Sunday Funday at the MFA

IMG_2990I don’t know if you’ve heard but southeastern Massachusetts got pummelled by the storm that tore up the East Coast this past weekend. The nor’easter whipped through on Friday night and left a wake of flooded basements, toppled trees and downed power lines. 100% of my little coastal town was without electricity until today. Our house was dark and cold and wet and miserable. But you know what? I feel pretty lucky. Because this is the second major storm to knock out our power since Puerto Rico was devasted by Hurricane Maria back in September and though much of their island is still reeling from the disaster, we’re already back on our feet. And we had relief even in the worst of it- friends with generators, neighboring towns with power (and hot coffee!) and crews working round the clock to clear the streets and get the lights back on.

Anyway, we are very fortunate AND we’re none the worse for wear. Plus, thanks to some pretty fabulous friends, the weekend (and my birthday!) actually turned out pretty great despite it all. Sat night was a girls night in that left me feeling really grateful for the people who are always there to pick me up when I need it and Sunday was spent at the MFA with two of my fave lovely ladies and the fabulous (and cheerful) Takashi Murakami. The MFA is beautiful and classic and full of surprises. It’s a perfect place to spend a rainy Sunday. I really love it and I think you will too.

I was so excited to see this exhibit because I’ve been thinking about it for months. I think Japanese art is really cool and Murakami is extra great.
My daughter thought it was weird that I took a pic of this, but I love typography. It’s part of the experience for me. Maybe that makes me weird? Probably.
Can you spot the one sad flower? That was me on Friday when I turned a number that sounds really old. Really, really old.
All of Murakami’s works are whimsical but also powerful.
Ok, maybe not ALL of them are powerful, but they are all whimsical. And cute. And just a tiny bit perplexing.
This is what the inside of my brain looks like after a long week of work that also includes coordinating kids activities, managing household responsibilities, juggling a bajillion other peripheral things and generally trying to keep my shit together while remaining happy and healthy. Takashi gets it. He really gets it.
Meet Mr. Dob. He’s kind of like Mickey but more menacing and possibly under the influence of some psychedelic drug. But he still manages to be cute.
We decided that Murakami must have painted this one on his birthday when he turned my age.
What we wanted to know was how big is this guy’s studio? This is one continuous canvas and it has to be like a half a mile long. Also, it’s pretty fabulous.
Moving on to the American Artists floor: furniture is art, even (especially?) mid-century furniture.
I think I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy Chihuly. This one is pretty great, isn’t it? Also, this is a good spot in the museum to stop for coffee. Or wine. Wine is always a good idea, no matter where you are (Chihuly or no).
This was part of the”Japan in the Psychedelic Seventies” exhibit. I can’t show much of this because most of the images were really bizarre and bordered on the pornographic. But this one was just kind of Pink Floyd-ish and I think that’s pretty safe.
Another great exhibit on now is the (Un)expected Families photo collection. I don’t know why I didn’t take more pics in this hall because so many of the images were really beautiful.
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You can’t skip Escher’s Passion for Patterns. We walked right by these at first, but I’m glad we doubled back to see them because they’re super cool. There are 50 that you can study and ponder and try to wrap your brain around. Til your eyes cross. Then you’ve got to move on.
There are so many good things happening all at once here in this hallway. It kind of looks like a happy accident. That’s the way life should be.
This Mark Rothko piece is the most interesting and complex one in the entire museum. These people spent so long looking at it that I started to think they might actually have been part of the installation. Maybe they know something I don’t? Or possibly (probably) they are just more sophisticated art viewers than I am.
I’m calling this “self-portrait featuring daughter and friend”
Everything is an illusion, or is it? We spent some time pondering this…
Then we got to the halls that housed what my daughter called the “boring art” …
But art is never boring.
You just need to be one with the art.
But really and truly, if masterpieces just aren’t your thing it’s ok. You might like the Making Modern galleries better. There you’ll find O’Keefe, Kahlo, Pollock, and Piccaso. Inspiration at every turn!
And yes, please do all of this. And don’t do the other stuff. Except eat. Why is eat crossed off? We all need to eat.

When my son was small he used to call any experience that didn’t last all day a “tiny day”. And by that, I think he meant it was so good that we should have spent more time doing what we were doing but since we didn’t it was tiny when it could have been huge. Well, that was our tiny day at the MFA. I hope you enjoyed tagging along.

Before I go I’m going to give a shout out the other ladies that made this a really great weekend, despite the crazy weather and the scary birthday number. And, I’ll leave you with a little advice. When you’re feeling down, put on a little red lipstick. You’ll look ridiculous but feel fabulous and sometimes that’s all you need to remember that life is pretty great.



Whatcha’ doin’ in DC? Museums, Monuments & Memorials!

IMG_2542Never mind all the stuff that’s happening behind the scenes and behind closed doors in Washington these days. It’s still a great place for a little trip. In fact, with all the unseemly things going on, it’s actually a perfect time to go. Because D.C. is a shrine to everything that’s good about America. It’s a reminder of all the wonderful things that have been dreamed, designed, created, engineered and produced by Americans in America. I have to be honest- I needed the reminder. We are a nation of people who have pushed boundaries to overcome great adversity, invented innovative products and developed cutting-edge technology to solve complex problems, and created a vast array of arts and entertainment to enrich lives. We have found common ground during contentious times. Really, we have! If we can hold on to all the good, there’s no end to the amazing things that can happen right here on American soil. We just need to cut out the crazy. So, let’s cut out the crazy, ya’ll!  It’s really distracting and we’ve got a lot of work to do. In the meantime, take a quick walk around town with me and I’ll show you why all of a sudden I feel a bit more hopeful. Remember the future is rooted in the past…

First of all, make sure you check your tickets and know which airport you’re flying out of. Because if you don’t and you have two likely possibilities you might have to scramble to make your flight. Oops.
We stayed near Dupont Circle which is a great spot because you can walk almost anywhere. Even in the rain. The ceaseless, endless rain that doesn’t let up for the entire time you are there. Luckily there’s a CVS on every corner so if you also forgot to the check the weather before you left, you can buy an umbrella (or two or three).
Plus, there’s a fantastic bookstore in Dupont. I always go where the books are and Kramer Books & Afterwards has all the books, plus a cafe and a bar. What else do you need in life? I could have just stayed there, but I heard there were a few other things to see in town.
So we headed down toward all the main sites, but we stopped to say hello to the good guys. #muellertime
Our route also took us past the EPA. What a relief to see it still standing.
It was a total happy accident that we were in DC right after the Obama Portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.  Honestly, I would have skipped this museum otherwise and that would have been a shame because it’s fabulous.
Kehinde Wiley really captured the essence of President Obama. It’s a gorgeous piece of art. And it’s way cooler than George Washington’s portrait. Portrait art has come a long way, baby.
This woman is everything I aspire to be when I grow up. Thanks, Amy Sherald for the beautiful portrait of a truly inspiring human and role model.
There are a lot of other interesting portraits in the gallery and I can’t possibly show you all of them, so I’m moving on to the other side of the building which I loved equally. This is the American Art Gallery. The building is beautiful and so is everything in it.
Like this Hockney. Wait a minute. He’s not even American! Oh well, let’s not sweat the technical details. And anyway, everyone is welcome in America!! Aren’t they?
Nam June Paik was actually American so that’s probably why he was inspired to create this. I really like this piece- it’s called the Electronic Superhighway. It’s really electric (I mean that literally and as an adjective).
We hadn’t planned to visit Ford’s Theatre but we walked right by it, so why not?
Today it’s a working theatre so you can see a show just like Lincoln did, but you can’t sit in his seat. I asked if that was out of respect but the tour guide said it was to deter people who are tempted to try to recreate John Wilkes Booth’s leap to the stage. Hmm… I don’t know. Really? People really want to do that? But why? Because breaking a leg is fun?
There’s a little museum attached to the theatre and you can ask Honest Abe a few questions but he probably won’t answer you. Probably, but you never know. Stranger things have happened (especially in Washington).
If you’re looking for a cool place to spend some time taking a break from museums and monuments, head to Georgetown. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods anywhere. Is it something about the painted brick, maybe? The wide streets? The variety of available shopping and eating establishments? The general adorableness? I don’t know. But I like it. I like it a lot.
There are several embassies in Georgetown. This one has to be the cutest. It’s the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda. I feel like everyone who works here would be very cheerful and kind. I don’t know why. Also, it had me thinking of warm, sunny days and how we almost went to Martinique instead where it would have been warm and sunny and not rainy and coldish. Not that that makes any sense because I don’t even think Martinique is near Antigua but this is how my brain works.
My husband did his undergrad at Georgetown University so we spent some time walking around campus and helping him feel young again. I suggested doing a few quick beer funnels and streaking across the quad, but he demurred. I don’t think he would have liked me too much if he’d known me in college.
There are a fair amount of awesome independent and funky shops in the neighborhood. Here my son is trying to figure out how to bring this sign back on the plane. Is it small enough to fit in the overhead? We don’t check bags for weekend trips…
This place had a really fantastic mix of Italian products including imported chocolate that cost $47/lb. Note, that doesn’t say $4.70/lb. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Or maybe you like spending that much on penny candy. For me, it seems like an oxymoron. Or just moronic. Though, it was pretty good chocolate I have to say.
If you’re in Georgetown you have to eat at the Tombs. It’s mandatory. Or at the very least it’s a tradition- so be traditional and eat at the Tombs! We did and everyone was happy.
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The next day, guess what? It was still raining. But what’s a little rain when there are sites to see? Soggy sites are still sites worth seeing.
And anyway, if you go to Washington and you don’t visit the Lincoln Memorial did you really go to Washington?
And if you don’t take a selfie and post it on social media, did it really happen?
This is the new Museum of African American History. I can only show you the outside because getting tickets to see inside proved impossible. We tried for three days in a row with no luck. Gah. Maybe next time.
This is the original Smithsonian Institute building and these are random people who probably just visited it. We didn’t so you’d have to ask them how it was.
I feel like everywhere we go lately we run into an Olmec. It’s weird.
No trip anywhere is complete until you see a Narwhal.  Also, no trip to D.C is complete without a visit to the Natural History Museum.
Or the Air and Space Museum. In fact, this is probably the most visited museum in Washington. I’m totally making that up, but it seems true, doesn’t it? “Seems true” is closer to “really true” in Washington than it is anywhere else.
This brings back childhood memories. I might have been here a time or two or three or ten. My dad was in the Air Force and we were in Washington a lot.
It blows my mind that John Glenn hurled through the vastness of space in this tiny thimble of a spacecraft. How do you not feel insignificant? Oh, I know- because you’re making history, that’s how.
Rockets. Woah.
So many different engines and machines and feats of engineering genius to talk about here! This could have been a very long discussion but luckily I’m good at distracting (usually with food)…
But I could have told you how this would turn out…
Yep, with me capturing the exact minute my son decided he didn’t want to be an astronaut after all.
The American History Museum is also very cool- you can see Dorothy’s slippers and the real Star Spangled Banner (but you can’t take pics so this is the best I could do for you). There’s also a 3D movie about the Natural Parks that makes you want to pack your bags right now and go. I’ve decided we HAVE to go to Utah next. Stay tuned for that…
And there is an auto section. Of course there is. I’ve mentioned before that we always, always, always, somehow end up looking at cars.
One thing I love about visiting the Smithsonian museums is that your kids are being entertained AND educated all at the same time and they don’t even realize what’s happening to them. They’re learning without even knowing it!
Ok. the Hirshhorn is my FAVORITE museum in D.C. I love, love, love it. And, the “Brand New: Art and Commodities in the 80s” exhibit was a highlight of the trip for me because it was like seeing an old friend.
Oh, this. 80’s glam life goals.
Statement Art (obvious)
Statement Art (subtle)
Everyone needs something to believe in. I believe that it’s ok to believe whatever you believe. So go on and believe.
Who’s to say what is art? Art just is.
Phew! That was a lot of museum pics. Let’s switch gears. Books! If you find yourself in the Adams Morgan neighborhood check out this used bookstore. They’ve got really interesting used books. That’s all I’ll say.
And then eat dinner at Bistrot du Coin. This is a really good not-fancy French restaurant that feels really authentic. You can walk in looking all disheveled from the rain and 10 hours of museum-going and no one cares. They’ll serve you an apero and some moules & frites and everyone is happy.
If you eat a lot at Bistro du Coin AND you get up at 6:30 a. m the next morning to try to get tix to the Museum of African American History (and fail for the 3rd time) you can make yourself feel better by taking a (rainy!) run around (adorable!) Georgetown.
No rest for the weary! This is the National Art Gallery. My son dubbed this one the “old people’s art gallery” but what I think he meant was it has a lot of fine art displayed in a classic style.
The Newseum is across the street from the old people’s art gallery and it’s a crowd pleaser for any age!
I like the First Amendment so much more than the Second Amendment. And I am allowed to say that.
This is really a fascinating place that combines history with how it’s been documented and announced as it unfolded through the decades.
The Pulitzer Prize Photographs on display brought tears to my eyes. Really and truly a  moving experience.
So much history displayed here- all documented by mind-blowingly talented photographers. I can’t even describe it in words. The photos are the story and no words are needed.
This is an actual section of the Berlin Wall.  Amazing.
Next up was the American Art Gallery. There’s a giant Calder mobile in the lobby and a Jackson Pollock mural upstairs. We have a few Pollock knock off’s at home that my kids painted, but seeing the real deal is a treat.
The Outliers and Vanguard Art exhibit was really cool. All pieces were made by self-taught artists during an era when they were totally underappreciated. I’m glad they’re finally getting recognized for what they are (which is a beautiful expression of raw talent).
I call this one “boy who is tired of looking at art”.
One last museum to round out the trip. The National Geographic Museum has an interactive Tomb of Christ exhibit that’s fantastic. It’s 3D and VR ( though not at the same time- that would probably be a bit much).
You can also see Stephen Wilkes Day to Night Photography and learn how he captures 24 hours worth of images and melds them into a single photograph. I am way too impatient for that kind of thing, but I really appreciate the result.
The last night we were in town we decided to check out the newly revived wharf district (appropriately named District Wharf). But it was 8:00 pm on a Friday night and all the restaurants were packed. We had a hangry kid who couldn’t wait 90 minutes for a table, so we didn’t stay. But this is an area worth checking out if you’re better planners than we are and you make a reservation at one of the hotspots.
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After we went all the way down to the water and back we ended up here, which was one block from our hotel. And it was the best meal we ate all weekend. If you are in town I highly recommend Boqueria for tapas and wine. And Nutella stuffed churros. Yep, you heard that right.
So, I’ll leave you now with one last thought. Great things have happened in the United States of America and lots of it is on display in Washington D.C. What happens next is up to you!

That one time, in Providence…

IMG_2245Ah, divine Providence. No, no… not God’s intervention in the world. Providence, Rhode Island. You know- that little city in that little state that you probably never think about. It’s ok, I don’t blame you. Why would you think about a smudge of a spot when the world is vast and amazing and full of wonderful places to visit? Why, indeed. Well, because it’s pretty wonderful in its own right, that’s why. No, really- I’m serious. I’ll share with you what a day in Providence might be like for you, and then maybe you’ll come see for yourself (and yes, you should come see for yourself).

Start your morning off at Olga’s Cup and Saucer in the Jewelry District. The coffee is fantastic and the food is even better. You should buy a baguette and eat the whole thing. Why not? You’re on vacation.
And you can put that carbo-loading to use by taking a stroll down by the river. Down by the river is where it’s at (well not really, it’s actually fairly quiet, but it’s a pretty walk with nice views of the city).
I love the mix of the old and the new. And sharp angles and rounded corners. It’s so, well I don’t know what it is… it just speaks to me.
There’s a really vibrant arts community in Providence and the vibe Downcity is decidedly artsy. Street art, galleries and little shops selling locally made products abound (well abound in the small city definition of abounding, which I guess is not really abounding, but more just existing in a state more than not existing at all).  This is Umberto Crenca’s work. He’s pretty badass.
Make sure your feet take you to Westminster Street. There are lots of independent shops to peek in and support. No Gap or Banana here. You have to go to the mall for that (but don’t do that). This is Symposium Books. It’s my fave. I think I’ve established that I like books.  They have loads of used and new ones. And also they have records. Which is very cool.
After you finish digging, you can have lunch at Small Point Cafe. I love this place. Good food, good people, good vibes only.
After you finish your sandwich, or soup, or whatever, head on up to College Hill. Once you catch your breath (they don’t call it College Hill because it’s flat) stop and take a look around. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time. And there’s a good reason for that! This neighborhood is home to some of the oldest buildings in America, and it’s on the National Historic Register. It’s also considered one of Americas Best Places because it’s so well preserved. I read that somewhere, so it must be true.
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Brown University takes up a good amount of real estate on College Hill and that’s not a bad thing. The campus is crazy beautiful. The buildings, the green space, everything. It’s got a storied history, but I’ll let you discover more about that when you come.
See what I mean? It’s beautiful. I come up here to eat lunch sometimes to remember what it feels like to be a carefree college student. I didn’t go to Brown, but I could have if I’d studied harder in high school. A lot harder. But I can visit every day now and that’s almost the same thing. And, I don’t even have to go to class! Winning.
There’s more to Brown than meets the eye. If you get tired of all the lovely old traditional buildings, take a deeper look. This is the stairwell at the List Art Center.
It’s 5 or 6 floors dedicated to freedom of expression and nods to modern culture and society.  I see there are fellow Lost fans out there who are also still upset that it wasn’t Penny’s boat. Why wasn’t it Penny’s boat? The ending would have probably been so much better.
Here’s a good reminder of what needs to happen more.
Freedom of expression doesn’t just happen in hidden stairwells on campus, don’t worry about that. This is Urs Fischer’s giant blue gummy bear (a.k.a Bluno). It’s creepy and cute… creepily cute? You totally will want to climb on it, but that’s not allowed. So you just have to stand in front of it and wonder why????
There’s lots more to see up on College Hill- more of the campus, gorgeous homes, Thayer St & Wickendon St for shopping, and a whole bunch of eating and drinking places, but you’ll just have to imagine what they look like (or come visit yourself). I love this street though so I’m sharing one last pic of the hill before I move on.
And by move on, I mean head just a bit downhill to the Providence Athenaeum which I think is my most favorite spot in the whole city. Because I love books and I love old buildings and this is an old building with lots of books. So… need I say more?
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There’s also a lot of these guys hanging around. Oh, and Edgar Allen Poe used to meet his girlfriend here. Amazing right? Who would have thought that he had a girlfriend! He was so morose and morbid, it must not have been much fun to date him. But at least he liked books!
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By this time, it’ll probably be afternoon and if you’re like me you’ll need some caffeine to keep you going. Lucky for you Bolt Coffee is across the street. And it’s located inside the RISD Museum, which is what you should check out next anyway.
I love the RISD Museum for its eclectic mix of art. They’ve got masters and student art and everything in between. A little of this, a little of that. Something for everyone!
Currently on now is Justin Kimball’s Elegy. It’s a series of photographs taken in rural Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  It depicts life in small towns after they’ve lost the industries that once made them prosperous communities. It’s haunting and lovely and sad and hopeful in a weird way.
Other works of art. I’m not sure if my son is in awe or sleeping on his feet. Maybe this room isn’t the most exciting one in the museum.
There’s even a Chihuly! I’m so excited that this is here this because I really wanted to see the Chihuly exhibit at the NYBG this summer and I missed it. If you missed it too, you can come to PVD and see this one. Yay!
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After the museum, spend some time on Main Street. The Federal Style buildings are pretty special.
See? You almost expect Roger Williams himself to come galloping down the street on his trusty steed.
There’s one more book related place you have to check out, and that’s the RISD Library. It used to be a bank and it’s fabulous.
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After that fun-filled day, you might need some tequila. So head back to the Jewelry District and stop at Xaco Taco for tequila.
And tacos. They have tacos too. And they make them in a VW Bus. Of course they do!
If beer is more your thing, you have to check out Bayberry Beer Hall. Great beer, great food, great vibe. Great everything.
I might have been there a time or two with my partner in crime.
If you prefer a more subdued dinner, head on over to Oberlin. It’s so pretty and cozy in there, and the food is amazing.
Or you could go to Kleos for a  modern take on Greek if you prefer. It’s also very pretty with amazing food. And it’s right next door to Oberlin. I guess you could try both if you’re extra ambitious…
If you’re staying over, you should probably check into the Dean Hotel. I’ve never actually stayed there, but I like the lobby because it’s cool. And, it’s home to an awesome speakeasy that serves up the best cocktails in the city (which I have been to ah maybe once or twice). Not only that, but there’s a karaoke bar and a really popular restaurant right on site. Also, you’ll probably need strong coffee in the morning if you’ve visited all of the places I suggested that serve alcohol, and you’ll find another Bolt right on the premises. So… this place is kind of like a  one-stop spot. In fact, forget the rest of Providence. Just hang out at the Dean!
I’m not sure when you’re planning to come (and you know you are after this enlightening post), but maybe it should be in the summer so you can experience Adam Anderson’s 10,000 Suns installation. It’s really fantastical and magical.  And anyway, let’s face it, everything is better in summer.

So, that’s Providence in a nutshell. There’s lots more to see and do…well maybe not lots but at least a few more things to see and do..oh OH! like PV Donuts. How could I almost forget? On your way out of town, you have to stop at PV Donuts and treat yo’self to the craziest, yummiest, most creative, and stomach pain inducing (in a good way) donuts around. You’ll be glad you did!


Providence awaits! See ya’ll soon!

Give me liberty, or at least drive me to Philly!

IMG-0368Holy moly- we made it! Today is the last day of the longest year there has ever been (except perhaps before we were measuring time in years).  This was a year of sucker punches and gut-wrenching events and I for one and am not sorry to see it go. Even though we’re starting 2018 in much the same situation as we’re leaving 2017 it still seems like a fresh start. Maybe that’s what drew us to end the year in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy. Where it all began if you will. Our forefathers are probably rolling over in their graves right now, given the current state of government affairs, but the city of brotherly love is more fun than ever.  Here are some pics from our short but sweet trip.

First stop was our old neighborhood- Chestnut Hill.  I still think this is the most adorable and best neighborhood ever.  I often wonder why we left such a perfect little spot. Until I remember that someone was shot in the WaWa parking lot behind our house. I guess every place has its problems.
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Here’s our old house. This was our first fixer upper (don’t ask how many have come after- that’s a story for a different day). It holds a special place in my heart because you always remember your first…
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If you don’t know why I took a picture of this door then I can’t tell you.
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Oh ok, I’ll tell you. It’s the entrance to McNally’s Tavern, the coziest local in America, and home to the world-famous Schmitter (aka sandwich to end all sandwiches). There is no sign, and no window so you just have to know it’s there. We found out about it pretty quickly when we lived in town, and proceeded to spend 5 out of 7 nights there. That was pre-kids and when my metabolism was a lot faster.
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Chestnut Hill Coffee is a good spot to stop when the temps are beyond frigid and you need something hot to bring your body temp up somewhere close to “alive”.
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We spent some time peeking into some of our favorite stores. I actually did not look very amazing on this trip because I had a huge stye in my left eye that made it look like I’d gone ten rounds with Rocky. I spent most of the time hiding behind sunglasses, which was annoying because it’s really hard to see inside with sunglasses and also I looked like a total douche. But it was either that or scare small children, so…
Yeah, Philly pillows! And other colleges etc. that I don’t care about (but you might).
I always try to make sure my clothing is refreshing.
Was so much fun to meet up with Cathi and Eddie.  One of the best parts of traveling is reconnecting with people you really like spending time with that you never get to see.
After our meet up in Chestnut Hill, we headed to Center City and our hotel. We stayed at the Logan, and you should too.
The location is perfect because you can easily walk to the Museum of Art, the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk or anywhere downtown. Even when it’s colder than Mars it’s not that painful to get anywhere. And, when you get back you can sit by the fire in the lobby and defrost with a nice drink.
Philly is fun during the holidays because of things like this nice little Winterfest that was happening in front of City Hall.
There’s even an ice rink! We didn’t skate but we could have if we had been able to feel our feet (or maybe that was just an excuse because we’re kinda lazy).
This is just a reminder to #visitphilly
When it’s so cold that you’re afraid you might lose a few fingers or a toe to frostbite,  you have to find somewhere inside to visit. We couldn’t think of anywhere better than One Liberty Observation Deck.
I’m sure it’s amazing any time of day, but we went at sunset which made it extra amazing.
Do you know about the curse of Billy Penn? No? It’s pretty interesting. I would tell you about it, but that’s what Google is for.  Anyway, that’s him perched on the top of City Hall. And we thought we were cold…
I love Rittenhouse Square. It’s so pretty.  Definitely spend some time around the square- lots of good shops and restaurants and all the historic stuff is nearby too. Remember the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in Philly. If we had made it to Independence Hall I was going to buy a copy of both and send them to Donald Trump. Because, well, you know why.
This is the restaurant in our hotel. It was a tad bit out of our price range (just looking at the menu made my credit card spontaneously combust) but I did have coffee here in the morning and it was really good coffee, and a good place to hang out and catch up on all my social media.
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Here’s my “I stopped to take a pic in the middle of the street like a tourist” shot of Philly.
The next day the fam came to town! Don’t mistake these kids for Philly hoodlums. They are hoodlums, but they aren’t from Philly.
The kids wanted to eat at Reading Terminal. I am not going to lie- this place stresses me out. But, I feel like if you are in Philly, you have to go check it out.  The food options are limitless and the people watching is tops.
All kinds of sundries…
We came here so that everyone could find something they wanted to eat. But 75% of our group opted for cheesesteaks so I guess we could have just gone to a cheesesteak place, but oh well. It was fun to brave the crowds and see the sights.
Like these books! I love it when I run into books.
Even if you’re in Philly at a different time of year,  you should pop into Macy’s on Market St. It’s beautiful. And you can pick up a pair of socks, or a Longchamp bag. Or something.
Our next stop was the Philadelphia Magic Gardens.  This place is probably my favorite spot in Philly. You really need to go to experience it because pictures will never do it justice.
It is absolutely magical.
Truly a feast for the eyes! After you visit the museum stroll down the street to see more of Isaiah Zagar’s work (it’s everywhere on South Street) and then spend some time appreciating the unique South Street vibe.
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This is the view from the rooftop bar at the Logan where we went to recharge after a day of wandering around.  Don’t worry, there’s an inside too.
Loved the view.
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The bar was beautiful. And that’s a $3,400 bottle of cognac.
I opted for the $7 bottle of Yards. Because when I drink, I drink local.
Before dinner we headed back over to City Hall for the free light show. It was really beautiful and mercifully quick (7 minutes in sub-zero temps was just about enough).
For dinner we opted for a spot on Spring Garden Street called Roy Pitz Barrel House. I loved the vibe, and also the giant pretzels. We could have just had those for dinner. I’m gonna remember that next time.
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The next morning I ran up to the art museum. I did not run up those stairs because I didn’t want to be too cliche. Also, that’s a lot of stairs. I don’t know how Rocky ran all the way from South Philly and then up all those dang stairs because my hotel was less than a mile away and I wasn’t going to do that.
It wasn’t my most inspired run, but it was pretty. Pretty short. Ha ha.
And because eating til you feel like puking seems to be a thing you do between Christmas and New Year’s we went to The Dandelion for brunch. I definitely want to go back because the menu looked amazing, but all I could manage was coffee and a small bite to eat. Loved the space too. I felt like maybe Betsy Ross would walk in at any minute.
See- it’s very colonial, isn’t it?
Like you could totally darn a flag in front of this fire.
Then the weather started to get dicer and we thought we should head out because we had a long drive home. The snow in the city sure is pretty, but not very fun on the highway.
We finally made it home after a harrowing drive that took 2 1/2 hours longer than normal. I’m sorry there aren’t any photos of the Liberty Bell, the Besty Ross House, Independence Hall or any of the other usual Philly sites.  But there’s a very good reason for that. And the reason is- we didn’t go to any of those places. Maybe we would have if it were warmer, but as my son said: “why go see a cracked bell when you can go see other actually cool things”?  That’s my boy. He will probably never be good at history, but he’ll live an adventurous life.

So, that’s how we wrapped up 2017. I hope the end of your year was just as lovely, and I hope that 2018 is better for everyone. I know a large part of that will have to do with what we do, so let’s get to it! Here’s our chance to move beyond anger, toward action.  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do… insert your action item here. 

Home for the Holidays

I live in a teeny tiny town in a part of the state that’s largely ignored. For whatever reason, the south coast of Massachusetts has lagged far behind other areas in terms of commerce and development. Even tourism–which the region is prime for because of its beautiful landscape and miles of shoreline– is basically nonexistent in comparison to other parts of the state. We don’t get the crowds that flock to the cape. And we don’t have enough industry to support any significant growth in the year-round population. So that all translates into fewer amenities for those of us who call the South Coast home.

It’s pretty sleepy, but a few times a year our little community comes alive with a spirit that’s bigger and greater than anywhere else I’ve lived. There are three town events that bring us together- a town party in August, a big Halloween celebration in October, and my favorite by far, the Christmas Stroll in December.


At the Stroll, Santa comes chugging in by boat, and then spends the rest of the afternoon spiriting kids through the village in a horse-drawn hay wagon. The town is packed with people of all ages milling in and out of the festively decorated little shops that are offering good cheer. Sounds of the season (in the form of the elementary school band) waft through the air as you greet friends and neighbors at every turn. Yes, it’s like a Norman Rockwell painting come alive. And I’m not even kidding.

I love to travel, and I often think longingly of all the years I lived in the city (and count the ones until I can return) but there’s no place I’d rather be on a cold December afternoon than in the middle of this picturesque little village, listening to my son pound out Jingle Bells with the rest of the 4th grade band, standing elbow to elbow with friends and neighbors as we sip spiked cider and watch our teenagers flit from here to there, arms linked and smiles wide. It’s like for one day, you can forget about everything else that’s happening outside of our 26 square miles and just be joyful.

Hey there Jaime!  Always happy to see you!

It’s called the Stroll because you do a lot of strolling.
We’ve got a few pretty little shops like this. This is Kates Simple Eats. You can go there and eat, and it’s pretty simple. But also pretty great.

The fourth-grade band plays first, followed by the more accomplished 5th & 6th graders. It’s kind of like when the Lumineers opened for U2 at Gillette this summer.
The set is kind of interesting- they play all the Christmas classics like Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Row Row Row Your Boat. But then they do end with a resounding rendition of Jingle Bells followed by the finale of the crowd pleasing Little Drummer Boy. Well, at least I think it was Little Drummer Boy.
My son plays the drums. He practices at home a lot. It’s awesome.
Hi Santa. We’ve all been pretty good this year. Ok, well not ALL of us. But most of us. Some of us. All right, honestly, NONE of us have been good this year. But 2017 was awful and brought out the worst in everyone. We promise to be better in 2018.
I love decked halls.
And I love Prosecco in my cider.
Cocoa, cookies and Santa hats for all, except that guy. He didn’t get the memo, I guess.
If you had cider or cocoa at every single shop you might just float away or at the very least feel like I do today (which is not so good).
We draw all the big names in entertainment…
Big names and holiday stars…even Rudolph! The Grinch comes too, but I avoid him because: good vibes only.
It’s really amazing and wonderful to see so many people on Front Street. This is approximately 2000% more foot traffic than you see on a normal day.

This year it’s especially important to embrace the feel-good days.  The days filled with small moments that make your heart swell. A smile exchanged, a laugh shared, a warm hug- the little things that are actually bigger than you think.

Community matters and communities united in a common goal can do so much. If we all commit to focusing on making positive changes and respecting and supporting each other, the world will be a lovelier place for everyone. We can and should commit to core community values that instill in all generations the importance of inclusion, acceptance, tolerance and living joyfully. Yes, John Lennon- we can all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun.

I see London, I see France…

This Thanksgiving we traded turkey, stuffing, and mashies for wine, cheese, bread and surprisingly good pub food. Bucking tradition to travel this year seemed to be a trend if my friend’s Insta and Facebook feeds are any indication. Lots of people headed north, south, east, and west to celebrate sans pumpkin pie or a doze in front of a football game. We opted to spend a few days in Paris and London before heading down to the middle of France, where we are fortunate enough to have lots of family to spend time with and a house to stay in. Our house doesn’t have wifi or a tv so an extra bonus is that the kids actually have to talk to us! Woohoo!  They pretend to be annoyed by it, but it seems to me like they might actually enjoy our company.  I know–weird, right? Anyway, here are some highlights and recommendations from our latest family adventure.

First of all, fly Iceland Air. It’s usually the least expensive way to get to anywhere in Europe, they have nice new planes, and the Keflavik airport has cool Icelandic gear for sale, and really, really, really expensive but drinkable coffee. This was probably our 12th trip via Iceland, but all we’ve ever seen is the airport. We need to fix that because Iceland is pretty amazing (you can tell from the flyby and also the 20 infomercial “documentaries” available during your flight). Even the safety video is so beautiful it makes you want to stay.
We flew into Paris and stayed overnight with my husband’s cousin. This is the entryway to her apartment. I took a picture of this because I love the floor, and the doors, and also I just love that it’s in Paris.
But then you have to climb 4 flights of these stairs with all your bags because the elevator is only meant for really skinny French people with no luggage.
This is Martine- our welcome committee and the cutest dog in Paris. I am also convinced she can jump higher than any other dog anywhere. She’s like a circus dog. You can’t tell from this picture because she’s pretending to be calm, so you’ll just have to believe me.
Friday mood.
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Rue Montorgueil is my favorite street because there are lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from and if you’re wandering in the middle of the road half-dazed from lack of sleep you won’t get hit by a car because it’s pedestrians only.
We decided to combat our jet lag by walking from Les Halles to the Eiffel Tower – not a short stroll even on your best day, but you get to see lots of Paris landmarks, like the Louvre.
My kids were mortified that I took a picture of this statue because he’s naked but he looked about as tired as I was just then, so I felt like he was a kindred spirit.
The Musée du Quai Branly has an exterior living wall so you can experience something cool as you walk by even if you don’t have time to visit the museum itself.
You even get to see art, like this Olmec piece!
Everyone loves Paris in the springtime, but Fall is pretty great too.
The next morning we headed to the Garre Nord pretty early so we could catch our train to London. Yes, that is a bear with wings. The French are interesting.
We dumped our bags and headed out to explore London town. Wild food and festive aromatherapy- what more could you ask for?
So many pubs, so little time.
Rokit is the best vintage store in London. My daughter loved rummaging through the old t-shirts, shoes, coats and other goodies. I spent most of the time alternating between feeling like I’d found old friends and feeling depressed because vintage now means all things from the 80s.  By default, I think that makes me vintage too. Sigh.
There’s always something to celebrate in London! Girl power! Also, cheese!
Lunch was in a pub. Isn’t this cute? Plus the pints were tasty. And the food was good. Yes, really.  We were the first ones there because we were on Paris time (or Boston time?) and we were hungry!
Every time we visit a different city, or country, or really anywhere that’s not home there seems to be some sort of car show or exhibit happening. Even though my husband is a huge, huge fan of all things automotive he swears this is just a coincidence. But I’m not convinced because it happens every. single.time. Case in point- the Ferrari: Under The Skin exhibit opened at the Design Museum just days before we arrived. I wanted to go there anyway, and I did think this particular exhibit sounded pretty good, so win, win.
This is how Ferrari’s look before they become actual cars.
Ferraris really are beautiful…
Vroom vrrooooom
I love race car driver helmets. I don’t know why, but I do. I also love race car drivers. Have you seen Rush? No? You should, and then you’ll love race car drivers too.
The rest of the museum is worth a look too. I mean, the building alone is an inspiration.
Designer, maker or user- which one are you?
Ah- the design love triangle. Can’t have one without the others…
Design is everywhere and influences everything. Think about that.
Life in a nutshell.
How lucky are you when a really great place like the Union Tavern is right across the street from your hotel? Dinner spot!
Haha- no! We didn’t stay at the Ritz but on our second day we met our friend Paul right outside because it was close to the tube station.
We didn’t even mean to, but we got to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace- or more accurately we got to see the backs of heads of tons of people watching the changing of the guards.
Eh, hello there Queen Elizabeth.
We spent some time on the South Bank of the Thames. Insider tip: get the Fast Pass for the London Eye and plan to explore a bit while you wait for your timeslot.
Blue sky and sunshine in London? Yes, it happens!
My daughter would not be happy if she saw this picture, but she’ll never know so…heh heh.  Anyway, this was lunch at Wagamama. I have a hard and fast rule to never eat in a restaurant we can go to at home when we’re away, but everyone loves Wagamama, including me. Rules are meant to be broken anyway, right?
But then when we left Wagamama we saw this place – the British think of everything! Lunch in an igloo? We could have done that! But yet, I wonder how steamy it gets in there with 5 people breathing and eating and etc?
Watercolor view of Big Ben and Parliment. Big Ben was under scaffolding, but still pretty.
I am in love with books. Like completely in love. So, it was really fantastic to discover Books Under the Bridge. A tiny piece of heaven.
Browsing is so much fun…
I also love old maps, and they had loads.
Say hello to Liam Flanagan. He’s living my son’s dream.
We were going to ride some city bikes, but we ran out of time. Good to know they’re here though.
The Brand Academy is definitely worth a stop- chock full of products made by emerging artists and designers. Good stuff!
All the colors.
If I weren’t a procrastinator by nature (and if I’d brought a bigger suitcase) I would have picked up some Christmas gifts…
Holiday market finds- love me some colorful lights.
Here’s Paul! We hadn’t seen him in eons- so it was great to spend the day with him, and get yelled at together by ornery baristas at Nero Coffee.
I actually hate Ferris Wheels and looking up at this extra, extra tall one felt really intimidating BUT…
You can’t skip the London Eye, so up we went!
And it’s so worth it! You get your own personal pod (well shared with like 10 other people) and you feel like you’re headed to outer space.  The views are unparalleled.
Mid-flight selfie fail.
The group below us was having a champagne party. Dang it, we were one pod too early…
Here I am channeling Mary Tyler Moore.
And this is that unparalleled view I was telling you about.
That was fun!
Just walking around is a feast for the eyes, especially when the sky cooperates and gives you this.
You know there aren’t actually phones in these things anymore.
Here’s my pretty little London pic.
Buckingham Palace at sunset…
Shop goals! When I was in the business of flower making I dreamed of having a shop like this…
The kids wanted to know how many pubs we were going to visit. Answer: as many as we could fit in (which was 6 in two days).  When in London…
Being in London near Christmas is extra great because this town takes it’s holidaying to the next level.
It was only November 19 but there were lights and festive decorations everywhere.
It made me feel a little anxious and inadequate actually because I know my own decorating won’t be done til approximately Dec 24th.
Dinner Sunday night was at The Wilmington. We opted for the traditional Roast. I can’t tell you how amazing the food was, you will just have to go and taste for yourself.  Yorkshire Pudding and all the rest.

After London, we headed back to France. I think I’ll share some pics of that in a separate post because this one is getting kind of long, dontcha think? Stay tuned…

Escape to Vermont

If you want to get away from it all for a while, I’ve got the place for you. Head on up to Manchester, Vermont where you can breathe deep and disconnect from everything. I felt lucky that I had minimal cell phone service and no wifi when I was there because it really forced me to enjoy the weekend for what it was- calming, peaceful and oh so far away from the noise and craziness of today’s world.

We started our Saturday with a quick run (well not quick exactly… so let’s just call it a run).
There were lots of roads like this. Naturally, we had to stop a lot (to take pictures you know– not for any other reason like being winded or anything like that- though I will point out that it’s very hilly in Vermont).
Hildene is worth a visit- we reserved some time mid-run to explore the grounds and drink in the breathtaking setting and amazing views.
Views like this.
and this.
Seeing this made me want to learn how to be a dairy farmer and open up a cheese shop.
For certain I’m romanticizing farm life, but how could you not–standing in this spot?
After the run we spent a lot of time drinking coffee and looking out at this. The golden glory of Fall.
Later we headed out for a hike in these ridiculously picturesque woods to work off some of the jitters that were a side effect of a long, lingering morning of coffee drinking.
I feel like a Thoreau quote would be appropriate here.
Like maybe: “I took a walk in the woods, and came out taller than the trees“. I checked afterward, and I was still 5’2, so…maybe I did it wrong?
One of my favorite Thoreau quotes is “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see“.  So don’t just think of these as trees, ok?
We made it to the falls. They were a little less impressive than we’d imagined.
But still, it’s always good to have a destination (and a turnaround point!)
This weekend was actually a book group field trip that we spontaneously decided to do one night after reading a book that was completely unrelated to Vermont or nature in any way. We were missing a bunch of ladies, which was too bad because they’re all pretty awesome and unique and special. I love spending time with women who inspire me.
After we made it out of the woods we stopped at this really fantastic bookstore (Northshire) because we felt it was appropriate for a book club trip and also we needed books. Well, maybe we didn’t need the books, but we wanted them. Anything goes in Vermont.
Manchester has lots of buildings that look like they belong in Vermont.
See what I mean?
And shopping is very cute in Manchester.
Drinking wine and watching the sun sink behind the mountains was alright, I guess.
We went to Gringo Jacks for dinner and it was really good. Funny story: I’ve only been to Manchester one other time, maybe 13 or 14 years ago and I ate dinner here. There are other restaurants in Vermont, I think. But this one has tacos.
Also, it’s cozy and they serve really good margaritas.
On our way home Sunday we stopped at the Vermont Country Deli for the best dang sandwiches around.
They also have lots of other stuff.
Like maple syrup, for example.
Maple wine (um, ok).
Maple seltzer (I’m sensing a theme).
Maple candy. It was only after I left that I remembered my daughter loves these. I didn’t buy any. Oops.
Maple. Maple everything.
So that, in a nutshell, was my weekend escape to Vermont. It was super relaxing. I highly recommend it. Disconnecting is good. Very good indeed.


Runcation Destination: NYC!

Last weekend my friends I ran the Brooklyn Rock n Roll half marathon.  We could have picked a race closer to home, but we’d heard good things about this one and well, if we’re being perfectly honest, we’re more about the party that happens after than the actual running part of the race, so making a weekend of it was too hard to resist.

Runcations are perfect because you get in a really good workout, you feel really proud of yourself and amazed at what your body can do when you insist on it, and then you go out and indulge for the entire rest of the weekend and not feel bad about it. The afterglow of personal glory lasts for at least 24 hours and you can use your caloric deficit to hit the town running (figuratively speaking, of course, because obviously, you do more than enough running at the race). Plus you can button your skinny jeans! Always a good way to start the night.

Anyway, the Rock n Roll series happens all over the country, and though there were many tempting options we chose Brooklyn because we could drive there and because we all love NYC. Usually, when we go it’s all fun and no run so even though we make a habit of hanging out there whenever we can, this trip was something new for us. I’ll tell you about it in pictures:

We hit the road at around 1:00 after a frantic morning of trying to fit eight hours of work into four. No time for lunch. Good thing Tina brought the Skinny Pop.
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Oh yes we did, obviously.
Have you ever tried to drive to the Javits Center at rush hour? Let’s just say it’s not a good idea. Plus there’s nowhere to park. We made it to the expo to pick up our race bibs with like 30 minutes spare. My friends weren’t sweating it, but I was having a heart attack.
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Hudson Yards is pretty amazing. We got to take a nice long look at it as we sat in gridlocked traffic.
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Hi there, New Yorker. Thanks for perfecting the art of the 19-page article.
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We finally made our way to the Upper East Side, where we were staying with a friend (a lovely, tolerant friend who doesn’t mind when you invade her space with way too much shit for 2 days). This restaurant on 2nd Ave is a gold standard if you like German food, but don’t worry we didn’t eat there (brats+running=bad)
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We went to The Penrose instead. They have good beer (carbo loading!!) and we had fun watching the after-work pickup scene in action.
We had quite an adventure getting to the start from Marisa’s apartment because we had the misfortune of picking the one cab driver in Manhattan who had no idea how to get to Brooklyn. How is that even possible? And why didn’t we just get an Uber?  But, no worries- we made it with plenty of time to take this all-important before pic. Thumbs UP!
We’re here…now let’s run.
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This is the only picture I took during the race, and I think it was an accident.
13.1 DONE! Let’s share this moment with everyone on our social media feeds! We usually keep our shirts on for our selfies, but clearly, others have different ideas.
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It was only a Mich Ultra, but it was beautiful.
We look like badasses don’t we? Also, I’m happy to note that I remembered to put on deodorant.
We hung out with Tina’s crazy friend who flies all over the country to run Rock n Roll Halfs with 30 other crazy people. They flew to NY Friday night, ran Brooklyn, chugged a few beers and then hopped on a plane bound for Denver where they were going to run another half on Sunday morning. As I said, they are crazy.  I would say “goals” but this actually would never be a goal of mine.
Though that medal is pretty sweet.
That’s the Hollis Brown Band behind us. They were really good and they have gigs all over so you don’t actually have to run 13.1 to hear them play.
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After the after party we hobbled out of Prospect Park and headed over to wander (slowly) up and down 5th Ave in Park Slope. We found this place for lunch (Gristmill), which had really great food and the people were so nice. Like really, really nice.
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How can you say no to farm fresh gelato that’s as good as nature?
Actually, I did say no because what I really wanted was some caffeine. Kos Kaffee had just what I was looking for- excellent coffee and super nice people. Again with the nice people. Is that a thing in Brooklyn?
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I really appreciated the fact that the only pumpkin anything in here was an actual pumpkin. I’m so tired of the pumpkin spice craze.
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After we relaxed for a hot minute back at Marisa’s it was time to hit the town again. Amy went to see a friend and Tina and I drank cocktails at a rooftop bar.
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We take our cocktailing very seriously.
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Next up dinner: Is it sad that we care more about the ambiance than the food? We settled on Zia Maria in Chelsea. It was pretty, and the food was good too- so win, win.
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It’s too bad that we don’t have any fun together…
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After dinner, we decided to go study Millenials in their natural habitat so we went to The Biergarten at the Standard.
When in Rome…or a Biergarten.  When we first arrived we thought we had the stamina to last all night, but alas, this boot was the end. Come to find out, we’re not as young as we used to be.
Sunday morning we needed to head out early, but luckily we had enough time for coffee.
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Mellow Yellow Coffee and Vibes– honestly could there be a better place for a rainy Sunday morning hang when you’re sore, a tiny bit hung over and not really ready for your 4 hour drive?
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One thing I LOVE about races is the camaraderie and good spirits you share with fellow runners. We met a lot of really great people and were reminded time and time again over the weekend that there is still so much good in the world. We just need to channel that and work together to preserve and protect it.  Does that mean we need another RnR run? I think, yes! Where will we go next? Well, stay tuned…


Trippin’ down the PCH during a really crazy week filled with things I want to ignore but can’t…

FullSizeRender (30)Yeah, so we were on vacation last week when the awfulness of Charlottesville unfolded. The fact that it happened is sickening and disheartening, but the worst part is that our “President” couldn’t muster enough dignity or human decency to call it what it was or disavow those who were responsible. Ugh. But as I said, we were on vacation when he was not doing what he should have been doing if he were any kind of real leader or moral upstanding citizen. Sooooo… instead of going on and on about how disgusted I am with his response(s) and the state of the White House in general (except bye-bye and good riddance Bannon, you pillar of racism!!) I am going to show you some really pretty pictures of the really amazing road trip we took while all that was happening.  And yes, I do feel a little guilty for experiencing so much beauty during such a dark time, but I also feel like it was a constant reminder that there IS good in this world; that there are really decent and lovely people out there. Also it was really nice to escape to the Pacific Coast and gaze out over the beautiful ruggedness of the cliffs and be hypnotized by the vast sea and just disconnect from everything for a little while– to recharge and renew my resolve to be better and to do more to help ensure the world is a nicer place for everyone.

We drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 7 days- here are the highlights and places I recommend you go to if you ever find yourself driving down the PCH and the 101.

I haven’t been to Lombard St in 20 years. It’s still as twisty as ever and lots of people were either driving down it or walking up it. We just took pictures of it. I like the view from the top.
This is where the streets of the world meet the avenues of the mind.
City Lights has books, but also so much more. You really just have to go to see what I mean.
Chinatown was cool! We were going to have Dim Sum, but then we ended up finding a good sushi place on the other side of Union Square, so we didn’t really experience it like we should have…but it’s ok because the sushi was really good.
I went for an early morning run down the Embarcadero.  It was beautiful and I met a lot of homeless people (not really, but I did befriend a cute homeless dog).
They don’t call it Fog City because it’s sunny…
One day we rented bikes and rode from the Ferry building all the way down the Embarcadero, past Fishermans Wharf and up through the hilly (!!!) Presidio, then over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.  My calves and my buns still hurt from the memory.
While we were waiting for the bike rental guy to show up we checked out the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market.  It was fabulous- fruits and veg, coffee roasters, baked goods, meats, cheeses, live music and YES!! flowers. Flowers make me happy.  Especially when they come in tin cans.
This isn’t Muir Woods but it looks like it, right? It’s Andy Goldsworthy’s installation in the Presidio. I thought it was amazing. My kids thought it was just a bunch of tall trees and logs.
This is in front of Lucasfilms headquarters which is also in the Presidio.  It’s the world’s largest, and also the world’s smallest Yoda fountain.  It might be the world’s only Yoda fountain (but I’m not really sure).
It was still very foggy which might have been a good thing because riding over the bridge was a little scawwwy.
There were a ton of people in Sausalito, but we muscled our way through the crowds and rode down the road out of town to check out the houseboats and that was pretty neat.
Habitat goals. Also #supportthearts
I could totally live here.
We took a ferry back from Sausalito because really a one-way bike ride over the bridge is plenty. Plus…that view.
This was my Rice a Roni moment.
I left my heart in San Francisco (no I didn’t, but that’s a good caption for this pic, isn’t it?)
One of my favorite stops was in Pescadero, CA. It is a little tiny town in between here and there and there’s not too much to see but they have this brekkie spot that was pretty awesome.
Pretty awesome, as I said.
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Actually, there was something to see in Pescadero…this sweet ride in front of this cute coffee shop (which is across the street from the not cute, but awesome breakfast spot).
We tried to drive all the way down to Pfeiffer Beach but the road was still closed. We did manage to see some beautiful sites in Big Sur anyway.
Ahhh… so pretty.
Did I mention how pretty it was?
Super, duper pretty.
We like to ride into town with the top down…
We drove the Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive but no one was really impressed.  My son pointed out that this cypress is actually not that lonely because there are other trees really close by (cropped out for effect).
We were lucky enough to be in Carmel for the start of the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The streets were filled with millions (billions?) of dollars worth of beautiful cars.  I love the Porche 911 most of all.
I also have a soft spot for VW’s (especially buses). True story: We had an orange VW bus for a few years when I was a kid and when my parents sold it I cried.  I still miss that car. We drove it up from Georgia to New Hampshire and my sister and I both got food poisoning at South of the Border. Also, we bought fireworks but we couldn’t light them in NH because it was illegal. But my dad might have anyway. Ah, memories…
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Quick stop in Santa Cruz…
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We saw surfers, sea lions, and even a giant whale.  It was kind of great.
We all LOVED San Luis Obispo. What a fun, laid-back cool ass town! We stayed here and you should too, if you like hip, loft style apartment living.
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We saw the SMEG and immediately felt right at home, except this one is black and ours is orange, so this one is way cooler.
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Every apartment comes equipped with one of these, and there are stacks of records to choose from.  We took turns playing d.j.
Here’s my daughter, she liked the free Wifi.
Feeling good in SLO
I liked this building. I hope Cody Johnson had fun playing there.
Also, I liked this coffee shop (Kreuzberg).
Except I got chai instead of coffee.
Bubblegum alley is really gross.
Really gross.
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We went to Pismo Beach and caught some waves. This is me surfing (just kidding).


Santa Barabara’s Funk Zone is an artist enclave/wine tasting mecca/antique pickers dream.
Here’s where we had our 11:00 am wine tasting and the kids had freshly baked scones. Win, win.
Another winery. Very tropical, no?
This place made me wish we’d rented a U-Haul instead of a convertible.
This store had only been open for two days when we visited.  I like that bag, and also everything else.
Wine, yes wine everywhere in the Funk Zone. Yay for wine.
And pizza.
Onward to LA! We had a pretty sweet spot to relax and chill out at for a bit. And connect to Wifi, of course.
Our pool didn’t have any chlorine- just natural stuff like copper and other minerals, so swimming in it felt really good, and also doubled as a bath. Time-saver!
I took a lot of palm tree pictures. I don’t really know why except that this view seems very LA.
Santa Monica Pier is prettier from afar, but it was fun to be up close too. This is the view from Muscle Beach where none of us did any pull-ups or anything. We just watched other people working out and then went and ate tacos.
Here’s where we ate the tacos- Blue Plate. If you’re in Santa Monica, you should go here for tacos.
And go at sunset- the view is insane.
We spent our last night in Japantown. It was very sweet.
And, we ate French ice cream in Japantown. I don’t know why except that it was there so we did.

Thinking of you Charlottesville and Barcelona!! #thereisonlyoneside #lovewins

48 (or so) hours on Long Island

IMG_8984Last weekend some friends and I headed down to Long Island wine country for a little mini-break. None of us had ever been there, but we’d heard good things. And even though we normally plan a bit better, this is such a busy time for all of us that we didn’t put too much thought into the trip. We booked a house but pretty much left the rest of the weekend open to hap and circumstance. I don’t know if it was because of or despite that, but we had an amazing weekend. It is an absolutely beautiful spot to spend time in, and the quality of the wine is very, very good.  And, if you’re not that into wine (um, what??) there are other things to do too–eating, shopping, antiquing, boating, swimming, bike riding, or just lounging– you name it, you can do it on the north fork of Long Island!

I’m going to tell you our story through pictures because I have like 400 of them on my phone.  I may have been a bit snap-happy. But really, you’ll see why now:

It’s a quick ferry ride from New London and if you go in April you won’t have touble finding a seat.
Kontokosta Winery was on the way from the ferry to our rental so we didn’t see any reason not to stop.
I love a beautiful barn, and if there’s wine to drink inside- well then, all the better!
Girls are headed in…
After you!
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The tasting room had us like…
Time to shop!
We met a friend who insisted we pose like this.  It works.
Cabernet Franc is a good way to start off a wine tour- and this one was fantastic. Nice view too…
Fog rolling off the water gave us this view of the barn. Didn’t want to leave, but:
Next stop: our rental. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cottage.
This place had everything we needed and more- plus was kinda like stepping into a West Elm catalog.
Entry- kick those shoes off and stay awhile!
I like it when there’s a nice bathroom. Bathrooms are important.
My bedroom.
Waking up here was a pleasure (well except for the massive hangover).
First order of business, relaxing on the patio!
Friday night we hit the town in our blazers. Didn’t mean to dress alike, but it is what it is: blazer brigade
Cocktails at American Beech.  We felt like we were in Miami and Tina got attacked by a big palm frond.
Might have overdone in Friday night, but couldn’t miss a beat. First stop Saturday was Croteaux, the rosé winery.  This place was seriously a little slice of heaven.
The wine here was as lovely to drink as it was to look at.
All day.
Cheers to sunny days and the best of friends.
So good. I love rosé when the sun is shining and there’s a Citroen Hvan in the background.
We wanted to sit here but the stools were too tall.
More ambiance at Croteaux. Would have been nice to stay all day BUT…
More wine to try! This is Lenz.
The tasting barn at Lenz.
Lenz has a great old vine 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Really tasty! Also, their merlot is very good. I don’t usually drink merlot, but this one was pretty inspired.
Lenz vineyard
Lieb was next. I loved this place. It had a great low-key vibe: great staff, live music and more really good wine. Merlot again. Maybe I am a merlot drinker after all.
Listening and tasting at Lieb
It was too nice a day to stay inside so moved to the patio to soak up the sun and enjoy the view. Nice way to wind down the tour.
This is Chris, our driver from North Fork Designated Driver. Best decision we made. He was super nice and we didn’t have to worry about being safe on the roads.
We were probably really annoying.
Saturday night we had dinner at American Beech (which was top notch) and checked out the local bar scene at Brix&Rye and Lucharitos. No pics of that (probably a good thing).  Happy to report we didn’t spend any time inside here.
This is American Beech in the daylight. Great spot!
I loved how the town was cute, with lots to do but not overdone or pretentious.
Thanks for the memories Greenport! We’ll be back for sure.