Nashvillagers

 

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This past March was my dad’s 70th birthday, and my sisters and I celebrated by taking him to Nashville (similar to the Charleston trip we made with our mom back in October). My father has gotten pretty deep into genealogy research and discovering distant relatives, so he was stoked on heading to Nashville as his ancestors hailed from Tennessee. #TheOnlyTenISee 😉

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We started off at the Ryman Auditorium, the ORIGINAL Grand Ole Opry, with a show from the Gatlin Brothers! It was really neat to sit in the original auditorium pews where many others enjoyed their favorite country and western singers from so long ago. We even did a backstage tour and hungout in Johnny Cash’s old room. My dad was so excited!

30222221_10111451093503700_4163321834030639112_nBEYOND cool.

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The main thing my dad wanted to do was genealogy research, so we headed to the Tennessee state archives for a deep dive into the history of Blount County, on a search for Cindarella Davis. We made memories that I’ll cherish forever ❤ …and if you’ve never been to a state archive, I highly suggest!

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One thing we weren’t expecting was the absurdly cold weather in April (it snowed one day!) so we opted for a tour of the Belle Meade Plantation to take advantage of being indoors. We learned that they bred horses, including the famous Bonnie Scotland, descendant of the majority of Derby winning horses! (What a crazy horse family tree that would be… 😉 ) Also the Derby used to be in Tennessee and only moved to Kentucky because of a law that outlawed horse betting in TN in the early 1900s. Oh and they made terrible wine and decent spirits, but the wine pourer HATED us…. HA ha ha.

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I LOVED our AirBnb house in East Nashville! It’s the sort of Bungalow meets Victorian style home of my dreams and I can’t wait to buy something similar someday. Our neighborhood was ADORABLE and we were even in walking distance (3 blocks) to the gayest, diviest bar around Nashville and had a phenomenal karaoke night out at Lipstick Lounge.

30222160_10111456613581420_4782410963631319442_nSisters on a porch swing.

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It was so nice to have some quality time with dad as we stuffed ourselves with artisan donuts, southern fried chicken, BEER, and all the fixins! Eating out at The Flipside (must order the bloody mary) and The Mockingbird (cough cough GET THE COCKTAIL IN A BAG – you won’t regret it) were the most memorable and delish!

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Drinking in honkytonks were a BLAST and made me really question whether or not Austin was really the live music capital of the world….I really felt like I saw so many talented singers and groups all over town, on every floor of every available bar. Bachelorette and bachelor parties EVERYWHERE though, heads up.

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It was cold but these boots kept me fashionable AND warm 🙂

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I had a great time, TN! I hope to come back someday in the WARM WEATHER and swim in some water holes, hike, and also head towards Memphis to Dollywood…. SOME DAY.

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¡Viva México! #tequilastrikesback

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At the end of January a big ole gaggle of girls headed out to Los Barriles, about an hour drive north from San Jose del Cabo, to celebrate our bride to be Kate! I had never officially been to Mexico before, only border towns, and was ready for some girl time in a new place. Kate asked me to be in her wedding last year and we are getting really close to the whole 9 yards! Their wedding is coming up at the end of the month in the mountains of Santa Cruz.

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While I’ve been in all 3 of my sisters weddings growing up (when I was 9, 14, and 23) I haven’t been in a friends wedding and haven’t had that whole adult wedding party experience (my sister’s bachelorette party when I was 23 though…one of the weirdest chain of events I’ve experienced in my family).

But #tequilastrikesback was all about a chill house in the middle of January in Mexico, in a remote town. We danced to silly 80s songs (thank you Whitney and Janet) and had the BEST food prepared for us by the sweetest ladies! When food is made with love, it tastes even better ❤

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Look at them wigs! WIG POWER.

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I live here now…k thanks. DREAM HOUSEEEEE ❤ ❤ ❤

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Coconut chic.

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We rented ATVs and drove down the beach to the closest town, had lunch, and explored a little through some shopping. I was nervous, not gonna lie, about the ATVs toppling over on the sand but luckily that didn’t happen and we all lived happily ever after! PLUS I got the best Michelada of my lyfe!!!

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Some strange Barbie collection that I stumbled upon in a random store in town. Gotta love that Amidala Star Wars doll right in the middle there…. Kate and Josh are obsessed with Star Wars so she opted for the #tequilastrikesback hashtag and coincidentally pointed out that doll out to me. HA!

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Me, in the rear-view mirror, trying to get an artistic shot along the bumpy road.

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And our bride to be, Kate, in her happy place. I had a lovely time and made some new friends with some rad ladies! Butttt I could have done without the Federales stopping our car, searching it with ginormous guns, and taking photos of us unknowingly. Luckily we didn’t have to pay any bribes and safely made it to the airport where we proceeded to have another round of drinks to relax. LOL. #isurvivedmexico2018

Until next international trip!

 

 

 

Bonjour Montréal!

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This year has been a pretty busy time for me with travel, especially work travel. Luckily I had the chance to attend a gaming conference in Montreal last week, during their FIRST BLIZZARD OF THE YEAR! Wooo! Even though I’m from Texas, most people don’t realize that I was actually born IN A BLIZZARD in Germany (or at the time, West-Germany as the Berlin wall was still intact) and I also spent about 4.5 years growing up in Ohio. I have had my fair share of experience with cold weather and snow, and I love it. My body temperature naturally runs hot, so hot temps are pretty miserable for me. (HOW DID I EVER LIVE IN TEXAS?! I have no idea…I am a furnace that profusely sweats. But moving on to more attractive things…like Montreal!)

I actually made it to town a night early to meet up with my good ole concert buddy, Jordan, who lives close to the border in Vermont. We hung out in the trendy Mile-End neighborhood (which also happens to be one of the coolest places to live in the world, who knew?!) and caught up, ate delish food, and karaoked at a really cool LGBT dive bar! #karaokequeen

IMG_9043.jpgIf this isn’t a poster for a guaranteed good time, I don’t know what is!

I started the week off by brainstorming with coworkers in a quaint and super cozy cafe with the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. #getinmybelly

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While I did have meetings, client dinners, and events to attend, I was able to have a good amount of solo time to walk around the city and explore on my own. Old Port of Montreal stole my heart – it might be the most charming city in North America! AND THE FREEEEENCH! I oddly took French in high school (yes I know everyone else took Spanish but I was the different, alternative, quirky girl – OKAY?!!) and conveniently forgot everything (I DO remember how to ask to get to the bathrooms though, and that’s a very important ask!).

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Late night poutine at La Banquise was everything. We opted for the traditional poutine PLUS bacon. It was heaven. THE END.

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LOOK AT THIS CRAZY SNOW! It happened within 12 hours and what was once an easy walk around the corner to the conference center became snow ridden.

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Inside the conference center was amazingly beautiful and WARM.

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Snow selfie

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The last night in Montreal I actually had time to get dinner alone and explore a bit before the big end of conference party, and I was SO happy for some solo adventures!

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This restaurant was where Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities back in 1842. They also happened to have bomb dot com spaghetti, which is one of my favorite foods, and just what I needed to combat this cold weather. SO cozy!

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I mean LOOK AT THIS PIC! It does a great job of capturing the cozy winter wonderland that I found myself in.

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I randomly stumbled into this underground speakeasy called The Coldroom while I was in Old Montreal. I found it on Yelp and saw it had 5 STARS, so I thought, why not? It took me a minute to realize that this was no regular bar but indeed an underground speakeasy that required me to ring the doorbell of the CORRECT door and wait for someone to let me in. I waited 5 minutes in the snow in an alley wondering if this was a good idea. Long story short, it was THE BEST idea I had all week. After descending down a few flights of stairs underground (and yes, again wondering if this was a good idea, me being led down a dark stairwell underground as a female alone in a “foreign country” but trusted my gut that it would be worth it) – I finally stepped into one of the most magical bars I’ve ever seen. Total privacy. Everyone was local and spoke French. Unique cocktails – it was perfect! I opted for a beet cocktail conveniently called “Beauty and the Beets” 🙂 which sounds weird but was insanely good. Before leaving, the bartender told me to check out the Christmas pop up bar in the hotel across the street, which you can’t find anything about online. Soooo, I had to ya know?

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This is the view from the top of the Hotel William Grey at the Miracle Bar Christmas pop-up. It was fully decked out in Christmas decor and everyone who worked there wore ugly sweaters. From this table you can see the Ferris wheel in the port. It was a lovely surprise and I’m happy it worked out that I could visit.

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After my solo jaunt, I headed to our close out event with clients. It was held in a co-op work space, so not really like a bar or event venue. It was a crazy time, and a group of us headed out to karaoke after in a tiny bar back over in the Mile-End. I think I sang like 10 songs but who is counting… ❤ #foreverkaroake

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All in all my first time to Montreal was a complete success! I wish I had more time to explore, but I need to come back with John. Apparently they have a really cool biodome and also they have IglooFest in the winter, which is basically a crazy EDM festival in the snow (GOOGLE IMAGE IT – IT’S NUTS). But I really want to come back in the summer when we can do more things outdoors, like hike or kayak or ride bikes.

Sweet Montreal, a slice of Europe in North America.

Au Revoir~

Emily

GUALALAAAAA LOVE

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Last month John and I had a little getaway up north to Gualala, just right off the coast. It very much felt like the vibe from the AMC series of Bates Motel, if that means anything to you (not gonna lie, if it’s creepy I’ve probably seen it). We found a badass Airbnb on a private property in the redwood forest WITH A PRIVATE HOT TUB!!!!!

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It was so nice to get off the grid for a little bit. Working in tech and living in SF can make one lost in touch with nature and the outside world of not being on your phone all the time, which is why we always make an effort to get outside and hike and remove ourselves from technology. We were blessed with great weather that allowed us to kayak for a few hours, and it was a ton of fun just the two of us, the river, kayak, and sunshine.

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Northern California is just SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL, I tell you what (any King of the Hill fans here?). While mid-kayak we stumbled into this campsite off the river that was in off-season. It felt strange walking around this abandoned campsite, exploring the space alone. Although this particular campsite was super awesome and beautiful, I would totally go camping there in the future.

IMG_8014.jpgHello 1983? Can you bring back 80’s camping movie vibes into current modern day media? K, thanks~

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The water was pretty low since it was in fall season. John had to drag us through a couple low points barefoot which was funny to experience. But if you happen to make a trip to Gualala, I highly suggest kayaking or camping as it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!

IMG_7987.jpgHOT TUB TIME MACHINE HAPPY HOUR FOR THE WIN!

Relaxing in the woods was just what we needed. It could have been a scary movie at any point, as most start usually with a cabin in the woods or a hike gone wrong. But luckily we didn’t fall victim to any weirdos out there lurkin’. (#murderino #stayoutoftheforest)

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One night we ate out at St. Orres, this enchanting old timey parlor house that serves delicious fancy cocktails. We definitely knew we were in a small town as we were asked frequent questions about who we were, where we were from, what were we doing in Gualala, WHAT WERE OUR RISING SIGNS?!, etc. It was a completely different vibe from the city, that’s for sure 🙂

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We took one last hike from the back of our Airbnb to this glorious viewpoint before heading out on our next adventure up the road at Hearn Gulch Cove.

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We found the enchanting pathway that lead from the top of the cliff down into the cove, and felt like we were the only people on earth!

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IMG_8083.jpgGoonies vibes, anyone? #ourtimedownhere

After saying goodbye to Gualala we drove down the beautiful PCH and ended up at Fort Ross, an old Russian fort from the mid-1800’s, because #history.

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What a much needed refreshing weekend with my boo in a gorgeous and relaxing environment! Happy to share our experiences with you. ❤

 

 

Greetings From Seattle

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Back in August I made a trip to Seattle for a work conference and stayed just under a week. While I briefly went to Seattle TEN YEARS AGO for an Alaskan family cruise (celebrating my parents 40th anniversary) I barely remembered anything about the city and was pretty pumped that I was going back. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the city!

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The vibe actually reminded me a lot of San Francisco, but with some Austin/Portland vibes mixed in as well. The downtown area is bigger than SF and perhaps just as busy and with the same problems around homelessness (it’s gotten pretty bad over the last several years on the west coast). But the weather was to die for! It felt so much like home (Texas) but without the triple digit temps. #icantdeal Walking around at night in a sundress without needing a sweater or jacket was EVERYTHING.

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I stayed at a pretty basic Hilton hotel a few blocks away from the conference center, which wasn’t too far at all from the Public Market. I went there multiple times to people watch, window shop, and ate THEE MOST delish piroshsky on earth.

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Some coworkers and I also hit up The Nest for a bougie industry happy hour and the views did NOT disappoint! WOW! Seattle gets a lot of rain in general, but it was just beautiful in the summer, I was thankful I had a pretty clear stay.

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A REALLY fun thing to do is visit the Museum of Pop Culture. I had no idea that a concept museum like this existed and was super excited that we chose to do this as a team building activity. There were some badass exhibits, including one about David Bowie, Jim Henson & THE MUPPETS, a sci-fi wing (complete with the actual costumes from Battlestar Gallactica, The 5th Element, Terminator and more!!) a fantasy wing (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc), a GAMING exhibit (WHAT?!) and of course a whole rock-n-roll hall (with some Kurt Cobain memorabilia). It was AMAZING! I want more! Def don’t pass this up if you plan on going to Seattle, it was my #1 favorite thing I got to do!

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I loved Kermit when I was a kid. I obsessed over his relationship with Miss Piggy so hard.

Next to the pop culture museum is the Chihuly Gardens & Glass exhibit. I was SO EXCITED to check this out in the real life and it was one of the most incredible art exhibits I’ve ever seen. Just wow.

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PS) Look how cute my team is on top of the Space Needle!

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We threw a big party in the Seattle Aquarium the last night of the conference, which was the last touristy thing I did during my stay. I know work is work, but the gaming conferences in our industry can throw some pretty cool events! That said, the Seattle Aquarium doesn’t even hold a candle to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I’m a bit spoiled since John’s family is from Monterey, so we visit the aquarium occasionally. But it was still a great party and a cool event space!

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The best places I ate and drank:

Lola  – great Mediterranean spot for sharing plates family style.

Shorty’s – arcade themed dive bar in Belltown, full of weird clown references and pinball tables. Great vibe.

Assaggio Restaurant – old world rustic Italian goodness!!

Sweet Iron – I had savory breakfast waffles that were to die for. Prosciutto, scallion, and creme fraiche on a cinnamon toasted waffle. WHAT?!

Anchovies & Olives – had a fantastic solo happy hour, complete with a glass of rose, a few oysters, a side of greens, and an appetizer sized pasta plate ALL for $37. WUT?

Unicorn Bar – this place is famous! Super quirky, bright decor, strange and fun drinks. They even have their own unicorn beer, complete with a horn draft tap. I liked it so much that I bought a t-shirt.

The Whale Wins – rustic farm to table food of the Pacific Northwest. We had our team dinner there before our party and thoroughly enjoyed everything.

Outlier – great spot downtown for clients. Fresh food, fun ambiance, tons of space with a fun cocktail menu. And it wasn’t very pricey. All around great spot!

Umi Sake House – best salmon sashimi I’ve ever had in MY LIFE.

The Runaway Bar – this bar was my place. I found it while vintage shopping at Rove and fell in love. I went in for a drink and stayed for two. If I lived in Seattle, this area would be my neighborhood and I would frequent this bar. Also Rove – had the BEST unique card selection. I bought my sister a card with a painting of Robert Smith (lead singer of The Cure) with the words “I will always love you” across the front. I laughed so hard, I knew she would be the only person who would appreciate it, so I got it for her as a pseudo birthday card. Ha ha ha.

The one place I didn’t get to check out, but NEED TO next time:

Il Corvo Pasta – My boss suggested this because I love pasta so much. They are only open during lunch and don’t take reservations. I walked over to check it out but the line was out the door to wait, so I didn’t have time to eat there. But man o man this place has raving reviews on Yelp and I am bummed I didn’t get to make my Seattle pasta dreams come true.

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I had a great time and would happily return to explore more of the outer areas and hike. Until next time, Seattle!

xo

Emily

Dat Big Apple

Hello again, world! I have been so lame with blogging the last several months…my bad! I really have been meaning to post but have been unusually busy – so much so that this post has sat in my drafts for months! EEeeeee!

With that said, who is down to read about John and I’s NYC trip from 4 months ago?! Saddle up…

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I have been to NYC about 8 times in the last decade, mostly for work. My first job in SF was for an agency that was based out of NYC that handled Broadway musicals, and I had the Wicked account. That office was in the same building where TRL was filmed for MTV back in the 90’s/early 00’s! I have definitely had my fair share of the NYC tourist experience, although not for a long time. John had never been to NYC or the East Coast, so when my boss suggested that I visit again for some clients, we decided to make a jam-packed trip out of it.

I told John that I knew the best rooftop bar with super secret, private views. He was all about it! Andddd that’s how I tricked him into visiting the Empire State Building <cry laugh emoji>.

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❤ viva l’empire state building!

Later that night we spent a whopping $5 for tickets to COLIN QUINN at the Comedy Cellar! Anyone who knows me knows that I always wanted to be on SNL, so when the opportunity to see an SNL alumni and comedy legend struck, for ONLY $5, I crossed my t’s and dotted the i immediately. HE WAS SO FUNNY! At the end of the show we got a picture together and I drunkenly told him he was hot?? NO CLUE where that came from, because I have never once thought of CQ as “hot” per se, but I was so star struck it was like the first thing that came out of my mouth….and once I realized what I said, it became the last thing out of my mouth. #stillfunnytho

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We also had a blast hanging out in the East Village, going to art galleries, shopping at quirky boutiques, checking out happy hours at various bars, and also THE FOOD. I can finally say I’ve made it to Veselka! And as a lady of Eastern European descent, I can proudly say that I approve.

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Then we did more basic AF things, like strolling through Central Park and checking out the Googenheim, which surprisingly I had never seen prior!

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Kandinsky – my FAV! ❤

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Luckily we had amazing weather on our trip so we were able to check out many rooftop bars. My favorites were The Roof NY (much more bougie) and Roof at Park South (more relaxed and down to earth). NOTE: Not all rooftop bars have “roof” in the title…not to confuse you but these two are both great in completely different ways!

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Me, standing by the ledge trying not to look down.

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We loved the Roof at Park South SO MUCH! Located in a great spot in the East Village. The East Village might be our favorite neighborhood in Manhattan.

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Getting around NYC is so quick and mostly easy (WAY more efficient than getting around SF!) – we made it to 4 of the 5 Burroughs in a few days.  YES, we went to a BOMB DOT COM Mediterranean restaurant in QUEENS, called Taverna Kyclades and sat right next to skinny JONAH HILL!!! We also made it a Yankees game in the Bronx, as we found $10 tickets against the Oakland A’s (which was kinda like second to seeing The Giants play since they are from the same bay I GUESS). Now all we have left to see is Staten Island…(and I’m pretty sure John is set on that)!

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John outside of our home away from home.

Because I had some work to do we stayed in Manhattan the first two nights, and opted to get an Airbnb through the weekend in my favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn, Park Slope. I love the fun vibe because it’s a perfect mix of exciting bars, restaurants, and boutiques spread throughout a chill neighborhood that doesn’t get too touristy. And I’m so happy John LOVED it too. ❤

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NYC had a lot of firsts for John, but one for me as well. I had never walked the famous Brooklyn Bridge, and it was a cute NEW thing for us to do together. It wasn’t too far of a trek from where we stayed and we managed to squeeze it in on our last day, before we made it to the airport where our flight was delayed 3 hours. FUN TIMES!

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We packed a lot in and had a blast! John can’t wait to head back to the East Coast and hit up that Staten Island ferry, I tell you what…LMAO. Until next time, NYC! And I’ll also do a better job of not waiting so long to document my travels! xo ❤

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February Birthday Month Extravaganza

Now that March is almost over, I can finally blog about February! HA! Y’all have no idea how busy I’ve been the last couple months, so the fact that I am FINALLY even writing this post is amazing. #thefutureisfemale I KNOW all my lovely loyal readers were DYING to know what I’ve been up to lately, losing sleep every night due to my lack of blog updates, BUT HERE WE ARE PEOPLE! <cry laughing> 😉

John and I are both February babies, same week even! February was a pretty busy social month for us, from St. George spirit tasting in Alameda, to a surprise viewing of Silence of the Lambs (comedy!!!) musical, to Mortified storytelling, and a crazy trip to Tahoe in between, there was plenty of fun that was had.  I did miss this blog dearly, but think about all of the cool stuff you’re gonna hear about now.

 

IMG_0670St. George spirit tasting crew! Their gin is the best, but they also have brandy and vodka.

IMG_0624.jpgBrother-sister time at Faction Brewery with breathtaking views of the Bay.

IMG_0765.jpgSRSLY the funniest musical right now! I almost keeled over when I saw the backup dancers dressed as lambs…

I think it’s fun that we both get to celebrate our birthdays together! But it’s also Valentine’s Day too, so we kinda have to limit what all we end up doing as far as eating out goes. Usually a big group outing on one of our birthdays, a private night out on the other birthday, with a nice chill night together at home cooking for Valentine’s Day. We both worked in the food industry for many years and Valentine’s Day is literally THEE WORST night out to eat in the entire year. DON’T DO IT!!! This year we opted to make our own goat cheese and spinach stuffed ravioli with a tomato, basil, lemon, and parmesan sauce, while watching our favorite series on TV right now, The Magicians (more on that later…I can do an entire post dedicated to sci-fi entertainment BTW). #scifiFTW

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Our Tahoe trip didn’t go according to ANY of our plans, which made for a very interesting trip to say the least. SO MANY MEMORIES!! It was absolutely gorgeous and nice to be in a cozy cabin among a winter wonderland with great friends.

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We were surprised by our friends with this BOMB DOT COM purple glitter birthday cake on the first night. It was truly unique and tasted delish with a passion fruit mango filling! Have you ever heard of passion fruit mango cake or filling? I HAVE NOT. It was a cake for made the gods. Which means I am a goddess…

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Upon first glance this cabin looks adorable, but upon further inspection it is indeed a cursed cabin! (our friend broke her leg falling down the stairs, the morning after we had a 6 hour plumbing problem!)

IMG_1064But ahhhhhhh that view tho…

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My favorite part of the trip was getting this SUPER RAD narwhal Kigurumi which I practically didn’t take off! It’s a big thing with my friends, everyone is a different creature and I finally got one and I love all things narwhal now! They are the unicorn of the sea… I couldn’t be a unicorn because Rosie already had it, so this was just perfect and uniquely me. John got a walrus one too, and we basically lounged in them all weekend while watching a vast array of dvd options from our Airbnb,  due to the cable being out from the BIG STORM.

IMG_1132.jpgLook at all that snow! We were stuck in traffic for 4 hours in the SAME SPOT due to avalanche control :-/ BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!

As you can see we were pretty busy all month, and I didn’t even get into everything going on at work. With a big industry conference at the end of February and some work travel to Vegas mixed in, I haven’t been available to decompress until now! FEAR NOT my readers, you’ll be seeing more of me soon… (you’re gonna get so much rest tonight I bet)!

xo-

Emily