Friday, December 13, 2013

Photo Friday

Today I'm linking up with Sarah for my first Photo Friday! She told me on Tuesday that she would be co-hosting this link up so I used it as an opportunity to get out and have a little lunch time adventure with my camera in tow. I visited a nearby state park and soaked in the chilly, gloomy day while enjoying some beautiful reflections on a little pond and a stroll through the woods.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Day 4

Time for the grand finale of my New England vacation: our day trip to NYC! I hate to play favorites because, really, I was ecstatic about the entire trip, but I was definitely most excited for New York. Since we took the train from New Haven I got to see a little bit of the Yale campus, which gives Harvard some seriously stiff competition, as far as beautiful campuses go.

Our train ended up being about 30 minutes late getting into the city. Pretty annoying when time is already limited, but we hopped in a cab and headed straight to our first destination, the 9/11 memorial. We got lucky and there was absolutely no line so we were able to walk right in. The memorial is gorgeous and definitely worth seeing if you're ever in the area.

From the memorial we worked our way north on the subway to Washington Square Park, which was one of my personal must-sees. I fell in love the second we saw it and I'm now determined to go back and enjoy the park in nicer weather.

Since Jade and I were obviously pros at navigating the subway after our one ride, (ha, not really) we took the train further north to Bryant Park. There was a cute little Christmas fair type setup, complete with a merry-go-round, ice skating rink and heated area for sipping spiked cider. We warmed up for a bit while enjoying a cannoli, then walked just around the corner to Times Square. At the risk of sounding like a hater, Times Square is what it is. I was glad to see it but we pretty much walked through, looked around for a second then ditched the hustle and bustle.

After popping into Laduree for macarons, we met up with my friend Taylor for dinner at Haven Rooftop. A rooftop restaurant sounds crazy for how cold it was, but they had the area enclosed so we were perfectly warm. Our dinner was excellent and the company was even better. Again, I was so glad for the opportunity to visit with another friend!

After dinner we booked it to the train station and before I knew it, we were saying goodbye to the city. Early the next morning I bid adieu to my gracious hostess and began a long day of travel home, including a stop in snowy Chicago where the plane had to be de-iced.

One long post later - I have to say I really had a great time and can't wait for another trip to New England someday! I think I'll have to visit Boston and NYC each on their own and definitely go during warmer weather. If you followed along, thank you! If you're reading my blog for the first time, you can read about the rest of my trip here and here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Day 3

Saturday morning Jade and I let ourselves sleep in until 8, which was a nice break from 6 or earlier. We took our time getting ready for the day then stopped by the Christmas festival at the Franciscan Life Center where she interns. Jade picked up her favorite Franciscan breads and we canoodled with some sheep before hitting the road for our main destination: Boston!

A quick two hours in the car was all it took to get there, and even though I missed the fall foliage, the drive was beautiful. I was set on seeing Harvard so we drove straight there, since it's just outside of downtown Boston. The campus is amazing and like nothing I'd ever seen before. We were even lucky enough to run across a turkey wandering around Harvard Square. With the help of my good friend google, I've learned that the stray fowl are actually from the nearby Mt. Auburn Cemetery where they make their homes. I would be lying if I didn't say I chased the thing across the street trying to take its picture...And yes, I am an adult (a guy did it after me so I felt justified). I could have wandered around the campus all day but we had other places to be.

We decided to get our history lesson on and headed to the Boston Tea Party Museum. We pretended to be part of a rowdy, treasonous crowd and even got to throw fake boxes of tea over the side of the ship. Honestly, aside from tea being thrown in the harbor, I barely remember anything about the Boston Tea Party so it was nice for the refresher course. There's even a box from the actual night of treason 240 years ago on display. A little crazy to think what that seemingly silly act later triggered (insert USA chant here).

After committing faux treason, Jade and I met up with my friend Danielle for dinner in the Back Bay area. Danielle and I met in Dallas through mutual friends and, although our time there only overlapped by about three or so months before she moved, I was glad for the opportunity to see her and catch up. Coincidentally, we ate dinner right near the site of the Boston Marathon bombing. Of course, nothing looked out of place, but it was a little chilling to think about. Dinner seemed to end way too quickly and Jade and I had to hop back in the car for our ride home.

I was sad to say bye to both my friend and Boston so soon, but the visit definitely whetted my appetite. Eventually I'll make it back to see more! It did start to snow just a little on our way home so that was a pretty amazing end to a long day.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Days 1 & 2

I'm nearly two weeks late with a recap post of my trip to New England, but for good reason. Jade and I were up at the crack of dawn every morning and in bed late every night so by the time I got back home, I just wanted to rest. After a couple of days of work I took full advantage of a few days of nothing but family time over the Thanksgiving holiday. So far this week has been busy, but I finally have some time, so here we go!

I was rewarded at the end of a full day of travel with a beautiful sunset from the plane, and landed in Hartford with enough time left in the day for a delicious Friendsgiving meal with my oldest friend.

Jade nannies two days a week and because of my timing, we got to share our first couple of days with the twins. Since I still had some work to do on Thursday, we took things easy and only left for a play group at a library in Farmington and lunch at an adorable little cafe nearby. Farmington is a charming town that is one of the oldest in the state and even played an active part in the Underground Railroad. There's your fun fact for the day!

Friday we took the boys to the Mystic Aquarium where they had a total blast. The twins are almost two and it was their first time at an aquarium. It was the most adorable thing to watch them run from tank to tank exclaiming at everything in site! The aquarium has a few beluga whales that were super entertaining for all of us and we even got to watch them eat and play with their trainers.

We rounded out the trip to Mystic by taking the scenic route back to Hartford and it was just gorgeous! I couldn't get over all the history in that part of the country, and I kept trying to picture what things must have been like in the colonial days. Makes me wish I could take a history class now that I would actually appreciate it a little more.

Friday night Jade surprised me with tickets to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and we were both stoked. The movie was excellent and did not disappoint at all! They actually stuck to the book pretty well, but we both agreed we would have sat through another two hours for even more detail. After the movie it was time to hit the hay before our busy Saturday...but more on that in another post. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's In My Carry On

Four months of anticipation and I finally leave for Hartford bright and early tomorrow morning! I can't wait to see Jade and I'm looking forward to our New England adventure. Since the likelihood that I'll have time for another post this week is slim, I thought I'd share a peek into my carry on bag. Side note: sorry for the not-so-great photo. I tried getting a better one with my Canon but after a few failed attempts (curse you, artificial light!), I grabbed my phone and got the job done. Without further ado, here's what I've got:
  • sunglasses
  • wallet (duh)
  • gum for when my ears pop
  • DSLR
  • I picked this book up a couple of months ago and decided it's finally time to read it
  • notebooks and pens (two because they serve different purposes)
  • yarn and a crochet hook - I need to whip up something to keep my ears warm
  • headphones for playing music from the phone that's not pictured
  • chapstick (I've got a slight addiction)
  • hand sanitizer
  • hand lotion, courtesy of my most recent Birchbox
Not super exciting, but I think it will keep me entertained! Let me know if I'm forgetting anything crucial. This will all be going in a nice, big Fossil tote. Also not pictured, my computer (bleh, heavy) and the coat that will surely be necessary upon arriving in Hartford. Time to finish packing and get to bed for my early morning. Follow me on Instagram (@emmersg) if you're interested in seeing how my trip goes, or check back here next week for some recaps!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five On Friday

Next week I get to visit my oldest friend, Jade, in Connecticut! Funny story, I purchased my flight at the end of July thinking I had booked for Thanksgiving...nope. So I'm going a week earlier than I planned but luckily things have still worked out just fine. I've never been to New England before so we're trying to squeeze a lot into my four day trip. Thursday and Friday we'll be sticking around Connecticut and seeing the sights there. Saturday we decided to go to Boston and Sunday we're going to New York City and I'm super excited for both! I know that a day in each of those cities isn't really enough, but it's the time I have and I'm happy to get experience so many new places in just four days.

I'm dying to see the movie About Time. I like a good girly movie from time to time and I especially like all things British and Rachel McAdams! Hopefully I'll get to see it this weekend.

I just found out that Marchesa did a line of nail wraps for Revlon and I've decided I NEED some! I've never actually tried nail wraps before but I've heard good things and the Marchesa ones are especially gorgeous. Would it be too excessive to buy them all?

Earlier in the week Sarah tipped me off to a cheap eyeliner pen at Target I should try. We both love Eyeko eyeliner pens but e.l.f. has a nearly identical version available for only $2.00 (Sarah actually snagged hers for just a buck). I've used it twice now and I've been really pleased so far. The Eyeko pen runs $16.00 and does last quite a while, but how can you beat saving $14.00?

I started making bow headbands last fall and lately I've been working on small updates to make them even better. Last night, while trying something new, I ran out of the mint green yarn I was using and switched to white halfway through finishing up the bow. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome! I  was actually looking to try making the bows smaller but my OCD side needed the colors to by symmetrical and I'm happy with the color block look. I posted a picture to Instagram and got some good feedback so I'll have to try it out with other colors now!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Recap

This past weekend I went to Austin to visit Kassie and we had a grand old time! We went to all new-to-me places to eat and hang out, which made the weekend even more fun, and it was almost like visiting a new city.

When I got there on Friday we went to Whip In, a beer and wine store that also serves Indian food. It had a really chill atmosphere, tons of beer to choose from, and the food was delicious! We each ordered a panaani that I'm craving as I type. After filling up we headed back to Kassie's and took it easy the rest of the night while we watched Cabin in the Woods.

Saturday we went to Wahoo's Fish Tacos off South Congress. Lunch was good and we followed up with Walton's, a bakery and flower shop owned by Sandra Bullock. It was a really cute shop, but we were a little disappointed since we were there for the macarons and they only had vanilla. We took what we could get though, and they were tasty! I'm sure it was just bad timing on our part.

For dinner we went to Salty Sow. Kassie (and a few others) had talked the place up and I wasn't disappointed. We ordered the duck fat fries with egg on top for our appetizer and they went pretty quickly. I was decidedly less adventurous with my main course order of shredded pork ragu compared to Kassie's order of beef tongue. I was a little weirded out but tried a bite of hers and it was actually good!

Saturday night was one of my favorite nights out in a long time. Kassie's favorite Austin dj is ulovei, so we decided to go wherever he was playing. We consulted twitter and were happy to find out he would be at The Volstead Lounge on East 6th Street, which had been our planned destination anyway. Ulovei was awesome and had a really great mix of music so Kass and I danced our little hearts out all night long. In between all the dancing I also got a chance to meet a friend from Instagram, Vanessa. We've been following each other for a while now and she happened to be visiting Austin the same weekend as me and we were thrilled for a chance to meet. Vanessa and her friend Amanda met up with Kassie and me for a bit. We had a great time chatting and getting to know each other!

After shutting the bar down, brunch came late the next day. We went to Hi Hat Public House and I had the best french toast of my life! I normally go for more savory brunch food but luckily I got the best of both worlds since Kassie ordered the biscuits and gravy.

We decided we needed post-brunch macarons and headed to La Patisserie. The place was adorable and they had a really good selection. I chose the rose and salted caramel and they were equally scrumptious! Before we could eat our macarons, we wandered around the surrounding neighborhood to burn some of our brunch calories. We happened upon the cutest little blue house and then creeped on Elijah Wood's house. Sadly, he wasn't home so I guess neither of us will ever know what we're missing out on!

Per the usual, I had an excellent time visiting Kassie! I already miss her and I'm hoping I can make it back soon.