A Weekend in NYC

by Lisa on Tuesday: Mar 22, 2016

This past weekend, D and I decided to take off for a quick getaway to New York City. We love getting away to NYC and try to go at least once a year. Since we only live 4 hours away, it’s not a big deal to drive down and spend a long weekend when we feel like doing so. Also, I went to college in NYC, so I love to go back frequently to revisit the city.

Welcome to New York

We packed up and headed out pretty early on Friday morning, with a car loaded with snacks and water bottles. In a spur of the moment decision, we decided to make a quick detour off the highway to visit the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut. D had been there before, and we thought it would be a fun, random thing to do while we were driving by.

Maritime Aquarium

This turned out to be a fun, spontaneous decision. They had all sorts of rays, sharks, seals, frogs, lizards and more. We spent about an hour there looking around and taking pictures.

Maritime Aquarium Jellyfish

Maritime Aquarium Sharks

After that, we were only an hour away from the hotel and seemed to arrive pretty quickly, after just a tiny bit of city traffic. We were staying at Hotel Indigo in the SoHo area, which is an area I’m not as familiar with. It was fun to walk around a new part of the city and explore. The hotel was very nice, especially for a New York City hotel – which in my experience usually are extremely small, old and have some issues.

Hotel Indigo Shower

This one was very new and modern feeling and had quite the “lobby” on the 14th floor, with incredible views of the city.

Hotel Indigo Lobby

Hotel Indigo View

We stayed until Sunday, and while we were there, we ate tons of good food:

Penne alla Vodka (a favorite of both of ours) at Ryan Maguire’s:

Penne Alla Vodka

Japanese ramen! They had “spicy vegetarian” ramen on the menu and it was absolutely delicious. The restaurant was called Mr. Taka’s and had a very authentic Japanese ramen shop feel to it. Much to our surprise, there were ramen shops all over the place in the city. The trend is taking off!

Mr. Taka Spicy Vegetarian Ramen

We went to the Creperie, which apparently has been on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Creperie NYC Throwdown

We got the New Yorker crepe which had cheesecake and strawberries in the middle. Delicious late night snack!

Creperie NYC

We also walked around a ton, all the way from the Seaport downtown to Times Square and many place in between.

NYC Seaport Buildings

It was great to get away from all the every day stresses for a long weekend. We came back refreshed and had a great time. I love going back to NYC, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

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Have you ever been to New York City?

If so, what’s your favorite thing to do there?

A Weekend of Wedding Events

by Lisa on Tuesday: Mar 01, 2016

Now that we’re inching ever closer to the day of the wedding (4 months left!), things are really picking up in intensity when it comes to wedding planning. This weekend was a prime example of that as we packed in as many things as we possibly could while we had some free time.

Saturday was a check-in meeting with the venue. Earlier in the week, I had sent our contact some questions about logistics, etc. and we ended up with even more questions after the email exchange. It only made sense to schedule a time to go meet face to face to hash out as many things as possible. I was so happy we decided to do this because the stress has been piling up lately, and both D and I were feeling a bit lost, not knowing what we should be doing next.

This meeting helped tremendously. We talked about the timeline and overall flow of the actual day, the rehearsal, and discussed all details that we needed to order our invitations. The coordinator we met with actually complimented us on how organized and on top of everything we were. That was a relief to hear!

Sunday, we had a very fun event planned: cake tasting! When we got to the bakery, they presented us with ten (yes ten!) different flavors of cake to try, ranging from red velvet, to cannoli, to tiramisu and everything else in between. It was delicious, and we booked them to do our cake. We need to go back again to design the look of the cake, but it’s nice to have the initial booking done.

Wedding Cake Tasting

Later on in the afternoon on Sunday, we had a less fun thing to do: ordering invitations. Luckily we had prepared as much as humanly possible before going in to place our order. However, there were so many details and decisions to make, and we were there for well over an hour. I’m still a little apprehensive about all the little details coming out correct, but again, at least it’s off the list now!

What’s next? Probably outfits for the men and bridesmaid dresses. We’ll see how productive we are in March!

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If you’re married/engaged, what was your favorite part of wedding planning? Least favorite?

A Tokyo Engagement Story

by Lisa on Wednesday: Feb 10, 2016

Before I get into today’s post, I’d like to say hi and welcome to anyone stopping by from the Runaway Bridal Planner’s blog hop!

While you’re here, also make sure to check out Monday’s post on My Favorite Go-To Vegetarian Dinners, and stay tuned for more posts about my travel, food and life adventures.

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In September of 2014, my then boyfriend (now fiancee) D and I went on the biggest trip of our lives to Tokyo, Japan. I had been to Tokyo once before many years earlier and had absolutely loved the experience. Meanwhile, D had always dreamed of visiting the country, and we had been planning to go together for several years, but had to wait until the timing was right and we had enough money saved up for the trip.

After much preparing and planning, that time had finally arrived and we were on our way!

Right away, Tokyo proved to be beautiful, unexpected and filled with everything that we love:

Tokyo Japan

But the biggest surprise came two days into our trip in the middle of a random adventure. We had set out that morning to find the store Artnia, which is the new Square Enix store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Both D and I are big fans of Square Enix video games, so this had been on our wish list for a while.

Artnia

However, finding Artnia proved to be more difficult than anticipated, and we ended up completely lost on the streets of Shinjuku. It was only by luck that we happened to stumble onto a random shrine tucked into one of the side streets. We decided to be whimsical and stop in, as it was the first shrine we had encountered during our trip, and we wanted to explore.

Hanazono Shrine

It was very important to D that we visit several shrines on this trip, and he was intent on writing several Emas while we were there. These are little wooden boards that you can purchase on which you write wishes or prayers for yourself or loved ones. They are then displayed on a board in the center of the shrine.

Hanazono Shrine Wish

We headed straight over to purchase one for D. I gave him some privacy while he wrote, because I didn’t know if he wanted to keep his wishes private. I turned away and entertained myself with this poster while he was writing:

Tokyo Construction Poster

When he was done, we walked over to the board to hang what he had written on the board, and he started getting a little weird. I thought it was because he didn’t want me to see what he had written, but then he said to me: “Take a look around. I want you to remember this moment.”

And he hung the board on the wall and let me read the writing. His wish that he had written was to have a long and happy marriage with me as his wife. When I turned around to look at him, he was taking a ring box out of his pocket and he asked me to marry him! I was in total, utter shock. I had no idea he was planning to propose, and I have no idea how he kept it such a secret for so long.

He then told me that he had actually asked my father’s permission a few weeks before we left on our trip, and that he had been carrying the ring around in his backpack with him the whole time (that explained what he was carrying that backpack everywhere!). Also, he was smart enough to get a stand-in ring instead of risking taking a real one all the way across the world on a plane. We later picked out my real engagement ring together.

We spent the rest of the day celebrating, and made calls home the next day (when it was a more human hour in America) to let everyone know.

D always jokes that I had no choice but to say yes because we were only on day 2 of a two week trip in a foreign country, and it would have been quite awkward otherwise 🙂 But this event solidified how special Tokyo is to the two of us and made it one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

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Other posts about Tokyo:
How to Be A Vegetarian at Tokyo Disney

Other posts about the wedding:
Ten Things on My Wedding To Do List
So I Went Wedding Dress Shopping
Wedding Planning Updates
Wedding Planning Adventures

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If you’re engaged or married, tell me what your engagement experience was like!

What travel destinations are on your bucket list?

Rock and Shock Festival – Reviewed

by Lisa on Thursday: Oct 22, 2015

This one is for the horror fans!

On Saturday, D and I attended the annual Rock and Shock festival, which is both a horror convention and concert held in Worcester, MA. It’s actually a three day event, but we only attended this one day. This was our second time experiencing the convention, and just like the last time, we had an amazing time with lots of unexpected moments.

Scary clown

We arrived at the Palladium at around 1PM to pick up our tickets from the box office, and from there walked the few blocks to the DCU Center where the convention was being held. It is a horror-fest the moment you walk in, between the vendors, the decorations, and of course all the people who dress up in crazy horror-themed costumes. This year, D decided to get in the spirit and dressed up as Jigsaw from the Saw movie series in his trademark red and black robe. Our friend Jeannette is a costume designer and graciously put this together for him. She did a great job – he looked amazing!

The first thing D wanted to do was to meet some celebrities. This wasn’t a problem, as the event was PACKED with horror movie legends waiting to sign autographs.

Rock and Shock Meet and Greet

First up was Felissa Rose from the original Sleepaway Camp movie. It was only this year that my friend T recommended this movie to me, and D and I both fell in love with it immediately. The movie has a creepy atmosphere, a crazy plot line and lots of over-the-top killing scenes. In other words, the perfect horror movie! Felissa was incredibly sweet in person, treating everyone who came up to her booth as if they were long lost best friends. We chatted about horror movies, Sleepaway Camp, her other movies and she also congratulated us on our upcoming wedding. We ended up buying her more recent movie The Perfect House, which she autographed (this movie was CRAZY and we enjoyed it a lot. It’s along the lines of a Saw/Hostel type of style) and then we got some pictures with her. In my favorite pic, she’s making the exact face that she makes while screaming in terror at the end of Sleepaway Camp. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know why this is so great.

Felissa Rose

We also stopped by the booths of Adam Green, the director of the Hatchet series (which we had also just watched during our horror marathon) and Gia Nova, a burlesque star. Adam discussed his reasons for making Hatchet more on the humorous side and the current trend of horror movies taking themselves too seriously. Gia was extremely friendly and D was especially interested to hear that she has a comic book coming out in the near future (he is a comic book lover, to put it lightly). She also asked us lots of questions about ourselves and we ended up discussing our recent trips to Disney World. She turned out to be a Disney fan too and we found ourselves discussing upcoming changes to the parks and why we all love the Haunted Mansion so much. It was a ton of fun to meet all of these people and they all were incredibly nice and gracious.

Adam Green and Gia Nova

The big event of the day though, was the meeting of Tobin Bell from Saw. Being that D was dressed up as his character, we were especially interested to see how things would go. We signed up to do a professional picture with him which superimposed our images on the background of the movie Saw 1. He immediately recognized D’s costume as the Jigsaw robe. Later we got to spend a little more time with him and got his autograph. At this point, D asked him about his Seinfeld appearance (in one episode, he appears as a record store owner and has a big fight with Kramer and Newman) and then Tobin Bell analyzed the costume in detail. He had nothing but nice things to say about it and was very complimentary toward our friend Jeannette who did the design.

There was plenty more to do at the convention aside from the meet and greets we participated in. There was merchandise from nearly every horror movie franchise you could think of, and they were also offering things like face painting and tattoos (we did not partake of either), as well as creative projects and, randomly, dog adoptions.

Rock and Shock 1

The concert portion of the event started later in the afternoon/evening and we were able to catch 3 bands. We did end up missing a few of the bands we had on our wish list due to timing and wrapping up our fun at the convention.

Rock and Shock 2

Overall, we had a lot of fun doing something a little out of the ordinary. We are both big horror movie fans, and we will surely be back when this comes around again in future years.

Rock and Shock t shirt

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Have you ever been to a horror convention?

Tell me what celebrities you’ve met!

A New Beginning

by Lisa on Thursday: Aug 08, 2013

After a seemingly endless two months of hard work and stress, we have finally moved into our new home. It’s time to celebrate!

It really has been a difficult few months to get to this point, and if anyone tells you buying a house is easy – they’re lying. I knew going in that there would be stress and unexpected issues and lots of money flying out of my pocket, but that didn’t make it any easier when the time came. However, just as of this past weekend, we’ve finally gotten to a point where we’re mostly settled in and can breathe a sigh of relief.

We officially closed on the house on 7/10 and between 7/10 and the end of the month, sent almost every night carrying boxes over from the apartment to the house. This time period happened to coincide with the worst heatwave Boston has seen in years, which stretched for almost a period of 2 weeks. We hired movers to come on 7/26, which is when we officially moved out of the old apartment and started sleeping in the new house.

Because of the move, I’ve been a little MIA here and frankly, almost everything else in my life aside from work got moved to the back burner. That included blogging, any hobby whatsoever and also unfortunately, my fitness routine. In all the chaos, I found myself eating terribly, getting takeout all the time and not exercising whatsoever. I’ve certainly been feeling the effects and I’m very much looking forward to changing things around and re-focusing the remainder of the year on the other goals I had originally set out for myself.

Now that I’m on the other side of the chaos, life seems so much calmer, more peaceful and free. I have spare time again, which is something I really haven’t had in about 2 months. I had declared this past Monday as “the new start” and so far I’ve actually been making it happen. I’ve been eating better, drinking less and exercising more. I woke up at 6:30 AM Monday through Wednesday to get in 50 minutes of a workout before work and in addition to that, I’ve been taking a 20 minute walk around my office park during the day, each day.

I’m looking forward to catching up on all my favorite bloggers’ lives now that I’m back!