NYC Bucket List-ed: 30-Day Challenge Recap

NYC Bucket List

This is a sponsored post written by us on behalf of the Visa Clear Prepaid program and the Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card. All opinions came straight from our own noggins, not a robot’s.

You might remember before our somewhat abrupt cross-country move from the Big Apple back to the Beehive State earlier this month, we kicked off a 30-day NYC Bucket List challenge. We had some inklings that a move might be on our horizon by the time we published that post, but we had no idea how soon it would actually happen. So it was actually really serendipitous that we squeezed it in just before we said goodbye to our dear NYC.

Before we jump into our staycation travelogue, here’s a brief summary on the project. We teamed up with the Visa Clear Prepaid program the last few months and used the Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card, part of the Visa Clear Prepaid program, as a “digital envelope” budget (which we discussed here). So we gave ourselves $150 to cross off as many bucket list items in New York City in 30 days. For the final few weeks of city living, our Saturdays were filled to the brink with outings. It couldn’t have come at a better time (although the humidity didn’t cooperate). We loved getting pictures of Sally and Winnie at the different locations. And while they weren’t always happy about it (at all), we think they’ll like seeing those pictures when they’re older.

We wanted to share some pictures and highlights from our bucket list, but first, here’s our list of activities with the bold ones indicating we got ‘er done!

  1. Picnic in Central Park with some good burgers
  2. Let Sally hail a cab
  3. Play sand volleyball near Sheep’s Meadow (Johnny)
  4. Run along Riverside Park before sunrise (Joanna)
  5. Walk the High Line
  6. Splash around Washington Square Park’s splash pad
  7. Take a ride to the Top of the Rock or Freedom Tower
  8. Row a boat in Central Park
  9. Wave to some “Georges” (Sally-speak for monkeys) at the Bronx Zoo
  10. Take a ride on the carrousel in DUMBO
  11. Visit the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  12. Let Sally fly down the granite slide in the Billy Johnson Playground
  13. Watch a chess match in Washington Square Park
  14. Run around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir as a fam
  15. Catch a New York baseball game
  16. Eat authentic Chinese food
  17. Let Sally devour her first, very own ice cream cone
  18. Watch the sail boats in Central Park
  19. Ride bikes on Governor’s Island
  20. Check out Saint John the Divine cathedral


NYC Must-See Bucket List Activities

And now for some highlights:

  • Trekking down to the fountain at Washington Square Park. We happened to arrive at the same time as 30 semi-clothed adults that made the fountain their dance floor. We let Sally wade and observe from afar. We watched them for several minutes (simply because we COULD NOT look away) and then hightailed it out of there when they all came out of the fountain and laid on the ground, chanting to each other.
  • Walking the entire High Line. A-MAZ-ING. I’m embarrassed that it took us so long to finally venture down there. We kept speculating when and how they keep every inch of it so perfectly landscaped and beautiful.
  • Giving Sally her first real ice cream cone. I’ve never seen a girl so excited. Or messy. I don’t think she knew what to do with herself. It really was the messiest I think she’s ever been, so we might call it good on future ice cream cones at least for the next few months or so.
  • Taking Sally down the granite slide at the Billy Johnson playground. Sally’s usually terrified of big slides, but after going down once with Johnny, she went by herself at least five more times — and then screamed and cried when we had to leave. We love seeing her give into a little adventure every now and then.
  • Seeing the sailboats in Central Park. Johnny and I visited the sailboats years ago when we lived here before, but we thought Sally would just love them. And she did! One of the mini-sailboat operators even steered their boat right next to Sally so that she could touch it. And who said New Yorkers aren’t sweet?
  • Having a picnic in Central Park. I can’t remember another time we’ve picnicked (probably because my domesticity is limited to all the rooms of our home that aren’t the kitchen). Johnny and I always joke that picnics look fun in pictures but can’t possibly be fun in reality. Well, we proved our cynical selves wrong. It was such a laid back evening, just finding a grassy spot and chowing down on some burgers with our girls.

After having experimented with the Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card on groceries a few months now, we really enjoyed using it for this project and having a set budget that we could check at any time. Despite the small $3/month maintenance fee (which is waived if you do direct deposit of $750 or more each month), this is definitely our best bet for a 21st century alternative to the envelope system. That being said, one “only in NYC” annoyance that we ran into a couple times was running into cash-only expenses. So while we were trying to keep our “digital envelope” budget nice and paper-free, antiquated NYC-ness got in the way of that dream. Lucky for us, finding an in-network, no-fee ATM was easy-peasy with the Kaiku app.

We had such a blast! Writing this and looking at these pictures is making me all mushy nostalgic for the City. If NYC is in your future vacation plans, enjoy and give it a big hug and kiss for us. On second thought, don’t use your lips to touch anything in the city. We still love you NYC!

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  • Reply Suzanne August 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Wow, your day trips look great, especially Sally on the slide! I can imagine a big “weeeeeeeee” as she slid down! One idea to have on hand maybe with the ice cream cone (if you decide to try it again!) is to carry some muffin or cupcake cases with you. If the wafer is kinda pointed at the end, stick it through the muffin case and the case will kind of act like a dam and catch all the spills so they don’t destroy her little hands! Hope life is settling back down to normal 🙂

  • Reply Ali @ Anything You Want August 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

    This is such a cute idea! Your girls are going to love having these memories to look back on.

    Places that take cash only are the worst. It always surprises me that big cities are often the worst on this front, but I guess vendors there can get away with it.

  • Reply Emily August 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I would love to see a post regarding groceries/meal planning. I noticed for the three of you , you spend less than I would think you would. It is just be and my husband and we eat pretty healthy and our grocery bills can range from 80-120$ a week. Would love to see how you do it! 🙂

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