Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Jersey Shores to St. George Mountains

We decided to wake up early and go back to Carlo's bakery and pick up some goodies before we went home.... Yes.... it was that good.  While we waited, we tried some pizza from the  pizza shop next to the bakery.  O......M.....G....  I consider myself a pizza connoisseurs because I will eat pizza whenever its an option.  This place was legit.  There's just something about pizza on the East Coast that is just absolutely amazing.

We got pies and goodies to take back to St. George.... Sooooo good!

After breakfast we went back to the hotel to pack up and get ready to go to the airport.  TJ went down first to take most of the bags.  He left one with me to bring down after I was dressed.  It was on my way down that I met this guy in the elevator.

The wheel of my suitcase got stuck and he picked it up and put it in the elevator for me.  Next to me, he was really tall.  So I said thank you as another guy came onto the elevator.  And because I talk to everyone and hate awkward elevator silence.  This was our conversation...

Me:  Dude... You are really tall.  You must be a basketball player or something.
Guy: Naw... I wish I did.  (Pointing to his agent he says) Maybe if this guys did his job right, I could play in the NBA or something.
Me:  I'm sure you'll be able to.  Since you're really tall.  I'm sure you'll do great in the league.
***As we get out the elevator, I wish him luck and tell him that I believe he'll be a great  player some day.

When we get home later that evening, TJ turns on ESPN to watch the Monday night highlight games.  And who do I see on TV???....  This guy!

Turns out, this guy.... who helped me with my bags, and talked to me about his hopes for a successful NBA career is a starting player for the Miami Heats names Dwayne Wade.  I felt the color drain from my face as I tell TJ the story of my little encounter.  TJ saw the whole team downstairs as he took our bags down.  The team was staying at the same Hotel we were at because they were playing the New Jersey Nets that night.  I'm so grateful that I may never see him again in my life.  Because I would feel really stupid...lol...  Maybe if this guy played for the Lakers or the 49ers... I would have know who he was...  Oh gosh... what a way to end such an exciting weekend.  I cannot wait to come back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Church, Cherry Blossom Festival, 9/11 Memorial

Brother Salanoa made sure that we went to church today.  I thought for sure that because we were on vacation that we would spend the day in Time Square... but Brother Salanoa don't play that...lol... I should have slapped myself.  I'm so grateful that he keeps me in check when I need it.  Tino got one of the members he converted while on his mission to pick us up and take us to church.  It's always wonderful seeing a new member of the church.  She cried telling us about her conversion story and how Tino and his companion showed up like an answer to her prayers.  Maria (Next to TJ) may have a hard time letting go of her sleeveless shirts... but we were happy she accepted the gospel.  Madeline and Gabi came along with us to the Cherry Blossom festival after church.

I was sooo excited that the trees were blooming the same weekend we were there.  The Cherry Blossom park in New Jersey is absolutely amazing.  It goes on for miles and there are nothing but Cherry Blossoms.  My hair was on point when we got here on Monday.  But with the humidity and heat.... I've just given up and gone au naturel....  There were both pink and white trees in the park... so of course we had to take photo's by both.

After we left the festival... we decided to take a few photos of the infamous Hudson River.  We've seen this river in almost every episode of Law & Order...  So it was nice being able to see it in person.  That is Time Square right across the river.

After the Cherry Blossom festival. We went to the hotel and changed.  Since we were flying out tomorrow morning, we decided to take the subway downtown to see the 9/11 memorials.  The subway experience was definitely interesting.  People smash in to these things like sardine cans.  The extra leg room that people usually have in movies is not the case in real life.  We caught the subway directly to the Twin Towers.  I could only imagine how many people who worked in the twin towers took this route to work.  The platform underneath the towers where the employees would usually exit the subway still looks like a war zone.  It didn't dawn on me to take a photo at the time.  I think TJ and I were just soooo stunned that after all these years, it still looked the way it did.  You could tell the New Yorkers from the Tourist.  Like us, the tourist took a minute to take in what was left of this platform.  The New Yorkers immediately walked through the chaos and onto the rest of their day.

TJ and I got there right before it closed.  I was sooo happy we made it.  Thank goodness there was no line.  I couldn't imagine having to wait in this maze.

What amazed me most about this enclosed memorial was how quiet and serene in was.  They are building towers all around the entire circumference of the memorial.  But in this space... it was sooo quiet.

The two memorial pools were so big.  We got there right when they turned the lights on and it made the experience that much more special.  Its hard not to get emotional here.  I may have not known anyone who lost their lives here, but being here makes me so much more grateful for the plan of salvation.  I can only hope that those who lost loved ones here can find peace somehow.

These past two days have been soooo exhausting... But we got to see so many great sites... so it was all worth it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cake Boss, Lady Liberty, & Ellis Island

It was my first day off this whole week and we literally tried to fit in as much as we could.  I think we did a pretty good job of running around the city if I do say so myself.  One of the great things about staying in Jersey is the fact that it was right in the middle of everything that I wanted to see.  The first thing we did this morning was visit the Cake Boss bakery in Hoboken, NJ.  TJ and I absolutely love this show, so it was definitely at the top of the to do list.  We were so happy to get to the front of the line... I didn't care that we looked like tourist.

 Everything in this photo was sooooooooo gooooooood.....  The Lobster tails were as delicious as they make it look in the show.

Buddy... the kid... was working in the shop when we came through... so I screamed his name and asked him for a photo.  His mom was in the back and on the phone...

This is the guy that took our order and helped us navigate through the chaos.

We had two boxes that looked exactly like this.... One for now... and one for later :)

After getting our sugar fix for the day, we went back to our hotel to drop off the car and took a taxi in to the city.  We wanted to take the tour of the Statue of liberty and Ellis Island.... Be prepared to get photo bombed..... We had to walk through the infamous Battery Park to catch the Ferry to Ellis Island.

The ferry ride circled the Statue of Liberty on the way to Ellis Island.  It is soooo much smaller in person than I thought it would be.  In the movies, the statue looks sooooo freakin huge.... so when we saw how small it was in person... I was pretty bummed.

 I was surprised how pretty this photo looked.

I've seen this entrance in several movies... and it looks soooo pretty in person...  We took over a hundred pictures in this building alone.... it was so big.

This Kissing post was right outside of the Geneology center in the building.  I loved it so much... so I took a picture.

We found these sister missionaries working in the genealogy center.  Apparently missionaries always go there to help tourist find their ancestors.  I was so surprised to see them.... and they were so happy to know that we were having dinner later with Elder Tuaila...lol...

This portion of the building was featured in the movie Hitch with Will Smith.  The meaning behind what took place here is lost in the movie... but going through the tour and ending up in such a beautiful and spacious area made me cry.

After the tour, we had to wait a little bit because we needed to take the Ferry that goes back to Jersey.  This was the perfect time to kill what was left from Carlo's Cake Boss Bakery.

When we got back to Jersey, there was this guy putting golf balls in the park.  It was then that I realized that I hadn't seen a golf course all week.  Coming from St. George where we have golf parks on every corner.  I found this to be extremely funny.  Primarily because this man loved golf so much that he' play it anywhere.  But the fact that kids were playing in the park made this even funnier.

One thing I noticed about all the parks was the seating area.  There are just so many benches and seating areas everywhere.  I wondered why people weren't out on picnics or something all the time.

We ended the day meeting up with Elder Tuaila (Tino) who was serving a mission in Jersey.  We met up with him and one of his families.

To say that this day was a very productive day would be an understatement.  It was such a long day... but so exciting.  I got to see a lot of different places and eat so many different types of food throughout the day.  So much FUN....

Friday, April 13, 2012

New York.... Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

IT'S FRIDAY!!!...  Got out of Comcast training around Noon and drove to New Jersey.  I would have gotten a hotel in the city... but they were just too expensive.  So we stayed at the Westin New Jersey which was right across the Hudson river.  We could literally look across the river and see New York. This was the view of New York from our side of the Hudson River.

We had to take the Hollad Tunnel to get in to New York and I must say.... It's exactly how it looks in the Movies....  And literally just goes on for miles.....

The tunnels run underneath the city... I was a bit worried at first because it almost looked like we would be driving in to the buildings.

This is about five minutes into the drive....  Literally felt like there was no end in sight...lol...
 And then there was light.... YAY!
We spent the day just driving around and trying not to die in New York traffic.  The drivers there are nuts and the people act like roads were made for walking.  It was a crazy day... but I can't wait for tomorrow.

Philadelphia.... 4/8/12 - 4/13/12

Let me start off by saying how much I absolutely love my job....lol... I had a conference to go to for Comcast Communications and I was able to take TJ with me.  To say that he was blown away would be an understatement.  I was so happy to tell TJ his ticket was booked and that he would be going with me.  My job generally requires me to travel, but I've found that I'm not really good at it.  I miss TJ too much and find that I can't thoroughly enjoy the time out there.  I know.... boo-hoo... But I can't help it... I love this guy =)  So when my co-worker told me that she was bringing her husband.... I jumped on expedia and booked TJ's flight IMMEDIATELY....  Most of the week was full of work...for me.  But TJ was able to take in all of the sites of Philly while I was at work and I'm sooo happy he was able to visit all of the many historical sites there.  Every day when I'd get to the hotel after work, he'd have an exciting story to tell of his day's adventures.  I don't have kids, but I assume kids would look the same way TJ did when he was telling me about his day.  We flew in to Newport, NJ. on Monday April 9th and drove from Jersey to Philadelphia.  I had to work at the Comcast Headquarters all week so we got to stay right in the heart of Philly.  It was about 2 hours from Jersey to Philly... but we didn't mind because it was soooooo absolutely perfect.  The song, "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction played on the radio about 5 times on the way there... So we like to think of it as OUR PHILLY song :)  This long stretch of road between Jersey and Philly is called the Turnpike.... No exits or entrances for miles... just one long stretch of road from one big city to the next.

We got to our room and settled in pretty late.  We stayed in the Embassy Suites Philadelphia and this was the view from our room.  I didn't  really expect much of a view with all of the high rise buildings surrounding the area.  The it was still pleasant to look at from the 13th floor.

This is Omre.  My Co-Worker Aja's spouse.  I'm not sure which museum this was, but it was right up the street from our hotel and they got to see it.

 TJ walked the stairs that Rocky ran in the Rocky movies.  This statue of Rocky is at the base of the stairs and of course, TJ felt the need to "sock it to em"...lol

While in Philly... I was determined to find some good Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches.  So we went to the Infamous Philly corner that had the 2 Cheese Steak joints right across from each other.  Of course we bought a sandwich from both places.  And unfortunately, I wasn't impressed with either one :(

 This was the view from the 52nd floor of the Comcast building.  This just does not do it justice.  You could see the ocean from here.  It is one of the tallest buildings in the entire town.  I  absolutely loved it.

Although Philly for me was full of work, training, and more work.... I was so happy that TJ was able to explore the town and see all that it has to offer.  We will definitely need to go back some day soon.  Thank you Comcast for being in such a beautiful town.