Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!

It’s been weeks since my last post but I have a good excuse – I promise. But before I get into the excuses, I’d like to share some very exciting news! I got our 2014 blog report yesterday and am very happy to share that in 2014 we had over 1,800 views from 865 visitors in 15 countries globally! And since I posted about 36 posts in 2014, that equals roughly 50 views per post. Not bad for this blogging newbie huh? Andy and I are both extremely happy that our readers continue to be interested in our adventures abroad and wanted to send a big THANK YOU for continuing to support our blog! I have many exciting and informative posts planned for 2015 so I hope you continue to follow us and enjoy 🙂

If you follow us on Instagram (@AlmontesAbroad or via our hashtag #AlmontesAbroad), you’d already know that we spent the past two weeks back home in NYC (and if you’re not already following us on Instagram and Facebook, what are you waiting for??).

It was an extremely busy two weeks – I can’t possibly write about it all! Therefore, I’m going to dedicate this post to sharing some of the highlights of our trip.

First thing’s first. There is no arguing that London is extremely beautiful during the holiday season. I’ve shared some photos in previous posts to, hopefully, show you the beauty. But New York doesn’t fall behind. Between holiday markets, street lights and Santa’s house, I gained a true appreciation for how beautiful New York also is during the holidays. I snapped some pics of some of my favorites to share with you (all thanks to my family and friends who patiently put up with my playing tourist while I took pictures “for the blog” 🙂 )

Bryant Park Christmas Market

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Rockefeller Center

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Cross County Mall – Yonkers

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This was the first time that Andy and I have been back home since we moved to London this past summer and we were really excited to see our family and friends. For the first time in years, we stayed separately – he with his mom and me at the “bed and breakfast” of my parents. I can’t speak to his experience being back home but I can say that despite the fact that my mom asked me to cook several times, made me straighten her hair and my dad left me one morning to play babysitter to my two nieces, I had a great time being back home!

We anticipated being very busy during our two weeks back home so we planned ahead and held a gathering at one of our favorite NYC pubs – The House of Brews. We invited our friends and family to come out and have a few pints with us as we wanted to give them the opportunity to see us and, at the same time, wanted the opportunity to see all of them. It was a great turnout – some of my friends came out and Andy’s friends and family came out too.

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We had a list of things we wanted to eat while in NYC:

Pizza (duh, it’s New York)

Red Robin (a gourmet burger place that makes amazing burgers and milkshakes like you just cannot get in London)

Good Mexican food (another hard one here in London)

Bonefish Grill (a great seafood restaurant we discovered in Jersey)

Crisp (a favorite falafel lunchtime spot)

Chinese food (more for Andy because I’m not a fan)

and, my personal favorite, Sprinkles Cupcakes!

Sprinkles claims to be the first cupcake bakery and makes, in my opinion, the best cupcakes ever. And since they do not yet have any international locations (you can find them in California, Texas, Arizona, D.C., Chicago, Las Vegas and New York), I knew that I could not visit New York without satisfying my Sprinkles craving.

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We walked away with four cupcakes in: Carrot Cake, Red Velvet, Lemon and Black and White…all equally yummy.

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A few days later (with lots happening in between – including Andy and friends spotting former President Bill Clinton while dining out!)

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was Christmas. As usual, we spent the 24th with Andy’s family and the 25th with mine.

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This year, my sister had the AMAZING idea to have our family all wear Christmas jumpers/sweaters on the 25th. I loved the idea and even made Andy wear one on the plane ride to the States. Here we are having just landed in our coordinated Christmas jumpers.

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and here we are again on Christmas day with our 3D jumpers.

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The whole family now…

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So in between all the running around, the eating, the drinking and the late nights out, when I wasn’t making dinner for the family or straightening my mom’s hair, I spent every other free minute with my two nieces. We colored, we played a game called Headbanz, took lots of selfies and, overall, had a great time spending quality time together.

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IMG_5931Now, if you know us personally or have been following our blog you probably already know how obsessed we (or at least me) are with our dog, Penny. And, you’re probably wondering where Penny was during our NYC adventures. Well, Penny stayed back in London with our friends in London. She had a fabulous two weeks with J and A and already misses them.

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So while there’s so much to say about our trip to NYC, I think this post is now officially long enough! We had a great time seeing everyone and look forward to doing it again next Christmas.

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