What to do in NYC in a weekend.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend – That view…

New York! New York! Is, indeed, fabulous. My 1st trip to New York City was in October of 2013. We stayed in Times Square. We saw a Broadway show. We walked through Central Park. Which, is breathtakingly beautiful with all the leaves changing colors in the Fall. It was all a tourist dream come true.

This time, around we did none of that. This time, we stayed in Tribeca. This is what a true NYC neighborhood is made up of: small bagel shops, cafes, and plenty of bars all surrounded by early 19th Century buildings and cobblestone streets. It even had people offering us knock off designer purses and watches on most street corners. Most importantly, it wasn’t flooded with first-time tourists walking around with giant maps or cameras trying to capture everything that is Times Square. We spent our days walking through SoHo, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and East Village. I got to see and experience Manhattan for what it really is, and it isn’t all bright lights and glitz that is Times Square and the Theater District.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend – One World Trade Center

We did manage to get some sightseeing done. Mostly things that weren’t available for us to see and do on our last trip. For starters, in 2013, One World Trade Center, was still under construction. We were able to visit the 9/11 Memorial on the ground, but not enter the building as it was not yet completed. Fortunately, it was a crappy day out. It was cold, rainy, windy, and it snowed. We paid $34 each to go up to the 100, 101, and 102nd floors of One World Observatory. Tip: if you pay using a Mastercard, you get upgraded for FREE to VIP/Express Entry, which comes in handy when there is a long line. This is a state of the art experience. The experience starts in the elevator. I won’t ruin it by saying any more about it, but it is pretty cool. On the 101st floor, there is a restaurant and bar. It was about 11 a.m., and we were ready for a beverage. Plus, it was cold out. We weren’t in a rush to go back out anytime soon. Here we were on the 101st floor of One World Trade Center. I found myself thinking about September 11, 2001. I thought about the victims, their loved ones and how the whole world changed after that. To be in the exact location drinking my cocktail, talking, laughing, surrounded by 360-degree views of Manhattan in this structurally stunning building is humbling. It made me proud as an American. It also made me feel that it was an unsaid, “F-YOU!!!” to all terrorists around the world. We are America. They may have tried to destroy us, but they never did. They didn’t break us. We rebuilt ourselves from the ground up, literally, stronger, and will always rise from the ashes. That’s what we do as Americans. Please visit the 9/11 Memorial and take the time to pay your respects, or enjoy a cocktail or two on the 101st floor of One World Trade Center. It’s something I’ll never forget.

While, I, by fortune’s favor, had the privilege of being born in the U.S.A., many people in my family did not. In fact, millions of Americans, come from other countries. My husband’s family immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900’s through Ellis Island.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend – Welcome to Ellis Island

When we last visited NYC, Ellis Island, was also closed and under construction due to damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This time, I wasn’t going to miss out on this experience.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend – Next stop… Ellis Island

We paid $18 each to take the ferry from Battery Park to Ellis Island. It also included a stop at the Statue of Liberty. It was a nicer day for a ferry ride – no snow or rain, thankfully.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend – Happy Tartan Day! Ellis Island

We were greeted by bagpipes and a woman dancing a traditional Scottish dance in honor of Tartan Day. Ellis Island is no longer a port of entry, since 1954. It is now a wonderful museum. It is modern and interactive. I learned things without feeling as if I was being taught something. I asked my husband, “what does it feel like knowing that your ancestors stood and came through here? Your American story starts here.” He said, “it’s hard to imagine and take it all in. To know what they went through.” It’s true. For most of our ancestors, it wasn’t an easy journey coming to this country. Whether it was by chains, on foot through the desert, refugees, or by steamboat, we reap the benefits of the courage our forebear’s had before us. Which is why Ellis Island, is my new favorite must see/do American/NY experience.

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What to do in NYC in a weekend

The NYC experience is unique and personal for everyone. People flock to New York City to experience something different, something new, something we’re not able to experience in any other part of the world. Whatever we may be looking for is here. This is what keeps us going back. We still have more NYC experiences to discover. I love that giant concrete jungle.

What’s your favorite NYC experience?

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Defying Mediocrity

A little Monday Motivation from Curiosity Island…

Curiosity Island

So, what’s stopping you?

Fear of the unknown? Of failure? Judgment?

There is a very standard reaction to dreamers in today’s society.

There’s the eye roll, the sarcasm, the twisted look of disapproval. Sometimes, you’re just met with silence.

Imagine that. Chasing your dreams is so “novel” that people don’t even know how to respond to it.

Well, whether you’re reading this as a dreamer or a doubter, I would like to introduce you to someone that has changed my life-someone who I hope will also change yours. (If he hasn’t already)

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you, Paulo Coelho.

You may recognize his name even if you haven’t read his work. His quotes have circulated the internet for many years, and for good reason.

He is the author of the best-selling novel, The Alchemist, which is likely to be the first of many books you read by him…

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Why You Should Read Your Friend’s Blog

Yes, please! Thank you!

Mindful Still

We all have that friend that writes stuff on the internet. I think they call it “blogging” or some new trendy name like that. Kids these days and their need for self-expression.

Oh, wait, I am that friend.

In fact, if we are social media friends through any outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) you are probably thinking, “Wow, Sam sure does post a bunch of stuff all the time.”

If you have read this far, allow me a few more minutes of your time to explain why you should support a friend in his blogging endeavors? (Or at least ignore them and not let it annoy you.)

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1.It’s Free! This seems like a pretty good reason to support your friend. It doesn’t cost you anything and means a lot to your friend.

2.When you click on their link to view their post it increases their views on their site…

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Throwback Thursday

NEW YORK CITY!!! STATUE OF LIBERTY! She’s just as gorgeous in person! I’m in awe of her and this beautiful gift the French gifted us. This was in October 2013. While I’m looking forward to going back, I’m not looking forward to how cold it will be this weekend. I’m used to Texas Spring now.  There’s so much left to see and do in New York! Any recommendations? Thinking of going to the Empire State Building and Ellis Island this time around.

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Never could I…

We all tell ourselves something that we then tell to others about who we are. My husband loves to take naps. I would say his favorite thing to do is take a nap on the weekend’s. I always tell him and others, “I never take naps”, which for the most part is true, except for this past Saturday. I laid on the couch while he watched ??? I closed my eyes and an hour later I woke up. Stay with me for a second… He said, “Ah, I thought you never take naps! What happened? Because you sure were sleeping and snoring!” I guess I do take naps.

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February 2012, my 1st trip to San Francisco.

It started me thinking about what else have I said, I never do? It turns out more than I care to admit.

For starters, my husband. He is white aka Caucasian. He’s actually French, German, and Hungarian, but somewhere people with European ancestry get labeled as white. I used to say, “I could never date, let alone marry a white guy!” It crushes me to say or even admit that now. It’s ok, though, my husband knows that. We’re good. It’s extremely upsetting to think I would be as shallow and narrow-minded to forgo the most incredible and loving relationship of my life due to his skin color. How would I feel if he or someone else did that to me? It’s embarrassing to admit it. He can’t help that he’s white, just as I can’t help that I’m brown. We can still love one another. We can still laugh together. We can still travel the world together… You get it, in the end, it was my issue, not his. The funny thing is I’ve learned what they say is true, love is color-blind. I don’t look at my husband as my “white” husband, nor does he look at me as his “brown” wife. I think anyone in an interracial marriage can relate to that. You obviously know and can see your differences, but they become insignificant in the grander scheme of your love and life together.

Along with never dating white guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I could never leave my family.” Obviously, I fell in love and moved across the country, now 2x’s, so that proves that was a lie. I was afraid to leave home. While in my 20’s, I had lived on my own, in my own apartment, and paid my own bills. I was still only a stone’s throw away from my family, my safety net. If I ever felt lonely, sad, happy, hungry or just needed to do laundry for free – I could go home and I did. I would secretly judge other people who moved away from their families as not being as much of a devoted son or daughter as me. This is completely false. Again, embarrassing to admit. How could I be so small minded and judgemental of others? Moving thousands of miles away from my family has taught me it’s okay and will be okay. My ego actually thought that my family would fall apart because I wasn’t there to take care of everyone and everything. How would everyone function without me? You know what happens after you move away? Life. It goes on. My mother says it best, “you have to live your life for you now. I did my job as your mother and now I have to let you go.” That’s really a parent’s job anyway, right? Prepare us to go into the world and follow our own adventures and bliss in life.

I followed my heart to San Francisco. I surprised everyone, including my boyfriend, and bought a one-way ticket to SF. Why? Because my happiness depended on it. We were in a long distance relationship. It was becoming increasingly difficult to be apart from this man. Which leads me to my final thing I used to claim, “I could never live with a man before marriage.” What did I do? I moved across the country before we were even engaged. Why this matters, coming from a traditional Latino household the very thought of living with a man pre-marriage was never encouraged, let alone pre-engagement. I knew in my heart and soul, this was the man I was going to marry, and I did. I wasn’t going to wait forever for an engagement and luckily I didn’t have to. My husband and I, both agree that it probably would have turned out differently if we lived in the same city. He claims, he probably would’ve proposed sooner if we lived in the same place because we would’ve had more time together, which you don’t get much of in a long distance relationship. I received my whole family’s blessings to move. However, I did have an end date in mind, if he didn’t propose by a certain date. I knew, for me, I wanted to be his wife. I wanted him to be my husband. I was not going to play house forever with this man and I was prepared to walk away from it all and him if my wants weren’t going to be met.

Love has a funny way of changing everything. All of these “I could never’s” ultimately are fear-based or ego driven. It takes maturity and reflection to be able to admit and distinguish that for what it is. I’ve learned when someone says, “I can’t or I could never”, it’s also a story they are telling themselves, as I’ve told myself and others many times. “Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right.” – Henry Ford

What are the stories you tell yourself?