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Weekend Picturebook: New York, New York

New York City – the city that never sleeps, and is perfect for work AND play.

W E D N E S D A Y

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IMG_3478[Highly recommend the Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise. You get to see so much of the city, and it was amazing. Thanks, Sister E for the recommendation!]

T H U R S D A Y 

[Great day full of meetings, then an adventure out with the team in East Village!]

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IMG_3041[Awesome restaurant Gnocco – I tried about 5 pizzas that night and mine was the best: prosciutto, arugula + parmesan. The salads were also delicious.]

Smores+A[After dinner we walked “right around the corner” to the famous Odd Fellows Ice Cream. I had banana pudding ice cream with salted caramel sauce – yummmmm! photo from oddfellowsnyc.com]

IMG_3205[Later that night Mom arrived – yay!]

F R I D A Y 

[Morning of meetings, then took the afternoon off to start our girls weekend!]

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[We felt so fancy staying in the gorgeous St. Regis on 5th Avenue]

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IMG_3476[Afternoon at the MoMa (Modern Museum of Art) browsing Van Gogh, Rothko, Matisse, Warhol and so much more. Ended with a rosé + the best onion dip ever in the statue garden]

IMG_3183[Dinner at Don Antonio’s in Hells Kitchen – more salad and pizza, that was just as amazing as the night before … maybe even a little better. Thanks for the recommendation Erin!]

IMG_3196[Tonight’s show: The Humans – 2016 Tony Award Winner for Best Play. Enjoyable, but not my favorite]

FullSizeRender[My favorite part of staying at St. Regis – after coming back from a long day of walking, there would be slippers at the ready, water on the bedside table + classical music playing in the room. Can this be real life??]

S A T U R D A Y 

IMG_3204[What a wake-up call – french-press coffee + NY Times hand-delivered. Okay maybe this was the best part!]

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IMG_3219[Breakfast and goodies at Chelsea Market]

FullSizeRender[Quick stroll on the High Line (which was incredible) before …]

Greenwich Village Food and Culture Walking Tour!
A 3-hour tour where we learned about the history, culture and architecture of the area and ate so.much.good.food. Seriously, this was amazing, and I can’t wait to do another one next time I’m in the city! The following photos are from the tour:

IMG_3269[First Stop: Joe’s Pizza aka the perfect, quintessential NYC pizza]

IMG_3282[Our favorite spot, that was so adorable – Palma. Will definitely come back here.]

IMG_3291[The Cornelia Street Cafe – where SJP and Matthew Broderick had their first date, where Eric Clapton randomly shows up the play the piano, and where you might run in to Taylor Swift because … ]

IMG_3475[she lives right next door!!! I almost died and went to heaven. This is her $40k/month rental while her home in Tribeca is being remodeled, in case you were wondering.]

IMG_3306[Rafele’s Ristorante with amazing eggplant + ricotta!]

IMG_3328[Where they filmed the opening of Friends!!]

Seriously, if you’re going to NYC you have to do one of these Food Walking Tours!!

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.27.34 PM[Drinks before dinner and a show at The Roof, Viceroy Hotel – how about those views of Central Park?!]

IMG_3473[Yay Matilda! Loved this movie growing up and the show was so so cute!]

S U N D A Y

IMG_3472[Officially obsessed with Levain, and will always make a stop here before heading home.]

IMG_3412[Brunch at Central Park Boathouse – this mac and cheese was everything.]

IMG_3427[Such an amazing trip with Mom I will never forget!]

xo xo

You might also enjoy photos from my last mother-daughter trip to NYC here.

Fayetteville Ale Trail

3 years ago, almost to the day, we did our very first ale trail with one of our favorite couples. This was way before the ale trail was even a thing.

I called it NWA Brew Hop, and wrote a blog post about it. (Of course.) What followed was our “Summer of Saddlebock”, and a growing love of local craft beer.

Since then, Fayetteville started the official Fayetteville Ale Trail complete with a passport to get stamped at each brewery.

Yesterday a group of us attempted the Ale Trail again. While we didn’t make it to all of the breweries (not sure we ever will), we sure did have a lot of fun and sure did drink a lot of beer.

1ST STOP : S A D D L E B O C K 

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2ND STOP : C O R E 

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3RD STOP : B L A C K  A P P L E  C R O S S I N G 

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4TH STOP : F O S S I L  C O V E

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FINAL STOP : A P P L E  B L O S S O M
[Sadly, we didn’t get any pictures here. Probably because we were so dang hungry! And the food was delicious.]

B U S  S E L F I E S
[Thanks, Abby for bringing the selfie stick! It was totally clutch.]

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IMG_2866[Final selfie with the entire bus!]

Thanks to Pinnacle Limo for the ride – $30/person for 4 hours. And shoutout to our awesome driver, Don!
Who’s ready to do the North Route next weekend??

xo xo

Book Reviews: Wine, Tears + More Wine

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When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi: This book will wreck you. But it is oh so worth the read. It is such a beautiful, true story about a 36-year old neurosurgeon whose world is immediately changed when he’s diagnosed with lung cancer. In his autobiography, he explores the meaning of life and death with such a unique perspective it will make you examine your own ways of thinking, and it will most definitely make you shed some tears.
Grade: A

Eight Hundred Grapes – Laura Dave: This is one of those easy breezy reads you should take on vacation – especially if you’re vacationing in wine country. It was light and fun, but had more depth and twists than I expected. It will make you want to drink wine, have a house on a vineyard and follow your dreams.
Grade: A-

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn: I really did not like this book, and I really don’t know why I finished it. Maybe because I loved Gone Girl so much (same author), and I was just hoping it would turn a corner and get infinitely better, but it didn’t. It was dark and twisted and not my cup of tea.
Grade: C

Bread & Wine – Shauna Niequist: I.am.obsessed.with.this.book. I seriously could  read it all over again right now. The author shares life stories and intermingles them with her favorite recipes. I felt like I was in her kitchen, living life with her, breaking bread and drinking wine. She is so honest and transparent, and shares her faith in such an amazing way. I can’t wait for her new book to come out, Present Over Perfect.
Grade: A+

xo xo
You can see all my book reviews here.

Sunday nights.

As of late, I have been loving Sunday nights.

They’ve been following the same pattern for a few months, and the type A in me loves it.

Sunday nights mean comfort, and warmth, and family, and communication.

I love Fridays and Saturdays and the memories they bring – fun and friends and busy and irregular. But Sunday evenings are something special.

As we prepare for the week ahead, we clean and meal plan and grocery shop. (Not exactly my favorite things.)

But at 5pm, the cork comes out and the music comes on. We put a new record on the player, pour some wine and start cooking dinner together. Husband grilling steaks. Me prepping veggies and salad. Puppy moving from one of us to the other, dying to be in the middle of all the action. We talk about the week behind and the week ahead and the things we’re looking forward to.

After dinner, we catch up on our shared TV shows or watch an 80s movie from our list, then turn in early to read and rest up for the week.

Even as we’ve been traveling a lot lately, we’ve been home by midday Sunday and able to keep our cherished tradition. Or as I’ve been returning from work trips, Husband has meal-prepped ahead of time with wine ready so we can just enjoy each other after time apart.

It’s perfectly boring, perfectly an old married couple evening, and I’m perfectly content with it.

xo xo

 

Weekend Picturebook: Denver

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 5.03.55 PM[first stop – husband’s favorite brewery!]

IMG_2731[great tour + great beer – blood orange IPA]

IMG_2730[did some shopping on Pearl Street in Boulder]

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IMG_2815[perfect date night at Larimer Square – it was so picturesque and adorable!]

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 5.03.44 PM[dinner on the patio at Osteria Marco]

FullSizeRender[after-dinner champagne flights at Corridor 44 champagne bar]

IMG_2727[sunday morning brunch at Curtis Club – yes we will have all the champagne, please]

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Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 5.03.32 PM[coffee + exploring at Union Station]

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Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 5.03.18 PM[the most amazing tacos + churros I’ve ever had at Pinche Taqueria – we went here 3 years ago and had to fit it in again. it will always be a go-to every time we’re in Denver!]

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13921136_3330664138428_513354503447568288_n[and finally, the main event – The National at Red Rocks!]

IMG_2776[such an amazing show in the most amazing venue – check out the Denver city lights in the background. these pictures don’t do it justice, but you must put Red Rocks on your bucket list!]

We had such an incredible time in one of our favorite cities to celebrate Husband’s 29th birthday. Unfortunately didn’t get a photo with our generous hosts – cousin Ellen and husband Lanny, but so wonderful spending time with family!❤

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Picturebook: California Dreaming’, Aldermans Go Global: St. Lucia

life lately

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Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.50.50 PM{loving this || CTPG lake days}

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.36.13 PM{enjoying this || family brunch at pressroom}

IMG_2507{drinking this || perfect for summer days}

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{listening to this || Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Panic! at the Disco + Weezer at the Walmart AMP – amazing show!}

13731799_10153758973216463_3338300784786765099_o{celebrating this || Shelley moving to Chicago – very bittersweet!}

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{eating this || the biggest, most amazing BEEF ribs and enjoying a perfect summer evening of yard games, beer + bonfires}

xo xo

The Ship List, Pt. 2

Welcome back to the second part in my series The Ship List. Yesterday, I shared My Top 10 Ships of All Time, and today I’ll share my equally TV-obsessed friend Samantha’s list.

Now, in my post, I said our friendship depended on how much of our list matched. Welllllll, we only have 3 matches. But you know, I think that’s a good thing. We broaden each other’s TV horizons, and will now have a really great SHappy Hour: shipping happy hour where we discuss the merits of the couples on our lists. Samantha suggested it consist of pizza, beer and access to a TV to show our favorite ship moments. Sounds like a perfect night to me, and possibly material for a Ship List, Pt. 3.

Warning: Some spoilers below.
Second Warning: Time commitment to this post is on par with what you would spend on a short novel. All commentary below is from Samantha. You might say she struggles with being concise.

Samantha’s Top 10 Ships of All Time

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10. Logan & Veronica – Veronica Mars
(Match! #8 on my list)

This here is the strange situation in which this couple is on my list of favorites, yet their show is not.  I was shocked by how low my enjoyment level of Veronica Mars was, and I think that stemmed from the fact that the only reason I started watching was because of the fascination I developed for Logan and Veronica, a.k.a. LoVe, from watching YouTube compilations of their best moments.  Why would I watch YouTube compilations, question one, and why of a couple I had no knowledge of, question two?  I’m not sure how to answer either, but I figure if a few video clips of two people’s interactions are enough to make me commit to three seasons of a show that, in reality, they are only together for maybe 30% of the run, they deserve to be on the list.

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9. Hyde and Jackie – That 70s Show

SPOILER ALERT: This couple is not endgame😦  Jackie started the show off with Kelso, and it was them on-and-off for the first four seasons, then shockingly, when the fifth season starts up, there are Hyde and Jackie make-out seshs.  WHAT IS HAPPENING??  It was an unexpected pairing, but definitely not unappealing.  While it was funny to watch Jackie, so petite and cute, order clueless Kelso around, I always did enjoy having her try the same with Hyde, or Steven as she and only she called him, and have him fight back.  It was constantly pointed out that they had such little in common, but as seen in the picture above, they both share a strong “bitch face” game.

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8. Finn and Rachel – Glee

Many of Finn and Rachel’s best moments occurred while communicating through song, I couldn’t not be a fan of them even if I tried.  Plus, it was another instance of an awkward, overzealous girl nabbing the guy, points!  I do think this relationship mellowed Rachel out some (if only a liiiiiiiittle), and Finn felt more free to be himself, which seems like a better alternative than being told by his ex-girlfriend that he impregnated her by getting too “excited” in a hot tub.  

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7. Zack and Kelly – Saved By The Bell

Ohhh, Zack Morris…  He had a very heavy hand in developing this whole boy-girl thing for me.  His hair (which I later tragically learned was dyed) and face were just so magical!  And Kelly was his equally perfect female counterpart.  The depth of this show was severely lacking, not to mention my English was still in development during the height of my obsession, so there’s not much to say in terms of the obstacles they faced or the connection they shared, but DAMN were they pretty.  This show made me think the perfect prom was at a picnic table with a banner saying “Samantha + (insert perfect male suitor name here)’s Prom” placed next to it.  Also, stupid no-last-name-having-college-creep-girlfriend-stealing Jeff is the stuff villainous nightmares are made of.  

PARKS AND RECREATION -- "Leslie & Ben" Episode 513 -- Pictured: (l-r) Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

6. Ben and Leslie – Parks and Rec

This is an unexpected, dark horse on my list because it didn’t immediately jump out at me, and while I really liked Parks and Recreation, I only just watched it recently, cramming 6 seasons into 4 months so that I could be caught up in time for the final season.  However, given that romantic relationships weren’t this show’s central focus, the amount of happy tears that I shed for Ben and Leslie is startling.  I got misty-eyed when they got back together, when they got engaged, and obviously when they got married.  Neither of them were particularly smooth or people who kept their cool, but to each other, they were freaking Casanovas.  Plus, though I don’t think my penchant for planning or sometimes obsessive nature is as extreme as Leslie’s, it was comforting to see that she got someone as adorable as Ben.

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5. Cory and Topanga – Boy Meets World

Cory and Topanga’s story provided maybe the most unrealistic expectations of love, but don’t anyone dare point that out to me.  The show started when they were 11 so there wasn’t much romantic tension in the beginning, and throughout the show’s run there would be several versions of their relationship’s origin story, but the total evolution of a first love was incredibly sweet, yet never felt sappy.  The show gave the characters some overly eccentric qualities as its run continued, and while it sometimes made Cory a little too crazy, I like to think of it as the total weirdness that is revealed when a relationship is the real deal.

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4. Danny and Mindy – The Mindy Project
(Match! #6 on my list)

Another rare non-high school couple on my list, as well as the only show that is actually still airing!  Mindy and Danny were almost enemies when the show started, but slowly her highly expressive nature broke through that gruff “Italian” exterior until he accepted her as not just a friend, but even began to fall for her.  Though they weren’t official at this time, the man choreographed a damn dance as her Christmas gift!  I don’t think everyone is aware of this, but that is literally the definition of love.  This last season brought some unexpected and polarizing turns in their relationship so I don’t know how I currently feel about them, but there is soft spot in my heart for Dr. L and Dr. C.  

GILMORE GIRLS, Milo Ventimiglia, Alexis Bledel, 'Lorelai's Graduation Day', (Season 2), 2000-2007, photo: WB/Carol Kaelson, © Warner Bros./Everett Collection

3. Jess and Rory – Gilmore Girls
(Double match! #3 on my list as well)

Confession: I wasn’t a Jess fan the first time around.  I couldn’t get over how Rory’s feelings for him caused her to be so mean to Dean.  But thankfully, I wised up and realized that though their beginning was messy, it was because Jess challenged Rory in a way she hadn’t experienced before, and though she tried to deny her attraction, it was inevitable.  That kind of passion can sometimes bring the most conflict – they were only an actual couple for less than a season – but it also leads to some memorable romantic moments, see their first couple kiss (another moment made even better by the song choice, XTC’s “When She Appeared”).  Plus, the fact that Milo and Alexis were a real-life couple for much of the show’s run caused my ship-dom to soar even higher!

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2. Nathan and Haley – One Tree Hill

Though Nathan’s initial intentions for pursuing Haley were real shady – he only wanted to mess with her best friend/his half brother/his basketball rival – I can’t totally hate his sketch behavior.  Their first date is a fun scavenger hunt orchestrated by Brooke Davis (shout-out to Brooke, inductee of the Fictional Character Hall of Fame!), and from then we jump into a 9-year emotional journey that includes teen marriage and Haley discovering her rock star potential when she goes on tour in HIGH SCHOOL.  Amidst all this town’s improbability, sweet Naley moments were my favorite. I fell out of One Tree Hill after their high school years when everyone kept getting stalked and/or shot, but there is this one scene from the last season where Nathan and Haley are reunited after he was abducted by some Russians who had it out against a basketball player for the Charlotte Bobcats (what?).  She’s frantically running through the hospital, trying to find him.  A crowd parts and she sees him behind some glass doors.  As Florence and the Machine’s “Never Let Me Go” plays in the background, they come together and he says, “Hi, Hales.”  Oh, can you even handle it???  Always and Forever!    

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1. Jim and Pam – The Office

Most of the couples on my list come from the teen demographic, so who would have thought my favorite relationship of all time would be between two 20-something office workers whose days were filled with the mundane details of selling paper?  From the first episode where Pam accidentally falls asleep on Jim’s shoulder and he lets out a little smile while deciding that his crappy day has instantly become “not so bad,” I was hooked.  And given that they did not become an official couple until season 4, I lived for all the secret glances and awkward pauses that accompany silent longing.  That being said, I was THRILLED when they finally got some action going🙂  PB&J forever!  

Who’s on your list? Anyone different than ours?
xo xo

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