You Know You Live in New Jersey When…

I can barely bring myself to type this. It’s just too much.

You know you live in New Jersey when…you receive an email from your hair salon (which you’ve frequented twice) touting the fact that they were recently featured on a wedding TV show. A wedding show which happened to feature a cast member of The Jersey Shore! “Yay, hooray US!” they said.


Just.

I can’t.

Being on a wedding show or TV in general? That is cool, I’ll admit and I’d brag too. But for the love!? Who wants to brag about or perpetuate those people??  I had to laugh as I read the email. Sigh. I’m not in Kansas Virginia New York, anymore.

I’m going to have to do some serious soul-searching before I decide where my locks will be cut next.

Life Without Internet

So many photos I want to share and so little Internet! I should have the blessed web when I get home tonight, but in the meantime, here is life via my iPhone.

The move was fairly smooth. Trying to maneuver a huge moving truck through Manhattan was the worst part.

After the closing, when they handed us the keys and the house was really, truly “ours” Scott and I raced back, pinching ourselves, the whole way.

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Scott carried me over the threshold (sweet man) and it went much better than the last time he carried me over a threshold on our wedding night. That one ended in a bruised, bleeding elbow. So we high-fived for threshold success and then stood in our empty rooms. After running through it a few times, it seemed fitting to break in our deck and have our first “cheers” in the house.

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It already felt like home, and for the first time ever, I didn’t want to leave New Jersey and go back to the city! Crazy. But once we pulled ourselves away and got back to our neighborhood, it started to hit us. We were giving up a lot by leaving the city. Like tons of great restaurants and bars right within walking distance. That is no small thing. So rather than finish packing, like good children, we went out with dear friends for dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Penrose, and then for drinks at this great Scottish bar, Caledonia. It was a perfect farewell to our beloved corner of the Upper East Side. And it was only fitting to do our last cheers in the city.

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And then it was moving day. We rented a uhaul, packed up our life with the help of two very committed friends (our life savers, Rick and Dana!). And sooner than I would have liked we were done. And my cozy, little home…the place I learned how to be a wife and spent my first two years of marriage (the best two years of my life yet)…was empty.

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But there were people waiting for us in Jersey. And a house. And the Uhaul was blocking traffic. And Prince was already making strange sounds of distress in his crate.

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So off we went to the next adventure.

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Ode to New York

We did it.  We moved to New Jersey this weekend.   I’m excited to show you the “before” photos and then get started on the journey to the pretty “afters.”

But before we get to that goodness, I can’t just ignore the city I’ve called home for the past two years.   It deserves a fitting farewell, which I couldn’t put into words if I tried.  When a dear friend left the city a few months ago, she posted the below ‘ode’ or love letter to the city, written by Laura Steiner of the Huffington Post.  I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that this letter says everything perfectly.

“To the city you’re always yearning,

New York is tackiness on the gravel of the meatpacking district, it’s cool kidz on Bedford, it’s yuppie parents in Prospect Park, it’s characters out of Woody Allen’s imagination in the Upper West Side, it’s Dominicans in Washington Heights, it’s Hasidic Jews in Borough Park, it’s Asian groceries and Polish bars, it’s Italians — the real ones and the Jersey Shore ones — it’s movie stars, fashion stars, homeless, junkies, it’s tourists, it’s commuters, it’s generations of New Yorkers.

New York is neighborhood. It’s having your deli, your coffee place, your laundromat and, if you’re lucky, your late night eatery in one block. It’s drinking coffee on your stoop.

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New York is museums, it’s street art, it’s music, it’s theater. It’s being constantly nostalgic about past decades. E.B. White said it best in his book Here is New York when he wrote, “In New York you feel the vibrations of great times.” New York is Patti Smith, Henry James, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Jackson Pollock, Frank O’Hara, Hector Lavoe, Washington Irving, Andy Warhol, Billie Holiday, Jack Kerouac, The Ramones and other greatest.

New York is having everything to chose from and never having enough time to do anything. It’s being surrounded by people and feeling lonely. It’s also finding out you don’t need other people’s company, you just need the city.

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New York is where the eastern European deli owner will never say a word to you despite the fact that you buy coffee from him every morning. But it’s where the eastern European deli owner will one day tell you “Hey, it’s nice to see you again” after you’ve moved out of your neighborhood and haven’t seen him in six months. After that, every coffee in the world will be tasteless to you.

New York is where you’ll probably live at least once (if not more) in an apartment where you’ll have occasional visits from mice. But New York is where you’ll learn to overlook the rodent situation because it’s never about the mice, it’s about the fact that you managed to score an apartment in a first floor walk up with windows and exposed brick in a prime location.

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New York is finding comfort in the small things, like knowing your neighbor never picks up his subscription to the Sunday New York Times.

One day, New York will be the place you’re no longer in, but the place you won’t seem to be able to shake off your head.

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New York is the place you’ll try to explain to everyone back home to no avail. You’ll find there aren’t enough words in your vocabulary. New York is not something you see, it’s something you feel. It’s a state of mind and hence hard to describe.

You’ll go back home and reminisce about the city. People will tell you New York will always be there. But you know better. The city will withstand — as it always has — but the city you left behind, you left for good. The city won’t miss you because you were merely a spec in its being and when you go back (and you will since the city is always calling) you’ll go back to a different New York. The city never stops and already, only a few months later, you know it’s changed: that’s it’s nature. New York is unapologetic and doesn’t wait for anyone. It’s a city that creates and a city that happens. New York doesn’t need anything or anyone and perhaps that’s exactly why you still crave it so much, because of it’s idyllic unattainability.”

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We’re Moving to Jersey, Baby!

So.  We bought a house!  In New Jersey.

After looking on and off for about ten months we finally found it.  The ONE.  OUR house.  Our starter house?  Our forever home?  We don’t know yet.  But we’re excited to find out!

We’ll be moving on … get this … Saturday.  Holy moly.  This whole house hunting thing has been a bit of a roller coaster.  We’ve been in bidding wars only to lose out after 2 or 3 rounds;  we’ve had bids accepted, only to lose the house after telling our families.  So I’ve held off on announcing this little piece of news for well over a month because I had a hard time believing it was actually going to happen.   I was sure the other shoe was going to drop.  But it’s here!

So yes.  We are moving to a teeny, little town in Jersey just a few miles from where Scott was born and raised.  Forget all of the negative things you ever heard about New Jersey – because you won’t find any of those cliches in our little town.  It’s super close to the beach (the shore, if you will).  It is quaint and charming and we already have some friends and family close by, which is priceless.

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Unfortunately, life (read: work) doesn’t slow down for major life events.  So we spent the better part of Sunday packing up as much as we possibly could.  And now our cozy, little apartment looks like this.

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Transition is so tough.  And let me tell you, I am going to MISS living in New York.  There’s no better place in the world.  And I will mourn this apartment, our first home as husband and wife.  But as I have to keep reminding Scott, those feelings have NOTHING to do with my excitement about this new house and the new phase of life.  I cannot wait to *actually* decorate and renovate this house!  I’ve always held back in all of my past apartments.  I never felt like they were mine.

So here are the quick stats.  And there will be plenty more details in the next few weeks.

It has four bedrooms and two full bathrooms.  The kitchen is huge!  There is a little breakfast nook that I cannot wait to make cuter and comfier.  There is a white brick fireplace.  Most of the house is hardwood flooring.  There is plenty of natural light thanks to skylights.  The front yard is just completely overgrown with plants.  It doesn’t appear there is any sort of order or reason to it.  That will be a challenge, because I never really thought I’d want to do much gardening.

Once the house is officially ours I’ll post plenty of pictures!  We are so excited and will definitely be sharing all of the details here.  I think a new blog name may be in order!  Here’s to moving week!

From Broadway to Brooklyn

Earlier this summer, my mom, sister and I were back together (in close quarters) again!  The trip could also be known as “Scott learned what my father lived with (dealt with) for 20 + years.”  I think he has a new appreciation for my dad.

To kick off their visit, I took Mom and Megan to a cute wine bar on the West side (Ardesia for the New Yorkers out there).

I believe my mom’s cocktail was called “Don’t fall off the balcony and ruin the party.” No lie. IMG_5773

The food was delicious and the weather was perfection.  We had the best al fresco dinner.

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Then it was off to an evening of frills, twirls, sparkles and dancing animals.
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Cinderella on Broadway, of course!  It was every little girl’s fantasy come to life with no holds barred.

The quote of the show has to be by the Fairy Godmother…

“You’d be surprised how many beautiful gowns have crazy women in them!”IMG_5777

The next day Scott and I got to check an item off our NYC bucket list.  We walked the Brooklyn Bridge!IMG_5784

I seriously recommend you walk the Brooklyn Bridge at some point in your life.  IMG_5791

You get great views of some of the city’s well-known landmarks.

Hello, pretty lady!

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There is the Freedom Tower – all 1776 feet of it.IMG_5804

And hello, Empire State Building!IMG_5810

It’s an easy walk and there are neighborhoods worth exploring on both ends.   When you arrive in Brooklyn it feels like you are worlds away from Manhattan.  The spaces are more open, there is more grass and way more parks and neighborhood-y type things.

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And on the Manhattan side, there’s the South Street Seaport and SmorgasBar!

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When Sandy knocked out most of the shops and restaurants in the South Street Seaport area/Financial District, the Brooklyn Flea set up SmorgasBar.  It’s a fun area with pop up restaurants of well-loved restaurants and food trucks.  Including Magnolia Bakery and Red Hook Lobster Pound.

We tried both the Maine and New England style lobster rolls.  The New England (aka BUTTER) style was my favorite.  Both were heaven.  Even our picky, non-seafood eating family member enjoyed.  That would be Megan, of course.  And see those drinks? Grown up Arnold Palmers.  DE- LISH.  It was such a treat after walking the Brooklyn Bridge and back.

IMG_5815There is also a TKTS booth at South Street.  We waited in line that morning to get Peter and the Star Catcher tickets.  Scott got to join us for this Broadway adventure.  He was a little iffy about the Peter Pan story line, but I heard him laughing along with the rest of us through the show.  It’s a “grown up prequel” to Peter Pan and I looooved it.

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It’s true “theater” (as opposed to a play or a musical) and the actors performed it perfectly.  They didn’t miss a beat and there was plenty going on throughout the entire show.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  You see how Peter Pan becomes Peter Pan and how he comes to have a connection to Wendy.  And you learn where Tinkerbell came from!  And there is a very funny scene that shows a slightly different angle to how Captain Hook lost his hand.  I love the Peter Pan story and this just made me fall in love with it even more.
IMG_5819All in all, this was one of the busiest, most decadent, most wonderful weekends we’ve had in a long time!  Mom treated us to cabs everywhere (SCORE!), we got to eat delicious food and we saw not one, but two shows.  It was hard coming back to real life!

Fitzgerald Anniversary

Last month we had some Fitzgeralds in the city!  My in-laws both have milestone birthdays and are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in 2013.  So we had to celebrate!

(Almost) everyone came to the city.  Scott’s brother and sister-in-law left their two little ones at home and Jess and Dan couldn’t make it since they just had the newest member of the family.  We missed them all!

We started by having everyone over to our apartment to grill out and spend low-key time together.
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It was {so} fun for me to host a small family gathering.  I cannot wait until we have a larger home and can host whole family get-togethers.  I basically registered for our wedding while dreaming of a 14 person Thanksgiving meal.IMG_5450

So it was a treat for me to host!  IMG_5451

Sisters-in-law!  We had the best time.
IMG_5452We had gotten the Fitzgerald’s a hotel room in the city so they didn’t have to travel home to  New Jersey for the night.  They had a fun view which we got to see when we stopped by to sweep them off to dinner.

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We avoided the typical Times Square pre-theater restaurants and went to The Smith in midtown. IMG_5459

We love The Smith.  Great cocktail options and DE-LICIOUS food.
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I know Mark and Steph missed their little ones, but I really hope they enjoyed their time in the city.  We absolutely loved getting to share our home with them.IMG_5471

Doesn’t my husband look so handsome with a beard!?  It’s gone now, but he said it’d come back when the weather gets cold again.  I fully approve.IMG_5470

Oh my word. Y’all.  The food.  Deep fried green beans – piping hot, crisp in the middle and just perfect dipped in ranch.  Get them. You won’t be disappointed.IMG_5474

Cheers!IMG_5475

The sign of a good sister-in-law?  Splitting the two best entrees on the menu because you can’t decide.  Pot of mussels (we drank the broth it was so good) and paella.IMG_5476

GirlsEatingAfter dinner it was onto the show!  We chose Rock of Ages for the Fitzgeralds.  I knew it would be a crowd pleaser for the men and women alike.  I mean, when my father-in-law was asked what type of music he wanted played at his retirement party, he replied,

“Anything by Springsteen or Jovi.”

Scott and I were just dating at the time.  I remember thinking I wouldn’t mind hanging out with this family a bit more. 🙂

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Lets just say that Rock of Ages isn’t the typical broadway experience. But in the best possible way.  We laughed and danced in our seats through the whole show.  I literally got excited for every song.  IMG_5485

The show let out right across the street from the theater where Tom Hanks is currently performing.  There was a huge crowd gathered and I remembered that some of my friends had seen the play and been able to get Tom’s autograph after the show.  He must be coming out right here!  Steph and I got SO excited.  We joined the crowd and waited.  And waited.  I was ready to call it quits (had to keep up my cool New Yorker facade, right!?) and we were walking back to the Fitzgeralds who were waiting for us with amused patience.  IMG_5487

And then we heard it.  The crowd suddenly started screaming and yelling and Stephanie grabbed my hand and we raced back to get as close as we could.  There was TOM HANKS in all of his mustached glory!  He shook hands and signed autographs for a lucky few.  And the rest of us got to say that we “saw Tom Hanks in real life!”IMG_5490

I can’t imagine what it would be like to cause that sort of fuss every night leaving work.  We left two happy girls.

IMG_5493As great as Mr. Hanks is, I have to say I had more fun with these folks.  It was a GREAT weekend.

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I. Went. Golfing. (sorta)

If you know me at all – especially if you knew me from ages 14-18, you will know that this is a big deal.  I went to a driving range.  And didn’t just sit and watch Scott hit some golf balls.  I actively participated.  And furthermore, I enjoyed it!  Missed swings and all!

We went with some of our sweet friends, Maggie and Jonathan, to the driving range at the Chelsea Piers.  You know the one in the movies, such as Serendipity? (I’m sure it is in other movies, but I only know chick flicks.)

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I’ve never seen Scott golf before and he is so good!  I had an idea that he is, but it is different to see it in action.  Mah man!IMG_5303

We all took turns hitting (and missing, as the case may be cough*me*cough) the golf balls.  It was actually really fun!  And I didn’t feel pressure or anything! IMG_5325

Scott watched me edit the photos and told me I needed to bend my knees more.  I told him I was busy trying not to bend my arms like he told me while we were there.  Apparently my joints can’t be in different positions at the same time?  Its way too hard to bend my knees but not my elbows.  Geesh Rebecca, you were a dancer for pete’s sake!IMG_5328

Look at Maggie go! IMG_5331

We had so much fun but my favorite part might have been the photo shoot at the end…IMG_5335

And the margaritas we got as a treat after!IMG_5332Thanks for the suggestion, Maggie (& Jonathan!).  We had so much fun with you two and would looove to do it again soon 🙂