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Getaway: Burlington Vermont

10 Mar

Want a fun little girls trip itinerary?  or this could be a lover’s getaway.  Just kidding, I hate that word – LOVERS! (ha)  I’m going to admit though, it isn’t the easiest place to get to really but it’s worth it!

If you’re like me and a wiz at geography (insert ROF laughing here) here’s a map for reference:

I would make this a two night trip.  Fly in on a Friday afternoon and out on a Sunday.  Here are a couple of ideas of where you could go and do.  First, just Uber it from the tiny airport to your hotel.

CHECK-IN:

HOTEL VERMONT:  Preppy Swank.  Loved!

41 Cherry Street
Burlington, Vermont

WEBSITE

This is the perfect place to stay.  Friendly and lots of attention to detail.  Every floor had a shared coffee/water/tea area.  The warm fire with woodsy smells greets you the minute you walk into the lobby.  Your modern but comfortable room is outfitted with locally made soaps (lemony!) and lotions.

Drop your bags, run a brush through your hair then hit the town  – it’s happy hour!

DRINKS:

THE ARCHIVES: Is it an arcade? is it a cocktail lounge? It’s both!  Grab a Shinebox or a Shakedown cocktail and belly up to Ms. Pac Man or Tetris.  You’re sure to work up an appetite.

photo cred: The Archives website

FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER:

Head over to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Bank Street.

I had the Cast Iron Seared Atlantic Salmon with butternut puree, red quinoa, endive, sage and pecan pesto.  It was out of this world!  They have a great selection of starters too including a raw bar.  It’s casual like the whole town – jeans and boots – are fine!

Walk back to the hotel through the quaint downtown that looks almost identical to Boulder, Colorado.  They were designed by the same company!  Zig and zag down the Church Street Marketplace – so cool.   Maybe stop at the hotel lobby bar for a nightcap by the fire or turn in!

THINGS TO DO ON SATURDAY:

Now, you don’t need me to tell you to head back to the hotel.  Rest and relax.  And get ready for a wonderful dinner out with your lovely or friends.   Head here:

 

This place looks fantastic. Very Vermont.

Check it out if you get a chance.  Buy some maple popcorn at the airport on your way home.  I didn’t (wink) but it looked good.  Let me know if you have other suggestions.

Awesome Birthday Traditions

7 Feb

I love this tradition (plus I love steak see here and here!) After hearing about this a couple of times, I decided all of you needed to know about it too.  Make this tradition your own!  There are so many ideas.  I share some of mine after the interview. 

I interviewed my friend, Sean Sivore and his son Aidan on their favorite thing to do on their birthdays:

Tell me a little bit about why you go to so many Steakhouses(how many?) – what is your tradition and how did it start?  I’ve always loved the experience at steakhouses.  The service and atmosphere are a big part of what makes a great steakhouse great.  My Dad loved great restaurants and since Aidan and I have birthdays one day apart, I thought it would be a fun “father/son” tradition to research the hottest steakhouses around and the two of us go to one for our birthday each year.  We’ve been doing this since Aidan’s 7th Birthday.

Musso and Frank Grill, Hollywood, CA – August, 2016

Now, let’s talk to Aidan.

Is steak your favorite thing to eat? Yes!

What are your top 5 steakhouses and why did you like them so much?

  1.  Bavette’s – Chicago, ILAtmosphere was a little like a bar (dark/quiet),  But the steak was so good, it didn’t matter.
  2.  Prime and Provisions – Chicago, ILSteak was perfect.  The atmosphere was awesome.  The bacon appetizer is off the chain! The service was the best of any steakhouse.
  3. Gibson’s – Chicago, ILFirst steakhouse I went to and finished an 18oz Rib-eye at age 8.
  4. Benjamin’s Steakhouse – New York, NYOld School looking steakhouse, but not that old.  Steaks were awesome.
  5. Chicago Cut – Chicago, ILCool steak place, atmosphere, and great food.

Do you order the same thing at all the steakhouses?   No, I usually order whatever the house specialty is.  When in doubt though I order a Rib-eye.

What is your favorite thing to eat? Steak by far 

Sean: This is a picture of our first annual “Guy’s Steak Night Out.”  This was before the ladies of the family started muscling their way into our tradition.  He finished the whole steak!

December 2012, Gibson’s Chicago

Prime and Provisions – Chicago, 2017 
Thanks, Sean and Aidan!  This is so much fun – what a great idea!  Here are some of my thoughts on how to make this your own.
  1. If steak is not your thing, make it sushi, Italian or even pizza!  Hit up your own city or travel.
  2. If food is not your bag, what about a class?  Take a class with friends or your S.O. on your birthday.  Learn something new every year on your birthday and keep track with a photo.
  3. Do something crazy out-of-the-ordinary every year on your birthday.  Research it.  Swim with dolphins, skydive, bungee jump, swim to Alcatraz * – mark the years you get older by something cool.  *scroll down to read about my mom’s close friend Nancy Moore and what a bad ass she is!
  4. Make it a point to travel to a new place on your birthday.  One year it may be a new town driving distance from you and another might be Europe!  Document it, write it down, snap it up.

Let me know what your traditions are for your birthdays!

Daytripping from Madison

28 Jan

Come with me on a daytrip to New Glarus, Wisconsin!  

We moved to Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2017 from Dallas, Texas and I have to say I love living in Wisconsin.  I loved Dallas too and one isn’t better than the other – just very different.

First, we found a great place to live.  I think ROF and I say daily to each other “I LOVE OUR PLACE!”  It’s a condo inside a subdivision with rolling hills and while close to everything – still feel like we are in the country (a little!)  One of the best things about our place was our real estate agents – the Lessing Team!  Being a new build, it wasn’t the simplest of things to navigate and while I’m a believer in the “do-it-yourself on-line” mentality – buying this was not something we could have ever done it alone.  Better yet, Amy Lessing has become a great friend and certainly made the transition to Madison smooth.  In fact, ROF and I both use her hairdresser, have met a ton of new people via her summer party and favorite things party, use her recommended dog boarding and daycare place.

You’re going to see a lot more blog posts on living in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin but today I want you to come with me to New Glarus. Not only is it the home of the famous SPOTTED COW brewery but it is America’s Little Switzerland and is modeled after Glarus, Switzerland (hence, NEW Glarus.) However, New Glarus is SO DECEIVING!

Why do I say deceiving, you ask?  Because in and among the historic buildings which are over 150 years old, is some of the best food I’ve ever had.  Friends of ours actually just got back from Switzerland and said that actually, the food in New Glarus was BETTER.

So did I tempt you enough to take a scenic drive to New Glarus? 

Here’s where you should go:

First, take the scenic route which looks like this:

You must eat at Cow & Quince.  This is our favorite restaurant possibly in the entire Madison area.

The food is amazing!  Full disclosure – we’ve only been there for breakfast.  To give you an example of their locally-sourced menu, check out my favorite breakfast sandwich:

Breakfast Sammie* 

Fox Heritage Farm bacon, sweet chili cream cheese, arugula, Edelweiss grass-fed Gouda, aioli, 1 egg, MSCo country sourdough bread, choice of side add pickled jalapeños $0.50

but i’ve heard throught the grapevine that their savory french toast is not-to-be-missed:

Savory French Toast*

Thick cut MSCo brioche, gouda, apple-onion jam, Lacinato kale, Door County cherries, pork belly, sunny side duck egg, maple roasted garlic vinaigrette

They also have fun pizza nights and guest chefs.  Cow & Quince also has plenty of options for my vegan friends.  Check out their menu here.

Check out their website for a brief video and full menu!

Another outstanding place to eat is at Glarner Stube.  

This place is the shizzle.  I’m not joking.  Sunday nights is a special night with a Swiss flank steak specialty (can’t remember the name!) and there is typically ALWAYS a wait to get into this tiny restaurant with a big bar.  The service is so friendly and if you have to wait at the bar and sip on water (read: brandy old-fashioned sweet) and wait a bit, there are worse things you could be doing.

the cheese fondue is to die for!  If you and your S.O. get just this – you’ll be good!  Typically, cheese fondue, to me, is kind of flat.  This has multi-dimensional flavors going on and is not super heavy like it will just re-form in your stomach.  The rest of the food here is fantastic.  Being from Dallas and a foodie – I found myself scratching my head several times in New Glarus thinking – I don’t think I’ve had better food!  PS.  The rosti potatoes are epic!  One order for a table of eight works!

Plus look at how cute this darn town is:

One more place to eat.  So yesterday, we took some friends of ours to Cow & Quince for breakfast and they were closed for a winter retreat!  Snap!  But lo and behold, we found another incredibly cute and delicious breakfast place: Fat Cat Coffee Works!

 

this place was so cute!  In a little house with casual order at the counter, pick any place to sit was really quaint.  We sat at the beautiful oak bar and watched the cook make our breakfast.  I had a yummy fig, goat cheese, and bacon quiche.  My maple spice latte was delicious!  This is a great place for breakfast or lunch.

On this unseasonably warm day, it was fun to walk across the street after breakfast to a 118 year old tavern called Puempel’s Tavern.  Complete with a bloody mary bar and big windows letting the sun stream in, it was a perfect place for us to play a friendly game of Euchre.  Which, I have to say, if you’re not into cards, you’re missing out!  There is nothing more fun to pass the time and indulge in some healthy competition than a good mid-morning game of Euchre.  We had so much fun!  And we even lost at cards.

In addition to all this food, New Glarus has some adorable shops including a couple of fantastic specialty food stores like butcher and cheese stores.  The New Glarus Hotel boasts authentic Swiss food and polka dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  This.is.not.to.be.missed.  You’re not in Madison anymore!

May I suggest you and your S.O., handful of girlfriends or even escape on your own on the beautiful drive to New Glarus, Wisconsin for fab food, great shopping and even a tour of the world-famous (or Wisconsin famous…) Spotted Cow brewery.  Have fun!

overheard on flight 3523

17 Dec

before takeoff, an older gentleman and his wife walked down the aisle struggling with their two carry-ons each.  after taking their seat behind me, a woman in first class got up out of her seat, walked down the aisle and knelt down behind me, addressing the older man:

“pardon me, sir.  but i overheard your conversation in the airport with the gentleman serving in the armed forces.  i wanted to thank you for your service in world war 2.  also, this is my card.  we own a fish farm called rushing water fisheries and we have a restaurant too.  the owner is also a world war 2 veteran and i would like to offer a complimentary dinner for you and your wife with our owner to thank you for your service.   we would be blessed to have you be our guest. “

WHERE TO GO IN NYC

7 Nov

i recently sent my friend an email with my recommendations for places to go and things to do in NYC.  this is a city that we try to go to at least 2x a year.  i thrive off the energy and creative vibes that seemingly ooze from the sidewalks and radiate from people there.  we were just there a couple of weeks ago and ate here – YUM-O!

we’re headed back in december for my birthday and to spend christmas with relatives and we are staying here (the benefits of traveling for work and collecting points all year) and having dinner with 3 other couples here.  also, i’m totally into the “secret” restaurant scene and are currently trying to get the password/reservation to this place.  CAN’T WAIT!

so here was my advice to my friend who was headed there for the first time recently.  please leave your favorite places in the comments below!

********

i’m so excited to hear about NYC through your eyes.  promise me you’ll have fun!  don’t worry about ANYTHING  – just take it all in.  There is NO MORE BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE COUNTRY!   here are a couple of places/ideas.  Take it or leave it, you won’t be able to see it all! .

for me, i’m all about experiencing what a city has to offer – no chain restaurants/stores – goes without saying, but i said it anyway.   these are totally random ideas.  my biggest advice about NYC is this… it is an anything goes city!  do not be afraid to walk into places, say hello, leave – whatever.  this city is more casual and friendly than you think – they have SEEN IT ALL.

FRIDAY DINNER SUGGESTIONS:

MARY’S FISH CAMP: http://marysfishcamp.com/home.php

nestled deep in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, you won’t believe you’re in a big city.  every time i’m here, i think, i could totally live here.  OMG.  The brownstones etc… this place doesn’t take reservations so we have put our name in and walked across the street to Greek place and grabbed a drink at the bar.  NOTE: you could even eat here – just as good!  When I was there with my niece, nice boys next to us said they had the best sangria and they asked if we wanted to try it so we did.  later, we were like, we didn’t even know them!

MERCER KITCHEN: http://www.themercerkitchen.com/

Ok, not sure you can get in here. But I LOVE THIS PLACE!  It’s in SOHO (south of Houston pronounced HOW-ston, not like the city) and this hotel is awesome.  They have a great restaurant in basement – make reservations now, if you want.

this area is my favorite in the world and you could walk to the bar at the SOHO GRAND http://www.sohogrand.com/dining-nightlife/ upstairs (saw Reese Witherspoon here) and it is so happening and great people watching. ROF and I played gin rummy for hours in the afternoon here.  Walk up the funky stairs and order a drink at bar.  I’ve been here like 28.5x.  (maybe not that much)  This would be a fun night.

TAO: Downtown: https://taodowntown.com/

meatpacking district –  this place is wild!  Very fun and another area to go to.

Saturday – before show

OK, so before your show, you gotta go to Central Park!  You may want to have brunch here.  I think I ate here  https://www.yelp.com/biz/sarabeths-new-york-10

have a great brunch/breakfast and just cruise Central Park!  Whoop!  Take a horse carriage through there!  No doubt – !!  You will be like – No way am I in NYC!

Other favorite places:

washington square park – can’t beat it.  i have spent hours here with ROF.  Just grab a coffee, grab a bench and hang out!

Ok  – here is some “only in NYC” experiences:

 

i’ve also blogged about my other NYC trips here and here.

where are some of your favorite places in the city?

travel: up north

30 Jul

in my teens and 20’s, i wrote in a journal almost daily.  i would describe in detail where i was, what i was doing so that when i read it later on in life, i would be able to go right back to that very place.  and it worked.  so i’m going to do the same here.

last week i posted about beautiful door county, wisconsin.  well, i haven’t even left my new home state and can post again about “UP NORTH.”  this isn’t my first time up north.  in fact, we’ve been going up north since i was a kid living in michigan.

that phrase means something totally different to my dallas and texas friends than it does to my wisconsin friends.  so come with me to where i am right now…

go on.  close your eyes.

ok, can’t read and close your eyes at the same time.  i get it.  read on…

it’s 7am on sunday morning.  i’m sitting in my favorite reclining leather chair in front of a big picture window.

it’s 60 degrees and the end of july.  i am listening to the massive eagle mamas (or dads, geez, i don’t know!) talk to their babies.  

i’m watching the eagles fly around  – like that is just normal to see.  caught one with my camera:

we’re at a place, i would call my very happiest of all places.  up north.  in this case, we’re in a town my husband and i will never be able to spell without help: minocqua.

that is to give you an overview.  we’re about 3 hours north of madison.   here is a better view:

we’re talking lake after lake after lake (called a chain, because many of them are connected)

this is such a different kind of place.  for example, it’s not a one week vacation that forever lives in your head afterward (nothing wrong with those!)

this is where i truly feel appreciation for our country, God and a place that is just part of who you are.  if you have a place up north and are reading this right now, please leave a comment at the bottom if you agree or add to what i’m trying to describe.

this does a good job:

back to me describing what’s going on right now.  so i don’t forget…

coffee just finished brewing in the kitchen that is a couple rooms over.  that faint, welcoming smell is amplified by the cool summer morning breeze whafting in from the picture window.  the sound of birds waking up, eagle babies screaming and just now i can hear a motor boat in the distance getting closer.

ROF and i dream about having a place up here or near hear or…just north someday.  where we can play euchre (another freaking word we can’t ever spell!) with our friends placing bets with apple pie shots,  heading to one of a million supper clubs like we went to this weekend:

what is strange about my love of up north is that i’m a big city girl.  having lived 11 years in downtown chicago, i could (and have) written about the joys of the big city.  

but in my ripe old age, i’m leaning towards the north.  but i tell you… nothing beats both!  going between the action of the big city and the serene up north is something people have done for ages.  a girl can dream.

have a great sunday!

travel: door county, wisconsin 

24 Jul

looking for a peaceful, beautiful summer vacation? head to door county, wisconsin.  where? DOOR COUNTY!  yes- trust me.  


egg harbor, fish creek, sister bay- just to name a few of the quaint cities that seem to just keep coming as you drive along the coast.  yes, I’m talking to you, dear texas friends. when it starts to simmer in dallas – head north! the high today was 78 degrees.  

but, don’t take my word for it.  they say that door county is the “cape cod of the Midwest“- read it from:

travel and leisure magazine

new york times

the travel channel

new jersey dot com

i love the midwest.  love.  the crisp morning air, the twists and turns of the drives, the lush green summers and the distinct evolution of the seasons.  it’s part of who i am.  my mom, ROF and i spent a weekend here in door county recently.  here are our snaps. 

stay: orphan annie’s schoolhouse in bailey’s harbor.   Beautiful, renovated schoolhouse with attentive owners and comfortable accommodations. 


eat: fish boil at white gull inn


 coffee: bearded heart coffee


WEEKEND IN: SANTA FE

6 Oct

hi.  thanks for reading.  i’ve taken some time off to start a new job but anxious to jump back into appreciating life in this blog.  i’m starting a new series based on all the travel we’ve done recently.  it’s a quick weekend itinerary in cities worth visiting around the country.  While these we “tested” with us – a couple – these are perfect trips for singles, girlfriend getaway or families.

we’re going to start with beautiful santa fe, new mexico.  want to head there for a getaway with your loved one for a weekend?  here is where to go, what to do and where to stay.  follow this, like we did, and i promise you’ll have a great weekend!

arrive friday afternoon and stay here:

la posada de santa fe

this place is utterly breathtaking, unique and perfectly located.  stay here and you don’t need to rent a car because you can walk everywhere.  and it’s different… not a typical resort.  instead of one big hotel, these are separate buildings that hold four rooms each with their own outdoor space.  every late afternoon, they light up the outdoor fire pits with that distinct fall smell of pinion wood.  most importantly, the bar is fun, lively and from popular talk…haunted.  we used points to stay here – it’s a starwood resort.  located walking distance from the plaza and my favorite place – canyon road.  also- this place is dog friendly!  in fact, one of my good friends from my chicago years drove down with her adorable pup drove down and met us for dinner

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photos courtesy of la posada de santa fe

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 5.38.47 AMfriday night dinner:

COYOTE CAFE

132 West Water
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 983-1615

after you’ve settled into your beautiful room at la posada, maybe had a delicious jalapeno margarita at the bar, head out by foot to coyota cafe.  this is one of ROF and my favorite restaurants in the country!  we’ve been here several times and it never disappoints.  get there about a half hour before your reservation and have a drink at the rooftop cantina connected to the restaurant and the views of the plaza won’t disappoint.

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really weak photos, i know.  sorry.  ROF won’t let me use the flash because i take too many pictures (haha) but here was a snap from our walk to the restaurant.  i’m told that the reason why santa fe is so magical (best word to describe) is that the light dances.  and it does – amazing!

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now, walk home, go on, it’s safe and believe it or not the sky is still as bright as the picture.   hold hands walking through the resort to your room (not required, but recommended!)

saturday morning breakfast:

what?  still full from the night before?  no way!  sleep in a little bit, go to the resort spa or workout then head here.  and plan to wait but it is worth it.

cafe pasqual’s – 121 don gaspar road

just walk there.  we walked everywhere.  here are some pics from pasquals.  i bought a long sleeve tee which seems to be my thing to collect now….

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saturday afternoon  – things to do

take a open air bus tour.  it’s a great way to see a city and ROF and i do this everywhere we go.  walk over to the loretto chapel – through the end of october only – jump on this tram and tool around and hear some great tidbits about sante fe.  my take away?  people paint their windows and doors blue to keep the bad spirits away.  there… worth the couple of bucks.

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saturday later in the afternoon ….

ok, enough of that, now let’s have fun.  sign up in advance for a cooking class at the santa fe school of cooking.  they couldn’t be nicer here and we are so glad we did this.  we met fantastic families from all over the country, learned a lot and got to get our hands dirty.  plus, now we are expert salsa makers! 

santa fe school of cooking 125 N Guadalupe St

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saturday night dinner:

geronimo… a must go.

from the owners book on the restaurant:

Featuring huge overhead beams, creamy stucco details, and a fireplace sporting oversized moose antlers, the 250-year-old hacienda that houses Geronimo restaurant is a welcome addition to Santa Fe’s trendy Canyon Road. Restaurant owners Cliff Skoglund and Chris Harvey along with chef Eric DiStefano have created a refined retreat in this once rough-and-tumble town, serving exquisite contemporary cuisine that rivals the best in the country. …Geronimo restaurant is named for Señor Geronimo Lopez, the former owner of the hacienda in which Geronimo is housed.

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sunday – all about art

santa fe is the oldest capital city in the us.  did you know that?  did you also know that georgia o’keefe is from santa fe?  i’m a bevy of information.  so, it’s sunday, you’ve slept in and are ready to get some exercise.  walk around the corner and hike all the way up canyon road.  here there are over a hundred contemporary art galleries in one half mile.  there are also restaurants and boutiques.  it is so much fun to stroll through these galleries and look at the art and figure out our “art style” together.  ROF and i have the same taste, which is awesome to discover.

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hope you get a chance to visit santa fe soon!  let me know if you have a favorite place there to visit.

girls weekend itinerary in new york city

24 Jul

just got back sunday from a to-die-for girls weekend in new york city.  amazing how simple it was to coordinate being that i’m in dallas, susan and sarah are in chatham, nj and sara beth is in atlanta.  so if you’re thinking of heading there, check out our itinerary for 2015.  short, but certainly sweet!

Friday night:

Dinner @ Schillers Liquor Bar @8pm

great little casual place in the lower east side.  great energy, food + drinks.  plus the wait staff has great ink!  perfect place for us to squeal and laugh and catch up with each other.  also, you’re in “real” nyc – not too touristy.

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Saturday

walk the high line

if i lived here, i’d do this every weekend.  the art was fantastic!  the flowers and trees – beautiful.  this park located UP on an old elevated train line is not to be missed.  it was a beautiful day to walk through here, stop for some coffee and snap some pictures.
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Brunch reservation @ 12:30 at Greenwich Project 

we then walked a block to this quaint, adorable restaurant sara picked out.  the part about walking a block was an inside joke because everything was “just a block away” – according to the native NYers – SBP and SP.  this was really a 47 block walk (ask susan) but well worth it.

we caught the service here on an off day.  but we still had a couple of brunch bloodies and sangria and awesome food.  the best part?  they comped our entire meal because of the service.  scheeesh!  that kind of made our whole day!

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Reservation at Bite Lip Lab to make own lipstick @ 2:30

this place was bad ass!  i have to say the two lipsticks i made are the best i’ve ever had – better than MAC!  seriously!  they smell awesome – mint/vanilla – and are super soft!  this place is the size of a postage stamp but i want one in dallas.  it was a lot of fun to watch them mix the colors, then sample then mix some more!

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SoHo Shopping

you can’t go to NYC without shopping in SOHO.  i snagged an unbelievable snag – a chloe marcie hobo bag at a consignment shop.  it took me exactly 2 minutes to decide.  i know that’s a shocker.

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Mary’s Fish Camp in the West Village @ 8pm

loved this place!  small, crowded, don’t accept reservations,  no air conditioning but completely non-touristy and the most delicious lobster roll ever.  mary popped around the restaurant bringing wine and delivering food.  what a find!
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Sunday

central park!

our last day – my flight was at 4:50.  woke up late, ate at hotel and grabbed some last minute clothes at the j crew sale then took off through central park.  we stayed at the essex house – a jw marriott hotel located right on the south side of the park.  it was hot but a beautiful, sunny day.  central park is so much fun to people watch!

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Sarabeth’s for brunch

this place was awesome but we waited an hour and half for a table which actually wasn’t so bad because it was great people watching and the tuna salad was worth it!

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so to recap our short girls trip itinerary in NYC:

stay:  essex house jw marriott on the park (or try a cool boutique hotel, i used points so it was free!)

eat: schillers liquor bar, greenwich project, mary’s fish camp, sarabeths for brunch

do: shopping in soho, bite lip lab, central park

 

 

happy happy friday!

19 Jun

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i’m excited for this weekend.

first,  ROF comes home after being gone all week traveling on business.  (yea!)

second, we are taking my mom on an overnight trip here to celebrate her 74th birthday and mothers day.  i treasure this special alone time with ROF and my mom.  we’re going to get facials and massages and maybe float the lazy river.  maybe not that last one.

you might remember when the three of us went to chicago a couple of years ago and had a blast:

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yep, we’re celebrating mom on father’s day which is totally appropriate for us!  you can read more on that here.

 

have a great weekend!  XXOO

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