{ 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!

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{ 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!

{ The Novaks Take NYC! }

This summer has come and gone and I have so much catching up to do on the incredible summer we’ve had!

July kicked off in the BEST way with some of our very closest friends, Kyle and Kelsey Novak, visiting us for the Fourth of July! We did so many things while they were here from brunches to dinner dates, to playing in Central Park and Broadway shows, we did New York and we did it up right.

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Bocce Ball in Central Park. One of our favorite wedding gifts from our friends Jeff and Cathy was a bocce ball set from Crate & Barrel. We had yet to christen it and with the Novaks in town it was the perfect time to break it in.

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We split up the couples and played Z and Kels versus Kyle and Jojo. Despite that Z and Kels are cheaters strategic players and that Kyle and I did our best, the uneven ground of Central Park created a whole new level of challenge to the game. Z and Kels took the ‘W’ and we had an absolute blast! So many onlookers were trying to figure out what game we were playing, it was slightly entertaining. We kept thinking “do they not have bocce ball on the East Coast?”

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Sunset Cruise. When my parents were in town we took them on a boat cruise of the Statue of Liberty and the southern tip of the island. It truly is the perfect way to see Manhattan from the water so we knew it was a ‘must’ when the Novaks were in town. We decided to change it up and do the sunset cruise which could not have been more perfect. The July sunset proved to be the ultimate part of the cruise, reflecting on the city and Lady Liberty to the point where it took your breath away. Kelsey took some incredible snapshots that I’ve posted below. It was definitely one of everyone’s favorite parts of the trip. We hit the Brass Monkey afterwards for some rooftop cocktails to end the night!

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Fourth of July: Coney Island & The Beach Boys. We all checked off a major bucket list item with our holiday plans. We had found out months earlier that Coney Island has a summer concert series at the Ford Amphitheater on their boardwalk and that The Beach Boys would be playing on Fourth of July. It was a unanimous decision to go to the show. I mean, does it get more American than that?!

We decided to get to Coney Island a few hours earlier to jump on some of the rides and grab some dinner. Kelsey was a total sport despite her fear of some of the roller coasters (way to go, girl!) and we got to make it on two rides before the show.

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We played our Spotify and Pandora Beach Boys playlists leading up to the concert and we were shocked at how many of the songs we actually knew the words to. We were rocking out, dancing in the aisles, FaceTiming parents to sing along, and singing our hearts out all night long. It was hands down one of the best shows we’ve been to. If you ever have the chance to see them DO IT. Feel good, happy music, a crowd of all ages, and no shame in the dancing game amongst any concert-goers. The night was capped off with fireworks on the boardwalk. God bless America!

I should also mention that John Stamos was the guest drummer, guitarist, back-up singer and bass player. I mean Uncle Jesse is lookin’ pretty good. It’s like the man hasn’t aged. He only added to the epic-ness of the entire evening!

School of Rock Musical. Our last night came way too soon but we weren’t slowing down. Despite how tired we were from our day at Coney Island we decided to put on our date night finest and head to the Theater District to see School of Rock: The Musical. We picked it after seeing a performance from the Tony Awards and it also fell within our last minute ticket purchase budget. We went in with minimal expectations and we left blown away. The cast includes a number of pre-teens that are required to play musical instruments and they actually do! The talent and the energy was palpable and the theater nerd in me was especially excited to hear Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music composition in rock form. For those who don’t know he wrote the music for The Phantom of the Opera. We had such a ball and were so happy we decided to see it! Four sets of two thumbs up!

Kyle & Kelsey, thank you for being our first friends to make the cross-country trek to see us in our new home! You will always hold a special place in our hearts and this visit meant so much to us. If there’s one thing I can say about you two, is that you know it’s never going to be a bad time hangin’ with the Novaks. Thank you for sharing your energy and adventurous spirit with us and helping us check off some of our own NYC bucket list items off the list! We love you! Can’t wait for the next adventure!

{ Dana & CJ’s Visit }

It is embarrassing how long it has been since I have updated the blog. Gah! But we are back in action and I won’t leave ya hangin’ anymore! Pinky promise. In the past month we’ve had two sets of visitors, a trip to Southern California, and I’ve started a new job and career venture. Woohoo! I’ll post about each thing separately, but for now, I’m going to take you back to early June.

My dad and mom, Dana & CJ, were our first official family visitors to NYC! Ten full days of sharing our 700 square feet apartment, touring the city, walking an average of 11K steps a day (thank you iPhone Health app), and spending uninterrupted, quality time together. And boy, did we have an AWESOME time.

My parents made an incredible collage/list of each day in detail but I think to spare this blog post from being ten pages long, I will tell the story of their visit through photos with highlights of my favorite parts.

Central Park. Early in the trip we walked through Central Park and I showed them all my favorite places and spaces in the park. We eventually made it one of my favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side, Jacob’s Pickles, where we dined and dad found a new fav cocktail, the Bees Knees.

Wall Street Bull.  The infamous statue in the heart of Wall Street attracts many tourists. I’ve written about it in a previous blog but to remind you, oh dear reader, that people often take pictures holding the bulls (ahem) balls which is actually quite dumb to watch people do over and over. My dad’s response to this was to take a different pose with the bull…

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Yes. You’re welcome for that. Dana is never one to shy away from an “opportunity” to add a little shock and hilarity to a situation. The reactions on people’s faces in the background is my favorite!

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. To say my mom is obsessed with Stephen Colbert would be an understatement. She is in LOVE with Colbert. If my parents had a hall pass list Colbert would easily be in the top three. One of our family friends, Cami Thacher, works for Colbert as a copy writer and was able to get us four VIP tickets to a live taping. The guests were Laura Linney and John Leguizamo who were both wonderful. Stephen comes out to speak to the audience before the live taping to meet & greet as well as answer questions from the audience. Mom had prepared a question ahead of time but as soon as Stephen opened the floor for questions she got school girl crush nervous and couldn’t bring herself to even raise her hand. It was both precious and hilarious. We had a blast and it was definitely a highlight of the trip. Thank you, Cami!

Mom’s Birthday. For the first time in many years I got to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her. It was by far one of the best days of the trip. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and had pizza at the infamous Grimaldi’s, and then headed to the Brooklyn Brewery. Mom loves a good brewery and a dark stout! Later in the evening, Z and I treated my parents to dinner at The Flatiron Room, known for their live jazz and vast library of whiskeys. We ended the night at Don’t Tell Mama, one of my top spots in the city, a piano bar where the servers and bartenders are aspiring broadway performers and sing all night long. Per my dad’s request they played my parents’ wedding song (Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are”) and of course, a “Happy Birthday” sing-a-long from the entire bar. It was a top night!

There are so many other precious moments and memories made throughout the 10-day visit. It was an emotional departure when they left for LA but I am so incredibly grateful the intimate, uninterrupted time with my parents. Being roommates again ended up being a very good time! Life is so short and I miss being away from them but by choosing to be present in each moment of every day we were really able to cherish our time together, as opposed to dreading the impending goodbye which is something I typically do.

Mama & Dad – I feel so blessed to be your kid. You fill my soul with calm and confidence in this crazy new city I live in and my heart is full that you were able to come visit so soon after our move. You inspire me and love me unconditionally. Most of all, you are the BEST people to share a good laugh with. And I love that we laugh A LOT in our family.

I’ll leave you with more photos from other adventures in our trip. Can’t wait for the next visit!

 

 

{ From Winter to Spring }

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Harris’. While our apartment has finally come together we’ve had more free time to get out and enjoy the end of our first, albeit brief, New York winter, to the first couple weeks of spring.

Miller Time. Our friends that feel more like family, Parv and Andy have returned to their home in NYC from an extended vacation in Iran visiting Parv’s family, and with their return we’ve been exploring new places in the city together. While in the short time they’ve been back we have done so many fun things together, one of my favorites was our first go at a NYC rooftop bar. The Millers had purchased a Groupon to a rooftop bar in Midtown South as a welcome present for Z and I. 230 Fifth has a fantastic indoor and outdoor rooftop space that has 360 degree views of Manhattan. A walk-up bar with food & drink and red robes to keep you warm made for a fantastic Saturday afternoon. While the robes were more of a novelty than necessity (especially once we discovered they don’t wash them between wears…) we loved the vibe of the rooftop bar scene and can’t WAIT for summer to explore more rooftop bars as they open closer to end of spring, early summer. Thank you, Millers, for a perfect “official” welcome to the city!

The view wasn’t so bad either…

Manhattan Beach to Manhattan, NY. One of the many perks of living here is friends that travel for work often find themselves traveling to NYC. Last week one of my hometown friends since junior high, Miranda, was in town for a quick work trip. We were able to have wine at the apartment before meeting up with one of her girlfriends from business school and one of her best friends from college, both of whom also live in NYC. It was so fun meeting her friends from three seasons of her life and an enjoyed a delish dinner and drinks in the Upper West Side, quickly becoming one of my favorite neighborhoods. Loved seeing you and catching up Miranda! Can’t wait for the next trip, whether here or seeing you in Detroit! Thanks for squeezing me in!

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Easter Sunday. While Z and I spent most of the weekend “adulting” and building/unpacking/cleaning/hanging frames in the apartment, we spent Sunday morning with the Millers and our friends, Hayley and Damien. We hosted mimosas at our place then headed to a spot I have been itching to try, mainly because of its eccentric name and darling, country home interior design, The Flying Cock. It did not disappoint! All you can drink mimosas, bellinis, and bloody Mary’s for only $15 and breakfast items that were to die for. I would have taken more photos had I not been consumed in the good eats, better company, and a hilarious and friendly Irish restaurant owner who only cemented the notion that The Flying Cock would become a regular spot for us and any of our future visitors. After brunch, Z and I walked The High Line to burn off our meals and drinks. It used to be a railroad for manufacturers many years ago but has since been restored to a walking path with unique views of the West Side and pieces of the railroad throughout. There are public benches/chaise lounges and local vendors along the path, my favorite of which was a local artist who had a blank canvas on the ground with paint and brushes, simply inviting people to paint for free. Afterwards we braved and bumped our way through the crowds and hundreds of tourists leisurely walked through the Chelsea Market. I had previously been on a weekday which was an entirely different experience but despite the crowds it was still fun to explore it again and share it with Z.

From LMU to San Diego to New York. One of my closest friends, Kim, whom I lived with in college, lived with in San Diego post-college, and most recently a bridesmaid in our wedding, has been living in Baltimore for two years. We have been anxiously awaiting my move so we could finally see each other in our new homes on the East Coast. Kim was in town for the day after Easter, as she and her boyfriend were headed to Montreal the following day. We spent the day exploring the Upper West Side, taking in a Southern meal at one of my new favorite places, Jacob’s Pickles, and a long walk through Central Park.IMG_6497

As we walked back to the subway we had to stop at Kim’s most favorite place in the city, Laundrée, the place that invented the macaroon. Not being a fan of macaroons myself, I was skeptical, but one bite of a salted caramel macaroon later, I understood Kim’s obsession. They taste unlike any other macaroon I’ve ever had, they are more like a soft cookie with the most intense and decadent flavors. Needless to say I’m glad this place isn’t close to our apartment! Thank you for the wonderful day, Kim! I can’t wait for so many more!

Neighborhood Vibes. It has been so fun learning more about our neighborhood and taking the time to just walk around and pop into new restaurants and shops to figure out which places will become “our places.” Like most of New York, our neighborhood has an incredible mix of pre-war and modern architecture. Never have I lived in a place where you can stumble across so many different types of shops and cuisine within a couple blocks walk. It’s easy to just pick some cross streets and explore rather than seek out a shop or restaurant online before you go. We’re really learning to just let the city take us by surprise instead of planning our every move. The city is blooming into spring more and more everyday.

I’ll post some updated photos of the apartment in the next couple days. For now, I will leave you with last night’s sunset from our living room.

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{ Northwest Comes to the Northeast }

We got so lucky over the last week and a half with visits from familiar faces and some expert New Yorkers. Being the newbies has its own fun but learning so much from people we love and have called NYC home before was awesome!

The Future Mr. & Mrs. Angus. We were so thrilled that our friends’, Mitch and Kylie coordinated an overlap of their pre-planned vacation with our move date. Our new city had an immediate warmth of familiarity. The BEST part of their visit? They got engaged! Congrats, again, friends! We love you both and can’t wait for your wedding!

Kylie lived in NYC for 6 years and has resided in Portland with Mitch and their baby boy, Axel, for the past few years. Not only did Kylie know so much about so much, but she introduced us to some of her closest friends, Amy and Charlie, that we clicked with almost immediately. Z and I got to explore Brooklyn for the first time by dining with them and their friends at the Two Door Tavern in Williamsburg. The food was delish and the vibe reminded us of a Seattle-esque bar and restaurant. The night ended at a karaoke dive-bar in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn which couldn’t have been more perfect. Kylie and I were the only ones to rock the mic but there were a plethora of, shall we say, very special locals that kept the evening incredibly entertaining. The rest of the weekend included a visit to the bar Kylie used to bartend at in the Upper East Side, Gael Pub, where they let her behind the bar for old times sake, a quick pop-in and hello/introduction to her Uncle Frankie who owns this classic NY Italian restaurant, Campagnola, and then right across the street to (by far, my favorite part of the weekend!) The Banshee Pub. Kylie is very close friends with one of the bartenders, she knows the Irish musician who plays 90s’ cover music on guitar, and before the night ended Uncle Frankie brought an entire fresh, hot, cheese pizza from his restaurant into the bar. Is this girl the Mayor of NYC or what?! Thank you for the awesome playtime, Mitch & Kylie! We loved meeting all of your wonderful friends and NYC family and thank you for showing us the city through your eyes! Come back soon!

My One Day with Renee. My sweet and adventurous friend Renee has one of the craziest schedules I’ve ever heard of. Working for an international hotel & restaurant design firm keeps her travel schedule packed and I was humbled that she squeezed in a day in NYC to see me on her way to Philly for a new hotel opening party. Despite this particular Tuesday being one of the rainiest days of the year, we were determined to make the most of it. We dined at the famed Central Park restaurant, The Loeb Boathouse, and it did not disappoint. It was definitely a “fancy pants” place but the view of the lake and Central Park is worth the extra expense. The food and wine lived up to our expectations and overall it was just a perfect NYC moment. We caught a movie after lunch to avoid the rain and shared some vino the rest of the afternoon and evening. The next morning we squeezed in a brunch at the Blue Dog Kitchen which was one of the tiniest restaurants I’ve seen in NYC yet. But the food, fresh-pressed juices, and grilled avocado benedict were worthy distractions from elbowing your neighbor while you ate. It will definitely become a staple breakfast place for visitors. Thank you for making the time and effort to come visit, Renee! So glad you have a job that allows these impromptu visits! Looking forward to the next one!

Writing about all of these restaurants and eating and drinking should serve as a great example of how much Z and I are splurging in the New York cuisine scene. And subsequently how much we’ve increased our frequenting to our building’s fitness center. Totally. Worth. It.