One of my favorite perks of the job is that it allows me to travel. I’ve been able to visit some amazing cities over the past few years for work – Portland, Santa Barbara, Colorado Springs, and even some places for personal adventures – Barcelona, Florence, etc… but still – New York City was at the top of my list of places I had never been. So when my California based clients Mil + Kris asked me to meet them there for a photo shoot, YES was the only word that came to mind. One of my good friends that I travel with a lot, Krista, had never been either – so I dragged her along with me for a little girls weekend getaway 🙂
Despite being under the weather, we definitely made the most of our jam packed weekend. Here’s what we did during our 3 1/2 days in the Big Apple:
Friday // We arrived super early on Friday morning, and the first thing we did was drop off our bags at our TINY, and I meant tiny Air BnB. It was supposed to be a one bedroom, but really it was the smallest studio I’ve ever seen. It made my studio in Chicago seem like a mansion (which was kind of nice to come home to!). It was definitely our first confirmation of rumors that we’d heard about New York apartments being small. It didn’t bother us too much though, as we knew we’d be spending most of our time out and about the city. We spent the afternoon wandering around different neighborhoods, making a stop along the way at Ess-A Bagel for lunch. I got the Lox on an Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese. It was delicious (see photo below). After that, we went to the 9/11 Museum and spent over 3+ hours there, reliving the horrifying moments from our memories, and hearing some heart wrenching stories/voicemails from people that were in the towers and/or on the flights. It was such an emotional couple hours… my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was involved. After spending hours in the museum, we were exhausted from our long day, so we ended our first night at a little Italian restaurant in our Murray Hill neighborhood…
Saturday // Our second day in Manhattan started bright at early with an 8am shoot on the Highline and Grand Central Station with Mil + Kris. It is so beautiful up on the Highline, I definitely recommend it for anyone visiting the city for the first time and looking for a great place to run/walk take in some views. After the shoot, we brunched at this adorable place down the street from our apartment called Penlope. I had an amazing bacon and egg sandwich, which kept me fueled for our long walk through Central Park. It truly was massive. Krista and I spent the afternoon exploring the park, watching some Rec League Softball Games, as well some Little League Games. After a nice relaxing afternoon – the weather was perfect by the way – Krista and I made our way to Madison Square Park to get a Shake Shack snack… only to find out that it was closed for renovations 🙁 Don’t worry though, we got our fix at another one and Krista got to try her first Shack Burger! So good – if you haven’t been, head over to the one in Chicago (get there right at 11am to avoid out-the-door lines)… in my opinion (and I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this…) Shake Shack holds the #1 spot in my heart, yes… over In-N-Out Burger! A quick regroup at our apartment and we were back out the door to check out Times Square, where it was super crowded and gave me anxiety. We followed that quick stop at Times Square with dinner at Barbetta. The food wasn’t the greatest, but it was near the theater where we were seeing the Lion King – and I will say that the people watching at this establishment was some of the BEST I’ve ever experienced. I would probably go back just for that 🙂 After dinner we saw the Lion King – which as expected – was fantastic. The costumes, performers, and production was incredible… and of course you already know the music is great!
Sunday // As you can tell, we pretty much jammed everything we could into each day. So being that I was pretty sick (and still am recovering actually), when Sunday morning came… I could barely peel my eyes open. But we knew we had to make the most of it – so we went to the Brooklyn Bridge, watched some street performers, walked across it, saw Lady Liberty from a distance, and got some NY style pizza at Grimaldi’s before heading to see the Mets Game in Queens. Our seats at the game were right behind home plate and the weather was pretty much perfect – so it was a great afternoon 🙂 That night, we went to dinner at Blue Smoke BBQ (SO GOOD!), went to the deck of the Empire State Building, had drinks at a speakeasy above Five Guys (super cool spot), and ended the night at a midnight comedy show at Comedy Corner. Let’s just say it was a 3am night and by the end of the show – everyone in the room knew I was Filipino, from Chicago, had a boyfriend at home, and was in NY with my “white friend, Krista.” Our seats were directly next to the stage, so needless to say – we got called out A LOT. My face hurt after the show from laughing so hard. Definitely recommend checking that place out!
Monday // By the time Monday came, we had pretty much checked everything off our list of things to do. It was the first and only day that it rained while we were there, so we took advantage of the weather and gave ourselves a nice, chill morning breakfast at a place called Mud, and sat at a Starbucks and read until we caught our flight back home.
In the end, it was an AMAZING trip. I got to see and do everything I would’ve wanted to do – thanks to the awesome planning of my girl, Krista. The weather was great for the most part, I got to experience New York City… but I will say that it definitely made me LOVE Chicago a little bit more 🙂
Mil + Kris… well these two, they hold a special place near and dear to my heart. We first met last year when they hired me to photograph them during their trip to Chicago from California. It was an immediate friendship, bonded over our love of food, travel, and experiencing the new. After our session, we kept in touch with our travel plans for the year… throwing around ideas for meeting up in Portland, Denver, and Arizona. But when it came time for them to plan their trip to New York, the stars aligned and they booked a New York City session with me.
Despite some weather hiccups, I met Mil + Kris on top of the Highline early Saturday morning to explore some city views and get some photographs you can only get in NYC. Looking down upon the high rises, busy streets, and fire escape lined buildings – Mil, Kris, and I explored this side of New York together, capturing moments along the way. After the Highline, we ventured over to Grand Central Station so Mil could get the iconic shot she had been dreaming of. Mil + Kris, thanks again for having me with you to capture your travels! I LOVE the idea of traveling around the world together and documenting every moment. I am blessed to have worked with you, and I can’t wait for our next adventure together!
Kathleen (KP) + Chris had been happily dating for 6 years. Until that one day at the Signature Room, Chris waited until the very end of dinner to pop the big question. He had sweat profusely throughout the whole dinner, oddly going to the bathroom a few times to switch what pocket the ring was in – but KP had no idea what was about to happen and was pleasantly surprised when they got up to leave and Chris got down on one knee.
KP + Chris wanted a mixture of nature and iconic Chicago skyscrapers as the backdrop for their Engagement Session, so we shot around Millennium Park to get the perfect combination of both. KP + Chris giggled their way through the session, and it was such a blast getting to know them before their wedding day this coming September. Working with couples on their engagement beforehand is one of my favorite things to do and definitely gives us that extra connection 🙂 KP + Chris, thanks for being so awesome. It was so wonderful working with you both on such a beautiful spring day – and I can’t wait for the wedding! See you verrrrrrry soon!
Kristen + Conor are one of those couples that you just look at from across the room and can see how perfect they are for each other. Conor’s energy is the perfect balance to Kristen’s laid back personality, and their sense of humor is infectious. I had such a wonderful time working with the two of them from the very beginning when we met at The Fountainhead for drinks to go over the contract – to our Engagement Session on the railroad tracks (which are now locked because of us) – to their incredible wedding at Ravenswood Event Center. Their wedding day was stress free, adorned with the perfect subtle details that highlighted their style and personality, and filled with friends and family that love and support them. I wish Kristen + Conor nothing but the best, and hope that we can work together again in the future!
VENDOR CREDITS // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ravenswood Event Center // Wedding Dress Designer: Badgley Mischka, BHLDN // Tuxedo Designer: Ralph Lauren // Florist: Anna Held Floral Studio // Dessert Table: Sweet Mandy B’s // DJ: Jennefa Krupinski, Toast & Jam // Paper Goods Designer: Feel Good Invites
A few weeks ago, I took a week long trip out to Arizona to visit my boyfriend (who was there for all of March for Cubs Spring Training), and my best cousin friend, her hubby, and new baby Jordy. It was a glorious week spent in warm weather soaking up sun – jam packed with hikes, DDD food spots, and quality time with people that mean the world to me. I left feeling satisfied with what I did with my time there, but you know me – I left with a list of things I want to do during next year’s visit 🙂
A few of my favorites from this trip:
- Hiking A-Mountain
- Bei Sushi
- Cubs Game to see Will Ferrel
- Defalco’s Italian Deli with my new photographer friend, Teresa
- Engagement Session with Bree + Erik at Papago Park – Hole in the Rock (and Henri our bird friend)
- Hiking Camelback Mountain (free lemonade stand at the top)
- Coyotes Hockey Game with Mike and Alex
- In-N-Out Burger
- Making “mystery pancit” dinner for Tiff, Mike, and Alex
- Working the Cubs Game with Alex
- Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market (BBQ in a Gas Station)
- Sweet Republic Ice Cream (two nights in a row)
- Hiking the Sedona Airport Overlook Trail
- Broken Arrow Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona
But most importantly, I loved the moments in between. Waking up in the mornings with Alex, spending the day with Tiff and Baby Jordy (yes, even the terrifying car ride where I really got to know Jordyn), seeing Mike and Alex get along so well, laughing so hard with Tiff that I cry – the quality moments that often get overlooked, but are usually my favorite and most meaningful moments. You’ll see a couple of those moments captured below…
Until next time, AZ.. here’s what I’m hoping to tackle next year 🙂
- Hike the other side of Camelback
- Devil’s Bridge
- White Water Raft the Salt River Canyon
- Eat Chicken Fingers from Canes