Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Living for Zachary Gala

About a month ago, we had the great pleasure of attending the Heartbeats Gala, an annual black tie fundraiser benefiting the Living for Zachary organization. Their mission is to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and promote preventative and corrective measures. Zachary Schrah was a 16 year old that died of SCA in 2009 after football practice at Plano East Senior High. The organization was established to raise awareness of undiagnosed heart issues in teens. Our friends Mark and Christine had two tables to fill at the fundraiser (Mark's mother and step-father are on the board of the organization), and we eagerly accepted. There were some amazing big ticket items to bid on, and it was fun to see the action of the live auction. I think we were seated in the back for a reason - they knew our paddles wouldn't be going up during the live part! We did bid on a framed Cowboys picture during the silent auction that we won. It looks really cool in Mason's room. Having a nephew that's very active in football and being children that grew up playing sports, this organization really pulled at our heartstrings and we were happy to be able to make a donation for this great cause.

Feels good to get fancy :)

Pete was out of town so Dorrie was our date!

Alice and Dorrie

You know we had to do a prom-pose! Aren't they cute? :)

Shelly, Alice and Dorrie

Donn Nelson, the GM of the Dallas Mavericks!

Sean holding the Larry O'Brien. Go Mavs!

Scanned in picture from the event

The ladies of our table. Alice, Dorrie, Christine, Lindsay and Shelly

The triplets! Those were the days...

Photo Catch-Up

Everyday I send Sean a couple photos of what we do throughout the day. Here's a sampling of them, going back about three months. I threw a couple others that weren't from my phone in here too - since I just started this blog I figured it was easier to just give a quick photo than to go back and write a post about each experience. These are in no particular order. Hope you enjoy!

Playing at the park with playgroup - thanks for the pic, Amanda!

We started brushing his teeth daily - apparently we were late to the game on this!

Pretty proud of his tie

He doesn't care how preppy he's dressed, dirt will be found

Our first fat lip - this one got me pulled out of class at the Y

I'd say he's pretty comfortable

Snoozin' on a walk

Love that dimply butt!

Fun with Daddy at the park!

This boy LOVES Gymboree

Doing the air log push at Gymboree

Watching the neighbors lawn guys while alternating between a snack and mowing our lawn

Laughing at Hazel chasing her tail

Watch out Picasso

Playing with his new friend Charlotte at the park

He really can't get enough of cars. He sees one and immediately says "brmm-brmm!"

Playing at the Dallas Children's Museum - he was soaked after this activity

Bundled up at K4 Ranch. Thanks Caroline for the invite! Looking forward to the next one!

Showing off his strength for sweet Beatrice

"I know there's an orange ball in here somewhere"

Enjoying his friend Reese's 3rd birthday at the Flight Museum

Bliss, our sweet neighbor, loves taking care of Mason

Walking around the pond after a Monday picnic with Daddy


St. Patty's 2012

Don't let his red hair sway you, Mason doesn't have a lick of Irish in him. But that doesn't stop us from celebrating St. Patty's Day! We actually considered battling the large, drunken crowd that consumes Greenville Ave in Dallas for the parade, but in the end decided the hassle and parking just wasn't worth it. Maybe next year when Mason will be a little easier to corral in a crowd. We did get together with our playgroup for a St. Patty's themed party at Lizzy's house and it was cute to see all the little ones in their green.

Enjoy these pictures of our little guy celebrating the day!

How could you resist?

We made these treats for his friends (their moms, really) at playgroup. The back of the tags said 'You're the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow'.

Basically begging for a hug

Aww, thanks Kennedy!

Just for grins, here he is last year

Yep, those are the same shades. Fit a little better this year!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Concrete Jungle

When Sean and I travel, very often it's to the west coast. He lived in Arizona and Los Angeles for 20 years collectively, his parents now live in the Seattle area, and his sister and her family are in the Phoenix area, so we have lots of reasons to head out that direction. So when we headed to New York for a long weekend two weekends ago, it was an exciting change of pace for us (Sean travels to the Northeast occasionally for work, but we've only done it together once that I can think of).

Our reason for scheduling the trip was because of tickets we had to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and wait list tickets for Saturday Night Live. While we weren't able to get the tickets to SNL, the Jimmy Fallon show alone was worth the trip. He is absolutely hilarious and a true professional. I didn't catch one flub and witnessed some awesome improv during the commercial breaks. We were a little bummed that we didn't get to go to SNL, but we do have tickets to the season premiere in September and can't wait for that!

We dropped Mason off at my parents Wednesday night so we could get up early Thursday to catch our flight. The flight we were on was perfect, because it allowed just the right amount of time to travel, check in the hotel, freshen up, and head out for lunch. Below is a run down of what we did. Excuse the picture quality. We brought our nice camera but we didn't want to tote it around so we used our iPhone's instead. This is a long post so you may just want to look at the pictures - I am known for documenting everything on vacation!

Thursday, March 1
We checked in at the Michelangelo in Midtown. I love this little boutique hotel. They upgraded us to a suite and I was so excited I took video of it (I will spare you all the video as I have an obnoxious level of excitement).

Our first stop was lunch at the Carnegie Deli - we had to do some touristy things and I must say this didn't disappoint. We split the Woody Allen (lotsa corned beef plus lotsa pastrami) and a side of fries and neither of us finished. It. Was. Huge. And delicious.
The Woody Allen
After lunch, we weren't far from where the David Letterman show tapes so we did a little walk-by. The show was on hiatus, so we had little hope that the Hello Deli around the corner was open, but low and behold it was. If you're a Dave fan you're aware of this little deli and Rupert Jee, the guy who runs it. It is so small and pretty decrepit, but Rupert is as nice as they come and was kind enough to take a picture with Sean.
Rupert Jee and Sean

The rest of our afternoon consisted of some major touristy sight-seeing. We made our way over to Central Park and walked around there a bit. Sean had done some work a few years back at the famous Plaza Hotel (where he got to tour the penthouse - I'm just slightly jealous), so we peeked in there for a minute. Then we popped in a lot of the famous 5th Ave shops, including the Apple store, FAO Schwarz, Tiffany, and the Trump Tower where we sat for a drink at his bar. On our way back to the hotel we stopped in the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, but didn't have time to walk around so we went to the amazing gift shops instead. We definitely want to go through this museum when we return in September. After one final stop at Rockefeller Center we walked back to our hotel to rest and get ready for our dinner with our friends Nick and Annie who live in the Lower East Side. We met them at The Lion and couldn't have been more pleased with their recommendation. The drinks were out of this world and I think between the four of us we had a taste of almost everything on the menu - all of which was fantastic. My gnocchi topped with black truffles and truffle oil was too good for words. After dinner they walked us through Greenwich Village (where NYU is) and then helped us hail a cab back to the hotel. It was a great first day!
Mason would have a blast at this playground in Central Park

Rockefeller Center - obviously I realized at the last second that my picture was being taken

Alice and Annie at The Lion

Sean and Nick at The Lion

Annie and Alice in Greenwich Village
Friday, March 2
We had received a couple of recommendations for a restaurant in SoHo called Balthazar so we headed there for brunch on Friday. The atmosphere and location was really cool and the food was great too (we each had a variation of eggs benedict). We'll definitely return for dinner. Then we did some shopping and wandering around in the area and I stumbled upon my favorite clothing store of all time, C. Wonder. It's owned by Tory Burch's ex-husband and is an affordable mix of Tory Burch/Kate Spade-type clothing. Oh, and everything can be monogrammed. Basically my dream store. For lunch we headed to The Meatball Shop for a mid-day drink and a meatball sandwich for Sean and meatball sliders with white beans on the side for me. The neighborhoods in NY confuse the heck out of me but I think this was in the Lower East Side. I was in the mood for something sweet so our waitress recommended a little cupcake shop around the corner called Butter Lane. It was a very satisfying sugar rush! It was getting close to check-in time for Jimmy Fallon so we hailed a cab to Rockefeller Center and got our wristbands. The NBC studios are all in 30 Rockefeller Plaza for the most part, which I loved because 30 Rock is one of our favorite TV shows and it was cool to visit in person. We had some time to spare before we entered the studio so we went across the street to Bouchon for some lattes while we waited (keep your eye out for this place in the background next time you watch the Today Show). Bruce Springsteen was the guest on the Jimmy Fallon show and he didn't disappoint. There were some hard-core Bruuuuuuuce fans in the audience (that's how they say his name) and then there was us and a couple other normals. Bruce invited the audience on stage at the end of the show and we all danced to one of his new songs. It was a really awesome experience. The taping lasted about two hours which allowed the perfect amount of time to get to our dinner reservations at Elio's in the Upper East Side. After a martini at the bar we were seated in the back corner of the restaurant which gave us the perfect view of the entire place. We weren't alone in loving this spot. Apparently it's typically reserved for important people and it happens to be Tom Selleck's favorite table. He was even rumored to be at the bar while we were there! It was our lucky night. We had been given a tip to order off the menu items and ended up with the best chicken parmesan and linguini and clams we'd ever had. We ended the night with a drink at Whiskey Park near Central Park, then had a peaceful walk home in the rain.

Brunch at Balthazar

Lunch at The Meatball Shop

Lattes at Bouchon

After the Jimmy Fallon taping!

Dinner at Elio's - Sean's favorite meal!

Saturday, March 3
We started this day still not knowing if we were going to SNL or not, so there was a lot of phone monitoring throughout the day. Sean found a breakfast place in TriBeCa called Kitchenette and it definitely lived up to the great reviews. It had a diner-like feel and was decorated with architectural artifacts from upstate NY and the tables were made of old doors. The food was great too! Between the two of us we tried gingerbread pancakes with pumpkin butter, cheese grits, homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, sausage and some other yummies that I'm sure I'm leaving off. We walked around the area a bit and really enjoyed the eclectic mix of shops. I don't know how NY neighborhoods work, but there seemed to be a lot of families with young kids in this area. Maybe it was just because it was a Saturday but it felt like a cool place for families. Our next stop was the 9/11 Memorial. Just approaching this choked me up as I was imagining people running through the very spot after the attacks. It was a very classy memorial with two beautiful water features in place of where the towers stood. The names of everyone fallen that day were etched into the features. The construction of the two new towers is taking place right nearby. We then made it over to Wall Street, which isn't much other than a bunch of tall buildings, but it was still cool to see the NYSE and other large financial corporations. For lunch we went to a jewel in West Village called momofuku noodle bar. Wow, was this good. We each had a beer and shared their famous pork buns, then I had the Momofuku Ramen (pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg), and Sean had the Spicy Chicken Ramen. This was such a delicious lunch and apparently half of the city agrees as it was very crowded. After walking around the area a bit we decided to head back to the hotel to rest up before our evening. We knew at this point that SNL wasn't going to happen and had originally planned to go to a Broadway show if that was the case, but decided instead to save that for our next visit and have a nice dinner and drinks out on our last night. The Meatpacking District was an area we still hadn't seen so we picked a restaurant in the area called Spice Market for dinner. It had an Asian-inspired menu and the atmosphere and decor was very cool but it wasn't our favorite meal. We'll go to the area again next time but not the restaurant. A couple of blocks away is The Standard Hotel and the space at the top of the hotel is called the Boom Boom Room. The hotel is located right on the water in the Southwestern part of the island and from the Boom Boom Room you can see the entire city. It's really something special at night. It's free to get in but our tab for two drinks was $52 so you certainly pay the price. Great people watching though and the coolest bathrooms I've ever seen (not for those afraid of heights). After drinks we had the cab driver drop us off near Times Square and walked around a bit before walking back to the hotel and watching SNL in bed.

Where one of the towers stood

Never Forget

One of the new towers going up - the other looks the exact same


From the Top of the Standard - the best shot we could get with our phones!

Sean in Times Square

Sunday, March 4
Vacation-wise this wasn't too special of a day but we were reunited with Mason which is always exciting! After grabbing a quick breakfast in the hotel we actually made it to the airport early enough to grab an earlier flight. Can you believe the Robison's were not only on-time but early for something?!? If it gets us to Mason sooner we'll do whatever it takes! We had an easy flight home and loved being there when Mason woke up from his nap that afternoon.

While we covered a lot of ground there are still a ton of things we want to do when we return in September. This city has endless possibilities. Our list for next time includes SNL (of course), a broadway show, a food tour, visiting the Top of the Rock, exploring the MoMA and enjoying a huge list of restaurants we want to try.

Major thanks to my parents for watching our little guy for the weekend. They say he didn't whine once (probably b/c they spoil him rotten) and we were comfortable knowing he was in great hands. We owe you a nice dinner!