I still have people texting/messaging me to ask if I won the cooking competition in NYC. I know how hard it is to keep up with people now, with the new algorithm of Facebook and Instagram (which is sooo annoying), so I decided to share my whole trip with you here!!
We “woke up” and left super early so that we could get to NYC and spend some time with my favorite (only) sister, Reesa. I packed a big bag of healthy snacks but was too excited to eat. I ended up reading through the whole flight “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and it was so addictive. Great read for sure and perfect for me being creative and following my dreams!
Upon landing, we ordered our Uber, but as a newbie, I ordered an Uber Pool. Big F’ing mistake! It ended up taking us an extra hour to get near the hotel (we walked the last three blocks). We were packed in the back seat of a Prius with 2 exuberant young sorority girls. Hubby and I just snuggled and took in all of the sights. After nearly 2 hours and a huge detour, we were getting close but driver announced he was going to pick up more people and we decided to get out, BYE FELICIA!
We got to the W in Time Square and it was a mad house! I don’t understand how anyone could work around there, it’s nuts! We signed in and grabbed a bite downstairs at Izi while we waited for my seester. The food was so good! We are suckers for good sushi but also got this amazing poke that came with these fried rice squares that were REDIC! They were so good!! I will be attempting these soon!!
Reesa finally showed up and took us to a few happy hour spots and showed us a bit of the city.
We also met up with our good friend, Lindsay, who was actually in Aspen the first night my husband and I hung out. We tease that she is our reason for being because she dragged him on the snowboarding trip. We all parted ways early so that we could get back to the hotel and get some rest before the big day!!
I don’t think I slept a wink because I was so excited and so worried that my alarm might not go off. I finally got up and started getting ready…nearly 3 hours early. I was so excited when coffee and breakfast arrived. Hubby surprised me with the most amazing room service. We never got a honeymoon, but this felt pretty close! We headed out the door about 30 minutes early, and walked the 5 blocks to the building.
Once in the building, we met the other two contestants. Sarah and Juliana were both so nice! They are both leagues ahead of me with their businesses and blogs, so I felt privileged to be up against two successful women!
We cooked our food and were so excited to have Brandi Milloy (Mrs. Simon) come and talk to us while we were cooking. It was definitely a highlight of the day because she is so talented and beautiful but so sweet and down to earth!
After we presented our dishes to Brandi, Haylie Duff and a Kraft rep, they went to judge. I might have had a little leg up because Haylie is from Houston and you know…. Texas Pride baby! I’m just kidding, she was super sweet too but there was no favoritism, even though I am one of her biggest fans 😉
They announced me as a winner and it was as though time stopped. I hugged them and thanked them and then came the tears!! For everyone that knows me, you know what a cry baby I am!! I was so worried my makeup was going to get messed up, and I needed more pics with the beautiful ladies!
We finished pics and got to sit around chatting for a while, which was still very surreal.
The rest of the day was a complete haze. It took me hours to even text people to let them know or post pictures of winning. I was on cloud 9 and really just wanted to live in the moment! We went for lunch at The Standard and met up with one of my beautiful college roommates, Tabatha, which was so amazing! She is about to get married, so it was exciting to get to catch up. She does amazing makeup, so if you need some for an event, contact her! We drank Rose, ate cheese and even went to the Samsung Store and experienced a roller coaster and this cool Instagram walk (GO DO THIS!).
I was still in a haze for it all and kept having to check my purse to look at my trophy, to figure out if it really happened. I know for many chefs, bloggers, contesters, this is a small deal; but to me it was HUGE! I have always loved cooking, but to actually win something for it and think that I might get to make a living out of it, and meet so many beautiful, talented, successful women… HUGE!
We went to dinner with my sister’s family in China town at a Dim Sum place called Golden Unicorn (don’t get the wrong idea). The food was so good and the funniest part was our waitress (who didn’t speak English) telling my sister that she was too loud! Y’all know I’m loud, well you know the saying about the apple and the tree.
Hubby and I ventured around the city after dinner and met up with more friends, ate more good food and more beer (since is was National IPA Day) and still made it to our hotel bed by 12.
The last day was busy as we headed around the city to eat more good food and see the 9/11 memorial (read blog). We went on lots of subways and even got yelled at by our Lyft driver. It was a great adventure with my hubby. We don’t get much time alone, so this was a prize in it’s own! We had the absolute best lunch at Haymaker!
We were home to a wide awake 3 year old by 10 PM and it felt so good.She squealed with excitement as we hugged and kissed her. I missed her little face, but I am wiser, more confident and a little richer for having this experience! There is no stopping me now, Food Network, HERE I COME! Please vote for me to head back to NYC for a Chopped competition with Sargento Cheese!