New York City

So this blog post is LONG SO LONG overdue, and I am sorry about that (I did want to mention that I moved and unpacked and I got a promotion and I also write for PopWrapped.com now so I’ve been a little busy but excuses are excuses and yeah so).

So last December my sister Brianna and I went to New York City as a fun day trip. Bri had been to NYC before, but I had never been and I was EXTREMELY excited to go. Our day started early, very very early, our bus was scheduled to leave at around 3AM (an ungodly hour if you ask me). We decided to take a bus because I can’t imagine driving and parking anywhere in NYC. Of course our bus left late because we had the most distracted and slowest bus driver of all time. It was also freezing cold in the bus. After a 4 hour trip we ended up in the HUGE bus station in NYC and we basically had no idea where to go. We did have a map and stuff that we planned out, but it was so overwhelming stepping out of the bus station. I hate being that “small town girl” but it really felt like that. I couldn’t believe how busy it was and how many people there were. And how many people I accidentally ran into and tripped over on our way to the first things we saw – Starbucks. After Starbucks we just kind of wandered around and decided to go to Times Square. Bri had to keep checking on me, because I kept looking up and around and not paying attention at all to where I was going. I so looked like a tourist, it’s not even funny how dumbstruck I looked. I’m sure she was embarrassed of me.

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Ohhhh shiny big buildings!

 

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Awww sisters, let’s pretend we like each other!

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Jimmy Fallon where are you?

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Holy Giant Tree

On our way to Time Square we stumbled upon the Today Show. I kid you not, we literally just turned a corner and BAM there it was! We had thought about trying to find the show, but we figured we’d be too late in the morning to see anything. But we were blessed, because right as we got there they were out in the little square area testing toys and what not, and we got to watch them do that. We even were able to make our way to the big window and see Michael Buble practice and perform!!! He is one of my favorite singers and I was so excited! We were then told that he was going to be coming out to say hi to all of us and I was ridiculously excited. He came out and of course everyone freaked and I tried to get a few pictures of him. I then turned around to say something to Bri and she was gone. I couldn’t see her anywhere and I panicked (because as my mother told me 1,000 times before we left ‘Do not let your sister out of your sight, she is pretty and someone will take her, always watch her, and hold her hand.’ …We didn’t actually hold hands). I started jogging around the square to try and find her and as soon as I moved away from my spot, I turned and saw Michael Buble walk right past where I had been. And then I felt a tap on my shoulder and there she was. Bri was so excited too… Because she had gotten a picture of her and Michael Buble together. I was so angry.

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Fancy Christmasy Today Show

 

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My best picture of Michael Buble – His eyes aren’t even open!

 

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Bri and Michael Buble – I’m still angry about this photo.

After my heartbreak at the Today Show we decided to wander around more and head back to Times Square. We did all the staples: saw the ice skating rink, went to the M&M store, the Hershey Store, the Disney Story, Toys R Us. Basically if it was a big store in Times Square, I made us go into it. Because I’m a dork. 

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That guy in the Giant’s coat is my future husband probably…

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I wanted to ride on the Ferris Wheel but Bri wouldn’t let me. Because I most likely would have embarrassed her even more.

At this point we were both STARVING so we started looking around to find a cool place to eat lunch. We started to walk down the side streets off of Time Square and we stumbled upon Havana. We didn’t know at the time that this is a famous restaurant, we were just very hungry.

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After lunch we walked down 5th avenue for a long time. We looked at all the fancy and cool shops, walked into some (and then immediately walked out of most of them because we just looked poor), and I took too many pictures and looked like a tourist again. We ended up going into lots of awesome places, like FAO Schwarz, and then we walked around Central Park for awhile too. It had warmed up by this time, so it was nice to be in the sun. 

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I wanted to play on this… But I would have been the oldest child on it…

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The Plaza

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Central Park

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THAT BRIDGE. Ya know, the one in all the romantic comedy movies based in NYC.

After we had walked most of Central Park, we went back down 5th avenue (on the other side of the street this time) and went back to window shopping and walked inside a few places like Tiffany’s, Saks, and the American Girl Doll Place. We did stop in at Barnes & Noble and got coffee and sat for quite awhile, at this point our feet were starting to hurt REALLY bad. 

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I really wanted to go to the New York Public Library, so we headed that way. I loved it there. We got to go and see this “presentation” piece they were doing on children’s books and each little room was a new book, with facts and pictures and what not (I’d love to post those pictures here, but there are like 100 of them and I can’t pick any favorites because I love them all). 

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I’ve applied to 15 different jobs in the NYC Library system… Never heard from a single person.

We then headed to see the Empire State Building, Victoria Secret and Macy’s. The Macy’s windows were kind of weird this year (so weird in fact that I don’t feel like posting pictures of them). Bri and I rode the escalator to EVERY SINGLE FLOOR OF MACY’S. Do you know how many floors that is??? It’s 12. 12 Freakin Floors. We were pretty pooped after that and we limped back to Times Square and went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Dinner was amazing, some of the best food ever! 

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After dinner we had some time to burn before we had to head back to the bus station, so we walked around some more (at this point every step was painful and the pain shot up to my knees and I never wanted to walk ever again). We went back to some places we had been to before in the morning and got to see them all lit up with Christmas lights. We headed back to the bus station a little early (and it’s a good thing we did because the email I had wasn’t right and we had to run to the counter and get tickets for our bus) and the bus left around 12AM. We got back to the station around 3:30ish AM (the new driver was a speed demon) and we made it back to our house at around 4:30AM and we slept for a very very long time.

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All in all I had a great time (though my feet were crippled for days). We stayed mostly in the Time Square area, so I hope next time I visit I can branch out and see more of the city. I’m very happy I got to go with my sister and we had some special time together. But the only negative thing about the trip (besides the foot pain, seriously guys I couldn’t walk right for weeks), was that I kind of lost all the glamour I had about NYC. I was so convinced that it was this amazing place and what not, and it really wasn’t. It was a city, it was big, it was super cool, it smelled a bit, and stuff was way too expensive. I was always convinced that I would go and fall in love with the city and move to NYC as soon as I possibly could. But I don’t think I want that now, if the opportunity to move presented itself I would seriously consider it, but I might contemplate someplace warmer, and cleaner, and less smelly.

But I can’t wait to visit again! 

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Christmas

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Let’s talk about Christmas since I skipped blogging about it.

Christmas in my family is always 50/50. You never really know what you’re going to get. And I’m not just talking presents. You would think that with all this good cheer, and present giving, and whatnot that everyone would be happy. That is not the case. Lets be honest, that is never really the case.

Now I have 3 Christmases. 1 with my Mom’s side of the family the Saturday before Christmas, 1 with my family Christmas morning, and 1 with my Dad’s side of the family Christmas afternoon. I used to have 5 Christmases at one point and that was just overwhelming. There is such a thing as too much family time.

I’ll start with the 1st Christmas celebration with my Mom’s side of the family (I had to work on the day of it this year so I missed a bit of it but it was still quite eventful). We all meet at my Aunt S and Uncle A’s house. It is usually EXTREMELY hot in the house because of their fireplace. I always end up sitting in front of it somehow. I sweat for the entire day basically. We have big “linner” meal (lunch/dinner) and then we play some games, eat dessert, and then open presents. Now it is tradition that between dinner and dessert that my Uncle A and Uncle P get mostly drunk. It’s tradition and at their age now it’s just plain old adorable. My Uncle P gets very giggly. My Aunts and my Mom and my Cousin make a TON of amazing food that is wonderful. My Aunt T makes the best mashed potatoes ever. Do not argue with me. They are the best. There is so much butter in them that at any point there is a real risk of heart failure, but it’s worth it. Present time has gotten shorter each year, since now we basically all just get each other money and gift cards. We don’t like to mince around with lists and what not. It’s just “Here’s some cash. Have fun with it. I love you. Merry Christmas.” And I am fine with that. My 2nd cousins (all boys) will watch TV or play video games. Well they used to. Now they are older and they make me feel much older. One of my 2nd cousins even brought his girlfriend this year. Nothing makes you feel old and alone than your 2nd cousin who is almost half your age bringing a date to Christmas while you play with the dog. There is always, as I like to call it, a “highlight” of the day. Usually it’s something one of my Uncles does whilst tipsy (like the one year they did shots of jalapeno juice) but this year it was my new 2nd cousin. He is just a few months old and is the cutest baby on earth! It was my delight to basically ignore my entire family and just play with him.

My 2nd Christmas celebration is my family Christmas. Every year it starts later and later in the day. We used to have everything unwrapped by 7am. This year most of us didn’t even come downstairs till 9am. We have the same schedule for every year though, we turn “A Christmas Story” on in the background (since it plays for 24 FREAKIN HOURS STRAIGHT), my sister and I open our stockings first. My Mother will wrap every single individual present in the stocking. Mine always has candy in the bottom, my sister (the vegetarian) gets healthy stuff at the bottom (probably grain or seeds or something else equally distasteful to me). My parents will then open their stockings to each other. They are usually FULL of candy. Christmas is a big candy holiday in our house (honestly every holiday is big on candy… we just really like candy). The pets will then open their presents. Yes we are those people. We get our pets several presents and wrap them (I only buy for the dog though, I have no interest in spending my money on the devil cat). Then my mom passes presents out to everyone and we all kind of take turns unwrapping and watching each other unwrap. I don’t know if other families do this, I don’t even know if my family realizes that they do this, but I noticed it this year – after anything we unwrap, any present, stocking stuffer, anything – we will say thank you. Thank you to whomever bought it for us. Every. Single. Present. My sister and I must say ‘thank you’ to our parents at least 50 times during the unwrapping process (I guess we are just super polite people). After all the unwrapping, the paper is thrown away, presents are placed in rooms, I will gorge myself on Reeses Peanut Butter Christmas Trees while everyone else actually eats breakfast food. Then we start making food to take over to my Grandparents house.

My 3rd Christmas is with my Dad’s side of the family at my Grandparents house. The 1st tradition is that my family is always late. We live the closest to my Grandparents and every year we are late. And because we are late, the lunch is never on time (I assume most of the Harvey side of the family resents us for that, though they’ve never vocalized it). Whilst my Aunts and Mother finish preparing the food (and trying to make my Grandma get out of the kitchen) my cousins and I (we are all girls on this side of the family) set the table, pour the water, and put the food out. We all sit down and have a lovely meal, just kidding, it never works out that way. As stated before in my Thanksgiving post, family dinners on the Harvey side of the family consist of a copious dodge and weave of words, stories, questions, and insults. We cousins usually stick together, unless we need to attack our siblings. Someone always comments on which of us is dating or aren’t. My Uncle D usually says something inappropriate without even realizing what he’s saying, my Uncle B will be condescending about something, my Grandma will spill something on herself, my Grandpa will spill something on the table, and someone will make a mean joke about how my Grandpa and Aunt P’s hands shake a lot (I’ll be honest, it’s usually me). Many of the traditions stated in the Thanksgiving post carry on at Christmas.  After dinner we all just kind of sit around. Sometimes we have to wait for other relatives who didn’t come for dinner and just came for desserts and presents (lets be honest, dessert and presents are the best part… of family togetherness of course). Some years we eat dessert first, other years we open presents first. Honestly, it all just really depends on how full we all are. Sad but true. This year I got to be “Santa” – basically the person in charge of passing out presents- I have a system I adhere to. One present, per person, per round. That way there is a nice spread, everyone starts and finishes at the same time, and we all can watch with joy. Basically it’s the perfect system and I should be “Santa” every year. After presents there is lots of sitting, card game playing, watching TV, and napping.

After a few hours my family heads back home. We usually watch a movie, nap some more, watch “A Christmas Story” for the 100th time that day, and eat candy (ok, so just I eat candy).

And then I go back to work the next day.

Merry Late Christmas guys!

It's a Christmas Moose.

It’s a Christmas Moose.

Pumpkin Gutting!

Let’s be honest. That’s kind of what you do… Slit open the skin and flesh, rake out the innards, and then decorate. It’s very primal.

Anyways. I carved my pumpkin yesterday. Usually my family carves them together with some friends, which they did, without me, because I was sick. So they left my pumpkin here with me and I carved it by myself. So much fun…

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Prepped and ready to be gutted.

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I find it easier to cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. That way you can just set it on a candle instead of having to stick your arm in the pumpkin to light it.

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Innards. We keep the seeds to soak, marinate, and bake.

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I’m pretty morbid during the Halloween season.

I’ll be honest. I love the design of this pumpkin. And it turned out pretty good for not having a pattern to follow. I really wish I could tell you how awesome and creative I am and how I came up with this idea all by myself. But I didn’t. I stole it from Steve Martin. I kid you not. He tweeted a picture of his pumpkin carving and I loved it. So I copied him. I’m shameless, I know.

My Mom carved 2 pumpkins this year because my Dad couldn’t be bothered to participate in the festivities.

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My Mom’s 1st pumpkin.

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My Mom’s 2nd pumpkin.

I think she got the design for the first one from a magazine. And the second one from a book… Maybe? I think it’s a cat…

Anyways, here they are lit up:

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Boo…

(Interesting fact of the day: I planned and wrote this whole post whilst listing to “Story of My Life” by 1D on repeat. I really like their new song. Almost made me want to do a 1D pumpkin….)