Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday to all of my readers! Enjoy this time with all the people you love! Eat lots of delicious food and relax! We all deserve a break! Lots of love from me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Week Surprises

Happy Christmas Week Everyone!

In my humble opinion, I think that this week and the week in between Christmas and New Years are the best two weeks of the year. I've been enjoying my week so far: work and then a few wonderful Christmas activities. On Sunday, I treated myself to a mani/pedi. I'm currently sporting dark red nail polish and I LOVE it! I feel very Christmas-y! I'm planning on getting my haircut on Wednesday, so I'm very excited for that! I will be all ready to celebrate!

In other wonderful news, I surprisingly finished my shopping last night. It was totally unexpected and very exciting! I have one more gift to get, which is a super easy purchase! Just like everyone else, I was worried that I wasn't going to get it all done with my work schedule this week. But I did it! So Wednesday night, I will head to Macy's to get that last present and then treat myself to the haircut! Wahoo!

Last night, I had the pleasure attending a work Christmas party and then a friend's Christmas gathering. Both events were fun, but I especially loved going to my friend's. It was a last minute invitation and someone who I hadn't seen in a long time. It was so nice to reconnect and catch up! To me, that is what Christmas is all about: spending time with friends and family and having fun. As stressful as this time of year can get, its nice to take a break and enjoy some good food and drinks and laugh with friends. Last night was exactly what I needed to push through the rest of the week! So, thank you dear friend for that really warmed my heart. :)

I hope everyone enjoys some little surprises this week as well. :)

Happy Christmas!

-Jackie O.

PS: The youtube video for today is my absolute favorite Christmas song. They actually sang it at mass the other day. That was another lovely surprise for me this week!! I'm planning on singing it at Christmas Eve mass! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Top of the World

Hi Everyone!!!
I am currently sitting in my lovely apartment with a Christmas candle burning, lights glowing, and a beautiful wreath that smells delightful and I can't help but be in the Christmas spirit! This time of the year is my absolute favorite and there is no better place to experience it than in NYC!
I am so grateful that I live here....which means that I don't have to spend only one day during the Christmas season to enjoy the city's offerings. Its so magical! I am still in awe.
Anyway, the other day my boyfriend and I were planning on going ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, the rink was going to be closed for a good portion of the afternoon for a private event. Boy did this end up working in our favor! We ended up going to the Top of the Rock!!! I have always wanted to do it, so I was glad to be able to check it off my bucket list. For a mere $25, you can go to the tippy top of 30 Rockefeller Center and see the most incredible view of New York City. There is nothing blocking you from seeing the Empire State Building, all of Central Park, the Chrystler Building and other important landmarks. If I had to describe my experience, I have one word for it: incredible. It quickly climbed its way up to the top of my "Favorite Spots in NYC" list. The other wonderful thing is that there is no time limit on how much time you spend there. I thought it was going to be a quick visit and then we were going to be kicked out, but that is so not the case. We must have spent a half-hour there. There is no time limit! Its so easy to do because you just can't get over the sights! I have so many pictures...I need to print them out so I can remember every moment. We were also lucky with our timing because we got there and the sun was setting over the Hudson! So not only did we see the Sunset, which was gorgeous, but we also got to see the city light up! Long story short, I fell in love. It was just unbelievable. This lovely afternoon followed a relaxing weekend of fun Christmas things. We baked cookies, watched The Holiday and The Santa Clause (which happen to be two of my favorite Christmas movies) and just chilled out. It was just what I needed after two long weeks of working everyday! After our amazing afternoon at the Rock, we went and grabbed something to eat and then took a long walk. So perfect. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I am so lucky.

I'm looking forward to spending this last week before Christmas doing fun things and enjoying my time in the Greatest City in the World before I go home to celebrate with my beautiful family for the holiday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Trees and Lights

Hi All,
Just popping in to report that I am loving seeing all the Christmas Trees and lights in NYC. Someone down the street from my apartment already has his/her tree up and it looks so pretty in the window. My roommate purchased a real wreath for our apartment and it smells amazing! Last night I was walking around the Upper West Side and I saw so many tree vendors and lights up! It makes me so happy!! Christmas is coming! Speaking of which, I need to do some more decorating! Maybe a christmas-scented candle of some sort.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

3 Year Anniversary! :)

Hi All!
So yesterday, November 30th, I celebrated my three-year anniversary of living in NYC. I can't believe its been that long! Those years just flew by. It has been some of the hardest but most rewarding years of my life. In honor of the occasion, I decided to compile a list of my three favorite, non-touristy places in the city. These are places that I would not have discovered unless I lived here. Why is that you may ask? The answer is that when you live in a city as big as New York there are two wonderful benefits: 1. There really isn't a need to rush exploring because you don't need to catch a bus or train in 3 hours! and 2. When you live here, you go to new places because of either work or meeting up with friends. You don't just stay in the touristy sections (cough cough..TIMES SQUARE...cough cough). Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE the touristy spots just as much as the next person. The fountain at Central Park is still one of my favorite places. But, the purpose of this post is to celebrate the fact that New York has been my home for 3 years and I need to celebrate the fact that I'm not a tourist. So, without further ado, I present to you:


1. PIER 40-
Ok, when I decided to write this blog post, this location immediately came to mind. Pier 40 is located directly on the Hudson river, so West Street, and I believe the cross street is West Houston Street, but I could be wrong. Anyway, its nothing special to look at from the street, and you would never stop there unless you had a reason. My first summer in New York, I worked at a summer camp and once a week we spent some time at Pier 40. Its this massive structure that looks like a parking garage, but really its a bunch of playing fields. So when people in the suburbs ask, "where do New York City children play soccer?," the answer is either Central Park, Battery Park, or Pier 40. When we took our kids from camp there, we got to play on the top level, which is 3 stories above the street. So, long story short, the view is breathtaking. The pier overlooks the Hudson River, and then you can also seen the rest of lower Manhattan, and perhaps my favorite part, there is an excellent view of the Statue of Liberty. The time we spent at the pier was one of my most peaceful times during a hectic day with 29 third graders. Also, we were usually there in the late afternoon, so the timing was always perfect. It was never too hot and the sky was just beautiful. Sadly, I haven't been there since that summer. I need to go back. Its awesome.

2. 72nd Street and Broadway- This is directly in the center of the Upper West Side, which has turned into my favorite neighborhood in NYC. Its "so homey and so New York." I love this intersection in the city for a couple of reasons. The first one is because the entrances to the subway are these houses, as opposed to just boring staircases. I also love that there is a Trader Joe's right when you get off the subway. As you all know, I love me some Trader Joe's. Its an obsession and I'm ok with that. I also love the benches outside of subway. Its a great place to sit and read or just people watch. This is also the location for one of my favorite scenes in the movie You've Got Mail, which is another obsession of mine. Also, I would just like to put out in the blog universe, that if I had my wish, I would live right on 72nd and Broadway. Its a dream of mine. Really, any apartment on the Upper West Side would work for me. I want to be Kathleen Kelly from that movie. Its my New York City dream. Maybe one day....

3. The South Street Seaport- Now you may look at this and say, "Jackie! That is a tourist spot!" I know...I know. The reason why I added this to my list is because right by the water, they have wooden risers that people can sit on and there is a fantastic view of Brooklyn and the bridges. I love going there at night because its so peaceful. Its not nearly as crowded and the view is beautiful. I also love hearing the water splash against the port. On the walk back to streets of the city, you get a breathtaking view of the financial district. I love the lights of the buildings at night. Its beautiful. There are also some great restaurants and bars right by the Seaport. Check it out!

So there we go! My top three non-touristy places! It was really nice to think back and remember them. The next time you are anywhere near those locations, please check them out! Finally, I would like to raise a toast to my three-year anniversary! Here is to a spectacular time in NYC so far, and to many more years in my wonderful city!

-Jackie O.

PS: Today's video is a live performance of the song "The Hudson" by Dar Williams. I love it!