#InfluenceConf Recap

It’s taken me a full week to finally sit down and put my thoughts on paper (or on screen, rather). After the incredible Influence Conference last weekend, I had about a million thoughts running through my head and if I tried to write my recap before now, it would have been a indecipherable mess.

For the few people I talked to since I returned last Sunday, I want every woman I know (and even those I don’t) to go to the Influence Conference next year. My preconceived notions that this conference was really more for bloggers could not have been further from the truth.

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This is a conference by women, for ALL women.

This is a conference where truth is revealed and spoken over the lives and hearts of women.

This is a conference where women pull their rightful seat up to the table that their Creator has specifically made for them.

This is a conference for women who are tired of living their lives ruled by fear, shame, busyness and the endless pursuit of chasing perfection over purpose.

This is a conference for you and for me.

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There’s no way I can fully share all the things I learned in this one blog post because I’m pretty sure WordPress has a word count limit. But I will try to take the next few days to share some of the amazing nuggets of goodness that rocked my face off.

I will try to share those arrows of grace that pierced the hardened walls of my heart.

I will try to share the fingers of truth that peeled back the layers and layers of hurt, disappoint and shame that have enveloped me over the past few years.

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Bear with me, this may get a little messy.

I’m glad there’s no mirror while I type these things because you would see some ugly-crying for sure.

#ItsTimetoBuild

#InfluenceConf Meet & Greet

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In just one week from today, I’ll be on a plane to Indianapolis for the 3rd annual Influence Conference. I’m genuinely intrigued and excited for this experience…and totally nervous.

I'm a hugger. She is not.  Consider this a promise of things to come in a week, Rach:)

I’m a hugger. She is not. Consider this a promise of things to come in a week, Rach:)

I really am an extrovert at heart, but put me in a room with a bunch of women and there’s a HUGE risk that I will revert back to my awkward, self-conscious 7th grade self (with bucked teeth, I might add). So there’s that.

For the past few years I’ve watched and listened to my good {in person} friend, Rachel Kincaid, and my {on the interwebs} friend, Jessi Connolly, talk & dream about this sacred space for women to gather together, worship the Lord and encourage each other to impact the world. A space where interweb friendships become “in person” friendships and lives are changed.

This year, I decided to come in from the sidelines and see these dreams in the flesh. My good friend, Kara, signed up back in the spring and that was the last straw, I registered THAT day. Let’s do this.

My name is Jess. I’m a creative {designer, photographer, paper-lover} who loves to cook, eat delicious food and host parties. I’m so blessed to be married to a handsome man who loves me like no other and who has the most compassionate heart I’ve ever known. I’m totally silly and most of the time, irreverent (with a wee bit of a potty mouth), but I love the Lord and I love people.

I’m excited about this conference and I’m looking forward to overcoming my fear & stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m ready to be inspired and encouraged and if given the opportunity, to return the favor. And to be honest, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been a part of a REALLY GOOD worship experience. I’m anticipating and hoping for some ugly-cry moments and I know that Chris Kincaid’s voice will lead me to that place.

Beyond my electronics, I cannot leave home without Pilot G2 pens and some pretty paper to write on…oh, and my water bottle <– must have.

I’m looking forward to meeting you ladies next week and hope you will say hello. I have a hug waiting for you.

My New York Minute

First, I wanted to thank everyone who shared, messaged and left encouraging words regarding my last post. Especially living in the South, topics like race, discrimination and the like are SUPER touchy, but I’m thankful for working and living amongst a community of hearts that willingly lean into the discomfort of these conversations. Real life and real change happens when real talk takes place.

In the spirit of the recent New York Fashion Week, I wanted to share some of our favorites in a “Masanotti’s NYC Guide” of sorts. This year, we ventured up north for two glorious weeks of beautiful 80-degree weather.

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I’m just going to put it out there, New York is expensive. But with a little forethought, research and budgeting, you can really DO New York and experience the greatest things the City has to offer.

For a well-planned and relatively stress-free trip, I recommend making a killer LIST about 2-3 months prior. I usually break up my travel lists into 3 major categories. For NYC, I’ve included my top go-to resources for each category.

Confession: I've watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)

Confession: I’ve watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)

For this post, I wanted to share the madness behind what my friends know as the infamous “New York” Google Doc. It’s best to set a budget and reasonable expectations well before you leave. For our trip this summer, we budgeted approximately $100/day for food, entertainment, etc. Some days we were well under and some days we just needed to splurge!

Food is MY top priority when planning a trip because, well, that’s just me. When I travel and experience new places, new cities or new countries, food is a major part of the adventure. Jay likes the food too, but he likes to focus on the entertainment, so he plans that part:).

New York is wonderfully HUGE and is jam-packed with thousands of food options. It can be super overwhelming, but to help relieve that stress from the beginning, I break our food list into categories: neighborhood, $$$, cuisine and time of day (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour).

I don’t plan specific restaurants for each meal though because keeping the spontaneity factor provides the freedom to do what makes sense for the moment…and we all know that no matter how good our “plans” may seem, the best experiences are UNPLANNED. We like to freely wander around New York, so with this list, we have multiple options in each neighborhood, for each craving and during any time of the day or night!

Luckily Jay and I love ALL THE FOOD, so we try to seek out the greatest “food experiences” you can’t find anywhere else. We plan 1-2 extraordinary food adventures per trip which usually means multiple dollar signs for those particular meals (& require reservations a month or so out), and the rest are within that 1-2 dollar-sign/casual walk-in range.

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Such a great gem of a coffee shop right in the middle of Little Italy.

Here’s a snippet of our favorite food places from this summer’s trip:

Breakfast/Brunch

 

The man loves his pizza.

The man loves his pizza.

Lunch

Happy Hours/Bars

  • Amelie’s Wine Bar ($10 Wine Flight w/3 FULL glasses)
  • McCoy American Bistro (When Mermaid Inn has a line out the door at 6:45pm for a 5-7 Oyster Happy Hour, you go to their neighbor for some huge oysters and great drink specials)
  • Hotel Delmano (Hands-down best cocktails with a pretty great bartender!)
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Our Evening Piqniq with Lovely Friends

Rooftop Bars

Dinner

  • Gramercy Tavern ($$$)
  • ABC Kitchen ($$$)
  • Grab your friends, some cheese, fruit & wine and have a picnic in the park
  • Vinnie’s Pizza (BK – when those fancy expensive restaurants don’t quite fill you up, there’s always pizza)

Hopefully this list helps for those of you who may be traveling in the near future. Let me know if you need or want help planning your next trip…to New York or anywhere for that matter, I LOVE making lists. And too, feel free to share some of your favorite NYC food stops in the comments.

My next post will cover some of the entertainment and activities that make the City so fun to experience. Now I’m really hungry and craving another trip to New York (surprises no one, I know).