{ To Our Moms }

A belated dedication to the two best women in our lives.

Dorothy & CJ. You are two of the most thoughtful and generous women that we’ve ever known. Throughout our many stages of life you have embraced who we have become while teaching us how to push ourselves further than we thought we were capable. You each have a knack for raising children, kids who each have their own authentic voice which you encouraged them to share in their piece of the world. Zach and I are the people we are because of you. Thank you for sharing your unique passions, your thirst for life, your hunger for being the change you wish to see in the world, and for loving us through all the highs and lows of our life.

Thank you for being a steadfast support of our New York life no matter how much you wish we were closer! One day we will all be close together again and we will be better because of your encouragement to embrace this precious time. We love you, Mom & MIL!

Happy belated Mother’s Day!

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{ MIAMI }

When Z and I were in the pre-moving phase of our transition to New York, we discussed many of the things we wanted to do and goals we wanted to achieve while we lived on the East Coast. We talked about the bucket list items to accomplish in the city as well as the cities outside of New York we had to visit. Miami was one of the first we ever discussed and it has been on our minds since we moved. After our first year in New York came and went, I knew I wanted to plan a surprise birthday trip to Miami for Zach’s 32nd birthday. While we both enjoy the fact that we are both planners, sometimes it prevents us from truly living in the moment. We oftentimes find ourselves in conversation about the future, post New York life, when do we want kids, what’s the next step for our careers, etc. Because I knew Miami was on the top of our lists for places to visit and, let’s be honest, it’s a city for silly, adult fun, it would be a perfect place to celebrate exactly where we are in life; fairly newlyweds, childless, and a will to see new places. I was determined to not only make the trip happen but to keep it a secret from Z for MONTHS. I have never kept a secret that long in my life and I still can’t believe I did it. I booked the trip in February and I didn’t tell him until we were at the airport on May 4!

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I spent the majority of my twenties working in the hospitality industry which means while I am an excellent resource for all things travel, I can be a bit of a hotel snob and will spend HOURS researching to find the perfect place at the right price. This was true of my Miami hotel research but I couldn’t be happier with my find. The Confidante Hotel, formerly a Thompson Hotel and now a Hyatt Unbound Collection hotel, was perfect for the intention of the trip. Steps from the beach, two pools, four bars on property, and easy access to South Beach and Downtown Miami. One of our favorite spots on the property was Nina’s House. Best known for their drinks with made to order fresh pressed juice cocktails and 2 for 1 happy hour. A perfect welcome to Miami!

During the time when Z had no idea we were going to Miami I was asking friends and acquaintances in the city (i.e. my hair dresser!) for recommendations on great restaurants and bars in Miami and Miami Beach. We hit up South Beach the first night in town, which honestly was like a mini-Las Vegas. Fun for a few drinks at an open-air, outdoor bar, but also a gamut of characters walking around that were fun to “observe”, to put it mildly. It was very different from what we envisioned which was classic beachfront restaurants, people dressed in their Miami-chic attire, and overall just a bit less seedy than what it was. This is not to say it wasn’t a great time it was just very different than our expectations! It was entertaining and more casual which ended up being nice to lay low and not feel like we needed to be super dressed up every time we went out. We’re always up for a little exploring, being in new places, and embracing the environment around us. Hence, why we love to travel. A few notable places in South Beach that we loved, some recommended by friends, some by Yelp: The Clevelander, the Naked Taco (for Cinco de Mayo!), and Havana 1957 for some authentic Cuban food.

Friday morning we were pumped to get our toes in the sand and swim in the ocean but the weather in Miami Beach had other plans. We got a solid hour in before a torrential downpour made its appearance and lasted for four hours. After we ran off departed the beach we enjoyed some Cinco de Mayo festivities in South Beach and then made it back to the hotel for some afternoon sunshine before the sunset.

Saturday was the PERFECT day. The day began with another surprise I coordinated for the weekend. One of my coworkers and her husband, Angie and Mike, became fast friends of ours when we first moved to New York. However, they snowbird to Florida every winter so we were only able to spend a couple months with them before the moved to Tampa for the fall/winter season. Angie and I have kept in touch while they have been away and when I mentioned we would be in Miami and that they should join us, they were all in. It was AWESOME. For people we have known less than a year to drive across the state of Florida to spend 24 hours with us was remarkable. Originally they were supposed to come for the whole weekend but last minute work commitments changed their plans. But the one day they were with us was wonderful! I mentioned to Z about an hour before they were set to arrive that “some other people are going to be joining us” and he was wracking his brain to figure out who was coming. He was equal parts surprised and touched that our new East Coast friends had made such an effort. Heart happy moment! We spent the day on the beach and swam in the ocean for HOURS!

Our last night in town we went into Downtown Miami to this restaurant I found called The River Yacht Club. I read about these restaurants that were right on the Miami River (which I had NO idea Miami even had a river!) where yachts of all different shapes and sizes can coast through and park to get off the boat and enjoy a meal. Some of these yachts are 100 ft. long and this river is NOT big by any means. We even saw one pull away from the restaurant after a group of diners had finished their meal and got back on their yacht. It is a whole new level of wealth we had never seen before! It made for a unique atmosphere for dinner. The River Yacht Club also had a dance floor and live band while you dined. Warm winds, fresh, organic ingredients, and the sunsetting while we ate made for a stellar last night in town.

After dinner we headed across the river to another spot I had heard lots of good things about called Seaspice. It was a bit overpriced for us for a meal but it was a perfect nightcap. They, too, had giant yachts parked alongside the restaurant, but instead of a dance floor and live music they had a long, large couch that encircled the bar area as well as a swing by the hostess stand which was one of my favorite parts of the restaurant. How could you leave without sitting on the swing?!

Angie & Mike. I said it in Miami but I will say it again here. It meant so much to have you join us for all the festivities! Your open hearts, appetite for adventure and trying new things, and generosity of your time and friendship are just a few of the reasons why we feel so grateful to have met you in New York and even more touched that we now have this trip to cement our friendship. We can’t wait for you to be back in the city for summer and for more good times ahead!

Z. Here’s to a new year in this great, big city. Being with you and observing the way you’ve embraced our new normal, growing your role at work, evolving your look (just a hair! 😉 ), and living each day with intention has been an exciting time in our married life. I am in awe of you and all you’ve accomplished. I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring for you or rather what you’ll bring to your 32nd year of life!

{ Dorothy & Chris in the Big City }

After being in New York for a little over a year, Zach’s mom and stepdad, Dorothy and Chris, finally made there way to New York City! We were so excited to finally be able to show them our home and our favorite places in the city.

Dorothy and Chris were looking forward to doing some historical tours and seeing some of the popular sights so we organized their week-long trip according to neighborhood and activity. The days were jam-packed but it was non-stop fun!

FiDi & One World Trade Observatory Deck. Zach and I split up our work days so we could each have a day off with them separately as well as days off together. I spent the first day with them in the Financial District, the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower. It was a perfect spring day in the city, bright skies and light winds so it was so nice to walk around and show off the sites. We hit up the Wall Street Bull and the new Fearless Girl on our way from FiDi to the 9/11 Memorial. The Fearless Girl is SO incredible and was installed around the same time as the Women’s March.

One of the strangest things about the Bull is you are supposed to touch its balls for good luck. There are crowds of people waiting for their turn to touch them. It’s so weird! When my Dad came to visit last June he took a different approach, which Chris was also happy to do in the spirit of my Dad… #goofballs #twopeasinapod

The view at the top of the Freedom Tower, the Observatory Deck, was absolutely stunning. You could take 1,000 pictures but you could never do the view justice. They have a little cafe with wine and beer so you can have your lunch with a view, too!

Anniversary & Birthday Date Night. This year Chris & Dorothy celebrated 25 years of marriage and Dorothy’s birthday was the week before their visit. We knew we wanted to celebrate them in a special way so we surprised them with one of our favorite activities, the Classic Harbor Line Cruise. The cruise is a perfect way to see the Manhattan skyline and be on the Hudson River. We did the Architectural Design tour which had a member of AIA narrate the tour discussing the various historic buildings and new builds on the island. Cocktails, good company, and a gorgeous sunset made for a perfect evening.

The Millers & the Jacobsons. The next day we spent with friends and family who live in New York. We met our friends, Andy and Parvaneh, at their apartment for a visit before we all walked the Brooklyn Bridge to have lunch at our favorite pizza place, Grimaldi’s.

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Later, we headed to Washington Square Park to visit Chris’ niece and nephew, Juliet and Leif, and their spouses Alex and Jamie. Jamie and Leif have the most darling little boy Cyrus who stole the show that evening. Juliet and Alex cooked an amazing dinner and we all enjoyed the nice night in.

By Monday morning I had to go back to work and Zach got a full day of exploring with his parents. They went to the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations for a tour of their building and visitors center. So much art and facts about the world’s history with military defense and working towards peace.

There were so many other awesome moments we had throughout the week, but for the sake of not making this blog post 10 pages I will simply recap! We walked the High Line and visited Chelsea Market, we hosted happy hour and dinner at our apartment, we spent Easter Sunday in Central Park, and one of the best nights was when we saw Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. If you live in the city or are planning a visit this is show is a MUST. So unique and authentically different than any show I’ve seen in awhile. And seeing Josh Groban sing live wasn’t too bad either!

Dorothy & Chris. Having this uninterrupted time with you was so precious and we’re so grateful you were finally able to get yourselves out of Seattle to see our home. Your generosity in all that you shared with us during your stay is something we never take for granted. We only wish you’d let us do it for YOU more often! One day you’ll let us 😉 Thank you for experiencing our New York and all of our favorite places. We’re so happy you got to do almost everything you wanted to do. So looking forward to the next visit! We love you around the world and back!

{ The City of Brotherly Love }

One of our goals for 2017 was to finally begin exploring the cities on the eastern seaboard. 2016 was a year of acclimation to the city and really exploring Manhattan so this year we wanted to explore outside the city limits. As West Coast kids we are limited in how much we’ve seen on the East Coast, so we comprised a list of every available weekend of the year and the cities we must see. We corresponded available weekends with the cities we wanted to see. My work schedule can be a bit tricky as I work one weekend day every week but with planning ahead we can sometimes get things switched to make getting out of town a little easier. Two days after we made the calendar I realized I had a last minute opportunity to switch some shifts around which would allow us a little less than 48 hours to get out of town. Philadelphia had been at the top of our list for awhile, plus it is so close to NYC. It also looked like an easy trip whose fun-factor would not be weather-dependent. So two MegaBus tickets and a hotel reservation later, we made our way to Philly!

We had a short list of tourist-y things we wanted to see so we tried to plan the limited time accordingly. Zach really likes to have a specific plan when we travel (no surprise to those who know us well!) and I really enjoy the walking around, “living like a local” type of travel, with a little taste of the tourist-y stuff. Priorities: The Rocky Balboa Steps, the Liberty Bell, Reading Terminal (like the Pike Place Market or Chelsea Market of Philly), and the LOVE sculpture.

We kept saying throughout that first day how much the city reminded us of Seattle. The people are friendly, the buildings are a mix of either rich history or modern flair, and it was a very walkable city (we only used an Uber twice the whole weekend!). There was snow on the ground but the temps were in the 50’s so it didn’t feel so bad. Note: I can’t believe my SoCal blood is saying that 50 degrees was not so bad. Face palm.

The Rocky Balboa Steps lead up to the Philadelphia Art Museum which we sort of peaked our heads into before we stumbled upon a statue of Rocky. There was a line of people waiting to have their photo taken with the statue and a random citizen was offering to take photos of the groups of people. When in Philly! We also just had to run up the steps to live out the Rocky experience. I mean, c’mon. We couldn’t leave without doing that!

The city has such great signage throughout that you really don’t need Google Maps to figure out what there is to do near you or around you. We walked back towards downtown and saw signs for the Franklin Institute of Science.  Lots of interesting exhibits and interactive areas, but I most enjoyed the statue of Benjamin Franklin.

Day two we set out with a few more missions of tourist excursions before we eventually settled ourselves at a sports bar to catch some of the March Madness tournament. First, we went to see the Liberty Bell which, truthfully, I expected to be so much bigger. I don’t even know WHY I thought it was going to be big but it was certainly not as grand as I expected it to be. There was a really informative and expansive exhibit about the history of the bell, how it wasn’t actually a “liberty” bell given the injustices of slavery and women’s rights at the time it was created, and how it wasn’t really rung the day the Declaration of Independence was signed.

After the bell we took a walk across the street to see Independence Hall where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were debated and signed. It was pretty remarkable to see how these buildings have survived over hundreds of years. We decided to forego the tour and just walk around to explore the site.

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We made our way to Reading Terminal which was very cool but a TOTAL ZOO. We took a ten-minute walk through it and looked at each other and immediately realized that was all we needed.

After a long lunch and some college basketball we made our way to the final item on our list, the AMOR sculpture. Upon researching on the way to Philly, we discovered that the LOVE sculpture was removed and being renovated to make its reappearance in summer. In its place is the AMOR sculpture. We arrived with only one other couple there and the rain was starting to fall. We agreed to get a quick selfie and make our way back to the hotel. However we quickly realized that the guy had just proposed to the gal and moments later a huge group of people, their friends and family, crossed the street to surprise the gal with a celebration. So while it was so cute to witness it was kind of crushing our quick photo plans. We eventually made it work and got out of the rain!

On our last night in town we spent the first half of the evening at Moshulu, a large ship in the harbor near the city, with a full restaurant and bar. Great recommendation from Dorothy and Cole! We ended the evening at this darling jazz bar recommended by my coworker, Sarah, called Time, with live jazz music and different clocks throughout the entire bar. Besides the amazing ambiance the bar had a list of Washington state wines that made me feel right at home!

Overall, we really loved Philly. Every restaurant, bar, or social interaction we had with people was friendly and welcoming. The first restaurant we went to gave us a round of beers on them as a welcome to the city. Our hotel cafe gave us free breakfast sandwiches, just because. It was starting to get a little weird! We are so used to the rough, angst-filled New Yorkers that we were startled by the friendliness at times. A reminder of why getting out of the city is so important! It was a cool town with an authentic culture that really explains their motto of brotherly love.

Check that one off the list, Mr. Harris!

{ From Eastern WA to East Manhattan }

The first quarter of the new year has proven to be so fast and furious that I have already failed on my new year’s resolution of updating this blog once a week! Welp, it’s never too late to redeem yourself so let me start from one of our first wonderful weeks of the new year.

Ryan & Tiffany have been dear friends of ours since the moment Zach & I met. Ryan was with Zach when he first came to San Diego and Ryan witnessed the inception of our relationship. Though Tiff was not with him on that trip, he had just proposed to her a month prior. 2011 was the start of so many beautiful beginnings to our respective relationships and to still be close friends in 2017 is a treasure. In those years, we each had our weddings, Ryan and Tiff have had a little baby girl, Eva, and obviously Z and I have moved our life to New York. Ryan and Tiff live in Eastern Washington and had one heck of a commute to get to us, not unlike Devin and his trip to visit a few months earlier. It was Ryan’s first time in New York and I think we showed it up right!

The Lion King & Top of the Rock. One of Ryan’s Christmas gifts to Tiff was tickets to a broadway show of her choosing. She had a long standing dream to see the The Lion King so it was a no brainer when it came to choosing the show. Zach, Ryan, and I had seen the show when we were very young so we were all excited to see it again, as the memories were great and we knew it would not disappoint!

After the show we weren’t quite ready to call it a night. We walked from Times Square to Rockefeller Center to have drinks at Top of the Rock, a bar on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center that overlooks the entire city. It was the first time for all of us, with the exception of Z who had been there for a work event. It. Is. Spectacular. There is an outdoor viewing deck that takes your breath away, and despite the freezing cold temps and wind, we stood out there for quite awhile. Ryan and Z met a guy who had an app on his phone that controlled the lights and color of the spire on top of the H&M tower. He literally pulled out his phone, asked the guys their favorite color, and then hit a button on his phone, and then they all watched the top of the tower change color. Whaaaat?! Tiff and I missed it while we were getting drinks inside at the bar, but still to this day Z regrets not asking that guy how/what/why/”can i get that app?!” of the color changing super powers.

9/11 Memorial & Museum. One of the activities that is unanimously at the top of all our visitors’ list is to see the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. While Z has done both already, I have never been to the museum. He mentioned that it is a several hour event as the museum is pretty massive with many exhibits we will want to spend a lot of time in. So we made a day of it! Our friends, Parv and Andy, who also went to college with Ryan, Tiff, and Z, had brunch at their house, and our friend Cort was in town from D.C. who joined us for the day as well.

Brunch was a perfect time to reminisce and catch up before the somber afternoon at the museum. It is so well put together. It’s full of incredible and astounding information about that day, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath. Honestly, you could go back for days and still not absorb everything. They offer an audio book via free app with Robert DeNiro as your guide narrating the exhibits within the museum. As a group, we all split up and walked the museum individually and met up several hours later at the end. It is brutal at times but so worth the visit. If ever you are in the city it should not be missed.

Anybody Hungry? One of my favorite things about this city is all the incredible food and drink that inhabit every neighborhood. There is a reason it is a pretigious culinary achievement to have a successful restaurant or bar in New York. Rent is high and there is great food everywhere. Choices are limitless and the expectations are high. Over the last year, Z and I have really honed in on some of our favorites which have become staples for us to take our visitors to. Uva, Fat Cat, and Gallo Nero, to name a few!

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One of our favorite culinary excursions was Serendipity. Ryan and Tiff had given us a gift certificate to the famous restaurant as a wedding gift (along with a DVD of the movie!) and Z and I still hadn’t used it. The sentimentalist in me was secretly saving it with the hope that Ryan and Tiff would visit and we’d get to use it altogether. I loved that it actually came together the way I imagined. It was a perfect way to end the trip on their last night in town.

Besides being a romantic and darling place, the menu is massive as are the portions of food. With the certificate covering most of the meal, we decided to go big!

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The frozen hot chocolate IS as good as it looks! It takes a team to drink it but thankfully I had a good partner-in-crime.

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Tiff & Ryan. I love that our friendship knows no span of time from when we see each other and that we always pick up as if we saw each other a few days ago. I love that our conversations can go from big belly laughs to serious discussions on life and love and back to playful banter. The hours fly by as there is never a dull moment. The cameos from Eva on FaceTime were the best and made us ache for her and miss her more! We are so grateful for your friendship and your commitment to seeing us in our new home. THANK YOU. It means so much especially when you’re far away from our comfort zone. No sooner you asked us about dates to visit, a flight itinerary was in our inbox days later. We miss you often and can’t wait for our next adventure! We love you, babes!

{ 2017: Bury & Carry List }

Happy 2017! I can’t believe we are already halfway through the first month of the new year. I was recently inspired after reading this article by Maria Shriver about what she wants to “carry” and “bury” in 2017. I have found the idea of resolutions to be daunting especially because it diminishes what you learned and maybe even mastered the previous year. It begs “what more can you do?” instead of also validating your successes. Furthermore it challenged me to really consider what I am proud of from 2016, what I want to continue through 2017, and what I can truly leave behind.

What I Want to Bury:

  • Self-Doubt. There is nothing that handicapped me more in 2016 than self-doubt. When I began the year I was a successful Business Development Director at the height of my career, newly married, and about to move to New York. I arrived with confidence that I would find a sparkly new job and conquer wifehood with ease. Unfortunately it didn’t work out at all how I planned. Months flew by, what felt like hundreds of job applications had been submitted, and I was alone a lot during the day until Z got home from work. The loneliness was a perfect incubus to cultivate a cloud of fear and doubt that I was not good enough. Who was I without a successful career? Why would a man as wonderful as my husband, meanwhile blossoming and thriving in his career, want a pathetic woman such as myself who couldn’t find her way in New York? Self-doubt consumed my every day. Eventually I realized it was me who was holding me back. I had complete control of realizing my happiness and as soon as I worked on what it was that made me truly happy, outside of a career woman and being Z’s wife, I was set free from my doubt. I was a lot more than just those two things. It was finding ways to energize and inspire me. I am not perfect and battling self-doubt will always be a dynamic of life but for the purpose of this list, I am committed to continuing to pursue my happy and diminish the doubt.
  • Us vs. Them. While I don’t really want to get into the political arena on this blog, I have to acknowledge my approach to interacting with friends, family, and strangers whose political opinions are different than my own. This past year was a tumultuous and distressing time for everyone regardless of the candidate you supported. As the President-Elect is being sworn into office as I type this I am a gamut of emotions. For the purpose of this bury list, I want to work on diminishing this idea of Us vs. Them. This mentality is what got us here, divided. It’s not the first time in our nation’s history but for those living it for the first time it is painful, a state of disbelief. I look back on 2016 and interactions with some of my friends and family who I considered to be them. They supported the candidate I did not. As frustrated as that made me, I am certain my support of the other candidate made them equally so. My regret is that I didn’t engage in an adult, open-minded conversation with them. Instead I steered clear, avoided it, and judged them. Us vs. Them. I could have listened, shared passions, seek understanding in a constructive way. We are never going to be a united nation until both sides really examine the other side. It will continue to be two teams. Of course I am not naive to believe I could have actually changed those friends or families’ minds but maybe we would have understood each other better and learned something. I also know there will always be two teams but I don’t believe it has to be as harshly divided and vicious as it stands right now. As I avoid my television today I am not doing so to perpetuate the #NotMyPresident or anything like it. I’m not happy about it, not by any means. But instead of opening my social media and perpetuating the drama, today I choose to establish how I will carry into the new year, this new regime, and how I can control my piece of the world and influence positivity. How can I help to bridge this large gap that I helped build along with the other millions of us? I will continue to be authentic and steadfast in my beliefs but will not use it to shut out the other side.
  • Living in Future Tense. Planning is a way of life in the Harris household. Neither one of us are fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants people and we are always looking ahead. That’s not to say making plans and being intentional about life are a bad thing but in our current circumstance it has hindered us. Our life in New York has always been temporary with the plan to move back to our West Coast home. At some point, however, it felt as if we were biding our time. And when I say we I mean mostly me. Anxiously planning and awaiting the opportunity to start planning our move home. Z has been a great reminder for me as I have had a harder time settling into our life. He reminds me and recommits that we want to make a life here. If we’re just watching the months tick by and counting the days until we get to go back to the West Coast we won’t really be giving our opportunity here a chance. We took a lot of trips back west last year, Seattle in particular, and we got used to seeing those friends and family every couple of months. It meant a whole year went by without an official honeymoon like we had originally planned. We sacrificed vacation days we could have used to travel the East Coast as we intended. While those trips were mostly for weddings and well worth the time and money spent we cannot do the same this year. We need to invest in our life in New York just as we set out to do. I want to miss this place when we leave it, not relish in the joy that we finally get to leave. I want to bury this living in the future and pump the breaks to live presently. Grounded in our New York life and cherishing this once in a lifetime experience. It will be gone before we know it.

What I Want to Carry:

  • Gratitude. We post about it on social media, we talk about its importance, but how often are we actually putting this into practice? I have learned and posed questions about ‘marriage’ this year and what does and doesn’t work for our marriage. One of the biggest things that we practiced this year which has become an integral part of our day to day is the act of being grateful. A simple ‘thank you’ goes such a long way. When Z has worked a long day and he comes home to a clean house, he acknowledges the work and says thank you. On date nights when we’ve just enjoyed an evening out, I share with Z how much I appreciate all his hard work to provide the ability to live in this amazing city and indulge in these experiences. Even something as simple as watching Sunday football together, he will thank me for creating our home and taking care of the things that make our life full. I may be overloading you with anecdotes but the point is I think we grossly underestimate how much our partners need to be appreciated and thanked. Out loud. Not carry it with us as an assumption that they “just know.” How good does it feel to hear that acknowledgment and gratefulness? Whether it’s a simple act or a grand gesture we all need and deserve affirmations for who we are and how we show up for each other.
  • Spin & Yoga. One of the best roses that came from the garden of thorns of being unemployed was discovering an active lifestyle. I tried countless fitness studios and different workouts until I found the classes and teachers that felt like home. Nothing clears my mind and makes me feel as good as leaving a class sweaty and strong. SoulCycle & mang’Oh yoga have changed me in mind, body, and spirit and I can’t imagine my day to day life without them.
  • The Lust to Wander. One of the most exciting parts of living on the East Coast is traveling to new places. It is remarkable how close these states are to one another and in a three-hour train ride you can cross over five states. Just thirty minutes north of Manhattan are forests and rivers that provide great relief from the concrete jungle. We dipped our toes into a few new places in 2016 and we’ve committed to seeing a handful of more cities and areas of New York this year. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful coast.
  • Team Harris. I don’t particularly agree with people who say things don’t change all that much from being engaged to married. Maybe it’s because Z and I made such a drastic change to our life with a cross-country move. I still believe that the stakes are higher once you call someone your husband, not just your boyfriend. My life is no longer about just my wants and needs. I have to consider Z’s needs sometimes even before my own. What I’ve come to learn over the past year, a big lesson taught by my husband, is that when one of us is making decision they are ultimately our decisions. Z is better at change than I am. That’s just a fact in our marriage. He is level-headed and makes choices with carefully thought out logic (excel spreadsheets!) and I wear my heart on my sleeve and make choices with my gut based on the way something makes me feel. Whenever he presents a new idea, like moving apartments for example, he knows I am going to be resistant. “The market has changed, we can save money, we will experience a new neighborhood, etc.” It’s not my idea of a good time. I love our home in Murray Hill. I immediately classify it as his idea. He is doing this to me. Pushing me into this idea. But after I let the dust settle on my reaction, I always realize the same thing. It is the best decision for us. Z has seamlessly been able to change his thinking about what he wants into what’s best for us. True, it is his idea but my husband to date has never proposed something that has only been for his benefit or because he wants to do it. I am always a large factor in his consideration. We are always at the forefront of his decision making. It’s not easy to admit when you’re partner is right, especially when you want to be right. But I am happy to carry this ideology that Z seems to have adapted to so well and patiently waits for me to realize. It’s not about what I want or what he wants. It’s about what we want and what’s best for our life together. It doesn’t mean we will always agree or see the other person’s side but it’s about remembering that neither of us are ever selfishly making decisions. I want to carry this faith of partnership with me into this year and all the years ahead of us. Thanks for the lesson, babe. Even as much as I detest some of your new ideas, I am proud to be on Team Harris.

What do you want to carry and bury into this year?

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Top of the Rock – 1.12.17

{ December in the City }

The last month of 2016 was a busy one for the Harris household. With my new job at lululemon athletica we were limited to our travels and were not able to head to the West Coast for any of the holidays this year. Instead of focusing on what we’d be missing out on,  especially time with our families, we pursued a LOT of items on our NYC and East Coast bucket list to really dig deep into our life here.

Instead of writing a bunch of different blog posts I thought I would include all our adventures into a picture story of what life has looked like for the past month. Although, Thanksgiving was technically in November I’m including it here for good measure. It marks the beginning of our holiday season which ended the same way it started; new traditions with just us two.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & Thanksgiving Dinner. 

 

Museum Day: The Guggenheim & The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Empire State Building Observation Deck.

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First Christmas Tree Purchase* in the City. 

*There was a great debate on how this whole Christmas tree purchase thing would work in the city. This city girl, who formerly purchased her Christmas trees from a lot at her local Target in Southern California, said they would probably have similar lots in the city. The country boy, who formerly went to chop his own tree down in Eastern Washington, thought we’d have to go to upstate to tree farms to pick it out and chop it down. Clearly, we can see I was more or less sort of right haha.

The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

Evening Ice Skating in Central Park.

Day Trip to New Canaan & Stamford CT.

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Our First Christmas in New York. 

New Year’s Eve at Cipriani. 

 

Whew! It was a jam-packed end to 2016 and we are SO ready for 2017!

{ Cole & McKyna’s 21 Run }

November 11th was a monumental day in the Harris/Jacobson family history. The youngest members of the family finally arrived at their 21st birthday! Cole and McKyna had requested that the occasion be celebrated with only their immediate family as opposed to going with a group of friends. So we all bucked up to put our party pants on to make their 21-run with their parents and much older brother and sister and their spouses the best weekend ever!

The older siblings and their spouses have spent a fair amount of time in Las Vegas, especially in our twenties. It was surreal to be back in Vegas as we were all flooded with memories of birthdays, bachelor/ette parties, and “just because” party weekends. We had each shared our suggestions of places to go and things to do to make their weekend exactly what they wanted it to be. Also, my in-laws/Z’s parents haven’t been to Vegas for THIS type of trip and were happy to rely on us for guidance to cultivate the party weekend Cole and McKyna desired. As a family, I think we can all agree that we really packed it ALL in and it was a weekend we won’t soon forget!

We each arrived on a Thursday evening and we met up at the Bar at Times Square at the New York New York hotel (I know, I know. The irony of flying from New York to Las Vegas only to end up in New York!). Zach’s stepsister Sally, her husband Nathan and Z and I got in earlier than the rest of the family so we spent a solid hour dancing to the dueling pianos and drinking cocktails to warm us up for the night ahead. My in-laws Dorothy and Chris and Cole and McKyna arrived just at the stroke of midnight when their 21st birthday was official!

The next day we hit the pool to relax and surprise Cole & Kyna with custom shirts made by Sally to commemorate the party and its crew! The day in the sun felt so nice after leaving the cold autumn of New York. Z spent some time teaching Kyna how to play Black Jack which turned into a slight obsession for her throughout the weekend.

Since this day and evening was the official birthday we went big for celebrations. Sally and Nathan had driven in from Temecula, CA and brought with them the most incredible cake I have ever seen. We were all so impressed it made it from the five-hour drive to the hotel room in one piece! Vegas-themed and included their college logos (rival schools!) on either side of the cake. It was ridiculously cool!

The plan was to surprise Cole & Kyna in their room with the cake and presents before we headed to dinner. Dorothy had decorated their room and Z and I had prepped our present for the family to sign before the official surprise. A little backstory on our gift…three years ago I went on my first family vacation with Z’s family to Cabo San Lucas. Cole and Kyna were 17 at the time and one night we went on a pirate ship booze cruise. Cole and Kyna had gotten permission to drink, particularly since Dorothy and Chris were there, and we’d all be there to monitor. Welp, only 2-3 drinks in and they could not handle it. They were so certain they would be able to hang and within an hour of the cruise they were passed out on the side of the boat. At the time is was part comical and part bummer but when we all came to laugh about it at the end of the trip I promised that the picture I took of them would come back to haunt them for their 21st birthday.

The time had come!

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Each of us signed their personalized frames with birthday wishes and our favorite hangover cure (a takeaway from my 21st birthday that I loved!) and the gifts were a hit. It was so fun to bring it all back full circle!

Top of the World & Ghostbar. After pre-dinner cake and gifts we headed to the Stratosphere’s restaurant, Top of the World, which had 360-degree views of Las Vegas and the strip. The food was delicious and the views weren’t bad either. It was a perfect celebration spot!

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I was pretty insistent that at some point over the trip we visit Ghostbar at the Palms hotel. It was one of my favorite lounges on my previous visits and I thought it would be a perfect segue-way from our views at dinner to drinks with a view. The bar itself wasn’t actually that crowded but it made for a good warm-up for Dorothy and Chris as well as Cole and Kyna. The music was loud, people were dancing, and the older siblings were able to buck up and hang until 3:30am when the new 21-year olds were ready to go home!

Strolls on the Strip. After the late night/early morning we were struggling a little tired so we planned a low key day to get out of the casino and get a little fresh air. Since Cole & Kyna had never been on the strip we hit all the classic stops, including the Fountains at Bellagio show and walking through the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Later, we headed back to our hotel to watch college football at the sports bar before we got ready for our last night out. And by watch college football I mean the boys watched football while Kyna sporadically gambled, Dorothy and Chris alternated naps before the games, and I attempted to watch football before I succumb to a much needed nap.

XS. A couple weeks before the trip, Cole had mentioned his favorite DJ, Diplo, would be playing at XS at the Encore the weekend we would be there. Dorothy immediately jumped to action to figure out how we could guarantee entry for all of us at this very popular club and also allow her and Chris to be able to sit down throughout the night as opposed to standing all night on the dance floor. After some research between her and Z, they landed on a surprise bottle service table for the night. The plan was to make Cole and Kyna stand in the general admission line (which was SO long!) to make them worry we wouldn’t get in and eventually Z led us to the other side of the club with the much shorter bottle service line. Once we got into the club Kyna and Cole thought their brother was some kind of Vegas bad-ass hustler but once we arrived at our outdoor table the surprise finally revealed itself. Cole and Kyna were so surprised and thrilled at the plan and it really made the entire evening!

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So you know how I mentioned that Dorothy was concerned her and Chris would need a place to sit for the night, which prompted the bottle service conversation in the first? Ha! They were on their feet for most of the night until 2:30am when we called it quits. They were dancing and even had people coming up to our group to dance with them! Love you two so much!!!

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We danced the night away and seeing Diplo was a total blast! Kyna eventually reached her limit at 2:30am when she requested to go home so she could sleep and wake up early to play Black Jack before her flight. Ha! Z created a gambling Black Jack monster! To be fair, she did bring home some winnings. The boys ended up staying at XS later than the rest of us and didn’t get back to the hotel until 4:30am which included a food run to Fatburger on the way back. Everyone woke up ready to kiss the weekend goodbye, feeling accomplished, exhausted, and a little dehydrated!

Cole & McKyna. Welcome to 21. You’ve now officially crossed over into what will be the most fun time in your twenties. Embrace the responsibility, enjoy the silly good times, and continue to be the best friends you are to each other no matter how far apart you may be. Your bond is enviable and perfectly unique and I’m proud to be your sister from another mister!

Dorothy & Chris. I don’t know many parents that would be willing and able to participate in such a trip. You really are the most stellar and selfless duo when it comes to your children and there are no lengths you wouldn’t go to make them happy and feel loved. You’ve created quite a motley crew and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Sally & Nathan. I missed your kiddos this trip but truth be told I absolutely loved getting time with just the two of you. Between you guys and Z and I, we make such a playful and easy dynamic that I am so grateful for. Thank you for the belly laughs and memories we made together on this trip. I’m already planning the next trip in my head!

Harris. You are the best big brother ever. Your soft spot for your siblings only makes me love you more every time we’re with your family. You are always willing and able to give what you can to make every situation memorable. Also, thanks for cutting yourself off at XS so you wouldn’t be hungover for our anniversary the next day. You’re the best.

{ Autumn in New York }

As the seasons fly by in this new city of ours we learn more about the traditions and “must do’s” of the present season. Amongst coworkers and friends we learned that heading upstate to visit apple orchards and pumpkin patches is amongst the things you must do in the fall. A coworker of mine told me about Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm which not only has pumpkin patches and apple and peach orchards but it also has a wine tasting room and state famous bakery with apple cider donuts. Umm did you say wine tasting room?

After a few convincing conversations to persuade Zach into this plan, we picked a Sunday in October to make the trip. One hour long train ride from Grand Central and a fifteen minute cab ride later we arrived at the farm. It is a family owned estate where the family home actually resides on the property, and boy was it bustling with people!

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We made our way to the tasting room first which was FULL of twenty-somethings and parents who were gettin’ their drink on while the grandparents played with the kids elsewhere on the grounds.

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Alright, I’ll confess. I am not a huge fan of New York or Northeast wine. I’m not actually sure how to explain it in words but it lacks something rich and full-bodied in flavor like Washington and California wines. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we drank the wine (c’mon, it’s me we’re talking about!) but we definitely skipped purchasing a bottle to bring home like the original plan.

One of the hooks to Zach agreeing to come to the farm was learning that they had a corn maze. After wine tasting we made our way over to the corn maze to see how long it would take us to get through it. A few steps into the maze and Z was quickly disappointed to learn it was a very easy maze to get through. Thus began the Harris off roading game through the untamed areas of the maze to create our own way out.  It was actually pretty fun despite my hesitation and bizarre fear of really getting into the corn maze. I’m used to mazes being around Halloween with scary dressed up monsters inside! But this was playful and silly and it ended up being a very fun part of the day.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking the grounds through the pumpkin patch, Christmas tree fields, and farm gift shop. I’ll use the work pumpkin patch loosely. The “patch” was more an area where pumpkins were set up after they were taken from their actual patch so people could shop more easily. While we intended on bringing a pumpkin home we realized we didn’t want to carry a giant pumpkin back on the train for an hour and then during the walk back to the apartment. Oh well! The farm was gorgeous to walk around and it certainly put us into the autumn spirit. It was so NICE to be out of the city and just absorb the quiet and calm of the country. It just reminds us how important it is to get out of the city every once in awhile to ground and calm yourself in the great outdoors.

Oh and those famous apple cider donuts? Well the line at the bakery was constantly 20 people deep outside the shop so we gave up before we even jumped in line. It turned out to be a very cold and windy afternoon so we headed back into the city for dinner. We both agreed it really was such a fun outing despite the hiccups in the day (no wine, no pumpkin, no donuts) and we loved being in the country for the day. It might just be a seasonal Harris tradition!

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Mr. Harris. I am grateful that you are willing to humor me when I come up with some of these more Joey-centric adventure ideas that may not always be your cup-of-tea. Your playful nature and silliness throughout the day gave me belly aches from laughing all day and your attitude about embracing the day is so appreciated. My partner in crime always, I love exploring this vast state with you and learning more about this new lifestyle we’ve entered into. It makes me happy that your open mind led you to being glad we did it. I’m making a mental note for next time we embark on a Zach-centric adventure!

And thanks for sacrificing your normal Sunday on the couch with the NFL. That doesn’t go unnoticed. I know that’s a pretty big deal 😉

{ From Connell to Manhattan }

Fall is serious business in the Harris household, particularly with Mr. Harris. Fall means football. In fact, we’ve discussed that perhaps the word “fall” is just short hand for “football.” The East Coast has presented challenges with its time zone as sometimes Z is staying up from 10:30pm -2:30am to watch his college team, the WSU Cougars, play on the West Coast. The NFL games don’t start until 1pm on Sunday which means at least he gets to sleep in and recover after his late night college football viewings.

Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Weekends at our house are dominated by football.

One of our favorite weekends this fall was when Zach’s best friend, Devin, flew from the very small town of Connell, WA to NYC for a live-action football weekend. Devin is a third generation Notre Dame football fan and when the schedule came out last spring and he saw that the Irish were playing Syracuse in New York he jumped at the chance to visit. Later, we discovered that the Seahawks would be in town the same weekend to play the Jets and thus our back-to-back football weekend at MetLife Stadium was born.

Notre Dame vs. Syracuse. Since MetLife Stadium is in East Rutherford, NJ it was quite an ordeal trying to figure out how to get there with public transit that wouldn’t take over an hour and where we wouldn’t have to take several bus transfers. Z figured out that on game days there is a bus that leaves from Port Authority (first come, first serve) that drops you in the parking lot of the stadium. And even better, it only took 20 minutes! Once we arrived we attempted to join a tailgate but there weren’t as many friendly fans as we predicted. Luckily MetLife has a few bars in the stadium and we found an Irish pub that worked perfectly.

 

It was without a doubt one of the strangest and high-scoring college games any of us have ever been too. There were at least three touchdowns within the first 2 minutes of the game! Notre Dame fans were everywhere and although Devin was skeptical based on their record the Irish pulled out the W! We had an absolute ball!

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Seahawks vs. Jets. It felt like Groundhog’s Day when we woke up for Sunday’s game but we were even more excited to repeat the day all over to see our Seahawks in our new city! I had never been to an away game before but let me tell you, the Hawks fan base rolls DEEP. The terminal at Port Authority had almost triple the amount of fans to the Jets fans which made the bus ride over so much fun. No surprise, however, that once we arrived to the stadium we were out numbered by Jets fans. The Jets fans are known for being a very passionate and loyal fan base so we were a bit timid to let the smack talk roll as freely as it did at the Notre Dame game. But that didn’t stop me from wearing my Richard Sherman jersey and hollering one “You Mad Bro?!” on the way into the stadium. I couldn’t help myself!

The game was close to begin with and then around the 2nd quarter the Hawks began to make the magic happen and pull ahead. A few interceptions, long passes to Doug Baldwin, and a few “3rd and Jimmy’s” later we secured the win. It was a blast to be joined by our friends, Andy and Parv Miller (who coordinated the tickets and game day – thank you!), Andy’s sister and her husband, Courtney and Bryan, and the boys’ friend, Shaun. We were a motley crew in the middle of the Jets fans but we were thankful that the very full Hawks fan area was only a section away.

Devin – Thank you for making the incredibly long journey for a short but very sweet visit to our new home! I know the Irish in NYC was the cherry on top of the visit but it meant the world to us to have you be one of the first visitors in our inaugural year in NYC. You and Zach are like brothers and it is SO much fun to be a part of your dynamic. You are such a good friend to both of us and we can’t wait for our next adventure together! We love you!

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