November 27, 2012

walking off the turkey in nyc.

Van Gogh's A Wheatfield with Cypresses
     For this Thanksgiving, our friend Chase came down from Dartmouth to stay with us for the weekend. Jason drove to Boston to pick him up from the South Station Bus Terminal and they didn’t come home until late at night because of holiday traffic. We both haven’t seen Chase since our wedding, so it was fun hearing Jason and Chase catch up and it was nice to finally host someone inside our home.

     Thursday we drove to Morristown, New Jersey to have Thanksgiving dinner with Jason’s cousin Seth and his wife Lindsay. Seth and Lindsay moved around the same time we did to the east coast so it was fun to swap stories of Hurricane Sandy and the differences of living here opposed to the West. It was also a lot of fun meeting Cohen for the first time and playing with Addy who has some hilarious things to say. All and all, it was perfect spending Thanksgiving with family and we hope to see the Gonzales Family more often.
Numero uno on Jason's Christmas list
     Saturday Chase, Jason, and I went into the city. We planned to do some shopping on 5th avenue (being Black Friday) but it was so incredibly crowded in the stores. We did end up going into Barney’s and looking at clothes that we could never afford. Jason had fun trying on a Russian hat made from silver fox fur that was thousands of dollars.  
Pink Christmas tree in the Plaza Hotel
     We ate awesome Mexican food at Burrito Box. We have struggled to find a good Mexican restaurant in New York (since Costa Vida doesn’t exist on the east coast) but Burrito Box definitely did the job with free chips and salsa.
Burrito Box
A walk through Central Park
     We had a nice stroll through Central Park. The park was less busy and a perfect transition to our destination of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art or just simply the MET. Apparently there is a recommended admission of $25 per person, but you can pay whatever you want to be admitted. Jason paid only $10 dollars for the both of us! Jason and I have been to a couple of art museums: Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (DIA) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA),  but this art museum definitely had the most well known paintings as well as an extensive exhibit of Andy Warhol’s work. Jason and I don’t necessarily like modern art, but it’s an amusing break from a constant flow of serious paintings and sculptures.
So many amazing paintings
Hall of Greek and Roman art
     Some of the amazing art we enjoyed: Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Straw Hat, Irises, and Wheat Field with Cypresses; Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies and The Houses of Parliament; George Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte; and Picasso’s The Blind Man’s Meal. It was also fun looking at the Roman and Grecian art sculptures including one familiarly face of a Lord Voldemort? Well, at least I thought it was him from the broken off nose.
     After the Museum, we again walked down 5th Avenue in search of a Barnes and Noble to regroup and go book shopping. Chase bought us Scrabble as a Christmas gift and for having him in our home. We than went on a journey to east village to see an artsy movie at City Cinemas Village East Cinema.
Snowflake on 5th Ave
     It was a fun day of navigating our way through Manhattan that involved lots of trains, subways, walking, and asking of directions. By the time we got back to Grand Central it was already 11 o’clock. And our dinner was an entrĂ©e of bacon and cheese potato skins from the restaurant Fridays.
No holiday complete without a game of Scrabble
     Saturday morning we said goodbye to Chase. And spent the rest of the weekend recovering from a busy few days. Now my attention turns to finishing school and officially graduating from BYUI as Jason’s turns to writing his research papers and getting a leg up on studying for Finals. We both have so much to be thankful for this year starting with an amazingly smooth transition from living in the small town of Rexburg, ID to living on the verge of the biggest city in the world.
Goodbye Chase

November 21, 2012

a day for history.

In front of the Liberty Bell
      Jase and I were ready for another slightly bigger adventure than we’ve been having lately, so we decided to go to Philadelphia. I have never been to Philly, so naturally, I was excited to go somewhere new and especially to learn about our nation’s history.

      After only a two hour drive, we made our way to my number one thing to do on our trip: the Liberty Bell. My expectations for tourist attractions tend to be higher than they should be and they always turn out differently than I originally visualize. Just like when I was in London and saw that Big Ben wasn’t just a clock tower, but was attached to the Palace of Westminster; the Liberty Bell was inside a building (not outside, like I expected) and it was roped off so I couldn’t even touch it! Jason still touched it and who knows if that was allowed. I still loved the bell and was really happy I was able to see it and learn so much about it. Did you know that the Liberty Bell weighs 2080 pounds? Its crack is .5 inches wide and 24.5 inches long? And did you know that because of the size of the crack, if rung, it wouldn’t make a sound?
I would honestly never guess that the Liberty Bell weighs 2080 pounds
He's just a kid
      Next, we walked by Independence Hall and took some pictures in front of the building where both the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution was debated, drafted, and signed. It is definitely surreal to stand in a square you knew the founding fathers had walked. Close by, we went to Christ Church Burial Ground to see Benjamin Franklin’s grave. It felt a little silly having to pay two dollars a person to go inside the cemetery, but we decided it was worth it. We visited Franklin’s grave and laid a penny on the stone: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” We proceeded to walk around the cemetery and find the 4 other Declaration of Independence signers. The cemetery itself was very beautiful with different kinds of headstones that had been eroded away by time.
Independence Hall
At Benjamin Franklin's grave site
      We started to get hungry, so Jason led us to a place he had been to before called Reading Terminal Market. He told me that you can get any type of food there that you want and that none of the places there were your typical fast food places. The minute I stepped inside, I wanted to step back out. I wish we at least chosen another door to walk through so I could avoid all the fishy smells. Apparently there was a marathon the next day in the city, so our eating place was packed from wall to wall. I can get pretty high anxiety when I’m in such a crowded place so I was not happy. We roamed around for a while until we came to the first place that looked appetizing to me: a French Creperie. Eventually we found an Italian booth, which made us both happy: pizza for Jason and pasta for Danielle. I can’t even tell you how long we waited for a table to open for us to sit down and eat. I felt bad glaring at people while they ate to be sure to grab their table as soon as they started to move. The food tasted absolutely delicious! Jason kept saying how Reading Terminal is one of the only places he knew where it was practical to eat an Italian meal with a French dessert. We will definitely be back, but hopefully when it is less crowded.
The food was great!
      We took a long walk to JFK Plaza to work off our food. We walked through Philadelphia’s City Hall topped off with a 37 foot statue of William Penn. Just before reaching JFK Plaza to snap a picture with the iconic LOVE sign, we found a building whose ground was covered in giant, classic game piece statues including: Monopoly, Sorry, Checkers, Dominos, BINGO and Chess. Of course, we took pictures with our favorites.
Yes, I am on a BINGO chip
Giant game pieces
   To continue our walk, we strolled down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (which is modeled after the Champs-Elysees) passed Swann Memorial Fountain, and ended at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that is featured in the famous Rocky movie training montage. These are the same steps that Sylvester Stallone runs to the top of and pumps his fists in the air. I’ll tell you right now, we did not run up those stairs like Rocky. We simply walked up and enjoyed the view of Philadelphia. We also took pictures next to the Rocky statue because Jason insisted.
Swann Memorial Fountain
Ask me if I've ever seen this movie. . .
      After our long trek back to Independence Square, we took one final trip to Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest residential street. I absolutely loved this narrow, cobblestone street lined with tiny colonial homes. I especially took a liking to the ones with red doors with letter slots. It’s hard to imagine people still live there. We had fun trying to imagine how much the two homes that were for sale would cost.
Elfreth's Alley
       After a long, history-filled day, Jase and I were ready to head home. I really look forward to going back someday and learning more about the history of our country. I feel it is much easier to retain history when you can see it in person, than what the pages of a book try to teach you.

November 5, 2012

how hurricane sandy stole halloween.

Suzie Bishop & Sam Shakusky
Here's a recap of what Jason and I have been up to for the Halloween season— from picking out pumpkins to Hurricane Sandy and making our Halloween costumes from the movie Moonrise Kingdom— we've been busy, but having fun.