Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts

Monday, January 5, 2015

hey LA, new york city hates the rain too.

if you live in NYC (or the surrounding areas), you know how crappy it was this weekend.  when it's raining and you have to walk everywhere, you order take-out, you cancel your plans to "go out", you make watch the entire first season of friends (because HELLO!! friends is now on netflix, finally!)… i guess it's not just LA gets depressed when it rains outside.

madison square park, manhattan nyc

hung and i may or may not do this when it's nice outside too, but this weekend a friend from college told me she was in town, which meant brunch plans had to be made! luckily for us, we got to stroll across manhattan saturday morning before the nastiness began.  we don't do this often, just go stroll through the park, or go into the city much on the weekends period (now that there's so much to do HERE, in jersey city, blocks from home).  but gosh it was nice.  

the weekends in NYC are a different creature.  of course people have places to go and aren't exactly what this midwest girl would call "nice", but yeah, people are nicer, in a better mood, relaxed.  the first weekend in january isn't exactly tourist weather either, so there are less people on the streets.

we left our house with lots of time to spare, so we strolled through eataly, picking up a snack before brunch (if you only knew my husband and his eating habits…), got to the restaurant early, and ordered some hot boozy drinks to warm us up.

ham focaccia pizza, eataly, manhattan nyc

3rd and 25th, manhattan nyc

unfortunately the rest of the weekend was pure grossness outside, so we were hermits the rest of the weekend… watching netflix, playing video games, cooking stick-to-your-bones food in the crock pot… you know the routine.

pot roast in a cuisinart crock pot

now it's time to kick it into gear, and get back to being active again! we have a friends wedding in june that we have GOT to look good for ;)  my green smoothie is calling my name tomorrow morning (goodbye delicious rye bread and avocado toast, i'll see you when i fit into my skinny jeans again :P)

Monday, December 22, 2014


....and so the holidays have begun.  our new-to-us car has already seen some miles, and there are more to be clocked, but as long as there are smiles and laughter and good food and good company, we can claim a successful holiday season. 

in light of my absence on this space, and likely more to come, here's a recap of the holidays for us so far.  between thanksgiving, friendsgiving, a wedding, a friends chrismakuh, holiday parties, and birthdays, we've been busy.  but we can only be thankful to have each of you in our lives!!  so, thanks, friends and family, for being so awesome :)

 photo DSC01143.jpg
 photo DSC01126.jpg  photo DSC01148.jpg
^^^this one is smiling on the outside (but thoroughly upset that that girl beside him was the ping pong champion of the night)

 photo DSC01159.jpg
^^^missing those two for christmas... but thankful that weird one in the back is driving to see us (and to deliver our newly-reupholstered danish modern chair!!)

read on for more.....

Thursday, October 23, 2014


we didn't do anything over the top.  we didn't need to "live it up".  we didn't even feel like we needed to "entertain".  the girls went to the city for wedding dress shopping. the boys stayed home and did boy things (and by that i mean they didn't shower, they played video games, and they consumed pizza , korean fried chicken , AND beer).  hung gave the boys a haircut.  we attended a charity event.  we ate at a dimly lit west village restaurant for a birthday.

...and it was just nice.  we're so thankful to have friends like this who love us for who we are, enjoy doing the simple things that we like to do, visit often, and most of all, have been there for over 20 years.  the friends that visited last weekend are hung's childhood friends who have all been close since grade school.  i'm lucky enough to say that they have become good friends of mine as well, and i'm happy they eagerly welcomed me into their lives even from the very beginning :)

 photo DSC09634.jpg

 photo DSC09656.jpg

 photo DSC09658.jpg

 photo DSC09672.jpg

 photo DSC09673.jpg

 photo DSC09677.jpg

 photo DSC09690.jpg

 photo DSC09715.jpg

 photo DSC09731.jpg

 photo DSC09737.jpg

 photo DSC09751.jpg

 photo DSC09752.jpg
.....have any of you been inside B&H before? it's that  gigantic camera store in midtown, and it's seriously the best place ever.  even if it wasn't for those candy dishes all around the store (that i ate at least 10 of before we walked out) i could go back everyday just testing out different lenses and gadgets for our camera... like that $1,100 Zeiss lens that we fell in love with... one day i'll have that perfect lens that i'll never need to change out....

 photo DSC09760.jpg

we kept talking all weekend how cool it would be if we all lived in the same city (instead of FOUR different cities).  considering hung and i are the only ones who invested in a home where we live, i think it's up to everyone else to move to US, right? right... ok guys, let's start working on that "moving to the NYC area" thing.  future baby phans need pseudo aunties and uncles ;)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

an evening stroll

 photo manhattan_skyline.jpg  photo jersey_city_marina.jpg
photos via @beyondthestoop on instagram

sometimes i have to pinch myself to know that i live in such a place that i can walk 10 minutes from my house and see views like this.  last night i couldn't make it to kickboxing class because of an eye appointment.  i took that as an opportunity to get some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood (literally, i walked the entire waterfront).  while i knew i'd be out for at least an hour, i decided to forget the headphones, and just take it all in from all senses.  i wish i would have taken some videos just so you could hear the water crashing against the piers and the kids running around and playing.  there's nearly nothing that could take the smile off my face last night...

with couples snuggling on the bike path benches
the sound of kids chasing each other with their tiny giggles
the outdoor bootcamp class being held at the end of the pier
the sunset reflecting on the skyscrapers of manhattan's southern end
the endless different languages being spoken around me
the friends i pass and stop by to say hi
the runners and bikers zooming past me
the old couple slowly strolling hand in hand
the family climbing out of their boat in the marina after an evening boat ride
the sailboats scattered in new york harbor at sunset
the dogs diving into the river water to fetch a ball at the dog park
the music coming from the bar with the bistro lights that you can drive your jet ski up to
the party going on at the square at the train station

sometimes, this city life just can't be beat. i love you, jersey city !


Thursday, July 31, 2014

biking at governor's island

we've owned our bikes for a while now.  like 2 years or something like that.  but we've only rode the bikes a few times! maybe it's the fact that the first 3 times we blew a tire, no big deal.  i vowed to make this year different.  now that our bikes sit in the landing of our building stairway that leads up to our apartment, we have to pass the bikes every time we leave and enter the house.  it's like a constant reminder that, yeah, maybe we should take them out.

one weekend we decided to do it.  we took the bikes down to grove street bicycles , got good tune-ups (and a new tire for hung's tire that kept breaking every time he rode it), and just did it.  we rode the bikes down to the exchange place ferry pier, and got ourselves over to manhattan.  did you know that the ferry is just $2.50 to ride on the weekends now that the world trade center path train is down on the weekends?  it's so nice! the ride is super quick, more comfortable (helllloooo personal space!), and while it does cost an extra dollar to bring your bike with you, the ferry drops you off at a prime bike-riding spot anyways.

 photo photo2.jpg

we, however, did not use the bike path.  instead we wanted to go to governor's island , a small island south of manhattan that's a part of new york city .  with all of the tourists and construction going on in battery park, it was mild chaos getting over there.  once we got to the governor's island ferry terminal (the small one next to the staten island ferry terminal) though, a $2 round-trip ticket got us over to the adorable, doesn't-feel-like-your-in-the-city island.  there's very few cars on the island, and bikers everywhere .  big grassy areas make it perfect for picnics, and the coastline wraps around the entire island (well that was an obvious comment, it's an island after all!). while food vendors fill up one corner of the island, the open space on the rest of the island is amazing.  it almost feels like a college campus in the summer time, with its big grassy open fields, plenty of art sculptures scattered around, and beautiful old buildings and houses. 

 photo photo3.jpg

for those of you without your own bikes, you can rent them on the island, and they even have those "family" style ones where everyone hops in to the buggy and everyone pedals!  also, you can rent the bikes for free for 1 hour any weekday morning from 10am-noon! it's like one of the few things in new york city that's free.

 photo photo4.jpg  photo photo5.jpg

 photo photo1.jpg

it's definitely a good place to see if you want to get away for the day.  the island is SO small though, we were only over there for MAYBE 2 hours.  if we wanted to relax with a blanket and a picnic though with some music and rood reading material, i could have stayed all day.  instead we just packed sammiches and cherries in the backpack, ate on a park bench, and biked.

besides the hotdog that hung got as we passed through the food vendors (he's such a sucker for hot dogs!!) the trip was such a cheap outing: $2.50/ride and $1/bike on the exchange place ferry, $2/round-trip on the governor's island ferry = $18.  for less than $20, i'd call it a pretty good day (with some exercise thrown in too.  i gotta at least  try to look good before i become mrs. phan :P)

from that day, we decided that we should take out the bikes at least once a week (or weekend). besides the trip to the farmer's market a few weeks ago, they haven't seen the sun again.  meh, we tried.  maybe this weekend.  maybe.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

jersey city on july 4th

in case you forgot what the 4th of july was like this year, my procrastinater-blogger-self can remind you today ;)

it rained, and rained, and rained, and everyone got depressed that it was raining.

then.... it stopped... and then....  if you were in liberty state park in jersey city.... you witnessed what was probably the most epic fireworks show in the country : you saw two shows in one. 

do you guys know the macy's fireworks that are always nationally broadcasted live on tv?  the ones we have been lucky enough to see on the hudson river in person for the past few years?  everyone near us was bummed that the fireworks were back on the east river this year.  jersey city stepped up its game, and talked budweiser into sponsoring a big celebration in liberty state park, including a food festival, concerts, carnival rides, Clydesdales, and, of course, fireworks in new york harbor.

hung and i stayed in all day, being lazy and being bummed that we had to spend our long weekend inside.  we didn't get to ride bikes, we didn't get to picnic in the park, i'm positive we sat on the couch while hung played video games and i perused wedding websites.  when the rain stopped, we corralled our friends, and convinced them to walk to liberty state park with us to just barely snag a spot just before the fireworks started. 

 photo 2014-07-041.jpg

 photo 2014-07-042.jpg

 photo 2014-07-043.jpg

 photo 2014-07-044.jpg

 photo 2014-07-0413.jpg

 photo 2014-07-046.jpg

while it's no short hike over there from where we live, we got there in about 20 minutes, and were surprised to see how much open space there was for us to find a good spot to see the show! i think the rain scared people away.  we landed in a spot between the two barges with identical shows, the southern show shining with the statue of liberty in the background and the northern show with the manhattan skyline in the background.

if that wasn't cool enough, about halfway through the show, we were able to see the macy's fireworks on the east river more-than-peeking through the skyline buildings! it was one of the coolest things i've seen in a long time.  as much as i want to say "i'm over fireworks, i've seen them enough in my life" i still get mesmerized everytime i see a good show :P

 photo 2014-07-047.jpg

 photo 2014-07-048.jpg

perusing through the food trucks on our way home, we snagged truffle fries, onigiri rice balls, and lobster rolls.  post-show we all walked back to our house for box wine, indian snacks, and mario kart on the wii-u.
 photo 2014-07-049.jpg

 photo 2014-07-0410.jpg

 photo 2014-07-0411.jpg

 photo 2014-07-0412.jpg

we couldn't have asked for a better 3-day weekend!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

as new york as it gets, as jersey as it gets, all in one weekend

we were definitely thinking ahead when we purchased our condo with a "spare" bedroom.  for a couple who doesn't plan to have kids for at least a few years, it seemed a bit excessive considering the area we live in.  however, it's certainly been put to good use since we moved in and got the bed set up!  we've hosted hung's friends from high school, my friends from high school, my parents, our friend who lives in brooklyn (and stayed over past the point of ridiculous nightly train schedules), and most recently my friends from college.

my friend from college texted me sometime last week and asked if we would be in town the upcoming weekend.  the conversation went something like this

"no, we won't be home, but you can stay in our apartment if you need to."
"we have 4 box seats for the yankees game, and wanted to invite you."
"well in THAT case, we'll stay home friday night then!"

with the added bonus of seeing their just-under-3-month-old baby, we were definitely glad we stayed home for another night!  hung was able to cook dinner for them, make egg sammiches for breakfast, and make scones the next morning for them too, so he was a happy man too (and, obviously, we got to see another yankees game with great seats and free food.  who can say no to that?)

 photo DSC08306.jpg

 photo DSC08307.jpg

 photo DSC08309.jpg

 photo DSC08311.jpg

 photo DSC08316.jpg

 photo DSC08318.jpg

 photo DSC08327.jpg

 photo DSC08326.jpg

 photo DSC08330.jpg

 photo DSC08332.jpg

 photo DSC08334.jpg

the next morning we headed out for long beach island to see our jersey city friends who have a house down there.  gosh is that a cool area! nearly every home has waterfront access, with little canal-like waterways reaching through the neighborhoods in finger-like patterns.  while the weather didn't fare well on saturday, we still enjoyed staying in our cozy clothes on the porch eating junk food, reading trash magazines, and talking wedding talk.  it was like a girls weekend away, except the boys participated too (you guys are troopers with all the wedding talk :P). dinner at old causeway steak and oyster didn't disappoint, i learned that my new favorite drink is gin and grapefruit juice, and we still got to catch a few breezy hours on the beach on sunday before heading back to jersey city.

 photo DSC08336.jpg

 photo DSC08351.jpg

 photo DSC08360.jpg
(see, i said "cozy clothes". i didn't say they were cute)

 photo DSC08363.jpg

 photo DSC08365.jpg

 photo DSC08366.jpg

 photo 2e50509a-6b3b-47cf-9e84-d4d81507ad17.jpg

 photo 8ad46896-0118-4610-8788-bbbee6686614.jpg
(we tried REALLY hard... but... i think we need more practice :P  next time we'll get more than 2 packs of sparklers, especially if we're going to insist on doing this after a few drinks!)

 photo DSC08384.jpg

 photo DSC08387.jpg

 photo DSC08392.jpg

hung and i drove up through some of the beach towns on the way home.  those houses are amazing.  i could do that drive everyday!

i can't be thankful enough that we have such great friends.  for some, we might not keep in touch as much as we would like, but we can always pick up again when we do see each other.  and for others, a weekend away together is the perfect way to relax and get to know each other better.

cheers, friends!