10.15.16

Where to begin with my wedding post?! I truly cannot believe it has been almost 3 weeks. It actually makes me incredibly sad and I keep randomly crying at it all being over… yet the weeks leading up to it I kept breaking down in tears at how I wanted it to be over! It was honestly the most amazing few days before, during and after. I feel so lucky that everything went perfect and most importantly the people who helped us were so amazing. We are SO lucky.

John and I went upstate the Wednesday before the wedding to start decorating and tying any loose ends together. My mom came in the same day and we were able to go up to the venue and make sure tables were set up correctly and take an inventory on what else we needed to buy. I had been buying things and having them sent to my brothers’ house for months so we didn’t need much. Our wedding was very low budget but came together SO perfectly because we kept it simple but stylish.

Thursday we did the bulk of the setup, once my step-dad and step-sister Amanda made it into town and had our centerpieces. We went with a very simple and affordable centerpiece: 3 rose gold spray painted mason jars filled with baby’s breath (the plan was fake ones but we ended up not being able to find much so we got fresh too). The table numbers were from Etsy and the holders also. The holders are HERE and so cute! The menu’s were designed by my brother’s girlfriend Keggen who I adore and printed by a long time friend at her printing business! img_0306Even though we had a buffet style reception, the menu’s really spruced up the tables and acted as a favor as well. Here is a close up of the menu.fullsizerender-4

We had a cute little candy bar set up as favors. I am not a very creative person but I feel pretty proud of this table. The different size plastic containers and candies are all from Party City, the ceramic letters and light up anchor from Target and the little baggies from Etsy! It was a cute and inexpensive way to do favors since hardly anyone actually keeps wedding favors!

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We also hung tissue paper pom-pom things (here) in blue and white above the dance floor which you can kind of see in this picture. The huge balloons were inspired by a friend’s wedding earlier this year and were just used for our pictures, they weren’t actually on the dance floor for the reception.img_0308

Chalk board sign 🙂

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The morning of the wedding, John, my brother, Keggen, my mom, step-dad and I went to Party City super early to blow up the big balloons and while we were there I got sucked into buying the cutest bride and groom balloons ever, and a huge champagne balloons. I wish I could describe to you how happy they made me.img_0652

We tied the champagne bottle to the bar in the reception and the bride and groom to the sign of our venue.img_0309SO CUTE.

Thursday night John and I checked into our hotel (the DoubleTree in Binghamton which is REALLY nice for the area) and they have an amazing gym! Friday morning I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and did some upper body with Brenda. We went and got our nails done with Amanda, and I ran around town like a crazy person. Finally, it was time for rehearsal with everyone! We had such a good time at rehearsal that I didn’t even want that night to end! Amanda took beautiful pictures for us out on the golf course. My squad wore chambray shirts and against the scenery it looked SO cute.

Jimmy, Mark, Amanda, Me, Brenda, Sharde, Andrea <3
Jimmy, Mark, Amanda, Me, Brenda, Sharde, Andrea ❤
Keggen, Sharde & I :)
Keggen, Sharde & I 🙂
My amazing Aunt Judy!! :)
My amazing Aunt Judy!! 🙂
John's fam <3
John’s fam ❤
The golf carts were sooooo fun
The golf carts were sooooo fun
My love
My love

The morning of the wedding I woke up so excited and strangely calm (I am a super anxious person every other day of my life). I woke up around 6 and headed to the gym to find it didn’t open until 7. I was kind of bummed but I also felt the thinnest I had been in years and my dress was already a bit too big, so I didn’t stress it. After the trip to Party City and to the venue to make sure everything was set to go, I headed to my hair appointment! I get my hair done in Binghamton every few months at Salon TREND by Sherette Parker who is a hair genius. We had an idea for my hair that she executed so perfectly!fullsizerender-6I had some extensions in that I got to keep (if only I could figure out how to use them on my own!) and I could not believe it turned out so insanely perfect. I have never had an up-do done before so I was worried my hair wouldn’t cooperate, but she outdid herself!

Next up, I headed back to the hotel where John had migrated to his best mans’ room to get ready and all my girls and guys came to our room to watch me get ready. Andrea‘s sister Ally had everything set up for me when I got back to get right to work on my makeup! Champagne and music was flowing and we had a blast. Ally is AMAZING and I could not have been happier with my makeup. I am not a big makeup wearer and so I didn’t want anything drastically different than I normally look like, and she pulled it off 100% If you are interested in makeup, her blog is awesome and she wrote about what she used for me HEREimg_0324img_0341fullsizerender-7LOVED it! She is amazing!

First look with Amanda and my mom!fullsizerender-8So obsessed with my bridal look. My dress was from BHLDN and it was by the designer Vatana Watter’s. It was light, a champagne color and just my style. I added the belt, also from BHLDN, and the necklace is Kate Spade. I am all about the accessories so I was happy to find a dress that was simple and let me play up the necklace!

The ceremony was amazing. There are obviously too many pictures to share all of them, but I will share the highlights. My brother Drew got officiated to marry us and it was the best decision we ever made. He is HILARIOUS and the 3 of us have an awesome friendship. It was 100% authentic- meaning there was some inappropriate humor in there- and everyone was either crying or laughing through the whole thing. We wrote our own vows and kept them short but again, authentic and awesome. I am laughing in basically every picture!img_0332img_0335img_0328img_0326img_0345

Married! 🙂

My amazing brother:fullsizerender-9fullsizerender-10fullsizerender-11

"pretending" i was heavy LOL
“pretending” i was heavy LOL

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The most perfect day I could have ever imagined.

I want to give some shout outs to the local vendors (upstate NY) who made our day happen and made it happen in an extraordinary fashion. Our venue was Ford Hill Country Club in Whitney Point, NY and our coordinator was Mike Head who was absolutely phenomenal from start to finish. I cannot recommend this as a venue enough. The food was amazing, the space is a perfect size for 100-130 person wedding, the scenery is gorgeous and the price is so affordable. I am actually sad that we have no reason to go there or be in contact with Mike anymore! It was such a wonderful experience.

Our wedding photographer was Danielle of Saraceno Galleries in Binghamton, NY. She was so accommodating and straight forward- we were not able to afford an expensive package for photography and her packages are totally geared towards that- no crazy extras that you really don’t need. She is so down to earth and funny and was a blast to work with!

Our DJ was a friend of my mom and step dads up in Rochester, Michael Fox. He doesn’t have a website but if any of my upstate friends need contact info if you need a DJ, let me know! He didn’t complain about my crazy emails with crazy details about music and we had so much fun on the dance floor! He was even brave enough to read the dirty questions my friends asked during the Newlywed game… more on that another time. 😉

And last but not least.. my wonderful mom and step-sister Amanda made all of the bouquets and boutineers and arrangements for the center pieces! My bouquet was AMAZING and I don’t have a close up of it right now but you can kind of see it in the pictures. Also, right before I walked down the aisle, my amazing Aunt Judy ran up to me and handed me a folded picture while whispering “DON’T CRY DON’T CRY”- it was a picture of my grandma on her wedding day. I, obviously, cried! It was one of the top memories I will have forever of my wedding day. So so special ❤

Next up- our honeymoon in Los Angeles and Las Vegas!

If you are married- what is your favorite memory of your day? Did everything go perfectly or were there some disasters? 

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I’m engaged!

So I know I still have a lot of catching up to do on the second part of our Costa Rica trip, a review on a book launch party STILL, and just life in general over the last couple of months- but before I try to find time to do those, I have to share with you all the best news ever which is that I AM ENGAGED!!

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I was beyond shocked and still am! I very randomly signed up for a 10K last Sunday basically 24 hours before hand, and John already had the ring but wasn’t planning to propose until closer to our trip to Mexico. I guess he couldn’t wait and thought after a race would be the perfect time, and it really was! This was my first race in months since I deferred my entry to the NYC Marathon until next year and basically stopped running, and it went SO well! I felt great the whole race and pushed myself through the race, only stopping once right before mile 4 to stretch my hip. I was already elated crossing the finish line, then we waited in line for awhile for my free yoga mat which turned me into a bit of a hangry, sweaty and cold grump 😉 John asked if he could take pictures of me closer to the water (the race started and ended on Pier 81 on the West Side Highway, one of my favorite spots!) and I yelled at him, multiple times. We walked over to the water and I was of course scrolling through Instagram, ignoring his pleas to get me to put my phone and bag down and pose for a picture. He finally said just put your stuff down for one second, and when I did he was reaching into his camera bag and pulled out the box. I screamed so loud and for so long that I never even heard him ask me the question! Haha it was really surreal and so, so sweet. We were both unshowered and gross, but hey we keeps it real.

Oh and the ring… He did gooooood. 😉

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I am so beyond excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend 🙂

Anniversary (& a look at my journey in pics!)

Yesterday was me and John’s 8 year anniversary! We dated for almost a month before making it “official” which was hilarious that I tried to play hard-to-get with an older dude. Don’t worry, it was legal! 😉 I was almost 18 and he was 24 when we met but as it goes, men never act their age. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 8 years AT ALL because I still remember every memory from the beginning on like it was yesterday.

Last night he surprised me with a date filled with my favorite things: pizza, coffee and dessert. We started out at Motorino which is a fancier pizza place I’ve wanted to try for awhile, but with no reservations and a VERY small interior it proves to be hard to get in. We lucked out and got seated right away and the food was absolutely amazing! I started with their special appetizer for the night which was baby Brussels sprouts sauteed with olive oil, honey, smoked pancetta and a sprinkle of pecorino. UNREAL.

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I had the marinara pizza since it has no cheese and John had the meatball pizza. Sorry for the awful pics, I didn’t want to use my flash since your table is touching the table next to you and I didn’t want to be annoying haha

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We then headed to one of my favorite coffee shops called The Bean. We got some coffees, and John pulled out 2 slices of carrot cake (my favorite!!) that he had gotten earlier after googling “best carrot cake in NYC”. He got it from Amy’s Bread, and it was definitely delicious. SO RICH that I only took about 3 bites before having to pull the plug. The rest is in the fridge for dessert tonight and probably tomorrow!

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It was such a perfect night totally tailored for me 🙂 We really don’t buy each other gifts but rather plan special date nights like this, but I did completely surprise him when I decided to get him a gift that we could both experience. I got him tickets for the New York Rangers, his favorite hockey team! They are expensive so he’s only been to one game and I’ve never been, but we had a cheap Christmas so I saved a little and splurged. We’re going early next month and I’m stoked!

Since this blog also serves as my own personal journal type thing, I wanted to post pictures from all throughout my relationship even though it doesn’t fit the theme of my blog (food/fitness). Then I realized, these pictures DO fit the theme because you can see how much weight I’ve lost along the way! It’s been a long journey with LOTS of ups and downs, but how lucky am I that I found the perfect partner who loves me no matter how much I weigh 🙂 Feel free to exit now, regular fitness posts will resume tomorrow!

my prom! hahaha
my prom! hahaha
LOL please don't murder me babe. My prom hair was a complete DISASTER but that's a whole other story.
LOL please don’t murder me babe. My prom hair was a complete DISASTER but that’s a whole other story.

 

1st summer together at my friend Mark's cottage
1st summer together at my friend Mark’s cottage
1st vacation together in Ocean City, MD (on a ferris wheel, hence my hair ha)
1st vacation together in Ocean City, MD (on a ferris wheel, hence my hair ha)

 

2nd year in OC, MD 2007
2nd year in OC, MD 2007
John was in a band for years when we lived upstate and I went to all their shows and we would get back to his house so late.. but it was so much fun :)
John was in a band for years when we lived upstate and I went to all their shows and we would get back to his house so late.. but it was so much fun 🙂

 

Such an amazing guitar player!!
Such an amazing guitar player!!
1st wedding together in 2007!
1st wedding together in 2007!

 

In our 1st apartment together at the end of 2007
In our 1st apartment together at the end of 2007
3rd year in OC, MD together! This trip was so, so much fun. I will never forget it!
3rd year in OC, MD together! This trip was so, so much fun. I will never forget it!

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Those above 3 pictures from our 3rd vacation together in Ocean, MD, I had lost almost 20 pounds before we went. I just followed Weight Watchers for a few weeks but of course put it all back on and then some once we got back.

Shortly after we moved into our 2nd apartment. I had gained all the weight back I had lost in the summer. It's so crazy for me to see this because at this point I don't even remember being this big!
Shortly after we moved into our 2nd apartment. I had gained all the weight back I had lost in the summer. It’s so crazy for me to see this because at this point I don’t even remember being this big!
My face is unrecognizable! Little did I know this would be the last winter I was overweight.
My face is unrecognizable! Little did I know this would be the last winter I was overweight.

I have basically no pictures of us during 2009… it was a super hard year for us and for me in general! That summer was when I took charge of my health and by spring 2010…

The Flaming Lips concert! I had lost 65 pounds since the picture before this!!
The Flaming Lips concert! I had lost 65 pounds since the picture before this!!

A few months later, we went to Ocean City for the first time in 2 years and I felt SO great!

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Later that fall, we started to visit NYC a lot and figure out a plan to move there as my reward for losing over 100 pounds!

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Our last Christmas living upstate:

This was also when my eating disorder started.. I honestly thought I was still heavy here!
This was also when my eating disorder started.. I honestly thought I was still heavy here!

 

:) Celebrating leaving Binghamton!!
🙂 Celebrating leaving Binghamton!!
Going away party my family threw us!
Going away party my family threw us!

 

NYC Residents!
NYC Residents!
LOL Not a good hat choice, Jen.. yikes.
LOL Not a good hat choice, Jen.. yikes.

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And my favorite picture of us, ever, from just a few months ago.

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Thanks for coming down memory lane with me! 

What is your best anniversary story?

Goodbye, 2012.

I will just say one thing negative to start off. It’s pretty evident and seems to be a common theme in all too many people’s lives, but this year has got to go. I am more than ready for a new beginning, even though we don’t need a new year to make changes or feel them but something about a totally clean slate feels invigorating. There was so much loss and sadness in this year, but I am leaving it feeling hopeful and dreaming big. Instead of dwelling on what will soon be the past year, I wanted to recap the highlights of this year because amidst the bad, there was some really good things. And at the end of the day, the good ones are the ones that really count.

  • Running! This year I accomplished mileage I never even dreamed I was capable of doing. After weeks and weeks of not being able to run due to really bad shin splints, I made a come back in early June that had me running my first long run of over 9 miles by the end of the month! I had an amazing summer of running where I made my way to a long run of 10 miles! I am so blessed and lucky to have the ability and passion for running. If it weren’t for running and working out in general, I wouldn’t have made it through this year. Endorphin’s are life savers!

 

  • Meeting DETECTIVE ELLIOT STABLER (Chris Meloni)!!!!
I will be buried with this picture.
I will be buried with this picture.

SERIOUSLY I still can’t believe this happened. I watch an absurd amount of Law & Order: SVU that I figured it was bound to happen one day. I’m still waiting for him to track me down and propose to me but he is a pretty busy guy so it might be awhile? Also, I lost my best friend Brenda due to this incident. She wasn’t happy that he fell in love and found me first 😦

  • Being in the NY Times.

That’s a serious bucket list check mark. Still pinching myself that I made it into the NY Times style section because Bill Cunningham liked my look. UNREAL! 🙂 (I’m the Marc Jacobs bag smiling fool with the arm that is NOT that big, again bad angle! haha)

  • Ridiculously fun, stomach-hurts-from-laughing-so-hard times with my amazing friends & family.

My favorite thing in the world to do is laugh. Deep, belly laughs from being completely careless about topics of conversation, whatever. I will do pretty much anything to make people laugh. I love getting drunk with my friends because it takes our already insane selves to the next level, which very few people can handle. I am also blessed to have been raised in a family that adores to laugh and be so silly all the time. Some of my favorite moments from 2012 with these crazy people that allow me to be in their life:

Me, my mom and brother- our conversations are BEYOND ridiculous and always make me come close to peeing my pants..
Me, my mom and brother- our conversations are BEYOND ridiculous and always make me come close to peeing my pants..
My amazing co-workers! Couldn't survive work without them!
My amazing co-workers! Couldn’t survive work without them!
My best friend in the universe :)
My best friend in the universe 🙂
Me, Mark, Brenda, Dante. Best friends a girl could ask for <3
Me, Mark, Brenda, Dante. Best friends a girl could ask for ❤
My mom's best friend and her daughter Sam, and my mom and I! LOVE these girls!!
My mom’s best friend and her daughter Sam, and my mom and I! LOVE these girls!!

<3 gorgeous best friend

The best weekend of the year. PRIDE <3 LOVE my sockets ;-)
The best weekend of the year. PRIDE
So much alcohol..
So much alcohol..
Delicious, naked gay men. One of my top reasons for living in NYC <3
Delicious, naked gay men. One of my top reasons for living in NYC ❤
LOVE me some vodka shots.
LOVE me some vodka shots.
LOVE this girl! She is my fitness and health soulmate & moved to Colorado and we are from the same town. Miss you babes <3
LOVE this girl! She is my fitness and health soulmate & moved to Colorado and we are from the same town. Miss you babes ❤
Couldn't have gotten through this year without my amazing brother!!
Couldn’t have gotten through this year without my amazing brother!!
Dressed up as Karl Lagerfeld for work.. only at Chanel ;-)
Dressed up as Karl Lagerfeld for work.. only at Chanel 😉
Johnny!!! :-)
Johnny!!! 🙂
Oh wow. This really doesn't need words?
Oh wow. This really doesn’t need words?
Brenda and mimosas. All I need in life.
Brenda and mimosas. All I need in life.

 

Good friends and fun Irish bars. Must haves in NYC!
Good friends and fun Irish bars. Must haves in NYC!

Ha! Luckily these pictures don’t show the shenanigans we get ourselves into. That’s a whole other post…

  • Paying off a major portion of my debt. This is the one resolution I had for this year that I blew out of the water! Since the beginning of 2012, I got hella serious about saving money and cutting out unnecessary money spending habits (umm except for Starbucks.. still working on cutting back but made progress!). Hence why I repeat outfits in many of my pics! Haha I did NOT do much shopping this year but at the same time, I learned to appreciate the pieces I do have and mix them up. I successfully paid off 8 of my credit cards! Yes, it’s awful that I still have 3 more to go but hey, what counts is that I am getting them paid off! This has freed up enough so that I am able to save money just for savings from my paychecks. It feels so good!

 

  • Blogging. I may not blog as often as I would like, but having this is an outlet for a topic that is on my mind 24/7, health and fitness, is such a blessing. I LOVE reading my favorite blogs every day and feeling a huge sense of fitting in with other like-minded people. I hope to meet all my favorite bloggers in person and I hope to make more friends through this wonderful community! Love you all!

I am really looking forward to 2013 as a clean slate, as new years always are. I pray that this year is a little easier on all of us, and I wish good health and happiness for everyone! Happy New Year!! Join me and leave me a comment telling me some great things about your year! 🙂

Food with a side of love

Some people want flowers or a ring for their anniversary. Some people expect those things. I may be high-maintanence in some aspects, but when it comes to making me happy and loved, I’m easy. A reminiscent dinner at one of our favorite pub’s in the city, Keens Steakhouse, was planned for our anniversary dinner. Their delicious burger and fabulous, old-school vibe kept us coming back every trip we’d make to NYC. Last night we knew it would be packed due to a football game (that famous team in my city…)so we decided on another restaurant that houses many memories for us- try not to laugh- Ruby Tuesdays. When we first started dating, we ate there literally every weekend and sometimes throughout the week. We fell in love over those dinners and it felt only right to revisit in the city we continue to fall in love with more each day (both the city and each other 🙂

I constantly rip on people who visit NYC and dine at chain restaurants when there are millions of unique restaurants to be tried! But since we are now residents of the city, we are pardoned from that judgement, at least for last night…

Just as I remembered it: amazing salad bar to start. Spinach, broccoli, cukes, tomatoes, peas, honey mustard and mayo-based salads that I never indulge in all filled my plate. Not to mention, the best croutons I’ve ever tasted! They were dark brown, crunchy yet incredibly buttery and soft on the inside. Holy crouton.

I was craving red meat so bad but unfortunately cannot have it without being borderline hospitalized in pain. A turkey burger with sweet potato fries it was. The bun got tossed and so did the mayo covered lettuce & tomato. A true reminder why I don’t eat at chain restaurants; however, they have really amped up their healthy side choices compared to most others!

Not that any of you needed a restaurant review of a well-known place, but it was bound to happen; I die to talk/write about food 😉

Most importantly, we had a great time together and a trip down our hilarious memory lane. So many times throughout dinner we couldn’t stop talking about how happy we are, what we have overcome and the life we have built together over 6 years. Some people spend their lives being excited to get married; me on the other hand, spent my life being excited to live with someone and have tons of adventures with that person. To buy furniture, always come home to someone, share every embarassing bathroom moment with and create a life together that doesn’t have to include marriage and babies (yuck). To reflect back over 6 years with the same person who loves me throughout all I have put him through (that could start a whoooole new blog ha) was amazing and I feel so so lucky to have him! 🙂

Sorry for the mushiness today! Later on I can write about how sore my calves/thighs and booty hurt after Jillian Michaels kicked me in the ass this morning, along with my first outdoor winter run! (I survived- and liked it!)

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Naked Cookies & Pizza

It is so. Cold. I shouldn’t be such a baby considering I grew up in upstate NY where the winter weather hovers between 0 degrees and 30… But regardless of my adorable collection of coats and boots, I’m ready for spring and summer.

Back tracking to yesterday… I weirdly enjoy working some weekends. The days go by fast and I have way more energy?! My co-workers and I were all craving the delicious vegetarian baguette sandwich from Macaron Cafe which really is my fav sandwich in the city. A crunchy, fresh french baguette spread with a light dab of french mayo, layered with cherry tomato, carrots, chopped hard-boiled egg, and the most mouth-watering avocado you’ll ever taste. Healthy, filling and energizing. A lunch that doesn’t leave you feeling tired and sluggish.

For an afternoon snack I tried one of Naked Granola’s 6 hour energy “cookies”. Amazing, wholesome ingredients that include: organic oats, cranberries, dark chocolate, sunflower/sesame/pumpkin seeds, flax, & palm oil plus a blend of green tea & yerba mate for that 6 hour energy. The verdict: tasted great (as all the Naked cookies do!) and I really did feel energized and satisfied. I think these might be an amazing pre-workout snack!

Best part of my Saturday: pizza date with Johnny, who I have been with today for 6 years!! Our real anniversary date is tonight, so last night we kept it casual and tried going to our favorite, never-fails pizza joint in Murray Hill; LaBella’s. It takes an hour to get there from our apartment in Washington Heights, but it is so worth it. Sadly, they are closed for good! I really almost cried. Luckily Murray Hill is ripe with tons of great restaurants, including a pizza place that we had wanted to try called Vezzo Thin Crust. And thin crust it was!

This dimly lit yet inviting restaurant sits on the corner of 31st and Lexington Avenue. After scanning their salad menu first, I started with the beet and goat cheese salad and we ordered a large plain pie to share devour. My salad was absolute perfection: a bed of arugula, chunks of beets, two huge dollops of goat cheese topped with pistachios and drizzled in a garlic balsamic vinaigrette.

The pizza was close to perfection as well. It was the thinnest pizza I’ve had in NYC, and very comparable to Consol’s for my Upstate-ers 🙂

But, way way better. I really am digging the thinner crust pizza’s these days; they leave you feeling satisfied without being overly full. If you’re in the city and want fabulous pizza without the crowds of Little Italy, this is your spot. (Easily accesible from the 6 train/ near Grand Central station)

Now I am getting ready for another dinner date with my love! Can’t believe it’s been 6 years together already 🙂