guide to new york city

Last month, Eric and I visited The Big Apple to spend time with friends and explore the city for his first visit! While I had been multiple times, it was exciting to see everything through fresh eyes with E.

It’s no secret that we have a constant case of the travel bug (ex: Jamaica, San Francisco, London, Madison), so visiting some of my NYC favorites while finding new ones together was lots of fun.

Below is the guide to New York City I pulled together in hopes that it comes handy if you’ve got a trip in your future!

Times Square (Night + Day) // This famous spot is a spectacle at any time of day, but I honestly prefer it at night! We got in late and ended up walking through Times Square around 11:30 pm, when it was a little less busy than evening primetime right before and after broadway shows. Seeing all the lights and different people gathered to Oooo and Aww is truly something else!

guide to new york city

To that point though, it’s worth seeing during the day too! Since it gets so crowded and tourist heavy, I’ve never stayed for too long at once. If you’ve gone, when’s  your favorite time to see it?

PIZZA // You know how they say dolla make me holla? Well that’s true here. I was told anytime I see a sign for dollar pizza, do it – and I’ll tell you the same thing. I actually prefer NYC style pizza (large, hand tossed thin-crust) to Chicago deep dish (shhhh, don’t tell!). There’s various spots for it all around Manhattan, especially around the Times Square area.

guide to new york city

E and I straight up walked to two $1.00 locations for dinner one night. We’re so fancy, I know. Keep in mind, quality varies of course, and for even just a few bucks you can get a slice with more toppings.

All I’m saying is tasty pizza for cheap? SOLD.

Empire State Building // Probably my favorite touristy thing on my guide to New York City! Nothing beats these views from the middle of Manhattan, giving you a breathtaking sights on all sides. In addition to the views, the history throughout the tour is fun to learn about – especially for engineers like E!

guide to new york city

Dress (blog post) | Jacket

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

I’d recommend buying your tickets before hand and going earlier in the morning. Eric and I showed up around 9:00 am on a Friday with no major waits.

Statue of Liberty // If you’ve only got time for a couple famous attractions, this is the other I’d recommend in addition to the Empire State! You get two for one – the Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island – with your ticket and the cruise out to the islands includes spectacular views of the NYC skyline that people pay way more for elsewhere. Lady Liberty is just so iconic, it was a classic E had to see without hesitation!

Cruise time slots book up ahead of time, so I’d recommend buying tickets a few weeks out. Tip: Time on your ticket is when you arrive to go through security, not when your cruise takes off!

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

Thanks to my resident photographer + husband at Benavides Photography for most of the snaps you’ll see in this post!

The Shop at NBC Studios (Rockefeller Center) // If you are a major fan of any NBC shows (think Friends, Parks & Rec, The Office, SNL, etc.), then you have to stop at this store inside Rockefeller Center – another famous building and plaza to at least walk by in itself! The NBC store has memorabilia for every show out the wazoo. Did you guys hear E and I are the new Today show hosts?

guide to new york city

E’s Married AF shirt (I have one too, it’s our fave!)

guide to new york city

Central Park // It’s huge and it’s beautiful! Give yourself a couple hours to walk around and get lost, but don’t plan on covering the whole thing. Keep a look out for some cool rocky spots where you can get great photos of the city behind you and the Imagine Mosaic in honor of John Lennon.

guide to new york city

Top (previous post)

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

Levain Bakery // While your by Central Park, you have to stop by this little bakery and get the BEST COOKIES EVER! Seriously, the only explanation for these treats is magic. Just kidding, but maybe. Don’t let the line fool you, it went by fairly fast when we were there and the chocolate chips are waiting.

guide to new york city

Brooklyn // I highly recommend carving out time in your trip to visit Brooklyn! Just walking around you’ll find lots of unique shops and restaurants (ex: Walter’s cute brunch, Bittersweet coffee). If nothing else, you should at least walk across the bridge for some beautiful views – was and still remains one of my favorite things in the city!

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, you’ll find Le Bagel Delight in Dumbo (omg delicious at these breakfast bagel, you guys) and this famous spot at Washington and Water Streets! A photographer’s (aka E’s) heaven.

guide to new york city

Laduree // This macaroon shop that originated in Paris is the real deal and has two locations in NYC. We swung by the Soho location to sample a tasty treat! You can also sit in their beautiful garden patio for some champagne. Perfect if you’ve been walking around all day and need a boost!

guide to new york city

Broadway // You can’t go to NYC for the first time (or anytime in my book) without seeing a show on Broadway! From timeless classics (Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, or Lion King) to more recent hits (Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen), I feel like there’s something for everyone.

E and I love Broadway shows and wanted to see something new for us both. We ended up at Cats, which was veryyy interesting. The costumes and dancing were amazing, and while it’s a classic, we did both find it a little odd, so it wouldn’t be my first recommendation haha. I would, without a doubt, suggest one of those I mentioned above!

guide to new york city

Tip: If you aren’t set on one show, save money by showing up at one of TKTS booths around the city (we always go to the Times Square location) and purchasing discounted same-day theatre tickets!

Other Spots To Consider:

Grand Central Station // This is such a pretty New York spot. From details like the starry ceiling to the antique feeling departure counters, it’s worth checking out if you’ve got a thing for buildings with character.

guide to new york city

Thanks Rach for this pic! 

9/11 Memorial // This if of course a special place to honor those our country lost on this terrible day. It is beautifully done and emanates sweet feelings of hope and love.

guide to new york city

Wall St. // A famous spot to check off your business savvy person’s checklist – or if you’re all about that woman power and want a pic with the Fearless Girl.

guide to new york city

Now I want to hear from you! Been before and have other good spots I should add to my list next time? Tell me in the comments!

Days By Day

 

P.S. A special announcement related to E’s photography coming soon. 🙂 Sharing a couple black & white behind-the-scenes favorites from his NYC snaps in the meantime!

guide to new york city

guide to new york city

game day denim

Happy Monday!

It feels like fall is finally in full swing up in Chicago, but it’s no surprise that recently our family back in Texas has still been hitting those higher temps! Needless to say, when we went home last weekend for the rivalry football game between Texas and Oklahoma, our suitcase consisted strictly of summer clothing.

So while I’m bundled up in the coziest cardigan right now, I still had to share this game day denim that was perfect for tailgating and fun at the Texas State Fair!

When I’m looking for an affordable wardrobe classic, my first attempt is usually at Forever 21. They somehow offer various versions of the same piece, letting my indecisive self know I explored my options.

Thankfully, I had quick luck with a denim skirt! While I couldn’t find my exact piece online, similar F21 styles are here (buttons half-way), here (bottom with fringe), and here (lighter denim).

game day denim

Benavides Photography

Is anyone super pumped denim skirts are back?? Fun fact, I vividly remember my first real shopping trip in the woman’s section was at Old Navy. I bought one of these babies and thought I was the coolest chick around. Ha!

Seeing as it was 91 degrees this day, I aimed to keep things as light as possible with a white, flowy off-the-shoulder top from one of my favorite Austin boutiques, Longhorn Fashions. The boots are also a game day tradition, so how could I not?

game day denim

game day denim

game day denim

game day denim

I had to get the burnt orange touch in there with my Kendra Scott Goldstone Elle earrings. While I had my fair share of burnt orange clothes in Austin, it’s a harder color to track down in the midwest! That being said, I’m always a fan of neutrals for game day – I’ve just gotta add these beauties and I’m ready.

The next item I’ll be hunting for are some cute tights and booties so that I can transition this game day denim into the cooler weather!

Eric and I spent so much of this weekend watching college football (eek, it was a sad loss for UT) and Houston baseball (Astros headed to the World Series, yay!) – I love this time of year, you guys.

Where your favorite spots to shop for game day staples?

P.S. Thanks to E for the photos – being married to an awesome photographer has it’s perks! // Benavides Photography

the murder mystery company

When it comes to date night, Eric and I are always down to hit up one of our favorite spots, but we’re also big on changing it up and trying something totally new.

That was definitely the case when we attended a dinner and show in town by The Murder Mystery Company!

Neither of us had ever attended a murder mystery show before, so I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant when the Murder Mystery Co. reached out with the opportunity to attend since I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. That being said, you know E and I are always down adventure and we figured this would be fun to check out!

We were totally right.

At The Murder Mystery Co., the theatre troupe serves up a three course meal, along with two hours of interactive, Clue style mystery and intrigue. From the moment we arrived, there was mixing and mingling with interesting characters and fellow attendees turned suspects.

the murder mystery company

Our show was titled ‘Til Death Do Us Part – focused on a wedding day nightmare in which a member of the wedding party was murdered. With a bridezilla, unenthused groom, and slew of mix matched wedding guests (some of which were selected audience members), the plot unfolded as the search began to discover the killer.

We enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner at Salvatore’s in Lincoln Park, where the show took place. This real-life wedding venue turned murder mystery setting for the night has an antique feel, complete with pretty chandeliers, huge mirrors, and a wooden bar with character.

As we enjoyed our food, the actors engaged audience members in brief interrogations, including E! I thought he might get arrested for sneaking in some poison and I’d be headed home without him. Thankfully, he was cleared.

Throughout the show, audience members have opportunities to engage with suspects, gather clues, and work with our dinner table of team members to crack the case. In the end, the killer was revealed and awards were given to the night’s best audience actors.

If you are outgoing, engaging, and down to go with the flow, then an experience with the Murder Mystery Company is one you’d enjoy! It also seems like a popular choice for larger parties celebrating birthdays. Couples who are down to try something new and have a fun loving, easy going attitude will also have a great time.

the murder mystery company

Thanks again to the wonderful cast for having us! If you’re interested in a show by The Murder Mystery Company, learn more here!

how to help after harvey

My heart has been heavy this past week. Watching family, friends, the rest of the Houston community, and neighboring areas suffer from Chicago has been difficult.

My heart has also swelled with Texas pride as I’ve watched people and organizations across the state stand strong and rush to help each other. Seeing the country rally together to provide support and relief has also been a sweet note of hope.

Those who know me know as much as I love traveling, home is always near and dear to my heart. Granted, there are of course some things about Texas that need changing, but I’ve learned that’s the case with most places. The love for my home state will never fade. It’s home.

As we’ve watched the devestation Hurricane Harvey has brought unfold in the media, we are feeling especially far. Eric and I, along with our fellow Houstonians up north, have been hurting for our communities and looking for opportunities to help.

How to Help After Harvey

That being said, I’ve rounded up a list of goods that give back 100% of their proceeds to Harvey relief efforts, as well as organizations that you can donate to and help after Harvey.

Goods That Give Back

how to help after harvey

Texas Forever shirt from Magnolia Market

how to help after harvey

Don’t Mess with Texas candle (and this Howdy Y’all one) from The Burlap Bag

how to help after harvey

Texas Print Art (digital download) from Polish and Plume

how to help after harvey

Texas Isaiah 43:2 tee (or this Texas Strong one) from Sweet Southern Love

how to help after harvey

Texas Strong Pet Bandana from Asher & Gray (Note: 50% of proceeds donated)

Organizations Doing Good

NPR put together this awesome, comprehensive list of organizations you can contribute to. I’ve pulled out a handful below I was interested in when researching, and have linked directly to the Harvey efforts on their site.

General Relief: GlobalGiving, JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund

General Relief/Donating Blood: The Red Cross

Food: Feeding Texas, Houston Food Bank

Animals: SPCA of TexasAustin Pets Alive!

Lastly, thank you to all who have reached out regarding my family in the area. They are safe and dry in our pocket of town. We are beyond thankful and ready to serve.

how to help after harvey

Source: Chron.com

The sun came out this week, and the rain has stopped for now. While the road to recovery may be long, for this sweet reminder of God’s presence and hope, I am thankful.

“When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you…” – Isaiah 43:2

Squeeze your loved ones, friends!

xo dayna

 

Texas Wildflower title image sourced here.

stripes

Happy Friday, friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m beyond ready for the weekend after what has been a crazzyyyy week. Eric’s parents are in town, and I’m really looking forward to some fun and relaxation around the city.

I can’t believe we’re over half way through August. I’ve been soaking up the sun as much as possible…people in Chicago keep saying summer is almost over, and I’m going to keep avoiding that thought for as long as I can…

stripes

So speaking of sun, summer, and lots of other warm things far from Chicago winter, a few weeks ago E and I explored the neighborhood of Logan Square. I knew this striped dress from Gap would be perfect for our afternoon date, it’s been a major go-to in my closet this season!

To step up the bold, I added a bright pink head wrap and red lips. I loved how when it all came together, I was kind of feelin’ some vintage fashion vibes.

stripes

stripes

Dress | Bag | Sandals

How precious is this bow detail? The button up, sans collar, was also a big win in my book!

stripes

stripes

Je taime ring

A friend recommended we check out the poppin’ patio at Park and Field, and it was easy to see why. This spot has the theme of a vintage sports club, complete with fire pits and bocce ball courts. I loved all of the whites and woods, it had such a clean and beautiful feel.

Plus, they were serving up frosé, so you know I was all about it.

stripes

stripes

Benavides Photography

Another sign we’ll keep this place on our list of favorites? They have a pop-up taco shop every Friday and Saturday – all of this deliciousness for $10. That elote was sooooo good, y’all. Throw in the a Ruby Red and you know we’re sold.

Tacos and Shiner – two things a couple of Texans are always happy to see!

stripes

stripes

stripes

We had such a great afternoon laughing away and seeing a new part of the city. Always thankful for new adventures with this sweet – and majorly talented I might add – husband of mine.

E took all these gorgeous photos, you can see more of his stuff here! If you’re in Chicago and in need of a photographer, he’s your guy.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!