EATING IN THE BIG APPLE

FullSizeRenderEating through the Big Apple was simply an adventure! I’ve been meaning to brag…I mean, BLOG (lol) about the many places we ate on our trip to New York City.  We talked about how excited we were to be going to NYC in our countdown post. I just haven’t had time or at least made time to share it with you all! The excitement of our engagement has taken over me, lol.  That moment also excitedly happened while we were there! Well I’m finally ready to take a breather and share with you all our lovely experiences. There are just endless amounts of restaurants in the city itself, its lovely! From ‘Big known’ restaurants to ‘little hole in the wall’ places and just your average ‘everyday chain’  restaurants. None the less, food is… well food and food is yummy!! Lets just say that our bellies were extremely happy while we were there. I’m really excited to share all the places we had a chance to visit on our stay, they were all so delightful in their own ways. (well minus one, that i will mention and why it might have been a bad timing)

Before we got to New York, we made sure to do our homework, we searched many restaurants and asked some friends that knew of places in New York, we even had some fellow bloggers recommend some great restaurants. We tried to not only go to some well-known restaurants but also restaurants that fellow New Yorker’s enjoy on an average day. Well.. sit back and grab  cup of coffee and a note pad and be ready to jot down some of these lovely places. You never know when you’ll be making an unexpected trip to the Big Apple and I’m sure it’ll come in handy, lol. I will literally take you on our food journey, day by day. We had quite the adventure and the best part was that my honey and I were together and we did it on a budget! It was a great success! I’ll give you some pointers on how we managed to stay in our ‘food budget’ and later on another post how to tour the city on a budget as well!

Enjoy!

{ARRIVAL DAY}

When we arrived in New York, it was about 5pm.. By the time we got a cab from La Guardia Airport to West of midtown where we stayed, and got settled in to our hotel, we needed a boost!  We decided to go to a very well-known place and do what fellow New yorkers’ are best at.. Night life! So we headed out for our first stop. TAO restaurant. This place was pretty amazing. It definitely had a ‘loungy’ feel to it. We embraced our long day of waiting for our delayed flight and celebrated that we had made it to the city, FINALLY! this called for Celebratory drinks and appetizers.

I enjoyed a TAO-tini, which was delicious, I didn’t want it to finish! Xavier had some cold sake and according to him, it was good! Since we knew we had late dinner reservations that night, we opted out on dinner servings and had some appetizers which were also pretty amazing! (TIP: This btw, is a great way to get a taste for the food without spending $45 dollars per plate!)

Our second stop for the night was Bar Americain, a Bobby Flay restaurant. The ambiance was subtle and relaxed. And the food was delicious. After a long day of luggage, lines and waiting we wanted to make sure we went to bed with full bellies, we deserved it! So we did… very much worth the indulgence!

{DAY TWO}

Upon waking up we grabbed a cup of coffee for the road..well the subway, lol and headed out towards the lower east side of Manhattan. There we went to Clinton St. Baking Co. Can you say uh.. pancakes?!! They’re their best sellers and I got to taste why! Delicious. Word of advice here, it’s a well-known little place, so get there early! It’s a tiny little place and its known not only by the locals but more and more visitors are taking a trip to try their delicious brunches! We waited an hour! Thank goodness for the little park we found a couple blocks away from there. (TIP: Brunches are a great way to stay on budget, breakfast and lunch for the price of one!)  We were so full, it held us till later on for dinner!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The next two places i must mention we went to right after Xavier proposed on the Brooklyn bridge! Hence, you’ll find these two cute little places in Brooklyn. These we found out through another lovely blogger from NYC, and her New York City guides, loveTaza.com. Thank you because they were delicious! No fancy dinners for us after proposal, just some lemonade and pizza! Perfection!

Lizzmonade concession stand under the Brooklyn bridge pier 1. We had the mint pineapple lemonade and it was AMAZING! they’re the cutest little concession stand, yet making lemonades with a bold statement! A must try for sure!

Our romantic proposal called for a romantic dinner…. PIZZA!! Juliana’s Pizza! Lets just say… one of The Best Pizza’s Xavier and I have had. We sat at their little bar in the back and had front row seats for the pizza making! Fresh ingredients everywhere! The staff and owner walk around and made us feel very welcomed!1414703348.746919.68

We couldn’t leave Brooklyn without dessert, so like any normal person would do on a very windy cold night, we had ice cream! A little taste of some very delicious butter pecan ice-cream was eaten that night right under the Brooklyn Bridge at the Brooklyn Bridge Ice-cream factoryProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

{DAY THREE}

Day three called for another great brunch at Friedman’s Lunch, this time in Chelsea. (This is another place you want to be early to) Don’t let the name fool you though, they have a great breakfast and brunch menu. And for all my Gluten free people, one of the biggest gluten-free menus I have seen. If you want a taste of some good comfort food, this is a good stop! Xavier tore away at the fried chicken and waffles!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Since our day was dedicated to Chelsea, we made our way towards the Hudson river to Pier 66. There we stopped for some late afternoon drinks at The Frying Pan. A historic lightship that is permanently docked at pier 66. Next to the Frying Pan is Maritime Bar and grill a railroad barge also permanently docked there. The view is breathtaking and the experience is unique, especially for us folks not from nyc. It’s apparently a hip spot in Chelsea and I could see why.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Our next stop in Chelsea, was probably one of my favorite places we stopped to eat at. Right in the middle of the meatpacking district you can find Fig & Olive. This lovely place was actually recommended by a fellow blogger and friend, Teresa, over at aleandtere.com. Thank you Tere because we were a very happy couple that afternoon. The restaurant is beautiful, the service is amazing, and the food is to die for. Simply Delicious.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

{DAY FOUR}

We lined up for another brunch in Midtown West at 44 &X Hell’s Kitchen. The food here is simple, but good itself. And if you’re in NYC, why not go to Hell’s kitchen?? umm, I think, yes!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ok so after getting some Chipotle in the afternoon and after much walking, we had searched for a bakery in the city that according to many was very delicious and known. Well that night we made it to Magnolia Bakery. While the bakery itself was super cute and decorated so wonderfully, our experience was quite the opposite. In their defense we made it to the bakery very late at night. The cupcakes we got there were super dry and the frosting was as stiff as a rock. At this point, we kinda wish we hadn’t found the bakery, lol. We told this to some people after returning home, and they were quite shocked.. so maybe we just went at the wrong time?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

{DAY FIVE & OUR DEPARTURE}

This morning we just got some good Starbucks and headed to the city, there we ran into this little hole in the wall. A place called Dough, originally based in Brooklyn but now found in the city near 5th ave and 19th st. umm.. heaven. The most fluffy donuts we have had our hands on. A must try!! They have a great selection too! We were so happy to have run into this place.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

After some walking and ending up in the Flatiron district, we made our way to Eataly! Well, because we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So on we went to the rooftop of Eataly, a little Italian Market too cute and amazing to pass up, and landed at Birreria restaurant and brewery. The wine and cheese selections are war to good to pass up! trust me on this one.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Oh and you can’t go to New York and not get shake shack and head on over to central park and eat on the great lawn right?? well don’t worry we made we did! And after some good shake shack we needed an unforgettable send off back home to Florida…Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

So what better way than with the biggest, most soft and delicious cookies…um ever??! Enter, Levain Bakery! This place is found on the upper west side of Manhattan, a few blocks away from the American Museum of Natural history. TO DIE FOR! They were so good, we had to stop and sit on some New York style steps like in the movies lol to eat them! It was so big that I saved the other half for my flight! This place is definitely known by the locals.. super small, in the ground, at the corner of the block next to a little school. Lets just say I ordered what the little kids (and moms, lol) were ordering! Please please pay them a visit if you’re ever in the city!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 I hope that this journey wasn’t too long for you all, I wanted to make sure I took you through our eating adventure in the Big apple! What better city than New York to not be on a diet!? There can’t be such thing when visiting NYC. No way Jose! May I add, that our experiences were all so great and we would do it all over again if we didn’t have to gain some extra pounds?? lol. I hope this little guide helps anyone whose paying New York a visit. I also hope that it makes you feel like a local and not your typical tourist in all the touristy dining places. New York for us was amazing this time around that we stuck to mostly experiencing local places and not your typical restaurants!  Enjoy and Bon appetit!

With all the love in my belly from NY,

Jen ❤
*all images are property of La Vida, life as it comes 

 

THE PROPOSAL!

IMG_7883The proposal! Yes, our proposal! It was simply perfect. Xavier and I are officially engaged and we could not be more excited! Not only are we excited but we are so remarkably blessed! Our relationship has been a blessing in disguise from the very beginning. Xavier and I met in Nursing school and to many’s surprise, he and I were not even friends in the beginning. I was a little apprehensive to start a friendship with Xavier, mostly because of his “I’m a stud and I know it” kinda walk he had, lol. According to him, he always just “wanted my attention.” I didn’t give him my attention until some semesters after in school where we actually had to be in clinical’s together. We got to know each other some more and we actually became great friends. Towards the end of nursing school our good friend Anita, aka cupid, started stirring things up for us and long behold the truth came out! We actually liked each other and we both were okay with it. Our last semester in nursing school, Xavier and I were pretty much inseparable and he asked me to be his girlfriend! That moment alone was unforgettable… picnic by the bay, asking me to be his girlfriend and dolphins swimming right by the water. No seriously, that’s exactly how it went! Just lovely. We also have been so blessed to share graduation together, passing our boards together and being hired as Nurses weeks apart!  Some months into working we even got our own place! So many memories.. and to think that we have so many more in our future together fills my heart with so much love. God has truly been watching over us and for that we are grateful.

For those of you that have followed my blog, you’ll know that Xavier and I had a trip planned to NYC this past week. That trip was ‘supposedly’ meant to be a mini-vacation to NYC and to attend an event in Madison square garden.  Little did I know, one of the most important questions in my life would be asked. On that day, Xavier and I woke up to the usual New York city noise and the hustle of the crowd. Little did I know Xavier had been planning this day for some months. Our day started by getting some very delicious breakfast and a walk in the park. After our bellies were full we headed to the world trade center memorial. From there we had plans to meet up with Xavier’s friend and his girlfriend to head to Brooklyn. After some debating on where we were really going to meet them and lots of painful walking, Xavier told me that we would meet them at the Brooklyn bridge, so we could walk across it. Lets jut say I was not a happy camper and my feet were in so much pain that I quickly told him, “I am not walking the bridge!” Well to my surprise, Xavier turned around and gave me a very sturdy and loud “WE ARE WALKING THE BRIDGE!” I was so stunned that I just stayed quiet and agreed,lol. I gave in, sucked up the pain and headed to the bridge in pain but excited to see the great Brooklyn bridge! Little did I know, this was all planned.

THE PROPOSAL: We got to the start of the bridge, Xavier stopped to put his jacket on and get his camera ready so we could take some awesome shots! I quickly followed his steps so that we wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of the bridge and hold up people who were doing the same. ( This was the moment that he very sneakily put the ring in his pocket that he had been carrying in his camera bag!) I was so blinded by the view that I didn’t even notice this! lol. Well, we walked close to the middle of the bridge were we met up with his friend and his girlfriend and we all kept walking together. To my surprise as well, they were in on the plan! Just about midway on the bridge we all stopped to take some shots. Xavier asked to use my camera so he could take a panorama shot while I took a picture of his friend and his girlfriend. ( This was the moment he took a picture of a small piece of paper with some very important words) Once again, I of course did not even notice, lol. Well right after, Xavier asked me to give his camera to his friend so he could take a picture of us on the bridge. The next part, is the best part of this story!!

On October 17, at 3:20 in the afternoon, Xavier and I made one of the best memories in our lives thus far. He asked me to grab my camera and look at the cool shot he had taken with my camera. To my surprise, and it was a very unexpected surprise! It was the most beautiful picture i had ever seen! It was him holding a little piece of paper with the best words on it… “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”  The moment was perfect, the timing was perfect and the setting was breathtaking! A this moment all I could do was cry. I literally threw myself on him while he was on one knee and ended up on my knees too! lol.  I cried out of excitement and the feeling of love that was rushing through me. It was a feeling like no other and a feeling that I cannot even describe with words.  Knowing that you will spend the rest of your life along with the love of your life, your soul mate and your lover is the best feeling ever.

It was a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life and that when thinking back on it, will always bring a smile to my face. It will be a memory that will be in our hearts forever and a moment that will remind us of our love. Our proposal was perfect for us in every way possible. We were experiencing a new place together, doing something that we enjoy doing as a couple (taking pictures.)Our story thus far has always had ‘unexpected moments’ and this is another that will be added to our list. These ‘unexpected’ moments for Xavier and I have been the best moments and moments that show us our endless blessings.

We are so thrilled for our future ahead. I know that I cannot imagine spending a future without him. He makes me better, he supports me, takes care of me, loves me unconditionally and makes me complete. I know that we will always be there for each other through the good times and the bad. I can only pray that God continues to bless us in our future ahead. We are very excited to share this moment with all our loved ones and with you all. So here are our perfect pictures captured by Mike, Xavier’s friend. THE PROPOSAL.

ps. It was a little windy that day.. lol

love,

Jen and Xavier.

IMG_7884

IMG_7887

IMG_7891IMG_7890IMG_7892

IMG_7895

IMG_7898IMG_7900IMG_7899

Thanks to everyone who has already congratulated us and to our families for giving us your blessing. It means the world to us and we love you all.

A special thanks to Mike and Jisbely for helping Xavier capture this special moment in our lives.

Jen & X.

*all images are property of La Vida, life as it comes 

NYC COUNTDOWN

NYCaWe are officially counting down till New York!  Xavier and I could not be more excited at this point. In exactly one month, we will be packing our suitcases with our fall attire and getting ready to get on a plane!  Xavier and I have taken road trips together in the past, but this will be our first mini vacation involving a plane ride! Both of us have been to New York in the past, but of course, never together. This time around to New York, we are looking forward to many things… One being that we will be together!

Another being, that one of the main reasons we decided to take this trip is because we will be attending a big event in Madison Square Garden that is oh so dear to Xavier’s heart. Lol. But of course, as  the good girlfriend I try to be, I could not let my honey go alone and not share the moment with him. He is so excited that he will be able to see his favorite DJ’s, Above & Beyond, live, in the worlds most famous arena..and so am I! I’m sure it will be an experience!

Another reason we are excited is because we came up with the conclusion that we think of New York as a “Hate and Love” type of place! The adrenaline that gets pumping while walking through the streets of NY is exhilarating! Yet at the same time, can be so frustrating! sigh.. But at the end of it all, it is NEW YORK and that alone can get anyone excited, it is the concrete jungle after all.

And finally we are so excited to try new things while we are there. We both have done the “touristy” things and this time around we would love to experience NY from a different perspective by possibly going to places real New Yorkers go to, where the “locals” go!  I guess when the time comes, we will see exactly how much of the ‘local’ things we actually get to experience, due to only being  there for 4 days.

For sure we will be making some room in our schedule to head on over to Brooklyn, we’ve been hearing of some great places to go adventure to there. But we would love some suggestions from you all. If you have ever traveled to NY and have places that you would highly recommend and wouldn’t mind sharing, we would love to hear all about them! And if you are a local New Yorker and have some ‘insider’ tips and or places that are a ‘must’ to see or to go to!  We are all ears and eyes! Oh, and by the way, we are fatties! We love us some good food! So all suggestions are welcomed!! We can’t wait to hear back from you all! We are so excited and can’t wait to share that adventure with you all once the day comes!!  Let the countdown begin!

Oh, and did I mention.. So excited to see New York’s leaves change color! Hello Fall!

Have a lovely evening everyone!

Just a Few of my old NYC shots and our new T-shirts ready to be worn for the event! (ABGT#100)

-Jen ❤

Central Park 2012
Central Park 2012

NYCe

HELLO 25.. HELLO ST.AUGUSTINE!

hello25I think Birthday’s are just another day to be thankful and to realize how much we are blessed. Usually my birthday’s consist of a nice family dinner and day out! Well this year, for the big 25 it was more than just a dinner and day out. Thanks to my lovely boyfriend and family, it was a Birthday weekend getaway! It was so great and special of him. Since Xavier and I started dating, I have always made comments on how lovely it would be to just take a drive up to St. Augustine, FL. Well about a month before my big 25, I made it known that for this birthday I really wanted to go somewhere that I had never been to before and to be able to share it with his and my family. I think he got the point because one, he told me to stop worrying about it and two, he secretly planned the whole thing. He got my parents and his family all on the same page and they agreed to make the drive up for my birthday for the weekend.

I think one thing we did learn throughout his planning is how hard it is for both of our families to keep secrets,haha. We had a couple of people slip throughout the process. My mom during the week, slipped and asked me how the weather was in St. Augustine. His Aunt mentioned St.Augustine in a conversation about hotel rooms. And our friend Anita during lunch made it known that we weren’t going to be here for the weekend. Needless to say, I kind of had an idea a day or two before the actual trip. haha, my babe at least tried. Don’t get me wrong, I was still pretty surprised. Surprised because even though I kind of knew, I was surprised that not only did my parents go but also his parents and his aunt and uncle and their daughters. It was definitely shocking that he was able to get both of our families together, since we’ve failed several times at doing so. With the exception of some other individuals that I wish could have made it. It was still so special to have the ones that were able to make it, get away with me and leave their busy schedules behind.

The night before the trip, midnight to be exact, I got my Happy Birthday wishes and a beautiful watch and a card stating that we were leaving for the weekend! He can be so sweet. So the day of my birthday we got our bags and headed to my parents house. Turned out we were driving up with them, so off we were! Xavier than let me know that his parents would be driving up the next day since they had to work. Long behold, after a 4 1/2 hour drive we were there! Xavier’s parents and aunt and uncle would meet us there the next day.

All in all y’all, it was such a great birthday weekend! It meant the world to me that my family was able to be a part of yet another birthday. Turning a quarter of a century old is a big deal after all!  I truly feel beyond blessed to have such a caring family, not just MY OWN but also Xavier’s. My family and his, are all so supportive of our relationship and have such loving hearts for both of us. I really feel thankful of everyone who put their time and effort on making this birthday special for me, especially Xavier for making the plans. Life can be overwhelming at times, but life can also be wonderful if we choose to make it that way. Life is also about all the little moments we get to experience and who we get to experience them with. This past weekend the moments were memories I will cherish for a life time. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! You all made me a very happy birthday girl.

And just so you all know, St. Augustine, FL is a beautiful little city! It is full of history, scenery, relaxation and so much more! Being known to be the oldest city, it is so incredibly cute and charming. There was so much to see and experience all in this little place. The views and the stories behind every thing you saw were remarkable. I highly recommend a trip to this charming little city! You truly will be taken back by all it has to offer. It is romantic, relaxing, exciting, and full of charm all at the same time. It was definitely a hot hot summer weekend, with much walking, but it was so worth it! We all fought through the heat and soaked up all that we had to see and learn there. I won’t tell you too much so you all experience it yourselves one day but here are some shots we took while there. Some of our stops throughout the city included: The Fountain of Youth, Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler College, St. Augustine Lighthouse and museum, and a couple of the oldest churches in the city. Those were a few of our city stops to just name a few! Lets just say my camera was very happy there!! And so were we!! (unfortunately I don’t have too many pictures of Xavier’s family since we split up for some of the day they were there for different activities, but they very much were a huge part of my celebration!)

Again, a big THANK YOU to all my loved ones for making memories with me. Love you all. ❤

And to the Love of my Life… thank you for all your efforts in making this birthday extra special for me. Love you to the moon and back times infinity! ❤

-Jen<3

PS. I had an obsession with the beautiful doors

St.A58

St_A21

St.A42

St_A25St.A48

St.A75

St.A17St.A21

St.A61

St.A24

St.A74St_A16St_A15

St.A30St.A33

St.A13St.A78

St_A26

St_A17

St_A24St_A11St_A12St_A5

St.ASt_A1

St.A1

Thank You for the wonderful memories St. Augustine, see you soon!  Thank you to my family and most importantly.. Thank you God for giving me yet another day & another year, to share with my loved ones and to enjoy this life you have given us!  I am so grateful.

So what places have you all visited recently? =)
*all images are property of La Vida, life as it comes