New York State Of Mind (11/7-9)

I went to New York on Thursday, November 7th to do a photo shoot so that I could be featured on the Weight Watchers website as a Success Story. Wanna see behind-the-scene pics from the photo shoot?

Well unfortunately you can't until my story is posted on Sooorrryyy!! Let me tell you it is tough to have pics on my phone and NOT be able to share them. Gah! My story should be posted sometime in the next couple months. I know you will all sit on the edge of your seats until it goes live. ;)

For now, I can leave you with this post-shoot nap shot.

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Can you believe I had that much make-up on? Yeah, I couldn't either.

Shockingly this was my third trip to NYC since June and I wanted to take full advantage of the free trip and see as many friends as I could.

I hit up the Amtrak on Thursday morning and was psyched to not have to go through airport security!

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Can you tell?

I love taking the Amtrak (besides it always arrive late) because you just sit back, relax, you can bring your own food/booze and you can power your electronics the entire time. It's the little things in life my friends.

My friend Kitty met me at Penn Station and we headed over to my hotel, the Yotel. If you haven't heart of Yotel, here is a bit from their website:

At YOTEL New York, we have created a first-class hotel experience at a great value. Our Midtown West hotel is unique, placing an emphasis on simplicity and usability with automated check-in and check-out that frees up our crew members to assist you. After checking in, enjoy the convenience of one-stop service at Mission Control, a one-stop service center open 24/7 ... Cabins at our Times Square hotel are perfectly formed and intuitively designed to place an array of amenities at your fingertips.

They definitely have a unique decor as seen by this random artpiece (?) in one of the lobbies.

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The cabins are sort of like pods.

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I was out in the lobby to try and fit as much as I could in this picture.

It even had a great mirror for selfies. I wanted to take it home. ;)

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I was also trying to calm my nerves for the impending photo shoot by trying to get my normal poses out of my system before being with the professionals. ;)

Kitty and I decided to walk from my hotel to dinner since it was only a couple miles and it was a better way to see the city and get some extra steps on the 'ol Fitbit.

We dined at Five Napkin Burger in Hell's Kitchen with some Weight Watchers Superstars!! Boy I am lucky to have found these lovely ladies thanks to social media. :)

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From L to R: Melanie, Me, Kitty, Kelly, Katie

This group has combined to shed over 350 lbs thanks to Weight Watchers and all become Lifetime members. You may recognize Katie from a poster in your local WW center or in the recent WW TV commercials. Kelly is currently featured in the November/December WW magazine.

Yeah I roll with some pretty amazing folks. ;)

We had a great dinner (and some beer), but most importantly shared some great laughs. I love when you meet people that you have been friends with for awhile online in real life and they are just as amazing as you thought.

This was the first time I was actually meeting Katie so it was extra special that she was able to make dinner.

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After finally having to call it a night, I decided it was better to take the train back to Times Square rather than walk. Of course as soon as I got out of the train station in Times Square, I walked the opposite direction of my hotel. Oops! Well at least I got to be a tourist for a little bit. In all the times I had traveled to New York with the Cubs or with Weight Watchers, this was only my second time being in Times Square and the first at night.

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It was an amazing scene and some great people watching, my favorite past time. :)

After enjoying a little wandering, I righted my ship and got myself back to my hotel, which was just a couple blocks from Times Square.

Since I am paranoid about missing an alarm. I set two phone alarms and called for a wake-up call for the next morning so I wouldn't be late for the photo shoot.

Thankfully I arose before any of them went off so I arrived in plenty of time. As we know, I can't share any of those details yet, but let me tell you it was quite an experience to have hair, make-up and clothing done for you.

I finished up with the photo shoot just after 1 and had a free afternoon until a special guest would be making an appearance.

So when I checked into my hotel the day before, I found out that I actually had my hotel room for 2 nights not 1. Whhaaa?? That didn't make sense since I had a train ticket set for a few hours after the shoot. Well, the wife and I did some quick thinking and decided it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. A free hotel room in NYC c'mon now. So we booked her on an Acela for that Friday after work. Yay! It would serve as an impromptu 3rd-wedding anniversary celebration. :)

Now I had an entire afternoon to do whatever I wanted ... and I got hooked into a Bones marathon on the hotel TV. Yup, I finally tore myself away after 3 episodes (Sorry Not Sorry!) and headed back to Times Square to find some lunch ... and beer!

I hit up Heartland Brewery because we know I like to drink local whenever possible. It had a cool decor.

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I couldn't decide which beer to go with so I opted for the sampler. You just can't go wrong with a sampler.

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I love that the holder said: "REAL BEER!"

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And it did not disappoint. It was kind of nice to just chill at the bar and relax by myself. The morning was full of chatting with people and doing a video interview that it was nice to just be quiet and catch up on my social media.

Since I try to use my time in a new city wisely and I couldn't run because of my injury, I called up my friend Julia, who created Fit Journey to meet up for a drink. It was soooo great to see her and catch up. She invited her friend and Fit Journey blogger, Crystal, to join us. Come to find out Crystal is a blog reader and recently shed 60 lbs on her own and fell in love with fitness and running as well. Heck yeah I had to meet this girl.

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She was awesome and it was nice to click with someone you just meet.

As we were all hanging out, my wife finally got into town and met us at the bar. It was great to have her there. We bid adieu to the amazing Fit Journey ladies so I could show her Times Square.

She was enthralled and was really happy when we hit the Times Square Toys 'R' Us. I believe her exact words were "And my trip is made." <> ;) JK.

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A $64 minion. Really?

We had a great time exploring and seeing so many stores open at midnight.

Of course I made her go to the M&Ms store! Mmmm peanut M&Ms.

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And the Hershey's store.

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Zero points if you just walk through the store and smell it, right? ;)

Even though it was midnight, we stopped to get a quick bite at Friday's before calling it a night.

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Our official anniversary cheers (a couple days early).

We hit the hay about 1am (which is wwaayyy past our normal bedtime) and tried to sleep in on Saturday. Which didn't work. Damn you internal alarm clocks.

We stored our stuff with the hotel's "Yobot,"


The website puts it best:

The worlds most radical approach to storing left luggage, it's fun, efficient and only the beginning of baggage management ... also known as YOBOT. The T-Tech by Tumi luggage Lounge lets you safely store your bags before check in or after check out so you can make the most of your visit. Simply place your belongings in one of the 150 bins, enter a PIN No. and your last name and watch YOBOT store it away safely.

It was free and easy!

In moments, we were out the door ready to explore the city before our 6:30pm Bolt Bus back to Boston.

We had a delicious breakfast at Junior's in Times Square and it was fantastic. We actually happened on to the place and are so thankful we did. They are known for their cheesecake so we will have to try it next time.

Our main objective for the day was to see the Statue of Liberty.

These Statue of Liberty actors (?) were winning over the crowd and making some good tips.

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We boarded the ferry and were off to the Statue of Liberty. Tickets for the crown and pedestal were sold out, but we were still able to do the audio tour around the island.

And we had perfect weather for it!

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How amazing is that shot?

We did our best at a selfie.

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The audio tour was about 30 minutes and extremely entertaining. The island had amazing views of NYC.

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And I couldn't pass up this shot before we got back in line to take the ferry back to NYC.

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I'm sad we didn't get to tour Ellis Island, but we were on a time crunch and will definitely see it next time.

Kitty was waiting for us in Battery Park as we departed the ferry. Time for a quick lunch with Kitty and Kelly before heading back to Boston.

We walked over to Stone Street, which was a cobblestone covered street lined with unique restaurants and outdoor seating.

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We dined at Stone Street Tavern before catching one gorgeous sunset.

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And one last group shot of course.

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It was great seeing so many people that I love so much.

Unfortunately we had to bid these lovely ladies adieu, head back to hotel, grab our stuff and head to the Bolt Bus.

Thankfully the bus pick-up was less than a mile from our hotel so we were able to walk. Hey, I needed extra steps before being on the bus for 4 hours.

We made it safely on the bus and I immediately fell asleep.

What can I say, it was an amazing, whirlwind of a trip to NYC!!

And I wouldn't change one second of it!