blog, travel, Uncategorized

quick manhattan trip

it was hot, crowded, and housed significantly fewer pigeons and rats than advertised: New York City.

WHERE WE STAYED: Fairfield Inn & Suites World Trade Center
while planning our trip, I had only one must-see: the 9/11 Museum and Memorial. I’d just heard an episode of This American Life about a man named Steve Kandell making his way through the museum years after his sister had died during the 9/11 attacks, called “Exit Through The Gift Shop.” he describes the museum ripping him apart and making him whole again. it was a fascinating and devastating story that I couldn’t stop thinking about, and felt compelled to go myself.
based on this one single must-see, I booked the cheapest-while-still-acceptable hotel I could find nearby. it ended up being incredibly convenient — close to the subway, easy for taxi drivers to navigate, and close to exactly what I wanted to see.

NIGHT 1: Pastrami & Milk Bar
after a long and nauseous day of flying, I was so grateful to meet up with Austin and one of my very best friends, Eunice, who happened to be in town for a work trip. she had been to Manhattan several times before, so she suggested East Village for a quick dinner of pastrami sandwiches and then the actual main course, Milk Bar. I had just watched the episode of Chef’s Table about Milk Bar and its, Christina Tosi, a few weeks prior, and was dying to taste what I’d seen! Austin ordered the Birthday Cake Truffle Milkshake, I got the Cereal Milk Soft-Serve with Flakes, a Crack Pie Bar, and I forget what Eunice got because I didn’t get to try it.

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highlight of the trip, probably

DAY 2: Ferry Ride & Walking Forever & Top of the Rock
after sleeping in for a long time, Austin and I headed to the nearby Le District, got a couple of crepes to go, and ate them on the water in Battery Park.


we hopped on an hour-long ferry ride that went past the Statue of Liberty and dropped us off near Times Square (the whole ride is round-trip and two hours long). tickets were about $35 each.

still feeling a little nauseous from my flight, I got just slightly queasy on the boat ride. there were plenty of places to sit and there was a good breeze, though, so it never got to the point of full-on seasickness. the views were amazing!
after we got off the boat, Austin and I walked for what felt like forever (my watch later told me it was a total of 26,000 steps that day). we walked through Times Square, which was showing the World Cup on the jumbo screen. it was so neat to see people from all over the world gathered together to watch the soccer/football game.

Austin and I met up with Euni for one more lunch (thank you again for paying with your company card, bb) before her flight. we grabbed some pizza, pasta, and beer at Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria before walking Eunice back to her hotel. we took the subway back to our hotel to grab a nap (I was constantly le tired on this trip). by the time we ventured out again, it was pretty late. Austin wanted to see the top of the Rockefeller Center, so we snagged some tickets for 10:15 p.m. for Top of the Rock. it was a long wait to get through security and all the way up to the top (maybe an hour?) but the views were worth it.

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we ended the night at a nearby bar called O’hara’s just blocks from our hotel, which seemed to be super popular among cops, firefighters, and other first responders. our waiter was super friendly and the food was good. the walls were covered in police and fire badges — and we happened to find a badge from Tulsa Police Department!

DAY 2: Alexander Hamilton is dead & Fearless Girl & the Brooklyn Bridge & The Met & I got sick 😦
another benefit of our hotel’s location, unbeknownst to us when we booked it, was that it was literally one block away from the historic Trinity Church. being the idiot tourists we were, though, we didn’t know how famous the church was — we just saw people milling around in its cemetery like weirdos, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

we were there for about half an hour, reading out loud the fascinatingly short lives of the people buried in this graveyard that was built IN THE 1660s… BEFORE WE REALIZED ALEXANDER HAMILTON WAS BURIED HERE.

alexander hamilton graveyard
omg how did we not know

we were totally shocked and felt like morons that we’d missed this fact. this church is beautiful and the cemetery and churchyard are free, so i highly recommend seeing it. the surprise of it all actually made it even better.

from Trinity Church, we made our way to Wall Street, also just a few blocks from our hotel. the street was closed down because it was Saturday, except for a few cafes. we grabbed a quick sandwich and juices from Joe & The Juice.
we spent a long time looking for the Fearless Girl statue before we finally asked a security guard, who kindly gave us directions. actually, one of our biggest takeaways from our short trip was that most people in Manhattan, especially in the service sector, are actually super nice.
we finally found the Charging Bull statue, which was SURROUNDED by tourists from all over the world (many of whom grabbed its peen, smdh), but virtually no one was taking photos of the Fearless Girl. I obviously did. and I fed her, too.

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by that time, we really needed to pee, and being that it was Manhattan, we were screwed. there are virtually NO public restrooms in this freaking city — not even at stores at which you JUST BOUGHT SOMETHING — so your best bet is to go at a restaurant where you spent money, or, if you’re lucky, at a free museum that you come across.
aka Austin and I visited the National Museum of the American Indian: “Come for the bathrooms, stay for the guilt.” it was actually a lovely building with interesting exhibits. Austin and I had fun looking for costumes and artifacts from the Cherokee Nation, of which Austin is a member.

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we still had super sore feet from the day before, so we then naturally decided to walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge. it was HOT and super sunny, so the walk wasn’t much fun (plus there were several joggers — why would you run on one of the busiest, most crowded pedestrian bridges in the city? sincere question), but the views were awesome. there were so many people I couldn’t have a fashion blogger moment, but we managed to get a few pictures on our walk all the way to Brooklyn.

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ok but i love that girl’s pants

we went back to our hotel for another nap (lol), and then Austin asked me to choose our next outing. I picked the Met because #Rihanna. and, if we’re being completely honest, the exhibits were fine. I would compare it to the Louvre — a lot of historical artifacts and statues.

but then — then we heard some creepy-ass music and started walking toward it. it was the HEAVENLY BODIES EXHIBIT! “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” it was just as magical as it sounds, a really cool and eerie mix of Catholicism’s history with couture; dark but glittery, very creepy-cool. it was unlike anything else in the museum, quite edgy and v goth. I must have walked around it five times!

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at this point, I was full-on nauseous, so we cabbed back to our hotel (which made me almost ralph in the car) and I had to bail on dinner with our sweet friends Jacob and Tara (I’m sorry, guys!) while Austin met up with them. I think I Grubhubbed some Thai food and fell asleep with a bowl of soup on my nightstand.

DAY 3: The 9/11 Museum & Dramamine
it was the one thing I most wanted to see in New York but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until our last day — I think I knew it would bum us out, and I didn’t want to be sad early on in our trip. before our afternoon flight, Austin and I finally went to see the 9/11 Museum.
even if you don’t plan on seeing the museum (which you should), at least make your way to see and walk around the Memorial. it’s beautiful, pensive, and inspiring.

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once inside the Museum, there’s a lot of security to go through. super-strict security. it made sense to me, but Austin felt like the security officers were rude and it kind of ruined the mood as we entered the Museum. I forgot about it as soon as we got past it. there’s no certain direction you have to go within the Museum; it is split up into different sections that are in no particular order.

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Artist Spencer Finch’s “Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” is made up of 2,983 squares of paper — one for every person killed in the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Read more here.

I won’t go into melodramatics, but I will say that I am so glad we went to the Museum. it helped put the event and the scope of the damage into perspective, since my generation was pretty young when it happened — I realized just how brave the first responders were and just how extensive the destruction was. heavy, but more than worth it.

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of course, as soon as I landed in Tulsa, my nausea was gone. go figure.

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diy, Uncategorized

gallery wall: check!

We *think* we are finally done decorating our home… a year-and-a-half after moving in! We have been talking about putting up a gallery wall since we bought the home. We finally did it!

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My boyfriend, Austin, travels pretty regularly as the International Operations Manager at his company, an engineering consulting firm here in Tulsa. He’s been all over the world – five out of the seven continents (all but Australia and Antarctica!), and while he only has his iPhone on hand, he comes back with some pretty decent photos.

To make this gallery of ten photos, we purchased this set of nine simple black frames with white matting on Amazon for $68. The frames are 12 x 12, and with matting, show photos that are 8 x 8. Since most of the photos we printed were taken from Austin’s Instagram page, they were already square. I printed them at our local Walgreen’s, which now has an 8 x 8 photo print size!

But of course, that was only NINE frames, and we needed ten! Austin came up with the genius idea to buy a separate frame that he found at Target for about $12. Up close, they are not identical. But far away… can you tell which one is the odd frame out?

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travel

perfect weekend getaway: Eureka Springs

my first trip to Eureka Springs was in November 2015 — Austin and i had only been dating a few months, and our friends the Fitches invited us to split a cabin with them for a weekend. we had a blast, and i’ve been dying to get back. only about two-and-a-half to three hours from Tulsa, Eureka Springs is the perfect weekend getaway with great food, great shopping and really nice locals.
our opportunity to visit Eureka Springs again came just in time! we went to attend the wedding of our friends Brooke and Brandon. we met the couple when i first moved to Tulsa; Brandon lived in the same apartment complex — on the same floor — as Austin and me. one day, my cat Bianca darted out of my apartment and straight into Brandon’s. his cat Oscar was not happy. anyway, we’ve hung out with Brooke and Brandon from time to time ever since. this really sweet couple got married at Thorncrown Chapel on Friday, with a reception at Crescent Hotel’s Crystal Dining Room.

Austin and i have typically booked lodging outside of downtown Eureka Springs; we’ve found it to be much cheaper and a lot quieter. we’re thinking of booking a bed & breakfast closer to downtown next time, but this really cute little cottage off of Highway 187 did the trick for us this time. it cost just $129 a night (compare that to Crescent Hotel, which was $339 a night. no thank you!). it’s owned by a sweet woman named Annie who owns a store in downtown Eureka Springs called Annie’s Boutique. the one-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage is a few hundred yards from her home.

adorable

the cottage came, of course, with the sweetest little fat cottage cat named Shadow. he greeted us every morning with his raspy little meow, and demanded tummy rubs before we went inside for the night.

we spent Friday celebrating the Carusos. on Saturday, we had brunch at Mud St. Cafe and did some shopping downtown. then we spent about an hour hiking at Leatherwood Lake City Park, a gorgeous park with a ton of campers and people fishing in the clear water.

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Saturday night we went on the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour (which was super cute and fun but a little overpriced at $22 per person). it was a 75-minute tour that led us around the hotel, from the fourth floor to the morgue in the basement.

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look!!! we found a ghost!

after that, we had dinner at Cafe Amoré based on a recommendation from the bride. last time we visited Eureka Springs, we waited for about two hours at Ermilio’s, a famous, beloved Italian restaurant. not wanting to wait that long again, we tried Cafe Amoré instead, and we’re so glad we did. the food was incredible — i ordered the cheese tortellini with pesto sauce. it melted in my mouth like butter. Austin ordered the lasagna, which he really liked, too.

sweet jesus

what a great weekend. we ate the best food we’ve had in a long time, got so much sleep and bought some really nice gifts for Austin’s parents to thank them for dogsitting Whiskey. the only problem … i really want a cat now, more than ever.

i need a cat

 

blog, travel

alaska: nature’s best

ocean

it has been a few years since my entire family took a vacation together. dad has been talking about Alaska ever since we visited 14ish years ago, so my brother and sister-in-law generously took us all back for a week-long tour.
the particular tour we booked is called Nature’s Best, through a company called Globus. it’s ideal because it’s a guided tour with lodging, activities, attractions and most meals already booked, meaning little planning and a lot of exploring on our parts.

i can’t get over the scenery; it’s just as beautiful as everyone says it is. the highlight of the trip, for me, came right in the middle: a double rainbow came out during our wilderness tour through the Denali National Park & Preserve. our wilderness tour guide shrugged it off, like, “yeah, that happens here.”

our wilderness tour was eight hours long, on a school bus. no cell signal inside the park – just hours of looking for ‘the Big Five’: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, bear and coyote. we saw four out of the five – never spotted a coyote.

oceanside timelapse

near the end of our trip we drove along the ocean to get to Anchorage. we left early in the morning, but it really doesn’t matter – in the summer, the sun stays up 20+ hours every day, so the beach looks this beautiful at all hours.

we got incredibly lucky and joined the Denali Club that week. Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, and it’s gorgeous – when you can see it. locals estimate the mountain is only visible about 30-percent of the time. otherwise, it’s too cloudy to see the peak. about an hour before we were leaving Talkeetna, i got a call from our hotel, the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. i’d put our room number down on the “Denali watch list,” which staff call as soon as the mountain is visible.

another highlight: visiting the Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake. dog-sledding is no joke in Alaska; it’s actually the state sport. people who race in the Iditarod devote their entire lives to it: breeding dogs, training dogs, testing gear and clothing. winning the race doesn’t pay much at all – you win bragging rights and enough money to barely break even on all your shipping costs.

i’m now vacation-day-bankrupt, but it was worth it to spend time with my family in this raw, serene state. this type of vacation isn’t my ideal trip (think tropical, a lot of sleeping, eating and drinking on the beach), but my dad loved it, and that’s what matters.

family at Talkeetna