New York City

So, if you haven't heard, my biggest resolution for 2016 is to travel the World! Okay, maybe not the entire World but I did make a vow at the end of last year to get outside, step out of my comfort zone & travel as often as possible! Traveling has always been a huge passion of mine, be it family vacations, international mission trips, a weekend cruise or even just a day trip to a new city. Exploring and experiencing new things is the ultimate thrill and brings extreme joy & peace to my life!

I've planned several trips already this year with friends and I always encourage my brides to venture out of Jacksonville for their engagement sessions. Call me crazy, because yes, that makes for a little more work, but it also forces me to get creative, think on the fly, and allows me to step out of my everyday, all too familiar life, every once in while. So far, it seems to be working. I've got sessions booked in Orlando, Gainesville & Savannah over the next 6 weeks, a wedding in the panhandle this Fall, and just had my first out of the country wedding inquiry!

My first big trip this year was a simple overnight girls visit to New York City! It was my first time in the City & also my first time to experience a real snow fall! The week leading up to our trip I prayed for snow and God must have heard my prayers because when we landed all I could see was a beautiful white blanket that had freshly fallin! I'm not sure what the technical definitition of a blizzard is, but that's what I was calling it considering snow was falling completely sideways. And although most of the New Yorkers were probably dismayed with the weather report, we (my traveling companions, Casey, Alecia & I) couldn't have hoped for anything more!

Our time was limited since our flight arrived on Friday at 9:30am and we were scheduled to leave at 7pm the next evening. We definitely made the most of our trip even though we barely scratched the surface of all that this city really has to offer. All day long Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York" played in my head as I tried to take it all in. Tall buildings, people everywhere & streets full of cabs is something you don't get a lot of where Im from. After checking in & grabbing lunch we headed to our first stop, Central Park! The snow had settled at this point and it was an absolutely beautiful sight to see!

I couldn't quite convice anyone to make a snow angel with me but we did make miniature snowmen and even had a snowball fight that lasted about 2.5 seconds, or just long enough to make a snowball, take a picture and throw it!

I must say that traveling is a blast, but I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much without my girls there with me! I love sharing my adventures through photographs of course but being able to remenisce with friends who were actually there with you makes the experience a lot more fun. Plus, who would I take pictures of if I were by myself? :)

After Central Park we went down to Grand Central Station which , in all honesty, made me feel like I was heading to Hogwarts. Despite my tendency to get slightly motion sick, riding the metro was actually a lot of fun! It amazes me that one man's mundane, everyday activiteis and sometimes dreaded routine can be an exciting adventure to someone else, or even an item on their bucket list.

The Metro was so packed that everyone had to be uncomfortably close to one another, which I found rather amusing. Nearly falling over kept us laughing the entire time, which Im sure was not as fun for the seasoned riders around us... However, we enjoyed it, as you can see from the expression on our faces!

Our first night we ended in Time Square which was complete chaos! Tip #1: Avoid the people dressed up in costumes (i.e Buzz Light year) They photobomb your photos then ask you for money. Casey & I escaped unscathed but we almost lost Alecia as 12 of the figures surrounded her asking for a tip. I didn't get too many photos at this point because we were all pretty exhausted and mainly just passing though. We hit up the M&M store, which smelled AMAZING, found a small bakery and had some cheescake, then headed back to our hotel to rest up.

The next day after breakfast & a quick trip to Starbucks we hit up the Met, where my girl, Blair Waldorf ate lunch on the steps in one of my all time favorite shows, Gossip Girl (XOXO). If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. Chuck Bass alone is reason to binge watch the seasons on Netflix & the best part is it all takes place in NYC! All weekend long I was tempted to caption every photo with a GG sign off. You'll also notice I ended up in front of the camera a little bit more on our second day. Im definitely the girl that LOVES to take the photos, but not so much be in them.

We concluded our stay in NYC with a trip to Brooklyn! Because our stay was short we really only had time to grab a late lunch then head to the airport. We ended up at this great all natural, gluten free burger joint called Bare Burger and I can't say enough about the experience. It's the type of place you find when you get away from the tourist attractions and attempt to live like the locals. I love a good burger and if I lived in Brooklyn this would definitely be my go to restaurant on a weekly basis! Everything is organic and they offer specialty meats like bison and duck bacon. Not only was the food tip notch, but the atmosphere was incredible and the decor was unlike anything I've seen around Jax. No trip is complete without a few good food pics after all.

After our visit I think we all could have used a tropical vacay! The city, as exciting & fun as it is, definitely isn't relaxing! I would go again in a heart beat especially for the chance to see a show, eat a burger, or visit a few other attractions that we didn't really have time for!

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