Christmas in the City: NYC

I just got back from a wonderful, whirl wind of a trip to visit the very festive, NYC!  This was a bucket list trip for me and it did not disappoint!

Some of our trip was expected but many stops were a surprise and blew all of my expectations out of the water (looking at you window displays and Theatre of Dreams!).  Keep reading to find out my top five festive spots!

5. St. Cloud Roof Top Barimg_3298

Located on the 17th floor of the Knickerbocker, this roof top location is an astounding bird’s eye view of Times Square!  The roof is draped in lights and trees but thats all a shadow of the bright lights of Times Square. As an added perk, the New Year’s ball is up on display which is a fun sight to see.  Definitely a great spot to grab a drink!

https://theknickerbocker.com/dine/st-cloud/

 

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4. Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

I am guessing this is probably the biggest tourist destination during December in NYC.  Well, it did not disappoint! That thing is HUGE. Plus, it stays lit all day, so no matter when you go, you can see it in its glory.  Be sure to walk around the entire block though because there are other beautiful sights to see!

 

 

3. Bergdorf Goodman’s Window Displays

For those of you that don’t know, window displays in NYC are a big deal.  They originally were used to showcase new clothing to potential shoppers but now have been transformed into pieces of art and a major source of free, holiday entertainment.  Each store has a different theme and experience so if you’ve seen one, you definitely have not seen them all!

Bergdorf’s was my favorite!  The giant window displays were packed with decor.  These were some of my favorites:

 

Here is a great guide to all of the NYC window displays this year: https://www.tripsavvy.com/holiday-windows-at-nyc-department-stores-1612956

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2. Bryant Park Christmas Market

I was blown away by the offerings in this festive location.  Ice skate, grab a beer, shop, or enjoy lots of sweets in this Christmas market.  I can personally recommend the chocolate croissants and old fashioned donuts but the champagne, duck fat fries, s’mores waffles, and cookie dough all looked fantastic!

http://bryantpark.org/eat-drink/holiday-shops

 

1. Saks Fifth Avenue:  “Theatre of Dreams”IMG_3398

I did not know that this existed so I had zero expectations but it was SO fantastic!  The front (several stories) of the store are decorated with lights that are in sync with Christmas music.  It gave me goosebumps to see something so festive, in a major city, and to realize that it has been going on for almost 100 years!

https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/editorial/events/holiday_live.jsp

(the show starts at 7 minutes 🙂

What are you favorite Christmas spots in NYC?

love, brooke

Happy #2 Brooke’s Brain!

My little blog turned two this weekend!  To celebrate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite humorous posts! 4.  I wrote this over a year ago and still feel its 100 percent accurate!  https://brookepeck.com/2017/05/22/what-she-wore-fishing/ 3.  This post is amazing because it mixes two of my favorite things: honesty & emojis!  https://brookepeck.com/2017/08/09/diy-emotions/ 2. This is… Continue Reading →

My little blog turned two this weekend!  To celebrate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite funny/embarrassing posts!

4.  I wrote this over a year ago and still feel its 100 percent accurate!

3.  This post is amazing because it mixes two of my favorite things: honesty & emojis!

2. This is probably my most read post.

1. No one ever likes to talk about this.

Thanks for loving me and my blog!

love, brooke

Cocktails in the Garden

We love being members at the Atlanta Botanical Garden… especially because of their evening events!  Tonight, we went to Cocktails in the Garden and it was so much fun!  Each Thursday night, the garden is open from 5:30-9:30PM from May through October for drinks and a variety of entertainment.  The garden staff does a wonderful job of planning so many activities to appeal to all ages:

We saw several of the “Imaginary World” exhibits

We listened to live music, danced to the DJ, and helped with a collaborative art project.

We watched a man do fire breathing and magic tricks!

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We played lawn games- including giant connect four, jinga and corn hole.
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We visited the tall Chihuly installation at the reflecting pond.

 

 

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And of course, all of the gardens were open for exploration.  Check out these super cool pink bananas growing near the Earth Goddess permanent exhibition!

 

 

 

Such a great night!  But… who wants to be my (21+ up) date ?  I’d love to do some reviews of the cocktails next time!  Also, looking forward to cooler weather!

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live, Brooke

May is a Marathon

For many, May is the slammed together book ends of school ending and summer starting.  It’s full of overlapping sports seasons, teacher appreciation gifts, dance recitals, swim team practices, graduations, Mother’s Day gifts/gatherings, Memorial Day travel prep, and end of school parties.  It’s exhausting just writing it all.

So today, I salute you parents who make it all happen…

…Those that make sure that their daughter’s bangs are glued to her head with a series of butterfly clips and level 6 hair spray.

…Those that stay up late making egg free cupcakes for the last day of school party even though the egg free kid won’t be there.

…Those that hold their two year old while also nursing their six month old so everyone is quiet and happy during the dance recital.

…Those that set an early morning alarm on a Saturday for a kid’s swim team practice meet.

…Those that drive around to 5 different stores to purchase gifts for each child’s teacher.

…Those that make grocery lists and shop so that you can pack it all up and take it with you to the beach to prevent going to a store once you arrive.

…Those who construct a homemade bamboo structure for VBS decorations.

…Those who show up for swim team practice every day with twin ten month girls in tow.

…Those who plan an end of the year party craft that the kids don’t want to make.

…Those who decide to paint their entire basement the last week of school because childcare will be limited in the coming months.

What are you doing this month that’s totally insane and deserves mad props?!

laugh,

brooke

 

Nashville Newbie on Broadway

Somehow, I made it 33 years without a visit to Nashville. (*I did attend a high school conference at the Opryland Hotel but this does not count.)

I knew there was a lot of live music in Nashville but I didn’t know there was a LOT of live music. At 10:45am, I was walking down Broadway and heard an extremely loud band playing in Nudie’s. No other bars had live music playing and it was especially exciting to hear as the weekend was quickly approaching. I was dressed in running shorts/shoes and I hesitated to enter, but I’m so glad I did. A five piece band was blaring tunes while folks cracked cold ones at the bar, kids danced and I swayed to the rock n roll.

Wait, it’s not even 11am, and I paid zero dollars to enter a bar with great live music. This is some kind of heaven. My first thought is, “we need to move here.” Followed by, “we need to retire here.” Then, “where can I go in Atlanta for live music before lunch time with my son?!” I was hooked and couldn’t wait to come back later that day after a lunch commitment.

Here is how it works (from what I can tell):

1. Bands play for tips at most of the bars on Broadway. They split the tips evenly among themselves.

2. They play their asses off to entertain and make as much in tips as possible. They don’t take breaks and often loop songs together to prevent lulls (aka giving people an opportunity to leave).

3. Twenty bucks buys you a song of your choice. Most bands have a huge playlist and many have phones/iPads strapped to their mics for lyrics when needed.

4. If you don’t like a song or band, then move along. We managed to hit ten bars in a 3 hour period.

5. If you like a band, tip them. I was in amazement of performers musical talent AND ability to also entertain.

6. Most bars play today’s country, but a few- especially Layla’s and Robert’s- play “authentic country”- think Merle Haggard. These are the best places to see a steel guitar at work.

7. Go early. The talent was great at 11am and got better throughout the day. The bars started getting crazy crowded around 10pm- think drunks and lots of body heat.

8. Wear whatever the heck you want. Everyone else does. Cut offs, flip flops, cowboy boots, jeans and dresses are everywhere. Don’t dress to impress. Dress for dancing your butt off and being sweaty.

9. It seemed that most bands played 4 hour sets. When they are done, they try to get the next band set up as quickly as possible so the bar doesn’t empty in search of other good music.

10. We only paid cover ($5) at one place- a dueling piano bar. There, your song choice and cash tip get lined up in order of amount paid. Want to hear something quickly? Ante up $20 or more and your request usually jumps to the top of the queue.

11. Bachelorette parties are everywhere. And they all have matching t-shirts or tank tops. Keep your distance.

12. The people watching is amazing. I’ll leave it at that.

That’s what I learned as a Nashville Newbie on Broadway. Can’t wait to go back!

Experiences Over Stuff

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas gifts this year.  Most of you know that I try to declutter, clean out and donate as frequently as possible.  In an effort to buy less stuff and experience more in life, I did some deep thinking about what experiences mean the most to me in hopes of being able to focus on those things more in 2018.

Quality time. When I think back to some of my favorite memories this year, I think of trips with friends, game nights, dance parties with my son, girls night out, tailgates, football games, celebrating birthdays, time with family, and being in a small group.  All of these times together have strengthened relationships, built memories and brought so much joy to my life!

Travels.  Some of the coolest places I have stayed while traveling are at airbnbs.  I stayed in someone’s basement in Alaska… doesn’t sound fancy… but you could see the Northern Lights from its window.  Pretty damn cool.  Or the house that we spent 4 days with good friends in Ireland… that was built over 200 years ago and every inch of architecture was amazing.  Traveling makes me have a greater appreciation of others, how small we all are in this big world, and a better understanding of geography/cultures/food/etc.

Sunsets.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I love a sunset.  You can watch a sunset every day for a week and none of them would look the same.  My favorite part is once the sun is down seeing all the colors reflecting off the clouds.  The best.  And if I can watch a sunset over next to a body of water, even better.

Fishing.  This experience is one that I don’t do nearly enough.  I love the feel of the sun and the wind blowing as I cast out my line and anxiously wait to see what I may bring in.  Fishing at low tide is my favorite.  You get to see so much in the water- blue crabs, sharks feeding, stingrays, and occasionally dolphins will swim by.  

Tennis. I can’t believe I am this old… but I have been playing tennis for over 25 years.  I love the competition, the sweat, the strategy, and the fun.  Plus, this year my baby sis has been my partner- so QT too!  I love that you can play 42 deuce points in one game and then when the next game 40-0.  I love that you might lose today but beat the same opponent tomorrow.  And the best part is it’s a lifetime sport- from young to old.

What experiences mean the most to you?  How can you fill your life with more of those and focus on less stuff?

love, brooke

Ode to My Bean Boots

In the beginning, I was so hesitant to buy them.  They are definitely a financial commitment but every time I got ready to go on a trip that threatened rain, I would get frustrated by my shoe options.  I wanted a pair of truly waterproof shoes (many of my “rain” boots had sprung leaks after long term wear.  I wanted something that could go with jeans or with leggings.  I wanted something that would last and I finally was at the point that I didn’t care what I spent to make this dream come true.

My mom has a pair of waterproof LL bean rain shoes that she has had for over 30 years and it was a good reminder that they last a long time.  I knew if her LL bean investment was still paying off, then it was ok for me to pull the trigger too.  So, after years of wishing/wanting a solid pair of waterproof boots, I decided to make the financial jump to bean boot ownership.

I celebrated a year of boot ownership a couple weeks ago and thought it would be fun to remember all the fun that we have had together over the last year!

Ireland- September 2016

FullSizeRender (22)I bought the boots right before this trip because I knew it was going to rain a lot… as it does in Ireland.  I was nervous pulling the trigger so close to a trip and taking up valuable luggage real estate for shoes that I had never worn before.  Thankfully, the shoes did their job and kept my feet warm and dry.  It was POURING down rain on football game day (Boston College vs Georgia Tech).  We had to hike through Trinity College to wait in line to catch a shuttle to the stadium, then march to the stadium… all in soaking wet conditions.  FullSizeRender (23)We were prepared to continue to be soaked DURING the game.  (Mind you we had JB with us too) and I almost cried when we got in the stadium and we learned that our seats were covered and we were dry!  The game was incredible and drinking cold Irish cider while watching college football is also a pretty nice thing too!

 

Alaska- October 2016

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My sister, Jackie, and her husband moved to Anchorage in September.  I decided that I REALLY wanted to visit them BEFORE the snow set in for the winter… so with about 5 weeks notice, I booked a flight to go visit them.  Well, I didn’t quite beat the snow as it snowed the day that I arrived, but thankfully it did not snow more while I was there.  So, I got to experience seeing snow but not a lot of driving/maneuvering through it.

7927289F-F5AA-4C07-B69B-173F61B2A535Of course, this was the first time the bean boots got to meet snow.  I prepared for this by buying boot liners and wore thick wool socks (thankfully I bought a half size up so they would fit) and my feet stayed warm the whole time.  That is pretty impressive considering the temps were between 8-28 degrees during the my visit.  The boots got to watch the sunset over Denali, hike along the Turn Again south of Anchorage, and visit a rescued moose.  The boots also got to wear Yaks which were awesome in preventing me from busting my butt on icy conditions.  (The boot soles are rubber and can be slippery/dangerous on wet/icy conditions).

6723EF59-0795-4849-963A-25E83F8C97F2 (1)Denver- December 2016

We flew to Denver for a friend’s wedding and of course the boots had to come.  The temps were moderate- but I knew they would keep my feet dry and I could walk miles in them with no problem.

 

The Women’s March- January 2017IMG_0275

These boots were made for walking… and that’s just what they did.  The morning started out as a monsoon and mud EVERYwhere.  It ended with 60,000 people calmly walking through the great streets of Atlanta to support women’s health, refugees, education, and numerous other causes… while the sun was brightly shining.  Hearing John Lewis speak in front of the Civil and Human Rights museum was pretty powerful as well.  Here is my post for more on this special event.

Manitou Springs- April 2017

The boots were perfect for this trip!  We had snow twice, did a good bit of walking/hiking, and they even took the train up the cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak.

 

Happy Birthday to my Bean Boots!  We have done so much together and I don’t regret buying you at all.  Can’t wait to see what other adventures we have in store together!

love, brooke