Spring Break in NYC

Last week, my family and I spent Spring Break in NYC.  It was our first ever spring break vacation, first airplane flight for my son, and our longest family trip ever.  I think I came back more exhausted than when I left, but we had fun!  The whole trip was planned via travel hacking, but I think it was the nicest vacation we have ever had.

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, and it did not disappoint.  Oh my word...

I mean, there were robes, slippers, and lovely scented toiletries.

There were doormen, a concierge, and a house car with a driver waiting to take you anywhere you wanted to go that was near the hotel.  And their service and kindness was as amazing as the hotel.  

The hotel was 2 blocks from Central Park, so we had to go there first.  Even though spring hadn't quite hit the city, the park was still beautiful and we came back several times.  

Later in the week, we went to the MET, 

and visited the Empire State Building,

where we could see Central Park in the distance.

We also toured Brooklyn and Wallkill Bethel, and went to Times Square, where we met up with friends from home.  


Being at Rockefeller Plaza, where the Today Show is filmed, was awesome.  We went to rent a car, and saw all of the flags literally right around the corner.  So many iconic sights were right around the corner.  

This artist was creating this amazing picture of Grand Central Terminal.  

We ate at several restaurants and I observed something about New Yorkers that I really admired.  I think we know they move fast and we often hear that they are rude, but I noticed in all of the restaurants we ate at there was a lot of conversation.  No one, and I mean no one, was on their phone or tablet scrolling thru a screen, unless they were dining alone.  They seemed to value conversation when they had the opportunity.  

One restaurant we ate at several times was called Le Pain Quotidien.  It was right around the corner from the hotel, and the food was AH-MAZ-ING!  We had waffles from there that were so good, I had to hunt down the recipe when we got home.   I have still got to order the special sugar you need to make them.  It turns out they were Liege waffles which are made from what I am guessing is more like a dough than a batter.  It's funny because the first day we had breakfast there, we all ordered waffles.  And when they came to the table, I was so disappointed because they were so small.  But they did not disappoint.  They were the best waffles I have ever had in my life.  I told my husband, I have never had a Cronut, but this is what I imagine they taste like.  Everything we ate there was so good.  

Another place we ate at several times was Angelo's Pizza, which was a few steps from the hotel.  It was everything you would expect from New York Pizza--a thin, chewy crust + delicious toppings.  For some reason, I only have a pic of my salad, but it was just as good!

On our last day in the city we made plans to go see The High Line.  On our way there we came across  a beautiful public plaza.  I love being outside in nature, and the fact they New York has all of these public areas is lovely.   

The High Line is this public park built on an abandoned railway line that had become naturally overgrown after sitting unused for many years.  The city was going to demolish it, but two men decided to fight to have it repurposed.  What is there today is a beautiful park that is, again, open to the city.  I really want to come back and see it again when it's in full bloom.  

There was a sign I saw that said "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding."  I found it to be hilarious.  While I would love to live in New York, the marathon Bravo is playing of Million Dollar Listing-New York, tells me that I would have to be kidding to think I could live there.  

New York, it was fun while it lasted, but we had to say goodbye.

It feels great to be back home and to have my space to myself again, but we'll be back!

The Playroom Makeover {Part 5- Two Chairs & Window Panels}

I thought I would pop in before the year was out with another update.  I haven't said much about the playroom makeover since March.  I finished the book ledges and moved on to other things.  But tweaks have been made over the past few months and I wanted to share them.

First is the large chair in the bay window.  It's been in the Bub's room for years as our story time chair.  But in the process of making over his room, most of the toys were moved in there for storage.  So now there was no room for the chair.  I just wanted it out of the room and didn't have anywhere for it to go.  Except, in the dance of musical furniture,  I had moved the desk that had previougly been in the playroom to the sun room,  because the desk in there had been moved to my bedroom.  Bottom line, now there was space in the bay window to sit the chair until I could sell it on Craigslist.  It was my husband's idea, and I reluctantly agreed just until I could sell it.

From the beginning, he thought it looked good there.  He was right!  Now it's kind of one of my favorite places to sit!  It was actually the perfect size because the room is narrow.

So now the playroom is sort of a reading/playroom.

Now the drapes were another one of the last minute projects I finished before family came in town in November.  I originally wanted lined burlap panels for the window.  At this point, two of the curtain rods anchors had been pulled out of the wall and were hanging crooked and two panels were clipped up, un-sewn.  Just sad.

So to keep it simple,  I just ironed,  hemmed, and sewed the panels without lining.  I didn't even hem the sides, since burlap edges are finished.  And after a few hours, they were up.  

I used clip rings and pinched them in to create folds.   Then 'trained' them by securing the folds with ties for about 3 days.

And now, their done!

Since then, I've also had my eye on the Jennylund Chair from Ikea for quite a while for replacing the wooden outdoor chair angled in the room.  

I had four that were originally purchased in the clearance section at Target and have been used indoors and outdoors over the years.  But I was ready for a change and took a chance with the Ikea chair and love it!

The room feels mostly done.  I would still like to change out the art over the sofa...the sea fans feel a bit to serious for the space.  And I may have to bring back in a few toys.  The Bub says that it's not a playroom because there aren't any toys.  In my defense, when we got toy storage for his room, it held almost all of his toys. (Which reminds me, I'll have to share what I did with all the toys that had a million tiny little pieces.)  But we're enjoying the space.  I'll be sure to update when I do make some more changes!

A DIY Latte

A hot drink, especially in the colder months, is so comforting.  It's warm in your hands and warms you up inside.  I had gotten in the habit of pulling into a drive-thru for a caramel latte a couple of times a week, but thought there must be a way to make one at home.  I've been making them for almost a year, and thought I would share how. 

Here's what you'll need.

I brew a strong cup of coffee using either a coffee maker or an espresso maker.  I started out using the Bialetti, which is also good if you're making more than one.  If I'm using the K-cup style brewer, I use the smallest cup to make it strong.   Either way only use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brewed coffee.  

My favorite coffee right now--Starbucks French Roast.  The darkest roast I could find.

Next, heat up 1/2 cup of milk and add it too the coffee.

Sweeten to taste with flavored syrup.  I have found the large bottles of Torani flavored syrups sporadically at Ross and the smaller ones more recently at Sprouts.

Whip the mixture with a frother and enjoy!  You can buy more expensive frothers, but this one from Ikea has worked well for me and costs less than $3.  

I like to drink out of a mug at home.  But for $1, Starbucks sells a reusable, recyclable cup that you can take on the go.  Gotta love that.

Laundry Room-Behind the Doors

This laundry-hall is probably the hardest-working room in my home.  It's where I go in and out several times a day, and it houses the pantry, laundry, and coat/storage closet.  The door to the hallway constantly stays open.  And the pantry door is usually open as well.  After the countertop was put down, I really wanted to clean up the pantry a bit.  It could use more work, but it has come a long way since I originally shared my plans for the space.

I keep my purse and reusable grocery bags hanging here, so I can easily grab them on the way out the door.  Though the food is front and center, the shelving extends another 2 feet into the wall beyond the sliding doors.  It houses a lot of paint and supplies, extra bottled water, AC filters, the leaf to my dining room table (seen at the bottom there), and more.  A lot of this stuff needs to be moved to the garage.  But the garage could use a good clean out and organization first.  Actually, a lot of this stuff needs to be purged.  All in due time.

The little 'Groceries' sign came from Hobby Lobby a few years ago.

The other side; I couldn't really get a full picture in the narrow hallway.  But you get the drift.  Food plus some Helmsman Spar Urethane.   How is it I have all this food, but still have a hard time deciding what to cook?

Moving over to the coat/storage closet.  The ironing board and accoutrements hang on the door.  We take it down and iron in the narrow hallway.  It's a tight squeeze if you need to get by when someone is ironing, but otherwise ok.  If I'm feeling like supermom, I will take it to the family room and knock out a week's worth of ironing in front of the TV.  

In addition to coats, this closet is currently housing my outdoor dining chairs for the winter.  I also store floor cleaning supplies in here.  A large industrial dust mop for the wood floors, a steam mop, and the broom.

Extra cleaning supplies above in the basket, and hanging on the wall, an insulated tote for cold groceries, and a backpack for travel.   (And the Bub's little coats!)

One day I would like to have a small outdoor storage building to hold gardening tools and to pack up outdoor cushions and chairs for the winter.  Right now everything has to go in closets or the attic and garage.

I think this hallway packs quite the punch.  Once the doors are closed, it looks calm and serene.  And that I can work with.