There Are No Words for Magic

As the only daughter of a music-crazed father who raised me with a fierce appreciation for Oldies, some of my earliest and most cherished memories involve my family and I singing along to the radio in the car or listening to albums in our living room. Music was an integral aspect of my daily life growing up, and I knew all the words to every song on Oldies radio. The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Zombies, The Monkees, America, Simon & Garfunkel — they sang the tunes that serve as the soundtrack to my childhood, and I’m so thankful that my parents instilled such a passionate love of music in my brother and me, as it’s played such a large role in our identities.

But there’s always been one singer/song writer who has stood out for me above the rest, more and more so as I’ve matured, and who has become a “bucket list” item for me… and on Saturday night, at the Mohegan Sun Arena nestled into the heart of the Poconos Mountains in Wilkes Barre, PA, this life dream of mine came true as I saw him in concert:

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Sir Elton John, you are everything music should ever aspire to be. Epic, iconic, legendary, incredible, beyond comprehension and words. It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m so sosososo thankful my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with. That photo is from my seat, which was so close to him! He put on the absolutely most incredible show and sounded fantastic and was so charming and entertaining and and and I can’t say enough. And he played all his hits: Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Your Song, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Levon, Candle in the Wind, and closed the night with a crowd-participatory version of Crocodile Rock that had everyone dancing on their feet and grinning ear-to-ear. It was pure magic, through and through. 

Moments before Sir Elton took the stage…and the face I wore all night.

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Aside from the wonderful show, the rest of the weekend was fantastic as well. It was book-ended by two 7 mile runs: one early on Saturday morning before we set off for the Poconos, and the other late last night as the sun set on Sunday. It’s not often I run at night, but I loved everything about last night’s run and felt so thankful to end my weekend like that.

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On the way to the Poconos on Saturday, we stopped at Sorrenti’s Cherry Valley Vineyards to see what Pennsylvania wine was all about (and mainly because I love anything and everything associated with the word “vineyard”). It was an absolutely gorgeous day — have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with September? — and Tyler’s first time ever at a vineyard/winery, so we were in love with our lives on this glorious day.

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We sampled some of their wines in the rustic tasting room, where for $4 you get to taste your choice of any six, and keep your glass to boot. Sold.

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They also have an Italian restaurant boasting brick oven pizza on the property, so we happily lounged outdoors on the spacious patio for a bit and each sipped a glass of red, and I think I succeeded in convincing him that we should go to Napa & Sonoma in the near future to expand his winery experiences. I mean, I’m only thinking of him here.

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On Sunday, after the best concert ever happened the previous night, we woke up and drove into town and lucked into finding a gem of a French brunch place in Wilkes Barre called Le Manhattan Bistro.

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Located in an old bank building, it was a spacious, inviting restaurant with amazing vaulted ceilings and an impressive menu (and as usual, I forget to take food pics…whoops!). Such a fun find, and a delicious way to end our Poconos stay.

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I’m still reeling from how fantastic of a weekend this was, and so ready to go on all the road trips I can possibly take this fall! Thank you, boyfriend, for making this such an epic, memorable weekend of which I loved every single moment.

What experiences are on your bucket list?
Been to any cute little towns lately?
Favorite Elton John song?? 🙂

Friday Five: Lately Life in Verbs

Hi Friday people — I’m alive!

It’s amazing how when you stop making something a habit, it’s so easy to just push it to the side. I have no intentions of quitting my blog life, but I honestly haven’t felt any overwhelming desire to post late, for one reason or another…or else when I do sit down to write, I can’t seem to focus on anything cohesive or put a post together.

Maybe it’s that I’m too busy livin’ & lovin’ summer life, or that I don’t feel that I have enough interesting stuff to write about, or don’t put any forethought into my posts. Or maybe it’s just that I fell into an unplanned break and have no reasons for that. Regardless, I’m still here, but sort of struggling with what to blog about these sunshiney days. Do I just share about my life? Do I need to take more pictures in NYC, when in reality I haven’t been going out that much because I work all.the.time?

So, here’s an end-of-August update on me, as I link up with Mar, Courtney & Cynthia for the Friday Five.

1. Running. It’s going. I mean, it’s going fine, even well, and I’m still totally enjoying it — but I’m not really marathon training, to be honest. We had 3-4 weeks of overbearing heat and humidity here where it was basically impossible for me to get any long runs in, so the only long runs I’ve done in the past month are two 11-milers in July and a 12-miler this past weekend — and while it felt great, it’s still a far cry from where I should be if I’m planning to run a marathon in 6 weeks. I think I like the idea of running this race again as it was an amazing experience for me last year and I’m chasing a revival of that all-the-feels-and-pride feeling — but I don’t know that I’m that into it this year. I need nice weather and lots of time on weekend mornings to do long runs the way I want…and lately, I’m refusing to run far in crazy humidity and finding myself wanting to do 10 miles (tops) and then go enjoy my day. I’m also giving myself the space to recognize that this is okay and that I do not have to want to run this marathon and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll see how the next few weeks of long runs (or not-so-long runs) go and decide if I should defer til next year or keep trying to tough it out and push past the resistance.

2. Wearing. In runfashion news, I’m absolutely crazy about my newest running capris and cannot NOT share with all you fit freaks: Athleta’s Mesh Sonar Capris. Love.

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3. Wining. I’ve had a few new-to-me red wines that I really enjoyed this summer, with the most recent being 1000 Stories Red Zinfandel last night at this absolutely darling speakeasy in the Flatiron called The Grain. I immensely enjoyed this California wine and will be running right to the wine store on my way home from work today to snag some! It’s aged in bourbon barrels, which creates a unique flavor, and it was so smooth and lovely. bottle

Also, has anyone jumped on the whole “frosé” aka frozen rosé trend? I’m hearing about it everywhere lately and although I’ve yet to try it, I know it’s totally my thing. I’ve been saying for years that I want to make frozen sangria a thing and open up a shack serving that and tacos on the beach in San Diego…and this seems like a step toward that dream.

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I’ve seen a whole mess of recipes for diff types of frozen wine slushies and love this article that has 15 drool-worthy choices. The boy and I are planning to try our hands at a red wine berry slushy concoction tonight to bring down to the Jersey Shore for a beach day with friends tomorrow, so I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out. Test run for Labor Day!

4. Reading. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

The-Daring-Way.pngOne of my best friends read this a couple of years ago and raved about it, so I finally borrowed it – and am so glad I did. It’s a really insightful, reflective book focused on the concept of having the courage to embrace vulnerability in all areas of our lives and reframe what we think “being vulnerable” means. This call to vulnerability is paired with a lesson in understanding shame and its destructive forces, and how battling shame is most effectively accomplished through the process of choosing to be vulnerable and authentic. She’s best known for her amazing viral TED talk on this subject called The Power of Vulnerability, which is actually the most-watched TED talk ever. She’s awesome.

5. Feeling. This is everything. This is what I hope to build my practice around — helping others live out authentic lives devoted to the daily pursuit of owning their own uniqueness and voicing their own story, in whatever way feels truest to them, so that they never tire of the lifelong journey toward the best version of themselves. ❤

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Have a lovely weekend, lovies. ❤

Best part of your week?
Something you’re learning/an area of growth you’re experiencing lately?

2 Things Tuesday: For the Love of Wine

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ONE: Women who love wine. Heard of this IG account? It’s such a fun one, and definitely worth checking out if you’re, well…a woman who loves wine, otherwise known as a woman (period). 😉 I entered a giveaway contest they were hosting last week and actually won, to my happy surprise! What did I win? This adorable t-shirt that I’m totally digging:

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How cute is that tee? They have other super cute shirts available on their site as well, so definitely check them out.

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They were also gracious enough to offer all RunThisApple readers a 20% off discount sitewide, so use the code TIPSY at checkout and snag the shirt that speaks to you!

TWO: Rosés. It’s no secret that I enjoy my summer rosés, but in all honesty, I can be picky about them. Not all rosés are created equal in my book, and I’ve definitely had some lately that just didn’t do it for me at all. Then, I fortuitously stumbled upon this gem at my (one of 3) local wine stores (I love my neighborhood) and feel like it’d be unfair to not share.

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I thiiiiink I might have had the 2015, but regardless, the Chateaux La Mouliniere Bordeaux Rose is amazing. It’s so light and crisp and fruity and such incredible quality for the price (I think I paid like $12?!). I went back to snag more the following week and they were sold out. In a case full of rose, this was the only one they’d sold out. Such a bummer.

If you can find it near you, definitely try it. (And please send me one!). 🙂

Happy rose (and day drinking) season, friends!

Which tee shirt would you choose from the WWLW site?
Fave summer wine?

Thinking Out Loud

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I’m linking up with Amanda @ Running with Spoons for this week’s TOL random spill sesh!

1. This is everything.

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The boy sent it to me this morning and it resonates with me to the nth degree (and I posted a different version of it on my IG this morning, so follow me @glitterstruck!). It stirs up such thought-provoking questions about life & purpose & passion & doing everything that’s burning a hole within me and makes me want to purge all things I don’t love from my life and start over with a clean slate. Anyone with me?!

2. I am soon to be a proud (and super stoked) possessor of one of these babies:

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My parents live right on a lake and I am SO EXCITED to spend my weekends balancing on this beauty all summer! I’ve never been on a SUP before but am 1,000% convinced I will love it. It seems like the perfect way to start a day, when the world is still sleepy and the sun has just risen and all seems quiet and perfect.

3. I ran outdoors last night (4 miles) and again at 6am today (another 4 miles) and felt great and am so ready to get back into higher mileage weeks and push myself. I guess I have to admit I’ve been feeling rather stressed, in a frenetic, no-time-for-myself, rushing-from-one-thing-to-the-next sort of way, and really could use some more long runs for the sole purpose of having time alone to breathe. It’s so necessary to find that which makes you feel good and alive and keep doing more of it.

4. This is “my wine”: Josh by Joseph Carr, Cabernet Sauvignon.

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I love this wine, and it’s become my go-to and basically the only thing I drink regularly. Well, I recently discovered some fun facts about the winemaker: Joseph Carr is from my hometown area, in the same county where my parents live! It was like I was destined to try 4326242324 wines in the past 15+ years only to discover that my taste buds could tell a local. 😉 This is a great article about his rise to success and details the struggles in his journey to turn this wine (which honors his father’s name) into a massive hit.

Soooo, if you haven’t had this wine (and are a cab fan), you must. It’s phenomenal. And if you’re ever in NYC, look me up and we will drink it together. 🙂

5. Do you ever think about what you might want to do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about bills & health insurance & all that jazz? Not being dramatic — just been thinking so much about what it means to live a joy-journey life of passion lately. It’s one thing to talk about it, but what does it realllly look like if you put it into action?

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And yes, that was my preface into saying that I’m trying to convince the boy he wants to move to Maui and go off the grid for a while. & that I want to write a book about following your passions and choosing joy.

6. I recently read the book Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos & am consequently captivated by the wonders that are storybook houses.

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How have I missed these before now?! Like, what when how why where?!
Yes, I would like to live in a fairyland, please. Someone get me one of these.

7. One of my adorable clients recently surprised me with this:

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Talk about the perfectly appropriate gift for this therapist. I think maybe I should start collecting wine glasses with different icons or from different places or whatnot. That’d be a fun & useful collection!

8. And now I want wine. Not hard to set that in motion.

Go ahead, think out loud! Tell me something random from your week.

scenes from the weekend

hi, loves! so i don’t know about you guys, but for me, we’re halfway through the month and i can honestly say that this is totally turning out to be a wonderful, happy, memorable December for me.

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for starters, it was 65 degrees and sunny in NYC all weekend…so what i’m really saying is that it’s May. the boy and i went running both Saturday (6-7ish miles) and Sunday (5ish miles) mornings in tank tops, and i was sweating. in mid-December. and i love it.

things weren’t so amazing on the running front this weekend though, unfortunately, which really bummed me out b/c i was so looking forward to having these amazing runs on such glorious balmy days, but it just wasn’t happening. my legs were beyond tired and sore for some reason, and my calf kept screaming at me, and i just couldn’t get it together & had very little energy. i was slow and feeling pretty awful, and not sure i’d have endured 5 miles on Sunday if the boy wasn’t there to run with me.

and so it goes with running: sometimes you’re on top of the world, and sometimes you just don’t have it and everything feels hard. here’s to hoping that phase passes asap, b/c it really bums me out. on the flip side, i’m thankful i was able to cover the mileage i did even while i wasn’t feeling so hot or loving running at those moments. a crappy run is better than no run, right? and i did get in a fairly decent upper body workout at the gym on Sunday before our run as well.

workouts aside, the weekend was absolutely wonderful otherwise. we rode Citibikes and went to my friends’ holiday brunch and had a pre-dinner drink at Terroir Wine Bar in Tribeca on Saturday, which plays great music and has a really chill, almost punk-gothy sort of vibe,

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before heading to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Fig & Olive Meatpacking, which just does everything right: amazing food, amazing service, amazing atmosphere. i love this spot.

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side note: i’m the worst at taking photos of food, but somehow always manage to remember to snap the wine. i swear i eat… 😉

we also had an awesome brunch at 44 1/2 in Hell’s Kitchen. it was my first time there for brunch and i’ll certainly return, as it was charming and yummy and a new neighborhood fave for me. we dined on the covered back patio which was like a lovely little pink fairy world in the middle of the concrete jungle,

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all bubbly lanterns & pink roses & white lights. it was one of my favorite restaurant atmospheres i’ve experienced in a while, and so ideal for a Sunday afternoon in a December that’s posing as May. i really loved it.

we meandered over to Rockefeller Center after Sunday brunch to see the 78-foot-tree, which seemed like a necessary, picturesque NYC-at-Christmastime thing to do,

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…except that we were joined by everyone else who happened to be awake in NYC yesterday. holy touristville. we took one look at the crowds swarming 5th Ave and decided the window viewing was absolutely not in our immediate future and we suddenly realllllly needed some wine (is hating crowds part of growing up? i seriously cannot), so we strolled down to the Flatiron District and nestled ourselves into Punch for some nice little chill time in an atmosphere that didn’t make me want to start kicking strollers.

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much, much better.

my weekend in #s:
2 beauuuuuuteousss days
2 (so-so) runs
2 great restaurants
2 cute wine bars
2 movie nights on the couch (Hunger Games #3 & Pitch Perfect)
1 gym session
1 massive Christmas tree
=1 pretttttyyyyy perfect weekend with the man

i have no complaints. ❤

How was your weekend, friends? Highlights?
Something you’re looking forward to this week?

Wine Riot NYC 2015

oh heyyyyy, guys. remember me?

i’m still alive! and feeling good on this GOOD Friday morning after a great solo pre-work boot camp in an empty gym. after a crazy week, this was an amazing way to start my day.

mei wish i had a good reason for why i have been entirely MIA from the blog world, but really, i’ve just been insanely busy and running around like a crazy person and sleeping when possible, and haven’t had a chance to pop in here and write anything worthwhile. as much as i love writing, i reallllly love living, sooooo…sometimes, even really good things have to take a back seat. 🙂

i have a fun event to recap for you guys today, though! last Friday i went to Wine Riot NYC, which was an absolute blast, and such a well-run (and well-attended) shindig. seriously, if it comes to your city and you have any interest in wine whatsoever, check it out. NYC’s was basically just a huge wine expo, held in an armory, where you could “travel the world” through wine and taste whatsoever suits your fancy. we had fun flitting from South Africa (so good!) to Italy to California…

riotbut my faves were the sparklings. always a sparkling girl. luckily for me, they had a whole area designated solely to sparkling wine/champagne, and some were quite delicious. it was fun to talk to all the pourers as well, as some of them were really educated on their wines and happy to talk them up!

oh, and did i mention there was wine on tap? finally, my type of keg!

tapbetween friends and friends of friends, there were about 15 of us altogether, and then we made new friends (because i’m physically incapable of not talking to people when i’m out and about), soooo it was just an all-round super fun night….

as our photo booth shenanigans clearly captured.

IMG_6627they had the best signs and props (mine says “beauty, brains & bubbly,” because i clearly can’t pass up any chance for a bit of alliteration), and i wish i’d gotten into more photos with my other girlfriends. definitely a goal for next time — which i hear will be in the fall?? you can bet i’ll be in attendance!

they had food vendors as well, but i was having too much fun to think about eating, and i meant to check out the DJ too, but that sort of escaped me as well. whoops. all things to aim for next time around!

and on a totally unrelated note: happy Good Friday and Easter weekend to you all! hope you have a lovely, blessed time with family and friends.

FullSizeRenderWhat’re you getting into this Easter weekend?
Anyone else been to a Wine Riot, or wine expo sort of event? What wines would you be most interested in trying?

March Goals

although i’m generally a very productive, multi-tasking sort of human, i don’t often sit down and actually write out goals for myself. i know what i have to — and want to — do on a daily basis, and certainly prioritize those things (most of the time), but my goals are usually more long-term or ongoing, like:

  • run. workout. stay fit.
  • finish grad school. do the work i need to on a weekly basis. try to learn stuff and make it stick.
  • travel whenever possible.
  • write. [blog, poetry, creative, whateverrrr comes out]
  • eat healthy.
  • sleep a lot enough.
  • prioritize the relationships i love. fam, friends, boys, whatever that may be. love them well.

these are more lifestyle habits than specific, measurable goals, and while i feel good about winning at life (most days), i think it might do me some good to set some tangible goals.

so hey, March. let’s get at it.

march-paintONE: 13.1 Queens Half. i’m determined to run this, despite the fact that my training hasn’t been going as planned (read: those long runs just haven’t happened) and i’ve been stuck on a treadmill (due to inclement weather) for the past 2 weeks. still, i missed this one last year (b/c my bff got married that day!), and i don’t want to miss it again. so if you feel like sending prayers & good vibes my way on March 21st, i will gladly covet them!

TWO: cleaner eating. yes, i am a meticulously healthy eater — most of the time. i’d like to clean it up even more in March. i considered doing Whole 30, but since i’m not sure i will stick to it 100%, i’m going to “loosely” do Whole 30 and try as best as i can to adhere to the food list. hopefully this will encourage me to cook more, as well, since i’d like to up my recipe repertoire and know my way around a kitchen a little better (ie, at all).

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THREE: no alcohol.
i’m actually excited about taking on this goal, as the last 3 months have been riddled with parties & celebrations & birthdays & girls’ trips & work events & speakeasy dates & alllllll the night life social scene fun…which is amazing, but takes a toll after a while (and leads to a lot of Sundays spent in bed). i don’t have any birthdays or trips or crazy events in March until the very end of March, when i’m going to Wine Riot with a whole mess of friends, sooooo this seems like the perfect month to cut out the drinking and focus on the health. hopefully this will go hand-in-hand with the above goals, too: being as healthy as possible, and having better success finishing that half.

hopefully this will go smashingly and i won’t feel like this by the time Wine Riot comes around and take my April goals in an entirely opposite direction:

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side note: if you live in NYC and love wine and want to check out Wine Riot on 3/27, let me know! we can bump into each other and cheers. 🙂

FOUR: spiritual life. read my Bible or part of a Christian book or a devotional every day. journal at least twice a week. be more consistent in my prayer life, and pray for people’s specific requests. it’s the small, daily consistencies in spiritual disciplines that make all the difference, and i know i need to focus on these. similarly, i need to find a church i love in NYC and be diligent about going!

i think 4 strong goals is sufficient. i was tempted to add “don’t buy anymore clothes this month” to the list, but i think i’ll just keep that one as a “thing to sort of strive for” and not beat myself up about if i fail. i did just order 4 little black dresses (okay so we all have our obsessions) from Asos that should be arriving tonight, however, so if i keep all of those, thennnnn i think i’ll take a shopping hiatus in March.

sneak peak from the upcoming lbd fashion show in my apt tonight:

image1xxlsoooo hoping this one fits.

a girl can never have too many pairs of running tights, too many books she plans to read, or too many lbds.

you can quote me on that.

Anything you’re hoping to achieve this month?
Anyone done Whole 30? Thoughts?
Gone a month (or longer) without alcohol?

my 48 hours in Austin

if i could find a job that required me to travel to new, fun cities all the time, i would take it in a heartbeat. nothing excites me more than seeing new places; i get that sort of electric buzz of a thrill to walk down streets just aching to be explored and pop into little boutiques and coffee shops and wine bars and drink it all in, literally and figuratively. i have this natural inclination to invent a life for myself in every new city, imagining what it’d be like if these streets were mine to traverse each morning — which restaurants i’d like best, which local haunts would know me as a regular, which routes i’d prefer to run, in what part of town i’d lay down my head.

of course, living in Manhattan, it takes me all of about 3 seconds after my plane lands and i see the NYC skyline to remember that i really have no desire to live anywhere else right now…but that doesn’t mean i’ll stop engaging in these little make-believe lives whenever i go somewhere.

all this wanderlust rambling to segue into this: i got home last night from a whirlwind of a 48-hour trip to Austin, Texas, which i had prematurely decided i was going to love long before i saw it. i’ve heard only rave reviews of this hip town, and from my short stay there, i can definitely see why people love it.

some highlights from my first (and hopefully NOT last) weekend in Austin:

*spending a weekend with my wonderful cousin and lifelong friend, Tara, and celebrating her bachelorette!

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*dinner at Bess Bistro. this restaurant, founded by Sandra Bullock, was a true gem: tucked underground, with a very elemental, cavernous interior, it offers a seasonally-inspired menu with ingredients from their own farm just outside the city. the food, the drinks, the service, the atmosphere — everything was great.

photo from Austin Food Journal

photo from Austin Food Journal

i especially got a kick out of the tin mug in which my drink was served. such a cute touch!

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*wine tour. for our main bachelorette weekend activity, we spent Saturday on a tour of the wineries outside of Austin in Fredericksburg with Texas Winos Tour. this was my first organized wine tasting tour, and it was such a fun thing to do for a bachelorette party.

9 girls, 3 wineries, and alllll the wine = pure silliness, in the best, happiest sort of way. it went smashingly.

photo 1our bus’s theme was a Masquerade, so everyone had to bring/wear a mask. i rather liked mine and am definitely going to be looking for excuses to go to masquerade balls in the future…if that’s, like, a thing outside of Broadway shows. i sorta felt like bursting into song every time i put it on.photo 3photothe first winery was hilariously called Fat Ass Ranch & Winery (because apparently they have a pet donkey, that my cousin was determined to meet), which sounds like an appropriate place to start a day of wine drinking. cheers!

photo 2i didn’t snap as many pix as i’d have liked (huge fail), but i’ll just chalk that up to the fact that we were having oh-so-much-fun that it seemed a shame to distract myself by looking for my phone. i experienced two completely different sides of Austin nightlife, as we did the “hipper,” more relaxed Rainey Steet area on Friday night, where all the bars were old historic houses or bungalows — such a sweet concept, and much more my style than the fratty craziness we ventured into on 6th Street on Saturday night. it was fun to see the totally completely different sections of town, and i’d love to spend more time out on Rainey St. next time i visit.

so, my first Austin experience was a huge, dynamic success of a jam-packed weekend, and my cousin had an amazing bachelorette party, which is all that really matters. i definitely want to go back to Austin and explore more of the city, as i can tell from this small little jaunt that it’s totally my style.

hope you all had wonderful weekends, my loves!

Been to Austin? If so, what do you love about it?

Tell me something fun from your weekend!

Corkbuzz (review)

it’s been a minute since i’ve written about any restaurants in NYC, and i have visited a few great spots recently that definitely deserve some blog space!

first up: Corkbuzz, which is branded as a wine studio, as part of their philosophy encourages patrons to take recreational wine classes and learn more about the art of wine, and also to see the space as a place to gather and eat, drink and be merry with new and old friends alike — all united by a love of wine, of course.

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i’ve been meaning to go here since it opened a couple of years ago, and it was the perfect place for a Tuesday night girls’ night the night before NYE. we didn’t take a wine class; just met for some delicious wine and dinner in the (original) Union Square location.

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everything about Corkbuzz was delightful, in every sense of the word. the four of us couldn’t stop exclaiming about how much we loved everything. it’s an ideal spot for either a girls’ night out or a cute little date. we were tucked in the back room at this long, communal table,

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and had the most delicious Oregon Pinot Noir imaginable. i definitely recommend the Gothic Nevermore (Willamette Valley 2012). it’s quite possibly one of my new favorite reds.

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we ordered two apps and two entrees to share: Brussels sprouts (my choice, as i seem to be unable to see them on a menu and not order them), a pureed pumpkin app, scallops, and chicken.

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we loved everything. this food was seriously amazing and proved that Corkbuzz has more to boast about than just its impressive wine selection! i definitely plan to return here (and see the Nevermore and Brussels in my next-visit future).

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i rather liked the fun little Rumi quote they chose for the first page of their wine list, too. 😉

so, wine lovers in NYC, or visiting NYC — i’m pretty sure you’ll absolutely dig this place and highly recommend it!

How’s Monday treating everyone so far? can’t lie — i’m struggling being back to the grind!
Any Oregon wine fans? any pinot fans? what’s your fave?
Ever taken a wine class? i haven’t, but i think it’d be super fun and interesting.

Christmas: aka break from life

today is December 29th. the last time i was sitting at my desk at work in NYC’s Financial District was Friday, December 19th.

Merry loooooong Christmas break to me. thank the Lord.

suffice it to say, i feel like i just took a mini vacation from my regular life and fell into a 9-day black hole of all things wonderful and homey and comfortable.

my Christmas break was long, lovely, and exactly the way i wanted to spend a week off.

*family time. alllll the family time. it’s like the four of us live in our own little bubble at the lakehouse, completed by 3 dogs. we watched The Family Stone, which i think is my fave Christmas movie and seems to be totally underrated. i forgot how awesome this movie is, and with such an amazing cast.

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every time i watch a movie with Rachel McAdams, a small part of me wants to be her. or be friends with her. or both. and every time i watch a movie with Luke Wilson, every part of me wants to date him. especially his character in this movie.

we did our Christmas Eve tradition of attending the candlelight service at my parents’ church, which i always enjoy immensely. as soon as we start singing “Silent Night” and the flames begin popping up all over the sanctuary, it feels like a bit of magic has descended out of thin air and wrapped us all up into a velvety moment, a transcendent moment, where all is right with the world for the duration of that song. as long as we hold those little flames and raise our voices with the people we love standing beside us, our hearts are full to bursting.

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on Christmas morning, my dad and i went for a run together. rephrase: we drove to the place where he has mapped out a mile route and ran it at the same time, until i lapped him and we finished 4 miles (me) and 3 (him). 🙂 i think he secretly loves that i can outrun him these days, and i totally love that he passed down his running legacy to me. it was awesome to be able to get out and run with him, for the first time in years.

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i rocked a pretty good pace on this run, too, so that was a nice little addition to my Christmas. check out them splits?! happy girl.

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*cuddle time. breaking news: i am officially a cuddler.

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baby Henry, my bff’s lil guy, has officially stolen my heart. i’m still not having children, but it’s nice that my friends continue to have such adorable little babies who seem to want to turn me into a big mush. i held this guy as much as possible over break. he seems to like me, which is always what i’m going for with cute boys, so that works.

*all the workouts. the best thing about having your days to do as you please is that you do everything you like best — which means i worked out every single day except for this past Friday, the day after Christmas. (a day spent relaxing with the boy was more important and much needed, and entirely worth skipping any workout.) i ran (outside or on a treadmill, when it was raining) almost every day (!!!) and had 2-3 good, long strength/total body workouts, so i think my caloric expenditure far outweighed the wine intake this week. winning.

my “fastest” run was my Christmas 4-miler, and my longest runs were two 7-milers: one on a treadmill at the beginning of break, and this guy outside on a hilly route on Saturday. my legs were so tired throughout this entire run, but i managed to survive.

photo 3those hilllllls. def slow a girl down and make your muscles scream.

i wish i were training for the NYC Half (insert sad face), as i’m feeling so good and loving the running so much lately. i’m thinking of doing the Queens 13.1 half in March, so we shall see about that.

*Christmas drink of choice. Josh by Joseph Carr, Pinot Noir. this wine was my go-to drink this past week. really loving this lately, and my mom (who is wonderful on all accounts, not just because of this) knows i love it and makes sure we’re stocked when i get home. she’s so good to me.

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 *read. i finished a beautiful, clever, witty, amazingly-written novel over break, called The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

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this is what i’d call a real “book lover’s book.” it’s beautifully crafted, with rich, dimensional characters and interesting, clever dialogue, and the theme of good literature and literature loving runs rampant throughout, as the main character is a book worm and literary aficionado herself. it held a double appeal for me, then, because it’s also set in New York City and paints a glorious, realistic, varied portrait of this amazing city in the late 1930s, with all its dazzle and charm and grit and rawness. i loved loved loved it and am so glad my friend lent it to me. Alex — you must read this next!! you’ll love it. 🙂

i have a habit of taking pictures of passages in books that i want to remember, and this one struck me:

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and, welp, it apparently struck other people out there as well. ah, how Google searching brings us all together.

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and now i’m off to try to write something grand about life and love and loss and New York, dahlings. because that’s what life is all about, after all.

hope you all had wonderful Christmases!

Tell me a highlight from your Christmas!
Read any good books lately? i need recommendations!
How’s the running, runners?