We hope all of you have enjoyed this wonderful holiday season as much as Tom and I have. Each year this time is so magical for us! We had a wonderful time with friends last night for a traditional Italian Christmas Eve Dinner (love you Marc and Donna and your white clam linguine!!!) and wonderful conversation. Today Tom and I enjoyed our present opening and once again we feel spoiled and blessed-- so blessed.

Here are some pictures from all the snow we've had that (a foot fell last week at home and 2' at the boat) has led up to this beautiful White Christmas! Tom captured some of Ollie frolicking in the snow. So funny to have seen in person. Where is Frank you may ask? He barely ventured off the deck--even though I shoveled a path for him in the grass.

Enjoy your day, your families and friends and have a joyful 2010!


















for all my friends...

who love NY as much as I do (Steph, Bev, Marin, Ang, Rachel, Jean, Melissa and more)--- enjoy this little video by dailycandy.com
It gives a great view of the city and what there is to love about it! I just wish the video was longer! :)


http://www.dailycandy.com/new-york/video/78982/Empire-State-of-Mind



Tomorrow we are supposed to have our first HUGE snowstorm of the year and the forecast is calling for 8-14" OR MORE for the Tri-State area! YAY! I love it!! I went to the store to stock up on the essentials in case we get snowed in! Tom laughs at that, but being from Seattle---I have always hoped to be snowed in... like that famous Little House on the Prairie Christmas episode where the Ingalls are completely snowed in (not the one where Mary and Laura both got the same dress and they were actually happy--that one sucked)... and if you don't know what I am talking about, well, that is just sad. Youtube it--in fact, here is the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6clU0xMEUkE


Or, if you have the opportunity, ask my sister, my mom or my aunt Renee or Aunt Cindy as they all know what I am talking about (even my brother knows, but he'd NEVER admit it... Poor Grant, 2 older sisters did him NO favors). ANYWAY-- since this post was NOT intended to be about 70's television but sortof ended up being so, I will close this post up with the old TV sign-off of "Stay Tuned"... we'll update you on the snow later!!

Picture courtesy of nbcnewyork.com

There have been many songs written about my favorite city but this one I am really liking right now. Alicia Keys was a guest on the Colbert Report yesterday to perform her song Empire State of Mind 2 and Stephen Colbert questioned why the song focused on the city only and not the 'burbs (like NJ and Conneticut--Stephen lives in Conneticut). I am pasting the lyrics of the original song but also a clip of a "remake" of the song Alica and Colbert did featuring Colbert's customized rap solo (that follows just a 15 second commercial).
Its classic!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/115500/the-colbert-report-alicia-keys-and-stephen-perform

Lyrics:

Ooohh New York x2

Grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that's what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name in marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New Yoooork!

On the avenue, there ain't never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a gypsy cab, takes me down from Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger for more than an empty fridge

I'm gonna make it by any means, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These street will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New Yoooork!

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

In New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New Yoooork!

The answer, if you ask most New Yorkers, is "not much". Its been a frustrating time since the attacks on our country in regards to the rebuild. It has been postponed for multiple reasons (some considered good, others not) and is years behind schedule.

I have been down there countless times and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was just a regular construction site. The site itself is fenced off and the fences are covered (initially they were not) so seeing into the construction zone is impossible from the street. However now, The Port Authority of NY and NJ have added views (pictures and videos) from the site to flickr.com and youtube.com.


Check it out.
Picture is courtesy of Joe Woolhead found on nbcnewyork.com

Hello readers! This post is not meant to be a toot my own horn type of post, but it is to notify you to check out Empire Sports Now! It is a NY-area Sports blog that I am now a writer for! As you know, I love to write and while travel writing is my passion---I am a huge sports fan and a huge NY area sports fan which led me to this site and this fabulous opportunity!!

Being their newest writer, I have been assigned the New Jersey Nets. For those of you who do not follow sports or the Nets-- tell everyone they are your favorite team and that you love them and that you never miss a game!!

For those of you who know a bit about the NBA (National Basketball Association) will know that the Nets have THE WORST record in the NBA right now (2-22) and they just can't seem to catch a break. While it is difficult to write about them in a positive way that keeps my readers engaged----its great fun for me to be involved in basketball again-this time as a journalist rather than a coach or a player.

If you know me well, you know that I am not a fair-weather fan. I do not jump on bandwagons (never have, never will like or have faith in the Seattle Seahawks or Seattle Mariners) nor do I become a hater when "my teams" have an off season or two (GO UW Huskies!!! Its just a re-building year (or 4)!!) so while it may be a difficult job writing about the Nets right now-- I am in it for the long haul and I am waiting for when they turn the page on this season!! :)

Enjoy the website. It covers all NY area sports. Please do leave a comment or, if you are so inclined, follow us on twitter! As always, thanks for reading this blog and I hope you have a moment to check out my new undertakings at
http://empiresportsnow.com/


Birthday Hot Dog

Our little Franklin Delano Ellefson (Frank to most people) is 3 today! Yay Frank! You are 3! PARTY!!

Here he is at his party.


And here is the aftermath... too many dog treats for the boy (and his sister)!



**(disclaimer: tom and I are officially "those people" who treat their dogs like many treat their kids...)

Have a laugh

Leave it to Saturday Night Live to always make us laugh! Here is a classic to get you in the mood for the holidays!
Its a bit long, 5 min (after the ad at the beginning), but worth it!

Enjoy!

Our regular readers know that we, mainly I, love to read about property in the city and the good deals and not so good deals we find and/or hear about. I have much of our future brownstone or highrise condo on the Upper West Side already decorated in my mind and really am just waiting to move... (now we just have to win that elusive lottery).

My friend Rachel, who visited over Thanksgiving, has now hopped onto this bandwagon and looks for shockingly good (or bad) deals for Tom and I in the city. Rach lives in Texas where houses are seriously a FRACTION of the cost of NY pads and these Texas homes are mansions in comparison.

Here is a great example she sent me:

Exhibit A: House #1.
This house Rachel wants is on a LAKE in Texas, about an hour from Dallas. Texas is challenged with water and this lake is actually quite nice (per Rachel).

The house was built in 2008 and not yet lived in. It is 1600 sq ft, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and again, ON A LAKE.
The cost: $155K but Rachel is sure it will go for way less with this economy and I agree.

Exhibit B: The comparison house...well, condo, well... "micro-studio" is the actual term.
This micro-studio is in a neighborhood known as Morningside Heights--the way Upper West Side past Columbia University. A bit out of the way, but still a quick subway ride from anywhere.
I have attached the link below to the article from the NY Post (that Rachel sent me), but here are the specifics that will seriosuly make you shake your head.
-It is 175 sq ft. Again, 175 sq ft. WHAT???

-The married couple, who are the tenants claim they love it (some people will say anything to get in the news).
Their queen sized bed takes up 1/3 of the living space. Their 2 cats have it pretty good-- the couple has put up a cat tower. I wonder if the couple sits on that as well when they have company over. Wait, what am I saying?? Company? hahaha

-They keep their clothes in the kitchen cupboard, or the fridge (mini-fridge) as they claim they do not cook. Fine--lots of NY'ers don't cook--doesn't mean you don't like a cold beverage now and then.

-Their stove (read: hot-plate) gets put away each morning as the counter space is needed to feed their cats. (Ew, is anyone else grossed out by that??)

Here is the best part:
They jog to their jobs in Manhattan (gotta respect their workout routine) and they pick up their work clothes each day ON THE WAY TO WORK that are stashed at various dry cleaners along their jog route (and smartly--in case the cleaners are closed, they each keep an outfit at their office).

This article caused me anxiety. That is just crazy that a small space like that can cost $150K. Yes, this space is $150K. Is location really worth that much? Apparently.
Here is a shot of the micro-studio (as seen in the NY Post) and a link to the article.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/cozy_crazy_couple_makes_tight_studio_R15ToNFTaJE3c17zkw4efP

Tom, Michele and I headed into the city the day after our Christmas party. We still had a bunch of snow--which I LOVE--and the sky was perfectly blue, the temp cold and NYC perfectly festive!! The city had no accumulated snow so it was easy maneuvering around there (well, if weaving through the crowds is easy). Michele had never been to the city at this time of year and Tom and I go every year, at least once, so it was a necessary and desired trip for all of us!

We showed her the tree at Rockafeller (all lit up), the windows at Saks and the ice rink and bazaar at Bryant Park. After a nice lunch at Dos Caminos on Park Ave we headed home to watch the Giants win. Michele had to head back to Philly but it sure has been nice having her around. We are still so happy she was able to come to the party!

Here are some pics in the snow at our house as well as in the city!!

In the snow!!!





crowded 5th Ave


Rockafeller Center




In Times Square and my very handsome husband




If Tom and I didn't already feel in the Christmas spirit--we surely do now!! Friday night was our long awaited, much anticipated Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!! The rules were simple-- you had to wear an Ugly Christmas sweater which at one time was surely a sweater someone loved and wore proudly--and you had to wear it PROUDLY!

Many of our friends came--nearly 30 in all-- and most had on either an ugly christmas sweater, an ugly christmas-esqe sweater and in one case, christmas underwear (Marc!)-- but don't worry, it wasn't that kindof party.

We had holiday music, lights and decorations, wonderful food and beverages and the best "help" ever! My best friend Michele from Seattle was out East again for work so she drove up from Philly to spend the weekend with us and help at the party. Her only demand was that she didn't have to wear an ugly sweater. I agreed but didn't understand why! I had an extra one for her depicting the 12 days of Christmas in its crocheted 3D glory... oh well, maybe next Christmas. It also snowed about 4" that day so it was PERFECT!!

I am attaching some pics from the party. There are many more that people took so I may add some later as well.
For now--enjoy!
:)

The winners of the Ugliest Sweater!! Jerry and Frank



The finalists!!



Boat friends! Laura, Anthony & Lisa



Crowded kitchen!


Isaac, Bridget, baby Oliver and Diana


Family picture!

Go Elf Yourself!!

Its that time of year again! Sound on!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Hello everyone and let me be perhaps the first to remind you that there are only 24 shopping days left until Christmas!!! Wow--has time gone by quick or what?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our friends (who really are like our family) as well as my great friend from way back to my high school days: Rachel!

Rachel was in Philly for a conference (she lives in Texas now) and I made the short jaunt to pick her up so she could come up and visit Tom and I for Thanksgiving. I hadn't seen Rach since '94 or something like that, but we have been in touch over the years. It was great to see her and she and Tom of course got along great! We had tons of laughs and crazy memory moments-----and Tom being the wonderful, easygoing husband he is, just turned up the tv a bit louder when our cackling got too loud (of course that made us laugh even harder!)

After tooling around Philly some and seeing the important historical attractions (such as the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's grave, ...the Rocky statue...) we headed back to our house and enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with our friends and neighbors Frank and Patti and their family.

After Thanksgiving Rach and I had a fun day touring the city seeing all the Christmas windows and decorations. It was the perfect way to put us in the mood for the season. As I have said before, there is nothing more fabulous than NYC at Christmas time. Tom and I will go in next week to see the tree at Rockafeller Center all lit up as well as the other sights. This is one of our many east coast traditions now and we LOVE it!!

Attached are some pictures from the weekend!

Us at the Rocky statue!


Liberty Bell


Pictures from the City! The ice skating rink is in Central Park.






Thanksgiving at Frank and Patti's and our tree with our little Christmas Elf Ollie making a wish!
Patti and her son-in-law Don; Tina and Brandon, Nick chowing down and some of the guys watching football after dinner!





... which by the way IS their official name so labeled to distinguish them from a baseball team of the same name back in the '20's.

Our friends Jerry and Michelle have season tickets and were gracious enough to invite us to the game on Sunday. We started out the day with some fun tailgating which got us totally into the football mode. We sat in the sun most of the game and it was a gorgeous day so we got quite warm but after the 3rd quarter we remembered that it was mid November and out came the hats and gloves.

Here are some pics and by the way--they won in OT! Yay! :)

Tailgating


The field


In action


Eli


Us after the game!

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