Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Stister!

My "stister" hit the big 3-0 last week! It was so much fun to gather with our whole family and a lot of her friends to celebrate this milestone birthday...and she was definitely surprised!

The whole family!
My brother-in-law's cousin had a condo in Jersey City that he let us use with an amazing view of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. There was lots of food, friends, and good times.

Party time!
When I asked Kyleen what she wanted for her birthday, she said she would love to have something I made. I knew she also wanted some placemats and napkins, so that's exactly what I made! I wanted something to go with her Fiestaware dishes in Peacock and Scarlet and I LOVE the Amy Butler fabric I found for the placemats! It had both the teal and red and a pop of yellow, Kyleen's favorite.

The finished product!
I love the way they turned out! It was the first time I've ever used piping, and it really wasn't too difficult! I used a different color of piping for each placemat. I also made some coordinating napkins and I really love the fabrics I used for them too! I had a lot of fun creating a table setting using the linens, dishes, and some other decorative items she had around the house! Kyleen folded the napkins and I think it's just so cute and colorful! It helps that these are some of my favorite colors. :)

Love the pewter pieces and yellow candles!
Yellow napkin! 
Red napkin!
If you know my sister, you know that this is so fitting for her bold personality! I'm so glad she loved the linens and that I've been able to make so many fun and special gifts lately. Happy Birthday, Kyleen! I love you!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wish You Were Here: New York City

We had so much fun in the Big Apple last week! I'll never forget the first time I traveled to New York City. I was eight years old and it was my first time on an airplane! My uncle lived (and still does) in Greenwich Village and my grandparents took me to visit. I still vividly remember the night we arrived and I went to my first Broadway musical, CATS! We visited the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Centers, and much much more. Since then, my sister has gone to NYU and made her home there, so we've been really lucky to be able to make several trips there over the years.

This trip, however, was a first for Marcus! I was so excited to be able to make the trip with him and for him to see all the really touristy places. It was also a special trip because all of my family was there and we celebrated my sister's 30th birthday! Kyleen was so shocked when we arrived at her house and the entire long weekend was just so much fun.

We started off with a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Both places are full of history and such a neat experience for all ages!

Isn't she a beaut?
After lunch we went to the 9/11 Memorial. I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was a really neat experience. The fountains are beautiful and they pay important tribute to those who lost their lives while symbolizing hope for our country's future.
One of the fountains at the memorial.
Freedom Tower, still a work in progress.

We finished a day of sightseeing at the Top of the Rock. I was really excited about this because it was new for me! We opted for the observation deck at Rockefeller Center over the Empire State Building because the wait was much shorter and the view was just as amazing.

Hello from the top of New York City!
For dinner, we went to the iconic Grand Central Station for dinner at the long-established Oyster Bar. One of the fun things about Grand Central Station is that you can stand in a corner and talk to someone standing in the opposite corner, kind of like a tin can telephone!

My dad in timeout!
The next day, we took a lovely stroll through Central Park. In my opinion, no trip to NYC is complete without a good old-fashioned New York hot dog. So this was our first stop at the park. Second to a hot dog, my favorite spot in New York is the Literary Walk. It's just so picturesque and peaceful in the city that never sleeps! We also visited the boatyard and turtle pond as well as the fountain that's seen in many films, including One Fine Day!

Next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My uncle calls it his Number 1 Must for anyone with refinement and artistic sensibilities! :) Marcus enjoyed all of the modern art, and I just loved the new Schiaparelli & Prada exhibit. If you love clothes and fashion, it's just incredible.

After some classic New York style pizza at John's, we headed to the Broadway Theater to see Sister Act: the Musical. I have to admit, there were other shows higher on my list, but it was a really fun show. We laughed out loud and had a good time!

Best pizza in the city!
As always, trips to New York are too short and it's just impossible to see everything. After our time in the city, we spent a couple of days visiting family. Stay tuned for a post about my sister's surprise party and my special birthday gift!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Nieces in Nashville!

We just spent a wonderful long weekend in New York seeing the sights, visiting family, and celebrating my sister turning 30! I'll post about that in the next few days, but first I wanted to share some photos of a fun weekend in June when Marcus' parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and our nieces all came to visit us here in Nashville. We had such a good time and I loved having our family in town.

After Marcus got done with his mission trip, we headed to downtown Franklin to explore the shops.
Matt and Marcus with Lucy, Clare, and Abby
Of course, you can't go to Franklin without stopping in at Puckett's!
Abby loves her Uncle Marcus!
We finished off the day with swimming at the hotel pool. We all had a good time...until it was time to get out of the water...
It was freezing!!
On Saturday, we took a trip to the Nashville Zoo! I was so excited to mark another thing off my bucket list, and who better to do it with but three cute little girls?!
Abby loved the "falingos"! :)
Abby is in love with the cartoon Dinosaur Train, and sang the theme song to us all weekend long! We thought she'd love the DinoTrek exhibit at the zoo, but it was just a little too real.
Abby and Lucy digging up dino bones.
The carousel was much more fun and Clare got to join in too! :)

We love our nieces!!
Cutie patooties!
There was a lot of good food mixed in with all the fun activities, and we even managed to squeeze in a few nights at CMA Fest (an unlisted bucket list item!). We had such a wonderful time and I'm so glad they were able to make the trip to visit us. I know they probably won't remember it when they're older, but it will be fun to show them these pictures of the time they came to see Uncle Marcus and Aunt Alyssa!
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