Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mom and Dad in NYC - Part Two

On Friday, I met up with Mom and Dad near Rock Center after work.  We checked out the decorations there before heading to Magnolia's to pick up another yummy post-show treat.  After my dad's very unusual run in with my landlord (who was in essence remodeling the entire kitchen on a Friday evening), we headed out to Georgio's before going to see Jesus Christ Superstar.  This show was a bit different than Godspell.  It wasn't quite as enjoyable for me for a couple of factors.  1 - It was straight speaking at all. 2 - The theater didn't have much room/space at each seat and we were in the center of a row so we were a tad squished and uncomfortable throughout the show.  With that being said, I did really enjoy a couple of the songs, particularly the title song :)

Rock Center decorations...
Mom was excited so see the Easter Bunny...

Gotta love Magnolia's :)

We had to get to sleep pretty early on Friday night since I was participating in the Scotland Run 10k on Saturday morning.  Check out my post about that race here.

When we got back from the race we just relaxed and then dyed some Easter eggs.  I hadn't
dyed eggs in a few years so it was pretty fun :)  The colors didn't stick very well, but we had a good time anyway.

That night, we met up with Chris and his parents for dinner at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse in Brooklyn.  We took the subway which turned out to be quite an adventure.  I was tired and distracted when I double checked what subway line we should take prior to leaving my apartment.  This being the case, I misinterpreted that we could take either the N or the R train.  Boy was I wrong.  The N train has a 86th Street stop in Brooklyn, but it is most definitely the WRONG one.  I knew something was strange when we got off the train and the station was completely run down.  Then I got a very bad feeling about our situation when we were walking out of the turnstiles to exit the station and someone jumped the turnstiles right in front of the booth with an MTA employee inside it.  For all of you non-New Yorkers, this is NOT GOOD...and was a little frightening as I was beginning to realize we were for sure at the wrong end of 86th Street, our reservations for dinner were in less than 10 minutes, and I had no clue how to get to the right end of 86th Street without going back into the craziness of that subway station.  As I was asking some random passerby for some indication of how far we might be from our destination, we saw a bus.  This seemed like our best bet at the moment so we ran for it.  Luckily, the driver said his last stop was our destination.  Relieved, we sat down near the back of the bus.  Then, I began to panic about being late.  I wasn't sure how far we were away from the last stop and my phone wasn't much help at this point.  Finally, a nice man (we decided he must have been an angel) helped us out.  He said he knew exactly where we were going and would make sure we got there without any (more) problems.  He also said we were 20 minutes away.  Thankfully, Chris and his parents were patiently waiting when our angel pointed us in the right direction.  I was only slightly embarrassed for making us late since I'm not exactly known for my great sense of direction anyway.  Needless to say, we enjoyed the hibachi dinner.  Mom and Dad had met Chris' parents back in the fall before our little European Adventure, but it was nice for us to all get to spend some time together again.  We had a much less adventurous trip back into Manhattan at the end of the night.

flaming onion....hibachi is always fun :)

Sunday, we went to Calvary Baptist for the Sunday morning Easter service.  The service was good.  I especially liked the hand bells.  It was also pretty cool that they opened up the doors at the end of the service while the whole congregation sang Handel's Hallelujah chorus.

After church, we headed out to the most interesting event of the trip - the Easter Parade.  The parade consists of all kinds of people dressed up in costumes and with fancy/tacky hats.  They just walk up and down 5th Avenue for about 8 blocks around the Rock Center area waiting for you to snap a picture of them.  Here are some of the best and craziest of the 2012 Easter Parade.

these guys took it to a whole new level....
Love the butterfly decor!!

this guy was hilarious!

how did she even get this crazy hat to midtown??
cute couple :)
a bit overboard, but that seemed to be the theme for the day...
After we'd seen enough at the parade, I took them over to the new NFL offices.  They enjoyed seeing all of the interesting new things there.  We ended our day with some Jamba Juice and a trip to The Counter (post to come about this very unique and interesting Times Square establishment).

Dad LOVED Jamba Juice....
As always, it was difficult to see them off on Monday.  I always have such a great time with them!  I am so thankful to have such a wonderful relationship with both of my parents.  They are truly phenomenal people, and I am very blessed to call them Mom and Dad.

Andrea :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 is...

my mom's birthday!!!  Even though we didn't technically celebrate when she was recently in New York, thinking about it now, it kind of felt like we did.  Here's a picture of Mom enjoying one of her favorite things in NY - people watching in Times Square.  

Hanging out in Times Square on a recent visit to NYC
I don't like to miss out on the celebration when birthdays in my family roll around so when I can't be there in person (which is pretty much always...unfortunately), I try to have a little treat in their honor.  Today, I got a slice of Monkey Cake (banana cake with pineapples and pecans) from Amy's Bread to celebrate Mom's birthday.  I know if she was in NY that is the one she would have picked as well.  It was delicious!!


I know I don't always tell my mom how much she means to me and how blessed I am to have had her to keep me in line all these years, but I feel very fortunate to have her in my life.  She always asked me to just do the best that I can.  Even though that drove me crazy when I was younger, I know that it is true.  After all, that is all that you can do :)  As I have grown older, I have realized how much energy it takes to care so much about someone as stubborn and opinionated as me and how much sacrifice my mom has made over the years to make sure we had so many wonderful opportunities and experiences.  I am very grateful for these things among many others even if it isn't always perfectly easy to tell.  I hope that I am someday blessed enough to be a mother and have the ability to do the same for my kids.  I'll probably even bust out a few classics like "Never mind, I'll just do it myself!"  HAHA :)   Thanks for being such a wonderful mother.  Hope you enjoy your flowers all week long!!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!  I love you!!

Andrea :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mom and Dad in NYC - Part One

Since Kentucky isn't exactly next door to New York, it is rare that I get to have my parents in my (for now) neck of the woods.  So it is always an exciting and fun filled time when they do venture to the Big Apple.  This time was no different.  We had a jam packed schedule and had a lot of fun spending the (almost) week together.

Mom and Dad arrived in NYC on Tuesday evening.  We went to dinner with Chris before he had to head back up to Albany.  We went to Benjamin's on the east side of Manhattan.  I had a Groupon for there so we had a very nice meal at roughly half the price :)  You know me...always looking for a good deal!

Great little spot in Murray Hill...

Wednesday, I took the day off from work to spend some time with my parents.  We spent the morning getting 1/2 price broadway tickets for Million Dollar Quartet at TKTS. Actually, I went for a run and Dad stood in line for the tickets.  Not to worry though, he made some friends who helped us narrow down our options. Once we bought the tickets, we had a few hours before the show so Mom met up with us and we headed down to Macy's to check out their special spring flower display.  This year the theme was Brasil.  Check out some of the pictures from the exhibit.

I was ready to pack my bags and head south....

We all really enjoyed Million Dollar Quartet.  It is an off-broadway show about a single jam session at Sun Records in Memphis with legends Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins that is based on an evening that actually did occur back in December 1956.  The music was AMAZING!!!  Very talented musicians!

After the show, we headed down to the 9-11 Memorial.  The memorial was nice, but I wish the museum had been open.  They said it won't open until next year.  That was a bummer, but I know it will be fabulous.  Here are some pics of the memorial...

Survivor Tree at Memorial...
Piece of original towers inside the museum that hasn't opened yet :(

Check out that rainbow in the background....

We stopped by Trinity Church before heading back uptown to Junior's for dinner.  The cheesecake there is my absolute FAVORITE!!!

Chowing down....
Excited about the strawberry cheesecake...
On Thursday, Mom and Dad spent some time sightseeing while I was at work.  I met up with them after work for dinner at Room Service before going to see Godspell.  Room Service is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Hell's Kitchen.  It has unique decor, great service, and yummy pineapple fried rice :)

Spring Rolls that come in an amazing dipping sauce...
delicious Pineapple Fried Rice :)
I don't think any of us were really sure what to expect at Godspell, but none of us came away disappointed.  We LOVED it!!  The show is my new favorite (although Wicked probably still edges it out for #1 ultimately).  I definitely plan to see it again!!  It was more like a sketch comedy and improv show with some amazing musical numbers scattered throughout.  It was very entertaining!!

We ended the night right by trying every teeny tiny flavor cupcake at Baked by Melissa.  My favorites were the rainbow one  (top row, second from left) and the specialty Easter one (the two in the center).


And we did ALL of this before the weekend.  I'll keep you in suspense (for now) about what fun activities we packed into those few days.  Believe me, you won't want to miss Part Two.

Andrea :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Wonderful Years

Today marks two wonderful years of dating Christopher. We celebrated this past weekend with a little getaway roughly halfway between New York City and Albany :)  We had an amazing weekend!  Friday afternoon, I took the train up to Poughkeepsie where Chris picked me up and our adventure began!  Much to his surprise, I had a little treat waiting for us when we checked into our very nice room with a little balcony at the Kingston Courtyard Marriott (which I would like to thank for being so kind in helping me coordinate the surprise!!).

So yummy!!  Highly recommend Sheri's Berries...

On Friday night, we went to Skytop Steakhouse up in the mountains for a nice dinner.

Saturday began with a big breakfast before we headed out to hike Kaaterskill Falls.  We initially drove to the top of the trail where we took a short walk to what would eventually be our final destination for the hike from the bottom.

The very tip top of the falls...very tip top!!

After a few pictures there, we drove down to the bottom to begin our hike.  Neither of us had ever been on a hike so it was a new adventure for both of us.  We ended up having a lot of fun, but I don't think we realized how intense it would be in certain places.  In the end, we made it to the final viewing spot before turning around and heading back down to the car.  I really enjoyed having Chris lead me through the trail to the beautiful falls.

Bottom of the trail...

We made it!!

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Poet's Walk for a little less strenuous tour of nature.  The walk was very relaxing and we enjoyed seeing some really nice scenery.

These benches were scattered throughout the trail where we walked.

We made it back to our hotel with some time to spare before getting ready for our evening activities so we took advantage of our balcony and used the time to enjoy some of our anniversary treats and reflect on our past couple of years together.  Some of our favorites from year one were our second date, when Chris made his first trip to KY, when we went to Pittsburgh for me to meet all Chris' friends there, the first time we said "I love you", and our trip to Vermont.  From year two, some of our favorites were all the weddings we attended, our Glen Cove adventure, the Super Bowl, our visit to KY for my 28th birthday, and Caucus weekend.  Since we had three cake pops, we decided to discuss the things we were most looking forward to in the coming year as well.  We are looking forward to meeting my niece, his godson, and a whole slew of other babies that our friends are welcoming into their lives, going to several (pre-determined) Broadway shows in NYC, taking a "real" vacation together, more regular date nights, and, of course and most importantly, Chris finding a job and moving to NYC.  We had a nice time reminiscing about the past and thinking about the future on our balcony for an hour or so before we got ready for the improv show.

View from the balcony...
Zoomed in view from balcony - gorgeous!

We quickly got ready and headed over to an amazing BBQ restaurant before the show.  I should have taken pictures of the portions because they were enormous!  The food was spectacular!  We started with some delicious hush puppies before we dug into our BBQ platters. We decided very easily that we would have to make a return trip to this restaurant at some point.  After dinner, we headed to the Ulster Performing Arts Center for the improv show.  It was FABULOUS!!  It was a two man show with Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie from Who's Line Is It Anyway? fame.  They were great, but what made the show so funny was the audience participation.  Chris and I actually got to participate in the sound effect skit.  They passed around a microphone in our section to do Brad's sound effects.  We both ended up having to make a sound of a drill.  It was really cool to get to be a part of the show!

On Sunday, we spent a little time around the hotel shopping before we headed to Keegan Ales Brewery.  It was an interesting place.  Definitely was a different atmosphere that what we anticipated, but the food was good. 

Next, we headed out to Woodstock, NY to check out some interesting shops.  Chris was even able to find a smooth grooves record for his collection :)

As most of the shops were closing up for the day, we made our way back to Poughkeepsie for one last adventure before dinner and my train ride back to NYC.  We walked across the Hudson on a pedestrian bridge.  It was a nice night for a walk especially when the sun began to set.

After dinner, Chris and I exchanged cards and talked for awhile before time for my train to leave.  I had a really hard time telling him goodbye this time. We had such a great weekend.  We are both ready to be in the same city and be able to spend more time with one another, but we know that in God's timing everything will work out according to His plan.  Chris reminded me that we just have to be patient and continue to pray!  While it has been two of the best years of our lives as Chris very sweetly mentioned in his facebook post this morning, it has been two of the hardest in terms of having to be long distance.  Two years is a long time to be in a long distance relationship, but with a lot of effort and love, we have made it work.  It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it.  I think we are both excited to see what the next year together brings our way. 

Thank you for sharing two wonderful years with me, Christopher!  I love you very much!!

Andrea :)