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Jun 152016
 

Hi friends! I’m back today with another recap of our adventures in Colombia! In case you missed it, you can get caught up with my first post about exploring Medellin and my second post about touring a Colombian coffee farm. Today we’re talking about the long weekend we spent at a finca, which translates to “farm” but is basically a villa that large groups can rent. We wound up spending three days at the finca with all Fabio’s family, and we had an absolute blast!

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Also I wasn’t kidding when I said there were about 50 family members with us – we were a huge group!

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And you know what was even better? Our good friends Jojo and Jadd came with us!! Jojo has a couple of high school friends living in Medellin right now, so when we told her we were going to Colombia for vacation and asked if she and Jadd wanted to come with us (months ago!) they happily agreed! It was awesome to have them join us at the finca for part of the time too. Having some other “gringos” around definitely made the experience better for me! Plus these two are so much fun. 🙂

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The finca itself featured a huge house (it slept 50) plus a pool, cabana area, and outdoor kitchen. It was beautiful!

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There were also a few resident animals running around, including some cute pups…

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…and a bunch of peacocks!

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It must have been mating season because this guy extended his feathers to the female about every hour.

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So beautiful!

We arrived on Saturday and quickly unpacked our bags for some pool time!

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We had a great time splashing around in the water with all of Fabio’s cousins, who were so incredibly fun/welcoming/sweet to me.

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(That’s me above in the peach colored dress lol. Talk about awkward…)

Later in the afternoon we cracked open some beers and had fun hanging around the giant tables in the kitchen! This was so much fun and a great way to get to know everyone better.

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At around 4:00 pm, Fabio and his sister Diane had an announcement to make! Diane and Alex were celebrating their one year anniversary, and it was a little more than a year out to our own wedding, so we decided to throw a surprise party for everyone in Colombia who likely won’t be able to attend our wedding and weren’t able to make it to Diane and Alex’s. We had planned everything way in advance and even spent some time in the afternoon decorating the cabana with string lights we had gotten from Target before our trip, so it was really nice to see all the cousins, aunts, and uncles so surprised and excited by our announcement. Who doesn’t like a surprise party?!

We told everyone to meet under the cabana at 6:00 pm, and I was so happy to see that our string lights looked perfect under there!

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Then everyone sat down in a little designated seating area we had arranged and waited for the party to start.

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At a little after 6:00 when everyone was gathered, we turned off all the lights to announce our biggest surprise: a live band! The band members walked up to the cabana playing their instruments, and then when they were fully assembled we turned the lights back on so everyone could see them.

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Here was the reaction when people realized it was a live band and not just more music playing from the stereo we had been using so far in the trip.

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Fabio, Diane, Alex, and I had another surprise up our sleeves though: a caterer came in to grill up a bunch of chicken, meat, and pork for everyone! Once again, everyone was really surprised that we brought food in and were so appreciative.

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The rest of the night was dedicated to dancing!

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Once the music got started it was all salsa all the time, and Fabio’s aunts and cousins did a great job of teaching us how to dance.

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The band did an amazing job at playing all the best salsa songs (not that I would know, but Fabio’s aunts and uncles sure seemed to love it) so the energy of the party was absolutely perfect. Everyone seemed to have a great time dancing and drinking, and then running to back to their tables for little bites of the delicious BBQ here and there. I couldn’t have asked for a better party!

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Having Jojo and Jadd there was pretty amazing too. Thank you guys for coming!!

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We wound up drinking and dancing late, late into the night, and it was just SUCH a blast. This was definitely one of the highlights from the whole trip!

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(Fabio’s aunts added a few peacock feathers and glow sticks to my hair, haha!)

Sunday

The next day we awoke to a much-needed breakfast of arepas, cheese, eggs, and potato hash. Yum!

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Then we repeated the events of the day before, which included pool time and lots of chatting with the cousins!

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The boys also got in a few sweaty games of soccer while the girl cousins painted their nails and had girl talk. Typical. 🙂

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Every once in a while the peacocks would start cawing, and we’d always find them perched on random areas of the house. These are some weird animals, let me tell you!

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Later that evening, we all joined in the cabana for a white party!

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This party was much more relaxed, and we spent the evening taking pictures of the family and playing games.

Girl cousins!

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Boy cousins!

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Fabio’s immediate family, plus Alex and me!

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All of us!

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It was such a fun night, and we stayed up until nearly 4:00 am playing games like musical chairs and concentration 64, which brought me back to elementary school days! While we were all probably a little too old for these games, it was hard to find games we could play in English and in Spanish, and it actually wound up being a blast. (Especially with a little alcohol involved 🙂 haha!)

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It was such a fun evening, and I couldn’t believe when I saw how late it had gotten. We finally cleaned everything up and went to bed after 4:00 am. Yikes.

Monday

The next day started off as another pool day! The sun was so strong on Monday, and I wound up lathering myself up in so much sunscreen, but still wound up with a bit of a sunburn.

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Oh well, it’s tan now! 🙂

The entire family was in the pool on Monday to escape the heat, and we had a ton of fun squirting each other with squirt guns and having an epic splash war.

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So fun!

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Later in the day, we went on a horseback riding adventure!

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I haven’t been horseback riding since I was a little kid so I knew I was going to be pretty terrible at it, but I love animals so I was strangely calm around these big guys.

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I named mine Colby (I’m sure he had a real name, we just didn’t know what it was) and I wound up talking to him almost the whole time I was riding. Is that weird?
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We took the horses on a ride through the areas surrounding the finca, which gave us some beautiful views of the mountains.

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Colombia is so pretty!

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Once we were done riding, we took the horses out to the back of the finca where we were able to feed them mangoes. There were a ton of ripe ones on the ground, and the horses gobbled them right up! (They spit out the pits, in case you were wondering.)

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I had a lot of fun feeding them from my hand too, even though it wound up being quite messy.

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Lol!

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Shortly after that, it was time to pack our bags and leave the finca! Overall it was such an amazing weekend, and I thank Fabio’s cousins, aunts, and uncles from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so welcome in their family. I have never felt so much love and hospitality from total strangers, and I felt truly honored to be accepted into this group.

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Thank you, Echalocos! (That’s their family nickname, since loco means crazy and they proclaim that they’re all a little coocoo!)

Question of the day: Do you like horses? Would you feed a horse mangoes from your hand?

 Posted by on June 15, 2016
Jun 132016
 

Hi friends! Hows everyone doing today? Sorry for my absence on Friday; I was traveling to New Orleans for work and wasn’t able to get a post up during my down time. Luckily I’m back today with a recap of my adventures!

Thursday

I flew into New Orleans late Thursday afternoon, and when I arrived I was starving! After checking into my hotel, I wound up at Two Chicks Cafe for a late lunch. Per a recommendation from the waitress, I ordered the Thai shrimp po boy, which definitely hit the spot.

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Two Chicks Cafe also had wifi, so I spent some time answering emails while I ate. Multitasking at its finest!

After that, I spent a few hours finishing up some work in my hotel room and then my manager and I enjoyed dinner together at Cochon, a delicious little spot with lots of yummy cocktails and pork dishes.

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Even though pork is definitely the specialty here, I opted for the gulf fish per another waitress recommendation. It was very fresh and flavorful!

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My manager and I also shared an (unpictured) order of the creamiest, most delicious grits I’ve ever had. Yum!

After dinner, we walked around New Orleans!

A trip to NOLA wouldn’t be complete without one of their famous hurricane drinks, so we sipped on a couple of those while we walked around. Man, they sure are sweet! I knew it was going to give me a nasty headache in the morning but decided it was worth it. When in NOLA!

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We took our beverages down to Bourbon St, where we had a great time popping into little shops (we went in a cool voodoo shop where I saw all kinds of weird things) and bars with live music.

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I especially loved this one jazz band made up of a bunch of older white men. I couldn’t help wondering what they do for a living when they’re not playing jazz. Teachers? Lawyers? Engineers? It was fun to think about. 🙂

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At the next bar we wound up dancing and drinking a little more, and at that point we realized we should probably call it a night since we had an important meeting in the morning. The good news is that I’m going back to New Orleans for work in November, so I’ll get to spend a bit more time in that magical city then!

Friday

Our big work meeting was on Friday morning, and it went so, so well. I had to plan all of the logistics for the meeting, and since mistakes always seem to happen I was thrilled when everything went according to plan. Success!

After the meeting ended (around 2:00 pm) I joined my manager and her boss for some celebratory margaritas, and then I hopped on a plane to…Philly!

One of my best friends, Kristen, celebrated her birthday last week, so this weekend we all convened in Philly for the celebrations. It was a lot of traveling, but worth it to be with so many of my best friends!

Saturday

Saturday morning started with bagels from Philly Style Bagels! We got to watch them make the bagels while we waited for our order, which I thought was really cool. Talk about fresh!

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I chose an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese, and it was perfect. Plus iced coffee on the side. Yum!!

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After breakfast we got ourselves ready for the day and walked over to Frankford Hall beer garden!

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It was a beautiful day, so nothing sounded better to us than drinking beer outside. We also played a bunch of games of Jenga, which is always entertaining.

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Careful!!!

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Haha! What a fun day. 🙂

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After the beer garden we walked around a beer festival in the street for a while.

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A few girls tried their hand at the dunk tank, and Jess wound up sinking the guy! Nice one!

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Overall, it was a perfect afternoon with my best girl friends. 🙂

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Later in the evening, we cleaned ourselves up for dinner at a cute Italian place called La Locanda Del Ghiottone.

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For some reason we all wound up wearing white and black. Best friends think alike, I guess!

We started off by sharing a delicious house salad…

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…and then I enjoyed some amazing lobster raviolis for my entree.

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Delicious!

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Megan & me! 🙂

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Happy birthday, Kristen!! Thanks for inviting us all to celebrate with you!

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For the rest of the evening, we went over to two of our guy friends’ houses from college, and then did some dancing out at the bars! It was the perfect end to a perfect day. 🙂

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Sunday

On Sunday morning, we slept in a bit then walked to brunch at Kensington Quarters, a cute restaurant with an in-house butcher. We started off brunch with a huge slab of bacon to share. Holy bacon! It was in a honey mustard sauce that was to die for. So good!

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For my meal I got the French toast, which comes with homemade scrapple and a fried egg on top. The syrup was also infused with rosemary, so I had no problem gobbling this right up.

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It was really, really good. Salty + sweet is my favorite flavor combo!

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After breakfast we said our goodbyes, and then Megan and I made the drive back to DC. It was such a fun weekend and I’m really sad that it’s over. Wahhh! Now I’m not sure when I’ll get to see these girls next, since I won’t be able to make it to Fire Island with them later this summer (we have a wedding to go to that same weekend). Looks like we’ll need to get a fall reunion on the calendar!

Questions of the day: How often do you get to see your best friends? Have you ever been to New Orleans or Philly?

 Posted by on June 13, 2016
Jun 082016
 

If you missed part one of my Colombian vacation, read that first!

One of the things I really wanted to do during our trip to Colombia was visit a coffee farm. Although I’m not a huge coffee drinker (I probably have two or three cups a week) I do enjoy the taste of coffee and, what’s more, I love learning about local specialties when we travel. Similar to when we learned about making champagne in Reims or brewing beer in Belgium, I thought that seeing how coffee was produced in Colombia would help me understand a bit more about the country and its culture.

On Friday morning, a bunch of Fabio’s family members boarded a bus with us to visit the FederaciĂłn Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, or Federation of Colombian National Coffee Growers, where we were able to tour a coffee farm!

The farm was about an hour outside Medellin, and as soon as we started driving the views got better and better.

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As I mentioned in my last recap, Medellin is surrounded by mountains, so this trip took us up into this beautiful, lush landscape.

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Unfortunately, after driving for about 45 minutes our bus got a flat tire! Womp womp.

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Luckily we were able to find a tire repair shop on the side of the road within a few minutes, so I’m guessing this must happen pretty often on these windy, mostly dirt roads.

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And just what do you think Fabio’s family does when their bus gets a flat tire? Break out the beer of course! (Even if it was only 8:55 am! I knew I agreed to marry this guy for a reason…)

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Haha! Luckily there was a really cute nursery right next to the tire repair shop, so we spent some time sipping our beers and checking out the local flowers while they fixed up the bus.

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There were so many beautiful and unique flowers to browse! I especially loved these succulents, which I would have happily brought home with me if I didn’t think the U.S. customs people would have kicked me out of the country.

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Aside from the flower stand, this really wasn’t a bad place to get stranded – just look at the view from the side of the road!

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Maybe those of you who live near the mountains aren’t as phased by these as I was, but since DC/MD/VA doesn’t have a whole lot of mountains nearby, I am always in complete awe of them when I see them. So beautiful!

Before long we were on our way again, and the beautiful views continued.

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After about 15 minutes more of driving, we had arrived!

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As I mentioned, we toured the national federation for coffee growers, which is basically the government department that oversees coffee growing. It’s basically like the USDA in the U.S., only just for coffee. Apparently they only do tours by appointment, so Fabio’s family pulled some strings with family friends to get us in for a tour. So nice of them! (Psst – in the future they are trying to make these tours more readily available for the public, so let me know if you are interested in going and I can connect you!)

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It was also really nice for so many of Fabio’s family members to join us on the tour. 🙂 They really made our trip so much fun!

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Upon arriving at the federation, which includes a conference area and a separate hotel, we were immediately offered coffee!

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Don’t mind if we do! 🙂

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Then we enjoyed a traditional Colombian breakfast with an untraditional view.

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Can you imagine seeing this every day when you sit down to eat? Seriously. When can we move in?!

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The grounds itself were also beautiful, and we walked around a bit to check out the facilities.

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There was a beautiful pool overlooking the mountains…

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…plus a bunch of spin bikes that I was dying to use!

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I could totally work out in a place like this every day. Just saying.

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After breakfast, it was time for the tour! We hopped back on the bus to take a quick drive (about 3 minutes away) to the farm.

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Once again, these views were seriously breathtaking. The pictures don’t even do it justice!

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First up, our tour guide (gahhh – I forgot his name!) explained to us that this particular farm is a research farm where scientists experiment on the plants to get them to perform to their best abilities. He showed us a number of high-tech instruments that the farmers use to gauge how the plants are doing and how they can help them do better.

This globe thing measures the strength of the sun and provides readings to the farmers so they know when to cover some of the plants with shade, especially the younger ones that have just been planted. Cool!

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And this tool measures other elements of the climate like the wind and precipitation and reports everything back to a computer in real-time.

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Our tour guide explained that while not every coffee farm in Colombia has these tools yet, it’s their goal to get all the farmers in the federation up to speed with the latest technology so they can maximize productivity.

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From there we learned how to plant coffee seeds!

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Our tour guide took us over to the little planting beds where were able to examine different stages of the seed as it germinates and becomes a plant. (And a random beetle that made it into the photograph. Haha!)

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We even got to plant some seeds ourselves. I hope they grow!

Then we walked over to some of the more mature coffee plants, which were around two and three months old.

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Hello, double rainbow!

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At this point our tour guide explained to us all about the merits of chicken and pig poop, which are apparently both amazing fertilizers for coffee plants. 😉

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And then we took a walk to see some of the more mature plants!

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I still couldn’t get over how lush and green everything was. Sheesh!

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At this point we walked through a few rows of coffee plants to where one of the farmers was already hard at work plucking the coffee beans.

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Even though it was tough work, she was a wonderfully cheerful woman who truly seemed to love her job.

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Here she explained that different countries have different processes for picking coffee beans, which leads to different flavors. Colombian coffee has a softer taste to it, and that’s because they only pick the beans when they are perfectly ripe. Some other countries pick the beans all at once, which leads to a bolder flavor (and also saves them time and money).

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The lady showed us how to spot the perfectly ripe beans, which I naively thought were all the red ones. Here she is pointing to a mostly red one that needed something like “six more days” which apparently she could estimate that precisely just from looking at it. Well, ok then. In six days, she’ll have to come back to this very spot on this one plant to pluck this bean. Phew! That’s a lot of work.

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One thing that we learned during the tour is that while Colombia works so hard to pluck only the perfectly ripe beans to preserve its well-known quality, most coffee companies in the U.S. wind up blending Colombian coffee with other country’s products anyway, which basically means this woman’s hard work winds up being for nothing. We were told that we can help prevent this by looking for the logo of the federation (which you see on our coffee cups and the sign in the photos above) to signify that the coffee is certified Colombian.

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At this point I also got to taste one of the beans from inside those red pods, and found it to be sweet and a little slimy. You’re not supposed to chew the actual bean at this point – just suck on it – and I was surprised to find that it didn’t taste anything like coffee.

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Next we went over to a machine that helps remove the red pod from the sweet part that I had just tasted. Even though this machine helps the farmers, it still requires a ton of manual work to sort out any beans that are too dry, misshapen, or whatever else they decide makes them unworthy. The woman we met was a pro at this, but it looked like really difficult work to me!

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Then the beans get dried out for a specific amount of time in the sun…

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…before they get roasted and ground! Phew, these roasted beans smelled heavenly.

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Another thing that we learned is that these coffee growers work so hard every single day (no holidays when you’re a farmer!), and the return on investment is next to nothing. In the past, a few big coffee companies were buying all the Colombian coffee in a bit of a monopoly; luckily due to a recent change in government, now small, craft coffee companies can buy directly from the farmers which will hopefully begin to change things for the better for these hard-working people. Everyone we met on the tour was so incredibly friendly and joyous, and I know I’m going to do my part to shop for pure Colombian coffee from places like Whole Foods and Juan Valdez Cafe (and La Colombe and Union Market for the locals!) from now on.

After the conclusion of our tour we stopped for lunch (and another coffee!) before hopping back on our bus back to Medellin.

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Oh, and one more thing – we had to stop to play with the resident puppy, obviously. 😉

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Thank you so much to Fabio’s family for arranging this tour for us, and thank you to the federation for having us!

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I would 100% recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in finding out a little more about how your coffee makes it into your mug. 🙂

Question of the day: How do you like your coffee?

I like mine iced with skim milk and splenda!

 Posted by on June 8, 2016
Jun 062016
 

Hi friends! On Saturday evening, Fabio and I returned home from our awesome adventure in Colombia! I spent a ton of time yesterday downloading and editing photos from our trip, and today I’m excited to share part one of our recap!

The first part of our vacation was spent in Medellin, one of the largest cities in the country. Medellin is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, and is absolutely beautiful! The majority of Fabio’s family on his dad’s side still lives in Medellin, so I was really looking forward to meeting everyone. This side of his family is huge – his dad is one of ten – so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My family is tiny by comparison, so I knew it was going to be very different from my family get-togethers!

Last Wednesday, Fabio’s sister Diane and her husband Alex joined us at BWI at 6:45 am to board our plane bound for Colombia. A few of Fabio’s other relatives who live in New York (his dad, his sister Karen, his cousin Tatiana, and his aunt, Tia Clara) were planning to meet us down there.

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We landed in Medellin at about 1:30 pm, and were greeted by a whole entourage of people! There were so many of us that we needed a bus to take everyone back to the house.

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We stopped for lunch in an adorable little town outside of the airport, and I was already struggling to remember who was who. This was just the group that picked us up from the airport!

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For lunch, I ordered the typical Colombian platter of steak, rice, beans, chicarones (pork rinds), egg, avocado, plantains, arepa, and sausage. And no, I didn’t even come close to finishing this!

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After lunch, we arrived back at the house where Fabio’s dad grew up. The family had hung tons of balloons and a welcome sign to greet us!

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We spent the rest of the evening getting to know the family, while I tried my best to follow along in Spanish and remember which cousin/aunt/uncle I was talking to.

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Luckily everyone was so warm and welcoming to me, and a few of the cousins spoke English so they were able to help me out.

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I honestly was a little worried that it would be hard for me to fit in with a group of strangers who didn’t speak English, but it wound up being a non-issue. I couldn’t believe how welcoming and friendly everyone was, and it didn’t even seem to matter that it was difficult to communicate.

We spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the courtyard of the house listening to salsa music (some people danced, but I wasn’t ready for that yet) and getting to know one another. It was a great way to start the trip!

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On Thursday morning, we set out to explore the city!

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First we stopped off for some breakfast of empanadas and these little gems called papas rellenas, which were basically fried balls of potato deliciousness. Yum!

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Then our group of “gringos” waited to board a tour bus that would take us around the city. Even though it was a weekday and most of Fabio’s family had to work, his uncle, Tio Juan Pablo, and Tio Juan Pablo’s girlfriend, Mary Luz, took time to venture around the city with us. So nice of them!

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Truthfully the tour was pretty horrendous, and I wouldn’t recommend this tour to anyone visiting the city. Fabio and I are used to tours that provide a bit of a historical background on a city, and this tour gave us information like “there’s a softball field on your left” and “on your right is a public gym.” Ok fine, but that’s not really our cup of tea.

Luckily, our tour bus did take us to a few cool sights where we were able to get out and walk around, which we might have otherwise missed. First, we stopped at “El Parque de los Pies Descalzos” or Barefoot Park,  a zen-inspired public park where you are encouraged to take off your shoes and feel the energy of the planet.

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While the material on the ground looks like sand, it’s actually small pebbles that sort of massage your feet as you walk around. I loved the idea of reconnecting with the energy of the planet, and thought this little park was a lot of fun. Apparently on weekends it gets really full with families and groups who want to enjoy the park, and they even read poetry in the bamboo garden in the background, which is nicknamed “lover’s garden.”

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The park also features two water basins where you can rinse your feet off afterwords.

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If I am remembering correctly, our tour guide said these pools are meant for socializing, sort of like in ancient Roman times!

It was sort of like a spa, and we had a nice time wiggling our toes around in the jets. 🙂

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Next, our bus took us to “Pueblito Paisa,” a replica of what little towns looked like when Medellin was first colonized. The little town is located on the top of Nutibarra Hill, which offers beautiful views of the city.

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We took our time wandering around and enjoying the views.

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Unfortunately it was pretty hazy out so it was difficult to see too far, but this would have been absolutely amazing on a clear day!

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After that, our tour bus dropped us off at the Botero Plaza where we enjoyed taking a look at the famous statues from Botero, the famous Colombian artist. The plaza itself was beautiful!

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The statues from Botero were definitely interesting, as he had a unique perspective on the human body. 😉

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We loved this one that reminded us of Jack!

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When we were done checking out the sculptures, we walked around an area known as “the hole” because there are shops and vendors for as far as the eye can see and it can be difficult to escape! I know the guys felt like we were stuck in a hole as all us ladies checked out the shops. 😉

I also really enjoyed checking out the street vendors selling fruit! There were so many different kinds that I had never seen before.

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Next we enjoyed a quick lunch of grilled chicken, salad, and rice, before moving on to our next activity of the day: a cable car ride up the mountain!

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The metro in Medellin runs North to South through the city, but a lot of the poorer population lives East to West up the mountains. The government of Medellin recently built public cable cars to transport these people up the mountains, so they wouldn’t have to climb tons of stairs (taking up to two hours) to get home. Medellin even won an innovation award for this recently, and we could see why. This free public transportation was awesome!

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Not only did the cable car ride give us awesome views of the mountains and the city, but we were able to get a real glimpse into the lives of some of the poorer people in this city.

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One of my favorite parts of traveling is learning about new cultures and experiencing how others live, and having a bird’s eye view into these types of homes that we would never have seen otherwise was absolutely fascinating.

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It certainly made me appreciate all the comforts of my own home, and I left feeling incredibly grateful for the life that I have in the states.

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Our final adventure of the day (we seriously crammed a lot in!) was visiting Fabio’s great aunt, Tia Berta, in the charming town of La Estrella on the other end of the city. I wonder if people ever get tired of these mountain views?

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La Estrella was a quaint little town with a church in the middle and a town square surrounded by little cafes and shops. It reminded me a lot of Europe!

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From the town square we walked a couple of blocks to where Fabio’s great aunt lives. Fabio’s grandfather grew up in this town too! I thought it was adorable.

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Almost as adorable as Tia Berta, who wouldn’t let go of Fabio’s arm. She even said she was going to steal him and keep him for herself! Haha! She was a hoot.

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We had a really nice time visiting Tia Berta, and I know it meant a lot to her that we stopped by to see her. 🙂

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Before long though, it was time to say our goodbyes! Ciao!

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After that we headed back to the house for a quick dinner before venturing out for the evening.

Most of the time when we went out in Medellin, we headed to El Poblado, a neighborhood that caters to tourists and young adults. The area surrounding Parque Lleras in El Poblado had tons of awesome restaurants and bars, including a fun beer garden-esque spot called 37 Park.

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We spent our first evening in the city here and had a great time sipping mojitos and hanging out with Fabio’s cousins who are all close in age to us.

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So fun!

We also went out in Medellin a couple of other nights, and since those evenings don’t really fit in with any of my other recaps (which will mostly highlight day trips outside the city) I’ll share the photos here. Everywhere we went was so fun!

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I’m so grateful that we had Fabio’s awesome family to take us out and show us a fun time. 🙂

Up next on my recaps, a tour of a coffee plantation!

Question of the day: What’s the most eye-opening thing you’ve seen while traveling?

 Posted by on June 6, 2016
Jan 052016
 

With all the excitement over my recent engagement, maybe you forgot that I also went to Jamaica over the holidays? 🙂

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Yep, the day after Christmas, Fabio and I joined my mom, stepdad Fritz, stepsister Maggie and her boyfriend Nick for a family vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica! This has become a bit of a yearly tradition for us, and like last year we spent the days in between Christmas and New Years at the Riu Palace hotel in Jamaica.

I was really excited about our trip before, but once Fabio proposed I was even more excited! What a perfect way to celebrate our engagement! I spent a lot of time admiring my ring in the sun. 🙂

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(Don’t worry, Fabio had it insured before he gave it to me so I didn’t have to worry about losing it or anything!)

Hooray!

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Weirdly enough, Fabio’s best friend Hayden was actually staying at the same hotel as us for the first day and night! Fabio had texted him on Christmas letting him know that we were engaged, and Hayden responded saying he would love to call and congratulate us but he was in Jamaica and the cell phone bill would be too expensive to call. Of course Fabio then asked where in Jamaica Hayden was staying, and it turns out he was in the exact same resort as us! It was so fun seeing him (and his family) for a little while. 🙂

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What a nice surprise for Fabio especially!

The rest of our trip was spent lounging in the sunshine and enjoying lots of food and drinks from the all-inclusive hotel.

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Most days included lots of lounging in the sun for me, and lots (AND LOTS) of volleyball for Fabio.

One of the days, however, everyone broke off and did something different!

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Maggie and my stepdad, Fritz, decided to go on a horseback riding adventure, which they said was a lot of fun.

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Go Maggie!

Meanwhile, Fabio and Maggie’s boyfriend, Nick, decided to go golfing, which they also loved. (No surprise there.)

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As for my mom and me? We stayed behind to look at wedding magazines on the beach!

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Right before we left for vacation, my mom picked up a few bridal magazines for me and we had so much fun browsing through the images, talking about what we liked, bookmarking pages, and making plans for everything to come. It was so much fun! Plus you couldn’t beat the views – looking out at the gorgeous blue ocean while talking about fun wedding plans was so surreal.

In the evenings we did the usual: get all dressed up and go out to dinner! I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but I should warn any new readers that my mom’s side of the family likes to get very dressed up for dinner. This is a habit of my stepdad’s that we’ve all sort of followed so we don’t look completely under-dressed standing next to him. I don’t mind of course; it’s fun to get dressed up!

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All of our dinners were a ton of fun with great food, lots of wine, and plenty of laughs. 🙂

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Surprisingly delicious sushi

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Shrimp spring rolls

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Duck ramen

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Shrimp & veggie tempura 

After our dinners, we usually headed over to the beach bar to continue the shenanigans. Each night we had fun playing Heads Up (the best iPhone game there is!), drinking too much rum, and dancing the night away. It was such a blast!

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There was also a professional photographer on the property who came over to take some pictures of our group two of the nights. I just love the pictures he took!

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How cute are those two? 🙂

All in all it was an amazing vacation, and I can’t think of any other way I would have wanted to kick off this year of engagement festivities!

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Thank you mom and Fritz for taking us on this incredible vacation!!

Question of the day: Do you like to be active on vacation or rest?

For me it depends on the vacation; when we go to Europe I am go-go-go and want to see and do everything. In the Caribbean I am all about relaxing in the sunshine!

 

 Posted by on January 5, 2016
Dec 072015
 

Hello, hello! I’m back from an amazingly fun weekend in New York City with some of my best friends from high school. I had been looking forward to this weekend for months, and now I’m so bummed it’s over. Wahh! Take me back!

Fabio and I arrived in the city late on Friday evening, and after grabbing some New York pizza (mandatory) we headed to my aunt’s apartment in the Upper West Side (where we were staying) to hit the hay.

On Saturday morning, we met up with these three in Central Park!

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Hana lives in the city – a little further downtown – and Bianca and Sam had come in from Hoboken and Philadelphia, respectively, for the weekend. It’s crazy that we all live in different cities now (even though Hana and Bianca are pretty close to one another) and I’m so thankful that we still keep in touch as much as we do.

On my way to meeting up with the girls, I stopped by the famous Levain Bakery for some delicious cookies for us! These cookies are seriously ridiculous and weigh almost a pound each! I shutter to think of how much butter and sugar is in each one…oh well. Worth it!

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Finally, after meandering through the park a bit, we found each other!

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Hooray!

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It was a beautiful day to explore the park, and we had a great time wandering around.

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Girls! I have to thank Fabio for snapping so many pictures of us, haha. What a trooper!

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Some selfie stick action in front of the boathouse. 🙂

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The boathouse was really beautiful, and I loved watching the row boats go by.

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We wound up stopping in the boathouse for a quick drink, and then Fabio’s friend Hayden joined us! After a cocktail, our group continued exploring the park. 🙂

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Soon enough, it was time to head over to our brunch reservation. Don’t worry, we snacked on some more cookie bites along the way.

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A little before 1:00 pm, our group sat down for brunch at Osteria Cotta on the Upper West Side.

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The restaurant had a ton of delicious brunch entrees (our group decided to share a bunch of things) plus bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, or sangria.

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Everything was delicious, but my favorite dish had to be the eggs in purgatory – eggs and polenta in a spicy tomato sauce. So delicious!

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The best part though was just getting to sit and chat with my friends! I sure did miss them.

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More cookie bites happened too.

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After brunch, our little group continued walking around the city! I loved seeing all the beautiful holiday decorations.

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New York City at Christmastime is the best!

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More selfie stick action in front of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. 🙂

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Girls again!

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My handsome guy. <3

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Skating rink!

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After that, we walked over to Bryant Park to check out another beautiful Christmas tree, as well as all the holiday shops.

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It was beautiful, and I think I may have liked this tree better than the more famous Rockefeller one. 🙂

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Up next, we headed over to Rolf’s, a famous German restaurant in the city known for its Christmas decorations. Hana made reservations for us about a month ago to ensure we’d get a table, and I’m so glad she did. The line to get in was ridiculously long, and we didn’t have to wait at all! Thanks, Hana!

It sure was beautiful inside – just look at this!

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We couldn’t get over how beautiful the decorations were and I think we all got a bit of a neck cramp from staring up at the ceiling for so long. It was so festive in there!

We enjoyed a couple of delicious German beers while we took in the decorations.

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So fun!

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NYC Christmas Bar Rolf's

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🙂

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Later in the evening, a bunch of our friends came over and we got ready to go out!

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We wound up going to a fun bar downtown that played amazing music including hits like Whitney Houston’s I Want to Dance With Somebody.

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You better believe we sang out loud to every single word and had ourselves a little dance party. It was so much fun! Fabio’s friends all met up with us too, and it was really nice to see them. 🙂

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Sadly, on Sunday morning Fabio and I had to hop back on the bus to go back home. Overall it was such a fantastic weekend, and I’m so glad I got to spend so much time with my best friends. 🙂

Until next time, New York!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to NYC over the holidays? If so, what’s your favorite part?

Last year we saw the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a lot of fun!

 Posted by on December 7, 2015
Nov 252015
 

Hi friends! Today I’m back with the second (and final) recap of my vacation in San Diego with my good friend, Catrina. If you missed part 1 you can find that here!

Catrina and I both had the day off from work on Monday, so we decided to sleep in a bit (ha! Neither of us are good at sleeping in late) before hitting the pavement for a run! As I mentioned in my last post, Catrina lives in Pacific Beach which is an adorable beach town outside of San Diego. Her typical three mile route includes a run along the beach and the bay, which is just insane. Can you imagine running with views like this in perfect 70+ degree weather every day? I swear, this place is not real.

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After running along the beach, we turned off onto a side street that would take us over to the bay. The side streets were so adorable, and I felt like I was in Fire Island or some other quaint beach town. All the bungalows were so charming!

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We wound up running three miles and then walking about half a mile to cool down. Not a bad way to start the day!

After showering up at Catrina’s, we headed out for acai bowls for breakfast. I had never heard of an acai bowl, but here’s how Huffington Post describes it:

An acai bowl is basically a really thick smoothie that’s been topped with oatmeal, fruit or peanut butter, and then you wolf it down with a spoon. For breakfast. After eating a bowl, you will not only feel happily full (for hours) and have satisfied a sweet craving (no need to cave for a donut), you’ll have also done something that was good for you. Win win.

Sounds amazing! Acai bowls are everywhere in Southern California, but Catrina took us to her favorite spot: Cafe 976. Check out how cute the patio is! I love how all the restaurants in San Diego are so open and/or have outdoor seating; I guess that’s what happens when the weather is always perfect.

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Catrina and I both started off with delicious coffees (if I’m remembering correctly, I ordered something like a Milky Way, which was chocolatey and delicious) and then it was time for the acai bowl!

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If possible, it was even better than I was expecting. Underneath all the fresh fruit was a cold acai smoothie-like texture, and it was delicious! I definitely need to find a place that sells these on the east coast.

After breakfast, we headed off to our main destination of the day: the San Diego Zoo!

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Haha! We are nerds. 🙂

Catrina knows I’m obsessed with animals, so she figured I would love the famous San Diego Zoo. Well, she was right! Although I am still partial to the National Zoo here in DC (it helps that it’s free…), I was very impressed with San Diego’s zoo and loved how close we were able to get to the animals!

We spent the day bopping around from animal to animal, and especially loved watching all the monkeys. They had so many different kinds!
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The elephants were pretty amazing too. 🙂

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After walking around for a while, we discovered a “Zoo Brew” and we each got ourselves a beer to sip on. Sunshine, animals, a best friend, and beer? Welcome to my happy place.

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Soon enough we came upon the panda enclosure, which was so amazing! In DC the pandas are always really far away and you can barely see them, if they are even out (sometimes they are sleeping inside). That was not the case in San Diego at all!

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I don’t know if it’s just the time we were visiting or what, but these pandas were very close to the edge of their enclosure so we could see them perfectly! One of them was even sitting back and watching us while he rested his bamboo on his tummy. #MySpiritAnimal

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After we were done visiting the pandas, it was time for the tigers! At first we couldn’t see them anywhere, but then we discovered they were over by a watering hole playing with one another.

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This was by far my favorite part of the day – we got an up-close look at the two tigers playing in the water! Please note these pictures were all taken with my cell phone and, although they aren’t great quality, it shows you how close we were to them.
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This one isn’t even zoomed in!

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Amazing, right? Overall I had such a fun time at the zoo, and I’m so thankful that Catrina thought to bring me there. She actually wound up having a really fun time too, which I don’t think she was expecting. 🙂

After the zoo, we walked around in downtown San Diego for a bit, before going back to Catrina’s to relax. We wound up ordering Thai food, drinking wine, and watching the latest Hunger Games movie, which was the perfect way to end the evening in my opinion.
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Tuesday

Catrina and I both needed to work on Tuesday, so we wound up next to each other on the couch with our laptops open and Food Network on TV. Not a bad way to work at all!

At lunchtime we headed down to a Greek place in her neighborhood for salads, stuffed grape leaves, and about a hundred pieces of pita. Yum!

When we were done working, we headed down to the beach!

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I really wanted to stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean – just to say I did it – so that’s exactly what I did! It was pretty cold, but beautiful. Catrina watched from afar; you can tell she lives in California now because she said it was too cold for her. 😉

After that, we headed to a CrossFit class! Catrina goes to CrossFit a lot during the week, and I loved being able to see where she works out.

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Our workout was a tough one and at the end we wound up practicing all kinds of push-ups. Phew! It’s going to be a long time before I can do ring push-ups, that’s for sure. They’re so hard!

After showering up, we met up with Catrina’s friend Eden in Ocean Beach for Taco Tuesday, which is a big deal in Southern California. I really wanted to try a shark taco (!!) but sadly the restaurant ran out. Boo. Luckily the mahi-mahi and regular fish tacos were still delicious!

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After dinner we stopped for some fro-yo, before Catrina dropped me off at the airport for my lovely red eye flight back east.

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As if you couldn’t tell from these two posts, I had an absolutely amazing time in San Diego visiting Catrina, and I’m already looking forward to when I’ll be able to go back (slash move there? That weather!!). Thanks for having me, Treen!

Question of the day: Have you ever considered moving yourself to a totally different location?

 Posted by on November 25, 2015
Nov 232015
 

Hey friends! Did everyone have a good weekend? I spent mine up in Otis – a town in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts – at my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s mountain house. It’s so beautiful there, and we always have so much fun when we go.

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It’s actually Sunday night as I type this up, and after spending most of the day in the car driving home I’m feeling pretty exhausted. I’m going to keep this recap fairly short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Here are some scenes from my weekend!

In the mornings, my mom, stepdad, uncle David, Steve, CC, Fabio, and I would all sit around this table drinking coffee and catching up. CC also made a fantastic pound cake and pumpkin muffins for us to snack on.

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Then my uncle David and stepdad would cook (a second) breakfast for the group. They are some seriously awesome chefs. Look at these perfectly poached eggs!

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On Saturday morning, I headed out for a hike with CC and my mom.

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It was a beautiful day, and we were all happy to get moving.

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Although my mom loves being outside, she’s not exactly what you’d call outdoorsy. She wears dresses and heels every day, and her idea of a hiking outfit included a blazer, dress pants, and open-toe wedges. Plus her fancy red coat with mink trim. Yes, seriously. I can’t even explain to you how ridiculous it was to see her hiking in wedges. She did it though, and didn’t complain a bit! What a trooper.

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Our hike was about three miles and took us up to the beautiful Upper Spectacle pond.

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CC said this area was absolutely gorgeous a few weeks ago when the leaves were changing colors. I can only imagine.

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The best part of our hike was definitely the girl talk. The three of us don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, and I know we all cherished this time together.

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When we got back to the house, we sat around the table for a while chatting, snacking, and just being together as a family.

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CC put up her Christmas decorations early this year so we’d get to enjoy them during our stay. How beautiful is her tree?

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The rest of the house is also super cozy, especially the giant leather couch with the knitted throws. That couch is so dangerous – I can never sit on it or I won’t get back up!

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As for snacks, we had homemade pumpkin hummus, veggies, and CC’s horseradish cranberry sauce, which was absolutely amazing. I definitely ate way too much of this.

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There was also a fizzy cider drink made with ginger beer, which I loved.

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We also played with the cats, Addison and Clarence. Hi, Addy!

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Later in the evening, we all got ready for dinner. CC made butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles. It tasted as good as it sounds. Actually, better.

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While she cooked, I munched on plenty of cheese. I <3 cheese.

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Soon enough it was time to eat! Look how beautiful the table was.

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Instead of napkin holders, each of our plates was decorated with a special ornament that CC picked out for us. My ornament was in the shape of a camera (which was perfect since I played around with my camera a bit this weekend) and Fabio got an ornament shaped like golf clubs. Typical. (He and Steve played golf while we were hiking.)

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CC also got us an ornament in the shape of Jack, which was so thoughtful. 🙂

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I was too busy laughing, talking and eating during dinner to take pictures of my food, but I had a perfectly cooked steak, butternut squash lasagna, and a salad. Plus wine. 🙂

After dinner we all sat around drinking and being silly.

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Mom or Ygritte?

Later in the night we pulled out Cards Against Humanity, which caused my mom to blush a lot and made me Google a couple of new-to-me words. There was a LOT of laughing during the game, and it was such a fun night with my family.

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Sadly on Sunday morning we had to head home, but overall it was such a great weekend with my family, and I’m so thankful I got to spend this time with them. Thanks for having us, CC and Steve!

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Question of the day: What does your family do when you get together?

Cards Against Humanity was a first for us, and it was so fun!

Pssst – planning for Thanksgiving later this week? Check out this site for TONS of delicious stuffing recipes, and watch this video showing that using blue plates and displaying food buffet-style can save lots of calories. 

 Posted by on November 23, 2015
Nov 172015
 

After a very busy and stressful week in Los Angeles for work, on Saturday morning (Nov. 7) I hopped on the train to San Diego for a few days of fun! As you probably know, my good friend Catrina moved from New York to San Diego a little more than a year ago, and I’ve been dying to visit her ever since. I figured this trip out west was the perfect opportunity!

I had heard from some friends that Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner train from LA to San Diego was the best way to get down the coast, and boy were they right! The train only cost about $40 and I was treated to some seriously gorgeous views of the ocean along the way. I also saw lots of surfers tearing it up!

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I’m also not sure if this is just a west coast thing or what, but the train’s conductor was really silly and would sing all the stops aloud over the microphone. He also sang about how much he loves California, and everyone would clap and cheer when he was done. People were also pretty rowdy on the train – they would talk and laugh with one another with abandon – and it totally added to the fun train atmosphere. It was definitely a great way to travel!

Catrina was waiting for me at the train station when we pulled in around 11:30 am, and after quickly dropping off my bags in her apartment we headed down to the pool! It was sunny, 82 degrees, and glorious.

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Please note we are definitely not naked in this picture, just both wearing strapless bikini tops. 😉 I also want to apologize for the plethora of snap chat screenshots that I’m using in this post – when you’re having so much fun it’s hard to remember to take a real picture!

After the pool, we walked over to the Fish Shop right by Catrina’s apartment in Pacific Beach. We each got a mahi-mahi taco complete with mago salsa, and we also shared an order of mahi-mahi/shrimp ceviche.

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Everything was delicious and so fresh! I loved seeing the fresh fish at the counter where you order; it made me feel really good about the quality of fish I was about to eat.

After lunch, we drove over to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for a hike! After parking our car, we walked across the beach to get to get to the start of the hike.

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From there we followed a winding path and some gradual steps to hike our way up the cliffs. It wasn’t too challenging of a hike – the incline was pretty gradual – but it was still a fairly good workout and it made for some breathtaking views of the Pacific!

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I especially liked checking out some of the cool geological features, like this crumbling mountainside and the striped rocks in the next photo.

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Can you see the stripes?

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I honestly have no idea how much ground we covered, but we were out hiking for a couple of hours. It was such a gorgeous day, and Catrina and I had so much fun catching up along the way. What a perfect afternoon!

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After our hike, Catrina took me down to the beach near her apartment to watch the sunset.

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It was a beautiful, clear evening, and I was definitely in my happy place. California is so pretty!!

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After showering up and relaxing for a bit (with wine!), we headed to dinner at Isabel’s Cantina, a Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant. I really wanted to try a tamale (I’d never had one before but had always wanted one) so I ordered a green chile chicken bowl with a sweet corn tamale.

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It was delicious! The tamale definitely lived up to my expectations! 🙂

After dinner, Catrina and I headed over to a bar called Backyard where we met up with a couple of her friends.

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After Backyard we headed to a bar called The Local and then finished up our night at another bar called Open Bar (I think – hopefully I’m getting all these names right). All of the bars were so much fun and they had some great music for dancing! The last bar played Killing me Softly at the very end of the night, and we all had a blast singing the words out loud in the crowded bar.

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It was such a fun night of bar hopping and dancing, and we had an absolute blast. 🙂

Sunday

Catrina and I both took off from work on Monday, which left us plenty of time for a Sunday Funday! We started off at a restaurant called Tavern for breakfast, and upon arriving I hit up the bloody mary bar for a spicy bloody mary with bacon. 🙂 Yum!

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For breakfast, Catrina recommended the breakfast bun which is a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with garlic aoli on a pretzel bun.

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It was absolutely fantastic, and I didn’t mind the extra calories since this was a vacation and all. 🙂

After my bloody mary I ordered a Moscow mule – one of my new favorite drinks – and was once again in my happy place. There were no windows in the restaurant, and the sunshine and good company had me feeling great.

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After brunch, Catrina and I met up with a few more of her friends (this time from CrossFit), and we spent the day watching football and hanging out in some more beautiful Pacific Beach bars.

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My absolute favorite bar of the day had to be Shore Club, a spot right on the beach with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Seriously!! That’s the ocean!

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Later in the day a group of us headed back over to Local, where we watched the sunset from a roof deck. San Diego is just too pretty.

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It was another super fun day of bar hopping in Pacific Beach, and luckily we savored our drinks fairly slowly so things didn’t get too out of hand. 😉 We finished up the evening with dinner at Duck Dive and ice cream sandwiches from the Baked Bear (true story) before calling it a night.

I promise part 2 of my San Diego recap is a lot less boozy and a lot more healthy, but hey – it’s vacation!

Question of the day: Have you ever seen someone surfing in real life? I hadn’t until the train ride – it was incredible!

 Posted by on November 17, 2015
Nov 122015
 

I’m baaaaack! After 12 days of running around beautiful California, I was more than ready to sleep in my own bed last night. I have a lot to share with you guys about my trip, so I decided to break it up into two posts: one about my time in LA and one recapping my fun in San Diego.

Ready? Here we go!

On Halloween morning, I hopped on the plane to LAX (with a dream and my cardigan – welcome to the land of fame excess, am I gonna fit in…sorry I couldn’t help myself). The flight itself was pretty uneventful, and after working on a PowerPoint presentation on my laptop for a while I was able to get some sleep. When the pilot announced we were beginning our decent I started getting excited – check out those mountains!

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Yep, definitely not on the east coast anymore!

After we landed and picked up our luggage, a few of my coworkers and I took a cab to downtown LA where we’d be spending the next week. My work meeting was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center right next to the Staples Center and the LA Live hub, which is in the heart of downtown. (Or at least that was my impression…)

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During my stay I resided in the Luxe hotel, which was nice enough and had plenty of fluffy bathrobes and slippers. #Priorities

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My favorite part of the Luxe hotel though was the outdoor patio on the second floor. It was beautiful!

I didn’t have to be at the convention center until Sunday, so on Saturday afternoon I enjoyed the sunshine while getting some work done on my laptop. The weather was 80 degrees and absolutely perfect. Even though I was busy working, I was in my happy place.

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The rest of my week was spent cooped up inside the freezing cold convention center. I can’t tell you how sad it was to walk past windows with blue skies and palm trees only to be stuck in a dark concrete air conditioned building. Bleh. Luckily the meeting itself went really well, and everyone was really happy with my work. Yay!

Even though I had lots of work to do and some days I had to be at the convention center at 7:00 am and didn’t stop working until 9:30 at night, I was still able to squeeze some fun into my time in LA.

First, let me tell you about my workouts! On Sunday morning, I ran a speedy two miles (average pace was 7:53 – not sure how that happened!). I was planning to run farther, but I had one glass of wine too many with my coworkers the night before, and didn’t leave myself as much time in the morning as I would have liked. Plus my head was seriously pounding with every step. Oops. Oh well, two speedy miles is better than none!

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On Monday morning, I joined my coworker Kelly for a quick gym session! There weren’t a ton of machines in the hotel gym – just one treadmill, a bike, and an elliptical – but we made it work. After spending 10 minutes on the elliptical with a steep incline and high resistance, I completed the following countdown workout that I had saved from Pinterest.

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It was a good one, and it was perfect for the hotel gym since it didn’t require any equipment. After that, I ran about .3 miles on the treadmill before getting distracted in the realization that I could see the Hollywood sign out the window. Obviously I hopped off the treadmill to take a picture (which came out horrible – I’ll spare you) at which point Kelly and I decided we were done working out for the day. Good enough!

On another morning (they all started to blur together toward the middle of the week…) I used my ClassPass flex city option to take a spin class at YAS. YAS stands for Yoga and Spinning and offers a variety of yoga and spinning combo classes. I only had time to take a 30 minute spin class (and even that had to be at 5:30 am for me to have time for it) but I would have loved to continue with the 30 minutes of yoga that followed. What a cool concept!

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The class itself was fast-paced and challenging with a good assortment of music. I can’t say I liked it as much as my favorite DC studios (FlyWheel and Biker Barre at the moment) but it was still good! If I ever make it back to YAS I definitely want to try the yoga too.

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Other highlights from the week include outings with my coworkers! Running a meeting is hard work, so we made sure to celebrate appropriately.

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On Thursday night, our meeting hosted a big party at the Belasco theater. We had the whole venue to ourselves along with an open bar and live band. Here’s my coworker Trimmer showing off his dancing skills with an older lady. What a trooper.

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The dance floor was quite the scene and we had a great time observing all the (older, mostly white/not-rhythmic) doctors and researchers tearing up the dance floor and pumping their fists to Katy Perry. Honestly it was some of the best people watching ever, and combined with the free drinks, my coworkers and I had a great time. 😉

After the party, a smaller group of us headed up to the rooftop of the Standard hotel and a bar called Perch. It was a beautiful evening and – although I prefer the DC and NYC skylines to LA’s – I had to admit LA was pretty fantastic. So much fun!

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For my last night in LA, a group of us took a cab into Hollywood to check out the Walk of Fame.

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We spent about an hour walking up and down the streets looking for famous names. There were so many, I took a bunch of pictures of my favorites.

We also found the Zoltar machine from the movie Big, which I must have watched 100 times as a kid.

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Zoltar

[Source]

#90skid

Overall it was a great week, even though the work part got pretty stressful at times. Everyone seemed really happy with how the conference turned out, and I got to have some fun while we were out there too!

On Saturday morning, I took an uber to the train station that would take me down to sunny San Diego. Recap to come!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to LA? What did you think? What about Hollywood?

I actually didn’t love LA in general (it was so spread out and I didn’t like that you couldn’t walk everywhere) but that weather?! Man, that’s enough to make me move west in itself.

 Posted by on November 12, 2015