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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NYC Day 1

In many, many ways Zach and I are still as cheap and frugal as we were in college. Somethings, however, we have started to say are "worth the money." Flying out of Valdosta is one of those things. It costs more per plane ticket, but it's SO worth it. Free parking, being able to arrive 45 min prior to flight, chill security, it's a lovely experience overall. For this trip we got both of our plane tickets for free (thanks Skymiles!) so it made even more sense to fly from home! The biggest downside of flying out of Valdosta? DELAYS. Maybe we just have bad luck but, legit, I'd say majority of the times we fly from home we have delays. And this trip was no different!!!

We were so delayed that we knew before even leaving Valdosta that we'd miss our connection flight in Atlanta so we got put on a later flight. I've learned to not ever make plans the night of arrival. We went to NYC back in 2009 and missed our show that night due to flight delays! Lesson learned! This time I didn't mind relaxing and not rushing. Especially since I made sure to book the 11:00 flight out rather than the 6 am one. Being delayed with a 6 am flight is the worst!  

While we waited we, of course, made friends! A group of people were all traveling to NYC together from Valdosta and they were SO nice. I'd say they were all in their 50's, maybe 60's. I loved hearing about all the traveling they do! We ended up eating lunch at our airport Subway with them just talking and talking. It was really a great time! Of course they all recognized Zach from his football glory days and that's always funny to me ;) One of the ladies also pulled me aside and told me it's SO great that Zach and I travel together without our children and how important that is for our marriage. She said we need to make sure to always keep that a priority...we def plan to!
Once in Atlanta we had a long wait for our flight. We tried to get on some earlier ones but they were full so we just got some snacks and chilled! Zach started to watch the Game of Thrones DVD series I got him but then there was like legit nudity in it...awkward! haha! I started reading Divergent and really liked it!
McFlurry tip: always get the extra m&ms :)
We have traveled without the kids since Kye was very young (7 weeks old when we went to Paris!). I will say...it's WAY easier leaving a little baby than it is leaving a preschooler. Even Britt's age isn't too bad. But leaving Kye? It's SO hard for me now. I think because he's old enough to really understand that we are leaving. He's old enough to be concerned for our safety. He's old enough to grasp time and truly miss us. And on my end he's old enough where everything I see makes me think about him and what he'd like! I took a LOT of pictures this trip with my phone and sent them to Mrs. Charlotte to show the kids :) 

Showing them what the inside of an airplane looks like!
So yall know me well enough to know the kind of luck I have. Last year we went skiing for our Christmas trip and there was NO SNOW. This year we went to NYC and it was FREEZING. We are from South Ga. We truly didn't have a CLUE what we were in for and packed horribly for this trip. Really, we should have gone to NYC last year when it was a warmer winter and gone skiing this year b/c there was tons of snow I'm sure! We kicked ourselves like 1,000 times during this trip because we should have packed ski clothes. We were frozen the whole time! 

When we first got into the airport we had to wait in a mega long line for the taxi. Z got ticked at me b/c a random dude came up to us from his shuttle bus and offered us a ride and I wouldn't go. Looking back maybe that was a little overboard on my part but I've always heard to stay safe...you WAIT in the taxi line and don't let anyone talk you into leaving! Sure, his shuttle was clearly marked and looked legit....but it could have been some kind of creepy scam to murder us. You never know! 

Once we got into the taxi it was awesome b/c on the little tv screen the FIRST thing I saw was an ad one of my friends from high school was featured in!!! Such a small world!!!! After that though the ride was miserable. I, legit, had to pray and pray and pray not to puke. Once we got to the hotel Zach even admitted that he had felt super sick too. And he never gets motion sickness! For me, the combo of it being late and I hadn't eaten, being early pregnancy, and being a WILD ride was horrible!!! I was so thankful when we stopped moving!

When traveling on our own dime we typically stay in super mega cheap places. Like the kinds of hotels where you want to leave your shoes on the entire time: even in the shower haha. But for this trip we decided the theme would be "treat yo self." I had saved up all of our Thank You Points from our credit card and we were able to get 2 out of the 4 nights for free. I hunted and hunted for just the right place and wanted to stay somewhere nice, but not fancy. I wanted under $300 a night (TOUGH to find at NYC near Christmas!) and, most importantly, I wanted something near Grand Central Station. I knew we'd take the subway a lot and I wanted to minimize the walking for my foot as much as possible!

We ended up staying at Affinia Shelburne and had a great experience there!

It was around 8ish once we finally got to the room and settled in. I was straight up exhausted and Zach was straight up starving! Luckily a place down the street delivered to the hotel so we ordered food from them and watched Parks and Rec :) 

Do you like Zach's desktop background? Yes, he made it himself haha

Grilled cheese :)
We got in Thursday night and had a busy day Friday. It was our earliest day to have to get up and get going and that was planned that way for a reason! I knew my foot would hurt worse and worse as the trip went on so I wanted to get the big amount of walking over with in the beginning! 

I LOVED that our hotel was so close to Grand Central Station. It's truly beautiful there and it was great that anywhere we wanted to go we could get there from Grand Central. I'll go ahead and warn you now...we were FREEZING this entire trip. So we look kinda crazy with our clothing and pretty rough with our hair and such. And the pictures aren't to amazing either. It was very "snap and go" so we could stay warm :) 


We had to be at our ferry port at 9 for Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty! This was my 4th trip to NY and Zach's 3rd so it was about time we did this tour! It's just not something I've ever really wanted to experience!?!? But it's one of those "must do" items so we both wanted to check it out. Zach is really into history and was more excited for Ellis Island than Lady Liberty. Where I like cultural stuff more so I was more pumped for the statue :) 

When we got there we grabbed some breakfast to take with us. We also ran into our new Valdosta friends from the airport!!! How random is that?!?!? We lost them once we got through security b/c they had a large group and we were just the two of us so we got through quicker and moved on!
Grubbing on the ferry ride!





First stop: Statue of Liberty!
Views from the Statue area! 

Kinda creepy when I noticed this plane headed for Freedom Tower...
You never really see the backside of the statue :)
We had tickets to go inside the statue and see from the pedestal. I am so glad we didn't buy the passes to climb her. I knew the steps would be a beast and that's just not really our kinda of experience. We did the Eiffel Tower and it's like you get to the top and you think "cool....ok let's go back down" haha. 

I have VERY little knowledge about the Statue of Liberty. The only thing I really knew was that she was given to us from France and that her smaller twin is actually located in Paris (we got to see it there!). I really truly enjoyed learning more about her! 

This was her torch in 1916
The statue of liberty was dedicated in 1886 and the flame has changed three times since then! The last time it changed was in 1916! It was neat to see how the torch looked throughout the years:




The Statue of Liberty is actually named: Liberty Enlightening The World
The statue is a tapestry of old symbols woven together to create new meaning. Her classical face and drapery suggest a Roman Goddess of Liberty; the broken shackles symbolize freedom newly achieved; the radiant crown represents her shedding light on the seven seas and continents. The tablet she holds, inscribed in Roman numerals "July 4, 1776," identifies the figure as an apostle of American freedom, law and justice. (Yes, I took a picture of this so I could remember it and write it down haha)

The statue is copper but turns green due to natural weathering of the material over time!
Something Zach and I were both interested in was how the statue got to America if it's from France? It was actually first assembled in Paris and then taken back apart to be shipped. Once she arrived, all of the pieces were stored for almost a year while the pedestal portion was built. 

The one in Paris!

We went up the pedestal and braved the cold for a few min to get some pics of the views!
View from under her!



Time for Ellis Island!



Confession: I love tour guide style tours...I cannot STAND audio ones. We skipped the audio tour for the statue (b/c the line for them was outside haha) but grabbed them for the Ellis Island. I just don't like how audio tours "take you back" and try to "make you feel like you're there."Maybe I just don't have a good imagination? But it's annoying to me haha! In Italy I really realized I just am not a fan of them. At Pompeii and the Colosseum I had Zach listen and he just told me the interesting parts :) This time, he actually ended up calling it quits with his too! 

It was VERY neat to think about all the history there and all the people who came through there to get to America. The struggles they faced. The history behind it all. But I didn't think they did that great of a job of making it a museum type setting? And reading all the stuff about the horrible things we did to Native Americans totally did not give me that "I'm proud to be an American" vibe I was expecting to feel being there. 

Here are some interesting facts I learned while there:

  • It was cool to see that Germans settled along the Great Lakes as my heritage is German and my family originates from Michigan!
  • In 1855 the Connecticut legislature past the nation's first literacy test for voting. It was a law intended to restrict the voting rights of immigrants. 
  • This was a very interesting political cartoon and interesting about the "Know Nothings"



The Registry Room was beautiful. Nearly every day for over two decades (1900-1924) the room was filled with new arrivals waiting to be inspected and registered by Immigration Service officers. One many days, over 5,000 people would file through the space. For most immigrants, this great hall epitomized Ellis Island. Here they encountered the complex demands of the immigration laws and an American bureaucracy that could either grant or withhold permission to land in the United States. It's now been restored to its appearance during that time period!


In this room they conducted health screenings. Often times they only had 6 seconds to inspect someone and decide if they needed more thorough medical examination. The drs were able to spot over 60 different health conditions during this brief line inspection!

The theme of this trip for us was HOT CHOCOLATE. In Italy it was GELATO haha we ate gelato literally once, if not twice, a day each day we were there. This time we probably had 3-4 servings of hot chocolate each day. We were so cold!!! We had a little snack and waited for the ferry to come back and get us!
We had to stop at the Police podium thing to get directions for the Subway :)
When planning the trip I did a realllllly non-typical Zach and Emily thing that also went along with our "treat yo self" motto. I was TIRED and worn out when scheduling everything. Early days of pregnancy were not easy for me at all this time for sure! I started hunting for restaurants and such for us to make reservations and decided to go all out. Zach LOVES to eat. He truly enjoys food in a way that I don't at all but I knew it'd make the trip extra special for him if we ate at some of the top rated places. So I went for it! Zach had a bonus that we decided to put towards the trip and just live it up! Our food theme (do you like all our themes on this trip? haha!) was "The #1s!" We ate at several top rated places!!!

First up was our lunch on Day 1! I booked us reservations for the best hamburger in NYC. Coincidentally it was also at Central Perk from Friends!!! How cool is that?!?! The restaurant is actually called The Little Owl and it's tiny. They are reservation only and if you are planning a trip to NYC, it's a must do in my opinion. When we go back, we WILL eat here again!

Look familiar? :) The Friends apartment building and Central Perk!




Food isn't that big of a deal for me in normal life, but in early pregnancy I especially don't care for it much. And this pregnancy I haven't been really into meat...but ohmygosh that burger!!! It was AMAZING. Our favorite burgers ever are still from last Christmas in NC but this was def our second favorite ever!

After our amazing lunch we headed back on the Subway! I have always wanted to visit New York at Christmas time. I went for Thanksgiving back in Middle School with my cousin and her family and it was awesome to see the Macy's Day Parade and such but I don't remember a lot of it nor did I fully appreciate the experience I was having! I wanted to make sure we did do some walking (even in the freezing cold!) because I wanted to make sure to see some of the beautiful Christmas decorations!!!

If it hadn't been so cold you KNOW I would have hit this place up haha I bet the ice cream is awesome and they had unicorns as their mascot. Duh, coolest animal ever.
As one of my Christmas gifts Zach gave me some spending money to go shopping with on our trip. It was SO sweet of him!!! However, it wasn't really the best weather for hardcore shopping. Plus who wants to have to remove a jacket, scarf, two shirts and two pairs of pants in order to try things on? No thanks! We did go into H&M though and found some AMAZING deals!!! I didn't try anything on but with the flowly look that's in right now I knew everything would fit :) 

Sacks 5th Av had amazing window displays and a line of people waiting to see them! Um, no lines for us!!!

Snowflake made from Swarovski crystals!
The only thing that was SO important to me this trip was the tree at Rockefeller Center. I wanted to see it as soon as we could so I KNEW we got to do it. Zach wanted to see it at night but I didn't want to wait and we were already nearby so we went ahead and did it! 
I'm not a very excitable person. I don't jump up and down or go crazy about stuff typically. My favorite feeling is that magical one I get anytime I'm at Disney. I can't really explain it but it is THE BEST feeling. Well...this tree gave me those similar flutters in my heart :) It was AMAZING!










Empty skating rink....so beautiful!

Loved allllll the decorations!
While Zach was taking pics of the skating rink I happened to notice this man and woman standing by themselves and saw him get down on one knee!!!! Literally I was the only person watching it all happen and, of course, Zach had the camera haha! I got his attention and he snapped a bunch of pics for them. It was awesome!!!
I was such an idiot about it all b/c I just LOVE special moments and loved that I got to witness it haha. I like gave them very little privacy. As soon as they stopped kissing I was like "omg did you just get engaged?!?!" And started clapping and cheering like a total loon haha!!! 





Duh, I totally offered to take their picture for them! And I got their email address to email them the ones Zach took...which I forgot to do...so I'll be doing that today! Oops! I feel bad that I kinda intruded on one of the most important moments of their lives....but at least they will have good pictures right??? :)



Seeing the amazing tree and getting to witness a proposal totally made me feel giddy! We had a LOT of time before our next scheduled event so we walked some of the streets and took it all in!

Lego store!








As you can tell, we had already had a MASSIVE day. At this point in my pregnancy I was in STRAIGHT UP chill mode 24/7. This was a LOT on me haha Plus my foot did not do well with the cold weather and tons of walking. Yikes! I felt super mega bad for having to call the walking fun off but I had to. Instead we went and sat in a Dunkin' Donuts for almost two hours. No joke. We got donuts (and hot chocolate: shocker) and just relaxed. 

While it was a lot of down time it was also super awesome. I mean we got to overhear this random older couple who obviously were native New Yorkers. They were cracking us up. The lady was a chain smoker and had to keep going outside to get her fix. They bickered over some change he owed her. They both talked super loudly and with heavy New York accents. They went over the movie listings and Steven (the man, I never caught her name) obviously knew very little about movies b/c every movie she'd ask "what's that about" and he didn't have a clue. One of them she said "is that the one about a delivery guy getting murdered? B/c I'd like that one." Hahaha. Def not the sweet old lady you might picture! 
Zach burned his mouth on the first sip ;)
Guess reading isn't his strong suit "caution HOT"
Once it was closer to the time of our show we headed out. We stopped by a drug store first to get some things for the room. We needed some bottled waters since I needed to be drinking water as much as possible and Zach didn't like the way the water tasted in the room. 

I've seen a decent number of shows over the years: Les Mes, The King and I, Rent, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Rocket's Christmas Show...not sure of any others off hand? But with this trip I wanted to really make sure ZACH had fun. I knew he wouldn't like a Christmas type show. I was really excited when I heard about First Date. It's the first year it's on Broadway so it's the original cast which really does make it extra special to me. I've never seen a musical comedy show before so I was intrigued...plus Zachary Levi was in it. Um HELLO Flynn Ryder!!! (Yes, I have a cartoon crush on Flynn Ryder. I mean doesn't everyone?!?!). We also used to watch Chuck several years ago and liked him in that as well. 

Confession: after watching this show Zachary Levi is tottttalllly on my celeb crush list now :)
He reminds me of Seth Cohen from The OC and Jim from The Office so, duh, I love him!



The theater was beautiful!!!
For both shows we saw this trip, we had AMAZING seats. It was awesome to be closer than we've ever been. Right before the show started the people next to me nudged me and asked me if I recognized a guy sitting in front of us. I did recognize him but I couldn't remember from where. Then Zach said "It's Shooter McGavin!" That still meant nothing to me haha when I got home I was on Twitter and happened to see a picture of Tom Hanks with the same guy and I guess they are super good friends? I ended up googling him and his name is Christopher McDonald and I have seen him in so many things!!! I've always wanted to have a random celebrity siting in NYC and I guess this counts huh? Ya know what was sad though? This guy isn't even a household name or someone that I would think paparazzi would follow...but still he got to the show right before it started and he snuck out and left right before it ended. It was sad to me to think about the kind of life these people have to live!
First Date was AMAZING. Zach said it's his favorite play ever. We laughed the entire time and it was a very cute story line. With many catchy songs that get stuck in your head. It's a GREAT one to see, especially if you can catch it soon while the original cast is still all in it!!!! The main character girl is from several things as well, but I didn't know who she was! Zachary Levi was AWESOME and we truly had a great time!!!

We walked through Times Square on the way back to the Subway!

Back in the room Zach was starving (a trend for him haha) bc lunch was at 2 and it was after 10. I was not hungry at all so just got a milk shake and he ordered us dinner from room service. Um. Never again! It was SO expensive!!! I have to admit though, it was $30 just for our two things...but they were both so so so so so delicious. That milkshake was insane! Not worth the price we paid, but insane all the same!!!
Summary of Day 1!
We had a wonderfully exhausting first day in the big city! I loved ending the night with some snuggles and some Parks and Rec with my man!!!

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