Back in December, I held my very first Discovereighng with Dana group trip to New York City. Even though NYC is totally my jam, I was pretty nervous about it! Luckily, it went off without a hitch, well minus subway passes & a trip in Central Park. But for guiding 15+ people through one of the busiest cities in the world at the busiest time of year, it went great! I couldn't have asked for a better group of travelers for my first group trip, and will cherish each and every one of those folks!
Our trip was a long weekend, Thursday through Sunday, and was perfect for the first timers and the group setting. I planned out our itineraries ahead of time to get the most out of our time—a must when visiting New York City.
We enjoyed many adventures as a group, and plenty of built in free time to explore on our own. I enjoyed having several people follow along with me here and there, with my dear friends Sam & Dara sticking with me throughout the trip. We all had such fun, I failed to snap a group photo until after we'd return to the airport in Dallas! So, I'll put a group photo at the top of the list for next time!
We called the beautiful Riu Plaza Times Square home for those 3 nights, and I was more than pleased with the selection! Our rooms were quite spacious for New York, as this is a newly opened hotel, and breakfast was included with our rooms—a great money saver! I now include this hotel in all of my NYC package options.
We ate some amazing meals, including lots of Italian! Of course, I brought my friends to Serendipity for the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate! But this time I had hot chocolate since I was freezing, equally as delicious! We also ventured over to Brooklyn, and had Grimali's pizza. It was to die for! SO delicious! On a future trip to New York City, a friend and I plan to hit even more yummy restaurants and peruse a few museums.
Of course, Broadway is always a must when in New York! I managed to squeeze in 3 shows this trip, and I LOVED each one! Both brand new, Pretty Woman & The Cher Show were amazing! And Wicked was a show I've balked for a long time (not a fan of The Wizard of Oz), but I loved it! I loved them all for different reasons, but musically & costume wise, of course, The Cher Show was bar none! I highly recommend that one to everyone! Those in the group saw Aladdin or The Lion King, and loved their selections!
Being December, we were able to experience all of the Christmas goodness! My favorite being a super early morning to Rockefeller to see the tree before the city woke up. Though the city never sleeps, some times of day are just more "sleepy" than others. Haha! This turned out to be one of my favorite New York moments EVER! I now highly recommend all of my NYC at Christmas goers to wake up early to see the stunning tree without battling the crowds.
We packed in endless exploring during our short time there, and I even experienced some firsts—heading inside the Oculus, visiting Ellis Island, and a more extensive visit to Central Park.
As a large group, we
On our last morning, myself & the few still up for one last adventure, woke up early and headed to Central Park. We enjoyed a preplanned/mapped out walk around the park hitting all of the highlights. I mapped things out ahead since this was our last morning, and we had a flight to catch. It worked out really well, and still gave us time to make it to Serendipity for breakfast. I was also able to pop into Magnolia Bakery for banana pudding--my #1 NYC food must!
My favorite experience of the trip, and actually in my top five New York experiences ever, was an impromptu stop at FDNY Engine 205 Co. Hook & Ladder 118 in Brooklyn Heights. After our delicious pizza lunch in Brooklyn, several of us were on our way to the subway station to head back to Manhattan. One of the families with kids in my group, intended to visit several fire houses while in New York, as 9-year-old Ryan's dad is a fireman. We are walking along, and I glance to the right, and notice a firehouse with a beautiful red door a block or two away.
We decide to go. Boy, am I glad we did!
The Engine Co. turned out to have a sorrowful story on the fateful day of 9/11. The prominent red door I'd noticed, well the original doors are now in the 9/11 Museum.
You can read more about Ladder 118 here, here, and here.
When we happened upon Engine Co. 205 Ladder 118, they were having their firehouse Christmas party. Family members were in and out, and the fireman donned "ugly" Christmas sweaters. Still, a gentlemanly fireman named Chris spoke to the ever so excited Ryan, and invited him & his mom in for a quick look. He even popped up on the fire truck for a photo op with the fireman.
For me, it was so tearful! It was the simplest act of kindness for that firefighter, but for me, and I'm sure Ryan & his mom too, it was a truly profound experience!
Special thanks to Chris & all of Engine Co. 205 Ladder 118 of the FDNY, and endless thanks to all of our fireman who risk their lives every single day!
I hope you enjoyed this recap of my latest visit to New York City and a bit about my first Discovereighng with Dana New York Group Trip! If you're interested in visiting NYC with me be sure to follow me on Facebook, I'll be announcing a second NYC trip soon!
Over the past year, I have been learning so many new things, how to be a mom, how to be a mom, wife, AND business owner, and so much more! On the business end of things, I’ve really been focusing on learning all I can about successfully planning destination weddings. Last Fall, I attending a FAM (travel agent familiarization trip) in the Bahamas learning about one of my favorite resort brand's wedding process, but it wasn't until after that that I started really hitting the books.
I have a few weeks before wrapping up a 4 month long interactive course with Destination Wedding University, and am so beyond THRILLED about all I’ve learned, not only about destination weddings, but about how to make my business systems better for YOU!
So a little back story. Destination weddings were never something I imagined I'd be focused on. I just did not think I would find the clientele. However, over the past few years in business more than a few have came my way. From an intimate ceremony on Maui to a couple returning to the Bahamas to marry where she said "yes" to a 100+ people celebration in Jamaica, the destination wedding aspect of my business took off! With all of that, I knew I didn't know everything there is to know about the destination wedding business, but I knew I wanted to! That's where this amazing course came in. The course happily fall into my lap, and I couldn't say no!
In the coming weeks, I'll be graduating from Destination Wedding University with not only sooo much more knowledge about how to bring my clients' destination wedding vision to life, but a better confidence in myself and what I can achieve!
With all of that being said, I introduce to you a whole new vision for my brand--Discovereighng with Dana Travel & Destination Weddings! You'll notice me sharing more destination wedding photos & tips, but for the most part it will be the same ole me bringing you better service & a refined new logo!
We are well into the exciting first month of the year, and I hope you are still on top of your resolutions or goals for 2019! I tend to go for goals I can check off a list rather than resolutions that I always fall short on. I also love a good ole bucket list. But when you start to write out all of the exciting things you want to do and achieve in your lifetime, it can get overwhelming! So today, I want to share what I do to create a bucket list that is inspiring instead of overwhelming. If you're in over your head in creating a bucket list or goal sheets, read on to see my six tricks to creating an inspiring-to-you bucket list.
Have More than One
Maybe this defeats the purpose of one big list, but it makes it feel less overwhelming to me. I like to break things down by year for smaller goals or by decade for those huge bucket list items. My yearly goals tend to include 1-2 items from my big "decade" bucket list (see that below or read about my 30 B4 30 and 40 B4 40) so I'm essentially working towards all my lists at once. I also like to create a yearly personal and professional/business goals list. My "decade" bucket lists are essentially those big life long goals I want to accomplish in my lifetime.
Create a Time Line
Like I mentioned above, I create multiple lists. This allows me to more easily create them via timeline. I want to accomplish my yearly goals in the calendar year. I want to accomplish my 40 B4 40 by the time I hit 40. At that point, I'll start a new "big bucket list." This gives me a timeline to work towards to hold myself accountable.
Include Big & Small Items
Don't include just the big things on your list—break it down! I like to include big ticket items like go on an African safari, and smaller items like organize a printed photos. I do the same for my yearly goals. If you include nothing but big ticket items, you'll become overwhelmed. As you mark off those smaller, easier to attain items, you'll be inspired to make those big vacations (or whatever big goal) happen!
Share with Others
Lastly, share your list with others! Find someone to help you stay accountable, and as you mark items off your list to cheer you on! It makes me so happy to see others accomplishing their goals so be sure to share your list with me!
I hope these tips help you with creating your inspiring bucket list! Be sure to share your bucket list items in the comments.