I’m a huge fan of day trips. It’s a chance to get away to a destination that’s right in your backyard. Sometimes we don’t get to discover some of the hidden treasures just outside of our home city because we’re so busy planning out adventures that require extensive transport and advanced detailing. Everyone deserves a mini-break from their lives, even if it is only 24 hours.
We leave for NYC for a week today and anxiety and excitement are running through my veins. I’ve traveled a lot this year and last year for my blog and social media which has been awesome! I’m grateful that as a family we’re able to take a long trip like this together considering that we moved into our new house in the beginning of the year and shelved the idea of any large (and expensive) family travel in 2018 due to adjustments that we needed to make in our budget. So for me, not only is this trip a much needed getaway for us to reconnect as a family, it’s symbolic to the hard work put in this year, being self-employed, to financially be able to do something like this.
This will be the first time my kids are going to New York and I’m so excited to share one of my favorite cities with them. Over the past few days we’ve been talking about all the things we want to see and do. Exploring the Met Museum, ice skating in Bryant Park, checking out Oculus at the World Trade Center, the view on the Rock, seeing all the window holiday displays, eating several slices of Prince Street Pizza (my personal favorite), and just soaking up the sounds and lights of New York.
My hopes for this trip…
As adults we are well aware of how much time, energy, and resources goes into planning a trip. I mean let’s be real here, being in a household where there’s two self-employed creative artists, money isn’t growing from trees. So I’m hoping that our kids will be grateful for the experience which I know they will, but traveling with kids can be stressful and challenging.
My other biggest hope for this trip will be that their minds can become a little more expansive by getting a taste of another perspective of life in someplace different. I think so often we’re caught up in our day to day experiences, problems, and routines that we forget to fill our hearts with gratitude, perspective, and compassion. One of the things all my traveling in this past year has really taught me was how to have compassion for myself when things go wrong or when plans don’t go accordingly, like missed flights or stress due to poor planning. Traveling has also opened up my mind to possibility that there’s so much more out there to see. I’m hoping that our daughters can taste a little bit of that after this trip too.
Your NYC recommendations
Last week on my Instagram stories I asked for some recommendations of places to see or check out during our family trip and a lot of you gave me some really awesome recommendations. I’m sharing them below!
Places to eat:
Negril’s in the Village - Savory Caribbean Cuisine
Rossaopomodoro - Neapolitan Cuisine
Russ & Daughters - One of Oprah’s favorite Brunch spots
Cafe Sabarksy - Viennese inspired cafe
Tao Downtown - Asian Inspired cuisine
Down the Hatch - Great little with the best Buffalo Wings
Catch - Creative Seafood
Cuba - Cuban cuisine
Pearl Oyster Bar - Oysters and seafood
Taco Mahal - Indian/Latin fusion tacos
Faicco’s Italian Specialities - Italian Deli
Best Bagel & Coffee - Bagels + Coffee
Beauty & Essex - New American Cuisine
Clinton Street Baking Co - Latin-Southern comfort food
Cookshop - Farm to Table
Jack’s Wife Freda - American Bistro
Rubirosa Ristorante - Pizza
Joe’s Pizza - Best NY style pizza
Don Antonio’s - Pizza
Fette Sau - BBQ in Brooklyn
Spotted Pig _ British & Italian Cuisine
Joe’s Shanghai - Dim Sum
Halal Guys - the real Halal truck on 53rd & 6th
Jacob’s Pickles - Southern Comfort Food
Eataly - Italian Cuisine
Magnolia Bakery for their banana pudding or cakes
Jeepney - Filipino Gastropub
Maharlika - Filipino Bistro
Pepolino - Italian & best Ricotta Cheesecake
Lucalis Pizza - Pizza in Brooklyn
Dr. Smood - coffee and healthy light bites
Sushi by Bou - 30 minute Omakase Speakeasy
Veselka - Ukranian food in East Village
Things to Do
Hope this list of places can help you guys plan your next trip to NYC. If there’s anywhere else you feel I should bring the kids that haven’t been mentioned feel free to leave me a comment below.
I’m back in NY in 3 days and I can’t believe it. 😬 I never started traveling as much as I do until last year and I’m so grateful that a large majority of it is because of my blog and opportunities via social media.
A few nights ago my teenage daughter looked at me while we were having dinner and said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you. I remember a few years ago when you had no motivation in anything. And to see what you’ve done not only with your health, but everything else is great.” **insert all the tears** 2018 was not an easy year for me despite what you’ve seen on the gram. We moved this year to a new city, new home, my daughters had to make new friends, work dramatically shifted for me, and I’m finding myself in yet another state of “what do I want to do next with my career? How do I level up for me and family?”
As many of you know when I lost my 9-5 job in 2016 I immediately jumped back into school to get my health and nutrition coaching certification. My coaching practice has always been focused on helping women redefine health and strengthen the relationship that have with themselves. What I didn’t anticipate was so many of my coaching calls were more deeply rooted in personal development and relationships. I guess it makes sense when all I want to do is help people live life as their best selves and to be in love with the person they are becoming. Which is why the entire term #womaninprogress has been engrained in my heart and mind all year long. We are all a work in progress and a beautiful masterpiece all at once.
Change is hard and I don’t think society makes it easy for us to acknowledge that. This year has been a fucking rollercoaster ride for me. I’ve shed many tears of happiness and many tears of frustration, fear, and sadness. I felt like I lost my desire to exercise as much because of how much emotional stress I’ve been under and often times the feeling of imposter syndrome runs through my veins. I’ve shifted a lot of my focus into making sure that my family is well taken care of especially because my husband has been dealing with his own set of personal growth challenges which has taken a toll on his business as well. All this to say I feel like there are times where I’m crumbling between my own finger tips.
What keeps me going? I’m a woman in progress. A woman who is in the process of learning to know, accept and love herself on all levels: Mind, Body and Spirit. A woman who, because she focuses on personal growth and self awareness, experiences a life increasingly filled with peace, love, joy, passion and fun. A woman that understands that she has unlimited capacity to make her life anything she wants. A woman who is inspired to give to those around her, a sense of gratitude and abundance.
Being in progress never feels easy. There’s this internal struggle I feel sometimes with my thoughts and what I want to present to the world. Mainly because I’m still in the process of processing those thoughts and haven’t arrived to any clear conclusion that I felt would make sense to people reading or understanding. Dare I say I feared judgement. Even writing that feels icky and gross because here I am constantly wanting to guide you through standing strong against judgement. None the less I’m only human and as a human I still have feelings and emotions and its messy and beautiful all at the same time.
I guess I’m sharing this with you all because I was having this deep conversation with my daughter this morning about growth, life, relationships, travel, and work. She expressed the pride she felt for herself to have overcome such an emotional challenge year having to switch schools and make new connections. As she and I were talking about life, I couldn’t help but borrow some of that feeling of pride she had for herself and look inwards at my own life over the past year. Yes, there has been some difficult moments and moments I felt like a failure. At times I’ve felt very weak mentally and physically, but overall I’ve overcome a great deal this past year.
An area I feel like I failed miserably was taking my readers along this year of growth and change. I think mostly because I feared what it would look like to you all once I started to shift my focus to all the primary foods in our lives: relationships, spirituality, career, and physical activity rather than writing or sharing about nutrition and meal prep tips. Would people be receptive to this growth mindset that I’ve adopted into all areas of my life?
A lot of this change happened back in 2016 when Instagram curated my Best of Nine for that year and all that was selected were progress photos. I remember thinking to myself I AM MORE than just progress photos. There's so much more to GOFITJO than someone who works out for aesthetics or weight loss. Life's challenges comes in different shapes and sizes and creating the best moments in your life is up to you. I hope as I get back to some of my roots of writing from the heart that you’ll join me along for the journey. I have no idea where its going to take me, but I do know that I’m bringing you along my journey of a woman in progress.
What does this all mean for my blog?
For almost half the year of 2018 I was going back and forth on rebranding, a completely silly idea considering that I had just rebranded my blog with Go Live HQ in October 2017. What I think it means is that as a reader you’ll still see my journey with using fitness as a tool to help me get my life together, to help me gain inner strength for my challenges, and to help me keep my anxiety and depression under control. But what I think it also means is that I’ll start to open up other areas in my life to you with a bit more of a raw and unfiltered take getting back to inviting you to the depths of my thoughts as I explore the different areas of women’s wellbeing and health such as emotional wellbeing, relationships, and dare I say, sexual health!
What I’ve learned in 2018 is that so much of our well-being as women is deeply rooted in the areas that we’re just getting comfortable talking about. When I opened up about my marriage and its ups and downs on Instagram and my blog, I got a huge wave of response from my audience. That blog post was the most read blog post in 2018 and I was shocked. I’ve always believed that how we approach our relationships in life whether they be romantic, professional, or personal is a direct reflection of the relationship we have within ourselves. And the relationship we have with ourselves directly affect our mental, emotional, and physical health.
There’s so much to unpack with direction and its exciting for me and extremely scary as well. I think from a society standpoint we’re still learning to define what health means to us on an individual level. Now I’m throwing a whole set of unconventionally discussed topics to the table to bring in a much more expansive discussion on health. I’m excited. It feels right, but also so damn scary.
I’d love to hear your thoughts either in the comments below or on Instagram.
This year my birthday landed on Thanksgiving and since I was just coming back home from my recent travels I wanted to have more of an intimate Thanksgiving gathering that included my husband and our two daughters rather than the large traditional gatherings we do with our families every year.
I pulled the birthday girl card and asked for one of my favorite meals which happens to be fried chicken! Jonathan, my partner in crime, makes a mean fried chicken that we adopted from the famous Chef Thomas Keller. If you’ve never been up to Ad Hoc in Yountville, I suggest you go as soon as you can.