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January 14, 2017


My very first post, how exciting! What better way to kick off the new year than a trip to one of the most magical places on earth.

No, not Disneyland- New York City! (they cost about the same though!)


Typical me, I hoard my PTO all year long, waiting for one of my friends to hopefully be able to take a trip at some point with me.  Between boyfriends, husbands, and poor money management- I wasn't able to convince anyone to travel with me. Regardless, I had to use my last week of vacation days before they expired. My parents were planning a trip to attend my great-aunt's 100th surprise birthday party! (Whoever thought surprising a 100 year old was a good idea...umm?)  I figured, lets throw it back to my childhood and go on a vacation with my parents.


Day 1: Well my dad being the boss he is and airline employee vet- was able to swing the three of us upgrades to first class. Thats right..free, unlimited pinot gris on the 5-hour flight to my favorite city on earth.




As we landed and I could see the NY skyline, my love affair with Manhattan picked up right where it left off.


We drove through my hometown-Rutherford, NJ, partially for the nostalgia, but mainly for the best pizza ever at Park Tavern. 




Day 2: Heading to Long Island to visit my dad's old friends. A.K.A. the MOST Italian people you will ever meet. They literally said "Whatsamattahwithyou" at one point in the night. 


Day 3: Woke up at 6:30am on a Saturday to a phone call that the 100 year old's birthday was CANCELLED due to a snow storm that was supposed to hit with 8-10 inches. People were driving and flying from all over but the host didn't want them to risk it with the weather.  127 guests expected, a live band, and a year of planning-cancelled within 30 minutes of the weather report. Regardless, we stopped by the house to wish her a happy birthday despite the news. 





We drove to Manhattan a day early to avoid getting stuck in the snow storm and froze our Californian butts off in 20 degrees.  That being said, there is something incredibly magical about NYC in the winter. There is a sense of peace and calm that you don't get the rest of the year.




After our visit to Washington Square Park, we head to Hell's Kitchen for dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Trattoria Casa Di Isacco.  Isaac, the owner/server/host/wine maker/occasional singer, runs the joint. He used to perform as an Elvis performer and has kept his sideburns as proof. Being the third wheel with my parents, basically guarantees me some sort of embarrassment on the trip...so here is exhibit A...



Day 4: My Godmother and her friend come to visit from Philadelphia! I haven't seen my Aunt Sallie in YEARS and it is always a good time! On trend with every other person I talk to over the age of 40, she asks me how to use her Facebook and change her wallpaper on her phone and I teach her how to take a selfie.



Everyone is tired and decide to take naps, so I take a walk around Midtown and visit the Empire State Building. I've lived near NYC for 8 years of my life and visited multiple times and I still have never been to the top. The views were worth the outrageous ticket cost..

My dad wasn't feeling well, but that wasn't going to keep my mom and I from hitting the town! We went to another Italian restaurant, Tavolo, in Hell's Kitchen and talked about life over wine and you guessed it, pizza. #ihaveanaddiction Afterwards, we braved the cold and walked to a jazz lounge with live music that had a very speakeasy vibe. It was in the theater district and felt very quintessential New York.



Day 5: Dad still isn't feeling well, so Mom and I walk the Brooklyn Bridge and see why everyone is talking about Brooklyn. If you've never walked the bridge- DO IT. It is only a mile long and has incredible views. 



After the bridge, we explored DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge) and took the ferry to Williamsburg. Everyone talks about Williamsburg like it is a mini Manhattan exploding with hipsters and coffee shops. For the life of us, we couldn't find this area.  We even asked several locals and they looked at us like the were crazy..so if anyone knows..hit me up in the comments!

We met up with my cousin who lives in the city for dinner.. guess what we ate...




At this point, I am lowkey embarrassed. #cantstopwontstop.



Day 6: Last full day in NY and I'm officially depressed. My dad is feeling better so he joins my mom and I on a walk uptown through Times Square, Central Park, and 5th Ave. The city is so bleak in the most beautiful sense now that the snow has settled for a few days.



We met up with my cousin who lives in Hoboken, NJ with his beautiful bride. I hadn't seen him in over 10 years so it was nice to catch up over some lasagna. (If you haven't noticed the theme of the trip.. it is marinara, cheese, and some form of carb.



Day 7: Our flight leaves later tonight. I go for a walk on my own, to have one last intimate moment with Manhattan. (too far?) Before we head to the airport, we all take a walk on the Highline.  For those who don't know, the Highline used to be an above ground train that in the last 5 years was converted to a jogging path with beautiful views of the cities and second floor apartment windows.



Didn't see any nude people. Thank God! In this weather? Can you imagine the shrinkage?! #seinfeldreference



The trip comes to an end and I'm forced to return home to sunny California. I know 90% of the population think I'm crazy for wanting to stay in 20 degree temps over 60 degree temps in San Diego.  Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I don't care. After all, isn't NYC home to most of the crazies?  For now I will live in the moment, in the second most beautiful city in the United States.



xo, Jillian


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