Home for the Holidays

The holidays are such a special time of the year. I had a BLAST going back to the good ol’ mitten-shaped state for Christmas. My family is a riot. Every Christmas Eve all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grams and gramps get together to celebrate. We have some long-held traditions, and since my cousins and I are all around the same age, as we’ve grown older, we’ve started some new ones. Below are some pics from the Christmas Eve 2013 silliness.

I also had a great time spending Christmas Day with my mom, dad, brother, and bf. After opening presents (and boy was I (extra) spoiled this year!) we went out to breakfast and then saw Wolf of Wall Street. Then we headed back home to play our third annual Michiganopoly game with me and my dad versus Kevin and my mom. It was a short visit but I’m glad that I made it home to see my family.

]]>

Spring Weekend in Philly

I spent last weekend in Philadelphia visiting friends.We lucked out and had awesome weather. We all got in on Friday evening and we started off the night with dinner at Square 1682. Afterward, me and Alison went to an awesome speakeasy,Franklin Mortgage, for a drink. It was the perfect way to end the night.

OnSaturday we started the day with a delicious brunch at Jones, then we explored Magic Gardens.
The Magic Gardens–created by artist Isaiah Zagar–includes a fully tiled indoor space and a massive outdoor mosaic sculpture garden that spans half a block on Philadelphias famous South Street. Inside, visitors can view folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagars hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The installation pays tribute to Zagars artistic influences, along with community and personal experiences Philly Magic Gardens
I built this sanctuary to be inhabited by my ideas & my fantasies. Philly Magic Gardens

The Magic Gardens are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I think it’s unique because one man decided to break outside the norm and build a creative space out of what most people would call junk. Below are a few pictures I took in the Gardens, but you really have to go and check it out yourself. There’s something special about walking around in person and discovering so many little messages throughout. There is so much to look at, that one couldn’t possibly see everything in one visit, which is why I like it even more.

After checking out the Magic Gardens we headed to an outdoor festival on South Street. It was fun because it finally felt like Spring and everyone was out having a good time. On one end of the South Street Festival by Brauhaus Schmitz it was like Oktoberfest and on the other side it was like frat city which was cool because there was something for everyone. After walking around for a while, we got a table at Fat Tuesday’s and had some drinks, and then a few of us went to dinner at Cuba Libre where I had amazing vegetable paella and ate every last bite. We finished the night with a night-cap at another speakeasy, Emmanuelle.

On Sunday morning we had a causal brunch at Cafe Lift where I had delicious lemon ricotta pancakes before catching my train back to NYC. We were all exhausted after a jam-packed, fun-filled weekend, but it was so much fun catching up and being able to enjoy a taste of Philly. I can’t wait to go back to visit again!

]]>

Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara

I spent Thanksgiving with Kevin’s family in California again this year. We flew into LAX on Tuesday night and drove to The Fess Parker in Santa Barbara. It was my first time in Santa Barbara and I actually liked it a lot.Wednesday was our one totally free day, so we tried to cram as much in as possible. We had brunch at a vegetarian spot, Adama, shopped around, went running along the coast, and ordered in room service and watched a movie in bed.

Thursday morning we had breakfast at D’Angelo Bread and then picked up beer and wine to bring to Kevin’s family’s Thanksgiving. We drove to Lompoc, which is about an hour NE from Santa Barbara, to Kevin’s aunt’s house. It was a typical Thanksgiving filled with food, wine, and family 🙂

On Friday morning we went to Cruchcakes Cupcakery and Crushcafe where I kid you not, I had the best soyrizo burrito of my life. And of course while I was there I had to pick up some cupcakes. The strawberry lemonade cupcake was the bomb. Then
we did a little Black Friday shopping. Nothing compares to shopping in Manhattan as far as how crowded and how many people cram into a store. So even though the stores were crowded, it was nothing compared to the madness of shopping in NYC.
After a little shopping we headed back to Lompoc for the family’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving football game (Kevin and my team won for the second year!). We had a lot of fun playing and we even enjoyed a hilarious half time show performed by three of Kev’s aunts. After working up a small sweat, everyone headed back to the house for their post-Thanksgiving traditional dinner which consists of making tacos with some of the leftovers from Thanksgiving. Once everyone was finished eating, we played charades. It was a really fun day.
Our flight was on Saturday afternoon, but I was able to meet up with one of my best friends for breakfast before flying back. We went to a cute place, Larchmont Bungalow in LA. It was so nice to see her and catch up in person. It was like the cherry on top of the sundae providing the perfect ending to an already great week.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family too!

]]>

Easter in Michigan

I flew home to Michigan for Easter this year to spend it with my family. I got in late on Friday night. On Saturday me, my brother, a friend, and my dad went golfing at the Chemung Hills golf course in Howell. We played 9 holes and had a blast. I only golf about once a year whenever I’m with my dad and it’s warm enough outside, so I’m not super good, but I’m not horrible either. I always have a fun time golfing which is all that really matters anyway. It’s fun to play with my dad and brother too; it’s a good bonding activity. On Sunday, my grandparents hosted Easter, so the whole family went to Owosso for the day. My parents bought all of the ingredients for a fun cocktail recipe I found online. It included Corona, Grey Goose, raspberry lemonade mix, and fresh raspberries. It was refreshing and tasty and definitely loosened us up–not that we needed to loosen up though, my family is a riot!

Besides hanging out chatting, drinking, and snacking, the women had a little book exchange (dorky, I know, but it’s fun and I look forward to it), then we had an egg hunt. Two of my cousins hid the eggs around the yard. Everyone got to collect four eggs per person. The eggs were filled with candy, money, and pieces of paper with a bag number. The numbered bags were distributed afterwards that contained more goodies that couldn’t fit in the Easter eggs. I got a $1 bill, a lotto ticket, some candy, and a number for a bag which had a margarita drink mix, a crossword puzzle, and a three-pack of gum. Everyone had a lot of fun.

I’m really glad I went home for Easter this year. We lucked out that it was a beautiful, warm day too so we got to enjoy being outside.
]]>