Friday, March 31, 2017

Cafe Lalo

New York City has some great eats. In fact they have so many it can be hard to choose. One place that I knew we wanted to visit and eat at was Café Lalo.

Café Lalo is the eatery featured in one of my Mother and I's favorite films, You've Got Mail.

Café Lalo is home to one of the most famous scenes in the movie. It's the Café that Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and her internet friend NY152 agree to meet at for the very first time. Unbeknownst to Kathleen, NY152 does show up by has his friend check her out first. The scene goes on from there but I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie.

Since You've Got Mail came out in 1998, I'm happy to report that Café Lalo is still open for business. In the restaurant world not many places stay open for decades but this NYC landmark is going strong and is still serving people daily. When I knew we were going to the city, I knew this had to be one of the places we made time to stop at.

While they are known for their amazing desserts and cafes, we actually went there for breakfast and it was fantastic. They also had all of their desserts on display and if it hadn't been 9:00 a.m., I would have inhaled a piece of their double chocolate cake I saw in the display case.

Only a short walk from the subway this restaurant is located at 201 West 82nd Street. After you finish eating you can walk the short distance of two blocks to Central Park. That way you'll be burning off some of those calories you just consumed! And for all my fellow You've Got Mail lovers, here's a look at the wallpaper in the bathrooms at Café Lalo...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lady Liberty

Another big landmark we wanted to see during our time in New York was the Statue of Liberty. We didn't want to just pass by it on a ferry ride, we wanted to be able to get off the boat, walk around and go inside. Before we set off for New York, we got online and did our research. To go to the Statue of Liberty and to be able to walk around, you need a ticket from the National Park. When going inside there are two different types of tickets- The Crown or the Pedestal. We chose to do the Pedestal which takes you to the bottom of Lady Liberty's sandaled feet.
The ferry ride over provides you with some amazing views of the city.
Once you begin to get further from the city, Lady Liberty comes into view. The ferry boat actually passes it to park on the far side so you get to see if from all the angles.
Once you get off the boat and enter the base of the Statue you go through an area that houses the original torch which was on display until the remodel.
You have two options on how to get into the pedestal. You can either take the stairs or an elevator and then one flight of stairs. We chose the elevator because we had already walked a lot that day. Once you get to the pedestal entrance you must go outside to see the grounds and the view of the statue from that vantage point.

At the pedestal, this is where you would begin the climb to the crown if you chose to do that. We chose not to because it's 200 vertical round steps which you can see the way down. For my husband that's a challenge because he doesn't do well with heights.

We really enjoyed visiting Lady Liberty for a few hours and had a great time. The ferry ride was freezing and the line to get on the ferry to get over to the island was a little crazy but we had a great time!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NYC Financial District

Located in New York City's financial district, the Charging Bull is an 11 foot tall, 7,100 pound bronze statue sitting right in the middle of the street.
People come from all around to get a glimpse of the Charging Bull and to touch it. Apparently it's really good luck to touch is on the balls and on the horns. The bull symbolizes Wall Street and is a New York staple. It's been featured in several movies including Hitch, Inside Man, The Other Guys and many more.
So many people have came to touch the bull that the bronze has worn off in several places. He obviously gets a lot of love from people daily.
Recently the city gave the Charging Bull some company and added an addition statue facing the bull. She is known as the Fearless Girl who stares down the charging bull. She was originally placed there before International Women's Day but has since been left up as a symbol to show that women are strong.
The next time your in NYC swing by and see these iconic statues. It was very busy the day we were there but it was also a holiday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

9/11 Memorial and Museum


This was the first thing we booked and planned from the moment we knew we were going to New York. If you were alive on September 11, 2001 you immediately know and remember where you were when the events of that day unfolded at the World Trade Centers in New York City.
I was a senior in high school, who had just sat down in my accounting class. News had spread in the halls that a plane hit the World Trade Center. We turned on the television just in time to see the second plane hit the North Tower.My husband living in California woke up to the news and watched horrified like everyone else. He joined the U.S. Air Force shortly afterwards. This single day changed how American looked and viewed the world. It changed how we travelled, it changed our attitudes and views on other countries and overall that day made us scared as what was to come next. To go to Ground Zero was a must for us and in our opinion for anyone travelling to NYC for the first time.

The memorial of the pools sits on ground zero. The pools are the original footprints of the North and South Towers. The museum itself sits 70 feet below the surface and goes all the way down to the original foundation poured for the towers. When you enter the museum in addition to seeing the original foundation, you see the still in tact wall holding the Hudson river at bay. You see now historical items such as the survivor staircase that was the only way out for hundreds of people.

You hear the stories of survivors and see artifacts from that day. You see the damage done to the city and the New Yorkers who were there that day living their normal life and you see the first responders who risked and gave their life while doing their jobs. While seeing these things is very intense, you also hear the phone calls from victims made to 911 and their loved ones. Crash artifacts are also on exhibit from the United 93 flight and the Pentagon.

The entire museum is very intense. We did the guided tour and got to hear the stories and facts of many artifacts that you would normally just walk by and read. Hearing the actual words was very powerful. Being there in New York, having walked the streets you see how that day really affected people there that day, in the city. I can't even imagine being anywhere near there on that fateful day. Below is the original foundation to the towers.

The museum is also home to the unidentified remains of victims. Closed off and behind a wall, only accessible to the families of victims, is the corners office where to this day they are still trying to identify some of the victims remains for families to have closure.

No photography is allowed in the artifacts room. This is where you hear the victims in their own voices saying goodbye to their loved ones via 911 calls and voicemails. You see their bloody shoes from walking miles home. You see scrapes of paper burned from the towers. You see five floors of concrete smashed and melted to one foot thick. Out of respect to all who lost their lives you do not take photographs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: The NYC Edition

When we first scheduled our trip to New York City we had to figure out our transportation. The first thing we needed to tackle was how to get from LaGuardia down into Manhattan. We were told by my uncle who lives there to be prepared to spend around 50 dollars if we took a taxi. Being the frugal people that we are, we looked into our options. We got out our handy dandy phones, revved up Uber and checked the prices. The Uberpool was by far the cheapest mode besides taking the bus so we went with it. The cost was only $10.00 when all was said and done. We thought it was going to be 10 bucks per person but we were only charged 10 dollars total.

We had never used Uberpool, so we thought we would give it a try. One the SUV showed up and we loaded into it with two young women from Denver we were on our way into the city. Luckily, we were lined up to be dropped off first! Unfortunately, we got stuck in evening traffic and it took two hours to go 15.1 miles. Our ride back to the airport we took Uber Select and it only took 20 minutes and cost $36.00. Apart from our airport uber rides, we either walked or took the subway. We walked so much that in four days we did 23 miles. Word from the wise... wear comfortable shoes! Now on to the subway...

Looking at the New York City subway map can be overwhelming and intimidating but we quickly learned it's not as scary as it looks. Each ride costs $2.75 but if you know where to transfer underground then you can go from one side of town to the other for that bargain price. To get the subway card itself you'll need to pay a dollar for it. The smallest amount you can load onto a card is around five dollars.

We rode the subway several times and were never bothered or felt fearful. Granted we didn't ride it outside of Manhattan and we didn't ride it late at night. We did get caught on the subway during rush hour one of the evenings and found ourselves crammed in like sardines in a can. Everyone kept to themselves, tried to squeeze in and if you let them know it was your stop, they tired to get out of the way for you to exit.

We mainly stuck to the 1, 2 and 3 trains. Only one time did I ever find my non-claustrophobic self feeling claustrophobic. We were slightly lost the first time we transferred and it felt like we were in one of those mouse mazes buried deep underground with no natural light to figure our way out. Yikes! All in all we were masters of the subway for our first visit. We passed the time waiting on the trains laughing and thinking of all the seedy moments in movies that feature the NYC subway system.

If you find yourself in the city, don't be afraid to hitch a ride on the subway! You can do it! And remember you can get the subway maps on your phone.

Friday, March 10, 2017

4 Shows to Watch Right Now

I love finding a great, new television show to watch! I also love when we get recommendations so if you know of something great to watch let me know! Right now we've find a few new shows to occupy our time since several of our other shows have gone on break. Plus when it's a show that's available all at once (like Netflix shows) we burn through them fast! Here's a few shows that we've watched and really liked...

The Missing

My husband found this show and we just finished watching season one. Season one is about a man named Tony and his wife trying to find out what really happened to their son 8 years after he went missing. Tony has never given up in trying to find their son after he disappeared one night while they were on vacation in France from London. With the help of the original investigator they go on a journey to find Oliver the missing boy and to try to piece together what happened eight long years ago.

There is several seasons of The Missing out but we have only finished season one. Each season revolves around a different story line so season two will have all new characters in it.

Murder in the First

This show use to be on TNT but now it's available to stream on Hulu. There was three seasons of this show before it was cancelled and I have no idea why it was cancelled. It was so good! We watched the entire series in a weekend because we literally binged watched it for three days. The show is set in San Francisco and follows San Francisco homicide detectives Terry and Hildy who are partners. Together they work the streets of San Francisco. Each season is about a different murder/crime and their truth to find out who the killer is.

A fun fact for us was that Hildy's neighborhood in the show is actually the street where my husband's cousin lives so we would see their house in the background anytime they showed scenes with Hildy coming or going to her house. We love that it was set in S.F. because in all of the shows scenes you get to see more of the city.

I'm so worried their going to cancel this show. It's currently on NBC and they still have not confirmed a season two. Viewers continue voice their love of the show online but the network continues to harp on their numbers being low for live audience. Well I'm sorry but who's up at 10:00 p.m. on a Monday watching it live instead of watching it on DVR? This home girl has a job and can't stay up that late which is I'm sure the case for most people. I really do love this show so I'm hoping it gets a season two.

Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus find themselves in a different time period with every episode. They are a three man team that is working to save history because a man named Flinn is going back into time and changing big moments in history. Together these three will try to preserve history and not change the future in the process.


I want to pre-face this show by saying that I have always hated James Franco. I can't stand anything that he's in and usually refuse to watch anything with him in it. When I heard of this show though, I wanted to watch it because I love everything to do with the Kennedys. When watching this show, I actually don't have a problem with Franco. He does a good job in making me forget who he actually is.

In this eight episode mini series, Jake (Franco) goes back in time using a wormhole in the local diner to a time before JFK was assassinated. He's on a mission to make sure that the assassination doesn't happen. He lives in the past for three years to try and track down Oswald and learn if he's working alone or with others. He hides himself in history and tries to do everything in his power to keep JFK alive.

These are just a few of the things we've been watching on TV. What have you been watching?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

It's been awhile since I've done an edition of the good, the bad and the ugly so I figured it was time to bring it back!

The Good

I thought we were going to owe on our taxes and after many cold sweats I finally found out from our accountant that we don't owe! Thank goodness! Maybe my mom's affirmations worked but either way we don't owe any money. I had been worried about it for weeks and dreading hearing the news so that was a major relief to find out that we don't owe and we are actually getting a little back!

The Bad

My husband and I had to spend two weeks apart! His work sent him to a training for two weeks and it was located in Georgia. This had been the longest we had ever been apart since we started dating. We had only been apart for 3-4 days before this work trip. It felt a little weird being at home without him and my days off were very silent. Now that he's back we can get ready for vacation to New York City!

The Ugly

While my husband was away he took our large suitcase. Our luggage use to be my luggage before we got together. I've had that luggage since around 2006 and taken it tons of places. Well finally it gave up and the wheels fell off. It was a great set and this is the second bag that finally bit the dust. Since it was only a three piece set that leaves us with only one piece of luggage and it's the carry on size. So we had to bite the bullet and get some new luggage. I mean you can't go to New York with only one carry on for two people.

We were lucky though and got a great set for a good price. We each got a checked bag and carry on. Now we can spin our luggage 360 degrees and have the handlers through them around and nothing get smashed inside our hard shell luggage.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Adult Book Worm

Every year I make it a goal to read as much as I possibly can. I enjoy reading and finding new authors that make me want to read even more. Most years I set out with a number of books I'd like to read but this year I'm just seeing how many I get through without the worry of hitting a specific number. There shouldn't be pressure on doing something you enjoy spending your free time doing.

We are into March (which I can't even begin to wrap my brain around how it's already three months into the year) and I've already read several books. I wanted to break all of them down since I've enjoyed all that I've read so far.

First up... How We'll Live on Mars.

I'm a huge nerd when it comes to space. I mean clearly.. look where I use to work lol. I'm obsessed with the thought of us going to Mars. Ever since I sat down and watched The Martian, I can't get enough about the red planet. This book can get a little technical so it can be a slower read. If you aren't hip to the engineering or biologist lingo then it's going to get challenging to read but I really enjoyed it. This book also happens to be what the recent National Geographic channel based their scripted mini series Mars on. The book mentions the current work of Space X and their efforts in getting us onto the red planet.

Next up... The Dana Girls Mystery Series. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger.

I got this book along with two others at my work's used book sale. The covers were vintage and from reading books like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, I recognized how similar they were in style. Well I was right! The Dana Girls were written around the same period and by the same author of some of the Nancy Drew books. This time it's about two sisters who go around solving crimes in their free time when they aren't at boarding school. Since I never read these books when I was young I've been reading them now. This one is about a museum featuring a stone tiger that keeps getting vandalized while the time begins to have odd occurrences. Together, the Dana sisters go about finding out what's going on while their on break from school.

The Dana Girls Mystery: The Phantom Surfer.

This one has been my favorite so far. The sisters along with their friend's go to a sleepy little off season beach town for a school trip. When they arrive they find that their room has been cancelled by a rival student that they don't play nice with at school. That quickly becomes the least of their problems as they realize someone else is trying to drive them away from town. The sisters quickly decide to help out the staff after they receive threats if they don't all quit their jobs and leave town.

Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again.

I use to love, love, love the Real Housewives of New Jersey. They were my favorite from the moment they hit the air. Those first few seasons were explosive with drama and family craziness. Once Theresa hit the news for her taxes and her husband scamming the U.S. government the drama got even more crazy. I had followed the story in the news and now to read her side of it, it's definitely interesting. I think she probably really didn't know what Joe had been doing. You can also tell she really loves her kids and wants everything to go back to normal.

Angels Flight.

I got into these books because I loved the Amazon Prime show Bosch. I didn't know it was based off the Michael Connelly book series until a co-worker told me. Since then I've been reading the books in the order they were published because they build upon each other. This book like the others takes place in Los Angeles and a prominent civil rights attorney is murdered. Bosch like always is on the case and out to find the killer while the weight of the department and the tension of the city rest on his shoulders.

The Dana Girls Mystery: The Mystery of the Winking Ruby.

The Dana Girls have been hired by their uncle who's the Captain of a cruise ship to solve a mystery. One of his employees has fallen ill and lost his memory. He's able to tell the Captain that his sister and mother are in danger and little information about a winking ruby. The sisters take the case and hit the high seas and then Europe to solve the mystery.

A Darkness More Than Night.

This is in the Bosch series that I mentioned earlier. I believe this is book seven in the series and it also happens to be the book that Amazon just realized will be the plot of the next season that hits prime memberships next month. They always seem to change the story around a little bit for the show so I'm interested to see what they do with the plot. This time Detective Bosch is getting the finger pointed at him for a murder.

Colony One Mars.

I told you! I'm obsessed with the red planet recently! This fiction book written by a British author sets the scene on Mars and what's happened after a failed mission from three years prior. When the astronauts get there they find that not everything from the first mission is gone. What they do find startles them and quickly breaks up the five member crew. Now their in a fight to get off the planet and back to Earth one day. This book ended with a cliffhanger and I can't wait to read book two!