A Weekend Getaway with My Favorite Ladies

I’m writing this after finishing up from an amazing girls weekend with my best friends from high school. Me, Jane, Alisa and Melgar have been friends for 20 years and each year we try to do a girls weekend / getaway somewhere.

This year, we spent the weekend in California, visiting Melgar who lives in San Jose. We did some day trips and spent time catching up at her new house.

The weekend included:

Some hiking in Big Basin. Alisa was our fearless leader (we called her the trail maven).

An overnight in Monterey, which included some day trips and scenic driving around Bixby Bridge, 17 Mile Drive and visiting Carmel.

Relaxing by Melgar’s pool. Her new house is gorgeous AND she has a great walking/running path right next to it, along with a pool!

Going for a little run. Melgar is pregnant and still running!

Some amazing food. Including my first cragel – croissant + bagel – which is waaay better than a cronut in my opinion. And Melgar’s husband Jon cooked us an amazing meal of crispy prosciutto and risotto.

And some baking in Melgar’s gorgeous kitchen!

It wouldn’t be a trip with my favorite ladies without some sort of adventure. We ended up semi-getting lost along our drive (that’s what you get when I’m the co-pilot … thank goodness Jane woke up from her nap and showed us the map!).

But it didn’t matter, because we were all together. Singing the Spice Girls and acting like we were in junior high all over again.

These are the friends that I can just truly be myself with. Share my darkest secrets with. Say what’s on my mind. We can laugh together. Cry together. And we did both this weekend. While we only get together like this once a year, we always pick up right where we left off. I know I am so lucky to have friends like these!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been hiking in the Redwoods?
  • What songs bring you back to high school/middle school?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Two Days in Mendocino and a Drive Up North

(this is part two of a travel recap post – part one can be found here: A Day in Sonoma)

Last week, my family took a trip out to the West Coast to visit my brother. After spending time with family and a day in Sonoma, it was time for our next stop – Mendocino. The road to Mendocino was part of the trip in itself. Greg had helped planned us a route along highway one, with scenic views overlooking the Pacific coast. I’m so glad I was able to go – it was gorgeous, and we even got to stop for lunch in one of the small coastal towns along the way.

GREAT view along the ride.

GREAT views along the ride.

We arrived in Mendocino just before our B&B’s happy hour, which was great. We stayed at the Inn at Cobbler’s Walk, which is part of Glendeven, and I’d definitely recommend it. The property isn’t too big, is close to a bunch of walking/hiking trails and even has llamas and 100s of chickens on site.

llamas on the property!

llamas on the property!

After enjoying the local wine and great cheese at the Inn for the complimentary happy hour, it was time for dinner in downtown Mendocino. It’s a small downtown with shops and restaurants, we enjoyed another dinner on a patio before taking a walk around the downtown as the sun was setting.

family selfie at happy hour

family selfie at happy hour

The next morning, I woke up relatively early and went for a walk, including to the beach, on a path just a few minutes away from our room.

beach front walk in the morning

beach front walk in the morning

We had breakfast served to our room at 9 a.m., which included a three-course meal – yogurt and granola, eggs and a scone. Sooo good!

the amazing meal

the amazing meal

After breakfast, we checked out the rest of the grounds – the llamas and chickens and garden – and then headed to downtown Mendocino for a walk along the Headlands and lunch. It was such a gorgeous day!

20150728_140745 20150728_123222 20150728_122317

Our second night we stayed at a different place, this time with cabins and adjoining rooms so that we were all able to hang out and watch a movie – Beetlejuice – at night. This inn had goats this time.

Peanut Butter and Jelly, the goats!

Peanut Butter and Jelly, the goats!

We had a great dinner that night – we ended up wandering back downtown and hit up the MacCallum Inn. This week’s WIAW shares some of eats – wine, cheese, ratatouille and blackberry soufflé. SO good.

DESSERT.

DESSERT.

The next morning, we took a short walk around the new inn, and then hit the road for breakfast in Fort Bragg followed by a drive through the Avenue of the Giants. It is SO cool to ride among those SUPER tall trees! We also had time to stop for a hike along one of the trails. I love a good, easy nature hike!

20150729_144955 20150729_143915 IMG_20150729_155235

What a great trip – I hope we can do it again soon!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to the Redwoods?
  • Do you like hiking? Nature? I enjoy hiking, but i’m not a HUGE nature fan. I’m scared of bugs, snakes, animals, etc. 
  • Have you ever seen the movie Beetlejuice?

 

Friday 5: Family Vacation Favorites

I’m just getting back from a week of vacation spending time in New York and California with family. I’ve already written a few recap posts (NY, Sonoma), but before finishing up those posts, here’s a quick Friday Favorites dedicated to some of my favorite photos from our trip. Here you go – a few photos and one sentence as to why I like each photo.

1. Redwoods Selfie: Love that it shows all of us just hiking in the Redwoods, a place that is seriously so unbelievably beautiful, that it’s only better if you’re sharing it with family.

IMG_20150729_155235

2. Family in Jersey: Again, love that it captures me and my extended family – we’re hardly ever all in one place! family at katies birthday

3. Me and Greg @ Dinner: We actually look pretty related here, which doesn’t happen often. 20150726_202918

4. Greg and me and the vines: A traditional brother-sister selfie.

20150726_145656

4. Lavender fields at the vineyard: I can look at this picture and smell how beautiful it was!

IMG_20150727_120851

5. Parents on our walk along the Mendocino Headlands: They make me happy ❤20150728_140539

AND a bonus: Mom feeding the chickens: Because when else are we ever feeding chickens, or even around wildlife (and she looks like she’s having a great time!)?1438107515188

Happy Friday! I’m linking up today with Life in Leggings and Fitting it all In! 

A Day in Sonoma

After our weekend in NY, we were headed to California to visit my brother! We flew out early Sunday, and got to San Fran early enough so that we had nearly a whole day to spend. Our first day? A trip to Sonoma. We had a tour and tastings, visiting two wineries in the area.

winery #1

winery #1

Family at winery #2

Family at winery #2

Followed by dinner in downtown Sonoma. We were staying right near downtown and were able to walk to dinner at LaSalette, a great Portuguese place with outdoor dining. If you’re ever in Sonoma, I highly recommend staying near their downtown. There was a cute little square with a lot of shops and restaurants, as well as a biking/walking/running path not to far away.

downtown Mendocino

downtown Mendocino

Greg and me at dinner

Greg and me at dinner

Feijoada!

Feijoada!

The next morning, thanks to the time difference, I was able to wake up early enough to enjoy a run around town, even among wineries. A 5 mile run through fields of lavender and vines of grapes? My idea of pretty pretty perfect!

20150727_074652

After the run and hotel breakfast, we headed to our last winery, Matanza, which is known for its field of lavender. Oh my goodness- as we pulled up, we couldn’t help but smell the gorgeous aroma of lavender and see the purples everywhere! We were lucky enough to have an informal impromptu tour (we had missed the one formal tour of the day) and share a wine tasting as well. It was pretty perfect – it was my mom’s birthday AND she loves lavender, so it was a great way to start the day.

IMG_20150727_120851

Then, we were off. Onto our next destination – Mendocino! (more to come)

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Sonoma before?
  • What’s your favorite kind of wine? Reds or whites?

A Weekend In NY

For those of you that know me, you probably know that I’m a native New Yorker. I was born around New York City and lived in Staten Island for the first several years of my life before moving upstate. The majority of my mom’s family still lives in and around Staten Island and New Jersey, but B and I haven’t made the trip back in more than a year.

It’s funny because it’s almost true …

So a few months ago, when we got the invite to my cousin’s surprise birthday for this, I knew we had to go – I’d get to see my family, introduce B to Staten Island AND get to see my mom for her birthday, too.

It was a great weekend – not only did we get to see family, but I got to show B some of our old favorite Staten Island spots.

The weekend actually started off early – Friday morning with a 10 mile run with B and Mary. Getting up at 5:30 to run on a vacation day isn’t what I usually like to do – I love my sleep! – but it had to be done.

This photo sums up how I felt.

20150724_081127

At least we ended with a treat from Restore!

1437743564142

Then we got on the road to New York. We stopped first to visit my Aunt Glad. She just got moved into hospice, so I’m glad we got to see her in her new space.

Then, we headed to Staten Island to meet up with my parents. We enjoyed pizza at one of our old favorite spots, Deninos. The pizza was sooooo good.

veggie slice and salad.

veggie slice and salad.

Saturday morning, after an easy 5k shakeout run in the hotel,  it was time for the party. It was so great seeing my family and celebrating.

20150725_164755

The party was at a restaurant on the shore, so we took a nice walk after the party along the beach. There were so many people out – it was the picture perfect day!

20150725_162159

We were too stuffed for a real dinner after the party, but of course there is always room for dessert. We enjoyed Ralph’s Italian Ice for dessert – another SI tradition. The cannoli ice was delicious!

20150725_203102

Sunday morning started early – I said good bye to B and then my parents and I were off to the airport. We had a trip planned to see my brother in California! Another early morning, but waking up early to travel is something I can do every so often.

And now we’re off to California! I’ll share another update after the trip. But until then – have a great week!

20150726_101315

Some questions for you:

  • Do you live near or far from your family?
  • Have you ever been to the Jersey Shore?

PS – Linking up with Running N Reading and Her Heartland Soul today again!

#TBT: Throwback Thursday – Travel Edition

As you probably know by now, B and I love to travel. We’ve gone to some great places – international and in the U.S. – together and had a great time trying out new meals, meeting new people and getting in as much of the local scene as we can.

We have two more trips planned this year – what we’re calling an “East Coast Foliage Tour” (which will include stops in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Boston and New York) and a trip to Asia (Hong Kong and Vietnam for now). So as I started to get excited about what’s to come, I began to also think about all the great trips we’ve had over the past few years. Here are some old photos from past trips, 2010 through last year:

2010 – New York City to see my brother play at Carnegie Hall

NYC 2010 Carnegie Hall

2010 – Road trip to Pittsburgh – checking out the city for the first time and of course their Hofbrauhaus

2010-10-09_12-52-47_517

2010-10-09_20-34-27_490

Not sure if this counts as travel … but we go to upstate New York quite often to see my parents. These pictures are from our engagement shots in 2010 🙂 (thus the cheesiness)

20100522_MG_8428

20100522_MG_8712

2011 – trip to Chicago!  We tasted our way through local beers and deep dish pizza, and did a walking tour, tried the architectural boat tour and got in great views.

Chicago + 391 Chicago + 408 Hemmingway Lou Malnottis

2012 Cape Cod – we ate lobster, went whale watching, tried tandem biking and even walked on the beach (even with my boot :()

IMG_1230 IMG_1194 IMG_1189 IMG_1186

Also in 2012 we went to Ireland and England! More hiking, local food and drinks, and siteseeing.

IMG_0066 IMG_1319 IMG_1466

And we ended the year in Montreal and Toronto. In a snowy winter wonderland! We still managed to walk around, check out some amazing food (crepes, poutine, Chinatown) and had a great time.

20121227_125941 20121227_145659

2013 started with a winter surprise vacation in Miami – which meant sunshine, running along the beach, fresh seafood and fruity drinks!

20130125_124525

 

IMG_1587

Also, that year we spent a week checking out another midwestern city – Milwaukee!

20130704_095549 20130705_121011 20130704_154842

And 2013 ended with a great trip to the West Coast, with stops in San Francisco, NapaSeattle, the Redwoods, Los Angeles and more.

20130903_145304 20130905_150023

20130907_115725

 

This year, you probably remember we started off with some travel to Costa Rica. And I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 holds for us for travel!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like to travel or do you prefer to stay home?
  • What’s the coolest place you’ve been – I need more places to add to my travel bucket list!
  • Ever been to Hong Kong or Vietnam? Recommendations?
  • Ever been to Portland, Maine? What do you recommend we do?
  • What’s on your travel bucket list?

 

 

 

An Extended Weekend in L.A.

Seen at a club in LA

Seen at a club in LA

NOTE:  This is the last recap in a series of my West Coast trip adventures. Miss the rest of my West Coast trip summaries? Read more about them here:

After an amazing time in the Bay Area, we were off on another drive down the coast and ready to spend a few days in Los Angeles as we wrapped up our West Coast adventure. We would be staying with B’s friend (and Best Man), Wing, who moved out West just this year thanks to an awesome job opportunity. And we would also be lucky enough to see my friend and roommate from college, Kate, who moved out to LA right after we lived in Boston together.

So, what did we think of our time in LA? Some overall impressions:

  • The city is SUPER spread out. I’d heard that it was but seeing it in person made us realize it even more and also put a slight damper on some of our plans as we weren’t able to accomplish as much as we wanted to in our time there because it took so long to get from one place to another. There are tons of different neighborhoods that you can walk in – but to get to and from places, you really do have to drive.
  • There is SO MUCH TRAFFIC. Again, I’d definitely heard that but as we drove everywhere this really made a difference and also made it hard to get as much done as we wanted to.
  • The city is not really walkable. I love walking everywhere. Every other city we pretty much left our door and walked everywhere to get some sightseeing in. In LA we really had to hop in the car and plan which neighborhood(s) we may be visiting, and drive there. And we didn’t really know how long it would take because of the traffic. (See #1 and #2)
  • The weather is awesome. They were having a “cold front” when we were there, meaning the weather was in the low 80s, upper 70s. AKA perfect weather. It was cool in the morning, meaning it wasn’t bad for our run (we had a 15k planned that I was dreading because I thought it’d be super steamy but it wasn’t too bad – it hit nearly 80 by the end but it wasn’t humid), and then got hot during the day but not sticky. Perfect vacation weather 🙂
  • There’s so much to do. Aside of all the touristy sightseeing stuff that we wanted to do, there’s just so much in general going on, all the time. Comedy shows. Concerts. Great food. Bars. Clubs. And of course – the BEACH! If I lived in LA I would live at the beach, or at least go there as much as possible. And then try to fit in everything else.

Okay, enough blabbering, here are some photos and highlights from our trip.

SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN LA!

SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN LA!

Stopping for In & Out as soon as we get in – B’s first In & Out meal!

B's first In&Out!

B’s first In&Out!

Running around the Hollywood Reservoir – we did our 15K without any problems. We found the reservoir, which had some good views of the downtown and the Hollywood sign and was a 3.3ish mile loop – perfect for us, as we were able to do 3ish loops as Wing walked around once, carrying water for us. Yup, he was our awesome water boy!

post 15k run around the Hollywood Reservoir

post 15k run around the Hollywood Reservoir

Going to the beach!

20130913_145409

People watching at Venice Beach

IMG_20130913_154312

Being touristy and taking photos of the Hollywood sign

hollywooooood

hollywooooood

Taking in a Dodgers game! AND they were playing the Giants so I got in TWO Giants games on this trip. Also, we got the all you can eat seats and feasted on the famous Dodger dogs, plus nachos, popcorn and peanuts. I need a detox after this vacation.

Go Giants!

Go Giants!

Coffee at Urth Café (always featured in the show Entourage)

it's a bird! Urth Cafe goodness.

it’s a bird! Urth Cafe goodness.

Brunch from Homegirl Café. I had been wanting to go to this place since seeing the awesome movie G-Dog  at the Cleveland International Film Festival. You must read about them and Homeboy Industries if you don’t know their story. Here’s just a short blurb: Homeboy Industries serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training sites. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

IMG_20130914_095231

Catching a BC vs. UCLA game – sadly, we lost – but it was great to see them play (it wasn’t planned!) on our trip, see their huge stadium and of course meet up with Kate

20130914_135448

HUGE stadium – former home of the Olympics in LA!

Kate and me! Former roomies!

Kate and me! Former roomies!

Enjoying Dim Sum for B’s birthday brunch – Wing lives in Chinatown and brought us to an amazing place

Birthday breakfast!

Birthday breakfast!

And then a really good meal, and beers, at My Father’s Office – I definitely recommend if you hit LA

the boys loved their burgers - I loved my butterfish!

the boys loved their burgers – I loved my butterfish!

Seeing some amazingly fun comedians at the Laugh Factory – in just one show we saw a TON of comics! Highlights include Dom Irerra (who we’ve seen before), the super cute Chris D’Elia AND the guy who plays Montez on Workaholics!

20130914_002146 IMG_20130914_01374520130913_232529(0) IMG_20130914_013452

Hanging out with Kate and experiencing some of the Culver City nightlife

Hookah bar!

Hookah bar!

What a great trip! Now, it’s back to real life and back to the grind. Getting back to work after any trip can be stressful, but just knowing and remembering our amazing two week West Coast adventure will hopefully help with the struggle of getting back into things. Here’s to a GREAT weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Which of the cities I visited have you been to? Which is YOUR favorite?
  • When was the last time you saw your college roommate?
  • Favorite LA restaurant?