Walking the Brooklyn Bridge + Eating the Juliana's Pizza + Views from Battery City Park.

While we were staying in New York for the month, I lucked out because my friends came to visit :) It felt like a little piece of home, having those girls come and stay for a few days. I love New York so much and I rarely get to share it with friends and family back home, so I was a little giddy to share all my favorite spots with them. And they brought ideas for places they wanted to visit, too, so we went all out and explored and ate everything. It was so much fun (and to be honest, in retrospect I probably walked too much), but at the time the adrenaline was running mile-high and I was just going with it. There's something radical about the second trimester of pregnancy. It really makes you feel like you can fly. We did so much over the course of our few days together that I'm going to have to break it up into a few posts, because otherwise, it's like picture/restaurant recommendation overload. But if you're gathering ideas for an upcoming NYC trip, then make sure to check back here every day this week, because it's going to be New York-centric!

We started this day by driving into the city and parking right next to our old building on the Upper West Side. We showed Everett where we used to live (when I was pregnant with him!) and then hopped on the subway and took the quickest route to Brooklyn, our starting point for the day's events.

Showing Everett our old apartment building.

Showing Everett our old apartment building.

I know this is a dweeby picture but I don't care. We lived here! We loved it!

I know this is a dweeby picture but I don't care. We lived here! We loved it!

I instagrammed  this photo  last week because these boys were so into the boat watching. It was adorable.

I instagrammed this photo last week because these boys were so into the boat watching. It was adorable.

We lost this cute little hat on this particular day :(

We lost this cute little hat on this particular day :(

I promise he's not as close to the edge as it seems in the photo.

I promise he's not as close to the edge as it seems in the photo.

So I've shared before about walking the Brooklyn Bridge here and about eating the AMAZING Juliana's Pizza here, so I won't tell those kinds of stories twice. But all I can say is - do both of these! Get to Juliana's when they open, because then you won't have to wait too long (the line is way out the door for hours), and make sure to get any of the pizzas with scarmorza cheese. You won't be able to forgive yourself for missing it. Everett scarfed so hard and ate more than anyone. He's so my Italian baby.

After our carb-loading we trekked across the Bridge. I'll admit that it's a little annoying on Saturday to walk the bridge because it's so crowded, but the views are really special and not to be missed. Where else do you get to see that particular skyline of Manhattan? It's a stunner.

Vanessa brought one of those trendy Instax-polaroid cameras (I don't know what they're called actually) and Everett went nuts for it. He really likes getting his picture taken these days, but to have the immediate gratification of seeing the photo develop really did something for him. She was sweet to spend so much of her film on him during the trip. He showed everyone that we met his pictures, and would clutch them while we walked him in the stroller. Also, he called her "My Nessa". I almost died.

After walking across the bridge we wandered even further south to the waterfront, through Battery Park, and then wound our way up to Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place. We needed to rest our feet, so we grabbed some drinks and stretched out on the lawn for a bit. This is the perfect spot to take in views of the Statue of Liberty, although if you really want to get up close and personal, you can jump on a free ferry ride down to Staten Island to get a bit closer to Lady Liberty (we did that here).

Note: If you're going to Hudson Eats to really eat, I recommend the brisket at Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, the 5-spice pork belly sandwich at Num Pang, literally anything on the menu at Black Seed Bagel, and the citrus squeeze juice at the Tartinery. Whew, I'm glad I got all that off my chest.

What I love most about this city is that it is a thousand cities in one. It can mean anything to anyone - frenzied, fantastic, mesmerizing, shocking, comforting, challenging, intoxicating, inviting. I've been to a lot of big cities but there is nowhere quite like New York. I think it takes a long time to get the feel for the city - for first-timers it can feel overwhelming, too fast-paced and too crowded. But it grows on you in this sneaky, alluring kind of way. The food is best here. The skyline is exotic. The energy is addictive. The possibilities are infinite. It's truly a dreamer's city and I can't help but get re-bitten by the bug every time I set foot on this maddening island. Isn't it strange to feel most at home in a place that you don't actually call home? That's the magic of New York. It's the greatest city on Earth.

This was not the end of our day but I will split this post in two since we did so much. More tomorrow on wandering through West Village and up into Chelsea :)

P.S. - If you can't hardly wait, check out other NYC shenanigans and recommendations here :)

Happening Lately.

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope your weekend was less soggy than mine :) We've been having some dreary, sopping weather that has stretched into weeks over here. I don't mind the rain at all, it's nice to fall asleep with that hushing sound in the background - but - enough is enough. My son really wants to play outside. I want to run outside! It's time, dear clouds, for you to PART.

Which takes me back to last weekend, when we frolicked on the sunny beach for a total of 30 minutes.

We've had a wild few weeks! Two weddings, two weekends in a row! My sister's at the beach, my friend's at the farm. So much love to be celebrated, and it's such a blessing to be part of people choosing each other forever. I'm really honored. I have no "good" photos, because when you're in a wedding you're BUSY. But I have a messy array of selfies haha. I feel like a 13-year old.

As much as I have loved every minute of celebrating these gorgeous couples and their promise to love and to cherish - I have also have missed being away from my son so much. Yesterday I pretty much pummeled him with hugs and kisses and way too much excitement. I made him lay in bed with me, which was nearly impossible, because he is budding into toddler-hood beautifully and wants to MOVE. That's when I pull out my iPhone and we play a few apps and I pretend like he just wants to sit there and snuggle with mama without the coaxing of baby apps. And guys! He's finally saying it! MAMA. He's been saying Dada since he started talking, and he would say Mama every blue moon, but it always came out of his mouth kind of like an accident. But NOW! He looks right at me and says "Mama!" and I can't believe how my insides just turn melty and it's so wonderful. How does this little person have so much power over me? A simple word is arresting.

I'm looking forward to settling into some "normal" life and getting ready for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. Clean up my haphazard-looking garden. Maybe clean the bathrooms, too. And do a few fun holiday things. Like figure out where I'm going to put a CHRISTMAS TREE in my new house! And maybe make an advent calendar :) You know, normal things. I hope you are doing well and settling nicely into this fall season that we're having! I've got some fun posts for this week so make sure to check back tomorrow! Love love love.

Intentional October Update: Week 3.

This picture above is the view through my kitchen window at 5:30 am. Amazing, how it looks so much brighter in the photo than in real life. I think that's how I need to approach my Intentional October goals - they are brighter and more illuminating than they seem with the naked eye. If you're unfamiliar with what Intentional October is all about, you should check out what it means for me, and how I am attempting change this month.

The thing is, last week I stated that the central focus of the week would be on community; friends and family. And I had so many rich experiences with my people this week! I had the opportunity to celebrate a dear friend's bachelorette party and wedding shower, AND I threw my little sister a surprise wedding shower! Oh, that was really good stuff - she was legitimately surprised. Mission accomplished. Also, my house looks like the set of The Wedding Planner - anyone need to throw a wedding-themed anything? Because I've got you covered. But in all seriousness, I must admit - the interesting thing is that spending time with my loved ones this week often caused me to bend my core values for Intentional October. You can't go out for a fun bachelorette party and still get tucked into bed at 9:30pm. Not possible. You can't go to the gym and exercise when your son has a broken leg and is out of school for the week. And you really can't wake up early if you've been up all night, sick with a fever, only to discover in the morning that your son has one too. Well, that last scenario was a fluke, and had very little to do with my community. But it's been quite a week!

Let's be honest though. That's life, folks. Life just happens. And I want to talk about that a little.

Beating myself up about skipped goals and bent ideals is only a downward spiral. It's not super productive. So I've been learning to start fresh each day, with margins of grace. Grace for scenarios that aren't as rigid as my goals. That's the only way I will continue to stay motivated and find Intentional October continuously fun and inspired. I'm starting to think of Intentional October as my home-base discipline. It's the marathon of life, not a sprint. Sometimes I won't hit every goal of the day. But then tomorrow, I have a fresh start all over again. It's empowering.

Has anyone else run into this on their Intentional October journey? I'd love to hear about how you've been troubleshooting!

Invest in WORK.
The first few weeks of Intentional October were self-focused. Determining a few goals, creating a sustainable calendar for achievement, and getting into the habit of those chosen disciplines. If you're anything like me, those disciplines are still in flex. Continuing to find their place in my hours each day. This past week we focused on our immediate community - how to positively affect our friends and family. This coming week I want to build upon these principles and see how we can make a positive impact in the work place. What does that look like to you? For each of us, that will look different, because the range of "work place" varies significantly. I just want to encourage you to seek out someone at work that could use encouragement, affirmation, or a little extra attention. Take specific time to think through some work place bottle necks - do you have an idea that would better the environment for everyone involved? Gifting just a little special attention to these things could make a positive impact in your work place, so why not try it? Let's.

You've Got This!
I hope you are all still feeling motivated. My thing is, I want to do know that I did my absolute best at the end of this month-long journey. But I also want to know that I lived life to the fullest and enjoyed the vibrant once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Like watching my sweet modest friend don a silly tiara and veil in public at her bachelorette party. Like watching the shocked look on my sister's face as we all screamed "SURPRISE!!!" at her wickedly fun surprise shower. Like watching my son overcome his broken leg and, STILL, try to walk on it. Smiling at me the whole time. What a little bear. Oh my.

This is the stuff of life. The great moments that I'm not going to miss. And even though there have been moments this week where I've missed a goal here and there, the whole purpose of my goals is to fully embrace THESE moments. And have more of them. And celebrate them. And celebrate me. And celebrate YOU.

Life is beautiful, friends! I believe in your week! Let's make it COUNT!

PS - Did I mention my baby sister is getting married this coming weekend? I'm excited and a mess all at once. Advice for the sister of the bride?! I'm all ears. Or all tears. One of those. :)

Favorite Things Tea Party at the Ritz Carlton!

Favorite Things Tea Party at the Ritz Carlton!

It's no secret that I am a sucker for a good tea party. It's the little girl in me. So when my darling anglophile friend Alyson invited me to a tea party in honor of the new royal baby, how could I resist?? And when I found out it was high tea at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead, well, you kind of pull out all the stops to make that kind of affair come to life. Babysitter? CHECK. Good friends? CHECK. Awesome dress from my stylist sister? CHECK CHECK CHECK. Oh, and perhaps a little frou-frou head gear, a la Blair Waldorf. Checkedy check. Gang's all here!

To amplify the fun of high tea, Alyson decided to make this a "favorite things" party, where you bring a gift for each person at the party that is one of your favorite things. $5 limit. You know, one of those fun items that you love picking up at Target, even though you don't really need it. And so everyone goes home with a new favorite thing! It's super fun and girly. LIKE HIGH TEA IN HONOR OF A BABY PRINCESS. I hope that little Princess Charlotte knows that she is being partied for around the world. She's a little angel from Heaven. Loving babies is a relatively new thing for me. Since having my own, you know. And a baby princess?! Well, that's just all the more reason to celebrate babiessssss. Princess babbbiieeesssss.

We three. Wait - four!!

She's the raddest of them all. Look at those pearls. That fascinator. The woman the legend.

Aw macaroons make pregnant friends happy.

I'll have them all, thanks.

How gorgeous is that arm.

I want to put that on my head and be coronated.

With Kate, the gang's all here!

That's my lipstick. I'm officially a grown up.

Pinkies Out!

Okay so tea time. It was decadent. It was fancy. It was fruity. Tasty. Ruffled and spritzed and I might have sipped with my pinkies out. I blame the head gear. And I applaud sweet Alyson, because this girl really knows how to celebrate the great joys of life. And how about Janelle? Is there a hotter pregnant chick around? Well, I know a lot of preggos lately, so I can't choose favorites, but oh Janelle! What a babe, inside and out. The Ritz put on a delicious tea, complete with champagne and strawberries riddled in a bit of Grand Marnier. Yeah, I might have left tea time a little toasted. Those Brits really know how to make imbibing a gallant afternoon affair. The old-fashioned dining room was finished with oak and burgundy leather and crystal chandeliers - all things that make a tea party feel positively princessy. Which was occasion-appropriate, if you know what I mean.

TBT to That Time We Escaped Winter to Surf in Puerto Rico.

TBT That Time We Escaped Winter to Surf in Puerto Rico.

It was really, truly, very cold in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the unbearable month of February, which can be an almost hopeless time in that town. Not close enough to spring to believe that the warmth could ever again penetrate my paled, dry skin again. The days turned dark at 4pm. The blizzards continued to howl their wrath down upon our top-floor apartment. I would stare out the window in horror, praying to God that the weather would calm enough just so I could scamper across the street in my gigantic puffer coat to snag a bag of coffee. Forget about groceries. The dirty slush caked up on the sidewalks, making the 8-minute walk to the subway to get downtown to work almost impossible. Impassable. Inconceivable.

I needed a break. We needed a break.

For a couple of Georgia-born kids, the winter was really beginning to take it's toll. A toll on our souls.

So what did we do? We cozied up in a quilt, got on Hotwire, researched flights, and booked a couple of ridiculously cheap tickets to anywhere warm. Spring break was next week. We had. To get OUT.

And that "anywhere" turned out to be Rincon, Puerto Rico. The trip that saved our sanity in the midst of yet another torrential nor'easter blizzard.

And this was a seriously, seriously adventurous trip.

Our hunger for fun and adventure even surprised us. We hiked to mountainous waterfalls. Swam with sea turtles. Snorkled in the coral reef. SURFED FOR THE FIRST TIME. Had the raddest time with our great friends and seriously considered not getting on that return flight back to reality. It just felt so good to be surrounded by sexy Spanish accents, hot hot heat and gorgeously exotic views. Throw in the fact that we took barefoot walks on the beach every night to a little shack on the water where we watched the sun set, ate fish tacos, drank cheap margaritas and talked about LIFE, and well, we were ready to drop our anchor right there in paradise. We sat out on that beach for hours, talking about the future as if it wasn't already happening to us. As if we weren't living the dreams we had so long dreamed about. As if anything was possible.

Yes. Stevie's shirt.

Surf's up!

Hiking with friends in the tropics.

Of course there was a hidden waterfall.

Of course Stevie had to jump off the hidden waterfall. These were the days of pre-baby risk taking people.

Obligatory lip smacking photo. Because PUERTO RICO!

Yeah, Stevie wore that shirt a lot. It was like being married to Jimmy Buffet for a week.

Looking back on this trip now, I have to laugh at the incredible bliss we felt. Sometimes you can't possibly appreciate the level of adventure that you're experiencing until you step away from it, take a moment to observe it, and then step back into current life, refreshed with vision. A bit of perspective awakened. This little last-minute escapade to Puerto Rico came at a time where we needed that fresh perspective, needed a contrast, needed to see each other in a different light. Needed to see ourselves in a different light. Thank God that light was from the sun and not another halogen lamp.

Life is a little different these days. Instead of taking spontaneous adventures to sunny islands, we are taking a few hours every other week to have a quick dinner date in our sweats. It's normally fajitas at the local Mexican joint, and the margaritas aren't quite so cheap. But they taste better than ever. And I wouldn't change this season of life for anything! Because I know our adventurous days aren't just behind us, they're looming somewhere ahead, too. Those adventures are still brimming on the horizon of our hearts, waiting for us to take another dive into the joyous spontaneity. And I can feel myself readying for another season of "anything's possible!" Thanks, Puerto Rico, for giving me that bit of reprieve a few years back. And thanks for the memories, because they're living on in my head and spinning up all kinds of adventurous momentum in my heart.

Here's to ALL of our adventures. May they live on.