Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Friday Night Wilson Night

Meet the Wilson's. 
Jeremy and Estee are some of our best friends. 
They moved to the city this past fall before we got married. 
And we were thrilled that we could live in New York at the same time. 
The Wilson/Maddux history goes wayyyy back. 
Jeremy and Scott met their freshman year at BYU and became friends. 
Two years later, I met Estee my freshman year at BYU 
through some mutual Arizona friends. 
My first date with Scott Maddux was a bbq/badminton tournament hosted by the Wilson's. 
Clearly, they've been through it all with us. 
And we love them for it. 

When Scott and Jeremy get together they giggle like little school girls.
And I love my Estee time. 
She is hilarious and has the best outlook on life. 
I adore her. 
So it makes for a good time whenever we all get together. 
Which, thankfully, is almost every week. 
We've started a tradition of going on dates every Friday night 
and trying a new restaurant and dessert shop in the city each week. 
Sometimes, things come up. 
But for the most part, we've had a good run. 

Friday Night Wilson Night commenced with dinner at Mexicana Mama 
and dessert at L'Arte del Gelato in West Village. 
Great Mexican food. Go!
I've been craving it since. 
Another week we headed to the MetLife Building for dinner at Naples 45. 
Brilliant idea, Estee.
The pizza was delish and the service was great. 
Our waiter, Frank, was very passionate about his pizza making and made sure 
we got the best combination, even if it wasn't on the menu. 
Then we headed to a surprise birthday gathering for our friend, Lauren. 
Lauren and I have been friends since junior high but I haven't seen her for years! 
Her and her husband are in J+E's ward. 
Small world. 
We all met at Bryant Park for some ice skating. 

Blades of Glory style. 
I'm not made for skates. 
Check that tree. 
Another magnificent one in the city. 
This guy is a city staple. 
We recognized him right away. 
During the warmer months he spends his Saturdays at a makeshift
roller blading rink in Central Park.
We've seen him do all kinds of tricks on roller skates. 
But who knew he traded in the asphalt for ice come winter. 
I mean, it only makes sense. 
That same night we wandered around Midtown looking at all the lights. 
I still can't get over them. 

Another night we headed to S'MAC, a place that specializes in Mac-n-Cheese. 
Sign me up. 
We got a few different kinds like buffalo chicken, four cheeses, etc.
Next up, Cowgirl in West Village.
We were lucky enough to have the Baldwin's and sweet Caroline join us that week. 
This place took me back to the South. 
The environment was laid back, the food was affordable, and the service was great.
I'd definitely go back. 
Not to mention the windows were oh so charming.  
Another night -- Estee had the genius idea to get tickets to the Nets game 
when they played the Suns. 
The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn is incredible. 
We were just missing our friends, Jay Z and Beyonce. 
Later that month, we all had dinner at 5 Napkin Burger on the Upper West Side.
Then on a whim, we went to Sugar & Plumm for dessert.
Best decision ever, Scott Maddux.
It's the most charming boutique bistro and bakery. 
It was decked for love month.
We devoured a banana split. 
Dying to go back. 
This was another night -- when we were headed back to Manhattan from Jersey.
We literally saw the train leave as we were coming down the stairs. 
We were yelling and I think I even banged on the windows. 
It was late and the next one didn't come for 30 minutes. 
Rough go. 
So much love for these people. 
Beyond blessed to have you.
Can't wait for more city dates and adventures. 
So, what's on the agenda for this Friday?

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Year's Rockin' Eve

We joined the biggest party of the year to celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square.
It was something I've always wanted to do. 
And Scott puts up with my crazy tourist ideas. 
But, he will admit it was much more fun than he was expecting. 
We stood at the intersection of Broadway and 48th Street for seven straight hours. 
Whenever I walk past there now, I always think of this night. 
Pure craziness.

We had heard the nightmares. 
No food.
No drinks. 
No bathrooms.
Nonstop standing. 
Thankfully, our experience was a different story.
(Aside from the standing part).

We got off the subway around 4:30PM and waited for police to open another pin 
where people could stand. 
 NYPD pulled out all the safety stops for the event, 
checking everyone's bags and using metal detectors.
They happened to open the gates to a new pin right where we were standing.
They started searching everyone until this huge push of people charged in. 
We said "see ya" to the cops and somehow got past.  
 We had water, snacks, and all the nourishment we needed for the hours ahead.
Which proved crucial around hour number six. 

By 5:00, we settled into our spots and began the hourly countdown. 
By 6:00, I was sitting on the gross ground playing on the iPad. 
By 7:00, we had made friends with three British girls 
who had flown from London for New Year's Eve.
They were sassy and sarcastic, like every good Brit.
Just how we like em. 
We became fast friends. 
I ruined this picture. 
One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop taking open mouth photos.

There was also a group of college friends from a Tennessee university we befriended. 
We met a couple from Australia who were on the last leg of their honeymoon 
and wanted to celebrate NYE in style. 
One of my favorite things about these chaotic events 
continues to be the people we meet along the way. 

By 8:00, one of our British friends almost tackled a Dominos delivery man
 to get a medium cheese pizza for $25.00.
We got robbed but none of us thought twice. 
Thank you, Dominos, for turning hungry tourists into fast customers 
at such a weak moment. 

By 9:00, the performances had started near 45th Street. 
We couldn't see the stage but thankfully, we could hear the music. 
My girl Cassadee Pope, winner of The Voice Season 3, performed. 
Neon Trees, Carly Rae Jepsen, and T. Swift were favorites. 
By 10:00, something amazing happened.
I'll never forget when PSY sang "Gangnam Style."
Our new Korean friends erupted. 
They were thrilled. 
It was more fun watching them then anything else. 
 I wish you could see the videos we took but the pictures will have to suffice. 
They were great. 

By 11:00, we were on the final stretch. 
We were antsy, restless, and all kinds of slap happy. 
Did I mention, it was cold?
Cause it was. 
Scott wore a full ski mask for most of the night. 
Ya know, like the ones used to rob banks and convenient stores. 
He's a smooth criminal. 

With 20 seconds to go, the whole crowd counted down like you wouldn't believe. 
The ball dropped, confetti flew, and people puckered up to 
Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York".
Nothing says "Happy New Year" like smooching a stranger. 
Thankfully, Scott Maddux and I have history so he took my first kiss of the year. 

And with that, Ryan Seacrest was out. 
Jenny McCarthy's awkward herpes kiss was old news. 
And Scott and I took the subway home with ease. 

It was a New Year's Eve to remember. 
Here's to a bucket list kind of year. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Christmas in Camarillo

After traveling to and from two of the biggest airports in the country, dealing with lost luggage at baggage claim, and braving the holiday chaos, 
we were more than ready to touchdown in Camarillo. 
We spent our first Christmas in California with Scott's family. 
We felt extremely lucky that he was able to take some time off even after our wedding. 

The Saturday before Christmas we headed to downtown LA. 
John Maddux was kind enough to feed my Chick-fil-A fix and take me there for lunch. 
I ate there weekly in Mississippi. 
They knew my name and my order. 
Pathetic, I'm well aware. 
But Chick-fil-A was fine dining in the deep South 
and if you're going to do fast food, do it right. 
And do you spot that Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake?
They are seasonal - and I crave them throughout the year. 
We made it just in time. 
Thanks, John!
John and Laurie treated the grandparents and kids to
 "The Donny & Marie Christmas Show" at the famous Pantages Theatre. 
I love this venue. 
On my first visit to Camarillo two years ago, Scott took me
 to see "West Side Story" at the Pantages. 
It was my first time at that theatre and I was blown away by its beauty. 
I'm lucky to have married into a family that loves musicals just as much as I do. 

We had an absolute blast. 
Who knew Donny & Marie were that funny?
We were surprised to see a music video that Connor's girlfriend, Shelby, had worked on. 
She did the hair and make up for Donny's "Soldier of Love" video. 
Look it up! 
I was dying.
Tanner, Scott and I joked that we were the youngest ones at the show. 
That may have been true, but we secretly loved it just as much. 
The line up of walkers and canes at the back of the theater was such a crack up. 
It was so great to catch up with all of Scott's grandparents
 on the drive to and from downtown. 

We all ate at Stonefire, a Maddux family favorite, later that night and 
then played "Up and Down the River".
Pretty sure I'm the most ignorant card game player. 
But these guys put up with me, nonetheless. 
Just don't take me to Vegas, boys. 

Sunday was spent going to church at Austin and Kim's new ward. 
They just bought a beautiful house in Santa Rosa Valley and we are so thrilled for them!
We loved our time with their 9-month-old, Mackenzie Ann. 
She is the first one to make an aunt and uncle out of us. 
We sure do adore her. 

Monday was Christmas Eve. 
We woke up early to do a CrossFit workout with Scott's cousin, Tyler, who works at a gym. 
Working out with the Maddux boys was hilarious. 
I still have the image of Austin trying to do a pull up in my mind. 
Next time, Aust, next time. 
CrossFit on Christmas Eve was something none of us were prepared for. 
Tyler was a trooper and tried to get our lazy butts in gear. 
Thanks Ty, for trying to make something out of us. 
If anything, I could hardly walk on Christmas. 

Scott and I ran around town doing last minute Christmas errands. 
Then the time had come for the big Christmas Eve Mexican food dinner and program. 
The food was delish and the company was wonderful. 
Laurie is such a great hostess. 
Grandpa Jim made history and passed the torch of the 
red checkered Christmas pants onto Austin this year.

Merry Christmas from the Maddux's. 
This was the closest thing you'll get for a Christmas card this year. 

Scott was assigned to assemble Mackenzie's Christmas present this year. 
It took him awhile, but he was sure proud of it. 
Nice work, Santa Scotty. 

Early Christmas morning we headed to Grandma Holley's
 for her annual Christmas breakfast and gift opening.
The highlight was watching this pair interact. 
Little Liam and Mackenzie were more interested in each other than their new presents. 

Instead of the red checkered pants Austin opted for a onesie this Christmas morning. 
It takes a confident man to rock that. 
Later that day, we opened gifts with just Scott's immediate family. 
John and Laurie sure did spoil us. 
We took a nap, saw Les Mis, and just relaxed all day. 
Definitely a holiday to remember. 

The day after Christmas was spent at the Camarillo Premium Outlets - 
my favorite thing in town, aside from the Maddux's.
We finished our stay with a long-awaited trip to Cafe Rio. 
It had been months. 
Too good to be true.  
This was my first Christmas spent with another family. 
John and Laurie made me feel right at home, like they always do. 
Thank you for such a wonderful Christmas, J + L. 
You guys are way too good to me. 
We love and miss you every day. 

And John, next game of "Up and Down the River" you are mine. 

First Married Christmas

Rewind to just one Christmas ago, Scott Maddux flew to Jackson, Mississippi, to be with me. 
I had to work the day after the holiday and for the first time 
I wasn't going to make it home for Christmas. 
There we were, in the deep South with no family to wake up to. 
It was just us -- unwed and not even engaged. 
All we had was each other and a small Christmas tree my grandma mailed to me. 
I still laugh when I think about this holiday. 
Never could I have imagined it. 
But, it was one of my all time favorites. 
I took him to some of my beloved southern spots, gave him the full Fox40 tour, 
and showed him off to the Clinton Ward. 
We opened presents from each other and our families. 
We made Christmas cookies and our very own Christmas dinner. 
We skyped with both of our families. 
That simple, small, country Christmas will forever have a place in my heart. 

What a difference a year makes. 
For our first Christmas as a married couple we were excited
 to make some of our own traditions. 
The first -- getting our very own real Christmas tree -- Manhattan style. 
Just a few blocks from our building there was the most charming tree lot on the sidewalk. 
We'd been eyeing it for a few days so the Saturday after Thanksgiving
 we went to pick one out. 
The guy in charge gave us his best sales pitch and before we knew it we were walking home and Scott was carrying this guy. 
Just call him Paul Bunyan. 
The things we do to save on home delivery. 

 Over the next few days, we realized the Whole Foods right next door to us was selling trees that were twice this size for a good $40 less. 
We got robbed. 
And we almost let the guy at the tree lot know it. 
Throughout the month when we would walk past that lot, we almost told potential customers to head south one block for a better deal. 
Nevertheless, we did love our tree and had a fun time decorating it. 

 We loved filling our small space with Christmas cheer. 
I enjoy our lights so much that they may still be up.
Are we turning into one of those red neck families 
that keep Christmas lights up all year long?
You be the judge. 
But for now, those puppies are staying. 
 And you know what, Santa did spot our studio. 

 One of my family's favorite traditions is making Andes Mint Chocolate cookies and delivering them to neighbors and friends. 
My mom is best at these cookies -- but Scott and I attempted. 
They didn't turn out near as delicious as hers, 
but we had a blast delivering milk & cookies to our friends and Scott's co-workers. 

Other traditions included:
-Buying Christmas pajamas for each other. 
-Reading Christmas stories each night. 
-We went to a White Elephant Party with some fun friends in our ward. 
-I went to a "Favorite Things" Party hosted by some lovely ladies I've gotten to know here.  
Each girl brought one of their favorite things to exchange white elephant style. 
It could be a favorite kitchen item, favorite hair product, book, etc. 
Such a neat idea to see what items people love. 
-My mom always bought each family member an ornament every Christmas representing something they did that year or a place they visited, etc.
She bought me a ring ornament years ago for the year I got married. 
That ornament finally made it on the tree this year. 
I think Mendi Sue was getting worried and had her doubts. 
Anyways, now each kid has a significant ornament collection to take once they leave home. 

I didn't realize making your own traditions and inheriting some would be this fun. 
What are some of your favorites? 
We want to add to our list next year. 

Suz's East Coast Tour

One of the best things about living in New York is that we often have visitors. 
Whether they come to the visit us or the city -- we're just happy they come. 
Back in December, my dear friend, Suz, spent a week in Washington D.C. 
for her hot shot congressional job. 
Since we were just a hop, skip, and a four hour Bolt Bus ride away, 
 she decided to come to the city for the weekend!
We were pumped and decided to make the most of our time. 
She met us on our weekly date with the Wilsons, so it was a party. 
After waiting forever for dinner at Momofuku, we took our crew to Max Brenner for dessert.
 We couldn't stop ourselves.
I mean, that milkshake is just asking for it. 
We all left in a chocolate coma. 
The next day we hit the ground running. 
Scott Maddux was busy planning a bachelor party for one Jordan Hughes,
 so it was just us girls. 
We made our way to Midtown, and were in for a scandalous Santa surprise. 
Note the Mormon Christmas ad in the background. 
We saw thousands of people dressed as Santa drinking their hearts out.
We asked someone what was going on, and quickly learned about "SantaCon". 
One Saturday every year in December, people dress up in Santa costumes
 and take to the streets and bars in cities all around the world. 
Nothing says Christmas like scantily clad, slammed Santas.  

Note the Naughty Pole. 
It didn't take long for us to cozy up to Gumby here and take a picture. 
Merry Christmas from your favorite HO HO HO's. 
We braved the crowds and walked through Macy's and had lunch at Shake Shack. 
Then we strolled through Central Park and saw Wollman Rink. 
We tried to win lottery tickets at Newsies.
But failed. 
A sweet grandma and her granddaughter were standing right by us during the drawing. 
Both of their names were drawn, for a total of four tickets, but they only needed two. 
Enter Suz. 
She was quick to say that we would just buy the tickets from them. 
And before we could think twice we had front row seats to Newsies. 
That's what I love about this girl. 
She is quick to act, speak her mind, and make things happen!
We absolutely loved this musical. 
Even though we had partial view seats, we didn't miss much. 
We fell hard for Jack Kelly. 
He was incredible. 
The set was great and the music phenomenal. 
It's such a family friendly show -- I would recommend it to anyone. 
And I would gladly see it again. 
We made a quick run to see the Rockefeller Tree and ended our night with a
 walk through Times Square and Herald Square. 
Suz, it was such a treat to have you!
We so loved catching up and spending time with you. 
Thanks for making the trip up and taking the time to see us. 
You are a fiercely loyal friend, someone everyone wants on their team. 
Sure do love and miss you!
Our couch is calling your name. 

(oh and I'll never forget your slightly inappropriate comment at 30 Rock 
that had heads turning. you know what I'm talking about.)
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