A Break In the Regularly Scheduled Programming For …

Christmas in New York City, ya’ll!

Yesterday I caught an early train from upstate into the city for the day to do a little Christmas shopping, catch up with friends and — you know I had to — go ice skating at Bryant Park.

Oh New York, I’ll miss you most of all at this time of year.

Skating_1^^ Love, love, love everything about the holidays in NYC — especially the ice skating ;)

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Lord_Taylor^^ Pardon the horrible reflection in this photo, but I caught the Lord and Taylor holiday window displays on Park during my walk from Bryant Park to Union Square, and how cute are they?!

Manequin_Room^^ I stopped into Club Monaco on my walk to check out their selection of Strand books, and this door to their mannequin closet was open, so I had to snap a pic. It’s all legs and arms, yo.

Grand_Central^^ If I’m being completely honest, it felt a little weird going into the city, knowing I couldn’t go home to my apartment whenever I wanted, and knowing I’d be catching a train back upstate later that night to go home. It truly is the end of an era, my friends, and it felt just like that.

Inside_Central^^ Until next time, Grand Central.

Bis bald, friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with our Galapagos adventures!

Our Final Days of Spring Break 2014: Denver, Colorado

Denver. Ah, Denver. Our third and final stop on our short little tour of Colorado.

You see, we’ve heard lots of amazing things about this city. We have a handful of friends and family members who live here, and they just seem to love, love, love, love, love it.

Like … really, they love it a lot.

So we had high expectations, to say the least.

We started our tour of Denver with a quick drive around the city to familiarize ourselves with it. We drove through Cheeseman Park (so cute!), and stopped off in the Capitol Hill area to take in a few of the more touristy aspects …

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Photo 3^^ Cheesy tourist photos — they’re kind of a must … am I right?!

After hanging around on our own for a while, we met up Thursday evening with my brother-in-law’s sister and her fiancee. (Did ya catch that?) Anyway, Rachel and Steve have lived in Denver for a bunch of years now, and they are two of those people I mentioned before who just love, love love it there ;)

They took us to the Vine Street Pub & Brewery for dinner, which was super chill and relaxed. We went outside with beers from the bar and watched people playing Cornhole while we waited for our table … it was that relaxed.

And that was about it for Thursday, since we didn’t get into Denver until around 1 anyway. Friday, however, we had quite the touristy day. We woke up early so that we could head out to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which was simply stunning.

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Photo 5^^ We were shocked  at how much exercising went on here!
Seriously, people everywhere running up and down the stairs,
jumping the rocks, running every single row … fascinating!
I guess if you have to work out, you can’t have a
better backdrop then at Red Rocks, right?

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Red Rocks was about an hour outside of Denver, and we spent a couple hours there just taking it all in. So by the time we made it back into the city, we were starving!

Thank God for Mexican food when you’re starving … am I right?! And  Rio Grande in the LoDo section did not disappoint.

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We sat outside under umbrellas in the 70-degree weather (hello, summer!), eating our burritos and drinking our margaritas. [A word to the wise: Watch it on the margaritas here. A single drink contains 3.5 shots of tequila! That’s why they have a three drink maximum on the margs, particularly. We should know, we asked ;)]

After lunch I headed across the street to buy an outrageously expensive tee from Patagonia (I was desperate! I hadn’t read the weather beforehand and was wearing two long-sleeved shirts … and I was sweltering!), and then we caught the free 16th Street MallRide shuttle over to Commons Park, where we hopped on bikes from the Denver Bike Share program and rode over the South Platte River to the section of Denver known as The Highlands.

And oh my goodness did we love it here, my friends! And it wasn’t just because of Little Man Ice Cream (although that did help a lot ….)

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This whole area had a very relaxed, young, happening atmosphere. It was very cool, to say the least.

So after scarfing down some ice cream (don’t ask me how I did that after eating a ton of Mexican for lunch … I have a superhuman stomach, this is for certain), we hopped back on our bikes and rode as fast as possible back to the LoDo section to meet up with Chris’s old boss for drinks at Freshcraft before heading off to the Washington Park section of Denver to meet up with our cousin and her husband and baby.

Sheesh we really crammed a lot into one full day, didn’t we!?

Anyway, Courtney and Charlie’s place was adorable, and they were so lovely to get a babysitter for the evening so that they could come back out with us for dinner at the Ale House and a couple of brewskies afterwards at Denver Beer Co. (Which, by the way, might have been my favorite brewery of all the ones we visited. It was late when we arrived — in fact we stayed until closing at midnight — but the big garage doors that make up the front of the place were thrown open from the warmer weather earlier in the day, and everyone was hanging out on picnic tables with their dogs. Very fun.)

And that, as they say, was that, my friends. It was a lot  to do in one day, but I’m really glad that we got to fit in as much as we did on Friday. I wasn’t convinced that we had seen everything Denver had to offer on Thursday (I mean that’s a stupid thing to even write, because of course we didn’t. It’s impossible to see everything any city has to offer in one day), but Friday gave me a better look at the Denver that I had heard so much about.

And that I really, truly, look forward to going back to.

Okay friends, so I’m off again next week — wahoo! This time I’ll be heading to Washington, D.C. to spend the week with a friend for her birthday. This is the friend I went to Florida with, and the one who when I visit we generally hang out and do nothing but eat and drink and chat. (Except for when she has me crafting like crazy for her sister’s baby shower)  — but this time we’ve promised each other that we will get out and about into the city to actually do something historical. Or fun. Or both.

But we’ll just have to wait to see how that goes ;)

Bis bald, friends!

 

 

A Spring Break Trip to Boulder

Hi friends,

So … we’re back! Last week Chris, my sister, her boyfriend and myself all took off on Spirit airlines (hold onto your hats, friends, because I plan to write an article about the notoriously low-rated airline and link to it here!) to head to Denver. Our itinerary for the week included trips to Boulder, Breckenridge and Denver. This was a particularly important trip, my friends, because Chris and I are planning a potential move to Colorado in the winter — but we had yet to actually visit the great state.

So you see — important!

Anyway, we were contemplating both Boulder and Denver as potential new cities for us, and Breckenridge was thrown in there so the boys could ski/snowboard for a day. We hit up Boulder first so that we would end the trip back in Denver, where we would be flying out of on Saturday.

I think probably the best way for me to tackle this trip is to take it by city — so Boulder today, Breckenridge tomorrow and Denver the next.

So Boulder first it is!  After landing at the Denver airport and being conned into upgrading our rental car to an SUV (well maybe not so much conned — having the sturdier car to drive in the mountains to Breckenridge turned out to be not so much of a bad thing …), we hit the road for our 50 minute drive to Boulder.

Boulder is …. so many things. It’s beautiful and open and entertaining and relaxing. It’s a lot of things all rolled into one — it’s just not a place that Chris and I can necessarily see ourselves living just yet. So as much as we liked it, I think it’s safe to say Boulder was ruled out as a place for us to take up residence in a few months.

Here’s a bit of what we did …

1^^ The Twisted Pine Brewery is an absolute must if you’re in Boulder.
For as many breweries as we ended up visiting, Chris and I both say
this was our favorite. We got the sampler for starters, which had so many
amazing beers for tasting. The food was pretty fantastic, as well.

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3^^ Yummmm … beer!

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Okay ya’ll — here’s where we have to discuss the big ole’ elephant in the room, and that elephant, my friends, is marijuana. So as anyone who’s from the U.S. and doesn’t live under a rock will know, weed is now completely legal in the state of Colorado. This is of course infinitely amazing to some, completely annoying to others, and neither here nor there to even more. Whether or not it’s amazing, annoying or neither here nor there to me wasn’t really the point (although I guess if I were forced to pick a category, I’d have to go with neither here nor there …), because I’m pretty intrigued by it. Like, how does it work? What’s it like to buy a drug that has always been illegal, legally? How much does it cost? How do they sell it? What kind of people go to these stores?

I had to know! So … we found one.

The experience of buying weed is, I guess I would have to say, a bit weird. For this particular store, we walked into the front room and were greeted by “security.” (I use the term “security” loosely and with quotation marks because these guys were so friendly and chill, I can’t imagine them ever actually getting security-ish about anything …). So we showed our IDs (you do at least have to be 21, after all), and headed into the small room where the weed was kept. There were, for lack of a better term, salesmen behind the counters whose job it was to point you in the right direction. How much were you interested in smoking? What type of weed were you interested in smoking? When was the last time you smoked, and how much do you think you could handle?

Completely and totally intriguing.

5A^^ Weed in the form of edibles. I still can’t get over it.

Our entire experience lasted maybe 15 minutes, and we were out of there. We went in. We saw.

I’ve had enough ;)

That night we drove downtown to check out the Downtown Boulder area and the Pearl Street Mall, which was very adorable. We ate at West End Tavern under heat lamps in their upstairs, lofted area. It was super cute, and very tasty — I’d very much recommend it.

After a long day of traveling we were pretty exhausted, so we went to bed early so we could rise early for our  amazing hike of the Flatirons Vista Loop.

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The trail was amazing. Obviously very scenic, not too difficult and only somewhat muddied from the recent snow. I’m really glad we did it, though. After the hike we headed over to the Boulder Beer brewery, where we shared an appetizer and drank what turned out to be $1.50 beers.

ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS, PEOPLE! I’m not sure you can get gum for that much in the city, anymore.

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We ended our last night in Boulder with another trip to the downtown area (to include the amazing Boulder Bookstore where I purchased two recent releases for less than $20!) for dinner and then drinks and Yahtzee at West Flanders Brewery.12

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13B^^ Yahtzee!!

And that was about it for our Boulder experience, my friends. Breweries, hikes and weed. I’d say that’s a pretty good summary ;)

The next morning we were off bright and early to Breckenridge, and I’ll update you all about that tomorrow.

Bis bald, friends!

P.S. In case anyone was wondering, we stayed at the La Quinta Inn that was actually in Louisville, Colorado, about a 10 minute drive from Boulder. The price was infinitely cheaper than anything we found directly in Boulder, though, so if you don’t mind doing a little driving, I would highly recommend it.

 

The 52 Project: Feb. 17

photo^^ I’m cheating ever-so-slightly with this 52 Project pic, seeing as how it’s actually four pictures …
so sue me ;) This past Friday, Chris and I ticked another little something off our
NYC bucket list when we hit up The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central for
Valentine’s Day drinks. This place is classic old-school New York, my friends.
It’s dark and the music was right out of multiple old-time soundtracks
(think “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle”). It was pretty expensive 
(as in $120 for an olives and nuts appetizer and five drinks), but what
isn’t these days? This place is so fun. Get dressed up in your classiest gear
and head over to The Campbell Apartment, a place with a coat check,
waitresses and hostesses in beautiful little black dresses and
bar tenders who actually care about their jobs. (And have fabulous moustaches!)

I’m back tomorrow with our final Iceland installment. Bis bald!

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An Anniversary Trip to Saratoga Springs, New York

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Hey friends,

This past weekend Chris and I borrowed the little Matrix that we’re planning to buy off my parents and took her for a spin up to Saratoga Springs.  The whole idea for this trip came out of a deal for a Saratoga hotel on TripAdvisor that then led to me the Saratoga Arms hotel. (It’s ranked as the No. 1 hotel in Saratoga on TripAdvisor.)

Anyway, we’ll get to that later.

I had done some research on Saratoga ahead of time, and last weekend in Vermont my cousin recommended a couple places to us as well. (She lives in Albany, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Saratoga.)

I think I should preface this post by saying that we had a deluge of snow the day before we drove to Saratoga, and pretty much every place looks magical in a snowy winter wonderland … am I right? Even without the snow, though, I know I would have fallen in love with Saratoga. The downtown area was so charming (and of course it was still decorated for Christmas with twinkling white lights and red bows everywhere … that certainly didn’t hurt it), the people were so friendly and every place we went had really great food and drink.

Our first stop was a recommendation of my cousin’s — Ravenous, for their crepes and Pommes Frittes. They come with all different kinds of dipping sauces. We tried the Aioli, Cajun Spicy Mayo and Mango Chutney. Seriously delicious.

photo 1^^ My warm apple cider with orange wasn’t too shabby, either.

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After stuffing our faces, we decided to check out the town for a bit before checking into our hotel.

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photo 10c^^ This hotel was closed for repairs, but I thought it was just so beautiful.

After our little introduction to the town we headed to the hotel.

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So about the hotel. I feel like I should start by saying — it was perfectly lovely. Seriously, very lovely — charming even. I mean look at those cute horse wreathes that greet you at the front door! The building is kept locked at all times, and the friendly innkeeper lets you in when you arrive. There’s a warm fireplace and classic, historic decorations — everything about this place is cute and cozy and nice.

I just have a small but. The thing is — we paid a lot for our room. Like … a lot. (It was $300 after taxes, and that was the lowest priced King room available.) And for some reason I had convinced myself that I booked a room with a jacuzzi tub, and you know how when you think you’ve done something, and get your hopes all up for it — well I just really wanted that jacuzzi tub! And I mean, the room was fine, people. Honestly, it was quite nice. Perfectly pleasant. Very well looked after. I guess I was just … expecting more. What can I say. I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of hotels up to this point in my life, and I’ve spent a wide range of money on those hotels. All I’m saying is … besides location (and the seriously scrumptious breakfast that’s included in the morning!), I’m just not quite sure this place was worth the price. That’s all.

But moving on! Despite the disappointment of not having a jacuzzi (!), we still had a whole night ahead of us. Our first night stop would be to The Wine Bar — another of my cousin’s recommendations. A huge plus of Saratoga Arms — all of our stops were within walking distance, even though it was about 0 degrees outside!

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We sat by the fire and the white lights twinkled and our waitress was lovely. And we ordered the warm olive appetizer and Chris a Manhattan and me a glass of white wine. Then we both ordered another glass of wine — red this time– and here my friends is where I’ll share a little something with you. It was here at The Wine Bar in Saratoga Springs, New York, that I had — ready for it? — the best wine of my life. I mean … seriously! This friggin’ wine was so. amazingly. delicous. Even Chris was jealous. I had the waitress give me my menu back so I could write down exactly what it was, which was a Santa Julia Malbec from Argentina/Menoza. It also was organic, which I honestly think might have made a difference.

If you are in Saratoga and find yourself at The Wine Bar (which you should … thanks for the recommendation Alyssa!), you must, must, must try this wine! You’ll thank me later, I promise.

Anyway, after warming up with wine, we headed back out into the cold to our dinner reservations at Mouzon House. Here’s where I have to give Saratoga Arms another big shout out — about two days before we were meant to arrive I received a welcome email from them with parking instructions, town and weather information, as well as a list of local restaurants that they recommended, Mouzon House being one of them. They even called and made the reservation for us. (Am I being a hotel snob about this place? Probably. The more I write about it the more charming I feel like it was.)

Anyway, the Mouzon House. Another massive, humongous hit!

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photo 18^^We were a tad early for our reservation, so we sat at the bar and ordered some drinks first. Our bartender told us she was also a realtor, and she had helped her friend purchase the restaurant. The building had formerly belonged to the Mouzon family, and the woman who they bought the house from was the first African American woman to graduate from the local community college. She said the fact that they wanted to keep the family name in the name of the restaurant was a big reason why she thinks they were given the deal in the first place. The majority of the house had been left as is — even the rooms upstairs were still in bedroom form. Oh, and there was a ghost. The ghost was a friendly ghost, Mrs. Bartender told us, but she didn’t even have to say that .. Chris and I have a feeling about these things, and we already knew.

photo 19^^ Somehow the restaurant knew it was our one year anniversary — I guess the hotel told them when they called?Anyway, they gave us our creme brûlée with a candle in it, and that was super cute.

For dinner I ordered the vegetarian jambalaya, and Chris had the steak. We also ordered the asparagus appetizer and another bottle of wine, and everything was to die for. Perhaps even more amazing, though, was the fact that the couple sitting directly across from us was celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary — and they could not have been cuter. At one point I looked over and the woman was fixing her husband’s shirt. When they left he helped her put her coat on.

If only Chris and I can get that lucky to be as in love as day one at our 56th anniversary.

So at this point in the evening, I had also wanted to check out the 9 Maple Ave. jazz bar, but unfortunately all the wine I had already consumed started to make me feel like the warm hotel was calling my name, so we called it a night.

The next morning we were up early though. Breakfast is served between 8 and 10 in the dining room, and it’s a sit down, order type of breakfast. I got the oatmeal (remember I wasn’t feeling well!), and Chris had the chef’s special mushroom omelet which, in his words, was “the best omelet I ever had in my life.”

Okay fine — so Saratoga Arms was quite lovely, I get it. It’s just that when you’re spending that much money, you might as well splurge an extra $50-$60 and get a room with a jacuzzi or a fireplace. That’s just my opinion. Noted for next time.

After breakfast we packed up and checked out, and headed back into the town to check out a couple of other stores we had seen the day before. We even ended up finding an old vintage New York City map for $6 — the best find!

I also wanted to check back on this house we had passed when trying to find the parking garage for the hotel. I mean … check this place out …

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Our googling has yet to turn up what this place actually is. Is it someone’s home? Is it a business? Whatever it is, I envision this will be what my next home looks like. That’s reasonable … right?

And that, my friends, was Saratoga. It was the perfect little getaway for an anniversary weekend, and I cannot wait to get back there at some point to explore in warmer weather!

Bis bald, my friends! Only only month until Iceland — I simply cannot wait!

The Year 2013: A Review

Hi friends,

Well it’s that time of year again — the one where everyone takes a couple minutes to take stock of how the past 12 months have gone? This year has been a particularly important one for myself and Chris. It was our first year of married life. It was a year spent celebrating our marriage around the world with family and friends. It was a year that we made some pretty big decisions about our future (not yet shared here!), and one that had a lot of amazing traveling in it …

February
In February we took an amazing weekend trip to Tarrytown for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, where I had one of my absolute favorite meals of this entire year.

Groundviews

snowyfield

Irvington

my dessert

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March
In March I took a relaxing trip to visit my best friend in D.C., where we practiced wedding makeup for Chris and my upcoming wedding party in April.

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Walk1

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April
April was a holy-cow-of-a-month for us! First, I turned 30 (ah!), and we celebrated with a gorgeous hike up Breakneck Ridge with friends.

Thanks for going along with my crazy idea, gang!

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Holy rock climbing!

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Then Chris’s parents came for a visit, and we all took a trip to London so that Chris could run the 5th race in his World Marathon series.

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Geared up!

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We also celebrated our marriage at Magnanini Winery in upstate NY with friends and family in April, but I didn’t blog about that because I didn’t have photos for a long time. I have them now, though! Here are some of my faves.

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June
In June we celebrated our wedding in Jersey with some close friends and family. Here are some of my favorite shots from that party:

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July
In July we took a trip out to Charlotte, N.C. and Arizona to visit an old, old friend of mine.

^^Bloody Mary's in Charlotte on our pit stop to Phoenix.

^^Man and wilderness.

^^Cheers to you, Arizona!

^^Bye-bye Sedona. It's been real.

^^Canyon Breeze views.

^^Sedona hike--unbelievable.

^^Catching up with the person who is probably my oldest friend.

^^Shrimp tacos=heavenly.

August
In August I took another trip back down to D.C. for a “sprinkle” baby celebration …

^^The beginning stages of lemon bars. Can you say yum?!

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^^ Blueberry Crumble for the dessert bar.

^^We also made these to-die-for apple crumble bar with cinnamon. The sign in the back was a piece of corkboard that Lisa painted with chalkboard paint and strung some twine across. People wrote notes on little cards and placed them on the twin for Alison and her new baby boy.

and we visited what has now become our new favorite upstate winery — Warwick Valley Winery.

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Glasses

Summer Happenings
I feel like I should take a moment to pay homage to all of the activities we took part in this summer that were right here in New York City, like seeing Shakespeare in the Park, hosting my nephew’s very first trip to NYC, riding bikes through the park, seeing the NY Philharmonic in the park (are you sensing a “park” theme?!), checking out the Met, going for a sail from Pier 25 on the west side and strolling around DUMBO, Brooklyn … to name a few.

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^^ I seriously forgot how many hills there are in Central Park. I had to take a break about 3/4 of the way through.

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^^Stolen from Istagram, thank you very much.

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^^ So -- what's the theme? Can ya tell? Hint: I'm wearing a red wig!

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^^ Freshman year JMU roommates -- go Dukes!

September
September was another busy month for us. First we took the ferry out to Governor’s Island to go exploring.

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^^ Carousel ahead!

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We also headed to St. Augustine, Florida for the Gentleman of the Road Mumford & Sons tour for Chris’s Super Secret 30th Birthday Trip … (also talked about here)

^^View from the Beachcomber. Not too shabby.

^^Chris with the Castillo de San Marcos fort in the background.

^^Check out all the wrist tags we needed! Shuttle. Concert. Drinks. Boat. Check!

^^This last photo was actually from Saturday night's show when Mumford was playing and it was lightning in the background. But we'll get to that ...

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October
We headed to Australia (also here) at the end of September and into October to celebrate our wedding with Chris’s side of the family, as well as to take a honeymoon trip to The Great Barrier Reef.

^^What bride gets to wear her wedding dress three times? This one, that's who!

^^ Mom and baby. Man I'll never stop loving it when I see these guys!

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^^ The Sydney Harbour's a real beaut - isn't she?

November
I headed to the suburbs of Philly in November to visit an old friend and her family, and we took a trip out to the Philadelphia Zoo while I was there …

^^ I was about to delete this photo of the Clown Fish because I had better ones, until I saw the Fish Photo Bomb.

^^ This little guy is a Red Panda, and she'll be making an appearance in my children's book very soon!

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^^ Rhino!

and we celebrated Thanksgiving in both Newburgh and New Jersey.

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December
This month we surprised my stepdad with a Super Secret weekend trip to Syracuse, his alma mater, for his 50th birthday.

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And we took a Christmas trip to Stowe, Vermont with some family

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And that about sums up 2013, friends! On the docket for 2014 so far is …

  • A trip to Saratoga Springs the first weekend in January to celebrate our one year anniversary. I’m particularly excited about the hotel where we’ll be staying — Saratoga Arms it’s gotten amazing reviews.
  • Iceland in February!
  • Denver in April with my sister and her boyfriend
  • A trip out to Cape Cod for a friend’s wedding (not to mention lots of other friends’ weddings scattered throughout the year!)
  • A potential 1.5-3 month trip in South America at the end of the year. Lots more on this to come.

Bis bald, friends! And may your new year be filled with fun travels, great friends and awesome experiences!

A Snowy Christmas Celebration in Stowe, Vermont

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Hi friends,

Holy cow tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.
Holy cow tomorrow is the very last day in 2013.
Holy cow as of tomorrow Chris and I will have been married for one. whole. year!

Just … that’s a whole lotta holy cows!

So Chris and I had a lovely, action-packed holiday week last  week, and the fun will continue this week with some anniversary activities. But last week …. let’s see. We spent Christmas eve into Christmas morning in New Jersey with family, then hopped to upstate New York to spend the rest of Christmas with my mom and stepdad, and drove the day after Christmas to meet up with my aunt, uncle, two cousins and cousin’s boyfriend for a little extra Christmas celebrating in Stowe, Vermont. My aunt had booked the place for us as our Christmas gift, and we stayed in a Stoneybrook cabin with a fireplace, huge kitchen and gorgeous views.

photo 2^^ The view from the back porch of our bedroom on Friday morning, after it had snowed all night.

My sister and her boyfriend, my uncle and Chris and I were excited to head up to the mountain to ski/snowboard. I would be taking another snowboarding lesson (I think after this time I finally got it down!), while the others went off and did their “we’re already good at this” thing.

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Unfortunately we arrived too late on Friday for me to catch the lesson. (Word to the wise for any of you snow bunnies who might want to take a lesson at Stowe — they start at 10 a.m. on Fridays — maybe every day but I can’t say for sure — and they go for an hour and a half in the morning, then break and meet up again at 1 for another hour. And they’re expensive! With my gear rental and the group lesson, I ended up paying around $230. Ouch … but worth it!)

Anyway, since I wouldn’t be snowboarding on Friday, I did this instead:

photo 6^^Found the bar …

photo 7^^Had an extremely delicious Bloody Mary while I waited for everyone to meet me for lunch.

Saturday was different, though, my friends — Saturday I actually took a lesson! And let me tell you — by the end of it I wasn’t half bad ;) It ended up being a private lesson when no one else showed up for the class, so that’s always a good thing.

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Of course I never left the beginner’s hill but hey — I need to leave something to aspire to, right?

Saturday night we headed into town to the Vermont Ale House, which had awesome beers, amazing music and tables made of chalkboard so you could draw on them. It was pretty much the best.

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We left yesterday to make the drive back to the city (in a snow and rainstorm, no less!), but Chris still got in a half day of snowboarding, I took a hike with my uncle and cousin’s boyfriend on the trails right near our cabin and Steph and I checked out a bit of the town.

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Final Photo

I think it’s safe to say Stowe was a major success, and that we’d all love more than anything to make this trip an annual thing.

Bis bald, friends! I seriously cannot believe that tomorrow will be my lost blog of 2013. Time really does fly when you’re having fun …

 

Back in the Borough: The Quintessential Christmas Place in NYC

Hi friends,

So about three or four years ago now, I attempted to visit Rolf’s German Restaurant around Christmas to see what all the commotion was regarding their holiday decorations.

I don’t think we even made it in the door that night it was so packed … and last night wasn’t much different. I made plans with a friend to try to get there as soon as she could after work (we were there by 5:20 at the latest) so as to try to skip the crowds.

Of course that didn’t work out. It was seriously packed even at that early hour. So here are my Rolf’s suggestion.

  1. If you’re visiting NYC during the holidays, you should at least go inside to check out all the decorations. Christmas threw up in here … and it’s wonderful.
  2. Try as hard as possible to go during a week day at an off hour — like maybe as soon as it opens, or around 2 p.m. or something. I assume it’s not as busy as then, but really can’t be sure.

So anyway, we stopped inside for a couple minutes last night, took some photos and dipped out to a nearby bar, instead.

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And the 2013 Christmas Craziness continues! Bis bald, friends! Hope your season is filled with just as many amazing decorations (and snow!) as mine has been so far.

Back in the Borough: A Holiday Hoedown at the Brooklyn Brewery

Hi friends,

I was lucky enough to get invited by a friend to the Riverhead/Penguin book publishing holiday party at the Brooklyn Brewery last night. While it’s kind of a trek to get there from where we live on the Upper East Side (two subway trains and about 15 minutes of walking), it’s totally worth it when you get there.

Bloomingdales^^ Bloomingdales, putting on a show for me on my walk to the subway.

Chrysler Building^^ A faraway Chrysler Building, nestled between two shining snowflakes and an Aldo.

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photo 5^^ The Gorilla Cheese NYC food truck was there! I was
obsessed with them when Chris and I used to watch The Great Food Truck Race!

photo 6^^ This was the first time I’d seen a 3-D printer in real life. OMG. How. Friggin’. Cool!
They were giving away those tiny penguins next to the printer, which were being made
in that 3-D printer. From thin air. Technology. I swear.

photo 7^^You can’t really tell from this photo, but this is a teeny, tiny cup of beer.
That’s what happens when you order the beer with the highest level of
alcoholic content from the menu. Hehehe. Happy holidays!

The Brewery is located in a section of Brooklyn known as Williamsburg, although the area immediately surrounding the brewery itself is pretty industry and, well, just not that pretty. Other parts of Williamsburg are super cute, though, and worth a trip out there if you’ve got some time to spare.

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photo 13^^ That guy with the red feather in his cap was entertaining subway riders by playing
Christmas carols with his guitar. Oh how I love this time of year.

And these are just a couple shots I took on my walk back home through our neighborhood. Because, you know, you can never have too many holiday shots.

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photo 15^^ Passing by the Corner Bakery late at night on my way home and smelling all
the deliciousness they’re cooking up inside for the next day is one of my favorite pastimes.

photo 16^^ Even my gym has contributed to the holiday madness.

Tonight Chris and I are off to The Monkey Bar for dinner and drinks, which I’ve been dying to try out for a while now. I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes!

Bis bald, friends!

My Second Super Secret Birthday Trip of 2013 — Complete!

Hi friends,
So this past weekend myself and Chris, my mom, sister and her boyfriend, my uncle, aunt and cousin, all surprised my stepdad for his 50th birthday with a trip to Syracuse (his alma mater) for a basketball game.
It was a pretty amazing trip — if I do say so myself! And while I’m not totally convinced that Robert didn’t see much of the surprise coming, at the end of the day we all had an amazing time, so that’s really all that matters, right?

photo 1^^ Surprise! We’re kidnapping you and taking you to Syracuse!
At least he had already dressed for the part ;)

photo 2^^ We couldn’t take our pooch Ranger with us,
but he supported the cause.

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photo 6^^ Shenanigans will most definitely ensue when my mother is drinking!

photo 7^^ Awwwwwww!

photo 8^^ Auntie M and my cousin Nikki. Two amazing ladies.

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photo 12^^ I think Robert was excited about our awesome seats (thank you StubHub!)

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photo 14^^ The big 5-0!

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Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, we also won the game ;)

We visited Faegan’s Pub afterwards, which was fun, and we stayed at The Parkview Hotel, which was a seriously short cab ride to the Carrier Dome, and a very good price (plus free breakfast!).

Surprise birthday celebrations are pretty much the best.

Anyway, up and coming this week:

We’re off to Vermont the day after Christmas for some snowboarding, and we’ll be heading to Iceland in February, which I seriously cannot wait for.

‘Tis the season for dreams, wishes and plans, my friends!

Bis bald!

Back in the Borough: A Glorious Walk to the Dentist

December is absolutely the best time to be in New York City. (Well, to be fair, there’s no bad time to be here. Except maybe in the sweltering summer. Yes. I take that back. It absolutely stinks to be here in the summer.)

I digress. Sometimes, my friends, when you live in a city like New York, you get so distracted by all the fabulous holiday decorations walking to the dentist that it takes you an extra 1/2 hour to get there.

OOPS.

Ah well, what can you do. Here’s a bit of what I saw on my way to the dentist this morning.

1Plaza

2Pigeons^^ Lazy pigeons taking a nap on a pole. 

3Waldorf

4BuggyInTraffic^^A note about the horse and buggies around Central Park: I don’t agree with them.
That’s a whole other story. They sure are pretty to look at, though.

5HarrysTree^^A hint about NYC holiday decor: Don’t forget to look up!

6Nutcracker

7CPWest

8Willoughs

9LookUp^^See? Up! Pretttyyyy!

10Dentist^^A festive wreath in my dentist’s office.

11Statue

12Horse

13CPView

14Subway

15SellingBooks

16FestiveOtter^^My, my. That otter sure is fancy!

17Burst^^This little starburst decoration is hard to see in the photo,
but they’re so pretty, lighting up the streets at night.

18GreatBritain^^And oh my goodness it wouldn’t be the holidays without the
Bloomingdale’s window displays! [Ed note: Please ignore
the horribleness of these photos, as they were taken with my
iPhone and I was trying to be somewhat inconspicuous.]

19Italy^^I think Italy was my favorite ;)

20France

21China

22Couple^^How cute is this couple looking at the displays? You know
how I like to take photos of random, unsuspecting people …

23NY^^The NYC display wasn’t half bad, either

24SubwayTrees^^Who could be grumpy — even if you are heading off to the dentist –
with an entire holiday tree display set up right outside
your subway station? Not me, that’s for sure!

25Trees

26Wreaths

Bis bald, friends! And may your trips to the dentist bring you as much joy as mine did today!

Happy Thanksgiving, From Our Family to Yours

Well friends, the holiday season is officially and truly upon us! Over the course of our almost seven years together (yikes!), the Thanksgiving holiday for myself and Chris has taken on a bit of a traditional feel. We usually have Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family on the actual day — where Chris runs the New Paltz Turkey Trot in the mornings and we make pumpkin soup to contribute to the meal — and then spend Friday with my dad’s side of the family for a second holiday feast.

Here’s a bit of what our holiday looked like this year …

Upstate New York Thanksgiving.

^^ The New Paltz Turkey Trot is held right around the super cute downtown shopping area.^^ The New Paltz Turkey Trot is held right around the super cute downtown shopping area.

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^^ This lovely business decided to set up some fire pits outside the Start line before the race. It was a lifesaver in the 18 degree weather!^^ This lovely business decided to set up some fire pits outside the start line before the race.
It was a lifesaver in the 18 degree weather!

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^^I loved taking shots here. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and so anxious to get their day of feasting on.^^I loved taking shots here. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and so anxious to get their day of feasting on.

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^^ Feisty running sneaks.^^ Feisty running sneaks.

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^^ And here's my husband, coming in with the fast people.^^ And here’s my husband, coming in with the fast people.

^^ My mom's dog was feeling thankful for my lap.^^ My mom’s dog was feeling thankful for my lap.

^^ Pumpkin soup beginnings ...^^ Pumpkin soup beginnings …

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^^ So thankful for this family^^ So thankful for this family

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^^ Grams, taking her first sips of beer in over a decade. The end result? "They're making them more bitter than they used to!"^^ Grams, taking her first sips of beer in over a decade. The end result?
“They’re making them more bitter than they used to!”

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^^ Birthday cakes for two birthday boys^^ Birthday cakes for two birthday boys

^^ A very happy birthday to my stepdad Robert, so will always be a kid at heart^^ A very happy birthday to my stepdad Robert, so will always be a kid at heart

New Jersey Thanksgiving.

^^ Our traditional NJ Thanksgiving Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake^^ Our traditional NJ Thanksgiving Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake

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^^ Chris and I brought back his favorite children's book from Australia for Rory. It's called "There's a Possum in the House," and we're told it's now one of his favorites.^^ Chris and I brought back his favorite children’s book from Australia for Rory.
It’s called “There’s a Possum in the House,” and we’re told it’s now one of his favorites.

^^ And of course it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Chris concocting up some cocktails.^^ And of course it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Chris concocting up some cocktails.

So that’s it friends — another Thanksgiving in the books. The next few weeks before Christmas are so full of fun things, I can barely stand it. We have a Super Secret Birthday Trip next weekend for my stepdad (my second Super Secret birthday trip this year … how great am at keeping secrets!), lots of fun dinner and drink plans and a weekend in the city with my nephew and the rest of our fam. Then it’s off to Vermont for my Aunt and Uncle’s holiday gift to us, and a celebration for our one year wedding anniversary.

Bis bald, friends!

Back in the Borough: A Day With Myself (Sort of) in NYC

Fall/Christmas in New York City is my absolute favorite time of year, and yesterday I took some time to do something I haven’t done for a while — walk around by myself. I walked from our Upper East Side apartment to meet a friend for lunch in the 60s (We ate at the Eat Here Now diner. It’s really tiny and packed, but the atmosphere was fun, the food was great and the big front windows allow you to people watch on Lexington ave right outside while you hang.), picked up some craft supplies at Sam Flax and spent a couple hours browsing the Christmas shops (yup, the Christmas shops!) and the ice skaters at Bryant Park.

^^ Ahhh, my favorite time of year at Bryant Park -- and in the city, for that matter -- has arrived! You will find me at the skating rink in my very own ice skates very soon, my friends!

^^ Ahhh, my favorite time of year at Bryant Park — and in the city, for that matter — has arrived! You will find me at the skating rink in my very own ice skates very soon, my friends!

^^ Not a bad backdrop for ice skating, if you ask me.

^^ Not a bad backdrop for ice skating, if you ask me.

^^ Beautiful blue NYC skies.

^^ Beautiful blue NYC skies.

^^ I love the atmosphere here this time of year. And the music! Love the old-timey music.

^^ I love the atmosphere here this time of year. And the music! Love the old-timey music.

Afterwards I met up with more friends at the Haru Sushi near Union Square for a couple happy hour martinis and sushi rolls.

As a freelancer, I sometimes forget that I’m allowed to take a break every now and then. I often keep myself chained to my computer during business hours, and continue to check and respond to emails well into the night. But the whole point of taking this time to freelance was to have a little bit of flexibility. Yesterday just reminded me of how nice that can be.

Bis bald, friends! Hope everyone is making the most of fall while it lasts!

Pumpkins Galore!

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^^ Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

If you guys are anything like me, you’re akin to a kid in a candy store the second the calendar hits October 1. Who doesn’t love the crisp fall air, the changing leaves, an extra hour of sleep, carving pumpkins, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin … anything!?

Which is why I’m ecstatic that my sister dragged the family to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at the Van Cortlandt Manor upstate. I cannot tell a lie — at first I was dubious. I didn’t actually believe that walking around and looking at some carved, lit pumpkins could be cool.

I can now admit that I was way wrong.

This exhibit features over 5,000 individually hand-carved pumpkins made into pretty much everything you can imagine.

Combine that with pumpkin and cider donuts and hot apple cider — which they also had — and you’ve pretty much got my perfect fall evening.

It’s hard to take photos of carved, lit pumpkins. In the dark. On your iPhone. But I gave it a whirl. Here’s some of what we saw last weekend ….

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^^The great wall of pumpkins

^^The great wall of pumpkins

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^^Pumpkin flower fields

^^Pumpkin flower fields

^^ I think these ridiculously adorable pumpkin monsters were my fave

^^ I think these ridiculously adorable pumpkin monsters were my fave

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^^ This creepy pumpkin-in-the-box would snap out every couple of minutes. Suuupppperrrrr creepy!

^^ This creepy pumpkin-in-the-box would snap out every couple of minutes. Suuupppperrrrr creepy!

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^^ A thoroughly impressive dragon made of pumpkins.

^^ A thoroughly impressive dragon made of pumpkins.

^^ Ditto with the dinosaurs!

^^ Ditto with the dinosaurs!

The exhibit runs for another two weeks — but good luck getting tickets, because they’re pretty much sold out. Next year, however, if you happen to be in the area during the time it’s running, I would highly recommend checking it out!

On the way back into the city early the following morning (to help my friend shop for a wedding dress … she found one!), I snapped this picture from the train:

^^ Hudson River views

^^ Hudson River views

Sheesh I love this time of year. I mean … come on now.

It’s also worth mentioning that on Sunday we watched Chris’s uncle run the New York City marathon (he came all the way from Australia to run) …. and he got a five-minute PR! Way to go, Matt!

Bis bald, friends! Hope everyone is making the most of these gorgeous fall days while we have ‘em!

A Super Secret 30th Birthday Trip for the Man!

^^ I did it! I pulled off a secret!

^^ I did it! I pulled off a secret!

Hi friends!

So tomorrow is the big day — the day Chris and I fly out for his Super Secret 30th Birthday Trip! And yes, I somehow DID manage to keep the secret! (Well not the whole secret, I accidentally forwarded our flight information to him thinking it was information about a different flight. That was stupid.)

I put together these three envelopes for Chris to open when he got home tonight. Step 1 contained our boarding passes for our flight tomorrow. Step 2 contained our rental car information, becauseeeeeeee … Step 3 were our tickets to the Gentlemen of the Road St. Augustine Stopover Tour!

I’m totally excited for this. Not only will we be seeing Mumford & Sons, fun., Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and tons of other great acts, but I’ll finally get to show Chris St. Augustine, the town where I lived for a year and 1/2 after graduating from college. It means a lot to me to be able to share that with him.

I also booked a boat tour with Mike’s Yacht of Fun — so I can’t wait to report back on that!

Bis bald, friends! Pray for us to have good weather!

Our Final Day in Arizona

Hi Friends,

So back to our last day in Arizona, which was last Saturday. (We caught the red eye home. There’s a story about that, too!)

We woke up around 7:30 a.m. all prepared for a hike up the Cholla Trail on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale. Mina, however, had come home from her early morning run with her running club and was a bit worried. Everyone was telling her she was crazy, she said, that it was way too hot to take us out for a hike on that mountain … that surely it wasn’t a good idea.

Looking back at this now, I think it’s funny that I didn’t pay attention to their warnings. I mean … I HATE hot weather! I’ve never pretended that I like it. I do nothing but complain about it. Not liking something and allowing that to stop you from doing something are two different things, though, and I scoffed with Chris and Mina at the thought. “We’ll be totally fine!” I laughed.

Boy was I wrong. But I’ll get to that.

Anyway, we stopped off at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market in the morning to grab breakfast before we headed out. This allowed me to take some photos of the cute downtown area, as well:

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So that’s the downtown Gilbert area in a nutshell. I thought it was very cute, and all the people we met seemed to be super friendly. I give it an A+.

After our breakfast it was on to Scottsdale for this doomed-from-the-start hike. I think I need to not make a big deal out of what happened, because honestly it could have been a lot worse, and I think I caught it in just enough time before that happened. Essentially the hike is about 1.5 miles up and 1.5 miles back, so all in all, not too long of a hike. However, by the time we started at 10 in the morning, it was already 100 degrees outside.

Me no likey .. to say the least. The second we stepped out of the car I felt like I had been punched in the face by a heater. Dry heat, my you-know-what. It’s a myth, to me at least, that dry heat makes anything better.

But I digress. So as we started into this journey of ours, I was perfectly fine. I was taking it slow, stopping along the way to snap photos of our beautiful surroundings:

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Then, suddenly, at about 15-20 minutes into our (strenuous, if you ask me!) hike, I started to feel it. To be honest, I can’t even really describe to you what it was, exactly. I felt like someone had hit the ‘off’ switch to my body, and I simply could not go any farther.

Now if you know me, friends, you’ll know that I don’t like to give up. I’m competitive and stubborn (annoyingly so, some times), and throwing in the towel less than halfway through this hike is pretty much the last thing I wanted to do.

Which is why I knew something was really wrong … because that’s exactly what I did. Realizing that we had quite a while to go still in this upwards climb, I knew that there was no way that even if I made it to the top (which to be honest was highly unlikely), there was no way in hell I’d be making it back down. My legs were shaking. I felt like I couldn’t even be bothered to talk I was so exhausted.

And so we turned back around. And just as quickly as we started our last hike in Arizona, I ended it. Chris, in all of his loving husbandness, offered to run (RUN! In 100+ weather! If that’s not love, I don’t know what is), back to the car, turn it on, blast the air and drive to pick us up. The next stop on our list for that day was Mina’s parents’ house for lunch, and I laid in the back seat of Mina’s car for the 20+ minute drive there, just doing everything I could to cool down.

By the time we arrived at her parents’ house, I was starting to feel a bit better, but I have to say that I think that’s really because I made us stop as soon as I started to feel evenly remotely off. I never felt nauseous, or got a headache, it was just that my body felt physically unable to move anymore.

I suppose it could have been much worse, right?

Besides that bit of scariness, we ended up having a lovely rest of the day. Mina’s parents are Persian, and they cooked us the most delicious lunch. Then we went back to Mina’s place and hung out in the pool a bit, before heading out to Nando’s Mexican Cafe to have the final couple margaritas of our trip. (Oh, and a tequila shot, of course!)

Spending only two full days in Arizona felt like a bit of a jip, to be honest, but at the same time we managed to cram quite a bit in. Mina and I would love to do a little elementary school reunion of sorts in Arizona next year with a couple other of our close friends. Maybe do the Grand Canyon, or Fossil Creek, which was closed while we were there this time because of fire hazards.

And that was it, my friends …. the end of our little getaway! It was short but sweet (except for the heat exhaustion thing!), and we’d love to make it back some time soon for more hiking adventures.

Oh and so about the flights. Randomly, and for reasons that were never explained to us, Chris and I were upgraded to first class on our red eye back! It was sort of a waste of first class seats, since we pretty much slept the entire time … but still, I’ll take it! I’ve never slept more comfortably on a flight in my life! Maybe, finger’s crossed, this will happen to us on our trip to Australia in September?

What? It could happen ….

July 4 2013: Charlotte, N.C. and Arizona

View from our hike on our last day.

View from our hike on our last day.

Hi friends!

The few days since Chris and I got back from our trip have been a bit crazy, but I really wanted to take some time to post thoughts from our trip as soon as possible. So without further adieu, last Wednesday Chris and I were in a cab and off to La Guardia to catch our flight …

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Arizona In Instagram Pics

Hi friends!

Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend! For reasons that I will go into in more detail in my full trip post, I ended up taking the majority of my photos on this trip with my iPhone … which of course meant posting them directly to Instagram.

So I figured I’d just post a quick preview of things to come in my full-on post by uploading all of the Instagram pics here. But before I do that, just some highlights from our trip:

  • We spent 12 hours in Charlotte after missing our connecting flight to Phoenix because of rain delays, but that’s okay because we got to eat a wonderful brunch and check out the downtown area because of it.
  • We went on amazing hikes, ate delicious food and drank lots of tequila.
  • I experienced a slight case of heat exhaustion … not fun, my friends! And after all that research I did to avoid it!
  • We did lots of swimming in my friend’s pool.
  • We were randomly, and for reasons still unknown to us, upgraded to first class seats on our flight back from Phoenix. Not too shabby!

Here’s a taste of what’s to come …

^^Rain made things pretty, but is not optimal for flying.

^^Rain made things pretty, but is not optimal for flying.

^^Bloody Mary's in Charlotte on our pit stop to Phoenix.

^^Bloody Mary’s in Charlotte on our pit stop to Phoenix.

^^Biscuits and grits. This is Charlotte.

^^Biscuits and grits. This is Charlotte.

^^Shrimp tacos=heavenly.

^^Shrimp tacos=heavenly.

^^Catching up with the person who is probably my oldest friend.

^^Catching up with the person who is probably my oldest friend.

^^Welcome to Sedona!!

^^Welcome to Sedona!!

^^Porous shoes on a 7-mile hike = lots of stopping to empty them out.

^^Porous shoes on a 7-mile hike = lots of stopping to empty them out.

^^Sedona hike--unbelievable.

^^Sedona hike–unbelievable.

^^Man and wilderness.

^^Man and wilderness.

^^Downtown Sedona.

^^Downtown Sedona.

^^Canyon Breeze views.

^^Canyon Breeze views.

^^Spinach enchilada with a mango margarita.

^^Spinach enchilada with a mango margarita.

^^Bye-bye Sedona. It's been real.

^^Bye-bye Sedona. It’s been real.

^^Gilbert Farmer's Market.

^^Gilbert Farmer’s Market.

^^Vegan quinoa breakfast bowl with strawberry scone and iced coffee.

^^Vegan quinoa breakfast bowl with strawberry scone and iced coffee.

^^99 degrees? Check. I will be hiking to the top of this mountain. Wish me luck. (Hint: this is where the heat exhaustion came into play... duh duh duhhhh!)

^^99 degrees? Check. I will be hiking to the top of this mountain. Wish me luck. (Hint: this is where the heat exhaustion came into play… duh duh duhhhh!)

^^View from about 1/4 mile up Cholla Hike, Scottsdale.

^^View from about 1/4 mile up Cholla Hike, Scottsdale.

^^Cheers to you, Arizona!

^^Cheers to you, Arizona!

^^Who got a free upgrade to first class on the way home? This guy! (And the gal he was with!)

^^Who got a free upgrade to first class on the way home? This guy! (And the gal he was with!)

So that’s it for now, my friends! I’ll be back soon with the full details of our (amazing and very hot!) trip.

Bis bald!

Making the Most of Summer … Starting With a Trip to Arizona!

Hello Fossil Creek Canyon! I think I will visit you, thank you very much ...

Hello Fossil Creek Canyon! I think I will visit you, thank you very much …

Hi friends!

Welcome officially to summer! I must admit something that I realize makes me relatively unpopular — I normally hate the summer. (My husband is either laughing or shaking his head right now. We have a running joke that he’s going to count the number of times I complain about summer this summer. If you’re reading this husband: This doesn’t count …)

I know, I know. Summer means visits to the beach and sleeping under the stars and spending hours outside in the sun. Problem is … when you live in New York City, it can be hard to fill your summer days with these activities, and if you instead end up spending most of those summer days within the confines of this concrete jungle (Jay-Z’s words, not mine), those days are actually nothing short of hot, sweaty and stinky.

I’m sorry, but it’s true. I have no illusions of what the city is like in the summer.

So my solution to my souring mood in the summer is to plan lots of exciting trips for this year. Next weekend my sister and I are heading to Bradley Beach while my sister-in-law (who’s visiting with her boyfriend from Australia … a wahoooo!!!) are in Boston, and then Chris and I fly out to Arizona to visit an old friend of mine for the long July 4th weekend.

In fact, said friend just sent me and Chris the itinerary for our trip. It includes a 4 a.m. wake-up call on July 4th so she and Chris can run this race, followed by a barbecue and swimming and lounging about with drinks in-hand. Then on Friday we’ll be heading to Strawberry, AZ, to hike Fossil Creek Canyon. I’m beyond excited for this outing … I just hope I can keep up with those two, who are, let’s say, slightly more in shape than I happen to be at the moment. Dinner Friday night will be in Old Town Scottsdale, which sounds lovely as well.

Needless to say, starting the summer out with some trips planned outside of the city makes me able to look forward to this season a bit more than I have in past years.

And speaking of trips … Chris and I have started working on what could potentially be some very exciting travel news in the upcoming months. I’m not going to share here just yet, since we’re only in the very beginning stages of planning, but let’s just say … I really, really hope we can make it all work! Promise to share more details as soon as we know more about what we’re actually doing.

Okay bis bald, friends! Hope you all have some amazingly fun plans for the summer, as well!

Photo courtesy of turnuptherad

P.S. Isn’t the tune for the Jersey Shore ads quite catchy? I kind of love it–go visit the Jersey Shore!

Back in the Borough: Memorial Day Weekend Madness

Hi friends!

As the holiday weekend fast approaches (which I will gladly take after having JURY DUTY this upcoming week!), I’m getting excited for the plans Chris and I are making. On Friday night we’ll be heading to the Mets game (complete with a fireworks show!) with friends.

(P.S. We did this last year as well):

Mets

 

Then we’re renting bikes to ride in Central Park on either Saturday or Sunday and heading to a Brooklyn barbecue on Monday (also something we did last year, as well).

Hope you guys all have some fun plans for the holiday weekend, too!

Bis bald!

A Valentine’s Day Trip to Tarrytown

ImageHey friends,

Chris and I just arrived back from our Valentine’s Day trip to Tarrytown, a quaint little town about 45 minutes north of the city, and I have to say–I loved everything about it. Since it’s winter it was obviously a bit freezing outside, and some of the stores in the town and some of the historical sites were closed for the winter months, but still, we managed to have an awesome time just the same.

Here’s what we got up to.

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A Valentine’s Day Weekend Retreat

Hey friends!

So Chris and I are about to leave for our first Valentine’s Day weekend as old marrieds ;) We are heading to the Tarrytown House Estate, and I’m super excited! Post soon to follow with the details.

Hope you’re all having a lovely Valentine’s weekend … bis bald!

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I made this tasty treat for Valentine’s Day….yum!

Click here for the full recipe.

Life Lately: January 2013

Hey friends!
Hope your 2013 is off to a fabulous start. Here’s a little bit of what our life has looked like lately:

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We started the year with brunch in our fancy hotel room at The Standard, courtesy of my mom and stepdad. Thanks guys!

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We’ve celebrated THREE 30th birthdays so far, and one 100th! (But I’ll get to that later…)

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We celebrated married life on our first full day of being husband and wife at the new bar that opened on the corner of our street-The District.

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We started apartment hunting, which meant we needed some cocktails to ease our nerves. Working with brokers is scary!

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We held Jen’s baby shower at Cake Bistro & Bakery in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.

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The mom and proud soon-to-aunties!

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My dad got the baby all this Army gear. I think he’s a little excited to have his first grandson…wouldn’t ya say?!

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Penny had to spend a day at the vet getting tested for asthma. She spent the rest of the night in her carrying case and wouldn’t come out. I think it’s safe to say she was mad at me…

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When she finally did come out, she and Nugget did some bonding.

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HUSBAND GOT HIS GREEN CARD!

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Grand Central celebrated its 100th birthday on Feb. 1, 2013.

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Mom and I tasted some cakes for our wedding party celebration in April. Yummmm!

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My husband bought me purple flowers to celebrate our one month of marriage.

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We celebrated one month of wedded bliss by getting drinks at The Guthrie Inn, an awesome, tiny little cocktail bar on Park between 97th and 98th. The owner also owns Earl’s Beer & Cheese, the restaurant right next door that Chris swears by.

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The view of the Hudson on the way back to the city from my mom’s house.

Bis bald, friends! Hope you have fun plans for February–especially if you’re in love ;) Chris and I have made reservations at the gorgeous Tarrytown House, which just happens to be where we attended a wedding last year, as well.

See ya’ll soon!

Life Lately

So friends, December is rapidly passing us by, isn’t it? Seriously, where does the time go?

Anyway, with the holidays and, you know, our WEDDING!, coming up, things around the Connor/Lock household have been pretty insanely busy. I do love the city around the holidays, though, and Chris and I picked up our Christmas tree the other day and I’ve decorated the apartment. Despite the busyness, we’ve been trying really hard to stop and smell the Christmas tree (does that analogy work?) from time to time.

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to lately in the city that never sleeps …

We love our little 94th St. Christmas tree!

We love our little 94th St. Christmas tree!

I had these lovely ladies over for some holiday drinks. In lieu of an actual fireplace, I played the YouTube yule log over and over again on TV.

I had these lovely ladies over for some holiday drinks. In lieu of an actual fireplace, I played the YouTube yule log over and over again on TV.

For my sister's baby gender reveal party, I was the person who got the cupcake with the blue frosting. It's a boy!! I'm having a nephew!

For my sister’s baby gender reveal party, I was the person who got the cupcake with the blue frosting. It’s a boy!! I’m having a nephew!

On December 7, Chris and I took a little trip to City Hall to get our marriage license. Our MARRIAGE LICENSE! Ca-razy!

On December 7, Chris and I took a little trip to City Hall to get our marriage license. Our MARRIAGE LICENSE! Ca-razy!

And this was our ticket. I will proceed to frame it and hang it in our teeny abode.

And this was our ticket. I will proceed to frame it and hang it in our teeny abode.

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit last weekend and we took in the scenery at Bryant Park. I love it there during the holidays.

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit last weekend and we took in the scenery at Bryant Park. I love it there during the holidays.

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Friends at a beautiful Brooklyn wedding I attended this past Sunday.

Friends at a beautiful Brooklyn wedding I attended this past Sunday.

Little details like the white tea lights and wine corks really brought the night to life.

Little details like the white tea lights and wine corks really brought the night to life.

You guys KNOW how I love my lights! Isn't this chandelier from the wedding venue gorgeous?

You guys KNOW how I love my lights! Isn’t this chandelier from the wedding venue gorgeous?

Cute little A & B cookies for Allison and Boris.

Cute little A & B cookies for Allison and Boris.

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A beautiful bride!

A beautiful bride!

What? I'm not doing anything wrong?

What? I’m not doing anything wrong?

It's hard to wrap gifts when this cutie keeps distracting me. And sitting on my supplies.

It’s hard to wrap gifts when this cutie keeps distracting me. And sitting on my supplies.

On another note, our little Nugget had surgery recently. We're happy to report that his cast is off, and today was the first day he climbed in and out of his cage all by himself. Go Nugget!

On another note, our little Nugget had surgery recently. We’re happy to report that his cast is off, and today was the first day he climbed in and out of his cage all by himself. Go Nugget!

So that’s been December in a nutshell, basically. This Friday Chris and I will head upstate to celebrate the holidays with my mom and step-dad, then we’ll head to New Jersey to be with my dad, step-mom, sisters and brother-in-law. After that we head back into the city to get ready for our New Years Eve nuptials. That means I may not make it back here to post again before I become Mrs. Christopher Vincent Connor.

Woah.

Happy holidays friends! I hope everyone has a great time filled with family, friends and delicious foods! See ya’ll in the New Year!

Bis bald!

A Bachelorette Party for the Books: I’m the Luckiest Gal Alive

Hey friends!

So just a super quick update here, as it’s Thanksgiving week and I’m swamped and exhausted! I just wanted to let the world know that this past weekend, my two sisters and about a dozen of the best girlfriends a gal could ever ask for swept me away to a surprise bachelorette weekend in Hamptons Bay in the Hamptons.

I was so surprised! It was relaxing and fun, and there were drinks and a hot tub and a fireplace and movies and an amazing Mexican dinner–and lots and lots of games and prizes and love. Lots and lots of love.

I don’t have any photos, but my friends and sisters took some so when I get a couple I’ll post them.

All I have to say is, when you amazing friends and family in your life, everything else will always be okay. And I’m truly blessed to have everyone in my life who I do …

Bis bald, friends!