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!

Running The Freedom Trail & Giveaway!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you to everyone that participated and big thanks to our Sponsor!!!


For kids that grew up in the Boston area, the historic Freedom Trail was a given field trip multiple times throughout school. For those that don't know, the Freedom Trail:

The Trail takes the visitor to 16 historical sites in the course of two or three hours and covers two and a half centuries of America's most significant past. A red brick or painted line connects the sites on the Trail and serves as a guide.

Sometimes history can be boring ... I don't think I am alone in that. Soooo once you elevated to the age of 21, some people would do a Freedom Trail Pub Crawl ... similar results, right? ;) Well, a few weeks back I noticed that you could actually run the Freedom Trail. Aptly titled: Freedom Trail Run.

Freedom Trail Run is the active way to tour Boston's historic Freedom Trail! Our unique running tour will show you the sites in an up-close and detailed way that's unlike any other tour!

With a description like that, I had to give it a try! :) The Freedom Trail Run is offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:30am ... ALL YEAR ROUND! You heard that right folks. It is a great experience for tourists AND locals alike. The whole experience takes about 2 hours and in the end you run just about 3 miles.

We meet on Boston Common (at the corner of Park & Tremont St.) and run a 5K course that passes some of America's most important historical landmarks. We don't just "run-by" the sites, we stop and explore them! And since we stop so often (16 times), even beginners can participate!

The organizer, Eddie, who also runs the amazing Cambridge 5k series, offered me a chance to check out the Freedom Trail Run for free ... and even bring a friend along. :) I asked Becki from Fighting For Wellness, a fellow Boston healthy-living blogger, to join me and thankfully she said yes. This was going to be the first time we would really get to hang out - outside of social media - so I was excited. We met the group just before 8:30am on one corner of Boston Common (Park St & Tremont St). The group has four guides: Eddie, Shelly, Ginger and Sean!

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Eddie gave the group the overview of what to expect during the morning and a little history about Boston. And I must admit I grew up and have lived here most of my life and I learned things within the first 5 minutes of him talking!

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1-2-3 FREEDOM and we were off...

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The first stop was just about 0.2 miles from where we started so it was a good test of what we would expect along the run. Short runs in between the 16 historical stops.

Our Group




(Photo Courtesy Freedom Trail Run)


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Isn't the State House beautiful? From there, we headed to the first of three burying grounds. Oohhh...

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Paul Revere has 2 headstones


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How funky is the last headstone? No one knows who it's for, but it has a funky design and has withstood years of Boston weather. When we stopped at the Old South Church...

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...we turned to our right and found the place where Benjamin Franklin was born. (Again, I forgot that from school!)

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Obviously, the street has changed since he was born, but Boston had to claim some ties to being his hometown and the above was created.

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Did you know that there was just one spring that gave the city of Boston its water? Since it was the only source of clean water, it drew people to it to live ... and hello downtown Boston!


We stopped at the memorial for the Boston Massacre and the old State House:


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Before heading to the North End to see some great Paul Revere spots.


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Paul Revere's House


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We are #BostonStrong!


After visiting the final burying ground of the tour, we were able to see the thinnest house on the East Coast. This little house is just 10.5 feet wide. Can you believe that?


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So far this had been the most fun I'd had on the Freedom Trail ... and we weren't even done yet.


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The next stretch of the run was the longest straight running section, which was about 1/2 a mile. We were heading from the North End to Charlestown.


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As we neared the Bunker Hill monument, we came to the largest hill of the morning. The group did a race up the hill. Before the "race" began, it was announced that 2 guides had never lost. *Challenge accepted* Thankfully our group had a high school cross country kid in it (YES!), so Anthony was able to defeat the guides and take reign as fastest up the hill. :P


And as we hit the top there it was ... the Bunker Hill Monument!


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All of a sudden, it was time to head to the final stop ... the U.S.S. Constitution!


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Wow! That time flew by.


We ran to a nearby convenience store to collect our t-shirts and free drink! Of course, I had to refuel with #myafter of Chocolate Milk! :)


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In total, it was a 3-mile run. I stopped the Garmin whenever we stopped at a location so you can see in total it was about 30-or so minutes of running.


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After everyone in the group had their awesome shirt and drink, we headed over to the Ferry to head back to the Faneuil Hall/Start area.


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As we toured back to where we started, we got some beautiful views of the city!


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Photo Courtesy of Freedom Trail Run


The entire Freedom Trail Run was 2 hours start to finish. Thank you Eddie for being right on time.


The group included people of all ages and athletic abilities. There were even a set of girls there on a bachelorette weekend. It was a mix of locals and tourists.


The Freedom Trail Run is $40 a person and includes the guided tour, a t-shirt, your drink of choice from the convenience store and the ferry ride back to the Start/Faneuil Hall area.


But what is that? You want to try the Freedom Trail Run for free?


Well ... OKAY!! :)


Eddie is giving me the task of giving away a tour to one lucky winner and a guest of their choice (this can be used anytime this year so you can be an out of towner and win!!!).

Here’s how to enter the giveaway: Giveaway is open from June 11 (Tuesday) to 10am June 14 (Friday)!

The winner will be announced on Friday!