August 30, 2017

Austria: The Hills are Alive

Another week, another round of photos from our Alpine adventure. I'm over my head in moving crap and I'm far too emotional about it today to write about it, so I'm going back in time instead. We only spent one night in Austria and it just left us wanting more. 

We drove through the western part of the country and spent the night in Innsbruck and then headed back towards Switzerland. The city was wonderful. We stayed at the Penz Hotel which has the best breakfast I've ever had with views of the surrounding mountains. 

On our way out of town, we lucked out when the main highway was closed down and we ended up having to take the back way up and over the mountains. It was one of my favorite parts of the drive. 

We will absolutely be returning to this country to see so much more of the cities and mountains, but until then - here's some of my favorite photos from that evening.

If you've missed the beginning of our trip, I recapped Munich, the land of Fairytales and the Romantic Road so far. I'll be back soon with more photos from the most breathtaking parts of the trip.

August 29, 2017

Rainy Day Gratitude

It's a rainy day in Brooklyn. My dad and godfather left town this morning after an awesome weekend of perfect weather. Now there's only 48 hours until we leave NYC. Reality is sinking in. Everything is off the walls, I'm rushing through work emails and calls and in between, I'm cleaning and packing. The movers are coming tomorrow. 

The rain isn't helping my mood. It feels like the kind of day to be a little sad. At the same time, it's just a life transition. We aren't dealing with any major issues like others in the country and around the 

So, I figured I needed to take a page from 2014 me and list out my gratitude for the week:

1. We got to go to the US Open on opening day. 13 matches going on at one time, front row seats to two different matches that were super intense, one cold glass of champagne. It was a perfect day with my dad, my godfather and my husband.

2. Our favorite neighborhood bartender knows we don't do "shots" so he poured us a beer shot last night to do a little cheers. It was an amazing double IPA. He gets me.

3. Crif dogs, dive bars and Artichoke Pizza with my favorite NYC internet friends. Thanks to this little hobby of mine, I was able to meet this blogger and we've become fast friends. We had a great night with them Friday and can't wait to plan our next adventure.

4. Salvation Army is right around the corner from our apartment making donation drop off insanely easy. I'll take anything that's easy now.

5. The GoT finale. I loved it and I'm hoping for lots of snow in their filming locations this winter so we can get the final season next year.

6. Our dogs. They are such troopers. They travel with us, move around with us and put up with us while we pack all of our stuff. We got them all freshly groomed, got them new beds and we are crossing our fingers that they put up with us through this move as well. 

7. Coffee. It's helping give me an extra boost this week while I get through the long list of things to do. It is especially tasty on a cold, rainy morning.

The people in Texas need our help right now. Make sure to take a minute today and send a few dollars to one of the many organizations working hard to get the basic necessities to these people. Seeing the news about the flooding is so devastating and we can all spare a little bit to help. We sent money to Red Cross and Austin Pets Alive and will be following along closely to see if there's anything else we can do from afar. There are so many different organizations and stores helping out, so make sure to show your support in any way possible. 

To add a little more money to the pot, I'll donate 20% of any Beautycounter sales between now & the end of the day on 9/1 to the Red Cross as well. Click here to shop.

Tell me something you're grateful for and if you have any tips to stay calm while moving. 

August 24, 2017

#trendingontwitter: White People, Science & T Swift

Is it just me or does it seem like it's almost impossible to keep up with the news this summer? I have a few favorite podcasts and by the time they are available to listen to, they are already almost outdated. It's insane. Here are some things that have been trending on the twit machine this week.

#backtoschool - Hug a teacher this week. Donate some school supplies. It's that time of year when everyone is heading back to school. Teachers will probably deal with some things this year that they never have before with the things floating around the news lately. Education is important and we all need to support kids in any way possible.

#solareclipse2017 - We spent Monday morning laughing at all the people that were freaking out about the eclipse. Then at noon, I started to feel really left out. No cereal boxes in our apartment, so I took a Wheat Thins box and followed the Skimm tutorial and made myself an eclipse viewer. We went to the rooftop and realized that our suspicions were correct. It was overhyped... UNTIL our neighbors gave us a pair of special glasses and then we were pretty amazed. You needed the glasses. We spent the next 20 minutes walking up and down our street sharing the glasses with everyone we saw. It was incredible. See you in 2024. #scienceisrealandcool

#taylorswift - She broke the internet with her snake videos and album announcement. Her song is out today. Yes I will listen to it, but I'm not going to automatically assume it's the greatest thing ever which seems to be the general consensus on the internet.

#PhoenixRally - Why are we having rallies for our president? How is this a good use of time or resources? I'm so annoyed and pissed off about this. But, I did get a good laugh when the news broke about them using an overhead shot of the Cavaliers victory parade and claiming it was the Trump rally in AZ. Fake news my friends.

#powerball - We bought our tickets, made our game plan for when we won and then lost. Same thing every time. But, a smart man once told me that you'll never win if you don't play. Meanwhile, one person in Massachusetts just became UBER rich and will probably squander it all away in the next decade because they aren't as smart as me with their plan in place. Also, the Hamilton lottery changed and now I'm sure it's rigged. BS.

#NationalWaffleDay - No thoughts on this really, except that I love waffles. Also, if you are a vegetarian, but have always wanted to try Chicken & Waffles (like me), run to Sweet Chick. They have a veg-friendly version and it will blow your mind.

#GoT - How is there only one more episode of the season? I'll be having withdrawls for months. I'll just leave this photo here for you, because we all know the real love story of the series.

#NotAllWhitePeople - I'm just going to link to the tweet right below. Read the whole string.
Also, I'm going to put together a list of all the books that were featured in the Resistance Reading posts from the bookstore I talked about yesterday. I'm going to convince my sister in law to have a tiny book club with me to work through these. Holler if you're interested because we could make it an online thing as well.

Follow me on Twitter here if interested. Tell me - do you have a powerball winning plan? Loving GoT? Doing some resistance reading? I want to know everything - comment below or tweet at me.

August 23, 2017

Books, Hair and Other Non-Important Things

Happy Hump Day. I feel like I can blog about anything I want again because I finally shared our moving news. I didn't share it sooner because we wanted to share with all of our friends here and have the conversations before posting it on the internet. Plus, I'm still fairly emotional about it. I'm sure that is going to get worse in the next few days since we are in the single digits now.

I love getting rid of stuff. The less stuff I have, the happier I am. Moving is the best excuse to purge things. We've refilled the little free library down the street and dropped off two loads of donations to Salvation Army already with one more round to go. 

Speaking of cleaning up, I'm also in the mode of cleaning out my email inbox for work and personal. I'd love to have everything caught up and cleaned up. I'm only about 1,000 emails away from that happening, so...

One of my favorite bookstores in Brooklyn shared a series of #resistancereading on their Instagram account, so I've decided to give all these books a chance. Below is just day one, they posted an additional seven days. Have you read any of these?

A new hair routine is starting for me this week. I've battled the frizz most of my life and I've struggled finding stuff that works good, doesn't cost a fortune and doesn't have all the bad crap in it. It's actually kind of disgusting what they put in hair products (read more in this article.) Beautycounter recently released a whole new hair care line and they have one called Smooth and Control line. I'm diving straight in now that I've used up the bumble&bumble stuff in the shower. Stay tuned.

Lastly, I love this song. Happy Wednesday!

August 22, 2017

Romantic Road to the Mountains

Back to our Europe trip because after two months of summer in the city, I'm definitely teleporting my brain back to the mountains. Today I'm sharing one of my favorite days of the trip. We left the fairytale town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and headed south down the romantic road to the Neuschwanstein Castle. 

We tried to follow the road just using street signs because our maps and info was in the luggage that didn't arrive with us. We definitely missed a few of the signs and got a little lost a few times, so it took us way longer than we expected. We had decided early on that we weren't going to do the full tour of the castle. We just did the hike up and behind the castle and for us on this trip, it was perfect. We spent about an hour hiking around and getting different angles. It's a beautiful place.

The Hohenschwangau Castle ended up being our favorite. The bright yellow color with the lakes and mountains in the background made it really stand out. We enjoyed some lunch at a brewery under the castle and just stared at it for a while.

We left that area and headed south towards the Austrian border. It was our first moments in the Alps and we were in love. We pulled over as often as possible to just take in the beautiful scenery. Beautiful turquoise lakes and giant mountains surrounded us. Even though we were already three days into the trip and were still missing luggage, we were just getting to the good stuff.

Have you ever been to the Alps? Should we go back and tour the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle?

August 21, 2017

Our Next Big Step

This is one of those posts I could have teased for a while to get people to click on it. It's just not really in my arsenal of tricks. This is not a huge announcement post, just a big old life update. We are moving at the end of the month. It's a big move cross country move again, but it feels very different this time.

Four years ago, we were nervous and overwhelmed with the move out east. It was an area we didn't know very well and we only knew one person in the area. In the last four years, we have made some amazing friends and done some amazing things. We've eaten all kinds of food

We are leaving New York City and it's so very bittersweet. We are super excited about new opportunities at work and to be around our family and friends that we have missed so much, but I will miss this home and the people here that have become our tribe.

We are heading back to Minneapolis, back to my original home base. The company we work for is headquartered there and I got a new job with the company. We moved out here four years ago to help open a new office here and get our new business off the ground. It's been an incredible four years and we've loved every minute.

We've heard so many stories about the burn out of New York City. It's expensive, it's loud and it can be a little bit overwhelming. We have thrived on the energy of this magical place, but our one rule is that we would leave this city before we didn't love it. I know that we still had another good couple of years, but we also didn't want to pass up the opportunity for a new adventure.

When we left the Twin Cities, it felt like a relief - like we were stuck in a rut and this was our way out. We are determined to return and do things differently this time. We want to try new things, meet new people and stay involved. We want to take the lifestyle we have created here and bring it along with us.

So cheers to the final days in New York City. There will be many tears shed in the next two weeks as we take in everything we can in Brooklyn. But on the other end, there will be many happy tears as we get to be in the same area as our nieces and nephew, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, so many of our best friends and all their new babies. Plus, we will be able to get ourselves some good Bloody Mary's.

Send us all the good positive thoughts over the next few weeks and I'm sorry in advance for the sappy NYC posts I'll be sharing.

August 15, 2017

Handling Emotions

Emotions. They are a strange thing, but they make us humans. They are also writing most of this, so I apologize for the unorganized stream of thoughts.

Let me tell you, I've had every single one in the last 72 hours. This shit happening in our country right now is horrifying. Racists, nazis, the KKK. Why are those still active groups in 2017? Who is teaching this kind of bullshit hatred?

I've been scared, sad, angry, embarrassed, inspired and grateful over and over again in a big swirl. I've felt useless, I've had a hard time believing and I've felt such waves of love for people in my life. Shame, heartbreak and rage. It's a lot to handle.

My biggest focus the last few days is trying to continue to figure out the correct channels for all these emotions. I find myself constantly refreshing Twitter and while that's a great way to get real time reactions on things, it's not productive to do for hours straight.

The best thing I can do is speak up. Not just via tweets and blog posts (although those are important), but in my day to day life. Have the face to face conversations that can be uncomfortable. Participate in community events and be an active member in all places in my life. Promote love and grace.

When I first saw this poem, we were visiting the Boston Holocaust Memorial. This morning, someone smashed the glass at the memorial for the second time in six weeks. This is NOT OK. I don't want to hear the BS about how the motives are unknown. The acts of vandalism are disgusting and full of hate.

The other thing I want to scream about is the argument over these statues. A statue is erected to honor a person or a moment. Sometimes it's honoring someone or a group that tragically lost their lives in an event and sometimes it's celebrating a real hero. Removing statues doesn't erase the past, but it does show the future what is worth honor. Watching the Durham video today had me cheering. It's 150 years past due to pull these down. I promise, the history is there and documented and won't be erased.

On top of speaking up, I have to channel all this emotional energy into something positive and I would encourage everyone else to do the same. Be angry and get fired up and then pour that energy into something - maybe it's a post on your blog that people can share and read and discuss, maybe it's a volunteer event or fundraising for a special cause or maybe it's just going to spend time with the children in your world because they need to know that it's not the world we want to leave them.

Let me change gears for a quick second and fill you in on something I'm going to do this week to funnel my emotions. Last March, we lost a dear friend of our family way too young (read more about his story here.) He was so passionate about teaching and worked in a few different cities with Teach for America. After he died, his family has made it their mission to continue his passion for kids. They have used the funds they have raised to help keep a neighborhood sports program alive, give scholarships for high school students that are pursuing a teaching degree and helping provide school supplies for those students that can't afford them. They are doing their 2nd annual 5k to raise money this weekend in Saint Paul. Since I won't be in town, we've decided to carry out their mission in our neighborhood by donating backpacks filled with supplies to the church in our neighborhood that is organizing a collection. If you're interested in participating, I can help you find something local to you, send you info on the #forthekids 5k in MN or I can include you on our shopping trip this week.

I apologize if this post was a little all over the place, but my brain hasn't settled down in days. If you haven't read through Steph's post yet, do that here. She shared some powerful stuff - especially at the end. I would just encourage you to channel your emotions into something that helps you not be completely worn down. Also, put more love out there into the world than usual because that's the best way to fight the hate.

Sending the love to all of you today.

August 14, 2017

Staycation Snaps

We originally had a trip scheduled to go to Seattle, but when we started doing our research, we decided that it wasn't the right time for us. Since we already had the time off of work, we decided to just stay home and enjoy five days of relaxation and fun. We had a good old fashioned staycation. We did this around the holidays, so we knew how wonderful it would be to just enjoy some time at home.

The weather was perfect, so we enjoyed a lot of time outside. On Wednesday, we took in a noon Mets game. We ate cookie dough, vegetarian hot dogs and cold beer while enjoying our seats in the shade. After the game, we walked to the Cobble Hill neighborhood and met some friends for drinks and dinner. We tried Ethiopian food and were blown away.

Thursday, Justin tried a float tank in the morning for the first time while I enjoyed some strolling around. I went into one of my favorite bookstores, sat at a coffee shop for my entire morning coffee and creeped on a film shoot. Once he was done, we did some shopping, got some ring dings and enjoyed lunch at our favorite local spot, Mekelburg's. Our afternoon was spent lounging and relaxing and trying a new Mediterranean take out spot.

We had a friend in town Friday, so we met her for brunch at the Rabbithole in Williamsburg. After an afternoon of fun, we grabbed slices of pizza, took the dogs for a long walk and then headed out to meet friends in downtown. We watched some baseball, enjoyed some fall like weather outside on patios and found a great little wine bar on a quiet street in FiDi. We had the place to ourselves and they had a great soundtrack. 

Saturday was another relaxing day. We read books, walked to General Greene for waffles, finished a 2000 piece puzzle (yes that's a real amount and it took us months) and watched When Harry Met Sally. 

We finished off our perfect long weekend with a Sunday Stroll in the West Village complete with breakfast tacos and a cheese plate at Murray's Cheese Bar. We tracked down one of our friends in Washington Square Park and hung out for a while. We ended our evening with pizza and Game of Thrones.

It was exactly what we needed. We accomplished all of our staycation goals - naps, books, beer, tacos and dogs. Plus, we had one of our favorite New York City moments which I'll share in a separate post.

The things going on in the world right now are horrifying and heartbreaking. I want to write about it, but every time I started this weekend, there were tears and lots of profanity. I'm going to focus on the kindness challenge from Chelsea (see the details here) and just give love as much as possible this week. Spread some love today friends.

August 4, 2017

Giant Beers Fix Things: Our Time in Munich

I just heard that it is International Beer Day. In our house, that happens every Friday, but there isn't a better day to share some pictures of giant beers. 

We had a little bit of a debacle getting to Germany. I don't want to totally relive it, but I'll give you the short version. There was a "weather delay" leaving NYC, passengers that wouldn't let those trying to make connections get off the plane first, sprinting through Detroit only to watch the plane roll away, hours calmly talking to Delta management, a kind French woman getting us on a flight in the middle seats to Paris, treating ourselves to macaroons in the Paris airport and a short flight to Munich in separate parts of the plane. We only about five hours later than originally anticipated and completely without luggage, but we were there. And I promise, that was the short version.

Once we got to Munich, we were determined to just have the best time, so we did what we do best and we set out walking. The weather was perfect, the parks are beautiful and the people were so wonderful.

We spent one giant beer's time at the Hofbrauhaus. The first half, we sat outside and admired all the amazing outfits. We moved inside for the second half of our giant beers and got to enjoy so much music, arm wrestling, loud singing and people having a great time. It wasn't the greatest beer I had while we were in Europe, but it was the one I was most excited about.

We walked all over town and tried to take in as much as possible. We fought off the exhaustion because we only had one day to explore. We enjoyed street food and live music and spent some time watching the river surfing. If you're looking for a list of what to do while visiting Munich, you can read about that on the Nomad's site here. Also, J shared some info on the river surfing here if you're interested in that.

I'm going to just share some of my favorite pictures.

My highlights from this lovely city include the ceiling in the Hofbrauhaus (and the live music), the amazing breakfast at our hotel - Design Hotel (we would definitely recommend this place), the Englischer Garden and our early morning walk with no one around.

Have you been to Munich? We really liked it. It wasn't our favorite city, but we also didn't give it much time thanks to our delay and the fact that we were trying to avoid big cities on our trip as much as possible. We were ready to hit the road.

Happy International Beer day!