Spontaneous Trips Back North Are the Best

This past weekend was so. much. fun. My stepdad — in all his loveliness — decided last-minute to treat my little family of three to a trip back to New York for my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday bash at Warwick Winery. It was really great because my dad and Judy and Jen and all her fam were also there, along with my aunt and uncle and cousin Nicole, plus a ton of Brian’s family. The weather was gorgeous and the kids had a blast. It really was the loveliest. Then on Sunday we surprised my grandma at dinner at my aunt’s. She didn’t know we were coming into town, so that was pretty much the best 😉 Watching her with my daughter … I mean there’s pretty much nothing I love more.

Here’s some of our weekend in photos. Thanks again for the awesome gifted trip, Robert!

01_Airplane
^^ Weather over LaGuardia kept us in the air for an extra hour on our flight into New York, but at least we got these views of the city …

02_NY Views03_ NY Views04_NY Views05_Travel Pillow
^^ This ladybug neck pillow was a gift to Lotte from Grandpa, but Mom & Dad like using it, too 😉

06_Sleeping Lotte
^^ This little lady never falls asleep on me anymore, but on both flights she fell asleep on us because she was just too exhausted to do anything else. It’s pretty much the best.

07_Grandpa and Lotte08_Lotte and Ranger
^^ Hesitantly curious about Ranger the first night home.

09_Crazy Hair10_Bedtime
^^ Bedtime book routine!

11_Uncle Brian
^^ Happy birthday Uncle Bri!

12_Helicopter
^^ There’s a huge private house up the hill from the winery, and apparently the owners have a private helicopter, because it was parked outside their property and Rory was fascinated by it!

13_Helicopter14_Horse15_Rory Field16_Auntie M17_Hat
^^ And thus begins a photo series of my daughter wearing a backwards baseball hat.

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^^ Gah! Sometimes (most times) we seriously cannot with her.

22_Auntie M23_ Winery Fam
^^ The gang’s all here!

24_Sunday Outfit
^^ Dressed to the nines to surprise GiGi at Sunday dinner.

25_GiGi
^^ These two ❤

26_GiGi and Grandpa27_Lotte and Ranger
^^ By the time dinner rolled around Sunday night, Lotte was pretty sure she and Ranger were besties.

28_ Grandpa bedtime29_ Monday Morn
^^ Final morning with Grandpa before heading back to Colorado :/

30_Flight Home
^^ Ready to fly!

31_ Snoozin
^^ Not gonna lie, it took a lot to get to this photo. This was by far the hardest flight we’ve had with Lotte. She’s older now, so she’s not as interested in sleeping/breastfeeding/hanging out on our knee. Despite tons of snacks and toys and books, there just isn’t enough to distract a 10-month-old in four hours of flying. She had a seriously major freak-out when she reached her peak tiredness and didn’t know what to do with herself, but as soon as the seatbelt sign went out Chris was able to walk around with her and she passed out in his arms. Thank goodness! Then of course he passed out 😉 Two sleeping babes.

32_ Happy Baby
^^ Blurry, but we were home and happy! Wahoo!

Thanks again for the trip, Grandpa — it meant so much to us to be able to come and be with everyone.

Till next time, bis bald!

Life Lately: The Fall in Upstate New York Edition

Hi friends,

As much as fall has been a whirlwind, I was predicting that to be the case, and therefore I’ve been able to (as much as humanly possible!) stop and — to paraphrase — smell the changing leaves 😉

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to in the past couple (crazy/insane/amazing) weeks …

01_Snooze^^ Snooze with some Aussie visitors before I left for my east coast adventure.

02_DenverCapital^^ Checking out the Colorado State Capitol as part of an expert (not) tour while our friends were in town.

03_PeekskillBrewery^^ Hitting up the Peekskill Brewery for dinner the first night I was home.

04_IthacaLakehouse^^ We rented a lake house in Ithaca for my sister’s bachelorette a few weekends ago, and it was the definition of heavenly.

05_IthacaLakehouse^^ Getting the party started!

06_IthacaLakehouse^^ Cayuga Lake in all its glory.

07_CiderTasting^^ Stopping at the Finger Lakes Cider House on our winery tour.

08_CiderTasting^^ These ladies.

09_IthacaBars^^ I bought these little party hats for our gang to wear out the night of Steph’s bachelorette, and I cannot lie, I kind of love them. What else can I wear this for?!

10_Gorges^^ Checking out the gorges in Ithaca before heading out Sunday. Oh fall — you just get me.

11_Ranger^^ This pup is soooo happy to have me home 😉

12_BKWAterfront^^ I headed into the city for a couple days last week for a press event and to visit some friends. This pic was taken during  a walk along the river in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

12_BrooklynWaterfront

13_StatueOfLiberty^^ There’s our Lady Liberty, standing all tall and proud!

14_BKNeighborhood^^ It doesn’t get more quaint Brooklyn wonderfulness than my friend’s adorable neighborhood.

15_FayeAndMe^^ Blurry  photo fun down in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

17_BryantPark^^ One of my all-time most favorite places in the entire world — Bryant Park. This little slice of heaven lives amidst all the crazy hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and it really is something special. I appreciate it even more now that I don’t live in NYC anymore …

18_BryanParkWork

19_230Fifth^^ My press event last Thursday took place on the rooftop bar of 230 Fifth.  This place is pricey, but in my opinion it’s absolutely worth it for this view …

19_EmpireState^^ I mean …

20_FlatironBuilding^^ I had some time to kill before the event on Thursday, so I hung out in Madison Square Park for a bit and snapped this pic of the Flatiron Building on my way out.

21_BKPumpkins^^ Pumpkins in Brooklyn.

22_ProspectPark^^ A friend and I walked through Prospect Park in Brooklyn on Sunday before I headed home. Coming back to visit this city — and all the people I love who still live here — is bittersweet now. Still, this was the first time back since we’ve moved away that I thought, “I’m actually okay that I don’t live here.” As much as I adore New York — and I do! — this place can also be exhausting and stressful. Who knows where my life will bring me in the future, but it was a good feeling this trip back to be able to say that for now, I think we made the right decision leaving. Leaving the people there, of course, is a whole other thing …

23_AussieCousin^^ This Aussie cousin of ours is amazing. When he found out a trip he had already planned to New York was happening just days after my sister’s wedding, he rescheduled to be able to attend. Then he found out about our other cousin’s wedding that took place this past Saturday, and he rescheduled again! What a trooper.

24_Wedding^^ A glorious wedding venue.

25_Wedding^^ These two cuties are next!

26_Wedding

27_NewPaltzFall^^ Sunday was frustrating to me, with an unscheduled, unplanned and thoroughly annoying last-minute trip to an Urgent Care Center. The drive out there, however, was splendid in all its fall loveliness, so I rewarded myself with a stop directly in the middle of the road to take this photo.

IMG_8891^^ And this, from a walk around the neighborhood with the dog. Le sigh.

IMG_8574^^ Chris and I haven’t been together all of October, since I’ve been east coasting it — so sometimes we just have to cheers each other virtually, ya know?!

IMG_6118^^ Oh, and he sends me these, too, to melt my heart a little bit 😉

And that’s been it so far, my friends! I’m off to the Poconos with a friend this Thursday, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to share with you in the coming weeks – so stay tuned.

Bis bald!

Life Recently: Late Summer Edition

Hi friends,

Summer certainly came and went in an instant, am I right? Mine was … ummm … interesting. There were a lot of things that happened with my family this summer that kept me busy, but along the way we still managed to have lots of NYC fun and, thanks to our plethora of weddings this fall, I was able to spend a lot of time with friends at multiple bachelorette parties and other fun events.

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on, according to my iPhone:

photo 13^^^ The gorgeous gardens at The Cloisters.

photo 12^^^ Drinks on The Refinery Hotel‘s rooftop.

photo 11^^^ Soaring high above New York City on our helicopter tour with HeliNY Tours.

photo 10^^^ Witnessing a stand-off between Penny and my friend’s cat Libbie, who Penny will be spending a lot of time with when Chris and I travel later this Fall. Hopefully they’ll eventually get on better than this photo suggests!

photo 9^^^ A little silly fun at a friend’s beautiful Red Maple Vineyard wedding over Labor Day weekend.

photo 8^^^ The amazing pink sky and white moon, as seen from my parents’ front yard. No filter needed, my friends. Amazing.

photo 7^^^ Taking a little stroll along the Hudson to The Boat Basin Cafe when a friend came for a visit.

photo 6^^^ We never got to walk the Brooklyn Bridge like we wanted to, but we did get to drive over it in a taxi 😉

photo 5^^^ Being a Broadway Baby with Lisa on our way to see This Is Our Youth.

photo 4^^^ For one of the bachelorette parties I attended this summer, we decorated our hotel room with Hawaiian-themed decor and wore tacky Hawaiian shirts, because this particular friend spent three years living there. We did a pretty dang good job, if I do say so myself!

photo 3^^^ While nightclubs certainly aren’t my thing on a regular basis, chillin’ with some old friends from high school for a couple nights at some were a lot of fun.

photo 2^^^ Atlantic City turned it on for us during one friend’s bachelorette. The weather was amazing, and we had a ton of fun.

photo 1^^^ Andddd … my little sister is engaged! ‘Nuff said 😉

And with that, I release you, summer 2014, into perpetuity. Here’s to fall. And amazing travel plans. And cooler weather. And tights and boots and sweaters and scarves. Here’s to new beginnings and saying goodbye (for now!) to friends and beloved places.

Sigh.

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

handsomehusband

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.

walk2

Walk1

makeuplist

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.

wine_bottles

cheryl_chris

cheryl_steph

apple_wine

baby_horse

fresh_apples

apple_sign

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.

Rory.AmsterdamAleHouse3Delacorte_Theater

^^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 ...

7A

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!

^^ W

^^ 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.

photo 5 photo 18 photo 10 photo 6

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

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photo 10

photo 4 (5)

photo 2 (5)

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!

Link Love: Week of Nov. 18

Linkes_I_Love

Hi friends,

Hope everyone’s gearing up for an amazing Thanksgiving. This is most definitely my favorite time of year, and I’m finding it hard to stop myself from buying up all the thick tights, sparkly skirts and fun jewelry that I come across.

Of course, when I come across travel deals that I’d love to splurge on, it’s much easier for me to tuck that credit card back into my wallet and save up for some faraway destination ….

Speaking of which, here are five great deals I’ve seen across the web this week:

  1. 7-night land package to the Galapagos Islands, from $1,299 (Travelzoo)
  2. $60-worth of wine and food at Bahr Che in New York, $30 (TravelZoo)
  3. 2-night stay for two at the Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa, $219 (Living Social)
  4. 6-day trip to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, including round-trip flights from Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC or DC, from $1,499 (Living Social)
  5. 1-night stay for two at the Mount Airy Casino Resort in The Paconos, PA, $99 (Groupon)

In the spirit of the celebratory season, I thought I’d also share a couple of the wedding photos my mother-in-law just sent us through from our party at the Algona Mount Panorama Estate in Bathurst, Australia.

Australia1

Australia3

Bis bald, friends!

Photo via Flickr

Our Aussie Wedding Extravaganza!

Hi friends,

So we’re back home safe and sound (booo!), and things here have been a bit hectic since we landed. (You can thank our cat and her terrible lungs, which have now been fixed, thanks to the surgical team at the Animal Medical Hospital and our dwindling bank account!)

Anyway, I finally have some time to blog today, so I’ve upgraded to a better photo package which hopefully should keep me blogging for the next couple of years. Fingers crossed!

Back to our epic adventure, this trip really was separated into three parts:

  1. Our time spent in Bathurst with all of our amazing friends and family for our (fourth!) wedding celebration and the baptism of our niece/Goddaughter
  2. Our honeymoon at the Great Barrier Reef
  3. Our last weekend in Sydney before we left, which just so happened to coincide with the International Fleet Review where over 20 ships from around the world docked in Sydney Harbour. (Plus they had the largest fireworks show Australia has ever seen … and Prince Harry was there!)

As I like to do (to keep the trip lasting longer, and to stop your eyes from glazing over at one ginormous post), I’m going to break my blogging about this trip into the three sections accordingly.

So back to last Tuesday, we had boarded a Qantas flight to Australia …

Continue reading “Our Aussie Wedding Extravaganza!”

Warwick Valley Winery

Hi friends,

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Chris and I headed upstate to visit my sister’s new place, as well as to try out a new winery — the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery. My aunt and uncle met us there (they actually only live a couple miles away), and it was such a great day. By now we’ve been to quite a few wineries in the upstate area, and I’d have to say this one was by far our favorite so far. It was pretty packed, but it’s not hard to see why. They had live music, there’s a cafe with really good food and the grounds are gorgeous. They even have an apple orchard where you can pick apples in the fall [or, you know, before the fall, if you’re my family :)] and horses. When we went on Saturday they were setting up for a 6 p.m. wedding, and I can only imagine how gorgeous that would have been.

The tastings are $5, and you get 6 of their wines and you keep the glass.

wine_tasting

wine_bottles

apple_picking
^^ Apple picking starts at the end of August!

Glasses

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fresh_apples

apple_throwing

both_horses

^^We fed some of our contraband apples to the horses.
^^We fed our contraband apples to the horses.

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^^Squirreling apples away in my pocket.
^^Squirreling apples away in my pocket.

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^^The food there was so good! You gotta try the pizza ...
^^The food there was so good! You gotta try the pizza …

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^^ Look at this adorable pair ;)
^^ Look at this adorable pair 😉

After spending the weekend away, Chris and I caught the train home from Beacon, which offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River and happens to have a cute little Farmers Market on Sundays …

beacon_market

hudson_view

hudson_river

^^ Oh my goodness I love a good pickle!
^^ Oh my goodness I love a good pickle!

delicious_pickles

ripe_tomatoes

sauce_tomatoes

carrots

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And that was our weekend! I would highly, highly recommend a trip to Warwick Valley Winery if you’re in the area — you seriously won’t be disappointed!

Bis bald, friends!