The Nest and Sons and Daughter of Ease and Plenty

It just happened that I picked two books to read that had to do with families either born into wealth or that were expecting a large inheritance. Despite being in different time periods with one of the novels, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, taking place current day and the other novel, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, taking place in the 1970s, there were many similar themes including love, ones career, motherhood, and mortality.

One of the parallels between the two novels is that money can take over ones mind and change relationships. Another is the inevitability of getting old and how one feels invisible with age. There was an eeriness to protagonist Fern in Sons and Daughter of Ease and Plenty and her family’s belief to take one out of one’s misery when he/she gets too old to prevent tarnishing one’s image by letting others see the deterioration. Lastly, both novels explored motherhood through women with different parenting styles (some much more involved and maternal than others) and how becoming a mother ultimately alters ones career.

I loved The Nest and I like that the Plumb family’s chase of money and final acceptance that it wasn’t coming forced them to alter the course of their lives and they ultimately became happier for it. Spoiler alert, I was still hoping that Leo would come through at the end either to see the family finally take a stand against him and officially outcast him like he had done to them or to see him repair his relationships and repay his family for what he had taken, but I was still happy with the novel regardless. I suppose in a way I did like the bittersweet ending. I enjoyed Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty as well but I didn’t like the characters or style of writing as much as Cynthia’s. I am glad that I coincidentally read both similarly themed books back to back though to compare and to see how expansive with many different directions novels can go while holding similar themes.

“Nothing was more terrifying than what familiar could do to each other.” – Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

Summer Runcation in the Poconos

A few weeks ago I went on a runcation in the Poconos with Ketanga Fitness. For those who have never heard of a “runcation” it is a vacation where you go running; a mix of relaxing and running–for funsies. I originally wanted to go away for a yoga retreat but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money and I didn’t want to take more than one day off of work. I wasn’t able to find any yoga retreats during the timeframe I was looking for and Kevin mentioned something to his trainer about it. His trainer then suggested we look at Ketanga Fitness. They put on a bunch of different retreats like boxing and running in a variety of locations.

We chose a closer runcation within driving distance from the city that was three days long. I took a Friday off work and Kevin and I drove the 1 hour 45 minutes to the Mountaintop Lodge in the Poconos by Lake Naomi. The drive there was sunny and pleasant in our rented convertible. After checking in and meeting everyone we got to relax for a bit before our first evening workout. We met in the backyard of the Inn and did strength training drills and short sprints. After our first workout we had a little champagne toast on the porch then got ready for dinner. We had dinner at a restaurant within walking distance of the Inn, Jubilee, which actually had some good food. I thought it was cool that everyone had a drink and didn’t take things too seriously. I’ve always assumed that a running retreat and drinking wouldn’t mix, but we were all able to relax and unwind with one or two drinks without wrecking ourselves for the run the next morning.

On Saturday morning we woke up fairly early for a morning run. After warming up with some exercises we did some speed and endurance work on a trail loop in the woods. It ended up being about three miles. After breakfast we were free to do what we wanted. Some of the others went to lay out at the pool but Kevin and I decided to go for a little drive and then we ended up going to a quaint nearby town to see a movie. After grabbing a bite (love me some some subs and junk food at Wawa’s) we got ready for our second workout of the evening. We found a large flat grassy area where we did more strength training drills and short sprints. That evening we all went out for a hibachi dinner which was a lot of fun.

On Sunday morning we had our final run and my favorite of the weekend. We did a longer six mile trail run. It was fun and I felt really good. It had been a while since I’ve run three consecutive days in a row. Normally I’ll mix it up a do yoga, boxing, or spinning in addition to running once a week, but it felt really good to be out in nature running.

Before we all went our separate ways we had one final meal together as a group. The other people on the runcation with me and Kev were pretty cool and we had a good time getting to know a little about each other. The trip was also a perfect way to get Kevin to ease into running, and running has now become another activity we can do together. Most people may think that running and vacation together is a paradox, but not only was there a good amount of free time to chill, the runs were also pleasant being out in the wilderness away from the city. Also, the runs on this trip weren’t especially long or difficult. We definitely challenged ourselves but the distances were short enough and the people on the trip were at various levels so that no one was left in the dust. Overall we had a great time and I would definitely sign up for another runcation.

Winter Broadway Shows

I saw three shows recently this past winter that were all extremely good. They kept me captivated the entire performance and left me smiling afterward which I definitely think qualifies them as being good shows.

First I saw Something Rotten! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but a friend saw it and said it was good and I wanted a lighter comedy. Something Rotten! is a story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar (William Shakespeare). When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the worlds very first MUSICAL!

A few weeks later I saw Noises Off on Broadway. I had not yet heard of the show, but Kevin got two free tickets from a friend so we figured why not. Noises Off ended up being hilarious. It was even better than Something Rotten! in my opinion which was nominated for some Tony Awards. Seeing a show for free is awesome, but it is even better when the show is unexpectedly great. I was laughing the entire time. Megan Hilty, the blonde in Smash, is in the show which I also didn’t know.Noises Off follows an ambitious director named Lloyd Davis and his troupe of mediocre actors as they blunder from a bad dress rehearsal to a spectacularly disastrous performance. The cast and crew are putting together a silly sex comedy titled, Nothing On a single-set farce in which lovers frolic, doors slam, clothes are tossed away and embarrassing hi-jinks ensue. It was cool seeing all of the drama taking place off stage which was just as comical as the script for their on-stage characters.

Last but certainly not least, I saw the critically acclaimed Hamilton the musical on Broadway. I actually bought tickets for Kevin for Christmas this year. I was going back and forth about getting them because tickets were sold out and they were really expensive on StubHub, but I heard Hamilton is as big as The Book of Mormon, so I ended up sucking it up and getting them. I’m really glad I did because Kevin and I both really enjoyed it. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer, lyricist, and star of Hamilton is amazing. It was so refreshing to see him on stage watching him do something original that everyone seems to be getting so much joy from. I read more about his story in The New Yorker.

I think David Cote’s review of Hamilton in Time Out New York sums it up well, I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right… A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda unique personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard… The work and drama and novelistic density remain astonishing.

Hamilton is up for a Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album which I hope it wins. It is one of the few show albums I’ve actually looked up after because I liked the music so much. I currently have it saved on my Spotify list.

I lucked out with three back-to-back shows that I really enjoyed, and I’m very happy I was able to see them.

End of Winter Fun 2016

It has been several weeks since my last post and a lot has happened in my life. Here’s the short and sweet:

  1. New job – I got a new job the end of January at ABC which was really exciting. It was a good move for my career and so far I really like it.
  2. Yellow Claw – I went on a spontaneous trip to see Yellow Claw in concert in Philly at the Fillmore Philadelphia music venue. I felt a little old because most of the people there weren’t even old enough to drink and they looked like they were all on drugs but it was still fun
  3. Blacktap – I love dessert and I needed to see what all the fuss was about at The Blacktap. Their giant milkshakes toppling with full size cookies was good but looked a little better than it tasted in my opinion. I consider myself a dessert connoisseur and I’ve had better.
  4. Wedding – We celebrated Kev’s friend and former co-worker’s wedding in New Jersey
  5. Blackbird – I saw Blackbird on Broadway starring Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels –it was intense and good
  6. Wicked – I finally saw Wicked on Broadway with my friend Kelly–I can’t believe I haven’t seen it sooner; it was magical (pun intended)
  7. Irfan Onurmen – I’ve been a fan of Irfan Onurmen’s work for about a year, so I went to his opening reception at C24 Gallery and he did not disappoint. I have my eyes on another piece of his artwork now
  8. NYC Visitors & The Whitney Museum – My cousin Jade stayed with me over her spring break–my only family member to come to NYC to see me other than my parents and brother. We had fun walking the highline and checking out The Whitney. My favorite exhibit was the Open Plan.“”Open Plan, an experimental five-part exhibition using the Museum‰غھs dramatic fifth-floor as a single open gallery, unobstructed by interior walls. The largest column-free museum exhibition space in New York, the Neil Bluhm Family Galleries measure 18,200 square feet and feature windows with striking views east into the city and west to the Hudson River, making for an expansive and inspiring canvas.””When we went, Andrea Fraser had the space. She kept the floor entirely open and had only had audio playing which was recorded at a correctional facility. The exhibit showed the juxtaposition of a huge open space with freedom to roam about and the sound of small spaces, doors and locks within prison closures.
  9. Engagement – Kev and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary. He took me to dinner at Blossom in Chelsea, the restuarant he took me on our first date five years ago. That evening at home he proposed.
  10. Easter – I flew home for less than 48 hours for Easter. It was important for me to see my extended family members in person to announce my big news before telling the rest of the world about the engagement. I had a good time at home and even more fun playing with baby Kasper and Frodo who are the two cutest kitties ever (other than Pants and Boots of course!)

Book Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language.””

I just finished a wonderful novel by French author, Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It was an intellectual, bordering philosophical read that often had me questioning my own ways of life. Barbery’s words stimulate the mind. She is able to take a single, often overlooked concept, and lift a transparent veil in order for the reader to perceive it in a different way. There was one short chapter in particular that I read over again just because the concept was so simplistically brilliant. It was about the beauty of sliding doors and how it is much more thoughtful of space than traditional swinging doors that destroy the unity of a space.
“”When movement has been banished from a nature that seeks its continuity, when it becomes renegade and remarkable by virtue of its very discontinuity, it attains the level of aesthetic creation. Because art is life, playing to other rhythms.””

I don’t want to give anything away, but the over-arching message of the novel is to try to be a less self-consumed, perceptive human being in order to really get to know others. It’s also a novel about how looks can be deceiving. The two main characters are a fifty four year old woman, Renee, and a twelve year old girl, Paloma, who are extremely intelligent but try to hide it from others. Although there are parts in the novel that are rather melancholy, like the fact that the twelve year old wants to commit suicide because she can’t stand her elitist family and has no one she can really be herself around, there are other uplifting moments that inspire hope. It’s hard to imagine having many profound thoughts racing through your head everyday and not being able to share your feelings and insights. But the beauty of this novel is that just when Paloma thinks there is no other way she can go on living her life, an unexpected door opens and she realizes that she, in fact, is not alone in the world. Sometimes it takes a really long time to find out what/who you need, but once it’s found it all becomes worth the wait and you feel more appreciative of what you have.

I don’t recommend this book to anyone who wants a fluffy, light novel. It does require a bit of thinking, not only because the rich use of vocabulary but also because there are a lot of French references to places/history/etc. that I did not know. The brief summary on the back cover of the novel does not do it justice. It was when I was almost half way in The Elegance of the Hedgehog that it finally clicked and I began really connecting with the novel and its characters. This is a novel that I would definitely consider re-reading in the future. If anything, this book reminded me not to underestimate someone simply based on their profession, age, or looks, and to take in my surroundings each and every day. As the title suggests, a “”hedgehog”” may look rough on the outside but may be a beautiful creature underneath all of the spikes.

My novel rating: 4.5/5 stars

Maui Trip and 28th Birthday

I brought in my 28th birthday while on vacation in Maui. I had been to Hawaii twice before with my family, but it was my first trip there as an adult. Kevin and I flew in on Sunday morning. We stayed at the Westin which wasn’t the best hotel I’ve stayed in, but it was nice enough. The property itself, including an artificial waterfall that housed five flamingos, a black and white swan, and a bunch of coy fish, was nice. The room wasn’t the nicest but luckily we didn’t spend much time in it.

On our first day in Maui we justrelaxedat the adult pool all day. There were a lot of families with young children, so I was very glad that there was a cleaner, quieter adult pool to swim in. OnTuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning we woke up very early to drive 45 minutes south to Kiheito go scuba diving. We dove with Mike Severns diving company all three days. The dive instructors were fabulous. They were really friendly and knowledgeable about each of the dive areas. Before each dive they did a ten minute education session during whichthey’d bring out a book to point outthe kind of things we should be on the lookout for at the dive site.

Diving was the highlight of my trip. We did two dives each day, and while they now seem to have all burred together, we saw new, cool things everyday, even on some of the dives at the same dive sites we had been to the day before. Each day we would do the first dive at Molokini whichis a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater (pic below).Its crescent shape protects the coral from waves and the channel’s powerful currents which makes it an idea scuba diving spot. After the first dive we would go to another spot closer to the Maui shore.

One of the dive sites we went to was St. Anthony’s Ship Wreck. It was me and Kevin’s first ship wreck dive so we were excited about it.Even though the St. Anthony’s Wreck was intentionally sunk in 1997 as an artificial reef, it was still cool. The wreck is 65 feet long.There is also a tire reef just off the wreck which consists of groups of old tires stuck to concrete blocks. The wreck reef does attract a lot of different sea life. One of the fish we were briefed on beforehand was the frogfish which is a fish that looks like a blog and is spectacular at camouflaging itself, and I was lucky enough to see it during my dive…well, actually, I would have missed the little blob if our instructor hadn’t pointed it out.

Some other cool stuff we encountered was aa shrimp eating a starfish and a starfish eating an urchin. The shrimp had tackled an entire starfish and when our instructor tried to take it from the shrimp to show their behavior, the little shrimp held on tightly and didn’t let the starfish go even though we are so much larger than the little guy. It was impressive to watch. On another dive we were all admiring a beautiful, large starfish and then when it started swimming/drifting away it left what looked like a bloody rock behind. It was the craziest thing. Afterwards I asked our instructor what the heck it was and he explained that the starfish eats sea urchins by basically swallowing them whole, and what we saw was the starfish disposing the rest of it. So cool.

My favorite sea life we saw on the trip though were sea turtles and whales–yes, whales! Apparently late April is late in the season for whales to still be hanging out, but I’m glad they were. We saw a mom,her calf and an “”escort.”” We saw them pretty clearly on the boat but hearing them underwater was even more spectacular. I have never experienced anything like it. When you’re underwater you don’t hear a lot. I mainly hear the sound of my regulator/equipment as we’re breathing underwater, any boats driving by nearby, and sometimes a crackling noise which is actually the sound of a tiny shrimp. The whales however are super vocal and while seeing them from the boat was neat, I think hearing them communicate underwater was even better. I didn’t see them while I was diving but for how clear I could hear them it felt like they were a few feet away rather than a few hundred feet away.

I am also obsessed with sea turtles so I told our instructors that I really wanted to see some. On the last day of our last dive we came upon a little cove where three were hanging out. At first I wasn’t really watching anything underwater because I was busy trying not to breathe/make too much noise so I could listen to the whales, but then I saw the turtles. One of the male turtles was cozying up to another turtle (i’m assuming female) and another male turtle tried getting closer to them to turtle #1’s dislike, so turtle #1 nipped at turtle #2 until he swam away. Then Turtle #1 and #3 kind of just laid there. I was so giddy at stumbling across not one but three turtles. I wanted to take a million pictures but I also didn’t want to get too close and scare them away. Sea turtles are really beautiful creatures and it was the perfect way to end our last dive of the trip.

As far as food, there were two places we liked. We loved Star Noodle. Kev and I split several things from the menu and loved everything. Friends and co-workers also highly recommendedMama’s Fish House, so I made dinner reservations there for my birthday that Thursday.Mama’s Fish Housewas tight on reservations so we weren’t able to get in until 8:30pm but we got there a little early to have drinks at the bar first and we ended up just eating at the bar. The bartenders kept talking to the elderly couple sitting next to us and it wasn’t until they left that our bartender informed us that that was actually “”Mama”” herself and how she is still very active with the restaurant and has to approve any new menu additions or changes. The food was okay as far as vegetarian options but I liked the ambiance and the cocktail menu.

On our last day in Maui, since we spent a lot of time in/underwater, we planned a land activity. I wanted to do the Road to Hana but I read that the narrow roads were a little scary so I decided to do a tour rather than have Kevin drive us. Kev and I ended up being the only ones on the tour that day, but we didn’t mind because it was like our own private tour van. First we drove to Haleakala Crater whichlooks like another planet and apparently astronauts have been taken there for training because the surface does resemble that of another planet. What is interesting is that Mt. Haleakala is not actually atypical crater formed by volcanic activity. Haleakala Crater was formed over eons as the result of erosion of the entire volcanic mountain top. Over time, smaller lava flows back-filled the eroding valley, building up the floor of the Haleakala Crater.

We were at 10,023 feet at the Haleakala Crater Viewpoint literally above the clouds which was a stark contrast to the 100 ft. we were below surface the day before while scuba diving. Being so high in the sky, it was also quite windy. I actually felt afraid of heights at that altitude. After checking out the crater we drove back down the mountain and toHo’okipa Beach for lunch.Ho’okipa Beach is right by Mama’s Fish House, but since we went there for dinner and it was already dark, we didn’t see the beach. I’m glad we stopped there to have lunch because I was able to see a bunch of sea turtles swim up to shore to nap. It was cool seeing them close up on the beach but I have to admit that I got a little more satisfaction seeing them in their primary habitat in the water.

After lunch we continued on to the rainforest part of the tour. While driving the Road to Hana it’s easy to not realize that you’re driving through/around an actual rainforest. Throughout the tour our guide told us a lot of interesting things about native Hawaiians and the importance of preserving their ancestry as well as the history of how the road to Hana came to be. Although…Kevin was probably a bit more interested in that stuff than I was. I was glad I got to see more of Maui butI didn’t love the full day-long Crater and Rainforest tour nearly as much as the diving. It probably had to do with the fact that we were stuck in the car driving the majority of the time and I would have liked to be out of the car walking around and exploring more.

Our trip to Maui went by extremely fast, but I had a great time and I was really anxious for a tropical vacation. The trip was also about a month after me and Kev’s engagement, so it kind of felt like an engagement-moon 😉

2015 Christmas and Grandma’s 80th

Another Christmas in Michigan this year, but this year was a little more special for three reasons. One was that we rented a large party bus for the whole family party together on the drive to my aunt’s house for Christmas Eve. We had so much fun as a family drinking and dancing on the bus the whole two hour drive there. There were colored lights inside and even two stripper poles on the bus–it was a hoot. The second was that it was my grandma’s 80th birthday. Having a party bus made the day even more special for her. The third was getting to meet Frodo Baggins, my parents’ new kitten. He is cute as a button and really playful, so I had a lot of fun playing with the little smoosh.

I was only home for two days, but we made the most of those two days and had a great time with the family.

Summer ’16

It has been a great summer. For the past few years I’ve traveled more, so this is the first summer in a while that I’ve taken advantage of what the city has to offer in the summer. Sure it’s been hella hot and I immediately start sweating as soon as I walk outside, but I haven’t let the devil’s inferno temperatures from keeping me indoors.

Concerts – What better way to kickstart summer than to see Beyonce perform at Citi Field. I’m ashamed to say that I did not have her new album Lemonade prior to going to the concert, but I can assure you that I bought it as soon as I left because it is great! Beyonce is called Queen Bey for a reason; I love her music and the visual album. She is such a good performer and I respect that she doesn’t lip sync and can actually dance.

I went to another concert recently in August at Madison Square Garden to see Twenty One Pilots. I am a big fan of Twenty One Pilots and have been listening to their music for several weeks ever since I heard Stressed Out. They are starting to become a widely recognized band since their song Heathens was featured in the summer hit movie Suicide Squads. Fortunately for me, my older work peeps have not caught on to how good they are so I got free tickets to the ABC suite in MSG. After seeing Twenty One Pilots perform, I’m an even bigger fan. They were amazing.

NYC Pride Parade – I was a part of Disney’s first year participating in the parade. We didn’t have a float but we had a banner and a ton of balloons. It was a really long day and a lot of standing around, but I’m still glad that I was a part of it and I’m very proud of the company.
Museum of Ice Cream – We all scream for ice cream! Or at least the lucky ones who were quick to buy tickets to the sold out Museum of Ice Cream exhibit in the Meatpacking District. It was held across the street from The Whitney. Anyone who likes ice cream can’t help but love the Museum of Ice Cream. There were six different room. I liked how they set it up with only allowing groups of six in at a time to have a controlled setting and make sure that everyone had enough room to play and explore. The exhibit started with a small cup of the flavor of the week ice cream. It tasted like marshmallow blasted fruit loops and it was so good I’m seriously still thinking about it.

Room 1: Helium-filled sugar balloons and a wall of ice cream cone lights
Room 2: A little history lesson and everyone’s participation in scooping ice cream to add onto the “”world’s largest ice cream cone.””
Room 3: A chocolaty cave with digital screens of liquid chocolate. There was also a chocolate fountain. I thought it would be kind of like chocolate fondue so I literally leaned over and stuck my tongue in it (yup, true story) but unfortunately it was not good tasting like chocolate fondue.
Room 4: Room 4 made up for the previous room with a fake swimming pool filled with fake sprinkles. I was so much fun just chillin in a sprinkle pool. This was my fav part of the exhibit
Room 5: They gave you a mint-sized tablet to suck on that is supposed to make sour things taste sweet. An ice cream cone with a lemon slide magically appears on a wall and then you get to try it. The tablet did truly work and the lemon did taste sweet. It was really cool. While enjoying the ice cream cone the room also has a wall of ice cream art to enjoy. Kev and I had fun with the photo booth app that was in the room.
Room 6: The last room included a seesaw in the shape of an ice cream scooper and a swing set in the shape of an ice cream sandwich.

Street Art – Kev and I have been doing a lot of walking in our hood and surrounding neighborhoods, and we’ve come across a lot of cool street art
Movies – Kev and I normally go to the movies every weekend, but I look forward to it even more in the summer to escape the heat. We’ve also seen some good Independent films recently including Neon Demon and The Model.
Broadway – I’ve wanted to see Cats on Broadway since I was a little girl, so when I heard it was coming back to Broadway I bought tickets well in advance. I bought great seats–we were in the fourth row. The show was not quite what I expected. Kev and I were confused because there doesn’t seem to be a plot and the story line was everywhere. I’m still glad I finally saw it though. The dancing at least was amazing.
We have a little over a month left of summer, so I’m looking forward to other adventures that may arise. Cheers!

Independence Day Weekend 2016

For Independence Day weekend, Kev and I rented a car and headed upstate. On Friday night we stayed in New Paltz. We got there in the late afternoon and after a quick catnap we got some ice cream (at Dairy Queen, my fav) before going to the movies. Then we called it a night to get some rest for a full Saturday. On Saturday morning after having breakfast in our little Airbnb, we hit the road to go hiking. I had originally wanted to stay at the Mohonk Mountain House but it was pretty expensive so that’s why we ended up going with a place on Airbnb that was half the price, but I still really wanted to check it out. We drove to Mohonk Mountain House in the hopes of seeing the place and maybe getting a little tour but they are strict on outside visitors and we could only see the ground if we bought a day pass. Since we had other hiking plans, we passed, but I would definitely like to stay there sometime. We went hiking at Minnewaska State Park. The trail we choose was 7 miles long. It was abeautiful day and a great day to go hiking. It felt good to be out in nature and spend some one-on-one time with Kevin.

After our hike we hit the road and continued North to Hudson. We stayed at another Airbnb spot but this one was a lot different than the one in New Paltz. It was literally in the middle of a cemetery and the decor was Asian inspired. The place is owned by an artist, so the room was very eclectic but I liked staying in a cool and different space. The owner also has three pet cockatoos which I got to hang out with for a bit. They were very sweet, beautiful birds. The rest of Saturday evening was chill. We walked into town and had a few drinks at Mexican Radio before calling it a night.

On Sunday morning after going back into town to have breakfast, we drove the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Kev and I visited the Catskill Animal Sanctuary almost a full year ago, so I figured it would be nice to see the animals again while we were in the area. The sanctuary seems to be doing very well. It was another beautiful day and it was nice to see so many families there for tours. There were many new animals since the last time I visited, so it felt like a different tour. I got to feed some sheep and turkeys, rub a pig’s belly, and even hold a Muscovy duck. It was awesome.

Afterwards Kev and I went to the movies to see The Shallows. Then we tried finding another local hiking spot but the GPS and service was very spotty where we were and we couldn’t find the spot so we gave up driving around. We headed back into town where we enjoyed a vegan pizza at a local spot. Then we read and relaxed for the rest of the evening before waking up early on Monday morning to beat the 4th of July traffic. We made great time and were able to enjoy the day back in the city.

Overall, it was a nice trip and I enjoyed getting out of the city for a few days. One of my favorite parts of the trip was staying at a place in the middle of the cemetery. I surprisingly wasn’t freaked out. Kevin on the other hand was not pleased with me when I made him walk through the middle of the cemetery in the dark after getting drinks on Saturday night. tehe 🙂

St. Thomas Trip over Memorial Day Weekend

This past Memorial Day, Kevin and I took two extra days off for an extended getaway to St. Thomas. We were mainly looking for a good place to go scuba diving so we chose St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands because it wasn’t a long flight from NYC, airfare and hotels were reasonable, and they have manyscuba diving sites. I have been to St. Thomas before as one of the stops on a cruise, but I’ve never stayed overnight on the island and I never dove there.We stayed at the Secret Harbour Beach resort and it was really nice. We chose Secret Harbour because we were able to get a pretty good deal and it was conveniently close–as in literally right next door–to the company we were going to go scuba diving with, Aqua Action.

We flew to St. Thomas on Friday morning and arrived in the afternoon. After a nice lunch we relaxed a bit before taking the ferry to St. Johns which everyone told us we needed to check out. We got there in time for a beautiful sunset while we had dinner and drinks. The ferry is only about 15 minutes from St. Thomas to St. John so it wasn’t a big deal to just go for the evening.

We had a full Saturday planned with four dives total; two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The coolest things I saw on the dive that day were large lobsters and crabs. Saturday was actually the perfect day to spend a good portion of the day in a wetsuit under water because it was overcast and we wouldn’t have been laying on the beach anyway. Enough though Kev and I split a veggie burger for lunch before our afternoon dives, we were famished by the time we were done with the day. We got a taxi to Red Hook and found a restaurant, XO Bistro, with the most amazing spinach artichoke dip I’ve ever had. It was in a fresh bread bowl and was delicious. After dinner we stopped at another bar, Fish Tails, for drinks.Cruzan is a local rum producer for the U.S. Virgin Islands that every bar there carries and they have every flavor imaginable, so I had fun trying some of the different flavors.

On Sunday we slept in, had breakfast, laid on the beach and swam in the bay for a bit before our afternoon dives. We dove two awesome ships that were sunk after WWII. It was my first time being able to swim through the actual wreck and it was a really cool experience. There was a lot of activity around the wrecks. We saw a large sting ray by seaweed grass in between the wrecks and there were a lot of fish and colorful coral living on the wreck itself. That evening we went into Red Hook again for dinner. We went to Island Time Pub for pizza. The pizza was very good but what was even better was the ginormous frozen blueberry margarita I got that was served in its original bottle called the Borracho.👍

On Monday morning we had our last two dives. While the dive sites we went to did not have as much beautiful coral, we saw a few small sharks and a 70-80 year old male Hawksbill turtle which is apparently rare to see. I was so stocked to see the turtle and it was very close to us. Below are the dive sites we went to. We did eight total dives:

Here are some of my favorite videos I took on my GoPro:

Since we were done diving by Monday afternoon, we headed to Charlotte Amaliefor lunch and to do a little shopping afterward. We had lunch at an greatMexican spot, Greengos. Although I didn’t buy anything other an Alex & Ani St. Thomas charm bracelet, I had a lot of fun trying on jewelry from Tiffany’s, David Yurman, and Rolex. I also had a drink at Bones which coincidentally is the one place that stands out in my mind from my last trip to the island about five years ago. Me, my mom, and my dad sat there and enjoyed a beverage. They have several different slushie flavors and you get to pour as much or as little rum in it as you want. Of course I also had to getsome rum cake whichI enjoyed as my dessert that evening. I am now obsessed with rum cake because it was the most delicious, moist rum cake I’ve ever had.

Our flight back to NYC was on Tuesday afternoon so we opted out of a sit down breakfast in order to enjoy a little more time on the beach. I really liked staying at Secret Harbour because even though the beach is public, since it is a little more excluded, it felt like a private beach. I had a blast having the whole bay to myself to just swim around.

I really enjoyed ourtrip to St. Thomas and I’m glad we got to go diving eight times. I was also very pleased with how good the food was. Not only did every place we went to have vegetarian options but the food was also delicious. By the end of our trip, I definitely had my fill of daiquiris and was ready to detox from all of the sugary drinks. I will definitely go back to the Virgin Islands again. Cheers!