{ 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! 

{ Visit to SoCal }

In addition to being back in LA for Allie and Eric’s wedding we had several days to spend time with my family and friends. It is likely our only trip to SoCal this year and we cherished every minute of time we had there.

Jess & Newport Beach. My soul sister and best friend Jess lives in Orange County and we had to make a visit to see her darling beach bungalow apartment and show Zach Newport Beach and the Peninsula. Jess and I have spent a lot of time there over the years so it was a blast to reminisce and visit some old bars and restaurants we used to frequent. The visit was not without a stop at a real deal Mexican restaurant. The Mexican cuisine is SoCal has yet to be matched in any of the other cities I’ve lived in so I always make a point to eat a local spot when I’m home. And of course, we had to make a trip to the beach to put our toes in the sand and ocean. I miss it so much! Thank you for hosting us for the day, Jess! We loved seeing your digs!

Parents Night Out. My parents wanted to show me and Z their favorite new spot at the Hermosa Pier, Greenbelt, so we made it a night out and had dinner and drinks by the beach. Dinner was followed by one of our go-to’s that makes the BEST speciality cocktails, La Pamilla. Even though we had just seen my parents in NYC it felt so good to have the more quality time with them to pick up where we left off from their visit. Big laughs and strong cocktails!

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Family Friday. I am so lucky to have a family that will go above and beyond to make time to see us when we’re in town, even for the short window of time we had to spare. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, and the kiddos came out to spend the day in Manhattan Beach with us at the house. It was such a wonderful day with good eats, cold drinks, some neighborhood games of Horse, and quality catch-up time.

I insisted on getting a group shot of everyone. The first pic was the best version and the one below it is an example of what the other shots looked like haha. We were just missing Jords & Rick, Uncle Gary, Brooke & Clint, Greg & Nicole, and Jon & Voula!group-shot-nicegroup-shot-prep

One of the highlights of the day was that Papa drove my car, Pearl, from Glendora where he has been keeping it for me. Crazy stupid how much I miss that car! The subway is not nearly as enjoyable as driving your own car. It was so fun to see it again. It feels like I haven’t had my own car in years! Thanks for taking such good care of her, Papa 😉

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The kiddos eventually took off with their GG/my aunt and the adults made our way to a couple of local breweries in Torrance. Loved all the belly laughs and beer tastings with each of you!

So incredibly grateful for all the quality, albeit brief, time I had with all of my family and closest friends. I miss each of you everyday and Z and I can’t WAIT for our next visit! We’re missing California like crazy. Blessed to call such a wonderful place HOME.

Mom & Dad. Miss you everyday. Grateful this long distance life is only temporary and soon we will be back on the same coast! In the mean time, thank you for always being the most gracious and FUN hosts a daughter could ask for!

{ Allie & Eric’s Wedding }

Some MAJOR catching up on the blog today! I am going to try to get this blog up to date as we are already in the middle of fall and the blog is still in the middle of summer!

One of my absolute favorite weekends of the year was celebrating one of my oldest friends, Allie, her now hubby, Eric, and their beautiful wedding. Southern California is picturesque year round but this particular day in July was simply stunning. The sun was out, the coast had a cool breeze, and the bride was glowing!

The wedding was particularly special as it meant my high school best friends and I got to reunite, which only happens a couple times a year. We were able to be with the bride before the wedding for getting ready/bonding time and see her off before the ceremony. We met Allie at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, one of the most beautiful resorts in the South Bay, and we enjoyed brunch and champagne while Allie got pampered. It was an emotional and precious time to share with her and for us as a group of close friends to share altogether.

One of my favorites moments was watching Allie, her mother, and her sisters take photos before Allie left for her first look with Eric. The Sevy women looked gorgeous and their close-knit bond glowed with pride for their big sister/daughter. So special!

After the family left the villa for photos, Kelly, Miranda, and Rachel and I enjoyed some classic female bonding, sharing the same mirror getting ready, doing each other’s hair, sipping lots of champagne, and reminiscing on the past 16 years of our friendship. So grateful for these women in my life! Eventually the husbands came to join the fun before we headed to the venue.

We arrived at the venue shortly before the ceremony and it took my breath away. Catalina View Gardens had the view of all views! A panoramic view of Palos Verdes, Catalina, and the Pacific Ocean was an idyllic backdrop for such an occasion. The ceremony itself was authentically Allie and Eric and told their love story of the past eight years. Neither the bride or groom could stop smiling and the happiness was contagious!

Allie was the most STUNNING bride! She was glowing from the inside out. In true Allie form, she was saying hello and giggling to all the guests the whole way down the aisle. Loved watching you soak in every moment, Al!

The reception did not disappoint. Every detail was perfectly executed and delivered the rustic elegance theme beuatifully. From the centerpieces to the lights to the music, every detail was intrinsically Allie and Eric. We danced the night away to classic rock, oldies, top 40, and everything in between. True to form in our group of friends, we were the first and last ones on the the dance floor.

And what wedding is complete without a photo shoot with your gorgeous friends…

Allie & Eric – Thank you for including us in your special day! We are so thrilled for you both and know that the next year as newlyweds will be one of the most memorable of your lives! We will cherish your special day with you always! We can’t wait for more good times together in all the years ahead! We love you!

{ 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!

 

 

{ America’s Cup }

Sunday Funday! This past weekend NYC hosted the America’s Cup on the Hudson River for the first time in 120 years. There were a ton of New Yorkers gathered at Brookfield Place to see the final races of the weekend. We found some standing real estate where the crowds were fewer and the views were bigger for the first few races.

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The Millers met up with us to catch the last half of the races where we braved the crowds at the main area where you could hear the announcers call out the race.

The front of Brookfield Place houses a marina where we GIANT sailboats and yachts can park. The passengers/owners of the two sailboats in the photo above were on their boats and likely had the best seat in the house. I also love that other photo of the crowds and their cell phones to capture a shot of the USA sailboat!

After the events wrapped up we headed to a local beer hall, Clinton Hall, which has a great outdoor patio with all sorts of games to play while you enjoy your brew. It is dog-friendly too so Homer Miller was able to hang and play. One of the games was a mismatched Jenga set with all different shapes and sizes of pieces. It made the game a lot more interesting…

I swear my husband can smell a ping pong table from a mile away and without pause he and Andy played round after round with a furry fan watching their entire game, who actually just wanted to be the ball boy…

Parv and I had our own lil tourney of GIANT Connect Four while Homer was the local celebrity of the patio. Every adult, child, and waiter wanted to meet him, pet him, and take him home with them. Can’t say I blame them!

On our way home we walked through Wall Street to see the infamous Bull. I didn’t realize one of the “things to do” when you see the Bull is to touch his (ahem) balls for good luck….hmmmm maybe next time? We thought taking a picture in front would suffice! (Lucky balls not pictured below)

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It was a full day in the sun and we enjoyed every minute! So lucky to have the Millers here who are up for just about anything. Glad to check this off the bucket list with you guys!

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And one last shot of the Brooklyn Bridge before we called it a day!

{ 9/11 Memorial Walk 5K }

Sunday was another bright day in the city which made for a perfect backdrop for our first community event. The Millers invited Z and I to join their team for the annual 9/11 Memorial Walk 5K, benefitting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Before living here, I had not visited NYC since July 2004. Back then, the area where the Twin Towers used to stand looked more like a construction zone, a somber site of what it used to be. Now the Memorial has incredible twin reflecting pools each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.

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It is without a doubt one of the top tourist attractions in the city but I’ll admit it feels strange to take photos and observe the other tourists who lean up against it or have their kids sitting on the edge with their parents. It feels a bit inappropriate given the reason for the structures but at least people feel it’s important to visit the site and remember all that was lost and what has since been rebuilt. The long term plan is to eventually have 7 towers, all of unique architectural structure (see Wings structure below).

My favorite part of the Memorial is the “Survivor Tree.” The Callery pear tree is the only tree to survive the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. It doesn’t look like any of the other trees which makes it presence so much more powerful. Pretty cool, eh?

Anyhoo, the 5K had hundreds of people for an 8:00am start full of runners and walkers alike. It felt amazing to be a part of our first community event to make us feel even more like a part of the city. It was an honor to be a part of and a great way to give back.

At the end of the race there was an array of food trucks, kids’ games and face-painting, booths from local sponsors, and a live band comprised of Army soldiers, by far one of the best parts of the day.

Thank you Parv and Andy for inviting us to join you! Looking forward to making it an annual event!

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Editor’s note: Although a very serious cause and event, we did have a bit of fun during the walk. One of Zach’s best friends had done a Spartan race in Seattle the day before (it’s one of those 9-mile intense, mud-run, obstacle course type races) so Z felt the need to show him that he was equally “challenged” on his 3.2 miles of walking. Sorry dear, had to share!

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{ Grateful Lately }

I’m starting a new series on the blog that will focus on gratitude. Life can be crazy and complicated, especially when transitioning into a new city and lifestyle, so we’re trying to be more mindful of the simple and beautiful things we have in our present.

Lately, I’ve been grateful for…

Spying the Freedom Tower in all corners of the city

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Modern technology that lets this bi-coastal Auntie be close to some of my favorite little ones

Being close to East Coast family and a husband who hogs baby Cyrus

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The rich history of our new city and it’s intermix of classic and modern architecture

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Home delivered laundry service that saves us 5 hours a week which we used to spend in the laundry room…and the weird giant caterpillar shape it comes home in

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Bars dedicated solely to Ping Pong and booze, both of which make husband very happy

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Making new friends through old friends

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Hot sunny days from our rooftop with views of iconic skyscrapers

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City parks that force you to stop in their presence and soak it all in

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Trying new workouts that push you out of your comfort zone and leave you wanting more

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And waking up to this view every morning, both making you feel small and humbled and inviting you to discover something new every day.

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What have you been grateful for lately?

{ Central Park }

New York has been particularly warm and bright over the last week and we took advantage of it last Sunday. Zach’s sister, Sally, her husband Nathan, and their boys Jaxson and Carson got us the most awesome picnic backpack from PicnicTime Inc for our wedding present specifically with NYC park outings in mind. It has all the essentials which means all that is required to prep for your picnic is packing up the food and wine.

picnic wine

Central Park is absolutely massive which is great considering it felt like half of Manhattan had the same idea as we did. The park is great for people watching (“Do you think they’re a tourist or a local? Do you think we look like locals?!” “Totally, we’re not wearing leather in 80 degree heat and we don’t have giant Canon cameras around our necks”), dog watching, and guesstimating how expensive the luxury penthouses are that overlook the park.

central park boathouse

Thought we’d be missing all the Seattle greenery but Central Park is an incredible lush, colorful, and peaceful escape from the city, right in the middle of it all.

Excited for more days like this one!