"called to build the kingdom first through the romance and adventure of our home..."


Post 67 | New York City Part 2

“One belongs to New York instantly,
one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
― Tom Wolfe


We discovered the happiness of Wafels and Dinges at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Day a few years ago, and we (Caleb especially) has been hooked ever since. Caleb's favorite is "deBom": a warm Belgian waffle, scoop of creamy vanilla, drizzled in chocolate. So simple, but perfectly ooey-gooey, savory-and-sweet, warm-and-cold GOOD.

I've heard, seen, and read SO MUCH about Ladurée for years. And I'm bummed at myself that I didn't make sure we got there before this... because WOW. What an EXPERIENCE. From start to finish every quarter-inch of Ladurée is considered, handled with utmost care, and beautiful. Lap of luxury, to say the least. I have more of a Nigella Lawson Philosophy on food, but this really was splendor. And I see how everyone who goes is addicted! Being here made me really want to go to Paris (Disneyland Paris, Rowdy memorizing Madeline - my childhood favorite book, and Ladurée! Sounds perfect! Hah!)

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I don't even know what this cake-masterpiece is called. But it was the best dessert either of us have ever had. About 9-10 thin layers of different flavors and textures, but soft and delicate to eat, with moth-wing soft crunch. It was absolute art to every sense. Rowdy had (and loved) the macaroons and Caleb also moaned over a chocolate croissant!


We spent the morning walking around Central Park (trying to build up an appetite after our pizza evening hahah). It might have been my favorite memory of this trip. There was hardly anyone else that we passed, adding to the already serene, quiet presence of the place. Rowdy had a ball crunching snow, finding sludge puddles, and being free to run around with darling rosy cheeks and frost-kissed nose. Caleb commented that it reminded him of Narnia... snow and lampposts and brass statues of animals very quiet. Enchanting, even for us "summer people."


Though sandwiches and deli food is some of my all-time favorite, I haven't had nearly enough sandwiches in New York as I should have! I wanted to grab an easy lunch before we headed to the airport... so I researched diligently to find the "perfect" well-reviewed, great-atmosphere, grab-and-go, affordable lunch spot. Alidoro was the winner! Caleb got a steak/cheese/Italian melt and I got a tuna salad (remembering WHY I haven't gotten many sandwiches here hahah I was so full still!). We will definitely go back here! The decor reminded me of my mom so much. She always sought to make her kitchen have that European country feel. Terra Cotta tile floors, blue and yellow mosaic tile, the EXACT same barstools we had growing up, butcher block counters, blue and white damask wall paper, wood farm-style table. I kept thinking of what I would be texting her and how much she'd light up if she was here. So special. 




Our entire (short) trip we didn't use a shuttle bus, subway, cab, Uber, or rental car! We "discovered" that the Newark AirTrain drops off right in Penn Station. We flew into Newark, NJ and took the 30 minute train into the city, walked walked walked walked, and then got back on the train to go to the airport! If we are flying in, this is ALWAYS how we'll do it from now on!  Plus, Rowdy thought we were on a "lightning fast ride" and grinned the whole time. So cute. It was $5.50 each way, and kids under 11 are free! Hope that little tip is as helpful for someone else as it was us :)

Any and all tips or reccomendations are SO welcome!
I'll add them to my list for future visits!

Post 66 | New York City Part 1

"There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless." 
(Simone Beauvoir)

My first actual visit to New York City was on my senior trip in high school. But it is one of my life highlights to get to take Caleb for his first time. In 2011 when we were still dating (but he was ring-shopping and we knew our forever was going to be together) my Christmas present for him was a surprise day trip to NYC. We took a 5 am bus there and took the midnight bus home and I don't think there was a second of that day that wasn't perfect. It's turned into a tradition for us to go at least once a winter. Thanks to Southwest points and Priceline I got to give Caleb a weekend trip to NYC this year! We went the week after New Year's and it was plain fun. Cold! But FUN.


It's no secret that I'm quite obsessed with the new iPhone 7 camera (and Portrait mode!). I want to make sure I documented this trip to my liking (part of my "love languages" is preserving the memories) but decided to not bring my Canon and see what the iPhone camera would be like during travel. And I'm THRILLED. To get the kinds of pictures I could get for my family to look back on, without having to lug around the big camera, feels so satisfying and nerdy-fun to me!


Everything I read about "NYC Travel Tips" mentions getting to the top of the Rockefeller Center for the views. The Empire State Building is classic, but this view truly is better... and breath-taking. All the lists are right: if you go to New York, you MUST add it to your itinerary! (I also bought the tickets online ahead of time which was fantastic. We didn't have to wait in line in the cold! And got up so quickly! I also planned it so we could be up there for golden hour and see it after dark, too. I highly recommend this plan! It was majestic and diverse!) 


Though taxis and subways and bikes are part of the NYC experience, our favorite way to see this city, in particular, is walking. We walked over 100 blocks the first evening we were there! There is something about the endless parade of buildings as you walk... and walk... and walk.. and walk... and walk...! Looking into the windows, seeing the signs, smelling the (good and bad) smells, and absorbing all the height, history, rush, and details one block at a time is something special.

Ps. We had all our stuff in the stroller! One backpack and two large purses. I've never packed so light, but GOSH did it make getting around nice!


Alrighty. This is half-embarrassing and half-deeply-joy-giving and 100% "me." First off, I couldn't find paper so I made this chart on half a cardboard box. Second, I spent an entire nap time going through about eight or nine google pages with the keyword search "Best NYC Pizza. " Every pizza place that was on a list more than once made it to the cardboard. Then I tallied up how many times each place was listed to find The Grand Winner. (There was a three-way tie between Di Fara, Roberta's, and Joe's on Carmine). Third, our long-time favorite pizza place is John's on Bleecker. But since we love it so much we ALWAYS go and haven't explored many other of the renown pizza places in NYC!  

We each got a slice at Joe's on Carmine since it is so close to John's! We did a little "side by side" competition comparison. And Joe's is very, very good. We enjoyed it so much. In our opinion it was not as good as John's but still close to perfect!

Look, if you're gonna walk 100 blocks you get to have as much pizza as you want, right?! So far no pizza can beat this one:

When we came to NYC in 2011 we Caleb scratched our initials into one of the benches at John's. Three years ago we added an "R" to our heart, and this trip we got to draw an "S" in! I love story-type things like this and can't wait to see how many little letters we add through the years. I can't wait for my kids to hopefully come back with their kids and show them. Anything that can make life just a bit more special is fine by me!

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(This isn't the best of the boys, but I'm smitten with that snuggled, smiling baby down there!)

Part 2 | Coming Next!