Today is normally Motivational Monday, but I will resume MM next week. I only had one submission, and I forgot to post a reminder, so it'll just make more sense to wait until next Monday.
I got home from NYC yesterday, and I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated! I've been to NYC several times: at 16, I went with a friend, but don't remember much; I went in 2011 for The Dr. Oz Show; I went in 2014 for the Purina Better With Pets Summit; and then this weekend, I went to speak on a panel for Prudential. In 2011 and 2014, I was traveling alone, and had NO knowledge of the city. I'm terrible at directions and public transportation, so I found myself frustrated and unable to really make the most of the trips.
I was really excited that I had enough SkyMiles for Jerry to go with me on this trip, because Jerry loves to explore (and learns directions quickly). An old friend of ours, Mike, moved to NYC last year, so I got in touch with him to ask if he wanted to get together while we were there. That ended up working out really well, and made the trip so much fun!
On Friday morning, Jerry and I had to get up super early to leave for the airport. Our flight was at 7:25, so we left the house at 5:30. I took Xanax for the plane, which I hate taking because it makes me so tired, but it helped make the flight go by pretty quickly. (Usually, I have wine before flying, but I wanted to save my calories for NY!).
When we arrived at La Guardia, we took a shuttle that I'd reserved to get to our hotel. We stayed at the Hudson, which was literally a block from Central Park. The last two times I went to the city, I wanted to check out the park, but wasn't able to get there; this time, I wasn't going to take any chances ;) I booked the Hudson through a deal on Priceline (the kind where you pay for a hotel in a particular location, and then they tell you the name of the hotel--kind of a gamble). I was really happy with it, though--it was small, which was expected, but very clean and well-kept. A great location, too! (Prudential gave me a travel stipend for my hotel and flight, but everything was more expensive than I imagined, so I was glad to get a deal where I could).
We dropped off our bags at the hotel, and then right away, we went to meet Mike at the 9/11 Memorial (another place I'd wanted to visit the past couple of trips). The Memorial was AMAZING. We didn't have time to do the museum, which I've heard can take all day, but just seeing the reflecting pools was really touching. I should have taken more pictures, but honestly, pictures couldn't possibly do it justice.
We were starving for lunch by that time, so we met up with Mike's wife, Renee (who was working, but off for lunch) and went to a restaurant/bar called Irish American Pub to get some food. I got a chicken sandwich that had roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella, which was so good! It was really big, so I only ate half of it.
Mike said we could see a great view of the city from the Staten Island ferry, which sounded fun, so we walked around a bit and then headed to the ferry. It was a gorgeous day, and perfect for a ride on the water!
We took the ferry round trip, and then went to Mike's apartment in East Village. I really enjoyed that area of the city more than the touristy parts I've seen. It had a more comfortable feel to it, if that makes sense. Anyway, it was fun to see where Mike lives. We walked to a park to watch the dogs at the fenced-in dog area, which was entertaining. Made me miss Joey! For dinner, we walked to a bar in Mike's neighborhood that had free pizza on Fridays. I tried a watermelon beer there, which was awesome! Jerry and I made our way back to our hotel on the subway without getting lost, so it was a success ;)
On Saturday morning, I got ready to go to the Prudential panel at the BlogHer conferences. The conferences were at the Hilton, which was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. Jerry and I walked downstairs, and were shocked to see that it was pouring rain outside, and thunder storming. I had plenty of time to get to the hotel, so we just waited under a pavilion while it stormed.
When the rain stopped, we grabbed breakfast from a street vendor and walked to the Hilton. We sat in the lobby for a while, and Jerry went over the panel questions with me so I felt more prepared. I was probably overthinking things, but I had never been on a panel before, so I was nervous. Then Jerry left to meet Mike for a Yankees game.
I popped into the expo to go meet a reader named Pam, who said she'd be working at the WordPress booth. She was super nice! And almost had me convinced to switch to WordPess ;)
After chatting for about 20 minutes, I went downstairs to the Prudential lunch/conference. I was too nervous to eat lunch, so I just talked with the other panelists until we got started. I'll write about the panel in a later post, but once it got started, I felt much more comfortable--and it went well! I was very inspired by what the other panelists had to say.
When the panel was over, I decided to go back to the hotel to change clothes (it was CRAZY HOT outside--in the 90's and just as humid as Michigan). I threw on some comfy clothes and then headed to Central Park. I grabbed some lunch from a vendor on the way (chicken and rice) and when I got to the park, I sat down on a rock to eat (and people watch). Being a Saturday, it was super busy in the park. I was glad that I had decided not to go for a run there, because there were so many people that it would have been frustrating to navigate. It was a great time for people-watching, though!
Jerry sent me a text saying that the game was over, so he and Mike would come meet me. I was really craving a yummy dessert, so we got a couple of Red Velvet Whoopie Pies to take back to Mike's place. Mike, Renee, Jerry, and I sat outside in the courtyard of Mike and Renee's apartment and chatted for a few hours before it was time for Jerry and I to head back to the hotel. We had a really difficult time making our way back, because there was some sort of change on one of the subway lines, so we spent a good hour walking up and down stairs at the station, asking directions, and trying to get cell service. We did finally get back to the hotel, though.
Our shuttle picked us up from the hotel at 6:30 yesterday morning to take us to the airport, so we had to get up early. We were both really excited to see the kids, though, because we hadn't seen them in a whole week! We had a great time in New York, but it felt good to get home. We celebrated Noah's birthday last night, and took him to get his new bike (he said opening the card at camp was very exciting).
Now, it's back to the norm! Taking a week (almost) off of blogging was recharging. Hope everyone had a great weekend!