So, how are y’all liking my frequent posts on the blog these days? If you are new here, I wanted to let you know that I now post at least once a week. I try to post something by Wednesday, but this week I am a little behind because I got married last week and a half! Will tell you more about it in a separate post. Today, I am going to specifically talk about one of the most awaited events of my entire life, and that is my bachelorette party!!!
My bachelorette party was planned by one of my best friends / bridesmaid, Zap. Her and I have been friends for many, many, years and we were even roommates at one point. Even though Zap doesn’t live in Atlanta anymore, she still jumped at the opportunity to plan and throw this party for me. One of my other friends / MOH also helped with the planning as well, and I seriously cannot thank them both enough for going through all the hassle for me!
Since we started the planning a little late in the game, the only time that worked for the majority of the people going was Labor Day weekend. Since it was also a holiday weekend, we decided to keep it local to make it easy for everyone, so that we don’t have to travel. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, because I was in Vegas the week leading up to that weekend, and was traveling back to Atlanta on that Thursday and had Friday off. When I came back from Vegas, I was exhausted from the trip but the Friday at home allowed me the opportunity to spend time with my family before heading out again. The one-night instead of a two-night getaway, was also great because it gave me the time to be away with the girls, yet still have the remainder of the long weekend to spend it with R and Alden. Aren’t I such a good and responsible mother? =P
Anyway, the plan was for me to meet up with Zap and Atoosa on Saturday at a hotel in Brookhaven, where we were staying, and for us to have a pool day. When I arrived, it was just us three girls and the other ladies started coming in later that afternoon. We hung out at the pool for a couple of hours before heading back to the room to start getting ready for dinner and our night time activities. I forgot to mention that when I got to the room the first time, I was surprised to see the room decorated to fit the bachelorette theme with lingerie, party decor and party favors! Everyone got a plastic cup (which was convenient for our drinks) that included a “Hangover Kit” with goodies to help aide our potential morning discomfort from poor decisions made the night prior. I’ll have to say though that not none of us had to use this kit for what it was advertised for, but I’ll have to say, all the essentials were definitely useful for me the next day – Well done, Zap.
After we freshened up for the night, we headed out to dinner. I decided to keep it casual at dinner and wore a white sleeveless body suit and a denim skirt and my favorite sandals this summer from Forever 21. Dinner was at BUA Thai Restaurant in Brookhaven and it was amazing! I had forgotten how good the restaurant was because I haven’t been there in a while. We had a nice-sized group of about 8 people. I had some sushi AND Thai of course, with some delicious lychee drinks. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel room for a couple rounds of bridal games.
We played 4 games in total. One of the games was for me only and the other three were for the girls. I had to guess who purchased what lingerie for me, based on what I know about their styles and personalities. So, instead of buying lingerie that is random, they have to buy something that fits their personalities, so I can match it. I got all correct. Yay, me! The next game we played was, “Polish or Porn”. Zap read out names that could either be from a nail polish or from an actual porno movie, and the girls had to guess if it was Polish / Porn; Faby won this round. Next game we played was a question game where Zap had R & I answer questions separately before, and then we had the girls guess, and Zap read both our answers after. I think Diana won this game. The last game we played was another questions game, and it’s called “How Well Does He Know His Bride?”, where Zap had R answer a set of questions about me prior, and I had to guess his answers. The girls had to guess how many of these questions I would get right, and the closest number wins. Faby won this round! Btw, the last set of questions were hard!! Hahaha. I didn’t do too well.
After games, we got into our sparkly dresses, and yes, that was the theme, and headed out to Lips in Buckhead. Lips is a drag show, and my gosh you guys, it was so much fun! There were a lot of people there with celebrations, which of course included other bachelorettes as well. While we were eating (again), there were performances by the drags and I made it rain on them. Haha. It’s actually not like a triple-X rated show or anything, but they do appreciate tips. Anyway, I, along with other bachelorettes got called on stage for a contest, and of course my clumsy self, made me lose instead of win. But, no one got anything, so hey.. I am okay with that!
We headed back to the hotel after the show and since we got a later showtime, we got back late. We didn’t go anywhere else to party after that because we’re old and we’re lame. Haha. We just went back, washed up and just stayed up talking. That, to me was much more fun! Not everyone stayed over at the hotel, except for Zap, Atoosa, Faby & I. The next morning, we got up at 7 AM, and went to breakfast at Flying Biscuit. One of my friends didn’t get to join the activities the day before due to a conflict with another bachelorette party, but she came out to eat breakfast with us. Really enjoyed our time chit chatting and the food was amazing;; Flying Biscuit never disappoints!
And…that was it! That was my bachelorette weekend with my girls. Although it was short, it definitely was very, very, sweet.
I am blessed that my work allows me to travel to new places pretty regularly. Even though my travels are spent working, short and long trips, it still is nice to be able to travel to parts of the country for research, supplier meetings, press checks, trainings, trade shows, and etc. I work for a company that I absolutely love, on a business that is both exciting and unique at the same time; I’ve learned so much in my 2 years there, more than I have ever learned in any of my jobs previously. Every year in August, the company that I work for hosts a distribution show in Las Vegas for our customers and partners. This show is always a nightmare because there’s so much work leading up to it, and when we finally get there,we are working the event for one whole week! It gets to be very exhausting, albeit fun at the same time.
My team and I normally fly in on Sunday, so we are there ready to rock and roll early Monday morning, but as always, I like to fly in a little bit early (usually an early AM flight), so I can do some sightseeing. Last year I flew in early Sunday morning, and managed to do a little pool day at the hotel before meeting up with my colleagues that very night for dinner. This year, I decided to fly in on Saturday instead because I wanted to see the deserts outside of Las Vegas and to see the Grand Canyons. I managed to convince one of my coworkers to come with me, so we both flew in together on Saturday, and got on our little mini vacation to the Grand Canyons that weekend.. and here I am, about to tell you all about it.
Before I left, I did some research on the topic to ensure I make the most out of my 1-day trip. I came across this blog post by Indiana Jo, and the author shared some really good tips on how to make the best out of your 1-day trip to the Canyons. However, I didn’t manage to do everything on the list because I also wanted to squeeze in a trip to Hoover Dam on the way back to Las Vegas, and I also wanted to visit my dear friend, whom I’ve known since 2005, since she now lives in Vegas too. So, in retrospect, my 1-day Canyon trip was more like a half-a day trip instead, which meant I had to improvise and make my very own list of things to see and do while I was out there this year.
In N Out
It is not at all surprising (to me) that my very first item on the to-do list is to go find an In N Out Burger. It is essentially the Chick-Fil-A of the West, which means it is just a regular fast food joint that serves pretty good burgers instead of chicken sandwiches and shoe string fries versus waffle fries. Their menu selection is very small, but behold, there is such a thing as the secret menu. I am a pretty straightforward eater, and got something off their standard menu, but I did get a little add-on from the secret menu as well. I ended up getting a Double Double Animal Style with french fries. Yum! We got there at a pretty good timing (11 AM), right when they opened, and right before the lunch rush. Phew!
Scenic Drive | Overlook Stops
I’ll have to admit that one of the best things on the drive out to the South Rim (read below to see why I chose this Rim), is the scenic drive. I didn’t realize how gorgeous it was going to be until we started driving. If you love the desert, you will find it absolutely beautiful out there! The multiple elevation points make it even more breathtaking because you get to see valleys after valleys and mountains after mountains.. all made from sand and rocks!
I was quite the speedy driver, which meant I’m always driving in the fast lane. With that, I missed some really pretty scenic points because I couldn’t get on the exit ramp soon enough since I was always zooming through. So, please slow down so you don’t miss these lookout points like I did. On the way back to Vegas though, we managed to stop by one lookout point near Lake Mead, and it was beautiful! Not as gorgeous as on the way out of Vegas but still really nice.
How do you know which rim to visit?
When you decide to go to the Grand Canyons, there are 4 different rims / sides to choose from. There’s the North & South Rim, and Grand Canyon East & West.
The best rim for Las Vegas visitors is the West rim because it is closer to get to (a 45 minute drive), and it is known for the skywalk bridge. I didn’t choose this rim because it doesn’t seem like it offers a lot of viewpoints, therefore I decided to skip it. I do wish to go visit this rim one day and try out the skywalk eventually with R, because I’ll admit, it does look pretty cool. From their website, it looks like you can do other things here as well such as go zip lining, visit the Hualapai settlement and much more.
I chose to visit the South rim which is further to get to because it is in Arizona (about a 3.5 hour drive from Vegas), because I wanted to get the true Grand Canyon experience. The South Rim is the popular rim because it is where most movies are filmed, photos are taken, because it offers more than a dozen viewpoints. The South Rim also offers several trails that you can hike to see more of the Canyons while you are there. I thought that initially we will have time to hike the Bright Angel Trail, but even though it was a shorter trail, we didn’t have time to do that as well. I hope to come back with R and Alden one day so we can see more of this beauty.
Where To Stay?
There are several options as to where you can stay when visiting the South Rim. After my hours of research, I found 4 places that you can choose from ranging from furthest to nearest.
Grand Canyon National Park
We chose to stay in Williams, AZ because Flagstaff was too far by my definition, even though it is only 30 minutes further from Williams. If you want to save more on hotels, going furthest will help you get to a pretty inexpensive hotel that are not as quite shady. Williams is a cute town about 49 miles away from the park, and it is situated near the historic route 66 highway. Because we traveled there during monsoon season (yes, there’s such a thing), it was raining when we got there and it was really cold. We didn’t get to walk around the town square, even though they have cute little shops and restaurants / bars, because it was raining and because we were tired. After arriving, we stayed in the hotel for about 1.5 hours while I do school work and then we headed out to dinner at South Rim Beer & Wine Garage. We got back to our hotel early and went to bed at 8:30 PM which was perfect because it was right around my bedtime anyways, on Eastern time. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express; Standard hotel, nice clean rooms and friendly staff.
Grand Canyon Park
My short experience at Grand Canyon Park was unbelievable. We woke up early at 3:30 AM to make time for the 1-hour drive, in time to catch day break. It was freezing that morning! When we got there, there were already people gathered up at Mather’s Point waiting to see the sun come out. As soon as I parked the car, we jumped out and quickly huddled, along with a few others. I heard nothing but shuffling feet, whispering and saw nothing but some light from the horizon peaking. As soon as the sun came out, we were literally gasping. What a sight to see! We were there for about 2 hours and eventually left at 7 AM. It was hard to leave but we felt very fulfilled. Hope R and I can come here again sometime next year. It was really inexpensive to visit the park. We only had to pay $25 for the entrance fee. More info here.
Our last stop before heading back into the city was the Hoover Dam. We did not do the guided tour because by the time we got there it was close to lunch time and we were already getting tired. We spent only about 30 minutes at the dam. We didn’t have to pay for parking because we were there for a short while and we decided not to park in the covered garage, but instead opted for the open parking spaces; They are scattered evenly around the dam area which was nice. Hoover Dam was such a cool experience – If I get to visit again, I’d probably want to do the tour to learn more about the history and take the elevators down but if I asked R, he’d say, “Why don’t you just Google?” – He does have a point!
I know that this is probably not the best way to see all there is to see out on the West coast but I had a very fulfilling trip. Even though I was exhausted, I felt refreshed and ready to rock and roll at the show after my short little trip. Sometimes, you just have to take that extra 10 minute, 1 hour or 1 day and go do something you don’t normally do. I swear it will do you so much good inside!
So, if you guys follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that I went across the pond for a quick-ish trip to the Netherlands early June. If you didn’t know I was away, well now you do.
R had to go on a work trip in Europe the last week of May (his company is based in Austria), and he surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam for my 30th birthday. It was AWESOME! I did not want to come back and before I left the city, I found myself looking at neighborhoods in Amsterdam to live in, and schools we could send Alden to, and not to mention, complete step-by-steps on how to move there as an expatriate. I know, I know.. I’m extra.
Before visiting Amsterdam, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into or what to expect really because even though it is a popular place, it wasn’t on my list of top places to visit. I have always seen pictures of Amsterdam but never really looked at them, but when I arrived there, I fell in love. I know I am using this “love” term very loosely when it comes to travel, but I am telling you that this time it is for real. My trip to Amsterdam was my first time ever in Europe. I’ve had a few layovers in Sweden, but I never got the chance to visit, so this trip was enlightening to me. So now, I can finally say that I’ve been to Europe and as always I am thankful to R who always helps me check things off my bucket-list. Right babe? 😉
My post today is going to be about the beautiful and historical Amsterdam. What to do, what to see, what to eat and some other travel trips from a girl less-traveled, and that is me!
Historic Buildings & Architecture
Amsterdam is a historic city, so just understand that being there already is an experience in itself. This is coming from a girl who has never really lived in a place that has a lot of architectural history, so when it comes to traveling to places with a lot of what I’d like to call, “old-time charm”, it always catches me in a daze.
I moved to the US in 2005 and I moved from the buzzing city life to a life on the beach in Florida. From there, I moved to Atlanta but I never lived downtown because I couldn’t justify paying high rent for an apartment and also because I have always worked outside the city center. With that said, I am now used to seeing the usual American suburban towns or neighborhoods that are typically newer built and most of the time, the buildings are all cookie-cutter and look exactly the same; You can be in any part of the country and still find yourself in a standard shopping plaza, which will house your typical grocery store, an urgent care, a nail salon, a couple fast casual restaurants, and a UPS store. Sometimes, you may get lucky with a Starbucks or a cool Mexican restaurant with an outdoor seating area, but most of the time, everything looks typically the same. So, as I was saying, being in Amsterdam itself was a cool experience to me because it was just charming and aesthetically pleasing.
When exploring the city, you’ll notice that the rowed buildings tilt forward, lean to the side or even have gaps in between. It is because these rows / buildings were built on wooden piles since Amsterdam is a city built on water, and naturally after hundreds of years, they deteriorate. When I think about this, it brings me back to the episode on How I Met Your Mother, when Lilly and Marshall bought their first condo and realized that their building was tilted. They found out by accident when they placed a ball on the floor and realized that the ball kept rolling to the other side of the room because the floors were not even, which drove Marshall crazy! Can you guys imagine living in a house like that?
Museums & Experiences
To get a glimpse into what these homes look and feel like on the inside, you can head on over to the Anne Frank House Museum. I am so glad that we took advantage of this and visited the museum – It was such a humbling experience. The tour itself did not take very long; I want to say it was about 30 – 45 minutes. We got a later reservation on a Friday night at 8 PM since R didn’t come in until late afternoon from Austria, while I arrived early that morning. It felt late when we left the hotel to go to the Anne Frank House but the long summer days definitely helped because day time was much longer. (Side note: It did get pretty cold at night, so make sure to wear / bring a jacket).
Just to give you a background on Anne Frank if you haven’t yet read her diary, she was one of the million Jews that were murdered during the Holocaust. Anne and her family lived behind a bookcase where her father used to work, in a place called the Secret Annex and during their hiding, Anne wrote in her diary almost daily for 2 years before they were found and brought to the concentration camps. I read her diary when I was younger and to be able to experience the crammed living quarters in which Anne lived in, was so humbling. I remember being there for only 30 – 45 minutes but I almost passed out due to claustrophobia; I cannot imagine what it would’ve been like to live there – My heart goes out to all the victims of the Holocaust.
TIP: Buy your tickets in advance and and go for an early morning or a late evening time slot. We went to a late night one and it was less crowded but still there were many people and we got stuck in human-traffic in the house due to the volume and I thought I was going to pass out because.. claustrophobia. Tickets
There are many other museums and experiences you can go to while in Amsterdam such as the Rijkmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum & the Heineken Experience, but we did not visit any of them because we’re not big fans of crowds. We actually tried to get tickets to visit the Van Gogh Museum but it was sold out for the weekend. See what happens when you fail to plan?
I AMSTERDAM sign
If you Google “Most photographed place in Amsterdam”, I am pretty sure you will come across the“I Amsterdam” sign, and visiting this is a no-brainer. It is free and it is located in front of the Rijksmuseum and near to the Heineken experience. It’s a pretty cool place just for a photo op but man, was it super packed! We got there sometime during noon and if I have to go back there again, I’ll probably opt to go in the morning or evening to stay away from the crowds. That way I can get more Insta-worthy shots.
Where to Stay?
I loved the Rembrandtplein area, which is also where we chose to stay while in Amsterdam. I didn’t think that we purposely planned to get a hotel outside of the Centraal area, but it was nice that we did because Amsterdam Centraal was a zoo (I told you we have an aversion to crowds). We stayed on Linnaeustraat, which was a streetcar away to the shopping and nightlife district in Rembrandt square and it could have not been more perfect place to stay in. From a location standpoint, I was able to travel from Schiphol airport by myself to our hotel, and by just one train. (Muiderpoort station). After I got off the train, I walked about 2 blocks down to Linnaeustraat street and the hotel was right there to my left. Our hotel also had easy access to the streetcars, which was definitely a plus as well.
I didn’t go crazy with shopping in Amsterdam but I did buy a few things. I felt like the H&M there was much better than the ones here in the States. Even their Zara was better too – Well, duh.. Europe. Another store that I loved exploring was Primark. I get it guys. Things are very affordable there, and they had literally anything and everything for everyone there! And, should I mention once again that they are cheap? I bought a cute skirt from there, a crop top, a sweater for Alden, and R got himself a backpack that he now uses for work. Of course, Ryan and I hit-up H&M too. I loved that their H&M store has a HOME section!! Wish I lived there!
I forgot to mention that one of my best friends from high school met up with us while we were there in Amsterdam and we had such a BLAST. Feeya made the trip even more better because of her craziness and positive energy. It was natural that the three of us, hit up a club in Amsterdam. This was of course, my idea. I love dancing! Even if I am no good at it. I do admit that I only like to go for a short time because I go to bed so early these days. The club we went to was Club Escape, and it was AWESOME. Awesome because, there is a legit light show in the main room, and indoor smoking is not allowed (Thank god! – There are smoking rooms provided indoors though for you smokers) – and like any big clubs, there are several rooms you can go to that play different types of music. For some reason, we ended up in the hip hop room and we soon found out that they LOVEto play throwback music. We thought it was a throwback night or something until we went to another club the next night and the playlist there was almost identical to the one in Escape. Hysterical. They were bumping to Ignition by R. Kelly. I thought I was back in the early 2000s.
Another thing that we did while we were there, was that we went to the Icebar. It was a-ok. I thought it was going to be a bar made from ice that people go to for fun (which it was) but it was more of an attraction versus an actual hang-out spot. Oh, and one last mention, the red light district! It was very surprising to see how clean the district was. There were so many people (sorry I keep bringing up crowds.. I hate crowds) and I didn’t feel creeped out at all!
Floating Flower Market – Bloemenmarkt
Also near Rembrandt square, you will find the famous Bloemenmarkt, which is a floating flower market. I really wanted to go see their tulip gardens outside the city center but we were not in season for it, therefore did not get to experience it. However, if you love flowers, you should definitely check out the floating market. They had all types of beautiful blooms there in varying colors and they were just so pretty! Did you know that Netherlands is one of the biggest countries that export seeds and flowers to other countries? I didn’t buy any because I was traveling, but sigh.. I wish I did!
Find a Windmill – De Gooyer
Another thing that was on our list was to find a windmill. There are not many of them scattered through the city but R was able to find one! The one that we went to is the De Gooyer windmill which is one of the oldest windmills in the Netherlands.
Ride A Bike
I know that it is intimidating to ride a bike in Amsterdam but it is by far, the BEST way to get around over there. R and I made the mistake of not going on the bike the first couple of days we were there, but when we finally did, we got to see so much more! Even though the streetcar/ tram is convenient, there’s just more waiting on that versus just hopping on the bike and walking around to get to places. I felt like the bike there is way better than my bike here, and even though it isn’t a typical road bike, it felt effortless all around. Just beware of other bikers though; They’re pretty aggressive and they are not afraid to cuss you out! Also, don’t be afraid of getting hit by buses and trams or cars because technically, they have to stop for you. So, what are you waiting for? Get on that bike!
TIP: Rent your bikes from your hotel. It was so easy to drop it off right then and there and not having to worry about traveling to a rental place to drop it off at the end of your long exhausting day. The bikes we rented came with locks too, which was convenient. You will be a pro at finding places to park your bike and if you are cycling in a shopping district, you’d come across the famous “No bike zone” stickers that they place in alleyways, etc. So fun!
Go To Local Parks
Because of our choice in mode of transportation above, we got to see so much more and do more things without feeling super exhausted. We were very lucky also that the weather was cooperating with us as well. On one of our afternoons there, we went to a local park not too far away from our hotel and it was the cutest sight! Over there, we saw many locals with families bring their kids out to play, there was an ice-cream man selling ice cream from his bike and in the gazebo, there was a group of older men and women who were dancing and enjoying a salsa & cha-cha session with their peers. It was a picturesque day!
Of course I had to add this to the list. If you like to engage in recreational marijuana activities, there are obviously plenty of coffee shops to go to. I hated the smell but you kind of get used to the smell after a while. I walked in one coffee shop and I was very surprised to see that it is actually very clean and systematic. They also do not serve alcohol there; Just coffee and other beverages instead. It definitely was an interesting experience. Sorry, no pictures =) I’m disappointed I didn’t take photos of the coffee shops from the outside!
Rooftop Bars & Restaurants
As always, when visiting a new place, we always like to search for rooftop restaurants or bars because the view is always just so scenic from the top of a building. We went to a bar in Volkshotel, which I believe was a hotel R wanted to get us to stay in at first but had no availability, and it was so quirky and fun. This bar also had a spa in one of their top floor levels too; Super interesting! We were there in time to watch the sunset (9-ish PM), and it was all around just good feels. Loved it!
Eat, Eat, Eat
I could not explain how well fed I am while I was in the Netherlands. They have some really nice restaurants that are equally diverse. I remembered one of our best meals was actually had was on our last dinner there at an Indian restaurant. It was BEYOND amazing. Enjoy my food snaps as follows.
And, more food…
With all of that said…
There you have my full list of things that I recommend doing/seeing in Amsterdam; I am sure there are more than these things you can do over there, and perhaps we get to back to experience more things but for a short trip, we definitely had a pretty fulfilling vacation there. We enjoyed Amsterdam so much that we skipped our plan on the last day to visit Brussels, Belgium, and spent another day there instead. Even though it was an opportunity missed, I am sure there will be plenty of next times for us in the future.
This is the longest time I have spent writing and crafting a travel post so I hope you enjoyed it!!
I just spent quite some time on my blog here to optimize this experience for you. I am really trying to get my blog to the next level, and my hopes that my actions will come to fruition. But first, let me share some Alden updates.
Happy Monday! I am super excited to start the week because I am loving my new job. It is awesome to find a new gig, but it is even better when the new gig is something that you are starting to feel really passionate about.
Anyway, I didn’t get to share this with you last week but I wanted to actually talk about our recent trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains two weekends ago. R’s friends go on a cabin trip once a year and this year we went to one in Blairsville, GA for Columbus Day weekend. There were in total 6 couples, 2 kids and a baby and it was a lot of fun!
Where did we stay?
We picked our cabin through www.escapetoblueridge.com and our lodge could not have been more perfect (We stayed in the Just Like Heaven cabin). It was SO beautiful! We each got a room and the house is fully stocked with pots, pans, dishes, silverware and more, AND it has a huge game room upstairs complete with a 104” TV, with a poker table outside, an outdoor fireplace, a ping pong table and most importantly – a grill. All in all, each couple paid $320 for a total of 3 nights and 4 days. Not bad huh?
What did we do?
R and I arrived a little late on Friday evening because I didn’t take the day off from work seeing I just started there. We left our house around 7:30 PM and we got there at 9:30 PM. Mountain driving at night was scary for me but not to R. He had a blast. – Of course. Soon as we got there, we ate and started playing some games. Alden was getting passed around in the room being a super chill baby that he is.
On Saturday, all of us drove 45 minutes outside our cabin to Ellijay, GA to the apple picking festival at the Gilmer County Fairground. The day was beautiful and it got pretty hot actually because the sun was sitting high shining brightly at us. When we parked our car near Ellijay Town Square, we realized that no one had cash to enter the festival with. So, we walked around the square to find some money and we ended up buying food from a food truck there in the square. We then hopped onto the shuttle bus that took us directly to the fair and soon as we got there, I nursed Alden in the mom & baby camper sponsored by Piedmont Hospital and I was able to change his diaper too in the comfort of this air conditioned space.
There were SO many people there and I was actually impressed with the items that were on sale by the locals. Unlike any other arts festival in Atlanta, the items that were up for sale there in Ellijay were pretty reasonable. But, I didn’t buy anything. Not even food! I think R and I were full from the chicken tenders that we waited forever for in the Square, that we were ok with not having to wait in another line at the apple festival. We left before our friends did because at this time we were already so pooped from walking about the booths, and the heat did not help at all. Soon as we got back to the cabin, we fell asleep.
In the evening, our friends made some homemade soup because the weather dropped to a nice cool temperature. We lazed around near the outdoor fireplace on the deck, and drank some soup while each couple exchanged stories of their proposal/engagements with one another. It was super nice. Once we were done with sitting outside, we went back into the living room and started a round of Guesstures. Man, I love that game! It’s always so darn hilarious to watch people acting out stuff when they are under the timer.
R and I left the next day on Sunday instead of Monday like everyone did because we did not have Columbus Day off. We stayed there until around 2 PM and got home in Atlanta before it got dark. We were both really exhausted from the long weekend.
Will we go back?
Sure, we would. I think that it’s nice to getaway every once in a while because I love exploring new places. What’s even nicer is that we get to hang out with our friends, creating memories together. That’s the best, if you ask me. Perhaps next time we can go to the beach instead? We’ll see.. Hope you enjoyed the pics!
Hope everyone had a great weekend or at least a relaxing one. I know I did and I’m glad that I did because it is the only time I get to sleep in, and not have the alarm clock buzzing in my ear to wake me up. So yes, that was definitely nice.
One of my good friends got married to her husband in March and it was such a lovely ceremony. I loved their wedding; from the venue, the food & the people, R & I had such a blast. They chose to get married in Savannah, Georgia, because they love that city. I don’t blame them. It has that historic charm, fit for an international journalist as she rightfully is.
If you live in the Atlanta metro area, it takes about 3 hours to get to Savannah and it is perfect for a weekend getaway. I wish we stayed there longer but 2 days was better than none.
Anyways, we had yummy seafood at Sorry Charlie’s and I highly recommend the Low Country boil – SO good! We also walked around historic Savannah after dinner and ended up at a local bar listening to music and just had a great time.
The wedding was all day Saturday and it was at the Garibaldi Cafe also in historic Savannah. The venue was perfect and the food was delicious. This mama was happy.
I wore a dress that I purchased the morning of the wedding. It was from Papaya and it was exactly what I had in mind. I loved R’s suit and I knew that I wanted to match him with my burgundy lips and either a nude or blush dress. I can’t find the exact dress in their website but I would definitely wear something like this too, minus the belt.When I found this dress, it was pure luck! I was so happy! I wore my sky high Steve Madden heels and paired it with a Louis Vuitton clutch purse.
Have y’all been to Savannah yet?
I love this pic of us. I have a one framed at my desk at the office. =)
It’s time for another travel update on this humble little blog of mine!
Early June, my family and I trekked up the Southern region of North America to upstate New York for our family reunion. When I say trek, I really meant one thing; a road trip! The drive from Atlanta to Albany was a total of 17 hours, not including our refueling stops (food & gas both), so you can safely say we were in the car for an umpteenth number of hours! However, it was a lot of fun! On our way up, we drove past some incredible views along the countryside of numerous states, with Pennsylvania being the furthest we drove through! Man, was that state huge our what? We left Atlanta around 7 AM and reached Albany close to midnight that very same day. My sister’s kids were SO great in the car. The little 2.5 year old actually only started getting cranky 45 miles out to our destination. Who wouldn’t? I was getting cranky myself!
We were in Albany for a total of three nights. Going into the start of our vacation, I knew nothing about my grandma’s side of the family other than the things my grandma would tell me about them. She is really good at keeping tabs and sharing information and pictures to us to make sure we know her side of the family. For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Malaysia, where I spent most of my childhood & teenage years with my mother’s family. I am glad to be back in the states which is now my home to finally get to know my American roots. Meeting my extended family for the first time, was definitely eye opening. I met my late father’s aunts, uncles & cousins, and as much as I wished he was there, I know that he is happy that we get to meet and acquaint with his family. I miss you dad, SO much.
After breakfast on the first day, we just mingled and did our own thing during the day. My mom and I were craving for Asian food so badly that we made sure we find a Thai restaurant to offset the fast food we consumed on our crazy long journey. We made our way to downtown Albany and saw some really neat things but most importantly.. the food! After lunch, my immediate family and I met up at a park near the famous Hudson River. The kids played around in the park and the adults just hung around, played with the kids and caught up with one another. We headed back to our hotel late that afternoon as the weather started to get gloomy and helped with setting up our first family dinner together. Our hosts this year were my grandma’s brother’s family, who reside in this beautiful place. They were such amazing hosts; from making sure we had things to do and most importantly..all the food they fed us with! We played a couple rounds of games that evening and after the night was over, we retreated back to our rooms. Just kidding! The younger cousins (me included) went out to a bar next door and hung out even longer.
On our second day, we ventured up to Saratoga to the National State Spa Park. Why is it a “spa” do you ask? Well, this wonderful natural space has many geysers that shoot out carbonic mineral water that is widely used by carbonated drink manufacturers to produce soda in the early 1900s which also include soda water which actually has a lot of health benefits to those of you who didn’t know and just natural spring mineral water that is great for your body. The water was COLD but of course I was the only crazy one that fully dipped in the water. It felt great! After we hiked, swam and played hopscotch & ball, we grilled (homemade) burgers in true American spirit 🙂
I really enjoyed being out there as I have a huge love for the outdoors, although I don’t normally get to go out that much often in Georgia, out of fear of wild animals,well snakes really..but when I do get to be outdoors, I feel truly happy. It was the most unpretentious holiday I’ve had so far; it was perfect. A little side note but, throughout my entire trip, I wore zero makeup. After coming back from the vacation, one of my friends asked me what I did to my face because it cleared up so much. I told her I didn’t do anything but mother nature did all the work. Isn’t that amazing?
The next day, our family broke up into two different groups; one went hiking to a waterfall somewhere (obviously I wasn’t part of that group), and the other went to the pool. Farah, myself and the kids spent the day at the pool and mind you, we went to a public pool in a really nice suburban neighborhood. and we were surprised to see true Stepford Wives all around us. For one, my sister and I were the only ones in a 2 piece bathing suit and we were in the kiddy pool with so many young people with even younger kids only to realize after the whistle was blown, signifying “times-up”, that these were all nannies in the pool with the kids. All the mom’s sat on the edge of the pool or underneath a shade somewhere where their nannies took the kids back to them in simultaneous fashion after they have served enough time. Wow! All you Johns Creek/Alpharetta moms need to step it up.
After the pool, we went back to our hosts’ home and enjoyed our last dinner together and celebrated all the June birthdays that very evening and proceeded to taking group photos..you know.. one for the album! After getting back to the hotel, my dad’s cousin took my cousins and I to a bar in downtown Albany. She was wonderful! I am glad I get to hang out with her and although she is technically my dad’s cousin, she is not much older than me. Loved it.
On our way back the very next day, we stopped by NYC for lunch and then went to our friend’s home in Jersey City. Fuck NYC, why do you keep doing this to me? I love you! We left NYC and traffic was insane but we literally drove the entire night through. By the time we got to Georgia, the sun has risen and I kissed our driveway as we rolled back home. The drive up was fun, the drive down…not so much. SO, the one thing I take away is NO more freaking roadtrips! Lol. It was memorable for sure.. and atleast I get to tell these awesome stories to you guys.
That was my most recent vacation. I am really glad we met the trip up North and I cannot wait for the next time we all get together again in three years. I personally think that my sister and I should host one of these reunions soon in memory of my daddy. I am ever so thankful for him that I have this family. I don’t think I ever talk about my dad here on the blog. To many people, he may be bad..but to me he is my king. He is the best daddy to me in the world because in a way, he has taught me many things about myself; courage, strength,hope & love. I wish I can tell you what I, what we have gone through as a family, but I will save that for next time. I love you daddy and I miss you so much. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. I hope you are proud of me and I want to tell the world that I am proud to be your daughter. Thank you for everything. I know you loved me.. I never doubted that you didn’t. I love you too..
Sorry for the emo-freak paragraph above. This was supposed to be about travel, but this is how I feel after it all. Count your blessings and show your loved ones how you feel for them (despite their flaws) because I am pretty sure they will like to hear it.. and it’ll make you feel great.
Hope y’all enjoyed this as I much as I enjoyed writing. Happy Labor Day!
Earlier this month, I visited Chicago for work. The conference didn’t start until Monday, so I flew up there earlier to spend some time in the city and had such a grand time! The last time I visited Chicago, it was right smack in the middle of winter, therefore it was freezing cold! This time around, the weather was perfect and my friend’s place was right in downtown Chicago, so it was easy and convenient getting around to places.
I flew in on Saturday and we walked around the city all day and watched the Blackhawks game that night. Sunday was spent hitting up a Flywheel class and walking around some more – solo. It was great.
I met up with a coworker on Monday and we did store walks in the big box retail stores in Viagra triangle lol. The weather was super shitty that day, so getting around was frustrating. My coworker took me to a studio party in the West Loop. It was pretty dope.
All day Tuesday was spent walking around a merchandise mart for the conference. I haven’t walked so much like that in a while. Saw some really neat things at the show.
Sigh.. I loved Chicago. When will I ever get to be a part of a big city like that? One day!
If you want to venture out West, I highly recommend, Seattle.
Seattle is so unique. A city that is full with history; think of the one time the city got burned down as it was built entirely out of wood, and now stands erected with tall skyscrapers and the mystery of the underground, remnants of the past life, still beneath the streets. Think of the totem poles that now stand in Pioneer Square, telling stories and myths of our older societies. Think of the quirky and equally gross gum wall near Post-Alley at Pike Place Market, how it became what it is just from people sticking gum to the wall while waiting to purchase movie tickets back in the old days. And now think of it as a home to the largest coffee franchise and the largest online distributor in the world; Starbucks & Amazon. Not to forget, home to Microsoft & Boeing. Seattle has it all.
I really enjoyed this city. I thought that it had the perfect mix of downtown/urban living but is still accessible to the mountains, lakes and the ocean. It was beautiful, picturesque and quirky. I thought that most Seattlites were very friendly too. Never too tired or too annoyed to answer questions from travelers, always eager to help. The only downside to it was, were there many homeless people there or what? They were pretty vocal and seemed aggressive as well. However, I think that there’s a way to approach them in a less intrusive and approachable manner. I believe they’d respect you for that.
Seattle was very artsy and when I say artsy, I really mean, Hipster. LOL. Men are all bearded, smart & cultured, which is a rarity in Georgia (for the most part). I would love to go back again, to visit for a few days.. maybe go up to Portland. I heard that place is weird too.