Recapping: Waking Windows

Ah yes, another one has come and gone (plus one day if you folks start your weeks on Monday like normal people). This past week was crazy at work and I learned that I am officially the most awkward interviewer ever. I told one fantastic applicant that I didn’t like NYC (where he’s from) very much and that “I have a lot of feelings.” Yeesh folks, yeesh. (He took the job p.s. so all is not lost). Anyway Friday night til Saturday afternoon I was pretty much working so I haven’t got much to say on that part of the weekend except YAY hotel busy season 😉

Saturday afternoon Zach and I met some friends at Waking Windows, a local music festival that takes over Winooski. The festival which has certainly grown since we went last year, took place at various businesses around the town of Winooski including a main stage and food truck area in the downtown area.  After meeting up we headed over to Four Quarters Brewing to catch a band called Iron Eyes Cody and grab some beers. The band was awesome and totally worth having to wait in line for the majority of it. Some of the beers put out by Four Quarters aren’t usually my style as some of their more popular options tend to be a bit too sour for my unrefined pallet… sue me. I was so excited to try their White Peach IPA, it was so crisp and refreshing and paired so well with being at an outdoor music festival. We all talked about how we easily could drink it all summer. This was the first Derby day that I didn’t do anything special for which felt a bit odd, I guess that’s how you know you’re really out of the south! Though there was cornhole at the brewery so I was real freakin’ pumped about that.

After the brewery we hung out at the main stage for awhile and rocked some delicious pulled pork poutine from one of the food trucks. I liked the layout of food options along the water this year and I wish we had gotten there sooner to check out some of the local artist’s tables. It’s awesome that Waking Windows is a 3-day event so you can pick and choose the day and the kind of music you want to hear at the different venues around town. I’m glad we got tickets for Saturday because all of the bands we heard were great. Though I will admit 5:40pm Kari was much more pumped for listening to new bands than 12:40am Kari… I made it 15 minutes into that show before casually stepping out to call an uber. Guess my Bonnaroo days are behind me…

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Sunday was officially my first day off in 12 days and all I wanted to do was sit around the house and do absolutely nothing so that’s what I did. I debated doing something active knowing that I’d feel better about the day but the furthest I got was to the corner store for some coffee and I’m quite okay with it.

Monday I had set up to be filled with appointments and getting my cleaning/laundry done but that was quickly turned upside down when I managed to completely throw out my back. 26 going on 86, I tell you. I forced myself to get out of the house for groceries (had to ask for help carrying them to my car at Trader Joes) but other than that I binge watched Happy Valley on Netflix all day. So that was a win at least.

What’s your beer style?

Have you been to any fun outdoor events lately?

Recapping: Restaurant Week(end)

Greetings Earthlings! Let’s get right into a recap shall we? After Zach and I got back from a beautiful wedding in NYC we had all of 1 night before having my sweet friend Sarah come visit for a long weekend. This was her first visit back since Maria & I moved her down to DC in August for her brand new big girl life so it was great to have her back in town and the fact that it fell during Vermont Restaurant Week was a great coincidence!

Thursday afternoon we got our gossip on while getting our nails done before heading over to Pizza Barrio. I had been to Barrio Bakery many times during the day for some great coffee & delicious sweet treats but had never actually made it for the evenings that they open up for Pizza.

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How cute is this place??

The restaurant week deal looked great but we ended up breaking it up a bit to try a few things between the three of us. The Focaccia and bacon marmalade was an awesome salty-sweet combination that we were all big fans of. My favorite part of the meal was the chopped salad that we decided to split. I loved how fresh the lettuce, avocado, and cherry peppers were and the buttermilk dressing perfectly accompanied the goat cheese. It’s been 4 days and I’m still dreaming about it. Will need to recreate…

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We tried two pizzas for our entrees, the Tricolore and the Green Mountain. The Tricolore was topped with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and Prosciutto di Parma which was great but the Green Mountain pizza with it’s fresh apples and honey drizzle was the show stopper. Honestly you can throw apple slices and cheese together on anything and I’m in love, it’s the Vermont way.

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It also helped that Heady Toppers were $5 and our server though clearly incredibly busy and maybe the only one working (?) was fantastic. I’d highly recommend this cute neighborhood favorite.

After dinner we rushed over to the Vermont Comedy Club to catch “Belly Laughs” performed by the hilarious Unmentionables improv group. I know I have discussed many times how strongly I feel about free shit so you can only imagine how excited I was to walk into the show and receive a badass canvas bag filled with swag from various Vermont Restaurant Week sponsors.

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It’s quite difficult to have a bad time at a comedy show (plus the free shit high that I was riding helped) but this was particularly funny. I love the comedy club itself, it feels low-key and comfortable while still seeing top-notch performances and really fits what Burlington is all about. True to form the Unmentionables crushed all the glorious awkwardness that comes along with improv shows. They based their sets off of two interviews with people in the local restaurant/cider game which I thought was a cool way to connect to restaurant week.

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Check this swag out folks! #chevreforevre

We spent the rest of the weekend drinking *arguably*  too much alcohol, waking up  semi-hungover and hiking a mountain with growlers from Fiddlehead because, welcome to Vermont. We started Saturday with dinner reservations at Pizzeria Verita as classy ladies and finished the evening by eating delivery Domino’s pizza and watching Gary the Goat youtube videos on the Big Comfy Couch. 26 is a real transition year.

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It was a great time to have visitors and totally worth the fact that I am now exhausted to begin the month of May.

Do you participate in Restaurant Weeks around you?

 

I Just Don’t Understand…

How has it been a month since my last post? I feel like I say “oh i should blog about that” to myself every single day and yet getting it to actual post just seems to be a real big problem lately. Let’s do a mini recap of the weekend, shall we?

I don’t normally have Saturdays off but I took this last one off because I was signed up to run the Half Marathon Unplugged. While I was signed up- I did not actually compete. This is the first race that I’ve not competed in after signing up. It was a really hard decision but I hadn’t been getting the mileage in to make it a pleasant experience and the thought of “pushing through” just to say I did it felt wrong. Fear not (I tell myself) I have a new half at the end of June to focus on and that training plan is coming along very nicely.

There are quite a few great brunch options around Burlington but one of our favorites is definitely Henry’s Diner. Typical greek style diner tucked away on a side street it’s always packed and for a very good reason. The food is delicious, the portions are huge and it’s all pretty inexpensive which is amazing for myself and all the college kids that frequent it. Post brunch Zach and I had some friends over to watch the Masters. While we watched, Maria and I made cupcakes for her boyfriend’s birthday.

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May I present to you, the very first cupcake made by the newest addition to our family- Charlie Conway the KitchenAid mixer (as seen on my Instagram). It’s a Bourbon Chocolate cupcake topped with Maple Buttercream frosting and Bourbon Candied Bacon.

After baking, Zach and I headed out to dinner at Pizzeria Verita which was packed but they squeezed us in to the pizza bar station. It was a little weird to have our backs turned to the restaurant but I was so fascinated by watching those guys make pizzas right in front of our faces that I quickly got over it.

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I will admit I felt uncomfortable every time I made eye contact with them -which was a lot because I was staring like a stage 6 creeper- but after a Focal Banger you’d be surprised how comfortable you can be. The pizza itself was one of their nightly specials that had turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, basil and a balsamic reduction. It was great but I have enjoyed other pizzas on their menu just a tiny bit more in past visits. It’s such a great restaurant though I’d highly recommend it!

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We headed over to meet some friends at The Archives, Burlington’s newest downtown “barcade.” I believe this was their first Saturday night open to the public (?) and there was quite the interest. The beer and cocktail list was extensive, we both ordered a can of Boom Sauce IPA which we’d had before and loved but I think the $9 charge was a bit high even for a craft-beer oriented town such as Burlington. They had quite a few old school arcade games and though it was a crowded Saturday night, they were all pretty accessible. I’m literally horrendous at arcade games but I have fun trying. Any new spot has it’s kinks (the token machines kept emptying and waiting for a beer took a lot longer than it probably should have) but I really see the potential in this place. I definitely can’t wait to go back!

I worked on Sunday morning but made it home in time to catch the crazy day that was a Sunday at the Masters. I can’t even believe all of the magic that happened on the 16th hole! My boy Rory left himself too much to do but the Danny Willett story line is why I love sports so much. Monday was my day off which meant thousands of loads of laundry, grocery shopping (because I refuse to go on the weekends) and trying out a new recipe for “Cajun Chicken Pasta On the Lighter Side” from Skinnytaste It was so good!

Is everyone having a good start to their week?

How are your arcade/video gaming abilities?

Recapping: Quebec City Part One

Hello all and welcome to one of my favorite types of posts… travel recaps!

Warning: This post is decently long, I’ve tried to put as much character in it as possible but if you want to just scroll through the pictures I don’t blame you.

A couple of weekends ago Zach and I joined our friends on a last minute trip up to Quebec City and let me tell you, it was incredible!

Friday Night

We arrived at the Quebec City Marriott Downtown and were immediately greeted by a valet who helped us with our items and led us into the quaint but beautiful lobby. The rooms were on the smaller side but had all of the items we could possibly need for a weekend away. Once we got all settled in to the hotel we headed back down to the lobby for some recommendations for our Friday evening. I can’t for the life of me remember the valet’s name but let’s call him Isaac. He gave us the breakdown of the city and gave us some suggestions for dinner as well as a few local pubs to try out afterwards.

Dinner @ Café Au Bonnet D’âne

Roughly 15 minutes walking distance from our hotel we ended up at this cozy little corner cafe on Rue Saint Jean-Baptiste. The highlight of the menu was their extensive list of poutines which we all decided would be the perfect dish to warm up with. For those of you who haven’t had poutine it’s typically french fries, cheese curds and gravy… it’s also a heart attack waiting to happen but is quite delicious in moderation (aka once every 7 years). The poutine section had everything from traditional brown gravy to a cajun cream sauce and a even a red sauce. I went with the traditional and their take on the Mexicain burger which was topped with onion rings, chipotle sauce, brie and tomatoes. It was a total showstopper of a meal.

Cafe au Bonnet D'ane

   Cafe au Bonnet D'ane

A pint @ Nelligan’s Pub

After our hearty meals we headed back towards the hotel in search of the small Irish pub we were told had a great low key vibe which is exactly what we were looking for. The Nelligan’s crowd was eclectic to say the least, everyone from old men throwing back shots and laughing at each other to college aged kids huddled in the back room trying to get a buzz going. Seating was limited but we were lucky enough to have two gentlemen offer to move over so we could get the bench by the bar. We had a blast sitting and chatting with them for an hour, I couldn’t believe how nice everyone was to us. I’ve been to Montreal many a times and each time (in my experience) you count your lucky stars to get one friendly waiter let alone a couple of locals. I tried their namesake ale and thought it was really good but it was the atmosphere that won me over.

Nelligan's Pub

After a few more stops on the pub crawl list we headed back towards the hotel but made sure to stop first at the ice rink located across the street and take photos/run across the empty ice. Shh don’t tell anyone.

De La Place D'Youville

Quebec City

Saturday Morning

As you can see from the photo above our hotel was located just outside of one of the gates entering the old city. Saturday morning we ventured down through the winding cobblestone roads to find the historic district of Petit Champlain.

Old Quebec Funicular

Petit Champlain is located so much lower than the rest of the city that you have to take a serious set of stairs or this funicular. We gladly paid the $7 for the four of us to ride down.

Petit Champlain

The minute we stepped out of the Funicular it was like we had just walked into an old European city. I kept comparing it to stepping out of the Tardis because I couldn’t get over how beautiful and different this part of the city was. I’ve finally made a Doctor Who reference on the blog… so happy!

Brunch @ Le Lapin Sauté

My job was to find the brunch locations for the trip (a task I take incredibly seriously) and after reading a ton of reviews online had settled on this gem of a spot.

Le Lapin Saute on Petit Champlain

The entire restaurant was the size of my apartment’s kitchen and so perfectly decorated to be someone’s home in the country. The service was unbelievable, they were so friendly and welcoming. They gave us menus in English (bonus points) and the menu was expansive but fairly priced. Our meals included coffee or tea, fruit smoothie shots, and the entree for around $15 on the higher end.

Le Lapin Saute Brunch

I ordered the maple sauteed apple omelet which came with potatoes and this warmed up slice of baguette. It was all so delicious but that strawberry jam was the best part of the meal. I wish I could have taken it home with me. The servers were so attentive and helpful, they really seemed to enjoy themselves. I would love to go back there in the summer and enjoy my meal on the restaurant’s patio!

Maria and I

We spent the rest of the morning popping in and out of the stores on Petit Champlain which ranged from authentic fur shops to your typical souvenir shops and candy stores.

Bear Attack

Couldn’t resist.

Zach and I Quebec City

This photo is one of my favorites from the trip! I love that you can see the Château Frontenac as well as the Funicular and the streets of Petit Champlain 🙂

So that was the first half of our trip, hope you guys enjoyed it! I can’t recommend Quebec City enough, we had such a surprisingly amazing time! Stay tuned for the second half which includes a behind the scenes tour of Hôtel de Glace, ice skating, as well as a restaurant featured by Anthony Bourdain.

Have you ever been to Quebec City?

Have you ever had Poutine?

Recapping: Cocktails, Comedy & Chili

Happy February Friends!

So I didn’t get any posts up last week but this week I have prepared for what I think is a great week of posts so definitely make sure you stop back by to find out what I’ve been up to (aka where I’ve been eating and drinking). Starting things off is a little recap from what turned out to be quite the busy weekend!

Friday

The new Hilton Garden Inn opened up in downtown Burlington on Friday and Sarah and I decided to check out the appropriately named Armory Grille & Bar just inside of it. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking but it’s definitely a very cool space that I think is really going to take off. The drink menu was a little on the small side but that was to be expected for their first day open to the public. I must say the Burlington Mule was absolutely delicious and I appreciate all places who serve them in the appropriate cups.

  Armory Grille & Bar

 Burlington Mule

Burlington Mule = Smuggler’s Notch Vodka + Rookies Ginger Beer

Sarah and I at the Armory

Saturday

One of the joys of living in a complex with an parking lot is that we have spots off of the street during the dreaded parking bans from snow storms. One of the downfalls is being woken up before 9am on a Saturday to move our cars for the plow to come through. Such was the case Saturday morning so instead of being lazy like we had planned Zach and I hit up the grocery store in order to make this epic feast…

Brunch

We somehow managed to push through our food coma and both make it to the gym after this meal, that’s dedication. Later that night we went out to support our friends in the Best In Show Comedy event at Hotel Vermont. I had seen some of these acts before but I must say that they were so much better than I remembered! I loved the different styles of comedy they each brought to the mic, it was an awesome excuse way to waste an evening laughing with some of my favorite humans. Big shout out to Mike & Adam for inviting us and being hilarious per usual! Oh and the $5 cans of Sip of Sunshine are always welcome in my book! If you are local and have a chance to check out these guys I’d highly recommend it!

Best in Show @ Hotel Vermont

(photo cred Hotel Vermont’s facebook)

Sunday

I really like to grocery shop. I like to make the lists, save the coupons, and I especially like sorting the groceries to bag them in the most appropriate manner possible. This is by far the dorkiest quality I have but it’s the truth. I’d dare say I’m the best grocery bagger that’s ever come out of the state of Vermont. That being said, I have a few deeply held beliefs on grocery shopping and they are as follows…

1) Do not go on the day of the Super Bowl.

2) Do not go on any Sunday, ever.

3) Do not ever go on the 1st of the month.

I am here to admit that I broke all of my rules yesterday and it was the worst decision I’ve made in a long time. I stood in line for an hour. There was a kid passed out under the flower stand the lines were so absurd. I’m still completely traumatized thinking about all of the horribly bagged groceries that must have come out of the place that dreadful afternoon. Hopefully when I turn 25 on Saturday I stop making such poor life decisions.

After the disaster that was the grocery store Zach and I managed to pull off a pretty decent spread for a few friends coming over for the Super Bowl. We had ourselves a little chili cook off and managed to incorporate cheese into every single dish which is never a bad bet.

Super Bowl Chili Cook Off

While I was thoroughly bummed with the outcome (I freaking hate the Patriots) I did find solace in knowing that one day my dream of becoming a mascot can not only come true but it can come true in the form of a singing shark during the Super Bowl halftime show. My career goals have just changed dramatically.Super Bowl Singing Shark

So yeah now you know that I’m a grocery store nerd and an aspiring dancing shark, you are welcome.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday! Come back tomorrow for the first half of my Quebec City recap!

🙂

Have you attended many comedy shows?

How do you feel about the grocery store? I’m willing to bet probably not as strongly as I feel.

Recapping: An Overnight in Saratoga Springs

Hello all!

I wrote out this entire post on Sunday to be able to post Monday and then of course my computer crashed without even saving a single draft… #bloggerproblems. So anyway sorry it took a couple of days to post but in any event Sarah and I had a great time during our little getaway to race country Friday night.

First stop was to Olde Saratoga Brewing Co where I managed to walk in on someone using the restroom immediately upon arrival. Where there is an awkward situation, there is an incredibly awkward Kari finding it. Sorry dude! After that adventure I spent 5 hard earned dollars on choosing 6 beers to sample from their impressively long list. The tasting room was really cool and they even had some doughboys for sale from a local company.  The beers ranged from Lagers to Stouts and everything in between. I really liked their Saratoga Lager but the IPA stole the show. The Moonpie Oatmeal Stout was surprisingly delicious and Sarah and I both liked their Peanut Butter & Jelly Stout.

Olde Saratoga Brewing Company

We made a quick stop at the Courtyard we were staying for the night before the chilly but easy walk downtown. While most of the shops were closed on Broadway you could tell that this would be an incredibly fun spot to hang out in during the warmer months. Very similar to Church Street in it’s design and even some of the shops they had mirrored the ones here in Vermont.

The girl at the brewery recommended Boca Bistro for it’s fantastic tapas menu. The space itself was awesome! From the exposed brick to the tin ceilings, they really did rustic meets modern so well. I have had a small huge obsession with pigs since I was a kid so the metal pigs scattered through the shelves were my favorite part. Sarah and I were beyond impressed with the staff, everyone we encountered was so warm and welcoming. The food itself was delicious and it came out unbelievably fast. We tried the ham croquettes as well as the pork belly for our plates. The croquettes were good but I don’t think I’ve ever had pork belly that well done. We could have easily bellied up (pun intended) to the beautiful bar and reordered that one plate 10 times that night. Instead we asked our friendly waiter, Mark where we should head to next.

Boca Bistro Tapas

Don’t be fooled by my horrendous plate photo abilities, that sweet potato puree mixed with the tomato relish was perfection.

Mark suggested we try out Seven Horse Pub for round two of appetizers and other beer options so off we went. I can’t say too much about this place other than your typical bar/restaurant. The beer was pretty good, the spinach and artichoke dip was standard but it definitely seemed like a fun place to get out and watch a game.

Our lovely friend Chelsea suggested we hit up Circus Cafe for a cocktail during our trip so that was the next step. It was a little dead in there but that was easily overlooked thanks to the amazingly funky atmosphere! To be fair though we were there about 5 hours before I assume real people go out (we had a self-given curfew). We just ordered a couple of drinks but the menu looked so fun! I would love to go back to try it out for lunch or dinner (if I can pull myself away from that tapas menu that is).

Circus Cafe Margarita

The final stop of the evening was to Henry Street Taproom a place that if it relocated to Vermont I would without a doubt become a regular. This place was at the top of my to do list going in and every single person confirmed that we needed to try it out. So many beers, an awesome fireplace, such a great casual place for the locals and non-locals to hang out.

We had a blast exploring downtown and I can definitely see many more trips to the area in the future… like when the weather is above zero degrees. My only regret is not taking a picture on the horse statue outside of the hotel. You avoided me this trip horse statue, next time you won’t be so lucky. There you have it folks, I’ve officially run out of synonyms for “delicious” and “awesome” so I guess I’ll end this recap here.

See ya later, Saratoga Springs 🙂

Have you ever been to that area of New York?

Do you have any trips coming up? Zach and I will be joining another couple for a trip to Quebec City this weekend and we can’t wait!

Recapping: A Very TV Weekend

Happy Monday everyone!

So I’ll be honest, I watched a lot of tv this weekend. It was a lot more than normal but quite frankly it was freaking awesome.

Friday: Maria and I went to a spin class Friday evening (more on that Thursday) and then enjoyed a very classy meal of Auntie Annie’s mac and cheese, fruit, snacks & of course wine. While doing so we caught up on the newest season of the Bachelor and lordy was that entertaining. I don’t understand why I haven’t watched in years but I’m totally hooked to the drama. My first impression rose goes to Kaitlyn. She is ballsy, judgy and hilarious. I want to be her best friend (so far).

Friday Night MealPerfection for a Friday night in.

Saturday: Playoff football obviously. SO BUMMED THAT THE PATRIOTS WON. Gah I can’t stand them. Growing up in New England they are shoved down your throat and I’m super ready to return to the days of them being horrible. I was sort of hoping for the upset of Seattle just for some interesting story line but I’m okay with the win.

Sunday: More playoff football, Peyton lost and I’m still a wreck about it but hey at least I took a selfie before. #noshame

Denver Broncos

The Golden Globes (and laundry) took over my Sunday night festivities. I didn’t notice til posting this that some of my favorite looks are all in the same color scheme but oh well!

Ellie Kemper

I mean of course Ellie Kemper looks adorable. When does she not?

Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale is always a favorite for me. Though I’m not totally in love with the hair.

Reese Witherspoon

Oh Reese, you look like a beautiful statue.

Is anyone else as big a fan of Eddie Redmayne as I am? That side smile? Gosh, I’m completely smitten. I think I mentioned to Zach how attractive I think he is at least 6 times during the show. Oops!

I loved the Globes, I just wish there had been more Tina & Amy.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!

Did you watch the Golden Globes? Did you have a favorite look?

Did your team win this weekend? If it was the Patriots I semi-apologize for my rant 😉

Recapping: A New York City Adventure

Recapping last weekend minutes before the new weekend starts? Sure! Why not?

Saturday

Zach and I spent a quick overnight in Fairfield Friday and woke up to enjoy a lovely breakfast with the family before his mom and I headed to our much needed nail appointment. The ladies at Posh Nail & Spa were so cute and thoughtful! I was so impressed with the manicure but really it was such a great excuse to spend some girl time with Mama Deaks!

Posh Spa ManicureRed again, who saw that coming?

My dad is from Brooklyn so as a family we had made a few trips into NYC as kids but I was really looking forward to hanging out in the city as an adult. Thankfully for our trip we had two great tour guides in Zach’s best friend Pete and his sweetheart of a girlfriend Kate who went above and beyond to make our trip so amazing.  Here are some of the highlights:

The Highline NYCPete and Kate took us for a walk along the newer section of the High Line and I thought it was a really cool way to wind through the different sites of New York.

Zach and I NYCOur next stop was for dinner at Mari Vanna, a very eccentric Russian restaurant in the Flatiron district. They aren’t joking when they say it’s like walking into a Russian apartment, it was absolutely incredible. We were seated in the corner by potentially the creepiest photo ever of a little boy and a bunny rabbit… let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be the one that has to close the restaurant at night.

Mari Vanna Vodka TastingWe started off with a Vodka flight with flavors ranging from Horseradish to Pomegranate. While I’m not the biggest liquor drinker I did find the Cucumber flavor quite refreshing.  We literally ate food until we couldn’t see straight (or maybe that was the vodka) and it was so delicious. From the authentic appetizers to my entree of stuffed cabbage I cannot recommend this restaurant enough!

EatalyI literally could have spent hours in Eataly but this little beer caught my eye the most. While the thought of an oyster stout is horrendous how cute is this freaking bottle? I used to collect all things pig as a kid- I’m talking straight up obsession with all things pig related. Surely others had weird obsessions right?

Sunday

The main purpose of the trip was to go to a Jets game at the Meadowlands so Sunday morning we hopped on the train and headed out to New Jersey for what we thought would be a straight up Steelers blowout.

Zach and I NYCWe were like really excited obviously.

After a series of unfortunate events including purchasing tickets to Disney on Ice instead of the game we finally made it into the stadium just in time to see the second Jets touchdown.

Beer and FootballBeer and sports, that is the way to my heart.

Zach and I JETSJ-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

The Jets straight up shut down the Steelers and it was so sick to be there! We had such a blast 🙂

Also please note the Steelers fan in the right corner… in the final quarter he got straight up taken out by another Steelers fan falling down a couple rows behind us. It was the most slow motion fall but I’m so glad everyone is okay!

When we got back to the city we headed over to Astoria for a highly recommended dinner the Dog House which will get it’s very own post next week, just know it was incredible.

Monday

Bluebell NYCBreakfast food is the best food in my opinion so I took my job of finding a great brunch spot in the city VERY seriously. After reading tons of reviews and taking into account our location we decided to try the Bluebell Cafe and I’m happy to report we were not disappointed. The decor was so cute and the food was exactly what we were hoping for. I seriously could have eaten an entire plate of that bacon and the homemade biscuit? To die for.

Grand Central Station

Thank you so much to Pete & Kate for such amazing hospitality, you guys are the coolest 🙂

It should come as no surprise that traveling is my favorite thing to do and this was a hell of a way to celebrate our Anniversary, thanks for the amazing trip Zach!

Have you ever been to an NFL game?

Anyone have exciting plans this weekend?

Recapping: El Paso, Texas

Most people who blog tell you when they are going on super fun vacations and trips prior to going but when your super fun trip is to surprise your best friend (and reader of said blog) you have to cover it upon returning so here it goes!

I mentioned in a post a bit ago that my best friend is a bad ass and in the Army. In fact, Meredith is so bad ass that she will be deployed at the end of the month (I can only assume this is how the Army decides to deploy). A few months ago Mere’s other best friend reached out to see if I would be interested in taking the trip down to surprise her for a long weekend. Naturally I said yeehaw and off we went planning a surprise weekend.

Here are some of the highlights…Kari Squared   Meet Kari, we grew up in the same small town with the exact same name and the same best friend. It’s only natural that we are creepily similar (and totally opposite at the same time) and ended up as co-maids of honor in Mere’s wedding last summer. We are most commonly referred to as “the Karis.”

WhataburgerMere was working when we got there so her hubby picked us up at the airport and stowed us away at their house to wait for her… he also got us milkshakes that I quickly deemed the best thing EVER. Whataburger, you Texan genius you. I don’t think she was expecting to see us run out of her guest bedroom and instead of the normal crying you’d assume it was a lot of swearing at us… I’ll take it!

Kari, Meredith and IIt took us approximately 75 photos to get the perfect one for sharing with social media that we had surprised Mere… 24 hours later the whole world knew 😉 Also, please note that this is the only grass in the entire city of El Paso.

Mexican FoodI had not realized just how close the border was (i.e. if you roll off the highway, you end up in Mexico) so it was a bit of a culture shock traveling from basically Canada. The food was absolutely delicious. This was the steak fajita dish that I got at Los Jarrones and I cannot explain how amazing it was. Authentic Mexican food at it’s finest!!!

Girls night in We shopped all day at the outlets on Sunday and it was just what the doctor ordered. I am so freaking pumped about all of the clothes I got. My work wear wardrobe has been non-existent for so long that it feels good to have options! Plus a girls night with wine and cards against humanity never hurts… so many laughs and a great big heart to heart 🙂

Rajasaurus Rex This my friends, is the best photo I’ve ever taken.  Meet Raja, aka Rajasaurus Rex. He’s got one hell of a personality that dog! When you talk about him he instantly reacts to the point where you feel like you have to apologize to him for speaking that way. He’s smarter than he lets on, I’m not fooled by his running into walls at all!

It was a quick trip to El Paso but I am so glad that we were able to pull it off. Emotional best friend moment: I am so very proud of Meredith. I am constantly impressed with how she handles each circumstance she is placed in. She is not only an incredible soldier but more importantly she is an amazing person that I am 100% lucky to know.

 Miss. Meredith, you are stronger than you know and I dare say even cooler than you give yourself credit for. Though let’s be serious your ego is comparable to mine 😉 I will miss you tons but just know that if you think the Karis make great gift bags, just wait til we upgrade to sending care packages halfway across the world!

Have you ever made a surprise trip for someone?

Recapping: September Ipsy Glam Bag

Hello there, my name is Kari and I used to blog here but then I…

Scheduled 4 trips in 4 weekends…

Started intensive training for a new job in my company…

Can barely find time to eat let alone blog.

Excuses aside, here I am and you have no idea how excited I am to be catching up with you guys 🙂

Back in July (maybe?) I read about Ipsy and felt like I needed to give it a whirl. In the most basic description ever: pay $10 to get samples of beauty products mailed to you. You are then  able to watch the stylists use said products to get some tricks and tips for yourself. After that you kindly review your thoughts and maybe even purchase your favorite items that Ipsy has so graciously worked out discounts for. You also rack up Ipsy points by sharing on social media and writing reviews… when I figure out exactly what those do, I’ll let you know!

September Ipsy Glam Bag First off I loved the little bag, I can totally use that for travel purposes!

1. Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep conditioning mask

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!I absolutely loved this product! It smelled great and the results were even better. A couple days after I used the mask I was shocked that my hair still felt so clean. I don’t know if I’ve noticed any long term improvements yet but the fact that I can get an extra day out of washing it has me over the moon. Disclaimer: this was the first time using a conditioning mask on my hair so I’ll be sure to let you know how it stacks up over others in the future!

2. Nourish Organic’s Mosturizing Organic Face Cleanser

Nourish Organic's Moisturizing Organic Face CleanserI was sort of disappointed with this cleanser, assuming that I keep using it and see results I could change my mind but so far it seems fairly run of the mill. I was really hoping the cucumber smell was going to pull through but sadly it didn’t. Womp, womp on this one guys.

3.Pacifica’s 7 Free Nail Polish

Pacifica's 7 Free Nail PolishMy favorite thing in the bag was this nail polish, no joke peeps.  I am normally a bright red nail chick so I was a bit thrown off by this color but when I put it on (and drank that glass of wine thus getting polish on my skin like a rookie) I was actually really impressed. I put two coats on and it lasted without chipping for 4 days without any base or top coat… I consider that a big old win!

4. Be a Bombshell’s Smooth Criminal Powder

Be a Bombshell's Smooth Criminal PowderUpon googling this product (hello, I have no idea what it was supposed to do) I realized I could swipe it on my face post makeup to set and keep it fresh for longer. I used this a few times most noticeably before a wedding that I went to this weekend and definitely liked that my face didn’t get as oily as it’s prone to over long days. I also read on multiple reviews that it was supposed to make your pores look smaller but that didn’t happen for me.

5. Maybelline’s Master Glaze Blush Stick in “Make a Mauve”

Maybelline's Master Glaze Blush StickThis was the product I would absolutely 100% never pick up in a store on my own especially in this color. I tend to avoid blush anyway because I think my cheeks are rosy enough BUT I tried it out and was more than pleasantly surprised. First off it was noticeable but not too overpowering but more importantly it lasted all day no problem. Bonus, it’s a great simple lipstick color too! I’ll have to take a picture soon to show you what I mean!

This being my first time using Ipsy I thought of a few pros and cons for the service…

PROS

Most of the products boasted being organic, eco and vegan friendly which is always a cause I can get behind.

I really enjoyed the packaging and some of the products will last me more than a few uses which is great.

It was fun receiving items that I wouldn’t necessarily pick out for myself. That blush would have never made it into the makeup bag before Ipsy but I’m so glad that it did!

The prices for the individual items were reasonable and something I could definitely work into my budget… i.e. give me all the nail polishes please!

CONS

Ipsy put me on a wait list when I first signed up, it wasn’t a big deal but just be aware.

I was only really bummed with the cleanser, it just didn’t do anything for me.

I feel like a little product description card to go in the bags with the items would go a long way.  Correct me if I’m wrong because it’s been a few years since I got one but I don’t believe even Birchbox does this? I just know I would find it super helpful in addition to the videos and reviews online of course.

Overall

 I really enjoyed getting this glam bag, I am definitely looking forward to my next one! I’ve spent $10 on much less enjoyable things, that’s for sure 😉

Have you ever received an Ipsy or a Birchbox type service?

Do you ever tried any of these products?