Road Tripping! A Beforehand Guide…

It’s vacation week friends!

I don’t know about you but I’ve been running the roads for as long as I can remember. My parents would just stick the baby sister and I in the car and off we went! In particular the drive from Vermont to Tennessee and everywhere in between is one that I could do with my eyes closed at this point. Hell I lost my first tooth in a tuna fish sandwich on the way to Tennessee and cried for an hour because I was certain the tooth fairy wouldn’t be able to find our hotel room in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. #trauma

Today I thought I’d share a few tips for getting through long car rides with the majority of your sanity.

Embrace your Ride

My little blue bullet of a car has A LOT of “special features” as we like to say in my family. Your car’s special features are probably heated seats, a sun roof and maybe even a GPS? Mine are more like no A/C, crank windows and not even a tape deck let alone a CD player.

The fix?

A baseball cap for when your windows are down on the highway and you don’t want your hair flying all around. An empty seltzer bottle for singing into all those *awesome* songs on the radio and a sense of humor for when your bum gets stuck to the seats after sweating in the car for 5 hours at a time.

Actually to ride in my car a sense of humor is incredibly important as the car is actually totaled from a hail storm 4 years ago. The amount of conversations I have had with strangers about this hail damage would make your head spin. I’ve even been stopped in the parking lot of the Emergency Room to discuss it, DON’T HAVE TIME BRO, I’M AT THE ER FOR A REASON…

Hail Damaged Car

SNACKS! SNACKS! SNACKS!

If I’m on a mission to get somewhere I’m not wasting time stopping for food. I’m more of a… Subway attached to the gas station looks like a nice Subway, let’s get a sandwich. As snacks are crucial to any good road trip this is my typical shopping list…

Seltzer (for drinking followed by singing into)

Iced Tea

An entire bag of 12-Flavor Gummy Bears from the bulk bin of City Market

Junior Mints (the mint helps with the digestion of said gummy bears, obvi)

Cool Ranch Doritos (don’t even come at me with Nacho Cheese, I’m not having it)

Fruit of some sort (I’m not a complete waste case)

Gummy Bear Addiction

Appropriate Attire

In addition to the non-AC managing baseball cap there a few other staples of road trip wear…

Yoga Pants- great for yoga, even better for endless sitting as learned from Netflix binges.

Tank top- but be careful not to place arm out of window for long periods of time or else you’ll end up with one of those rather unfortunate but also kind of amazing arm burns.

Flip Flops- no better time to put that $2.50 Old Navy pair to use than a road trip

Don’t be a rookie and forget to put on a bunch of deodorant- awkward sweating only looks cute during and after physical activity. This is actually just a reminder to myself, I’m sure y’all know to put deodorant on.

A Solid Road Trip Buddy

Finally, if you are fortunate enough to have a partner in crime on this adventure make sure it’s someone who will put up with your annoying photo taking habit, obnoxiously chatty nature and is going to order extra dipping sauce at the restaurants attractive!

Miss. Sarah

🙂

Any favorite road trips tips or stories?

Any fun Memorial Day plans?

Things I’m looking forward to in May…

Hello friends!

I can’t believe we are already a week into May, where is the time going?? I don’t know about you lovlies but Vermont has decided to crush it lately in the weather department and I couldn’t be happier about it! Today I thought I’d share a few things that I’m looking forward to doing this month because while it will definitely be a busy one it’s shaping up to be fantastic.

1. Finishing Classes.

I can’t even explain to you how happy I am to have a break from classes for a little while. I really wish I could just purchase Rory McIlroy PGA Tour for Xbox and play until I can’t feel my fingers (damn you July 14th). I’ve been watching so much golf lately it’s not even funny. I hope I can get out at least to a range this weekend if it doesn’t rain… this is going to be my season I can feel it!

Golf @ Arrowhead

2. Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge 5K Race.

Next Thursday evening I’m joining some coworkers in Montpelier for a fun 5K race that I’m so excited to be a part of. We are actually sending 3 teams down to participate against tons of other government agencies, companies and non-profit organizations from around the area. I was supposed to run it last year but had to take the boy to the ER after an unfortunate spill on a ATV. This will be my first 5K of the season and lets just say based on my “training” I’m glad it will include dinner and drinks immediately afterwards 😉 P.S. I’m loving my new sneakers, they are very different than my Asics but so far so good. Full post on them coming soon!

Saucony Sneakers

3. Baby Sister’s Graduation!

Meggie Liz is graduating college Memorial Day weekend and I couldn’t be more proud of her! I’m taking a few days off prior to the weekend to drive straight to Tennessee to see a few of my own college friends in Knoxvegas i.e. go shopping, drink margaritas at Soccer Taco & get my hair cut from my dear sweet hairdresser that I haven’t seen in 3 years! I haven’t spent much time in Lexington where Meg goes to school so I’m really excited to head up Friday afternoon to see the sites and hang out with the family to celebrate this huge occasion!

Meghan's High School Graduation

4. Craft Brew Races @ Stowe

I’ve been eying the Craft Brew Races since last summer and this year I am forcing it upon my friend group because it just seems too fun to pass up! It’s $55 for the 5K followed by a brew fest with live music, unlimited samples from more than 20 breweries plus delicious food vendors… oh and did I mention a souvenir glass?? I’m not sure which part I’m most excited about! May 30th friends, mark your calendars and go to Stowe!

Speaking of brew fests I pre-registered for Vermont Brewers Festival tickets last week and got them! Easily one of my favorite events of the year I can’t recommend it enough especially if you go with super fun people 🙂 Regular tickets go on sale May 15th and last year they sold out in less than 10 minutes!

Meredith & I VT Brew Fest 2013

Miss. Meredith and I at the brew fest a couple of summers ago (hope you are reading this and know that I love & miss you dearly).

So that’s a little glimpse at May for this girl, I hope you are all enjoying spring so far! 🙂

Do you have anything you are looking forward to in May?

How have your races been going?

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: 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!

New York Dog House

Happy Monday Folks!

To read this post you must understand that I don’t exactly consider myself a “foodie.” You see to be a foodie you apparently have to like orange flavored things and nuts, both of which I find repulsive. I do however enjoy a good meal and even better service and at the Dog House in Astoria, that’s exactly what I got.

Pete recommended it by saying “awesome beers on tap, french fries with buffalo dipping sauce and sick hot dogs.” We were definitely on board.  I don’t know if you remember that little old I love hot dogs more than I should thing from when I started this blog but it’s a real problem. (Or is it?)

We started the meal off with an Ithaca Beer Co. “Flower Power” IPA which I enjoyed way more than I thought I was going to. It was a wicked blend of fruit while staying true to the bitterness that I love so much from an IPA. Seriously how did they get it to balance like that??? Probably why they are in the big leagues and I’m a basement brewer… Sigh …

Per recommendation we shared a basket of fries with buffalo and sesame chili paste dipping sauces. Buffalo sauce is obviously a gift from the gods (I keep a bottle of Frank’s at the office) and this one in particular was delicious. If they bottled it, I’d have it at my desk. Imagine the possibilities!

New York Dog House

For the main attraction I picked out the “Slaw Dog” with house made slaw and apple slices on a “Kicking Kielbasa sausage.” I basically could have eaten seven more if they would have let me, it was so good!

New York Dog HouseLight on the mayonnaise, heavy on the apple slices, just as a slaw should be. These iPhone photos just do not do it justice.

As I mentioned before, the service was outstanding. When I say outstanding I mean water glasses always full, witty banter with our table, and of course quick with the food. People seemed genuinely happy to work there, it was like the restaurant was this shiny new toy that they wanted to show off. It was awesome. Then this magical thing happened when I mentioned (in a ramble) that I had a tiny little blog our waiter brought out their signature “Far East Dog- sesame chili paste, pickled daikon, scallion, peanuts on a Num Pang sausage”

IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.

I didn’t get a photo because the boys started eating it the minute it was put on the table but I don’t even blame them, it was that good. None of us had even thought about ordering it originally but after he brought that out I can’t imagine getting anything else. The fact that I only had a third of it made me genuinely sad inside. Sweet but tangy, a hint of spice and that pork sausage… can you send that pork sausage to Vermont please?

Speaking of sending to Vermont if they could just open up a location up here in Burlington that would be great… the killer ambiance would fit right in around these parts. If I lived in Astoria I would be a regular, you can bet your ‘Far East’ dog on that.

New York Dog House

And that my friends, is a post about hot dog heaven. Hope you enjoyed 🙂

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?