Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Big Apple Christmas & DC New Year Recap: Better Late Than Never

Yes, I know Christmas has been over for more than a month already, but I’ve had such a busy start to my new year that I’m just now finally getting around to recapping the holidays, which were awesome in every way. From spending an amazing week in New York City with my mom and sister to showing them the sights back here in DC through the beginning of 2014, it was by far one of my favorite Christmases ever. Here, in a nutshell, are some of our top holiday highlights.

-- Our midtown hotel in New York City, the Westin Grand Central, was comfortable, clean and close enough to many major sights without the expensive Times Square price tag. It also offered a great view of the Chrysler Building, one of my favorite NYC landmarks. Overall, I liked it a lot and would definitely stay there again.

-- I'm a big fan of Monet and Van Gogh, so it was fabulous seeing their pieces on display at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art.

-- Heading up to the top of the Empire State Building on Christmas Eve was freezing but still worth it for the amazing panoramic views of the city. The Heartland Brewery restaurant next door also served the best baked macaroni and cheese I’ve ever eaten!

-- It was my first time visiting Dylan’s Candy Bar, and I'm happy to say that I now understand the reason for all of the well-deserved hype! Chocolate- and candy-covered Oreos were my favorite treat, followed closely by a s'more chocolate bar. Oh, how I wish they would open one of these here in DC!

-- By far the biggest highlight of our trip was going to see three Broadway shows – Waiting for Godot staring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, The Glass Menagerie staring Zachary Quinto, and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. All three were incredible, and if you ever have the chance to go to New York City and see them, I highly recommend doing so! Back in DC, we also rung in 2014 by going to see the musical Elf at the Kennedy Center. (We forgot to take pictures of the shows' marquee signs, so here's a shot of the iconic Grand Central Terminal clock instead.)  

-- The Central Park Zoo’s snow leopard cubs were truly adorable, climbing, tumbling and playing outside in the chilly weather.

-- The potato pancakes we ate at New York's famous Katz's Deli, of When Harry Met Sally fame, were beyond scrumptious.

-- Back in DC, my mom, sister, Stephen and I had a fun time visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where we pet a sweet Christmas camel and got to tour the usually closed off top level of the mansion.

-- Space Shuttle Discovery, which I saw flying above our old apartment complex on its way to the Smithsonian back in 2012, is now housed at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Northern Virginia, where we took refuge one cold and rainy afternoon.

All in all, I loved the holidays and can’t wait to head back to NYC again, hopefully sometime this year. If you’ve been there before, what are some of your favorite things to do? Any recommendations for my next visit? Going to the Metropolitan Opera for a show and backstage tour is definitely at the top of my list!  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year's Resolutions: Better Late Than Never

I hope everyone’s 2014 is off to a great start so far! Since my family was here visiting from Christmas through last week, I’m just now getting back into the swing of things after an amazing holiday in New York City and a wonderful time introducing them to some of the DC area’s best museums and landmarks.

Even though we’re already a couple weeks into the new year, I figure it’s better late than never to share a few goals and resolutions. And really, any time, new year or not, is a good time to set goals for improving your life, right? 

Here below, with the help of a couple simple prompts I discovered via fellow bloggers, is a quick look at several of my goals, along with my chosen "word of the year."

A Bad Habit I’m Going to Break

A New Skill I’d Like to Learn
Cooking more healthy meals

A Person I Hope to Be More Like
My Nana

A Good Deed I’m Going to Do
Donate on behalf of causes I support

A Place I’d Like to Visit
New York City’s Metropolitan Opera

A Book I’d Like to Read
The End of Illness by David B. Agus 

And many others, as well. As of right now, I have 98 books on my “To Read” list. During 2012 and 2013, I read 20-25 books per year while taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I hope to continue that trend by getting through at least 20 titles this year.

A Letter I’m Going to Write:
One allowing me to reconnect with someone I've lost touch with over the years

A New Food I’d Like to Try:
Crab sushi

I’m Going to Work Harder At
Believing in myself

A Project I'd Like to Finish
A final draft of my first novel 

I'd Like to Spend More Time

I Want to Eat More
Fruits and vegetables

I Want to Wear More
Colorful clothes and jewelry, instead of my usual neutrals

A Class I'd Like to Take
An online writing seminar via Writer's Digest

Word of the Year

Did you choose a "word of the year" or set goals for 2014?