Dear Babies...

Dear Little Babies,

That is a crazy thing to write - babies - 2!  We walked into the doctor yesterday with every intention of only transferring one of you, but you both were beautiful and ready to go, so in you both went.  Then we drove back down to Cincinnati as a family of 4. 

I thought I'd keep you all updated as we progress through these next 9 days when things are so hopeful and so uncertain.

0dp5dt - Before the transfer the doctor gave us a little picture of you both - your first baby picture! The picture was taken at 7:13am, and by the time we were actually in ready to do the transfer at 11, the doctor said you had actually developed a lot more in just those short few hours.  You were officially transferred at 11:11, according to Dr. Groll, which he and I think is good luck and your dad thinks means we will for sure be having twins! I think you're just hanging out, floating around in there for the next 2 days before you officially implant.  I hope you're continuing to grow and scouting out the very best place to live the next 9 months! P.S. your dad is getting pretty good at the PIO shots -  I can hardly feel them anymore and there was no blood today!

1dp5dt - Today we find out how your siblings are doing and how many of them will be frozen until we're ready for a sibling.  There are 5 potential embryos today, and although it's very unlikely that all 5 will stay strong, we expect a couple.  Or maybe none.  Maybe you 2 are our only precious miracles, and that's ok too.  Another day of floating.  Tomorrow you should be finding your residence, and I (and SO many other people - you are oh so very loved already) are praying that you're both in it for the long term!

God, I thank you for listening and very specifically answer prayers.  I thank you for these two little embryos that are growing and hopefully getting ready to attach to my uterus and become our babies.  I thank you and trust that you have a good plan for us and that you will work this all together for Your good and glory.  I pray that you would continue to watch over these babies and help them to grow strong and healthy.  That they find the perfect place to settle in for 9 months, and that we would be blessed to know and raise them in Your Name.  I pray for the other 9 little embryos that we'll never meet on earth, that this is your plan and your plan is always good.  Please give us peace and help me to be the best environment possible for these babies.  In Your Name I pray.  Amen. 

6dp5dt - I've been so bad about updating.  But there really hasn't been to much to update.  I pretty much feel back to my normal self, with the exception of a few side effects, I think, of the PIO shots.  We're praying, as are SO many other people, that you 2 are now firmly implanted in my uterus and growing, growing, growing.  I'm trying to restrain myself from taking a pregnancy test, but I woke up this morning at 4:45 unable to fall back asleep - stressed that one or both of you has not attached, and also for this work presentation this morning.  So I got up, finished my documentation, read about the Oscar debacle (can't believe LaLa Land did not win! conspiracy!), and now I'm about to get ready for work and head back up to Dayton.  I haven't been up there since we went up and got you two! I think I'll probably test tomorrow, just so I can stop feeling sick.  The official test is just 3 days away now! Hoping and praying for a positive.  I can't wait to meet you!

God, I pray for your peace which transcends all understanding.  I thank you that you are a good and awesome God who has a sovereign and good plan for our lives.  I pray though, that the plan is that one or both of these embabies would grow and become our real children here on this earth.  God I just don't know that I have the strength to handle the disappointment if I'm not pregnant, and we do not have a baby from this IVF cycle.  It just seems too much to bear.  Please God, let me pregnant.

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31

IVF - Days 1 & 2

February 5th finally came yesterday, and we are officially off and going with IVF.

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Thoughts so far:

  • The IVF Meds Education "day" all goes out the window when you're standing in your kitchen at 11pm at night trying to remember how to assemble all the darn pieces to mix Menopur.  P.S. Why can't this just come premixed??
  • Ice is surprisingly more effective than I expected for numbing.  I don't know why this surprised me.  Probably because I've never been motivated to keep an ice cube on my skin longer than necessary, and the Menopur burning was that motivation.
  • I have absolutely no issues with needles, and used to give blood quite frequently, but getting shots in my kitchen makes me want to throw up.

The shots really aren't that bad, so far.  I still continue to stress thinking about that PIO shot everyday for weeks and weeks, but I probably shouldn't borrow trouble.

Tomorrow's my first blood work, and possibly ultrasound? I honestly can't remember.  It's crazy to think that in 10-12 days there could be little embryos.  That we could technically be parents.  This is such a strange experience.

I decided this weekend I would build some built-in shelves in our upstairs hallway.  That should take me approximately the rest of the month to complete, so while I'm making a baby, I'll also make some shelves to distract myself.  I'll come out of the month with at least one thing to show for it.

Start of shelves. Start of baby.

Start of shelves. Start of baby.

2016: The Year of Survival

I didn't know I was going to be in survival mode this year, but the way the year started out may have been a good indication.  Not to say that there haven't been tons of wonderful times this year; so many ways we were blessed; so many wonderful new friends who have been made and old friends we've grown closer with.  But this year freaking kicked my ass.

In every single aspect of my life, I can hardly imagine more trials being thrown at me and us.  Disappointments and VERY difficult clients at work.  The hardest Junior League Placement you could possibly imagine (though the VERY best friends were made through this VERY stressful time).  Every imaginable issue you can think of trying to sell our house and move.  And on top of all that, no baby.  The thing we desire most; that we've spent so much time and money on still eludes us.  It exhausts us and tries us and takes all my tears.

In a marathon of a weekend a few weeks ago, I read Magnolia Story on the plane rides from Cincinnati to Albuquerque and felt like God was speaking to me through the words of Joanna Gaines.  I cannot tell you how many times and how many people this year, when asked 'how are you', I've answered "I'm surviving."  What a way to live.  And then I read this that Saturday:

"Shortly after I sat on the couch at the Castle Heights house and really noticed for the first time that I wasn't happy, even though I'd worked so hard to make everything look perfect, I had a conversation with a friend of mine.  I was exhausted all the time, and I said to this friend: 'I feel like I'm just surviving at this point.  I'm not thriving....  Then I got to thinking about the bigger picture: if I'm going to sit around all day and say I am 'just surviving' every day, well guess what? When a big wave comes along someday, I won't be surviving - I'll be drowning!...

...I have to choose to thrive, even in the pain.  Even when it's tough."

I'd love to say I read that and then changed the way I thought about life right then.  That I started spending more time in the Word.  That I restructured my priorities.  That I started saying NO to things.  Quite the opposite actually.  And today.  Today, I feel as though I'm drowning.  Today, I cried so hard in my husband's arms I literally could not breathe.  

And I'm sure you would never guess this.  I'm sure from the outside, our life looks pretty perfect.  But it's HARD maintaining perfection; HARD to constantly perform at that level - and that's what it is, performing.

I'm not exactly sure what 2017 has in store for me and us.  I hope and pray that it's a baby.  But I also know, that 2017 will NOT look like 2016 one way or another.  Life is too short to be drowning in a job that pays well but I hate.  To let volunteering suck the life out of me.  To do anything because I SHOULD be doing it and not because I throughly enjoy doing it.

I choose to thrive in the pain.  And I don't know what that looks like, but I promise to share.  To not be Instagram perfect.

Day 1 - Blogtember Challenge - Introduce Yourself

Hi Friends! Welcome to Isn't That Delightful!

You've joined me on a great day! Today is my 30th birthday!! So to kick-off a new decade, I'd also like to kick-off getting in the habit of blogging - hence the Blogtember Challenge.

I'm Meg - wife to Grant, mom of Daphne Pickles.  Software consultant by day, party planner and graphic designer by night.  Depending on my project at work, I travel 1-3 weeks out of each month, usually to New York City, as I'm focused mostly on retail software and get to work with some big brands.  It looks a lot more glamorous than it really is, but I'll be the first to admit, I'm very blessed to get to explore all these different cities on someone else's dime.

When I'm not traveling you can often find me in the kitchen trying out new recipes, planning a fun evening with friends, drinking wine on our front porch, or taking walks with my family exploring our new little neighborhood.  We also travel a decent amount personally - all the points I collect from work travel helps with that!

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I'm originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but grew up in Cincinnati - my most favorite city.  After 4 years at the University of South Carolina, I'm an honorary Southerner for life. Go Cocks!  

Thank you so much for joining me! I'm so excited to share more about me, my city, and the many things I have in the works! 

Life Lately v.1

This first edition of Life Lately is the New Home edition.

1    I hosted a baby shower for my oldest "adult" friend (my first friend I met out of college!) and her sweet baby girl.  Hosting an event is a sure fire way to make sure the living area of your house is all put together.

2    The non-living area of my house...another story.  Everyone keeps saying, it looks like you've lived here for years, to which my response is don't go upstairs, downstairs or open any closed doors ha!

3    The vast majority of my clothes are either still in plastic bags or sprawled all over the floor because I figure, when am I ever going to have my ENTIRE wardrobe out in full view? Nothing is going back in until it's been tried on, hence why a month later this is what my office/closet looks like...

4    When we moved into our new house, the one and only piece of furniture I said we HAD to buy was a King bed.  But I refuse to pay $1000 for an upholstered bed frame because I know I could make myself (famous last words), so we've been sleeping on the floor and I'm kind of getting sick of it.  Good thing my mom and I are building a sweet, new upholstered bed frame this weekend! {praise hands}

5    Look at our charming front porch.  Isn't it just dying for someone to curl up with a book and a glass of wine?? Too bad it's 100 degrees and 1000% percent humidity.  Please Fall, come soon!

Happy Monday!

Birthdays, Turning 29, and Other Musings

Here we are, 1 hour left in my 29th birthday.  A day spent pretty much like every work day - in meetings ALL day (my co-workers super appreciated my phone buzzing all day, thanks friends!) - except for all the desserts I may or may not have eaten all day...including this Shake Shack Lower East Side custard I am currently consuming in bed...it's my birthday, no judgement.

Today was full of love (from afar) and routine and risk and peace.  And I'm hoping we have fun news soon, but if not, we're still off to Italy on Thursday which is pretty amazing.  I'm not where I thought I'd be, but I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be and I know that God's plan is better than everything I dream up all day.

In all this introspection I decided I wanted to come up with a new 30 before 30 list because I lost my old one somewhere in the blog universe when I switched over to Squarespace...and I like making lists.  Lots and lots of lists.  While searching for said list, I found an old 101 in 1001 list from 3 years ago which was a fun and interesting to glimpse into the mind of that newly married gal - what my priorities were, what I have accomplished and what I no longer care about, and a few things that got moved over into this much more reasonable, fun list.

So here's to one last year of 20's and going out with a bust!

Another Delightful 30 Before 30 List (graphic to come)

  1. Learn how to create a proper flower arrangement

  2. Go camping

  3. Send snail mail birthday cards to friends and family for one year

  4. Go off the map (no computer, cell phone, internet or television for one weekend)

  5. Go for a weekend getaway with my best girlfriends to celebrate our 30th birthdays (eek!)

  6. Read 30 books

  7. Learn how to intelligently talk about wine

  8. Play 18 holes of golf

  9. Read the Bible through in a year

  10. Organize my recipes and put together a book of my favorites

  11. Start blogging consistently (at least 3 times a week)

  12. Grow Isn’t That Delightful into a business where I can stay home when we have kids

  13. Do a 5 minute plank

  14. Do the Contentment Challenge - No shopping for 3 months

  15. And after that, follow the 1-in 1-out rule - every new item replaces an older item

  16. Visit NYC at Christmas

  17. Perfect my calligraphy

  18. Pay off all loans except mortgage

  19. Have a picnic somewhere fabulous

  20. Print photo books for each year of our marriage

  21. Throw a wine tasting dinner party

  22. Have a "tourist" day in Cincinnati

  23. Get family pictures done with the 3 of us while we're still a "3 of us"

  24. Tour the Biltmore

  25. Cook 30 new meals

  26. Host a dinner party

  27. Do a boudoir shot to celebrate to remember...

  28. Getting in the best shape of my life before I...

  29. Get pregnant!

  30. And buy one more fabulous handbag before the baby spending takes over.

#12 - A quickie

Hi friends.  I hope that you had a delightful weekend.  Today has taken it out of me - being incredibly sore from the race yesterday among other things has prevented me from composing my planned post for the day.  I hope that you will check back tomorrow and enjoy the last bits of your Sunday!

#11 - Just Touched Down in London Town

Right below New York City is London.  It's my new 2nd favorite city and I've only been there once for 4 jam-packed days.  

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We started out our trip at the Tower of London.  I would highly recommend jumping in on one of the Beefeater tours - it was very entertaining and informative.  Our tour guide was also the raven master.  There's a myth that so long as there are 2 ravens at the Tower of London that the monarch will stay in power; so they always keep at least 3.

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Close by is the Tower Bridge which is commonly mistaken as the London Bridge, which is actually this pretty boring one on the right.

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The Borough Market is an awesome place to grab lunch, but all the vendors are only open Friday-Sunday.  So if you want to get the full experience, head over on the weekend.

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There were so many delicious smelling and looking places to eat, but we decided that the place with the longest line was probably the best.   We were not disappointed with these amazing sandwiches!

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We popped in the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the oldest bar in London, for a pint and met some great people we chatted with for awhile.  Cask beer is the thing to get in London - it's not carbonated and is served at room temperature.  It wasn't exactly my thing, but Grant got some and I tasted it. :-)

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We met our friends that we were staying with for dinner and then walked over to the London Eye.

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The next morning we got up early and went to Notting Hill for the Portobello Road market that happens each Saturday.  There's some treasures to be found there, some crap, and a lot of great looking food.

P.S. Has no one ever heard the Portobello Road song from Bedknobs & Broomsticks? I would sing this and people would look at me like I was crazy.  It's a real song.  I did not make it up.

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Grant got a tie and I picked up a little silver pitcher for our souvenirs!

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We then took the tube to Buckingham Palace and caught the Changing of the Guards.  They perform the whole ceremony every day during the summer and then every other day the rest of the year.  Check their website before heading over so you don't miss it.  It was honestly a lot of waiting around, but I'm glad we can say we've seen it.

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My goodness we had some amazing food in London.  Indian, pub food, pizza.  Everything we had was amazing.

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Our friends Katie and Matt went and got us day of tickets for Billy Elliot which was hilarious! It was fun seeing this show set in England in London, and the child performers were crazy good.

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On Sunday we toured Buckingham Palace.  I LOVED it.  We've been to several palaces in all different countries and Buckingham Palace was my favorite.  As much as a palace can be, it just felt so homey and welcoming.  Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed, so I only got pictures going in.  If you're planning on visiting London in August or September definitely get tickets online and go - it's only open for tours when the Queen is not in residence.

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More amazing pub food.

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Holy cow, I love Liberty London.  It's 4 stories of amazingness and I probably could have spent half a day there.  I picked up a couple of Christmas ornaments to add to our collection and a cute Liberty print shirt.  I probably could have bought one of everything in the store.

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On our last day, we accidentally snuck into Westminster Abby.  I feel bad saying this, but by the end of our vacation we were just churched out, and the line was so long to get in so we just decided to check out the cloisters for free.  But then when we were peeking our heads in the guy told us to come in, so we just looked around for a couple of minutes and that was good enough for us.

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Then we went to the Victoria and Albert museum which was my favorite museum the entire trip.  It has something for everyone and over 12 miles of corridors - you could literally spend multiple days here seeing everything.  Down the street we went for high tea at the Ampersand Drawing Room.  It was such a cute place, both classy and quirky - just my style.

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I think that Grant was a little dubious of the whole high tea thing because it's not a cheap meal.  But we had so much food and it was all SO delicious.and those scones...oh my goodness, amazing.  The kind people at the Ampersand were so gracious to even give me the recipe for the scones! So, I'll be trying it out next week and sharing the recipe, so stay tuned!

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I actually made my poor travel weary husband stand in line with me for 30 minutes to get my picture at Platform 9 3/4 - which by the way is not on the actual platforms.  We walked around for a long time trying to find it because I somehow did not notice the line of people there.  It's free and it was a silly experience if you don't mind waiting a little bit.

I hope you enjoyed seeing our trip as much as we enjoyed going!

#10 - Queen Bee Playlist

Did I mention I'm "running" a half marathon tomorrow? No? That's probably because I was lazy once again and didn't train for a race I signed up for and now will be walking/running/praying that I finish the inaugural Cincinnati Queen Bee Half-Marathon.  Yay.

While I'm huffing up the beautiful Cincinnati hills, please enjoy my playlist from the comfort of your couch.

P.S. A co-worker shared this article with me to prep, if they can do a marathon in San Fran I can most certainly complete a half in Cincy...famous last words.

#7 - Baby Shower Invitations

One of my favorite things about hosting an event is the invitation! The paper, the colors, and something other than a bill in the mail? Yes, please.

If you're looking for an invitation for a baby shower or another event you're hosting, email me and I'd love to work with you to come up with the perfect design to compliment your theme!

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P.S. Friends: Please have some baby girls so I have an excuse to design some lovely pink invitations! :-)

#6 - Weekend Recap - October 3-5

Hi Friends! It's Monday again, but I feel pretty rejuvenated from this weekend.  (Note to Self: Take more pictures with people and less of food...)

Friday: We met some friends for dinner at Bakersfield (we were actually planning on going to The Eagle, but they had to leave early and Bakersfield had tables first shockingly enough) and dessert at Holtmans - my 2 OTR favorites.  Then we tried to see Gone Girl, but every single showing was sold out when we got there, so naturally we went to Target instead and got Daphne several costumes (none of which fit) and watched Shark Tank instead.

Saturday: Grant has 2 test and 2 projects due this week, so I just had a semi-bachelorette weekend.  I spent about 5 hour on my couch catching up on all my shows from the week.  It was delightful.  Grant took a little study break during that, and we walked to the elementary school down the street so Daphne could run around and play on the playground ha.  And then I had the most fabulous dinner with some new Junior League friends.  Roasted lamb, Coq Au Vin, beet and goat cheese salad; I could go on, but it was absolutely amazing and I felt very lucky to be included!

Sunday: This was a day of friends.  Bright and early I started out the day doing Piloxing (A non-stop, cardio fusion of standing pilates, boxing and dance that will push you past your limits.  Uh yeah.) with my Girls on the Run friends at Athleta at Kenwood.  It was just as hard as it sounds and the woman who taught the class was ripped, so it obviously works.  I then went and ate all those calories I burned at Taste of Belgium with Ashley; delicious per usual.  (I totally forgot to take a picture of us, so imagine the chicken and waffles are me and the healthy fruit parfait is Ashley)  And rounded out the afternoon with a walk at Ault Park and then the Hyde Park Art Show with Alicia, Natalie and a bratty little dog who wouldn't pose for a picture.

The colors are starting to change and I think by next weekend it will be absolutely beautiful.  My fitbit said I "Nailed it" yesterday, and I think I did all weekend.

Enjoy my favorite song this week!

#5 - Hosting a Baby Shower

Happy Sunday friends! I'm now smack dab in the season of babies.  Not for us, but for all of our friends and it's one of my favorite things celebrating all these new kiddos and their sweet mamas.  I love to have beautiful gatherings at my home, but I am all about ease over Martha Stewart perfection.  I want everyone who walks through my door to feel welcome and loved; not that I care more about how my party looks than my guests.

I want to share some events I've hosted so that you feel inspired to welcome people into your home; to give you some tips that hopefully make it less stressful, because I know everyone's gift is not hosting.  

Invite someone over this week! Even if it's just one person, even if your house isn't perfect.  Let's not let fear stop us from inviting people into our messy homes and our messy hearts. 

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I do pretty simple decorations - a beautiful flower arrangement, a banner, and something hanging from my chandler.  I wish I was more gifted in this arena, but for some reason decorations are usually an afterthought to me.  When I do manage to plan it out before hand, it helps when you have a sweet husband who will cover himself in glitter in the name of baby shower decorations.

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My traditional menu for a baby shower is:

  • Chicken Salad Sandwiches on croissants
  • Red Bliss Potato Salad from Whole Foods - so good, I wish I had the recipe
  • Some other sort of salad
  • Fruit Skewers in a rainbow
  • Veggie Tray with hummus
  • Cupcakes
  • Mimosas and Pink Lemonade 

I may mix it up sometimes, but I know this menu is usually a winner and allows me to be a good hostess because I can interact with my guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

I don't love weird baby shower games, so I try to find things that aren't super embarrassing or gross.  Here's a couple of fun games that both younger and older guests will enjoy.

Finish the Nursery Rhyme
- Everyone find a partner
- Hand out the printed out beginnings of nursery rhymes
- Start the timer for 1 minute and everyone try to complete the next line of as many nursery rhymes as possible.
- Read out the answers and marvel at how disturbing some nursery rhymes really are!
-  Here is the link to download the sheets!

Draw the Baby
- Handout a sturdy paper plate and a pen to each person
- Have everyone put the plate on top of their head and draw each thing you call out (don't tell them how many points each thing is worth)
- Draw:
   - Lets draw a room first, a floor, a window, maybe some decorations (1 pt for each no limit)
   - The baby is sitting on that floor (1 pt for the baby, 1 pt if the baby is sitting on the floor)
   - Put a diaper and some clothing on the baby (2 pts if the diaper is on the baby and 1 pt for each piece of clothing on the baby no limit)
   - The baby is hungry, give it a bottle (1 pt for the bottle, 1 pt if the bottle is touching the baby)
   - The baby also needs something to play with, give him some toys (1 pt for each toy, a bonus pt for each toy touching the floor no limit)
- Let everyone look and compare their ridiculous drawings! Have people tally up points.  I usually give 2 prizes: 1 for the most points and 1 for the voted on best drawing.

Check back in Tuesday where I'll share some baby shower invitations! And if you're looking for an invitation for an upcoming event, I would love to work with you to design one or head over to my Etsy shop!

#4 - Don't You Love New York in the Fall

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." - You've Got Mail

I love New York in every season (although I have not been there in the winter, which I hope to change soon), but New York in the fall seems right.  G and I have been to New York a few times now; enough to have done all the touristy things and now I'd like to start exploring the neighborhoods and doing "real" New Yorker things.  I have been a lot of places for work and fun, and hands down NYC is always my favorite.  I wish we could move there, and maybe one day we will, but until then I will take any opportunity to visit this city.

I am by no means an expert, and you have probably already heard of most of these things, but this is what I love to do when we're in New York.

Obligatory Times Square shot.

Obligatory Times Square shot.

We had a foreign couple take our picture in Serendipity and my phone was acting up and they couldn't understand why I kept wanting them to retake the picture, so this is as good as we wound up with.

We had a foreign couple take our picture in Serendipity and my phone was acting up and they couldn't understand why I kept wanting them to retake the picture, so this is as good as we wound up with.

We love to eat pretty much everywhere we go.  So far, we've stayed pretty safe in NYC and gone to the classics.  Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity; hot dogs at Gray's Papaya; Pastrami sandwiches at Katz's Delil; Cereal Milk ice cream from Momofuku Milk Bar; and Shake Shack - every time, in every city there's a Shake Shack. 

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And then there's the Chelsea Market which is the foodies delight.

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And while you're in Chelsea, you should probably check out The Highline.  A perfect place to hangout, people watch, and eat...of course.

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Last summer we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and over to the Brooklyn Flea.  There's several fleas at different locations in Brooklyn including a food market called the Smorgasburg, which we will be visiting next time.

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And don't you kind of just have to visit the Today Show at least once? Say hi to our pals Matt, Savannah, and Al...and the Donald.  I just got an email that said they've suspended the NBC Studio Tours, but my mom and I went on the tour and really enjoyed it! Plus, even though I do think everyone should visit the Empire State Building at least once, the Top of the Rock actually has better views.  Rockefeller Plaza is really just a great place to hang out and people watch (something I love to do everywhere) - we usually find ourselves there several times every trip because we somehow wind up crossing through there most places we go.

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I think the Comedy Cellar is literally our favorite thing.  We've gone every single time.  Make reservations online, head down to Greenwich Village early and grab some food or if you're in a rush a falafel at Mamoun next door.  Last time my mom and I were there, it was a rainy night and randomly Aziz Ansari and Howie Mandel popped in and did unannounced sets!

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If you love baseball like my husband, you'll definitely want to head out to the Bronx and catch a Yankees game.  It was amazing how big the stadium is.  We caught the Yankees/Red Sox game which was surprisingly easy to get to tickets to and we caught a celebrity or two there.

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My mom and I went for her 50th birthday last year and had the most amazing weather.  Here we are at Rockefeller Plaza, the Whispering Wall in Grand Central, and at the Top of the Rock.

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Last but not least, Central Park.  Just go and spend as much time as you can there - it's huge.  In my dream world Central Park is our backyard and little Daphne can go run around there every day.  One day.

If you ever get the chance, go to NYC.  You'll love it, I promise.  And if you're a NYC veteran and have amazing recommendations, please send them all my way!!