Hiking Turned Spontaneous Drive

Last Sunday, I figured I would hike Storm King Mountain since it was on my list and I could pass by the Beacon farmers market to get the brilliant goat cheese. Turns out, on can not turn off to the trail head from the South bound side of Route 9W. I had to drive 3 miles to the next exit and I found myself at the West Point visitor center and museum… They are not actually in West Point by the way. West Point does have restrictions for going there, as they should. I figured I should check it out what I can since I am here. No regrets. I live for adventures like this.

West Point is nestled at a bend on the West bank of the Hudson river where you can not see it coming up for New York. That is what makes it such an ingenious spot to place a military academy. There is a brief history on their website if you want to know more.

Its free. The visitors center really gives you an idea about going to school there, while the museum displays objects and artifacts of the US army’s history. The basement is where you find the big guns and crafty weaponry. It was a quick side trip.

I got back on the road to get back to Storm King Mountain. Turned out to be a historically significant site. The Freedom Road, “The route traveled by the 52 American hostages from Stewart airport to West Point after their release from captivity in Iran January 25, 1981.” Honestly, I thought… It was the 1980s… Why did they not just get in a car? Turns out, they were on buses and Route 9W was part of the path they took.

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The hike was beautiful as it was the last weekend to catch a glimpse of that gorgeous Fall foliage. I also got to do some bouldering. The views were amazing. It can be a quick hike too, if you do not stop as often as I did to drop your jaw.

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Post hike I was starving and thanked my past self for hiding an RXbar in my Camelbak, but I also stopped by a farm stand for a classic NY Apple Cider donut. That and the sandwich I picked up were the perfect end to the day.

Extended Weekend in Michigan

My second post that I did not complete, but was posted… oops!

I went to University of Michigan for graduate school and therefore lived in Ann Arbor for 4 years. No regrets. I love Michigan, not just the school, but the state. It is a beautiful and unique place full of sports and gorgeous scenery 😉

I have been planning a trip back for years. I left in 2013 and my excuse for why I did not come back sooner… lame. I let someone else impact my actions, not anymore.

I landed earlier in the day and explored Detroit with my friend from High School that met up with me there. Eastern Market is amazing. Bell Isle has crazy views of Detroit and Windsor.

 

I went to Theatre Bizarre to see a friend who was preforming and enjoy a relatively crazy night out in one of my favorite cities. I have fallen for a new band, Bella’s Bartok, and may try to see a full show here in NY state before I leave.

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The view of Detroit from the Masonic temple is gorgeous…

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Day 2 was sent in Ann Arbor, taking my friend around campus and meeting up with a couple of my dear friends from graduate school. Just had to stop a Sweetwaters, Zingerman’s, Sidetrack and Busch’s… 🙂

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My last day was spent applying for a job through my cellphone… let me tell you… editing your resume and writing a cover letter and definitely be done via your mobile. Then we road tripped to Hell, MI and Frankenmuth, MI and I need to go back. Michigan has a plethora of adorable towns. Go, you will not regret it.

The day ended with my favorite sushi roll ever, the Phoenix roll at UMI sushi in Ann Arbor. The roll of my dreams the last 6 years.

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See you again soon Michigan…

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A Journey in the Northeast US

I surprised a friend last weekend that I will see again today. He was doing a bike ride with our other friend who current lives only 2 hours from me. Of course, I turned this trip into a journey. I made a couple stops before getting to Williamstown, MA for the surprise.

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I enjoy drinking herbal tea, especially when it gets chilly and because I can not have caffeine due to heart issues. Traditional Medicinals and Celestial Seasonings are my favorite brands because they make crazy delicious and nurturing teas. However, with living in the Hudson Valley now, I have been told I need to check out Harney & Son’s. It is local here, though you can find it on the shelves at Target around the nation.

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Harney & Son’s is located in Millerton, NY, adorable town. I picked up a new favorite tea cup, a couple herbal teas for myself and a gift for my friend who was so kind to let me crash the last night of the guys weekend. After my tea excursion and grabbing a chai for the road, I went for a hike at Bash Bish Falls. It was a quick one, 20 min total for me. The falls were gorgeous though and I got a great workout back up to the parking lot.

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Next was surprising A a week early at Trail House Kitchen & Bar in North Adams, MA. He looked quite confused, but his hug was filled with all the love I needed. I miss the days in graduate school where we had deep conversations and he would test how much of a light weight I am. Needless to say, I was drunk not too far into the evening. BTW, this beer and the apple cider drink the other A concocted for me were brilliant.

 

 

We had a grand adult slumber party of games and catching up. It was exactly what I needed after a rough week. The next morning we grabbed breakfast and enjoyed the baby laughs before A had to hit the road back to Michigan. The other A, his baby and I took a trip up to the highest point in Massachusetts, Greylock. It was peak Fall foliage and breathe taking. After lunch, I made my way back down to the Hudson Valley.

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Home With My Family

Yesterday, I arrived in St. Louis, MO, my hometown and it could not be more of a perfect time to spend with my family. I really need their love and support right now. While I am so thankful to have a great friend in New York state, I really needed the love from my family too. Additionally, I feel my heart growing with 3 new nephews to cuddle with. Keep the deep hugs coming y’all!

8 Days in Italy

Today is the last day of our trip and we fly home this afternoon. We just spent 5 days in Tuscany, mostly Florence, then have been in Rome since Thursday. Somehow I have done yoga every day. Not the at the time or how I normal would, but it really helped with the foot, leg and back pain from all the walking. I have written each day of the trip below.

Day 1: Saturday, March 23rd

We flew into Rome (FCO) and immediately hoped on a train into the city to catch a train to Florence. By the time we arrived at our hotel there was time to take a short walk, grab dinner, I did a short yoga video while my partner showered and then off to sleep. Here are a couple of our best shots:

 

 

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Day 2: Sunday, March 24th

We booked a 12 hour tour because having something structured to do seems to help us with jet lag (and melatonin supplements). Walkabout Florence has a “The Best of Tuscany Tour“. It was AMAZING! Sara, our tour guide, and Ricardo, our bus driver, were fabulous folks to be with. We left from the train station in Florence for stops in Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa with a stop at an organic farm and winery for lunch just outside San Gimignano. We loved every stop and want to go back in the future to explore each city more. We bought about half our souvenirs this day (including 2 bottles of Chianti)…

 

 

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Day 3: Monday, March 25th

Since my partner was coming for a conference, I had my first day solo. After having breakfast together and helping him find the way to the conference, I went to the Museo Galileo. I saw many cool artifacts, but the most notable was Galileo’s fingers and one of his teeth… O_O Then I did not really know what I was going to do, I like wandering about and just picking things on a whim. It works for me and it definitely did this day. I saw the Palazzo Vecchio on my way to the Museo Galileo and just the free parts told me I HAVE TO check out the rest of this place! It will likely be my favorite place from this Florence trip… I really hope to come back.

 

 

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Day 4: Tuesday, March 26th

I woke up with the intention of immediately getting ready to see the David. I was not able to get a reservation online, so I got there 20 minutes before the Accademia opened and got in immediately! Best time to go because the line was around the block when I left the building 30 min later and much longer when I walked by at the end of the day. Then, I just walked around the Duomo, Cathedral and Baptistry for an hour and stopping in the shops around it. I was waiting for the Leonardo da Vinci Museum to open. It was another quick museum, only took an hour. After this I was feeling a need for a nap, so I walked back to my hotel to do so. After a nap I grabbed a gelato and went to a 3rd reasonably priced, quick museum, the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. It was once used as a prison, but now is an art museum. I LOVED the porcelain produce! My day ended with an entire pizza, since it was more like my lunch/dinner, and a walk through some Italian fashion stores.

 

 

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Day 5: Wednesday, March 27th

There is always a day during your trip that does not go so smoothly and that was today. We went to the Uffizi and ate amazing paninis, those were the high points of the day. Otherwise, we argued, napped and went to a eh conference dinner.

 

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Day 6: Thursday, March 28th

My partner had to attend some conference sessions before we departed for Rome. So I walked over to see the Cappelle Medicee, where most of the Medicee are buried. On my way I found a beautiful market to walk through, it smelled amazing! Around 1 PM, we walked to the train station to grab a high speed train down to Rome. Once we arrived in Rome we immediately walked to our hotel to drop our things off, use the toilet, connect to WiFi, etc. We took a pre-dinner walk and yes, we did not eat lunch… I was happy to see the Coloseum and visit the Mouth of Truth, but so hungry. We had dinner at the hotel and it was 3 courses… I was so full.

Day 7: Friday, March 29th

We had a slow start to the day, but we made it back over to the coloseum and Roman Forum, where we walked around for 4 hours. We then walked over to the Pantheon, got gelato at Giolitti, walked to the Trevi Fountain and watched the sunset at the top of the Spanish Steps. We stopped back the at the hotel to rest a bit before getting pizza and cacio e pepe for dinner.

Day 8: Saturday, March 30th

We met up with my partner’s mentor today, who works at the Vatican Observatory! *Astronomy Nerd Alert* We got a private and behind the scenes tour of the Papal Gardens and Vatican Observatory! It was so fun and Father was so kind to take us around. I’ll add the rest of the pictures when we return. Tomorrow we leave for home and I will greatly miss this place.

My trip to Burlington, Vermont

About a month ago, I tagged along with my partner on a trip to the Burlington, VT office. I had planned a trip back in 2016 to Vermont that never came to fruition to see the famed VT fall foliage as a way to celebrate our 30th birthdays. So I was pretty excited to take this trip. I spent a lot of time solo, but it was a lot of fun.

1212181438_hdrWe drove up on a Sunday and checked out the Zero Gravity Brewery for dinner. The drive was beautiful and very scenic. The brewery made us realize that Vermonters must me very into IPAs. That is ok, but we are not so much. The food was amazing though! Highly recommend! We then drove to Church St to see what the hub-bub was about. It is a cute shopping area and we got some Ben and Jerry’s even though it felt like 20°. The last thing we did the first night was pick up some groceries from City Market.1209181802

Monday, my partner left for work around 7:15 AM and I did yoga and worked on our Christmas cards while watching YouTube videos. I did that each morning until about 10 or 11 AM.

I then drove downtown and parked in a car park which was free for 4 hours for the holiday season. I walked down to ECHO because I museum person has to check out local museums. ECHO was very cool and gave me a lot of ideas with my own institution. I loved the layout of the museum and the design of the children’s area was amazing!1210181230_hdr

1210181329_hdrAfter that I walked along the waterfront and then up to Church St to do some shopping for the holidays. Wow. Vermont has the local product game down! I was pretty impressed when we were at City Market the night before, but the shops along Church St and even else where around town were fantastic! I picked up some Christmas gifts and maple syrup for us before head to American Flatbread for lunch.

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Lunch was amazing! I got the lunch combo of a salad and personal size pizza which was covered in locally made toppings. I also enjoyed a cider from my favorite place with it. After lunch I picked up some mini cupcakes just off of Church St to try. I think we liked them all. My partner met up with me back at the hotel where we rested until we went for dinner on Church St.

1210181912_hdrWe got ramen and karage which were very good. The food in Burlington did not disappoint. I will try to include pictures. We walked around Church St because even though it was very cold, Church St is quite charming. Of course the holiday lights do not hurt.1210181944_hdr

Tuesday, I drove to the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory. It was cool and I enjoyed the samples. My lunch though stole the show. I got an everything bagel from Myer’s and wish I had bought more. The Montreal spice is a must. I got the cream cheese with the spice and have to pick up the spice next time we go to Vermont.1211181240

After bagel heaven, I stopped by the world’s tallest filing cabinet before exploring the second location of City Market. If I lived in Burlington, I would probably do all my shopping there. The quality of the food and all the local options available was just so impressive. Some would say pricey, but its a co-op, so get yourself a membership to make it more affordable. 1211181257_hdr

I also toured the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, which was way better than the so called chocolate factory tour. My tour guide was amazing and the product they make comes with quite the guarantee. If only I had a kiddo to buy one for.1211181424

Our last night, I saved the best dinner for last. We went to my favorite cider maker, Citizen Cider. I was introduced to Citizen Cider at my favorite beer store in Chicago. The Dirty Mayor with its gingery taste won me over instantly and I just kept buying it. Getting to go to Citizen Cider was a real treat. I got to try ciders that I only had seen on the website and pick up of swag. That poutine we had for dinner though… wowza!12111818521211182007_hdr1211181855.jpg

Wednesday was not terribly exciting. I picked up groceries, got gas and then we drove home after his lunch time meeting. Overall, I loved how easy it was to drive around town, the walk ability of the downtown area, the street art, the quirkiness of Vermont itself, the kindness and spirit of the locals, the quality of life and left feeling like I am really looking forward to visiting again.1209181922

Life Update: Moving to New York State and No Cycle in April

To be honest, I really had no clue what to write about this week. I started writing about 2 different topics and just could not stay focused to complete them. So I am going to write about what is on my mind right now.

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in New York State’s Hudson Valley where we are moving to at the end of this month. I learned just how very important it is to say New York State, not New York. We found an apartment to live in for our first year there. I have also just applied to 2 positions I am excited about at local historical societies/museums. We even spent a couple days around New York City. It was my first time being in that area of the country. I loved it and am looking forward to exploring more.

All this moving stuff (planning and preparing for the trip, scheduling appointments to see apartments, deciding on a place, having to start packing again, etc.), has stressed me out quite a bit. I did not get a cycle in April. I stopped working out right before the trip because I had a feeling my cycle was not going to come and the thought of working out stressed me out more. We walked a lot during our trip and enjoyed eating out once a day with treats. It felt like a relief.

Upon returning I just feel like walking and hatha yoga help relieve stress and resistance training only adds to it. Plus, I said if my cycle stopped I would stop the workouts. I think the hardest part is dealing with the weight shaming I have experienced from others and myself. When I start hearing it from others I start doing it myself. And today I packed up the clothes that do not fit me. Not much fits me right now. So part of me feels like I should be working hard to get rid of the excess weight ASAP.

It is ok though. Surprisingly, I lost a pound after the trip. I also just bought a pair of shorts that fit me and boy does having clothes that fit make a big difference in how you feel about yourself. My partner reminded me yesterday that this is a process and I am making the right choices. Which helped me sweep out the binge eating thoughts of, “I have that dark chocolate bar I could eat, chocolate makes everything better.” In this case, not so much.

I am thankful we are making this move together. We have been in sync with supporting each other lately and it is a blessing. Even though I had some tough moments lately, I feel grateful and fortunate.

Travel: San Francisco and San Jose

I am traveling back home today ending wonderful, long trip. This was my last time presenting the project I was working on over the last 2 years and I wanted to take the opportunity to network and have some fun. I spent ~2 days in San Francisco before heading to the conference in San Jose, then I flew to St. Louis for my mom’s 60th birthday.

I had been to San Francisco twice for a conference back in graduate school, but felt so much pressure to participate in the conference all day that I did not see much of the city. I took a ride on the trolley and had a manhattan claw chowder in a sourdough bread bowl down at fisherman’s wharf. I felt guilty doing even those 2 things.

There were peers I felt were doing better than me in the PhD program because it seemed like all they did was work, be at the top of the class and attend every session at these conferences. While a few folks and even my advisor went to the Exploratorium and the Golden Gate Bridge or even Alcatraz. I know now not to listen to those people who would say we were sent here for work not for play. My advisor was having fun, why did I not do the same?

When I arrived in San Francisco, I stopped by my hostel to drop off my things and then set off on a long walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. This meant I walked from one side of town to the other since I was staying near Coit Tower. I took the bus back though. Then I repeated the same sort of thing the next day by checking out many neighborhoods on my way to Golden Gate Park. I love exploring new places and really wanted some time to do so on my own.

The highlights of my 2 days was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown napping in front of the painted ladies and the amazing views of the bay. In Japantown I got to check out a Daiso, peruse manga and eat an amazing bowl of ramen. I love the feeling of consuming hot broth on a cold day. I feel comforted by warm beverages and food on chilly days, its one of my greatest joys in Fall.

I took the Caltrain down to San Jose for my first session of the ASTC conference and stayed in an AirBnB near San Jose State University. I caught up with a lot of colleagues and friends, then made some connections to hopefully help out with finding jobs where we move. The sessions on sustainability, education flash talks and my group’s session were all a great time. I also got to see San Jose’s Japantown for dinner one evening.

I was so ready to see my family after a week in California. I will miss them, but thankfully I will see them again in a month 🙂 And then a 3rd time in December! 🙂

 

 

Travels – Atlanta

Recently, we traveled to Atlanta to meet the newest member of our family, our nephew. It was a great trip. We really miss this little person we just met and hung out with for only a few days. ❤ He loves to be sung to, found ice shaken in a cup to be the funniest thing in the world, and is growing way too fast. We are in love and have to get back to Atlanta ASAP! So glad we were able to make the trip and focused on getting to know the little one. Here is the break down of this trip.

Fitness

Walking and a little yoga or stretching was mainly the only exercise during this trip. Our nephew loved to just be carried around in a upright position, but you had to keep moving! I walked hundreds of circles around the varies levels of my in-laws home just to keep him smiling. Additionally, we took a short walk as a family, I took a morning walk one day (the beautiful flowers above I spotted everywhere that morning), I stretched before bed each day and yoga one morning. The trip was an active rest break from my typical workouts.

Activities

With our nephew being so young and hating being in the car, we primarily hung out at the house or did things close to the house. We arrived in the morning on the first day. We ate lunch at the house, went for a short walk, played with some toys, picked up take-away from an Asian fusion restaurant and then passed out early from waking up at 3 AM to catch a flight.

Day two, I went for a hour long morning walk and returned to enjoy breakfast with the family. Until lunch we mainly just chatted and played with baby in between each of us getting ready for the day. We went out for lunch and to Target, then returned home to chat and play more until baby’s bedtime. We ended the day playing Wits and Wagers and chatting before getting some sleep.

Day three was pretty chill as well. I did about 20-30 min of yoga in the morning, ate breakfast with the family, helped my sister-in-law keep baby distracted in the car while we picked up groceries, ate lunch, played and chatted with baby, ate dinner, and played card games before bed.

Last day, I only had enough time to enjoy breakfast with everyone before heading to the airport. I took the MARTA, which offered me some beautiful views of Atlanta on the way to the airport. This trip is a good example of different priorities than most vacations. I was there to make memories with our newest member for our family and loved every bit it! He has already grown so much since he was born and we cannot wait to see him again this Fall during a family wedding in New Orleans.

Food

Thankfully, my sister-in-law is a nurse and keeps things pretty healthy. Breakfast was hard boiled or scrambled eggs with avocado/cheese and salsa. Lunches at home were simple salads and our lunch out on day two was at Grub Burger Bar where I got the Hippie Chickpea burger. It tasted like falafel with all the Mediterranean sides on top, YUM!And yes, I also got a combination of onion rings and sweet potato waffles fries because it was my treat while I watched others down milkshakes. ;^P

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Dinner was homemade from scratch bolognese over spaghetti and buffalo chicken and black bean nachos loaded with more veg than you would expect (corn, olives, greens, etc.). Day one, we picked up Doc Cheys, where I chose a sesame noodle special they were having at the time. It was very delicious and I was able to get it with tofu as my protein.

We did not really eat dessert or snack while we were there, since the meals were so filling and we were busy with getting to know our nephew. I felt like the chill environment and focus on creating memories as a family kept me from doing the typical vacationing with family eating… a combination between loss of appetite, over indulging too much and eating when you are not hungry because they are relentlessly offering you food no matter how much you say no. Any one else have this problem?

Traveling Again

Sorry, short post this week. I am amidst a lot of work travel again so I am hitting trains, planes and the road with my yoga mat and a new set of resistance bands. I will be staying with family or at AirBnBs for all my travel so I will get to prepare some of my own food as well as go out to eat. I love trying the local grub and staying active, especially when attending conferences.

Meals

Out

Confluence Kombucha: I meet up with a dear friend for a walk and gut healthy lunch. We shared a Kombucha flight and I had Kimchi and Thai Green Curry soup! AMAZING! If you love fermented food, you should try this place if you are in St. Louis, MO.

4 Hands Brewing: Guava King beer and Mussels

In Minnesota, I am not quite sure yet where I will go, please do let me know any suggestions you may have!

Home away from home meals

Breakfast: Oatmeal made with whole milk, cinnamon and dried fruit

Lunch: Tuna with flax seed and rice crackers

Afternoon snack: Mango and kiwi

Dinner: Tofu tacos or Garlic asparagus pasta

Fitness

I’m looking forward to playing around with these bands so I can better add them into the workouts I make up myself!

Fun

While in St. Louis for a conference, I have the chance to meet up with family and friends. Then in Minnesota I get to check out a Twins baseball game and maybe a musical performance. On top of these fun things I get to visit all the local museums, which I love to do!

Check out my Instagram for travel posts!