Turning 30, NYC style

Seven years ago I won a contest for one free airline ticket.
When I called to confirm my win, the representative from American airlines asked where I'd like to fly, and on a whim I said, "New York City." I was 23, single, and eager for an adventure before I began my second year of graduate school. Turns out, I had some childhood friends living in the big apple, so I had an apartment to crash at each night. I had a fabulous time!

Times Square in 2008

Two weeks after I returned to Texas from New York City, I started hanging out with the new guy at church. His name was Johnny. Early on, way before we were even in the "talking stage," he came over to my apartment to borrow a game for a church activity. I happened to be scrolling through my NYC pictures, and he listened while I described my trip. While perusing through the pictures of Central Park and Belvedere Castle, I randomly said, "That's where I'll get proposed to someday." I had told all my other friends and family the same explanation, so it was with Johnny. 
in 2008 in front of Belvedere Castle

I thought nothing of that comment until months later when he did propose, in Austin, Texas. He mentioned that he almost booked a flight to NYC to pop the question at that special castle. However, he was worried about the logistics of pulling off such a huge surprise. I happily married him anyways.

Now, in 2015 we made the trip back to New York City to celebrate my 30th birthday. And we took pictures atop of Belvedere Castle. It helped that some awesome friends joined us on this trip, and one of those friends is our favorite family photographer. I'm so glad we celebrated my birthday with a couples vacation!

Johnny and I finally made it to Belvedere Castle

One of my regrets about traveling to NYC while I was single was that I had all these memories but no one else to share them with. I could tell stories, but the memories were mine alone. Now I have Johnny and our group of friends to reminisce with, and New York City has a stronger place in my heart. Traveling with your spouse is truly more fulfilling. Plus, a vacation with friends (and without kids) is a blast!

I'm so grateful for Judy and Julie, my fantastic friends! This trip has been a long time coming.
Julie had tried to organize the trip in the past, but I kept getting pregnant and throwing off her plans.

As we walked around the city, I kept remembering pictures that I had taken seven years ago. Turns out I got "duplicates" of many of my previous photos this time around. And I make similar poses in pictures too.
I really miss those wide legged jeans. And my pre-mommy body.

I still love rocks, and we hunted around the Natural History Museum until I found my favorites: Azurite and Malachite.

I gave this shirt to my little sister last year, but I think I still have those earrings.
I was super excited to walk the Brooklyn Bridge again with Johnny. Old architecture is just remarkable.

But I think Central park is still my favorite place in New York City. It was where I ventured to each day in 2008, and Johnny and I loved to meander through its glory during this trip.

I hope my 30s continue to be wonderful and exciting. 
Starting the decade off in New York was beautiful and memorable. I am truly blessed!