{ 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!

{ 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!

{ 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!

{ 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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{ September in Seattle }

I am almost caught up to present day on the blogs – woohoo! This post was particularly fun to put together as it included so many of my favorite people in one of my favorite places on earth. Zach and I had committed to a 10-day trip in the Northwest (for what felt like almost ALL of September!) and we packed A LOT into this trip. While it felt like we barely had a minute to spare, it was incredibly fulfilling to see so many people that mean so much to us and to squeeze us into their very busy schedules. My heart is full of gratitude for each and every moment.

Boats, Baseball, & BBQ. From the moment we landed on the West Coast we jumped right into a full and fun itinerary. We had a handful of people that also travelled great distances to meet us for our first weekend in town. Zach’s cousin, Autumn, flew in from San Jose, his Aunt Donna and Uncle Mark drove in from Ellensburg, some of our closest friends, Ryan and Tiffany made the trek across the state from Kennewick, and Z’s oldest friend Becca and her husband Leonard and their kiddos Laney Belle and Graham changed their entire weekend schedule to make it to Seattle to spend the weekend with us. We are grateful beyond words for each of you!

We kicked off the weekend with a family dinner to celebrate Autumn’s birthday at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Serafina. It was so important and incredibly special to spend our first evening with our family. We hadn’t been altogether since we moved to NYC in February so the whole evening meant a lot to us. A smorgasbord of food, wine, and fun was had by all! So much fun that with the three hour time change, Zach and I realized we had actually been awake for a full 24 hours since we left New York. Totally WORTH IT.

The next day we coordinated an even bigger group of friends and family to attend the Mariners’ Game. All eighteen of us occupied the bleachers in Center Field for beers, hot dogs, and good ol’ fashioned Seattle baseball. The view from the cheap seats was actually perfect and the game turned out to be a great one! We were particularly jazzed that our friends, Erica and Jon, brought their two-year-old Finley for her first ever baseball game. Thank you for braving it so we could spend time with you, Rayments! So glad Fin ended up loving it (AKA distracted herself with her iPad and only stopped for dance party breaks with her Auntie Jojo) and that you two could enjoy the game, too!

Sunday! It’s now been a full 48-hours since we’ve been back and the fun bus was still full speed ahead! Most of the folks that joined us for the game met us in the morning at Zach’s parents’ boat, Big Gin, to spend the morning out on the water in the Puget Sound. It was supposed to rain and by some miracle it turned out to be an absolutely stunning day. Thank you Captain Chris and Dorothy for hosting such a fabulous morning!

We wrapped up boating and headed back to the condo to meet the Lundgren family and we all watched the Seahawks game. Sadly, the game didn’t end in our favor but the afternoon was still a blast with kiddos, pizza, beer, and belly laughs. There is never a dull moment with this group! It was also the first time Zach and I were meeting Becca and Leonard’s baby boy, Graham, who was born the month we moved to NYC. What a babe! We couldn’t get enough of him!

Graham’s big sister Laney and I had a bit of fun with all the lipsticks and glosses I hoard in my purse. Every time she put on a different color she insisted we take a selfie. How can you say no to this cutie pie?!

After the miserable end to the game, we rallied and headed to our dear friends, Augie and Laura’s house, for a BBQ. They offered to host a get-together at their home while we were in town and it was such an incredibly kind gesture. After a weekend of hosting I was happy Dorothy and Chris would be able to relax and that we could have an intimate evening with some of our best friends in their gorgeous home. Augie and Laura has just gotten married weeks before so it was so nice to be able to see them and spend quality time with them after their whirlwind wedding weekend. I WISH I would have taken photos of this evening but I didn’t take a single one. I’m chalking it up to the fact that I was so wrapped up in the moment I couldn’t be bothered to grab a camera. I was fully present. Instead of photos I am left with memories and moments of one of my absolute favorite nights from our trip. It was one of those evenings that reminds you what life is truly all about. Family, friends that feel like family, good food, and big laughs around the dinner table. We were so touched by the impeccable meal Augie and Laura prepared and the overall evening they put together. Augie and Laura – You two are the real deal. Your thoughtfulness in hosting such a beautiful evening touched us all that night. Can’t wait to come back and do it all over again! Thank you times a million!!

Friends, Colleagues, and Babies. The following week was a whirlwind. We visited our friends Heather and Brit and their precious toddler Jackson at their new home in Bryant Park, went out to dinner with some of my oldest college friends, Kelsey and Kyle, had lunch with Zach’s college buddies Lars and AJ, and we somehow found time during the day to visit with old colleagues from our former roles in Seattle. Zach’s grandmother, Thelma, was also kind enough to take the bus from Ellensburg to spend a few nights with us. Thank you to everyone who squeezed in time to see us. We loved the short but sweet hours you were able to share with us!

Weekend in Portland/Vancouver. Our last weekend in town we headed to Vancouver, WA for our friends, Mitch and Kylie’s wedding. Mitch is a friend of Zach’s from college and fraternity, so per usual, the wedding felt like a WSU college reunion. Most of our friends were staying at the same hotel so it felt like a 24/7 social affair. Zach and a few of his friends were in the wedding so on the day of the ladies headed to Portland for a workout at YAS Portland for spin and yoga followed by beers at 10 Barrel Brewing. By some twist of fate one of my mom’s best friends (and basically a second mom to me!) Helen was visiting her son Max in Portland the same weekend. They joined me for drinks before I went back to Vancouver for the wedding. So happy I got to see you both!

Kylie & Mitch’s Wedding. The big day was beautiful! The weather couldn’t have been better and it was such fun to see these two tie the knot with some of our closest friends. The bride made her appearance and she looked like a Marilyn Monroe look alike! Simply gorgeous, Kylie! The day was filled with food trucks, corn hole, good music, and a stunning Northwest sunset. And it should come as no surprise that as soon as the DJ started playing music we all tore up the dance floor.

It was a very bright and sunny day…had to include this blooper…!

We are so happy for you Mr. and Mrs. Angus! We hope the day was everything you hoped it would be and more and that you’re loving the first few months of newlywed-hood as much as we did!

Last Day with the Hawks. The day after the wedding we headed back to Seattle for my final day in town. Z had a few extra days left in Seattle for an annual corporate work retreat so before I headed back to New York we managed to squeeze a Seahawks home game into our schedule…despite my red eye flight home that evening. I know, we’re crazy right?! We are big Hawks fans and season ticket holders and it was our only opportunity to go this season so we jumped on it. It was an awesome game against the 49ers and we took home the W! It was a sad departure to leave a few minutes before the game ended with tearful goodbyes between some of our best friends (miss you already Malia, Jeff, Laura, and Augie!) that we share our season tickets with. So glad we got to have those last few hours with everyone at the CenturyLink!

Dearest Seattle. Thank you for spoiling us with your last days of your sunshine season. You continue to take our breath away and we miss your green backdrop and your beautiful waters terribly. The concrete jungle of NYC pales in comparison to your natural beauty. Thank you for housing some of our favorite people in the world. It always warms our heart to come home and find them thriving and growing their careers and families. Our hearts ache when we have to leave you and especially those people we love so much. We’re so grateful we got to spend as much time with you as we did this summer. See you in 2017!

 

{ Laura & Augie’s Wedding Weekend }

One of the most fun weekends of the summer was our first trip TOGETHER back to Seattle to celebrate Laura and Augie’s nuptials. Zach and I had each attended their bachelor and bachelorette parties and we couldn’t wait to be back in the PNW for the occasion.

Summer in Seattle is like no other place on earth. Zach’s parents have the most incredible view of the Puget Sound from their condo so day one of basking in the glow was the BEST!

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Rehearsal Dinner Luau. Laura and Augie hosted a luau-themed rehearsal dinner at their beautiful new home in North Seattle which also overlooks the Sound. It is a stunning property and Laura has made it a cozy yet elegant home. The evening was a reunion of sorts for all of Zach’s old Kappa Sigma college buddies as well as a reunion with our nearest and dearest friends in the Northwest. They went all out with Hawaiian attire, Hawaiian beer (and of course champs), as well as a food truck with Hawaiian food. We loved every moment! And true to form, the Seattle summer sunset did not disappoint.

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And of course I insisted on a cheesy photo shoot… 😉

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Wedding Day! The next day was a beautiful sun-shining day in Seattle! The boys went golfing while the girls worked out and brunched and at 3:30pm we all gathered at Laura’s parents’ house for the big day. Laura’s parents’ house is picture perfect – it belongs in a magazine! According to Laura, when her parents were building the house she had some major input into the design and layout as she knew she wanted to get married there one day. It was so special to see her and her family’s vision finally come to fruition.

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Augie’s sister, Jessica, was the officiant and it was a sentimental, intimate ceremony. Our most favorite part was when Jessica passed the rings through the congregation so everyone could touch the rings and bestow well wishes upon them for the happy couple. We had never seen that before and absolutely loved the sentiment. Laura was a stunning bride! She had done a last minute dress swap and boy was it worth it! You looked gorgeous, girl! (I may have cried a little!)

After the ceremony the catering crew flipped the outdoor lawn to create a seaside dinner. The guests went back to the house to enjoy appetizers and cocktails but Z and I were the most PUMPED for the oyster bar. We are missing Northwest oysters so much in NYC. The East Coast oysters are giant and lack flavor and we’ve just given up trying to find decent ones in New York. Needless to say, we hovered around the oyster bar for most of the cocktail hour.

The crew was also lookin’ mighty fine that day…

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The evening included the traditional wedding formalities of speeches, dinner, and toasts but every moment was inherently Laura and Augie. The sunset was spectacular and it definitely made us miss our Northwest home. We were so grateful to share a table with some of our closest friends and then bust a move on the dance floor all. night. long. True to tradition, Z and I were the first ones on the dance floor and worked it until the final song played. The night was a BLAST.

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Augie & Laura: We hope your day was everything you had planned it would be and so much more! It was an honor to be a part of it and share in your intentional, thoughtful, and gorgeous day. Your vows touched our hearts and we can’t wait for you to enjoy this newlywed season of life. It truly is the BEST. We love you and wish you a lifetime of adventures in love!