From David Bowie to Regis Philbin // NYC Day 4

There is always that blissful honeymoon period once you return from a vacation. You aren’t thinking about work, are hung up looking at photos/videos from your trip, and continue to describe your experience to friends.


Where the David Bowie sighting happened!

Well, that happy period is over. It’s been about 1.5 months into my new job (I mean career) and I am no longer in vacay mode. By continuing to write this NYC series, I’m reminiscing and miss the NYC vibe more than I thought I would – to be honest. So, here’s how Day 4: June 5th went for mom and I.

Pitt(s): Well, it was raining. Hard. I mean, it was coming down to the point where I didn’t want to wear my converse because I knew they’d be soaked all day. I opted for Birkenstocks instead. They would dry when the sun decided to make an appearance later that day. 

For this reason, we decided to take our chances on a city bus tour. Since we love Friends the sitcom very much, Mom and I chose the Movie & TV Bus Tour. You can catch this bus right in the middle of Times Square, and there are many brochures with information on how to reserve your seats.


Friends sitcom buildings!

The only REAL downside, besides the weather, was that our first coach bus was in shambles. The DVD player was broken, so at first our tour guide struggled to show us the clips that went along with the drive. Then, he realized that he had to order another bus, which we didn’t get on until about 40 minutes into the tour.

Peak(s): There were many highlights, but the BIGGEST one was having a glimpse of David Bowie during our stop over in Washington Square ParkHe had his head down, dressed regularly to the point where we sort of missed seeing him, and speed walking through the square. Incredible. Once of my favourite childhood movies is The Labyrinth where he plays the infamous Goblin King. Funnily enough, our tour guide was the most star struck – a New York resident and part-time actor who once played the hand double of Chuck from Gossip Girl – hilarious.


Heath Ledger’s Apartment.

Next, we drove through the TriBeCa area and spotted Jay-Z and Beyonce’s floor sized condo. Other mentionables that we experienced while on the tour were: standing in front of the Ghost Busters Fire House, Monika and Rachel’s Apartment from Friends - along with Ugly Naked Guy’s (turned Ross’) apartment across the street – Heath Ledger’s apartment (where he lived in NY and passed away in, sadly), and Jack Kerouac’s neighbourhood, just to name a few.

The Movie & TV Tour was a total of 3 hours. Honestly, I think it was worth it. Hesitant at first, the shitty rain and cool breezes persuaded us. It was an awesome bus tour experience.

IMG_6978With the sun on our side, we headed towards the Rockefeller Center and NBC Building. Though we walked through the building, we didn’t go up to the conservatory. There was about an hour wait and we had already gone to the top of the Empire State Building.


St. Patricks Church

Next, we went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is within close walking distance from Rockefeller Center (and dangerously, an Anthropologie). My mom told me that this is Regis Philbin’s church, among other celebrities, so that was exciting! It’s also beautiful inside. They are doing some renovations, but it was one of the most glamorous churches I’ve had the experience of walking through.

With all these star sightings and A-list celebrities on the brain, it was a very fabulous Day in NYC, if I do say so myself.

Be sure to check out our earlier adventures by reading, “From Lady Liberty to the 9/11 Memorial” and “Mother Daughter Trip // New York State of Mind.


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What Alice Forgot // The Book Club Lives On

Who knew we could get through Moby Dick? Granted, we devoured that beast of a novel at our own – slow-ish – pace. With that said, the book club lives on my friends. Right now we’re reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. This novel can be purchased quite easily from Indigo. It wasn’t out on any table, but neatly put away in the fiction section.

So far, it’s much easier to read than Moby Dick and there isn’t much confusion with characters or plot lines. Well, that’s a tad ironic though, because the protagonist (Alice) is navigating through life with a concussion that has caused her to forget the last ten years of her life.

Believe me, a lot can happen in ten years, by the sounds of it.

BlogWe’ve been able to increase our page count per week, which is a blessing since this novel is also long. It is about 500 pages, to be exact. We aren’t making it too easy for ourselves, but I am enjoying the challenge.

FUN FACT: Meagan pointed out that this novel was the author’s way of writing about time travel. Apparently, she didn’t understand the logistics of time travel, so this was her outlet – amnesia.

There are some annoying aspects about the novel. I think it’s more of a personal preference, though. Ever since I was forced to read Pamela for my British Literature II course – I have zero tolerance for epistolary novels. Epistolary means a series of letters, or correspondence.

There are three narratives in this novel so far. Alice which is plot driven, Elizabeth is reflective and writes letters to her therapist as a homework assignment, plus Frannie who writes letters to some man she was supposed to marry – yet we don’t know his relation to Frannie presently or Alice. 

Our first discussion about the book does require a SPOILER ALERT. So, if you are interested in reading this novel, then read no further…

First of all, WHO IS GINA? My theories early on were that she was the name of Elizabeth’s (Alice’s sisters) miscarried baby, but then, it dawned on me. Gina could possibly be the reason why Alice was divorcing her husband. Was she part of an affair?

Something that remains shocking is the fact that Alice doesn’t remember her three children at all. She does remember being pregnant with her first child, but that’s it. Alice is MORE concerned about getting her husband back then taking care of the kids. Her morals are just a little messed up and we can’t really relate.

Stay tuned for more chats on, What Alice Forgot.




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Greenwich Village to the Empire State Building // NYC Day 3

IMG_6896The key to navigating without Google Maps (because I didn’t want roaming charges) and using a paper map, is to stay relaxed. You’d think this wasn’t difficult, but once you start getting lost and circling in a new place, it isn’t always easy.

This didn’t stop my mom and I from enjoying Day 3 in NYC!

IMG_6841Waking up knowing you’re going to walk around Greenwich village is VERY exciting if you have read the novels of Jack Kerouac – or other Beat Generation authors – and all that jazz. Yet, there isn’t really a designated spot in NY or a “village” per-see. It’s more of an undesignated area. That morning, I believe that we walked through it because we were in the middle of Broadway and Lafayette Street. This was definitely a highlight, but not quite the biggest Peak of the day.

IMG_6845Next, we stumbled upon NYU (New York University) where Ross from Friends taught a class, which is beside Washington Square Park (where we later had a GLIMPSE of David Bowie – more to come on that during Day 4). From there we made it into SoHo, and of course, China Town. To our surprise, and thankfully for our poor decimated feet from walking everywhere, all these MUST SEES were in close walking distance from each other.


IMG_6874The Pitt, which truly breaks my heart, is how small Little Italy has become. Surrounded by China Town with an entrance of oversized sun flowers hanging above the street entrance, Little Italy is four to five solid blocks – ONLY. For the most part, it’s literally ONE STREET. For some reason, I had imagined that it was much larger, and maybe at one point in time – it was?

There was a glimmering and unexpected PEAK while visiting Little Italy, though, and it was the washroom. I know, it sounds weird. You know that you’re in a clean, Italian bathroom when it smells like bleach! I didn’t need to use toilet paper to cover the seat in this Italian restaurants bathroom, oh no, I sat my ass right down on that seat. It smelt like home.


Rice Balls from the lovely restaurant with the cleanest bathrooms around NY!

IMG_6909With the entire afternoon left, and endless possibilities in NYC, we headed to the Empire State Building. Amazed at the fact that there was no line to get to the top, this was our second PEAK of the day. I know it’s cheating to have two Peaks, but walking through the building and surpassing where a line-up (of up to 2 hours) normally is, well, that’s just lucky. At the top of the Conservatory – you can see the WHOLE of NYC. All the movies come to mind that were filmed up there – none of which I can remember now – but WOW. That view. Peak, peak, peak of a lifetime.

Day 3 was so incredible that it passed my expectations. I’m sure my mother would say the same. To find out how this Mother-Daughter trip all started, read: “New York State of Mind.


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Guest Post: The Final Chase // Moby Dick

By: Meagan Laroque

I’d like to start this off by informing you that I took the time to think of creative ‘rapper’ names for Moby Dick to spice things up a little. I think if Herman Melville were alive today he would appreciate it, and probably incorporate some into his novel.

M. Dickie Slam is a story about (spoiler alert!) a ship traveling throughout the waters in search of a ferocious whale named Moby Dick (aka Sly Assassin). They meet another boat, ask if they’ve seen Mo’ Dick, run into a different whale and chase it down, catch the whale, meet another boat, ask about Mo Dizzle, chase another whale, catch the whale, meet another boat… you get the point. Every once in a while they see the star of the show, M-D, and he gets away, taking a limb or a life with him in his escape.

I know this is a classic story and I appreciate that. It’s clever, witty, and explores a number of subjects such as power, social status, and good vs. evil. I marked some really good quotes while reading. Having said that, I would suggest you only read all chapters relating to Queequeg (as he is our favourite character), and the last 60-ish pages (which ends up being about 1/10 of the book).

If, however, you’re patient enough to read through numerous internal dialogues debating whether whales blow air or water out of their spouts, or are they nostrils, is that a nose, and do whales have ears, etc., then feel free to read the whole book. The epilogue in particular is hilarious. Or ironic? I’m not really sure what the literary term is but it definitely made me LOL.

If you’re any good with calendars, you’ve already figured out that Dee and I took a really, really long time to finish this book. Apart from the fact that it was extremely dry in many parts, it’s also a massive book, which made it difficult to read while traveling (so difficult in fact that while I was in Hawaii and Daniela in New York, neither of us brought the book with us).

Our Skype chats would start with a short discussion of M. Swagga, and quickly progress into catching up on what’s going on in one another’s lives. I am glad that humorous Dee was there to make jokes while reading along, otherwise I’m not so sure I would have finished reading the book. Needless to say, I am SOOooOoOoo excited to start our next book, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, in our Book Club for Two!

Feel free to leave other alternative ‘Moby Dick’ suggestions in the comments, or even let me know which one was your fave!

To read more about our earlier discussions on the novel, click on: “Conscious Reasonings // Moby Dick” or “It’s not down in any map; true places never are. // Moby Dick.”

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Dads are Cool // Father’s Day

Fathers, fathers, fathers…when I think about my dad and the other fathers in my family – I think of how they’re often the life of the party. Yup, you heard me right.


From left to right: Zio Frank, Andrew (my boyfriend), my brother Matthew, and my Dad

Us women don’t like to admit it, but during family events, my father Michael along with my Zio (Uncle) Romeo and Zio Frank are pretty hilarious guys. It’s fun to sit next to them because after dinner you are guaranteed a shot of your choice of alcohol. Even maybe during dinner, they’ll slip you a few beers. That’s just how they roll.

Other things that come to mind when I think about my dad is how helpful he is when I’m having a tantrum and need life advice ASAP – there just isn’t any other way to communicate vital information unless I get an answer immediately. Honestly, he’s pretty good at hearing me out and calming me down when the time calls for it. I would say, about 95% of the time I follow his lead and do what he deems best.

We also can’t forget my Nonno, who has warmed up even more over the years, as we all get older. He has a great sense of humour and shares his own little life advice with you when it’s just the two of you. Also a pretty sensitive guy, he enjoys it most when we’re all together. More importantly, he is the best to watch the Italian Fifa World Cup 2014 soccer matches with. I love his play-by-plays.

This is why I bought him an Italian flag for his car. Even my Father is getting a Blue Jay’s t-shirt with José Bautista’s name since you can’t go wrong with sports on Father’s Day.


From left to right: Florencia (my Brother’s girlfriend), my Mom, Andrew (my boyfriend), and my Dad!

Throughout my life, my dad, zios (uncles), and Nonno (grandfather), have had a strong influence on me. Always present, often in a good mood and interested in my life – that’s really the best part about Fathers.

Today, I cheers to all these great Fathers that I get to have dinner with tonight – obviously, it’s at my house!

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From Lady Liberty to the 9/11 Memorial // NYC Day 2

IMG_6758What a doozy of a travel day, Day 2: June 3rd, in New York was. Since this is a continuation of my Mother-Daughter Trip to New York City, feel free to click here to read my explanation of this series and all about Day 1.

That being said, the day had a bright outlook at the start. But, don’t most of your mornings when you’re on vacation? That is, until you screw something up in your plans. Well, it wasn’t long until my mom and I realized that we had been sent in the wrong direction – completely – from where we wanted to be, which was Liberty Island.

Unfortunately, the Pitt of Day 2 went as follows:

IMG_6709Knowing that we wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, my mom asked our concierge at the MarMara Manhattan Hotel that same morning where we could catch a boat tour to see Lady Liberty. I’m not sure if she misunderstood us, or had no idea what we were talking about, but she suggested heading to the Piers at the West-end of the city (where boats are located).

Not thinking twice about the directions she gave us, we packed up our map and went on our way. After getting off the Shuttle (the train connecting the 6 train to Times Square) we IMG_6711started walking in that general direction. Of course, along the way, I began to doubt the concierge’s advice. Long story short, the Pier’s were actually the docks and they did not take us where we wanted to be. Instead it was a – sort of – deserted area that had bike/running lanes and a water taxi available. Oh, plus a military looking ship and Museum?!

We came to the realization that we were kind of lost after about 1 hour of walking during this scorching, hot summer day. Obviously, I was cursing the concierge in my head – along with my mother who insisted that we ask. Along the way we did come across Engine 54, one of the U.S. Fire Stations that responded to the 9/11 call. Luckily, we were able to ask the Firemen for proper directions while having a quick chat. It was just a short cab ride away to Battery Park (kind of the ‘boot’ of New York City, to the South) where we could purchase tickets to the Island.

IMG_6761Peak: Lady Liberty herself. That was the peak of this day. Honestly, I hadn’t been that excited until we were on Liberty Island. She is incredibly stunning, and her size alone will have you in a stupor, or daze-like state. It was neat to find out that the points on her crown – which add up to 7 in total – stand for each continent.

To our surprise, you’re not allowed to go up to the top of her observation deck unless you have pre-ordered tickets. Oftentimes, the wait time for these tickets can be up to 6 months or even one year prior to your trip. Seeing her from the ground up was magnificent though, so don’t fret if you don’t come across tickets either.

Following this we went to Ellis Island, also known as Immigration Island. It was part of the package to do both, granted, you don’t have to get off the tour boat if you don’t want to during this stopover.

IMG_6798At this point in the day, it was mid afternoon and we hadn’t quite decided what would make the most of our time. Finally, we came to the decision to visit the 9/11 Memorials and the 9/11 Museum since it was nearby by train (subway). The two fountains that have replaced where the Twin Towers once stood makes this tourist attraction pretty heavy stuff. This tragedy replayed in my mind, as I was in grade 7 or 8 and heard the news while I was in elementary school.

These ‘infinity’ fountains – so to say, because they continue to pour water non-stop – are a beautiful momentous to the families and friends who lost loved ones. 

IMG_6800Along the edges of both fountains are the names of the people who passed away. Respectively, some of these engraved names had flowers and miniature American flags sticking out of them by those who knew them.

Fortunately, we were ‘at the right place at the right time’. If we waited in line, the 9/11 Museum would be passing out free tickets. Of course, we waited…and we waited, under the hot sun. Once inside though, it was incredible to learn the realities of what happened here, in New York. My mom was right to want to see it. Though, it’s important to remember that it took us about 2 to 3 hours to walk through the entire thing.

That being the end of Day 2the Pitt and Peak are ones that I’ll remember for a lifetime. Next on the agenda is going to be Day 3: June 4th, so check back soon!


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Mother-Daughter Trip // New York State of Mind

IMG_6613This mother-daughter trip was like no other trip before, well, at least for me it wasn’t. Having spent a lot of quality time together prior to our vacation to New York, on account of my cousin’s wedding and my unemployment, this was going to be interesting. Yet, we survived the navigational errors when it came to the trains (i.e. the New York subway), and numerical street names, making for a fantastic journey across the urban jungle.

As I’ve done in the past with my trip to Italy, click here to read more about that adventure, I am going to break down our New York trip into a mini series that describes the pitt and peak of each day – Kardashians style.

Day 1: June 2nd


My oldest cousin Julia’s wedding, was the Saturday before our big trip. We were to depart on Monday, and I had of course left packing to the last-minute. In retrospect, maybe we should have delayed our vacation a few more days, so that our poor feet could recover from all the dancing at the reception.

Regardless of all that, though, everything went smoothly. My father dropped us off at the Toronto Pearson International airport on his way to work, and off we went. Not a problem in sight. Once we landed – after a turbulence filled flight that gave me nausea – it was easy to get our bags and head towards the cabs.

Thinking that we could save a little money at the beginning of this tourist attraction filled trip we opted out for a personal cab ride to our hotel – the Marmara Manhattan – for a shuttle instead. Here is where our Pitt of the day comes into play.

Pitt: At first, we didn’t mind the 15 to 20 minute wait for our shuttle to arrive. During this time my mom and I ate a sandwich that we previously purchased. However, once we got in the shuttle van, it took quite some time to pick up the other passengers at the airport.

In total there would be 4 other stops, made up of couples and single passengers, in our shuttle. It just so happened that all these customers were staying in hotels located in and around Times Square. Ours, however, was the furthest away on 94th street located in East Manhattan. What does that tell you? Well, we were the last to be dropped off after about 1.5 hours of sitting in that shuttle.

Yes, we did get a great tour of the city, but since it was our first time there – we were a little disoriented when it came to figuring out how to get back to that place from our actual hotel. Exhausted and frustrated with ourselves, knowing that we should have just opted for a “big yellow taxi,” we checked into our hotel immediately. There would be no more wasted – or lost – time spent in New York from here on out.

IMG_6638Peak: With this as our new mindset we discovered that Central Park was just a short walk away from our hotel, and the nearest New York attraction. Once there, we entered the park at the 5th avenue entrance, and began walking. Ideally, we wanted to rent bicycles to save our feet, but we couldn’t find them from where we had entered the giant park.

No big deal, we took our time strolling through this beautiful park. Along the way we realized that there weren’t many maps, and had to navigate through the walkways, bicycle lanes and intersections on our own. I was thrilled when we finally found the Alice in Wonderland monument, it is my favourite children’s novel, after all!

The centre pond where people drive their sail boats was definitely a highlight. The view is gorgeous, to say the least, and it has been featured in so many famous movies! Not to mention, the Shakespeare in the Park Theatre where Romeo and Juliet are caught in a loving embrace, was exciting to see. My love of literature follows me everywhere. Actresses like Meryl Streep have also performed here, and it was incredible to actually be there in person. This was one of my most favourite experiences while in New York.


IMG_6695Neither a Pitt, nor a Peak, later that night we decided to venture to Times Square. It was fun to take the number 6 train (known as the subway to Torontonians) into the heart of the city. Once at the Times Square stop, we boarded a free shuttle – also an underground train – that took us the rest of the way. Overwhelmed by the amount of people walking around this urban hot spot, we didn’t stay too long, and returned to our hotel at a decent hour.

Stay tuned for more of our New York adventures on Day 2: June 3rd. Believe me, there are many more Pitt’s and Peaks because no trip is 100% smooth sailing.


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