December 30, 2016

The Best of 2016: Part 2

Like I said yesterday, it's crazy going through all these memories and realizing how many great moments we had in the last 365 days. I love New Years. I love the feeling of fresh, clean, beginnings. It's like a sunrise, but as much as I love a sunrise, I love a sunset.

I will say again that we are extremely grateful for this year and the adventures we've had. There are so many moments that we don't have pictures of that were pretty amazing too - weddings, babies, dinners, family moments, Sunday strolls - but you can't capture everything or you'd miss it. Here are more photos for the stuff we remembered to take a second:

My sissies came out to visit in July and we had the most fun. We did lots of tourist things and lots of our favorite things. We ran in the rain to see the apartment from Friends, ran into Ivanka Trump, played games in Bryant Park and had early morning coffee chats. I'm pretty lucky to have those two in my life and it's been forever since we got that much time uninterrupted.

We didn't get to the beach as much as we would have liked this summer, but those sunrises are pretty amazing when you get them. There was a stretch in August when the temps were constantly approaching 100 degrees. It also happened to be the week of hell that was apartment searching. This trip to the beach was so overdue and so wonderful.

My dad came out to visit in August and we went to see the US Open. It was my first time at a Tennis tournament and it was so amazing. We saw so many matches and since we went Opening Day, there was tennis happening everywhere. Plus, it was a big moment for my dad so it was really fun to be there with him and see his excitement.

We said goodbye to our Jersey apartment after almost three years. It was bittersweet. We made so many friends in that area and we loved our apartment, but it was time to move on. This last evening on the rooftop was perfect. I miss that view.

And then there were these nights of unpacking and finding new furniture. We were very prepared for this move and there was a plan. It only took us about a week until the place was really home. We love it so much here and even though finding a place in NYC is a pain in the ass, we are so happy we made that move. You can read the full story here.

The first few weeks of dog walks in the new neighborhood are definitely worth remembering. We were so excited to explore this beautiful neighborhood of brownstones and front stoops, little shops and restaurants, blue skies and pretty sunsets. I can't get enough of this.

My mom came to visit in October and was our first guest at the new place. We showed her our new digs and more of Brooklyn. It was fun to have a visitor here in the fall. It really is the greatest time of year in New York City.

We couldn't get enough of the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we took a detour on our way to North Carolina. We drove through some fog and then had the road to ourselves. It was hours of beautiful overlooks and fall colors.

We spent a week in North Carolina enjoying the scenery, the food and best of all, our amazing company. I got to hug Alexa in real life - she has been a blog friend for so long. We got to meet our friends' new baby and see their home and catch up with them. It was an amazing few days.

This face. I can't get enough of it. Lola has had some possible health issues and went in for x-rays on her heart this week. This fall, we have spent more time snuggling her and taking things a little slower. It's crazy how much love you can have for these tiny creatures.

We got one weekend in Minnesota right before Thanksgiving and we had a sleepover with most of our nieces and our nephew. We played some epics games of Sardines (it's hide & seek backwards) and Yeti in the Spaghetti. Plus there was Pizza Ranch and Astronaut Ice Cream. We got to celebrate my brother's birthday, surprise a friend for her baby shower and meet another new 3 month old member to our framily. These trips are quick, busy and rewarding.

We celebrated a friend's birthday by galavanting around Manhattan. After a long day of avoiding Santacon, we ended up on a rooftop in Manhattan that is set up like a ski lodge. They had one seating area that consisted of a tent, a heater, furry blankets and a canoe. We sat in that canoe as long as we possibly could without getting yelled at by other patient, cold bar-goers. It brought so much happiness.

The first snow. The Christmas decorations were all out and the snow fell quickly and blanketed everything. We took the dogs for a really long walk and just enjoyed it - knowing all too well that snow in the city doesn't last long. It was a kick off to a wonderful and very quiet Christmas in the city with just us followed by a staycation which we are still in the middle of. That means it is time for me to turn off the computer and get back to my cooking, reading, Netflixing and packing for our weekend in the woods.

Happy New Year friends. Take a few minutes to watch this sunset and then get up early to enjoy those first fresh and clean moments of 2017. Cheers.

Linking up with Helene for all the 2016 recaps.

December 29, 2016

The Best of 2016: Part 1

I get it, everyone is over this year. So many deaths, the election, sadness everywhere. I think every year is like this, but we are getting older and the celebrities that pass away are ones that we recognize, that we grew up with. With social media and the ability for everyone to have a loud voice whenever they feel like it without necessarily facing consequences they once would have, things are meaner and spread faster. 

I took a while the other night to go through our year and for us, it treated us pretty good. I miss doing my daily gratitudes, so I wanted to at least share a few moments I was especially grateful for - although it's impossible to get everything. I hope you're able to take the same time in the next few days to reflect on the good and help encourage a wonderful new year.

This was an epic night on Jan. 1 last year. We rented a house in the Catskills and went to sleep early, drank wine, sat by fires, did puzzles and went for hikes. We are repeating this again this year and I'm so excited. It just seems more fitting for us to celebrate far away from the city in the woods without TV's, phone service or distractions.

Winter storm Jonas. It lasted 24 hours and then the snow melted, but we had a blast walking across the street to our friends' apartment, making snow cream and making the three block trek to get pizza from the only place open in the tri-state area. You can read the full story here (and get the snow cream recipe.)

We escaped the cold and went to Costa Rica with six of our best friends. We floated in giant flamingos that we named, we ATVed on the beaches, we took a sailboat on the ocean. It was perfect - even if half our team ended up with some sort of sickness during the trip. I recapped our highlights in this post if you need some more warm weather pictures.

We walked 40,000 steps and made it from the northern most subway stop on Manhattan all the way to Battery Park in one day. It was a beautiful day and it was pretty awesome knowing that we could cover this much ground in one day.

We spent a weekend in New Orleans with our best friend, Katie. It was so fun getting to explore a brand new city and take in all the history and colorful houses. There was so much live music and entertaining people watching. I hope to get back again soon.

We started decluttering our apartment in the spring knowing that we would be moving at the end of summer. We found so many fun things that had been hiding in closets. This hat on Quincy was one of my favorites and since we were getting rid of things, I had to at least snag a photo of it.

This picture is out the front window of our house in St. Paul. We spent a week in April fixing every last thing in that house and getting it ready to list on the market. It was rainy the day that we left, so there was no champagne on the front steps, but we walked away knowing that it would bring someone else lots of memories. We accepted an offer within 24 hours of listing it and toasted with lots of champagne on the day of closing.

We made a secret escape to Vermont after a bit of a breakdown. The stress of the trip home and all the things happening with the house, it was a little too much, so we snuck away the following weekend to a little town in Vermont. We spent the weekend hiking, sitting by this fire, drinking beers near the giant fire in the hotel lobby and binging on HGTV.

We met our birthday buddies in Philadelphia and drove them to Shenandoah National Park for our birthday weekend. We hiked, drank cider, explored caves and ran through fields (literally). See all the pretty pictures by clicking on the full road trip recap. Sharing a birthday with friends is so awesome because we all get to celebrate ourselves and each other. I don't think I've ever laughed so loud or sang in a mini van quite that much.

In early June, we got back to Minnesota to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Rick & Leah. It was a few hours from the twin cities, so the day after the wedding, we had some time to kill before our flight, so we snuck in a ride on the ferris wheel at Betty Dangers in Minneapolis. It was the most perfect day to be on a ferris wheel with my favorite person.

4th of July weekend was one for the books. We had a friend staying with us and we took her all over the city with the mission to eat and drink everything awesome. While there were so many things I consumed that weekend, this cheese tower with the mimosa flight is impossible to top. I attempted to recap all the food and drinks, but I'm sure I left some out.

I spent a weekend in Nashville to celebrate one of my favorite people in all the world, Emma, for her bachelorette party. I got in a night early to meet my friend, Kendra. There was so much girl talk, inappropriate words, wine and singing. So much singing. You can read about how I got recognized in the Nashville airport by reading these moments.

We met our friends in Boston to celebrate their pregnancy and share one of our favorite cities with them. We shared some of our favorite places with Brent & Kirsten and explored a bunch of new ones. We ate at an Italian Restaurant in the North End where our server accurately predicted that they would be having a boy.

We took the ferry to Provincetown that same weekend and revisited the spot that we got engaged. I love everything about that little sea town.

Looking at these makes me realize how many weekend trips we snuck in this year. It's no wonder that we have spent the last few months enjoying a little more time at home. I'll post the second half tomorrow... Stay tuned :)

December 23, 2016

Happy Christmas

The most wonderful time of the year that they sing about has arrived. We have spent every year since we moved here in New York City for Christmas. Usually someone is touching down on Christmas Day and we make the drive to the airport, but this year, it's just us. We decided about a month ago that we would take a real Christmas break and use vacation days for the week between Christmas and New Years, so I can say that it's my last work day of 2016!!!

I'm looking forward to a night in the city with the dogs drinking champagne and ordering room service. I think this will be best way to celebrate Christmas with our tiny family. I'm looking forward to coffees, big breakfasts, lunches out and so much relaxing next week. I'm looking forward to long, slow dog walks and hours of reading. I'm looking forward to catching up with a few friends during break. I'm looking forward to less and less screen time. And I'm definitely looking forward to ringing in the new year in the Catskills again.

And now, for some photos of our annual visit to Dyker Heights to see the lights.

Merry Christmas. Hope you all get a little bit a break over the next week. If you have any great breakfast recipes, send them my way. 

December 21, 2016

Winter Bucket List

I love the beginning of Winter. The holiday season, the new year, the cozy nights, all the hygge. Come mid-February, I'm ready for Spring. I think that's normal for most people, but they might only make it to Mid-January.

Spend New Years in the woods - Last year, we spent NY weekend in Woodstock and it was the greatest decision. New York City is on many bucket lists for a place to spend NYE, but it sounds like absolute hell for me. People pee in buckets and stand in a tiny area for hours. Drunk people act crazy leaving bars and riding the train. All those things are not my favorite. Crackling fires, glasses of wine, puzzles, hiking, tiny gift shops and nature - those are the best way to ring in the new year. This year we are adding 2 new adults, 1 new baby and 1 new dog to our group (none of those belong to our family.)

Sugar Detox - We are going to cut out sugar for a few weeks. I have found myself eating more donuts, chocolate and cookies lately and it's not a habit I want to get into. We are going to take a break from it. There is so much sugar eating this time of year, so I'm excited to have a reset.

Finish my blanket - I started knitting a blanket for our couch. It's thick and wool and wonderful, but it takes a lot of time.

Get out on skis - We had no snow in the northeast last year and my poor skis never touched the ground. I'm determined to make that happen this year multiple times. I love mountains in the winter time.

Make weekly library runs - I did not hit my reading goal this year (unless I quickly read 11 books in the next nine days.) I would like to take advantage of the colder weather to curl up on the couch and read more often, plus the library is close and free. It's my favorite.

Outdoor adventure - I know this seems vague, but every year, we seem to find something cool to do outside. One year, we went to a bar inside an Igloo. Other years, we've found winter carnivals with outdoor activities. We just want to stay on the hunt for something outside.

Have a movie marathon - In the past, we've done Harry Potter and Star Wars. I would consider redoing one of those or possibly getting a little more creative - any ideas would be welcome!

Ice Skating - We both grew up playing hockey and we love going to watch hockey. BUT, NYC makes it extremely annoying to go skating. You have to pay everywhere you go and it's always busy. I'm not letting that stop me this year, I'm putting the skates on somewhere and making it happen.

I'm sure I could make this list super long, but let's see if I'm able to actually check all of these off the list. If I had to add one more, it would be a warm weather beach weekend sometime in the late Feb/early March time frame - mostly so I could use my flamingo floatie again.

Cheers to embracing Hygge, beautiful sunrises, snow and the cold temps.

December 20, 2016

Autumn in New York

I made a Fall Bucket List and I actually accomplished a few of the things. I thought it would be easy to check them all off, but I have yet to pull that off.


Apple Orchard and Wine Tasting  - These were checked off on our trip up to Connecticut to visit a friend and see her new digs in Norwalk. It was a beautiful day to be outside and exploring new territories. It wasn't the best wine and the apples were in bins instead of on trees, but I'm still counting this.

Visit Charlotte, NC - Finally we took this trip. It was so good to hug some people and cheers to them. We also took in the scenery of Skyline Drive. I'll share more of this trip soon and I can't wait to return. This porch in the photo is from the 4th Ward.

Take a boat ride - We took a scenic boat ride around the whole island of Manhattan. It was obviously all tourists, so the picture taking and running from one side of the boat to the other was a little overwhelming. We just stayed in our seats and took in the sights. It was cool seeing the northern part of the island from the Harlem River.

Update skin care routine - I have finally found some daily products that I love and they don't have all the bad stuff in them.  Does anyone else find themselves hoarding products and not using them? I had done that and I'm putting myself in check.

See live music - Finally! It had been a while since we had seen any shows. We saw the Head and the Heart in October and then saw Chadwick Stokes last week. We have tickets to a few more things this Winter and I'm so excited. Music is meant to be enjoyed live.

Tried and failed:

Oktoberfest - We tried going, we really did. I even made reservations. We showed up and things were a complete mess. I couldn't handle it. We drank Oktoberfest beers at a regular bar and it was all great.
Yoga - I did it a few times, but we didn't go to the neighborhood studio. I found a different workout program that I can do in our gym without spending any money.
Complete 3 cozy things - Maybe this belongs more in the winter category.
Visit Governor's Island - This was on the list twice and I skipped it both times, so maybe it's not really something I need to accomplish.
Catch up on my reading list - I got a few more books read, but I didn't catch up as much as I needed to. Looks like I'll be sticking with the same goal next year and trying to get it.

It was a great first three months in our new apartment. Even though I didn't check everything off the list, we did a bunch of awesome things. We cooked 1/2 of a great Thanksgiving dinner, we walked through Central Park during peak fall colors, we explored our neighborhood, got some volunteer time in, had a great trip home to Minnesota, met lots of friends' babies and had fun with my mom when she was in town. Our new home is quickly becoming my favorite ever.

I'm determined to make a list that I can check everything off of, so stay tuned for my winter bucket list tomorrow.

December 16, 2016

Friday Favorites

The arctic air has arrived in NYC and my face instantly hurts whenever we walk the dogs. BUT I picked up four books from the library and I have every intention of staying in tonight with hot chocolate (possibly spiked), heavy blankets and lots of reading. I figured I'd share with you a couple of my favorite things this week:

1. I did the update on my iPhone. My favorite part is new emojis. There are some that are pretty hilarious, but I find it entertaining to work them into normal text conversation. But really, why no Flamingo yet? See the full list here.

2. Our first Amazon Fresh order. Groceries straight to the door. I'm concerned about what this will do to my laziness this winter. If you are a prime member, then you get a month free of this service. I don't know how I waited this long.

3. Even though I'm pretty proud of my Christmas Card poem this year, I read this 2016 Brooklyn version of the Night Before Christmas poem and I think this wins. Let me know what you think.

4. These lights are my absolute favorite (and they are not heart shaped). I bought them as "Christmas lights" but the string is so tiny and you can just leave them up all the time. Plus, I was able to plug them in behind the couch and use the remote to turn them on. 

5. Last, but not least, we went to a great show this week in Williamsburg. Rough Trade is a record store, but they have a venue in the back that is pretty small. It was pretty amazing to see an artist we love in a smaller room. If you've never listened to Dispatch, State Radio or Chadwick Stokes (who is the man behind the first two bands) - I recommend that you give it a listen. 

I'm hoping it warms up tomorrow so we can make it over to Dyker Heights to see all the best Christmas lights in the city. There are still quite a few things on our NYC Christmas favorites that we haven't checked off the list yet. Cheers to a great weekend!

December 13, 2016

The Bookshelf: Vol. 9

I mentioned it in a previous post, but my reading mojo failed in November. I started two books that were on the top fiction lists of the year and I didn't like them at all. I read half of them and then decided to stop - why waste your life struggling through a book that you don't like?

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica - (Goodreads/Amazon) This book kept me interested for the entire story. It wasn't the best book I've read this year, but it was an interesting story. I wasn't a fan of the ending. There were some things that were explained and it seemed a little rushed once we got to the end. 

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari - (Goodreads/Amazon) I got this book from the library thinking that it was a story about his life. Instead, I got a book about dating in today's society. It was very interesting to read. I was a sociology major, so any studies like this are extremely intriguing for me. Plus, his writing style was funny and easy to follow along with. He shared some hilarious stories to help illustrate his points. I think this is a great book for anyone to pick up and read - even if you've been out of the dating game for a while.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda - (Goodreads/Amazon) This is a mystery that unfolds backwards. When I first realized that, I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I really liked the way the story was told. I didn't love how it all played out, but I couldn't put the book down. It was just what I needed after a couple of unfinished books went back to the library.

Have you read any of those? I gave them all three stars which means I liked them, but I wouldn't insist anyone else read them. I am also realizing that I don't have the greatest rating system on Goodreads. In my head, I rate things as love, like or dislike. I liked all these.

Linking up with Steph and Jana. Go see what other people have read.