Monthly Archives: November 2014

Vacation-Day 2

Greetings from the plane to Dublin!

Wanted to take some brief notes on the happy memories from the last two days in London.

Anthony Bourdain’s Fight Jetlag instructions worked well-since we stayed up late Wednesday, we managed to get about 7 hours of sleep the first night.

We woke to a completely fogged in city and made our way to Pret. Full of fruit and porridge, our first destination was the British Museum.

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Walking through Russel Park, the sun started to come out, highlighting the pretty fall colors.

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As we stepped in the atrium of the museum, I felt as thought I was in the Portrait Gallery atrium-though the London museum was much grander. Knowing the sunshine might not last long, I was hesitant to spent too much time indoors, so we focused on the Egyptian section.

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This statue is from around 1,000 BC. The hyrogliphics and other statues are void of movement and emotion, so I was particularly struck by the fact the artist captured the husband holding the wife’s hand.

The museum was bursting with British field-trippers, and it was adorable eavesdropping on their accents, in their charming little jumper and blazer uniforms.

We walked through Covent Garden to Somerset House. The ice skating rink was spectacular, adorned with Fortum and Mason decorations and trees.

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From there, we walked to the Millennium Bridge and the sun started to dip behind the clouds. We followed the South Bank to Borough Market, one of my favorite stops from our last trip.

After admiring the vendors, we sat outside indulged in paella and a buttery duck confit sandwich-heaven.

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At this point it was around 2 in the afternoon and the jet lag started kicking in. We tubed back to Park Lane and napped through the afternoon. Vacation rules.

That evening, we got dressed up and made our way to Katie and Kevin’s for Thanksgiving dinner! They share a lovely row home with their friends Jenni and Maarten-sitting in the cozy living room reminded me of the tall and narrow Fed Hill houses.

Kevin put on Christmas music, Katie made a delicious Camembert spread and we all toasted to the holiday. It felt so homey and special.

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For dinner, we made our way to the Breakfast Club in Shoreditch. Shoreditch felt very trendy-on our way to the restaurant we passed a launch party for SnoozBox, a portable hotel. I’ll have to look it up.

The restaurant went all-out to put on a proper Thanksgiving dinner. American flags, Texas jerseys, USA sweaters-it was hilarious. The dinner was spot-on Thanksgiving fare-turkey, sweet potatoes, pie-the whole thing. My favorite part-as I mentioned yesterday-was being with family in such a special city. It was a delight to meet Katie’s friends-they were warm and welcoming and I can’t wait to see everyone again in May for Katie and Kevin’s wedding!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Here we are in our cozy Park Lane hotel, watching BBC world, enjoying my favorite Pret proper porridge for breakfast.

So much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Last night at dinner, we all shared what we’re thankful for and I had to restrain myself from blubbering on. Its special to pause and reflect on gratitute for the ability to work, the love, health and support of family, loyalty of friends, and seeing the world with my favorite travel navigator.

Incredibly grateful for this trip. The bonus of Thanksgiving travel is the normal vacation anxiety of missing work is gone because everyone is home. As a result, I slipped into vacation mode once we stepped on the plane Tuesday night.

Katie met us at our hotel Wednesday evening and I felt a burst of energy seeing my oldest, best friend in the lobby. We walked through the central part of town, admiring all the festive decorations. They waste no time getting into the holiday spirit-decorations went up weeks ago!

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From Katie’s insta

Kevin met up with us at Waterstones, and we all took part in the bookstores Christmas party. We sipped wine, enjoyed mince pies, and I reveled in being surrounded by Katie’s awesome bookish friends and-I know it’s cheesy-their lovely accents.

We walked through Covent Garden before ubering to dinner. I got irrationally excited by the international uber but it was awesome. We got to see river an all the night views and I felt buzzy and glamorous as we sped through the city.

After picking up some fizz, made our way to Tayyab, an incredible Indian restaurant. Holy smokes-the lamb chop. It was our first chance to hang out, the four of us, for a full evening-despite both being in 7+ year relationships!-and it was full of table-gripping-laughter, story swapping, and just the warm comfort of being with family.

More on the rest of the trip soon, but it’s time to get ready and get out for the day!

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5 Weeks To Christmas

Happy early Thanksgiving! Here we are on the plane headed to London for the holiday!

A few months ago, I started thinking about traveling during Thanksgiving. I’m trying to save my vacation days for the Bar, but Thanksgiving international travel doesn’t require using a lot of days…sooo…with that travel bug kicking in, the brainstorming began.

After lots of flight scanner and hipmunk searches, we found a reasonable flight to London. With Katie living in London and my desire to see what Love Actually’s London-it all made sense. So here we are! We’re doing three nights in London and on Saturday we’ll fly to Dublin for two nights.

This moment-the at-the-airport-knowing-you’re-departing-for-a-big-trip moment is my favorite. I’m so excited to see London, spend Thanksgiving with Katie and Kevin, and experience Dublin!

Ok-time to power-off-here we go!!

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Tahoe Turkeys

Thanksgiving break starts tomorrow-hooray!! I’m in my anxious/excited/night before a big trip mode, so to calm down, some reflection on the early Thanksgiving last weekend.

We hadn’t even left Yosemite before we started planning the next event. A Friendsgiving? A Tahoe weekend? A Friendsgiving in Tahoe?? Done.

So after weeks of e-mails, Google docs, and anticipation, last Friday, 14 of us arrived in Tahoe for our Friendsgiving weekend.

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There was so much goodness wrapped up in this weekend. First, the house. It was was huge-everyone had their own room-but cozy and warm, with comfy couches, a fireplace, a hot tub and more. The guest book was filled with photos of family reunions, and the owners clearly thought of every detail-down to the kitchen, stocked with full wine glasses and pretty serving trays.

The only bummer was a total buzzkill moment when I had to go to immediate care for a silly skin infection. It was annoying and I was pouty, sad to miss all the fun. What if everyone is hiking? Exploring Tahoe? But when David and I got back to the house Saturday morning, we were greeted by everyone, still comfy in their PJs, sitting down to quiches and coffee. We hadn’t missed anything and quickly sunk into a very relaxing day of cooking, wine, corn hole, and naps.

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Melissa, Kaitlyn and Narges prepping appetizers

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Molly and Shaiya, preparing stuffing for an army, Eric and Sachin, making homemade pedialite

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Kirsten and Jon-footballnapping

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Yasser, Zac, Brian and David in the backyard

Later that day, David and I took a walk by the lake. Checking another CA destination off the list-first trip to Tahoe, and with these views, I hope we go back soon:

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Saturday night was Friendsgiving. We dressed up, Zac made incredible cocktails, Jon’s turkey was on point, and the sides were hearty and comforting.

Thanksgiving dinner is special for David and me. It’s the first tradition we shared together, just the two of us, when we first moved to the East Coast. Over the years, we’ve made many happy memories with dinners with friends, and a few incredible trips. Looking around the table on Saturday, filled with gratitude, I tried to soak in the moment, this special and brief moment in our lives, when we’re young with this flexibility yet still grownup enough to have the luxury to be together, just for fun.

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So, so thankful!

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West Wing tour (!) and more from DC/Ohio

Janou, being amazing as ever, graciously managed to get us a West Wing tour during my few days in DC. It was awesome, and nearly a week later, I keep thinking about the art work in the Oval Office. It means a lot that the President and First Lady value art, and it was incredibly special to see the pieces and words they selected to decorate the Oval Office.

The large rug is adorned with five quotes, and the one closest to the door is from President Roosevelt (Teddy). I thought I noticed all of his quotes at Roosevelt Island, but maybe they do not have this one up-either way, it was the first time I read it and I love it:

“The Welfare of Each of Us is Dependent Fundamentally Upon the Welfare of All of Us,” President Theodore Roosevelt.

The others are equally powerful, though more familiar:
“The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Towards Justice,” Martin Luther King Jr.
“Government of the People, By the People, For the People,” President Abraham Lincoln
“No Problem of Human Destiny is Beyond Human Beings,” President John F. Kennedy

I had no idea the President is such a Norman Rockwell fan. In the hallway before the office, he has the Saturday Evening Post series, “So You Want to See the President?” depicting the hustle and bustle of people waiting to meet the president.

We also saw the beautiful bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as a powerful painting of the Fourth of July by Childe Hassam.

It was a very special moment-thank you, Janou!!

A few other highlights…

Meeting up with Janou, Katie, Max and Dave for dinner and drinks on Monday night, and feeling like it was a totally normal, everyday post-work outing.

Listening to a fired up BAM give an inspiring speech about protecting Social Security. Did you know the reason the Social Security office is in Baltimore is because Thomas D’Alesandro (Nancy Pelosi’s father) was so pivotal in whipping votes for the legislation creating Social Security, that when FDR asked him what he could do to thank him, Congressman D’Alesandro said, “bring the new office to Baltimore.” Pretty neat!

Catching up with some of my favorite collegues. I had lunch with Brenda at the Portrait Gallery, one of my favorite quiet little retreats in the city, drinks with Shannon and Stacy Jaleo, and Bob and Brian at Joes-man, DC does a good happy hour.

West Wing Tour!! And just walking through the Capitol, by the White House and admiring all of its splendor.

Hanging out in Janou’s cozy apartment and dinner and laughing with Katie and Janou in Arlington.

Cheering on an incredibly inspiring Ohio advocate as he was recognized for his important work for Ohio’s elderly poor.

Flying back home and feeling thankful for the week, but thrilled to feel like Oakland is now home.

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