I can't believe it's already been a whole week since the big trip!! I wanted to sit down and blog the details before they slipped away! I had 5 photo shoots this week and Braden had surgery today (more on that later) so it was definitely a break from reality... though "break" is hardly the word I would use to sum up 4 jam-packed, fun-filled, inspiring days in the Big Apple!!
First and foremost, I have to give a little shout out to my wonderful hubby for supporting me in going and making it all work out on the home front. It's never easy to walk away from your family, esp. with little ones, but Blake really pulled through w/ the help of many... so THANK YOU!!
Another fun tidbit: I was able to spend the entire weekend with my Sis. Ash, who coincidentally flew in from Dubai the same day... within the same hour. SO, we met at the airport Friday afternoon and AWAY WE WENT!!
Friday night was the big awards ceremony portion of the AMI convention at the Waldorf Astoria. Just being in such a historical place was awesome. What a way to start the weekend. I saw many women who I had the pleasure of meeting during this past month at the Governor's Mansion event and so forth. The entire evening was fantastic. There was a DVD presentation of the Cultural Art award winners and we were called up on stage as well. The whole evening focused on "excellence" for women/mothers. It was really neat and I was honored to be there.
From there, we met up with my good friend Amber and hit Iguanas near Times Square. It is a restaurant/club with a live Salsa band and dancing!! Very fun. We ended up walking around Times Square until early morn.... had to get some "NY Cheesecake". Only in NYC is that possible at 2am! It was delish! I must add that this trip was all about the food and broadway. Two of my favorite things!!
So, after a solid 4 hours of sleep, Amber and I set out for Times Square again, this time to wait a few hours for $30 Rush tickets for the new broadway show "Promises, Promises" with Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenowith. We were FIRST in the rush line and scored tickets for the matinee! It's crazy how long the line got by 10am! Luckily Amber is a profesh at this, so we came prepared w/ lawn chairs.
Meanwhile, a few blocks down, Revlon was kicking off a huge run/walk for breast cancer and Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba and Dr. Oz were there to support it. It was SO COOL to see so many people there running for the cause. And of course, I love a great celeb sighting. I snuck around to the side of the stage as they were walking off and got close enough to snap a few good pics!
Okay... on to Promises, Promises!! I thoroughly enjoyed the show!! I LOVED Sean Hayes' character, which had us laughing out loud. Kristen Cheno's character was a bit more serious at times, but the music was great (previewed on Glee the week prior). THE BEST part, of course, was waiting with the crowds at the stage door. We snuck out of the show 2 minutes early (learned that last time around) and were at the front of the "pack" to say hi to the actors. Sean Hayes was so nice... even though I HATE that picture of my triple chin with him. Oh well... he was awesome.Little pint-sized Kristen was adorable!! She has so much personality and I enjoyed seeing her so close as well!!
After the show we met up with my cousin Amber (2 Ambers!!) and grabbed a bite to eat at Le Parker Meridian Hotel (can't remember the name of the restaurant). Ash and I were bound and determined to see the show "In the Heights" so we ran a few blocks down and threw our names in the lottery (10 names are picked nightly for $26.50 front row seats). Well, guess who's name got called: ASHLEE'S!! WE were pumped. More on that in a minute.
First we snapped a quick pic of the group before we had to go into our show. You may notice the police man, the barricades and the cop cars in the background. This was taken MINUTES before the whole "car bomb debacle". YES, WE WERE LITERALLY ON 42nd street... right where it all went down, right WHEN it all went down. Of course we didn't know exactly what was going on, but let me tell you it was MAYHEM!!! The cops were yelling, the were barricading every which way, and the people were so confused and freaked out, it was crazy!!
Ash and I ran to make it to our Show (snuck in a few cupcakes from CRUMBS!!! YUM!!). FRONT ROW WAS AWESOME!! The show ended up starting 45 minutes late due to police activity and once in, we couldn't leave the building, BUT we did get to see the whole show AND it was AMAZING!!! Seriously, one of my favorite new shows. PLUS, will from season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance is in the show (and Corbin Blue did a FANTASTIC job as well!!!). We saw Will after the show and grabbed a quick picture with him before the Police continued to wrangle the crowds out of Times Square.
What a night! Sunday morning we met up with our good friends the Smocks who recently moved to the city. They live in a beautiful apartment and took us to the best Bagel shop for breakfast. We walked to Central Park and enjoyed a gorgeous morning. Thanks Smocks... it was so fun to see you and the girlies!!
We hit a few more spots -- Grand Central Station, H&M, Mexicana Mama (one of favorites from last time) AND for all you Food Network junkies, Ash and I have had our eye on this 24 layer chocolate cake, every since it previewed on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". When we found out we were going to be close to the Strip House, we had to pop in for a bite... or two. THIS CAKE WAS INCREDIBLE!! AND HUGE!! It was ohhh, so good.
That night, we ended up getting a hotel in SOHO and strolled through Little Italy to round out the day.
Monday... the final day!! Just to back up a bit, the night before I left for New York, I got a call from the Regis and Kelly show, letting us know they had tickets for us for Monday (I had written a few weeks earlier, but thought it was too last minute). So we were pumped for the show and although our Taxi driver went all kinds of crazy in getting us lost, we made it in time and even scored FRONT AND CENTER seats.
Anyway, we were semi excited b/c it was Betty White and a NCIS dude... but after they filmed Monday's live show, they surprised us by filming Friday's show as well. Which included.... drum roll...... RUSSELL CROWE!!! Ahhh... he was so fun to see in person. They also filmed Sofia Vergara (Blake's favorita) and Chris Noth.
Since Russell Crowe is promoting Robin Hood, he brought his trusty bow and arrow!!
It was really cool being so close. Reg and Kelly would come right up to our area during every commercial break and interact with the audience. I told Kelly I loved her shoes... she was rockin' the 5 inch heel! BTW, she is SO TINY, it's unbelievable. It makes me never want to eat again!! Call us crazy, but we love a good "celeb experience" and this one topped them all!!
We stopped by the temple on our way out... it is so beautiful, just right there on 65th street (I think?!!)
AND LASTLY, for the big finale, we did a little shopping on canal street and then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to the infamous "Grimaldis". Yep, I have to admit it... some of the BEST pizza I've ever had. The last time we were in town, the line was an hour long. We lucked out Monday and waited 5 minutes max. It was a GREAT way to end one of the MOST AMAZING weekends ever.
Wow, what else can I say! The trip exceeded all my expectations. I would have been happy with just Friday night. It was a great experience to be apart of and recognized within the AMI conference. From there it just kept getting better!! Thank you to Amber for letting us crash with you and for your intricate knowledge of subways and streets!! If you made it this far in my "Journal" thanks for stopping by and letting me share!!