Thursday, July 07, 2011

RWA 2011 in NYC - Part I

So I've started posting up my haul, but I'm sure that's not all you want to know, right? :) Yes, yes, I know, you want the dirt on RWA :) Well not that heard much, but I'll at least share my experience with everyone :) Once again, this is going to be separated into multiple posts... just because my mind is not functional enough for reviews LOL. Hopefully, by next week...

In hindsight, I wished I had taken A LOT more pictures. I mean, I have some and I think out of our little group, I'm the one who took the most... but still. It'd have been nice if I could have shown you a bit more. Ah well, next time.

My original plan was to leave on June 24 and come back on July 2nd (Friday - Saturday), but we found out a couple weeks prior the trip that my sister's final exam was on June 25 from 9am to noon. So instead we left on Saturday - which was probably a good idea as I missed all the wait at the border. Also, it was a good thing because I was so no ready on that Friday ^_^; I spent the day cleaning, going through the list of authors for the Literacy Autographing event with Ames via emails and packing as you can see in this post :)

Day 1

Come Saturday and I drove my sister to the exam while I went to the lab to print some documents - RWA registration form, hotel reservation, Barnes & Nobles coupon... LOL. Then, went to the library to return some books and picked up two travel guides. Went back to pick up my sister at noon and drove home. It was a grey and rainy day and I was a bit worried about that. I don't mind driving long distance, but have never done it in the rain. I thought we'd be able to leave at around 1pm... but yeah, it's never that easy. We had to finish packing, eat and do some stuff and by the time we left, it was 3pm.

The drive was quite uneventful. It didn't rain the whole time, so that was good. There were a few parts where it rained really hard though and it was a bit scary, but at least, it was sunny and they didn't last long. I had to stop once though because I was really getting sleepy ^_^; The good news is that my sister stayed awake the whole drive, so she kept me company :) Despite the stop and the rain, I did good time and got to Hilcia at around 9pm :) She was sweet enough to feed us and then, we pretty much went to bed :)

Day 2

For this trip, I didn't make too many plans, just because there were too many variables. However, one thing  was certain: Sunday was shopping day :) Hey, we had to take advantage of our $CDN being strong! :)

First, Hilcia treated us to breakfast at our favorite place in her neighborhood - Coach House Diner. Seriously, my sister and I love that place :) It's good food - lots and lots of variety, open 24 hours and good price :) After filling up, we headed to Woodbury  Common Premium Outlet to do some shopping. I've never been to this outlet before, but I've heard of it... and it is indeed huge! We pretty much did the whole thing as well! Poor Hils LOL. However, contrary to what Hilcia posted, we did NOT shop for 6 hours!! More like 4.5 hours and Hils was actually lucky that my sister wasn't 100% in the mood to shop and that we actually knew what we wanted and didn't wander around... well not too much LOL.

By the end of it, we all had bags :) I bought a new purse at Kenneth Cole and also a windbreaker at Columbia :) Also, my sister and I had a great time in Esprit - love that shop :)


Personally, I would have continued shopping, but we were a little bit short on time. See, my sister and I had a hot date with Rosie to go see a Broadway show. I've emailed Rosie prior to the trip and we had decided to swing it, because once again, too many variables. So my plan on Sunday was to do a little shopping, then meet Rosie in New York City late afternoon/early evening, choose a show, buy the tickets and have fun :) Turns out that we shopped later than I thought and by the time we got back at Hils, it was about 5.30pm. At which time, Rosie called us to ask if we were still interested - we were! So in the end, Rosie was in charge of choosing the show and buying the tickets :)

I thought of calling a taxi to get to New York City, because no way was I driving in. However, Hils lives very close to New York City and it's a very short bus ride, so we decided to go with the cheapest option :) There was a bus at 5.45pm and my sister and I rushed to try to make it... Alas, we didn't ^_^; So we waited for the next bus which was at 6.40pm and would drop us at Port Authority which was only a few blocks away from Times Square. I have to say, by that time, I was a bit worried. What if the bus was late? Or worst, didn't come at all?!? There's not that many empty taxis driving around New Jersey! Oh, by the way, did I tell you that the show started 7.30pm? ^_^;

We were in such a rush, I didn't have time to take a proper pic of Rosie and I. Please disregard my boob LOL
In the end, the bus was on time - big sigh of relief! Also, for the two of us, it was only 6.40$! That's a great price considering what I paid in taxi fare later on ^_^; We got at Port Authority at 7.05pm. As we started walking, I called Rosie to let her know "We're almost there!" The rendez-vous place was the Marriott Marquis' Starbucks and we got there and no sign of Rosie! A little bit of panic because the clock is ticking. My sister suggested to check at the other exit... and there she was! Woohoo!! Hug, introduction and off we walked to the theater :) Rosie had chosen Billy Elliott which I've never heard of, but my sister was very excited :) We were in the orchestra section and had a great view in my opinion :) It also turned out to be a great musicale! I really enjoyed it - the songs, the dancing, the humor and also, the stage!! It's just awesome what they can do with a stage!! :) Rosie and my sister were a bit bummed that the actor interpreting Billy Elliott in our representation isn't the one from the official poster/promotional stuff; however, he did a great job! My sister later found out that he was one of the youngest Billy Elliott interprets when the show started and that last Sunday was his last performance as he had started to outgrow the character.

After the show, we went back to the hotel so I could say a quick hello to Wendy... who was in the midst of blogging :) We started talking and one thing led to the other and by the time we left, it was past midnight. We took a cab back to New Jersey - unfortunately, the man didn't really know his way. And I was not helpful as I have zero sense of direction ^_^; We finally made it back and by that time, my sister and I were famished, not having ate anything since breakfast... so we decided to go back to our favorite place: Coach House. Lucky for us it's open 24 hours! LOL. After that, we called it a day :)

Day 3

Sigh, I have absolutely no picture of day 3 :(

Monday was a very relaxed day and that's the way I planned it to be. Initially, I thought we'd go into the city in the evening to get together with Rosie, Wendy and Kristie who made it to the Big Apple on Monday. However, after that taxi fare? Yeah, we could wait till Tuesday when we were moving to the hotel. It turns out well because in the end, Kristie was pretty tired and cooped up in her room :)

So on the schedule? Lunch with Christine over at her place and perhaps a bit more shopping :P That's what great with having your car - freedom :) Well I guess freedom with some limits since I didn't want to drive anywhere near Times Square, but freedom nonetheless.

Anyway, we took it easy in the morning, recovering from our late night :) Actually, there was a marathon of Project Runway and I was able to watch a couple of episodes. At around 11am, we set off. Christine lives at about 30-45 minutes away from Hilcia so not a long drive and there was no traffic. I wanted to meet Christine before RWA, because I knew it was going to be chaotic and I might not have the chance to really catch up with her. Also, she had a busy week-end and it's hard for her to get away from home as she takes care of her FIL. Since I had the car, I figured why not invite myself LOL.

As always, Christine was so nice!! We truly had a great time, just taking it easy :) We met her daughters who are beautiful - not that it was a surprise as I've seen pictures of them :) I actually got to talk a little with her oldest as she ate with us. Christine also gave us a tour of her house which is very spacious and very nice. I love the bathroom Christine designed. It was just gorgeous! Despite the addition, they still have a lot of space in the backyard and the neighborhood was so quiet, calm and pretty. So we spent the afternoon eating - Christine made us crab cakes - and talking. We talked about books, life, which authors we wanted to meet at the Literacy Signing, how we would make it there, our plan of attack... Basically we talked about nothing and everything. Then, she took us to Trader Joe's to buy us treats! She bought us some banana chips, dried mango, chocolate and mixed trails so we would have snacks at the hotel. Can I tell you how good those banana chips and dried mango are?!? Seriously good and addicting!! While we were out, she also showed us her neighborhood :)

Once we came back to Christine's, it was almost time for goodbyes. We decided to make our way to Hilcia not too late so we wouldn't be stuck in traffic. As a result, we scratched out shopping, although the other outlet mall was very close to Christine's. Back at Hilcia, we squatted her place so we could have internet connection. Seriously, I can't live without the internet! LOL.

When Hilcia came home with her husband, she was also accompanied by her youngest brother and his wife. Turns out our visit coincided with her little brother's visit - and this is two times in a row LOL. Then, we had an invitation from Hilcia's other brother to eat over at his place so we all got into the car :) Hils' brother is a very good cook and it was very nice to have a day of home-cooked meals :)  We didn't stay too late though because everyone had an early day the next day... but really, I had a great time hanging out with Hilcia's family - everyone was so nice and so friendly! She has an awesome family and no wonder she's so proud!!

And that was it for the first three days :) The next post will be all about RWA :) Hope I didn't bore you all  LOL.


  1. Not bored. I'm vacationing vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing your trip. :)

  2. LOL! it sounds like quite a journey! :D

  3. Sounds like a great time!!

  4. Wow - you did so much done in just the first few days. I'll bet it was great to spend time with Hils, Rosie and Christine. Such wonderful ladies!

  5. Love the new bag! ;) Looks like you had a fab time!!!!!

  6. Tabitha - LOL, I just don't want to bore anyone... but if people are reading and enjoying, then it's worth spending the time writing these recaps :)

    By the way Tabs, you should have come LOL.

    Alex - It was :) They always are ^_^;

    Lori - Absolutely!! Looking forward to next year as it is in Anaheim! :)

    Leslie - I know. Although we did have some down times which was good :)

    I totally agree with you, Hils, Christine and Rosie are great to hang out with :) They're all so nice and fun :) I hope I can meet you soon, Les!

    Mollie - Thanks Mollie :) I like it too, but I seem to be in the minority LOL.

  7. Nath, great post! LOL on the 6 hours of shopping. 4.5 hours is right... my body still thinks it was 6. LOLOL! I had SUCH fun, though... and I'm enjoying my little buys. LOVE your new bag. *g*

  8. Sigh. Yes, I should have. That meeting I told you about? It ended before it could even get started. The main player wasn't ready and had to be postpone. I was so mad. I should've told them I had a headache and left early for the day. LOL.

  9. Hilcia - LOL, it's okay :)

    Now you have stuff to remember me by :) It's going to be: Oh, I bought this with Nath! :)

    Tabs - Next time, I won't let you back out!!

  10. My dear nath,
    I'm so sorry it has been so many DAYS since I stopped by your blog! I assure you it is not personal--I haven't really been to anyone's blog. I thought I'd have all this free time in the summer. Uh, NO. LOL.

    Well, I'm catching up now.. and what a happy place to start because you have posted some serious book hauls and RWA recaps ... and look at this one! I'm in it! :D

    I can't believe neither of us took pictures when you came to visit!! What the heck? LOL! I had such a lovely time with you and your sis. It was SUCH a treat for me to have you in my home. xoxo

  11. Christine - Ugh, I know!! Seriously, lucky I did get a picture with you at the Literacy signing!! :)

    No problem, don't worry :) I figured you were busy! Congrats on your duothlon!!