Music in my ear-2016 Firefly

Hey readers,

Ryan sent me St. Martin pictures so that post will be coming sooner than later!

For now I’m sharing the artist I’m excited to see at this year’s Firefly Festival.


Vince Staples

Fetty Wap. I’m so annoyed that he’s performing at the same time as the Neighborhood, but I’ll be at the Fetty stage. Truth be told I’m less likely to go and see Fetty in a solo concert setting.

Jack Garratt

Elliot Root

Saint Motel

The Wombats

Night Riots

Boy and Bear



Weekly workouts

I’m back from Sint Maarten and still blogging! Will update on the trip and my 30th birthday once I get a few more pictures from Ryan. In the meanwhile continuing with accountability and posting workout plans.

Sunday-sweaty hike in the sun

Monday-snorkeling/swimming and shoulder/back once back to the hotel

Tuesday-30 min cardio and total body circuit workout

Wednesday-20 min yoga and long walk

Thursday-total body circuit and cardio

Friday-yoga and cardio

Saturday-leg and cardio



A different kind of Lancaster

Continuing to play catch up!

Back in March, during my sister’s spring break I headed down to Pa to spend the day with my mom and sister. My mom decided on a day trip to Lancaster County, and instead of purely going to Amish Country to take a horse and buggy tour we ventured off the beaten path.

First stop, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the first hard pretzel baking company in the world. Indeed Julius Sturgis invented the concept of a hard pretzel after leaving soft pretzels in the oven overnight.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area pretzels were my go to snack. After moving to New York and studying abroad in London, I was amazed that others did not share my love of pretzels. After our visit to the factory it become a bit clearer why Pennsylvanians love their pretzels, it’s the pretzel state capital!

I learned lots of little facts about pretzels and pretzel making during our tour. For one, the original concept of a pretzel (soft) came from Italian monks who used them as treats for children when they learned their prayers. The Italian word for pretzel-Pretziola.

Our tour guide describing how to make a pretzel and how the shape originated:

A few other pretzel fun facts:

-“tying the knot” =getting married, came from twisting of the pretzel

-the 3 holes in the pretzel=the 3 trinites

-original pretzel makers at sturgis made 10 cents per hour, in the 1860s that was the second highest paying gig in the area

After pretzel making and tour we visited an alpaca farm per my sister’s request.

The veterinarian was in the middle of giving vaccinations when we pulled up but they told us to hang around for a little so we could see a few potentially pregnant alpacas get ultrasounds. How cool is that! Another fun fact learned, pregnant alpacas will spit, kick, or run away when re-introduced to the stud male. The ultrasound just provides clear evidence.

We then used yelp to find a local place to eat and then made it in time for the last ice cream making session at the Turkey Hill Experience.

Apart from making our own ice  cream flavors there are so many chances to eat ALL THE ICE CREAM and sample Turkey beverages during the tour.

For the ice cream making session we started with a base of vanilla then added base flavoring and various add-ins. We ate a serving or two and then attempted to save the rest with ice. Of course it all melted by the time we made the two hour drive home, but it was still cold so we put it in the freezer and it was fine the next day. That said, if you ever go bring some dry ice or be prepared to eat >1 pint of ice cream ;).

Last fun fact, as of 2015 Butter Pecan took over as the number one ice cream sold nation wide. Vanilla had previously held the spot forever!

Catch you on the other side of 30…that is my 30th birthday!


A weekend in Portland, Maine


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3rd post this week, wahoo!

Last weekend Ryan and I drove up to Portland, Maine to celebrate his parents’ birthdays-April 1 and May 1.

After ~5 hours in the car we arrived, checked into our hotel and walked over to Portland Flea-for-All. I was rather disappointed with the market based on reviews. I was expecting it to be larger and many of the items seemed overpriced. There were a few good furniture pieces but nothing to write home about.

We headed back to the car and drove over to Allagash for our 4pm tour and beer tasting. Allagash’s brewery is located near a few others so a quite a few people had been making their rounds. Over the weekend we only checked out 2 breweries but Maine currently has >50.

Not pictured here, but my favorite room housed old Jim Beam barrels used to make their Curieux beer. As our tour guide stated, they need to replicate the smell of that room in the form of a candle.

At the end of the tour we had the opportunity to taste 4 different beers including the Curieux.

After the tour we headed to a seafood heavy dinner at Eventide Oyster Co. Unfortunately no pictures. We ended up sitting outside in order to be seated in an hour instead of two, but despite jackets and a heat lamp it was still quite chilly. As a result I was only thinking about eating quickly so we could return to warmth. After dinner we headed over to …for a little jazz before calling it a night Blue.

The next morning we grabbed brunch from Sprouts. I ordered an egg scramble with nitrate free bacon-it was the best bacon I’ve ever had, and home fries-also the best. The home fries were crispy on the outside with a soft inside and flavored perfectly. Also with my meal I had a glass of their homemade ginger kombrewcha and grabbed this chocolate peanut butter vegan cupcake for later. I’m ready to drive back to Maine for both!

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving and walking around to see the many lighthouses of Portland. I believe there are 17 that are in the vicinity of Portland,  we hit about 7 of the 17. Unfortunately, we came to Maine a week before the tourist season began  so we were unable to go inside any. Similarly all the historical houses were closed. Thankfully 4 of the lighthouses we could visit are on park land and thus the grounds were open.

On the hunt for a nice slab of slate.

This mansion was built in the 1800s, shame it wasn’t better preserved.

Since we had a late lunch we opted to keep it light with some cheese, hummus, crackers, and fruit. Eaten in the car because it was too cold for us outside. That said, for New Englanders it was clearly summer because many were already in shorts and flip-flops despite only being 48*!

After our snack and another short walk, Ryan surprised his parents with a paint night. I had so much fun when I took my mom to a similar night for her birthday, Ryan wanted to share in the enjoyment.

Then we headed to Central Provisions for dinner. Again no pictures because I’m out of practice of taking pictures of my food :(.

But I did take pictures of the street which was so cute. And the food, by the way, was also amazing. Everything was delicious!!

For our final morning, we went to a mead tasting before heading to lunch. I wasn’t so interested, I’ve had mixed experience with mead (a fermented honey) in the past. In the end, so glad we stopped by, it was delicious! Better yet, unlike a bottle of wine, once open, a bottle of mead can last a long time so we can leisurely sip.

Before dropping the parents off at the airport we headed back to lighthouse #1 where we spotted the Lobster Shack.

We ordered a medium shrimp basket and a crab roll, which came with fries and coleslaw. Everything was delicious minus the coleslaw which was oddly sweet. Mom also ordered a huge slice of strawberry rhubarb pie which we shared, well I took a few bites. The first was yummy but then it became way too sweet.

After saying our goodbyes, Ryan and I started making the way back to New York. After about an hour drive we got out to stretch our legs and walk around the town of Newbury, Ma. The old port city was on just about every list of places to visit in New England. While quiet, again it’s definitely the off season, the town was cute and I loved seeing all of the well preserved old buildings.

Including the Customs House. Just wish it was open :(.

After another 4 hours we stopped for dinner before heading to Bear Mountain for our lodging. We were in very suburban New York but found an Italian restaurant based on Yelp reviews. The food was delicious and the portion sizes were huge, Ryan and I ended up eating them the next night with a few more veggies thrown in for good measure.

Our original plan was to drive back to New York on Monday so we could hike on Tuesday and return the car with plenty of time to spare. Instead, it rained.  We had just enough time in the morning to make it to the main lodge for breakfast and pack up the car before the downpour.

Our lodge:

Walk to the main inn:

We were sad to see that the trash was not better maintained. I mean it’s a park, called Bear Mountain. Thankfully, we only saw vultures picking through the garbage and not bears.

On to the next adventure!

Workouts for the week

Hey all-

Big birthday milestone coming up, I’m gonna be 30 on May 9th!  To celebrate Ryan and I are taking a long weekend thanks to  a great deal we found for Sint Maarten.  I’m so excited to get some sun and layout by the pool/beach. Minus the fact that Ryan just told me it might be raining the entire time…let’s hope that changes by Friday.

In an effort to look my best as a 30 year old in a bikini 😉 and as a means to stay accountable here are my workouts for the week.

Sunday 5/1-45 min constant pace cardio and 30 min yoga

Monday-walk and arms

Tuesday-interval training and legs 

Wednesday-spin and barre

Thursday-45 min constant pace cardio and yoga sculpt



Sunday 5/8

Monday 5/9 birthday!



Fingers crossed for no rain!

Concerts 2016

Hey readers,

Google is really trying to make it hard for me to share with you! First it changed formatting so I couldn’t directly upload photo links on chrome. Now I had to download another app to “easily” transfer photos from my photo to my google photos, to the blog. Le sigh!!

Anyhow, coming over here to share some new music that I’m loving via recent and upcoming concerts.

Andra Day at Webster Hall:

I was actually introduced to this musician via this year’s Grammy performance. I immediately looked to see if she was performing in New York and was surprised to see tickets available at Webster Hall. How!? She should be selling out much larger venues. Not that I’m complaining. I loved seeing her in a more intimate setting, and she did not disappoint…well minus not taking the stage until 10pm (I believe doors were officially at 7).

In addition to covering her catalogue of music, she also performed a number of covers.   I’ve never seen an artist give such a personal spin on popular songs. For example, she did an entire medley of Michael Jackson classics, but it was like Michael Jackson on jazz.

Next up was the Santigold performance at Hammerstein Ballroom. This was my first time visiting the venue for a concert-I had previously visited when trying out a church. Not a fan of Hammerstein, the sound wasn’t the best, and the security was THE WORST. I mean no gum? people had to throw out gum, so silly.

Santigold, on the other hand was just as amazing as the first time I saw her the summer of 2007.

The concert was one huge dance party fueled by her amazing dancers.

Next concert will be by the band Hippocampus, which I discovered thanks to Spotify’s weekly personalized Discover playlist. Probably my favorite feature of Spotify at this point, otherwise I think Tidal has my music streaming $$.

And last but not least RIP to Price. I was in utter shock when my mom notified me by text. He was one of the first musicians I remember listening to as a kid. From my dad watching the Purple Rain movie to dancing the night way with my mom to “1999.” I’m still hoping it’s not true.




Ahh, it’s hard to imagine how I used to find the time to blog everyday! Although I spend so much more time these days commuting to and from work. Not to waste time, let’s jump right into the final honeymoon post-3 nights in Hawaii.

Funny thing, when we first planned on a quick stop in Hawaii on our way back to the states, we thought it was a 2 night stay. A way to break up the trip home (2-9 hour flights instead of one 18 hour). However, as I booked our New Zealand accommodations I realized we left New Zealand Tuesday morning but arrived in Hawaii Monday evening, which meant another hotel night in Hawaii.

This was my first time in Hawaii-we stayed at the Westin on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. It was beautiful but full of tourist and extremely humid. Made me appreciate the quiet pool and beaches of Bali. I wanna go back!

Hike to the rim of the extinct volcano at Diamond Head.

Once back to the hotel we showered, it was so humid, and changed for a free hula show at Waikiki‘s Kuhio Beach Park (free show every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings around 6/6:30).

On our last full day in Oahu we attempted to avoid some of the crowds at Waikiki beach and drove to Waimanalo Beach. Unfortunately the first spot had too many jellyfish and a warning to stay out of the water. Although we ended up on the beach a little further down the waves were too rough for my liking.

While the immediate eats along Waikiki beach are pretty commericial, a little driving gives lots of yummy options.

Koko Head Cafe-for brunch, I had the Breakfast Bibimbap.

‘Ai Love Nalo vegan restaurant with some of the best smoothie options near Waimanalo Beach.

Our final dinner was celebrated like one of the first in Bali-a little fancier, at MW Restaurant.

Special dessert to congratulate us as newlyweds. They also gave us some yummy banana bread (brown bag on the right) to take home. It made for the perfect breakfast the next morning.

Highway Inn-traditional hawaiian food featured on diner, drive-ins, and dives. Our last meal before heading to the plane.

I had the grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich on a taro root bun.

Ryan had a hawaiian combo plate.

See ya soon!

New Zealand-the highlights

Hey all-

This is the second part of the New Zealand post, aka go back and read the other first if you have not yet done so :).

As mentioned in the previous post after landing in Auckland and grabbing food we returned to our hotel to prep for the next 24+ hours with limited food options. And we got creative, hard boiled eggs in a teapot (the kind that plugs in).

Then it was up with the sun and on the road for our first destination…


After walking around to stretch our legs and eat some breakfast it was back on the road. Driving in New Zealand was the best, little to no cars on the road once we got out of Auckland and animals running freely.

After about 2 hours of driving on a dirt road winding through mountains we arrived to Lake Waikaremoana.  We quickly checked into our tourist cabin-for a few extra dollars you are given a fully equipped kitchen, towels, and linens-and then went for a hike before the sun set. I knew we were given linens but wasn’t aware of the fully stocked kitchen, otherwise we would have brought more substantial food items. Instead we had hardboiled eggs, pb and jelly sandwiches, etc. C’est la vie…

The next morning we slept in a little and then got back on the road for the next 3 hour stretch of driving to wine country-Hastings.

From mountain to coast.

We stayed in an area about 20-30 minutes outside of Hastings- Napier: an area known for it’s art deco inspired architecture.  In 1931 an earthquake and the following fires destroyed the town, which was later rebuilt in Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles.

Hotel-Art Deco Masonic:

Direct access to the patio.

First black beach experience!

After 2 nights and 3 days relaxing in Hastings/Hawkes Bay/Napier area we were back on the road for a night in Lake Taupo.

Day hike:

The view from our room thanks to B and B:

Another day, another location:Whitianga for a scallop festival. This would have been a great area for watersports and we did see quite a few people kayaking but it was too cold for us.

So we ate and sampled a few more wines instead.

We missed the memo but apparently the cool thing to do was group themed costumes.

Shells everywhere.

So plentiful that everyone can fish, but with limit to preserve the populations of shellfish. Probably the thing I loved most about New Zealand, respect for the environment and future generations.

Wild turkeys.

View from the back of our accommodations.

Evening walk.

Morning walk. Waters so blue.

Luck ran out and we finally had a day of rain. We had planned to stop in Hamilton region on the way back to Auckland, but with rain that seemed less ideal so we headed to the northern region of Auckland to checkout a few other wineries.

Brick Bay Sculpture: sculpture garden, winery, restaurant.

Around sunset we headed back to the downtown region of Auckland where we would stay for our final days in New Zealand.

Hawaii, final post to come.

New Zealand-the food

The food first this time. Highlighting the best eats from the northern island of New Zealand.

After another day of travels-overnight flight from Bali to Sydney, hung in the airport for a couple of hours, and 3 hour flight to Auckland New Zealand. FYI Sydney had the worst airport food options especially for a major city. According to locals it’s because the  cost to rent in the airport is so high. Without doing research into the subject I would assume that to be true based on the amount of shop vacancies.

Once we landed in New Zealand we picked up our car, checked into our accommodations, and picked up groceries. Groceries to keep us fed during our many long drives in between towns, and for the next night when we would be in a cabin in the woods far from a restaurant.

At this point it was nearly 8pm and if following our schedule we had to be out of the hotel by 5:30am in order to get to Waikaremoana in time for a hike before the sunset. However, before relying on peanut butter sandwiches and hard boiled eggs, and because we had just been traveling for nearly a day we decided to look for a jazz show and something light to eat. Instead we happened upon Depot which was on Ryan’s list of restaurants to try while in Auckland.

We walked in with no expectations that we would be seated and instead were immediately given the chef’s table. Depot is just our kind of restaurant with seasonal dishes made to share, and so affordably priced-granted coming from New York this often is the case.

The wine list was spectacular with so many by the glass options. I had a glass of Quartz Reef Methode Traditionnelle  and Ryan I believe Ryan had the Pegasus Bay Sauvignon/Semillon Waipara Valley 2012.

Then a few plates to share. Everything was outstanding.

Fish tacos and duck fat yams:

Lamb ribs and baked cauliflower mash with cheese. I let Ryan have the ribs because I was all about the mash and even then neither of us was able to finish. So so so good!

I was happily content at this point but then saw the sugar pie and was like dessert is a must tonight even if I only take a bite!

Best sugar pie ever especially when paired with a cappuccino dusted with cocoa powder. I didn’t even know that was a thing! The US now has the flat white why can’t we import the idea of cocoa bits on our cappuccinos?

From there we walked back to the hotel and passed out-well somewhat. I must say the bed that night wasn’t so comfy…

Moving on to Hastings=all the wine tasting and eating after a day of hiking.

TeAwa for some wine tasting and an afternoon snack/lunch:

Owner’s cat was not shy.

Food options were rather average in Lake Taupo. But I will highlight Ryan’s stone grill meal from the Lake House. Assortment of meats including beef, lamb, and chicken brought out on a HOT stone where they would continue cooking to Ryan’s liking.

Whitianga for a Scallop festival!

Scallops prepped so many different ways. And we had all the scallops 😉

Close up just in case you never saw  the coral/roe of the scallop…I wasn’t really into the texture of the coral and only had a few . Mostly ate the white meaty part and gave the rest to Ryan :(.

Back to the northern area of Auckland for more winetasting and lunch…Bali was about cleansing and relaxing, New Zealand was about discovery and learning about their wine-especially since only a small percentage are available in the US.

Finally back to downtown Auckland, Giapo: ice cream creations like you’ve never seen before! Basically, flavor names are posted but the ice cream itself is behind a steel barrier so you can’t judge by looking alone. You’re allowed to taste as many flavors as possible until finding the one of your liking.



Eats from Bali

Continuing the honeymoon post…the food post!!

We ate at a mixture of places:

-Hotel: buffet the first night (the worst of the hotel dining options), fine dining on the beach night two (pictured below), and a few breakfasts delivered to the room (best hotel priced item)

-Bali collection: one night for dinner, not pictured-I think we ate american that night or maybe rice and fish, and free salad bar. The salad bar, well that and live music, were the restaurant’s selling points. There are so many restaurants in Bali Collection with similar prices and food options, so all the hostesses stand by the walk way trying to lure diners.

-Local eats: thanks to our lovely driver we were able to experience several local places that were inexpensive. FYI we hired a driver for the week to take us all around, again very affordable option in Bali and easier than worrying about taxis all the time. Plus he watched out for us-regarding shopping and dining options.

First of cheap Balinese eats:

Wish I had a picture of the layout of various restaurants, but basically they give a wicker plate with a layer of paper and started you off with a cup of rice-white or coconut rice. Then you point to the selection of dishes available until you’re content. Most dishes were tofu, vegetable, or seafood based and then made in different sauces like curry coconut, spicy peanut, or simply sauteed or steamed.

My plate, don’t remember exactly but I think coconut tofu, steamed cabbage, a broccoli dish, and a string bean like vegetable with peppers. The latter had a nice kick of heat/spice.


Ryan’s plate:

Layout of the restaurant, minus the area where food was ordered. Lots of locals including Australian surfers.

Different day, another lunch at a similar type of restaurant-and only Indonesians minus us. This plate and the sweet treat came out to less than a US dollar! Ryan of course had more food and a fruit drink so I think his total was 3 or 4 dollar, so expensive ;).

With all our lunch savings we splurged on a couples dinner on the beach-5 courses including 2 with lobster. Not usually a huge lobster fan but the island had 2 kinds of lobster that I had never tried before, a little sweeter than Maine lobster, and it was incredibly tender every which way we had it prepared.

After a late night return to Nusa Dua Ryan wanted dinner, I wanted sleep. Our driver made a quick stop at a Chinese restaurant. Indonesian Chinese not the same as American Chinese. I wasn’t planning on ordering anything but this menu sold me and I ordered a small order of noodles.

On our way to the rice fields we stopped to get more seafood, this time more river based than ocean based with a river fish similar to trout.

Our driver:

String bean like veg, grilled fish, grilled prawns, and grilled clams with an interesting sauce on top, plus coconut rice in the basket.

Upon returning to Nusa Dua that evening we stopped at the following restaurant where Ryan enjoyed fried fish (skin, fins, and all) and fried chicken, I kept to the veggies and some awesome fried coconut rice.

On our last day we made use of our food voucher from the time share talk-like the Bali collection it was tasty but nothing special.

Fried rice, grilled prawns and squid, and coconut water:

The final night we went to Jimbaran Bay to enjoy one last seafood dinner while watching the sunset.

Here we had grilled octopus, lobster, string bean like veg (I wish I learned the proper name), and rice. All proper meals in Bali should have rice :).

I’m kinda glad it took 5 months to write this post, it’s been fun reliving the honeymoon through these photos.

New Zealand here we come!