different pieces of the city of Boston from downtown (I think), the financial district to Beacon Hill and Newbury while also getting to explore areas outside of what most of the tourists see too, like the outer neighborhoods and the area where Tim’s cousin lives and has lived.

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Public transportation is something that we are always so fascinated by. We wish it was more prevalent at home, but it’s just not aside from large downtown events and travel. The public transit system was a little different than that of what we’re typically used to in NY and Chicago, as it moved at a big of a surprisingly slower pace, but we still enjoyed experiencing it, and it seems that a majority of the city uses the public transit system. Apparently driving is pretty risky around those parts (I could totally see why). One of the Bostonians that we were with while we were there kept referring to Boston drivers as ‘mass holes’…this made me laugh.

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Boston also has so much history. We were lucky enough to have a couple of locals as our tour guides for the weekend, but also did one of the guided tours too, and with history not being one of my strong points, I learned so much.

We explored Harvard, and I was surprisingly not nearly as impressed as I thought I would be. It was a beautiful campus, and I was excited to get to experience it, but I guess I expected a bit more ‘Elle Woods’ while we were there. I was, however, uber impressed by the train stop at Harvard and Harvard Square itself. So much diversity, so eclectic, so many awesome shops, restaurants and bars. I definitely would have enjoyed spending a bit more time there.

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We also got to experience a game at Fenway. Being from a baseball town, we love our baseball, but it was no Busch Stadium, and certainly no Cardinals game (Boston Red Socks vs. KC Royals), but it was still a lot of fun, and they sure do have some loyal fans in Boston.

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Boston also has a whole lot of beer, something that Tim absolutely loves, being a big craft beer fan and home brewer himself. I, being unable to drink beer (thank you gluten), was a big fan of the fact that cider and gluten free options were offered at a lot of places. Plus, Angry Orchard, once of my favorites and first ciders I ever fell in love with, is made in Boston, so that was pretty great too. We went on the Sam Adams brewery tour which was neat. My take from the tour, though, and it’s nothing even remotely related to beer? They rock their social media!

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We also went to a neat place called Hopster’s, a restaurant/bar where you can brew your own beer (and they had cider too of course!). Despite not being the biggest beer fan (mainly because I can’t drink it), I’m still pretty intrigued by everything about it, especially seeing how much work Tim puts into his brewing, and I’m especially in love with the way different companies brand and market their products (because, whey wouldn’t I be?!). Everything that Hopster’s had to offer to their patrons, down to the design and style of their storefront was pretty spectacular. I was incredibly impressed.

Other than all the awesomeness we experienced while we were in this city, there were a few strange culture shocks that I think would be a little tough to get used to, the biggest one being the use of public bathrooms. All up public restrooms everywhere in downtown Boston require a passcode to enter. I see where this is good for the stores and restaurants because you must be a patron to get said code, so this prevents a lot of ransoms from coming in and out just to use the facilities, but for one who has to frequent public restrooms more often than she would ever like (major germaphobe over here), this would take some major getting used to.

Overall, I loved visiting this new city though. We did so much exploring. We ended the trip with a bus ride to NYC for a day before heading back home. More to come on that soon. But in the meantime, I’ve really done some rambling in this short flight. Time to head to the beach (my other love) for a couple of days with the Fam.

Cheers!

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Meet the Fam

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Say hello to my crazy, goofy little family that I adore so much. Tim and I have been married since 2011, and we’ve had our dog, Bentley, since we were in college, before we had even gotten engaged. These two make me whole and make my heart feel very full. I couldn’t imagine life without either of them. Tim is my biggest supporter in all of my dreams and is the one whom I love taking adventures with. He gets me in a way that it just seems no one else does. I guess husbands have a way of doing that, huh?! ;) And Bentley, well, he’s just pretty much the best thing to come home to every single day. His personality is always making me smile even when he does things that I’m sure deep down he knows drive me up the wall…like attempting to find Qtips in the bathroom trashcan and hoarding them under the bed…but that’s another story. I’m sure Bentley will get a post of his own at some point…he does turn 5 this year after all (I came to this sad realization just the other day actually). If I’m this emotional about my dog growing up, I can’t even imagine what I’ll be like when we have children someday, but Bent is our child for today :) (He’s even got his own hashtag on Instagram: #adventuresofbentley) This is my family enjoying our little adventure in the city.

Cheers!

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Hi!

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Hi! Ironically enough, hey, for some reason, is one of my least favorite greetings, but I was outside Kate Spade Saturday in Soho early this week (hope to share photos from our Northeast adventure soon!), and these letters were staring right up at me, and I somehow even sort of liked them. But, that’s besides the point. Ultimately, I’m welcoming you (hey, you there!) to my blog. My newest blog. The first post of my newest blog. No matter what, there’s always got to be an intro, right? You can’t just dive right in? I think that’s exactly what has taken me so long to jump start this time around. I’ve had a few blogs pertinent to various times in my life from post-grad to being engaged and planning a wedding to being a newlywed. These last couple of years, I’ve been so consumed in work and grad school, I’ve lost that extra little bit of time to blog, and I guess I wouldn’t have had too terribly much interesting to actually blog about since it’s been so much work and grad school (alright there is some fun and exciting stuff in there too, I promise!). But regardless, all the ‘busy’ has gotten me to where I stand today and what lies ahead…whatever that may actually be. I’ve still got a year left of grad school and a lot of work in front of me, but I’m ready to go back to making time to write too. It may not be a lot of time, and it may not be nearly as often as I’d like, but one of my goals in this new year was to get my blog back up and running. So, what better time than the end of July?! I’ve had a bit of a ‘summer break,’ if you will, meaning that I’ve had a few weeks off from grad classes. Somehow, this seems to have given me what seems like an eternal amount of freedom. So, one of my New Year’s goals of revamping the blog turned into a summer goal and is now finally happening approximately three weeks before school starts again. (You do the math.) Anyway, I really just wanted to start this again to give myself a place to write and clear my mind outside of the small monogrammed journals I carry around, the notes section of my iPhone and Instagram. Sometimes, I need to say more than what those give me the chance to say. I just want to share thoughts, photos, adventures, plans and maybe even a little inspiration to. We’ll go ahead and call this the obligatory intro post. Now I can finally dive right in ;) I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m really looking forward to what’s to come.

Cheers!