Well a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you! Hope you all had a wonderful two weeks filled with family, friends, food and fun!
I had a great two weeks beginning with a Heifer Reunion in Philly with six of my faves from college, including Alissa who was able to come home from Australia for the holidays. She also got engaged on New Year’s, which was so exciting! I am so thankful and happy I took the call on my phone that said “Private Number” because it turned out to be Alissa with the good news! I’m so very happy for her and her fiance Dave and can’t wait til they’re back in the U.S. permanently and to celebrate their wedding.
After the reunion, I returned to State College to work a basketball game and finally drove home the morning of Christmas Eve. I had a nice Christmas at home with the family and we even managed a trip up to Warminster, Pa. to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins and their kids. It was really great to see everyone since it doesn’t happen enough. On the 29th I headed back to PSU, only to get stuck in a backup on the interstate for more than an hour. My normal three hour drive took closer to six with the 14-car pileup. It was crazy snowy that day causing a lot of delays, accidents and slow traffic.
On the 30th I headed to New York City to spend New Year’s with Gabe. We stayed with one of his good friend’s in the Astoria section of Queens. It was a pretty neat area and convenient to the rest of the city. I met Gabe on the Upper East Side near the Met and then we drove around for almost an hour trying to find street parking. You don’t want to pay for a garage in the city, especially in a high-end area like the Upper East Side. They started at $10 per half hour. We found a spot on a nice, quiet residential street and headed off to have some fun.
We ate at Shake Shack for lunch and warmed up in a Barnes and Noble. We then hopped on the subway to SOHO and did a little shopping. I loved SOHO. There was just a lot of energy and fun. One of my favorite stores in Sabon, where you can get this amazing salt scrub, soaps, lotions, etc. Another neat store we stopped in was called Evolution. It had dinosaur bones, insects galore, human skeletons (of all ages) and tons of other things. The skeletons were awesome too look at and were real. I’ve seen plastic skeletons, but they’re nothing like the real thing. I didn’t take photos of those, but here are two photos just to give you an idea of what else was in the store.
Before we left we stopped at this little window in the side of a building for some mini cupcakes! Baked by Melissa!
We then hopped by on the train to Union Square where Gabe gave me part of my Christmas present. We hopped in line for Rush Tickets for Fuerza Bruta. The show is in its final weeks so if you can make it to NYC, add it to your list. It’s a 70 minute show where you stand and move around the whole time. It’s so high energy and interactive. It was definitely something completely different than I’d ever experienced. Below are some pictures.
I don’t want to tell you too much in case you do manage to see it. It’s really quite impressive and like no other show you’ll ever see.
While in Union Square we stopped at Max Brenner for some Italian Dark Hot Chocolate. It was quite delicious. I’m actually craving some more!
On New Year’s Eve we headed back into the city after a little bit of a late start. We visited Rockefeller Center to see the tree…
and visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
I have several more pictures from MoMA, including ones of works by Matisse, Monet and Picasso. I also saw “The Scream” by Edvard Munch for the first time. The MoMA is six floors of some incredible art and some art that you might wish/think you could do yourself. You might be rich now if you had! It was pretty crowded, but people were always moving so you never had to worry about not being able to see a particular piece of art.
Before heading back to Queens, Gabe and I headed down to the NYU area via the subway and stopped at Pommes Frites for some amazing belgian-style fries. It’s another one of those hole-in-the-walls, literally. Definitely delicious! We then stopped in an extremely crowded liquor store before starting the two train trek to Queens. For dinner we ate at Seva, an Indian restaurant. It was probably some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. Their Naan was so fluffy and delicious! After we had a quiet night in watching the ball drop with a glass of wine.
I may or may not have fallen asleep five minutes later 😉
On New Year’s Day, we headed over to where we parked my car and grabbed breakfast from a Colombian bakery to share with our hosts, Chris and Nora. We headed out shortly after and drove to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. They were by far the best outlets I’ve ever been to. I highly recommend going to them if you can. I will definitely be making a return trip!
All in all, it was a great holiday break and I had a wonderful time. It is so nice to relax and not think about work or school and to just enjoy time with those closest to you. I hope you all were able to do the same.
Now it’s back to the grind, but at least my travel is minimal for the next few months. I’m excited to spend some time cooking, baking, skiing and studying since school starts back up in just a few weeks. I’ll be sharing some recipes in the next couple of posts!