Sunday, August 16, 2015

new york city trip 2015, day 2.

Friday morning we woke up well rested after yesterday’s early travel and walking marathon. I can’t remember what we ate for breakfast, but I’m pretty sure we just had some protein bars and coffee before beginning our journey to the Chelsea Market. This was one of the areas that Mere wanted to see, and it worked out well, since the day was mostly full of drizzle. We got to the market, which was amazingly cool. It was just one of those “Instagramable” places, full of people snapping shots left and right with foot traffic almost running them over. We walked through some of the shops (one of our favorites was Artists and Fleas) until we got hangry for brunch, which had now just turned into lunch. Friedman's Lunch had been our target, and we lucked out to not have to wait long to get a table.

Chelsea Market

After hitting Anthropology, we walked to Cafe Grumpy which was nothing special, especially after getting drenched in the rain. From there, we took a cab to see Grand Central Terminal. It is another one of those spaces you just have to see. The interior volume of that building is just amazing. Combine that with the bustling crowd, it is one of the “quintessential” New York City experience. Even though we had eaten not long ago, I wanted to finally get some oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, since my Grandfather had frequented this spot in his days traveling to New York. During my previous trip, my Dad and I went by, but it was closed. After gulping down a hand full of oysters, we were off on foot again. 

Grand Central Terminal

On our way to the MOMA, we went through Rockefeller plaza and checked out the Easter decorations and all of the ice skaters. Unfortunately, we did not realize that the MOMA is free on Friday’s and the line wrapped almost completely around the building. While to our relief it didn’t take long to get inside, the place was jam packed. You could hardly move around at all, and good luck trying to see any of the main attractions. Luckily, I guess my interest in art is a bit unordinary, so the ones I had interest in did not have many gawking at them. One of them might, or might not have been just a bench. Anyways, onward!

Hearst Building

Back to eating and drinking. Mere and I love the show How I Met Your Mother (yes we know the show is over and that the last season basically sucked, but we keep re-watching all other seasons). There is a bar called McGee’s that is supposed to be the influence for MacLaren’s Pub on the show. We were excited to see it, since it is now a shrine the show, and there was even going to be HIMYM trivia that evening. This experience turned out to be a bust. The bartenders were completely rude and pretty coked up. They also ended up not doing the trivia, and I swear it’s just a lie to get idiots like us in there. It lured us right in. We decided to take a break from eating and drinking…..for about a 6 block walk. Before dinner, I really wanted to try the famed pork buns at Ippudo Westide.  If you are in NYC, I highly suggest trying them. I washed them down with a Brooklyn Kaedama Ale and was in HEAVEN. Enough snacking, now it’s time for dinner. After two more blocks of walking, or burning off about .0001% of my snack, we were at B-Side Pizza. The pizza was good, but not as good as Vezzo from the night before.


Life changing pork buns at Ippudo

Everything is smaller in NYC, except the skyscrapers

Next thing to cross off our list was to be a rooftop bar. We found Empire Hotel’s rooftop to be the closest cool looking one and headed that way. We didn’t make it back to the hotel first to change, so luckily the dress code was pretty relaxed. It was definitely unique having drinks up there under the red of the hotel sign and looking over the Lincoln Center. After a round of drinks, we took a walk through the Lincoln Center and watched the fountain for a bit. That plaza is just beautiful at night. Again, we were beat and made the journey back to the hotel for some much needed sleep

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

dave ramsey giveaway.

Most everyone knows my stance on pursuing financial freedom, so I want to do a little giveaway for those that have put up with my posts. I am not religious, but I do believe that the steps Dave Ramsey lays out can help most people in conquering their personal finances. If someone is willing to truly put effort into reading this material, I would be happy to purchase it and have it shipped right to you. If you give me sporadic updates on how it is working (good or bad) in your own life, that would be a bonus to me. There is no catch other than putting in some effort to give it a chance. First person to respond gets it. The E books will get released one per week until the Total Money Makeover book ships. Since I am buying it for you, I will just have to forward the download links when they show up in my email. Oh and one other catch, you have to live in the US, because I do not want to pay international shipping, hahah.

What you get:
1. Total Money Makeover Book (ships on 9/14)
2. Every Dollar Plus - 3 month premium trial (I use Mint, but have not checked his site out)
3.Smart Money Smart Kids E Book
4. The Legacy Journey E Book
5. DR's Complete Guide to Money E Book
6. And some streaming video stuff

If you want to skip my obligation and purchase it yourself:

You can read one of my in depth financial posts here, mainly for newlyweds:  

Steps Mere and I try to live by:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

new york city trip 2015, day 1.

 Welcome to New York!

Our trip could not have come at a better time. After being unemployed for 4 months, I had finally landed a job and would be starting in a little over a week. Mere had also just received a new opportunity at work, so you can say our spirits were high while boarding the plane to NYC. Mere had never been before so this was another high priority trip for us. I was excited too, because it had been about 12 years since my first visit and I was ready for more exploring. We took an early flight on a Thursday morning to get there with plenty of time to hit the ground running. The weather was not looking too promising for Friday and Saturday, so we wanted to quickly cover as much as possible.

On the way to our hotel
So many good noms

After checking in to the hotel, we were starving. Guess what…there was a Shake Shack connected to our building!! Happy dance time! We had to try it and it was well worth the wait. My God, so tasty and amazing on an empty stomach. First item crossed off our list and on to the next, biking around Central Park.

Word of warning. We rented bikes from Central Park Bike Rentals, which has one confusing process. There are some dudes that do not look like they even work there, but get commission to set you up with bikes. They seemed to all be pissed at one another for stealing customers, or cutting in line. At least everything worked out, but it just seemed shady. Oh, and by the way, some of the bikes are just plain crap. Central Park is not flat, so it would be nice to have a bike that could actually change gears when shifting. I’m not asking for a race bike here, but some semi-frequent maintenance would have made my experience much much better. The park was amazing. Renting the bikes for one hour would be enough for most people to do the full loop and get an idea of the layout. If I did it again, I would probably rent them for two hours or more, to give enough time to check out some of the spots in further detail. 

After returning the bike, we headed down 5th Avenue on foot towards the
Empire State Building. Being a Thursday afternoon, I was hopeful that the line would not take the typical 3 hour, and luckily I was right. Mere was not thrilled to check it out, due to the horror stories she heard about the adventure taking up a good chunk of the day. It might have taken us all of 45 minutes of constant moving to make it to the 86th floor observation deck. I would recommend this to anyone to do at least once. It is magical to be outside looking down on such a magnificent city. The scale is just amazing, and almost impossible to comprehend through just pictures.  We also got tickets to go up to the tiny enclosed observation deck up in the spire on the 102nd floor. While it was cool, I’m not sure we would have done it again. The windows were pretty dirty from people pressing their face up against it, and it didn’t add much from the 82nd floor. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral
Rockefeller Center

82nd floor of the Empire State Building

After that experience, it was time for a break and a beer. There was a
Gingerman nearby, so we figured that would be a safe place to go park it for a bit. We had already walked and ridden countless miles and we didn’t want to completely kill our feet on the first day. It’s too bad we picked probably the worst time to hit the bars, being early Thursday evening just when everyone is out for happy hour. We got drinks, but had no place to sit. Since that got old real quick, we decided to head for dinner. Mere picked Vezzo in the nearby Kipp’s Bay neighborhood. It promised good pizza, and did not disappoint. We were seated pretty quickly, the service was good, and the Parma pizza was really tasty. Spoiler alert, it ended up being our favorite pizza of the trip. 

After dinner, we walked the two miles back to our hotel, but made a quick stop in Times Square to see it all lit up. As touristy as it is, it is still fun to see the colors and the energy. It had been one amazing day, but my God we were happy to get to the hotel room. It was one long day (with three more to come), and we both slept like babies.