Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Carvin' Creations

The festive day has finally arrived; although with many people celebrating it the night before. Our town, along with many many others had to reschedule trick-or-treating for Wednesday night to avoid the storms ahead. The kids had no complaints about it! Neither did we. It was a pleasant evening. Leading up to, we did some pumpkin carving with my in-laws and it was so much fun. Today's a short post, but wanted to share the photos (borrowed from my sister-in-law) from our first pumpkin carving together!!
 Have a safe Halloween, everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trunk or Treat

This weekend was full of Halloween fun. Saturday was our trip to the zoo, and Sunday was the annual "trunk or treat" festival at our church. A great compilation of kid activities, and volunteers decorating their car trunks in rows for the kiddos to walk around and collect candy. It gets pretty creative. The first part of the day consisted of a bounce house, inflatable slides, train ride (with her Pop, of course), and putt-putting. My sweet girl wanted to stick with the princess theme this year, so she wore her Rapunzel dress this time around.
Our church gets so creative with the activities. I just love it. Next we were moving on to the pony ride. In all honesty (a mother's confession) I was not looking forward to it; poop on the ground, repugnant smells, and the longest line EVER. Regardless, we do it for our kids, right? I know the pregnancy doesn't help with the patience on these things - it's a fact - but we manage. There for a moment she seemed to be over the long line herself! But when we made it to the front, she was revved up and ready to go.

Shockingly, we nearly had to beg her to go trunk or treating that day. She just wanted to play! By all means, my darling. I'll never complain about my daughter refusing candy... except that was the whole reason we came! Somehow we managed to ignite her interest by pointing out all the silly costumes we saw through the row of decorated cars. Our favorite was a family of minions.
Cars were lined about 5 rows across, and about 8-10 cars deep up and down. Now and then we found ourselves at a standstill. But all for the love of trick-- TRUNK or treating! :) She was having a blast, and it's funny to see people you know. For instance, Chris' aunt and uncle dressed as Duck Dynasty. Ha! 
Well it's Wednesday, meaning one day closer to Halloween, meaning two days closer to the weekend, meaning OUR ANNIVERSARY! Just thought I'd share that little bit of news. :) 

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shade of the Week

With the spooky holiday quickly approaching, I figured I'd go along with it for my weekly polish as well. Again, I'm not a big Halloween dress-up participant, but I can still keep it festive. With that said, while my toes are rocking Beautiful Berry, this week I've chosen a much darker shade for my nails:

Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Grey Area #061

This photo displays quite a deep grey, but depending on the number of coats you apply you can choose to make it as light or dark as you prefer. 

I choose just two coats to give my nails a dramatic, but chic look for the fall. Just because Halloween is gloomy, doesn't mean it can't be fashionable as well. ;) Touche? 

Monday, October 28, 2013

BOO! At The Zoo

This weekend, we joined together with friends and family to venture on out to our local zoo. Every year, through the month of October, they host a Halloween Party with plenty of candy and characters to entertain! This was our first year attending, now that Audriana is old enough to enjoy it. We brought the stroller along incase those little legs couldn't hang, but she was a trooper and walked the entire time. Again, she's growing up too fast and I don't know how to slow down time. Whaaaah :(

Along with us were my parents, husband, sister-in-law, and two of my favorite people Erika and Amy, with their children. Unfortunately, we didn't get an entire group photo, but still plenty were captured.

We started at the entrance and walked in every direction possible, until the train ride at the end! Whew, what a workout - for me anyway. The set up was incredible. I just loved it! They had a theme throughout each corner; from Storybook Princesses, Nintendo, Superheroes, almost all Disney movie characters, , and the Wizard of Oz, to name a few. Ha. Sadly, Audriana was bundled up and no one noticed her Princess Sofia dress underneath, they thought she was an owl. She was cool with it, so by all means. Ok, so getting to it! I decided to just share the highlights of our zoo adventure. Still a lot, but believe me there were a bundle.

They were obviously having a blast. As you can imagine, it took us awhile to make our way through from all the photo ops, but they were loving it. And every now and then the grown ups would have our own little fun with it. Next year we'll have our son for a complete family photo!!!
Oh, and we can't forget the hot chocolate!!!! It was a chiiiillllllly night. While the kiddos danced around under the disco light (yes, there was a dance floor reserved for kids to exert their sugar rush) we hung around and sipped on our hot cocoa. Yummy!!

Well, that's about all there is folks. Other than a few more here or there, we made our way around back to the front entrance for Audriana to enjoy a carousel ride, and last but not least caught the train ride around the zoo.
This was such a fun day! Not to mention Audriana passed OUT on the way home. I guess you could say we all could have at that point. We all had a great time. I'm so glad we were able to experience it with family AND friends. The kids had a blast with one another. I'm thankful for our relationships, and the ability to share moments like these. Can't wait for next year!
Although, I won't be able to get festive with an AWESOME shirt like this again. I couldn't have been more pleased with my customized t-shirt. I shopped around for all kinds of maternity ideas for Halloween, and this was the winner. Simple, but certainly making a statement. Ha!

Those were our shenanigans for the weekend! What were some of yours??? LINK UP! and share. :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Five Daily Essentials

Today I wanted to share some of the necessities I simply cannot live without! I personally love to read other bloggers' daily essentials. Discovering any new way to keep our natural beauty at its finest is definitely a priority to this gal. 

Although there are a couple of my own that may be more "enhancers" (eye and brown pencil), they're light and subtle. I don't always wear foundation or mascara, but this eye liner is definitely something I use to help lift and brighten those tired eyes in the morning. Also, the brow pencil/gel helps keep the shape of your natural brows. I'm sure we can all agree those things can get a little out of control when we roll out of bed. 

For my lips, if it's not moisturizing lipstick, it's this. I can't go a day without it. But be careful; a little goes a long way. A little dab-will-do-ya, as they sayI tend to research many products before ever purchasing, and discovered that most chapsticks do more harm than good. Interesting. But I'm not here to shed bad light on any other products, just stating facts that I swear by most of these products from trial and error. Recently, I read (over at Style Me Swanky) of another product that seemed to be a top priority to her. I may venture out one day to test it out. Until then, again I swear by this lip therapy vaseline.  

For solid moisture everywhere else, especially my hands, I use Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion. I have gone through many many others, but this has probably been my most reliable. It's non-greasy formula leaves you refreshed and ready for the day! I know, I could have just been paid for some serious advertising.

Last, but not least - definitely not the bit least - is my ever so dependable face wash. When I say I have experimented with all face washes, I mean ALL. From the highly advertised Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, etc. to the all natural Yes To brands. I'm educated enough to know better than to switch brands on and off within a couple months; these were all tested throughout my 20s. The only one that worked? Proactiv. I wash my face morning and night - no exceptions. I have pretty acne prone skin, so I literally don't skip a day of washing. However, I don't always use the entire 3 Step series; just Step 1 and the brush. That brush is amaaaaaaazing.

So there ya have it. My daily essentials. What are some of yours? Please share! Like I said, I love discovering new products. :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

NEW YORK CITY: Babymoon Pt. 2

Continuing where we left off, I'm beginning to miss the morning air of New York City. Who am I kidding, no I'm not... the air? It was terrible. BUT in a strange way, I do miss the hustle and bustle just a liiiiiitttle bit. It's not my ideal family vacation, but it was a nice change in scenery. Always refreshing!

Day Three:
Here we began our first full day of NO WORK (for Chris), just the two of us! I had patience going into this, knowing it was a work trip, but it was worth celebrating when he could put that ol' lap top aside.

We finished up in the fitness center around 10am, and got ready for the day. Knowing the way to my heart, my dear husband asked the concierge recommendations to the best sushi place in town. So for lunch, we headed to a place called, Haru

Very eclectic, seeming to be the trend in NYC. I was immediately drawn to the abundance of bamboo, used to divide the floor levels. I'm easily amused, but it was still a neat embellishment.

For myself, I had a basic Shrimp Tempura roll, along side some Cucumber rolls. Keeping it light. We usually eat ourselves into a coma when it comes to sushi dates, so I thought I'd played it safe given it was only 2pm. Chris on the other hand, had himself three different assortments; no holding back. Off the top of my head I can recall only two of the three; one being a Strawberry Finn of some sort, and another having jalapenos. My where his taste buds lead him I will never understand. A successful sushi lunch nonetheless.
After lunch we set out on our next adventure! Earlier that morning we had bought tickets to visit Top of the Rock. I had been once before, about 10 years ago, but this would be a first time for Chris. We weren't planning to do too many touristy sites, but this was definitely something I wanted to do again. Only being a few blocks down from our lunch spot, we waddled on to the Rockefeller Center. 

Our tickets were set for 4pm, but we lucked out and were able to ride on up a little earlier. Not trying to use this opportunity for a plug-in, but you can see a video on my Instagram of our ride up the elevator to the top. They expose the top of the elevator so you can watch yourself rise up 70 floors in just 45 seconds. A real ear-popping experience. 

Once to the top, they offer a souvenir photo opportunity to sit on a beam (as one did when they built it in the 1930s). We did the photo, but was unwilling to buy it for $45. Ew, no thank you. Moving on, we headed out to the Observation Deck.  

And our view above New York City.
We also witnessed a proposal!!! Although I missed most of it, Chris pointed out the couple (the very bottom righthand corner of the above photo; ya know the ones with only half the body or head visible) when the man was just rising up from one knee. How romantic! :) I wanted to film them, but then found it ridiculously creepy if I did. So I didn't. I just love LOVE, and what a better moment to want to capture. Congrats to you, strangers above the Rock!

As the evening approached, we were headed back to the hotel to change for dinner. Alongside Jason and Tara (our double date from the night before), we made our way to Wolfgang's Steakhouse there in Time Square. Delicious. A great way to end the weekend!

To begin, of course we got some apps. Although, we probably should have shared each one. Yet, we managed to devour our own individual platters - crazy now that I think about it. So you could say we were stuffed only moments after arriving. Not to mention following it up with salads and a 13 oz. filet. We were apparently warned about the meat serving sizes, and were advised we may be want to split the "meal for 2 or 3" between all of us. Going against that, I thought my individual filet was going to be petite, no indication on the menu said otherwise. But boy was I wrong.
Needless to say, I did not finish it. As a mater of fact, I may have actually only cut into two full slices and put the rest in a box to go. As my good Samaritan deed of the week, I handed it off to a homeless man who sat outside our hotel with his dog. I spotted him earlier when I had arrived to the city, and found something remarkable about him. With the little he had he still provided food and warmth to that dog, and that showed a real characteristic; selflessness. A rarity this day and age.

Day Four:

The last day. So far we had a great visit. There were still a couple things left I wanted to see, but we were short on time. Our car was to arrive at the hotel by 12:30pm to take us to the airport, so we got up pretty early to pack our bags to save time for last minute sight seeing.

Our first stop was to the 911 Memorial. So we hitched a ride in our LAST taxi, and headed on down to lower Manhattan. I remember my visit 10 years ago, just 3 short years after the tragedy had taken place. It was just a construction site. Now they have two reflection pools honoring all the lives lost. Standing beside them now, is the brand new 104 story World Trade Center complex, known as the Freedom Tower. With only an hour and 1/2 on the clock, we were unable to stand in line for the memorial tour. With that said, we weren't able to see much passed the gates. Although we did get a good view of the Freedom Tower.

Next we were on our way to Battery Park. Only a few blocks down, we were able to avoid another cab ride. Like I said earlier "our last taxi". It was such a beautiful day, so we were enjoying the stroll together. It's not often you get to walk peacefully, hand in hand with your husband in New York City. ;) Again with the time crunch, we didn't have a ferry ride scheduled to see the Statue of Liberty. No matter, though. Chris found it unnecessary deeming it a "neck breaking" experience to try and view a 305' statue up close. I agree, but it's still history man! If we had the time I know he'd be up for it, but I wasn't complaining given the reality that time was against us. I still managed to capture a photo of it, though. Bad quality, but hey what ya do...
Last but not least, we were on our way to visit Wall Street. This was one thing that actually struck my husband's interest, so by all means. Although, there really wasn't much to see, and the streets were very quiet. Chris reminded me it was Sunday, however. I'm sure it's a madhouse during the week. I snapped a few cheesy photos of my cute husband, but I'll save him the embarrassment.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel. Given the distance was far from our destination, and (if I haven't said it enough) avoiding the dreaded taxi, we decided to head out the only other way you should in New York City. The subway. When in Rome, right?

Now I have experienced subway transportation quite a few times in my life, but I can't say it gets any easier. I know some of you locals could laugh at that, but it's true... I have terrible sense of direction. But given it is not rocket science, my husband was well aware of what he was doing, so we were good to go. And fortunately for us, the subway dropped us off right there in Time Square, just a block shy of our hotel. Shhhwing!!

This trip was certainly a memorable one. I was appreciative of this opportunity to travel alongside my husband. Not a day goes by that I dont appreciate our Lord for His blessings. Truthfully, after handing my box of food to the homeless man, my eyes filled with tears as I walked back to my hotel room. In a way, I just felt... guilty. Here I was with a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, warm clothes, and options beyond options for food. I know God provides these opportunities to reflect on the life around us. And that I did, indeed. For that moment I just thanked Him. I don't need moments like these to remind me of His grace, but when they arise it's good to just take a moment a be truly thankful.

Until next time NYC!!! It was fun while it lasted!!!


Now it's time to link up!! And what a better song to end this post series. Cheesy, yes. But so appropriate. Not a second went by that this song or the movie Elf's cleverly associated track "You Make Me Feel So Young" didn't pop up in my head walking through the city. Or just good ol Frank himself. Regardless, this is what I chose and you're gonna like it!! ;) Kidding. It just fits. 

Happy Friday!!

Theme From New York, New York by Frank Sinatra on Grooveshark

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NEW YORK CITY: Babymoon Pt.1

Last week, the hubs and I set off to New York City for a last "husband/wife" honeymoon before our second child is welcomed this winter; also known as a babymoon. The trip was originally intended for work, but by extending the trip a few extra days Chris flew me in and we made a long weekend vacation out it! YAY! I was so excited to spend these short days just me and him. We try to have a date night often, but a small trip was just what we needed.

Although, I have to admit my initial separation from Audriana usually gets the best of me. It's not but a few minutes after dropping her off at my parents that I get a knot in my throat, and the tears commence. Thanks to technology, we had FaceTime chats every morning and night!! Yes, I know this was a romantic weekend for me and my husband, but Audriana is still a part of us that is never put aside. Yet after the first day went by, I found myself finally able to enjoy the trip without choking up every time I saw a little family with their kids - yea I'm that sensitive, and the pregnancy hormones don't help.

I decided to divide this trip into two posts. Although I may have been able to cram it all into one, I didn't want to have an excessive amount of photos and dialogue for one entry. So here I'll be sharing Day ONE & TWO of our special babymoon adventure.

Our hotel sat right on the corner of Time Square. Talk about a view! As soon as you stepped out of the lobby, on your right shined the brightest lights of the city.

The distance between us and great restaurants weren't far in between. We found a few great spots for lunch, and the best part was that they were only a block or two away - walking! Avoiding the cab rides was at the top of my priorities for the weekend. Not only do they resist the urge to stop at lights - or for pedestrians for that matter - but my back suffered tremendously from the consistent stop & go movements. Ouch.

Our first night we met up with one of our bestest friends, Sammy, at a local spot in SOHO. He made reservations at a nice, old fashion Italian joint and no words could explain my excitement for this occasion! Not only am I in New York City, but throw in some traditional Italian cuisine and I'm a happy camper.

Evening came and after a loooooooong (1 hour) car ride, we arrived to our destination to Osteria Morini in SOHO, NY. Majority of the hot spots in New York seem to be extremely intimate, so if you're not comfortable sharing your meal back to back with your neighbor then this isn't the place for you.  I decided to snap some shots of our meal to share in this deliciousness. Too good for words. For apps we got the Prosciutto, Squacquerone, and Piave Vecchio Extra Aged; aka meat and two cheeses. My entree was the delicious Stracci (wide noodles, with mushrooms in rosemary oil) and for dessert I endured the absolutely amazing Coffee Gilati, no translation needed.

After wrapping up the night before, we found ourselves a little sluggish the next morning. Although that didn't mean we weren't up and at it. Unfortunately, Chris had some last minute work to catch up on for the day so I spent an hour of my morning in the fitness center - doing what I can.

After cleaning up, Chris and I headed out on the town to find some lunch. We found this neat self-serving-deli buffet of EVERYTHING you can think of; hot/cold, mexican/chinese/italian, spring salads/tuna salads/pasta salads, you get it. No pictures to share, but indeed I did take some. Sadly, due to the lack of focus, they are blurry. I guess you could say that was a result of the embarrassment I felt with all the staring eyes on me while taking such pictures - "has this girl never seen a buffet before?". Right?

Anyway, later that afternoon the hubby and I ventured down Fifth Avenue for a daily shopping spree. It wasn't a bank breaking kind of spree, but we may or may not have been dangerously close to buying a second suitcase for the trip home.

That evening (around 6:30) we met up with some old hometown friends that have been residing in New York these past couple years. Needless to say, it was GREAT to see them. I was sad - like really sad - after our departure when I realized we didn't capture one photo together. How could we not document such a rare moment; not knowing when I'll be back again. Eventually I got over my saddness, because it was special seeing them regardless of a photo. I was grateful for that in general. :)

Sadly we had to cut our visit short, and head on out to dinner (reservations at 9:45, yikes). This evening, joined by other friends, we had reservations at a Mexican restaurant, Toloache. Again, very intimate seating type of atmosphere. Nonetheless, it was DELICIOUS. Probably one of, if not the best, guacamole I've ever tasted. Mmmm. I did try to capture some of the deliciousness, but the exposure was so low it wasn't even worth it. After filling ourselves to the brim, we made our way back to our hotel and took some classic photos in front of Time Square.
The view from our hotel lounge was pretty neat as well. Worthy of some blogging photo documentation. Although from our seats I couldn't get the direct view out of the window, but it faces directly into Time Square. We were told this room was once rented out by Bruno Mars for a New Years Eve party, given its spectacular view. I could definitely see why! Gorgeous.
Oh! And I noticed you could see our hotel lounge when I was watching GMA. The black space in between the two jumbo screens. That's us! Haha. 
Well that concludes Part 1 of our NYC Babymoon!!! It's looking like two separate entries was definitely necessary to avoid a potential snooze fest.  

To be continued...