Friday, October 21, 2011


First, here's little Sophie who has taken to brushing and styling her own hair lately.  She's actually gotten really good at putting all of the little clips and barrettes in.

The other cuteness is some cupcakes I made tonight for my nephew's birthday party tomorrow.  He turned 6 yesterday and is having a magic/magician themed party. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

NY Part 4

On the last night we were on Long Island, we went out towards Orient Point and stopped at a few wineries on the way to dinner.  There are more than 30 wineries along one stretch of road.  The owner of the company doing Pete's training lives in the area and gave us a list of which ones were worth checking out.  We stopped at the first one he suggested and each had a flight, with 4 1 oz. samples.  We enjoyed it, but didn't buy any wine thinking we wouldn't be able to get it home easily.  

We stopped at the next place and it was starting to rain.  It was 5 when we finished our flight there and the girl serving our wine was talking about getting things ready to close down for the night.  We ended up buying a bottle of Chardonnay from her thinking we'd drink it in our room that night. We asked her if most of the wineries closed at 5 and she said they did on weekdays, but there was one called Sparkling Pointe nearby that stayed open until 6.    I am so glad she told us about it, we wouldn't have known to stop there.  This was by far my favorite of the 3 places we went.  It was a beautiful building and we were the only people there.  We stood at the bar and talked to the girl working there.  She was very nice and we had a great time.  She suggested we try some Camembert with honey drizzled on top to go with our flight of sparking wines.  It was a fabulous combination.  I never would have put honey on cheese, but man, it was delicious.  We ended up buying 2 bottles there too.  The atmosphere and beauty of this place was awesome.  It made me want to get married there, you know, if I wasn't already married and if I was independently wealthy.  The wine maker for Sparkling Pointe is from Champagne, France and is well versed in making sparking wines.  Once again, being there made me fall in love with Long Island.

When we finished our last sample of wine, we headed further East to Claudio's, our dinner destination recommended by the guy who lived in the area.   The food here was excellent, I really enjoyed it, particularly my appetizer.  I had spinach stuffed brie that was encrusted with something, man, it was good.  The bread was good, the wine was good, the dessert was good, the service, not so great. 

View from the parking lot of Claudio's

My fantastic Brie.

After dinner we went back to the hotel and packed while enjoying a bottle of our sparking wine.  We had to be at the airport by 5:30 the next morning.  All in all, we had an awesome time and got to do a ton of stuff.  I would love to make it an annual trip, but I'm thinking that won't be feasible on our budget.  I'm a Texas girl at heart, but I am ready to buy a bed & breakfast on Long Island.  I guess I'll start saving my money now, lol.

NY Part 3

These pictures were all taken from the top of the Empire State Building. It was cool being up there, but I got vertigo if I looked down for too long.  You spend about 45 minutes or so in lines, but the actual elevator ride lasts less than a minute.  Crazy.

After Empire State, we went and had Cuban food at a nearby restaurant.  I fell in love with Cuban food on our honeymoon and haven't had any since then, so I took advantage of being in a place where I could get some.  The next thing we did was to walk over to the NY Public Library.  They house the actual toys (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Kanga) that belonged to the real life Christopher Robin, who was the son of A.A. Milne.

The next part of our journey took us to Long Island.  The first day that Pete was in class, I drove out to Montauk and just relaxed.  It was an overcast, drizzly day and I loved it.  The drive out there took a little over an hour and it made me fall in love with Long Island.  If everything wasn't so dang expensive, I would want to move there.  We encountered very nice people everywhere we went and it was incredibly beautiful.

 Along the way from our hotel to Montauk, you drive through the Hamptons.  On the way back to the hotel, I was hungry and thought I'd stop for lunch.  The weather had cleared up and it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, but not too hot.  I passed by a cute little cafe with seating outside, so I pulled over and went in to get a table.  I was seated outside and they took my drink order.  Knowing how expensive everything had been on our trip, I thought I'd get water to save a little money.  The waiter, who was very nice and had a lovely French accent, asked if I'd like bread.  I said sure, that sounded great.  So here he comes with my water and bread, it was a big bottle of Fiji water in a special silver canister thing.  The bread was fresh baked and delicious.  He left me with a menu and I tried not to choke on what turned out to be my eight dollar bottle of water when I saw the prices.  A side of pomme fritz (french fries) was $12.  Gasp! I ended up ordering a cup of soup and a salad.  The food was good, the atmosphere was great, I had a great time.  When he brought out my ticket, I just calmly got out my card and gave it back to him.  The grand total, including my $8 water, the not free bread, soup, salad and tip was $55.00.  For lunch, for just me.  I do regret not having tried a dessert, it was a French bakery apparently known for it's great pastries.  If only I had known.
I was at least dressed nicely that day instead of my usual ragged jeans and t-shirts.  When we had dinner that night with the men who were teaching Pete's class and I told them where I had eaten for lunch, the owner of the company said Pierre's is one of the places where the famous people who live in the Hamptons are known to go.  He told me that Alec Baldwin has a regular table at Pierre's and frequents it. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NY Part 2

Cool view from one of the corridors in Grand Central

Central Synagogue

Cool Lego dragon

American Girl store

Salon for American Girl dolls

Sign made of Lego men

Lego diorama of Rockefeller Plaza

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New York, NY

We are finally home from our whirlwind trip to NY followed immediately by a quick weekend trip to visit family. 

Before we left, Sara wanted to know a little about New York, so Pete sat down with her and talked about some of the more famous parts of the city.

We got in to Manhattan on Friday afternoon and went straight to our hotel, the Roosevelt.  After checking in and changing clothes, we walked over to the famous 21 Club for our 8:30 reservations.  We figured we'd hang out at the bar and have a couple of drinks while waiting for our table.  We stood at the bar and each had 2 outrageously overpriced cocktails.  We ended up being seated about 8.  They had great service and wonderful food.  The atmosphere was great as well.

These fabulous chocolates were the equivalent of an after dinner mint, but they were really big.

After dinner the first night, we walked around a bit and walked over to Time's Square.

We didn't stay long in Time's Square, it was loud and too crowded.  The next morning, I made Pete get up earlier than he wanted to and we walked over to Grand Central to catch a subway and have a little breakfast.  We wandered around the terminal for a bit and had a bagel from a little stand.  Grand Central is a really cool building that has all kinds of shops and restaurants in it.  I enjoyed just wandering around checking everything out. 

We found the right train and made our way to ground zero.  I really wanted to see the 9-11 memorial, but we found out upon arrival that you have to have a reservation to be able to get in to see it while it's still in construction.  I was disappointed, but there was nothing we could really do.  We walked around and saw some beautiful old buildings as well as the Freedom Tower that is being built. 

During our wanderings, we saw a group of 3 or 4 guys doing a street performance. They were basically just break dancing.  It was fun to stand around and watch for a few minutes. 
We also saw a black squirrel coming out to beg for food, there was a girl nearby with a cracker and he came right up and grabbed it out of her hand. It was adorable.

We also saw a really cool sculpture in one of the parks, I loved all the bright colors.  When Sara saw the pictures, she said it looked like someone left a bunch of crayons out and they got melted.

We went through Battery Park City and down through the Soho area. Of course while we were in Soho, we had to stop by the Wooster St. Social Club (the tattoo shop where they film NY Ink) and get a couple of t-shirts. 

We stopped in a little tea bar that was really cool too.  I forgot to take any pictures, but it was a cute little shop with all kinds of teas an cocktails.  We also had our first slice of NY pizza and it was really good.  We shared a piece of cheese, plus each got our own.  Mine had sliced, fried eggplant and big chunks of fresh Mozzarella, I loved it.

We had our first Broadway show to attend that night, so it was back to the hotel to get cleaned up and change.  We saw "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Laroquette.  It was an excellent play and all the actors were very talented.  I absolutely loved the set and costume design.  Daniel Radcliffe was great and his role was funny.  If you ever get the chance to see it, on Broadway or off, I highly recommend it.

After the show, we took a train over to a particular hot dog vendor that came highly recommended to us called Gray's Papaya.  We each had a couple of dogs and a drink, which was our cheapest meal the entire time we were there. 

I'll post the rest of our days in another few posts.  We did as much stuff as we could possibly fit in during our short stay there.