Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

My little American Girl

Can you see the little doll in the salon chair getting her hair done?

Maisie and I met friends for a little girls trip to the American Girl Place on 5th Ave. I went with the intention of buying Maisie a doll- but just couldn't bring myself to do it. She is just 1 1/2 and the dolls said ages 8+. So it's the stores own fault for discouraging me from buying!:)

That store was amazing. All the doll options- personalizing them to make them look like you, buying a matching outfit for doll and child, the doll hospital (where dolls get repaired and come home with a hospital bracelet and everything), the hair salon for the dolls, the cafe where you can put your doll in her own high chair for a $22 lunch or tea, the theatre where you can watch a live performace, etc. Wow.

Maisie seemed to mostly have fun following her friend around and giggling. What a sweet store for my sweet little girl!:)

FAO Schwartz

After Broadway in the Park last week Maisie and I went with some friends window shopping down 5th Ave. ending at FAO Schwartz, a huge and magical toy store. Maisie had falled asleep on the way over there, but when she woke up I couldn't help but wonder if she thought she'd died and gone to heaven! Surrounded by colorful, musical, fun-filled toys- what a wonderland!

While we were there we got to hear story time by one of the toy soldiers (isn't that what he was? It's like their logo or something?), ride around on a pretty pink car, play with toddler toys, visit the 'hospital' where children can 'adopt' a baby for the small price of their $100 dolls:), saw life sized stuffed animals, dress up clothes, a model train she just adored, and best of all the GIANT piano featured in "Big" with Tom Hanks. She and I ran across it and she danced and giggled the whole time. It was such a fun trip!

Free is a very good price

This is Maisie playing with a good friend at Broadway in the park. I think she ate about 6 handfuls of dirt and gravel that afternoon!

This is the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera- such beautiful music. A true classic, Ryan got to see it again here on Broadway and loved it.
One of maybe 3 or 4 pieces of art we recognized at the Metropolitan museum of art. Was it just me or did they just hate my toddler running around that place? Not as much as the sales-people at SAKS 5th Ave hating her swinging on the $3k dress. All I said was "Where is that child's mother!" Washington square park. Do you recognize the 'Arch de Triumph' (something like that) from "I am Legend" or "August Rush"? We enjoyed a free concert there while Maisie made friends playing at the playground.
Our little family at Governer's Island. It was so quiet and peaceful there- I nearly forgot we were just a 5 min ferry ride from the city. We loved the free live music and activites there.

In more detail-

This summer has been filled with so many unforgettable adventures for us. Those who know me well know I love finding a bargain- and I want to share a few I've found here in the city so far, that are FREE:

On Thursdays several Broadway musicals are showcased at Bryant park where the stars sing a few songs from their shows (Maisie and I met friends and had a great time doing this last week), the Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays (we went twice before the heat of the summer kicked in!), NY Philharmonic plays in different NYC parks all summer- we saw and heard them in Central Park, free children's crafts in some NYC parks (Maisie made a bracelet at one), Live! with Regis and Kelly was free and so fun for me to see since I am such a fan, Ryan has a pass from American Express so all the museums in NYC have been free to see (if you haven't seen the Museum of Natural History, get to NY and see it!!! Unreal.); we just saw the Metropolitan museum of art, Governer's Island gives a free ferry over to the island and free concerts which we enjoyed this weekend, along with free kayaking, canoeing and row boating, and much much more.

On top of all the leisure activities I have also run into people giving away free stuff in the streets- oh come on now, I'm playing it safe. For example, Maisie and I went to go pick Ryan up from work and a truck was passing out free bottles of a new flavored vitamin water- so we got 3. Last weekend a booth at Governor's Island was giving out free water bottles (perfect timing since I've lost TWO this summer) and free bottled water as well. Another day we passed by an M&M's truck, so I wandered over to find them giving away as a promotion free M&M ice cream bars (I stripped Maisie down to diaper only and let her have at it. On a sunny NY day out on the street she made quite the mess!). Another morning we found weight watchers single serve ice cream being handed out- of course we helped ourselves. And my favorite, is outside the ABC studios a truck sits giving free coffee and bagels out, as a promotion of their brand "Chock full o nuts" so I got a free sausage egg breakfast sandwich. I know, I know, this place really is a paradise for me!!!

These are just some pictures of recent free adventures!:)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best show on earth

Ryan and I have seen some great Broadway shows here in NYC, but the greatest show I've seen so far was a group of dancers out at the Statue of Liberty. Can't you just hear "this land is your land, this land is my land" as the kids stretch their arms out. They just danced their little red-white-and blue hearts out for us. Maisie LOVED it, as she tapped her foot and spun around in circles.

Runner in Training

Since the high heel a thon Maisie only wants to wear high heels around the house. I like to think she's practicing:) She also loves practicing racing "Ready, set, go!" as she waddle-runs as fast as she can. She will even lean over as if to start down in the blocks like a real sprinter... Pictured with Maisie above is "cow" her dearest NY friend she's made. And she is running on the water front of the Hudson River outside Ryan's work.

Mother-In-Law Visit

It has been fun to have visitors come out during our time here in NYC. It's definately a destination city- and we were happy to have Ryan's Mom come out and enjoy the city with us. There really is so much to see, that we had a great time showing her some of our favorite places and some new. We saw: the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Top of the Rock (Rockefellar Center NBC's bldg), she saw Wicked, ate famous cheesecake, Central Park, Ate at America's first Pizzeria, Little Italy, China Town, Times Square, Manhattan Temple, Live! with Regis and Kelly, etc! Here are a few pics! Seeing the sunset on top of the Rock was unforgettable!


Let me preface this blog: when I was a kid I remember that every day at noon my mom had a date. That's right. Every day. Never fail, with Perry Mason. The old black and white show about a lawyer. I remember her folding laundry while watching the show and we never interupted her, probably because we found the show so boring. I now have my own show I watch every day (nearly) never fail, and something I look forward to. Live! With Regis and Kelly. It's my little escape into a little bit of what's happening in the world.So, while being here in NY I've had the opportunity to go see their show being taped- which was really a lot of fun. AND- heard one morning about a high heel race they were putting on for charity. I signed myself up! Anika Busby did too, and we had a great time! It took place in Central Park. My biggest goal was to qualify in the preliminary heat to run with Kelly Ripa in the front row, and I did! I'm wearing a yellow shirt and gray pants. What a blast to be on t.v. and enjoy the festivities of the morning- including: free pedicures, manicures, massages, free drinks, snacks, etc. A definate highlight of my New York Summer. And, I finished about 8th!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July - New York style

What do you do on the 4th of July in New York? I don't think New York has ever been known for its Independence Day celebration, but there are definitely some unique things that happen in this city, and we were able to find a couple. First, how could we miss the hot dog eating contest at Coney Island?

As you can see by her smile, Maisie loved the experience. Also, if you look really closely you will see policeman on top of the Nathan's building in the background. I have never seen hotdogs taken so seriously :)

We had a great time wandering around Coney Island (for about an hour), we decided we had seen enough and will probably never return, especially to go to the beach. This is what the beach looked like.

As you can see, there aren't really a lot of places to lay out, and the water isn't all that blue either. The most exciting part of the trip was the "sudden death overtime" in the hotdog eating contest. Never had I been so concerned that the overtime might actually result in sudden death. After tying at 59 hotdogs in regulation Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi (or something like that) had a 5 hotdog eatoff to determine a winner.

As you can see, even Maisie could help but get caught up in the excitement.

After going home for naps, we ventured out to see the "biggest firework show in the nation". We arrived at around 6 and things were already starting to get pretty full. We had some friends who had gone down to stake out a place at about 3 and were sitting in an area that had been cordoned off by the police by the time we got there. After a little begging, the police allowed us to cross the line to sit with them. The seats were incredible, we were right on the water's edge with the fireworks direction in front of us. Here are some pics:

This is the view of the NY skyline looking back toward the city. The tall building is the Empire State Building, sporting its festive Red, White and Blue lights.

When the fireworks started, Maisie was on Ryan's lap, she got nervous and moved onto my lap, then got nervous again and moved onto the lap of our friend, Selena. She finally felt comfortable, so she settled in and watched the rest of the show with her.

Getting home from fireworks was a nightmare, but it was by far worth the trip. We loved experiencing the 4th in the big city, but I don't think we'll do it again any time soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Third wheel

I never would have guessed how much I would walk here in the city this summer. I have gotten used to it but in the beginning my feet were killing me. I have learned that if I am out, there is no sense in wearing cute shoes. I wear running shoes everywhere and with everything. Lucky for me- we haven't run into any fashion police.
One of my favorite things we do here in the city is on Fridays Maisie and I walk down Riverside park. It is long and narrow and begins near where we live. It is covered with playgrounds and has a great view of the river we enjoy for several miles. We stop at playgrounds and then meet Ryan for dinner somewhere in Midtown Manhattan. We call it date night, and we call Maisie the third wheel. Cutest wheel we've ever seen though, so we're ok with it:)

Sunday, June 29, 2008


As of this weekend, Ryan is half done with his internship. I realized this at church today and started to feel a little panicked. We still have so many things we want to see and do while we are real New Yorkers (I'm sure many New Yorkers would be offended that we think we're locals even though we're only here for 3 months). We feel pretty urgent about it all because if we come back to American Express, we are pretty sure we will not be city dwellers. Ryan would probably commute from New Jersey, so this is probably our only chance to be so close to so many great things.

My mom came into town a couple weeks ago, so we made a special effort to scour the city, looking for fun. Here are pictures of a few of our adventures:

This is Maisie wearing a Macy's hat in Macy's on 34th street.

We live 2 blocks away from Grant's Tomb, so we thought we'd go investigate who is actually buried there...

Here's Mais playing at the foot of Lady Liberty - she really liked having some grass to play in (there really was a lot, I don't know why she chose to sit in the one patch of dirt.)

Here's the whole family under the Statue of Liberty - one of our favorite trips so far!!

Here's Katharine, Maisie, and I at Belvedere Castle in Central Park (a great Sunday afternoon stroll)

We live just blocks away from Columbia University, here is a picture of the library at the center of campus.

I'm still a week or so behind on what's going on with our lives, but at least I'm a little more caught up - we are really happy to be where we are and are loving all the adventures.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Please don't call CPS

This first picture sends chills down my spine. Ryan, holding Maisie up like that. Trust me I was not encouraging him! This is atop the Empire State Building on the 86th story where you really can see the world! Well, if there weren't so much smog I guess. The view was spectacular and we had a great time identifying the parts of the city that we have explored.

We still feel like we're tourists, trying to cover as much ground in this great city as we can over the summer.

Ryan is enjoying his time with American Express. He even got to meet the CEO. That was very exciting, like a celebrity siting. He even shook his hand!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

If you can make it here you'll make it anywhere...

...or so says Frank Sinatra. I've got to admit, old Blue Eyes might have known what he was talking about. In my short experience here in New York, it sure seems like this place is a lot different than anywhere I have been before. For the first few days here, I definitely wondered what I had done dragging my family across the country to this strange place, but now it is really starting to grow on me. Don't get me wrong, there are still some things I am not a fan of, I don't like living in an environment where silence doesn't exist, and I hate having to get a running start just to get a place on the subway, but New York definitely has some redeeming merits. I guess the best part of New York starts right here...

I'm spending my days here in the building on the right working at American Express. I live on the 35th floor in cube 109C. I've been so impressed with Amex up to this point. I was originally attracted to the company because of their history of success, and I have found that the success they have achieved did not come by mere happenstance. American Express has built an organization that continues to evolve and succeed no matter how the environment changes. It's been fun to observe how this happens. Innovation is a priority and it seems like everyone is aligned toward similar goals. One of my tasks this summer is to get to know the HR organization, so I spend a significant amount of time each day sending emails to people throughout the organization asking for the chance to speak with them. Without exception I have found people that are willing to take time out of their schedules to meet with me and tell me their story.
I am working on Employee Data Privacy which is a fascinating (and somewhat boring) subject, I will save the details of that for a later post. Anyway, life is good and we are starting to adjust to the fast pace of New York City.

7 Days for $25

When buying a subway pass you have the option to buy an unlimited ride pass for $25 that lasts 7 days. Or you can buy each ride for $2 each. So... over the past week I definitely got my money's worth. Here are a few of my adventures:

This may look like an amusement park, but no, it's Toys'R'Us in Times Square. It was unbelievable.

Playing in Central Park for Luke Busby's birthday. It's been so nice to have MBA friends here!

Children's museum of the Arts. Maisie had such a great time playing, reading, painting, and exploring. In SoHo.

The Jersey Shore. My favorite day so far.

I just had to add this. No, that's not facial hair silly, that is sand stuck to snot. Who hasn't seen this before? Classic.

Carnegie Deli, greatest cheesecake I've ever had, EVER. $8.95 a slice. Worth every penny.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Beautiful to see the city scape. We ate great pizza once we got to Brooklyn.

Picking dad up from work. He works in the financial district right on the Hudson river. It is a gorgeous water front with a path all the way to the ferry boats to the Statue of Liberty. We were too late for that though.

The Bronx Zoo- Maisie and I went with Anika Busby, Stacey Creer and their kids. It was a lot of walking and not very many animals to see. But the Zoo is free on Wednesday and the kids were thrilled to be there and play together. The most exciting to Maisie were the peacocks. I thought that was hilarious.