Archive for travel

Weekend Review: Christmas 2014

I know I’m a little late on this one, but I wanted to share my Christmas adventures with everyone. Long story short, we decided to do a mini-getaway with the family. While I’d been to Charleston – who am I to say no to fun and travel?

My sister, her kids, and my mom went for the entire week, but I went down Christmas Eve and stayed through the weekend. My sister is notorious for planning every possible second of every day, so I got to see lots of fun things!

On our first day, we visited Magnolia Plantation. I carried Gabe around like he was mine. My ovaries were shouting, GIMME GIMME! But also – isn’t he adorable?

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Auntie M & Gabe

Magnolia Plantation is basically a old Civil War Plantation that has been converted into gardens and a tourist mecca. In fairness, it is beautiful. Below – parts of the garden and the plantation house.

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation House

The second day I was there, we spent the day walking around Charleston and finding fun items at the markets. My mom loved those sweet grass baskets. I found an awesome vintage tin for my gallery wall in my apartment. But here’s a cute pic of my 2 nephews:

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

On my last day there, we went to a tea plantation and then to the Angel Oak Tree. The tea plantation was clearly my idea, I picked up their peach infused loose leaf tea 🙂

Tea Plantation

Tea Plantation

And then we stopped in at the Angel Oak Tree which wasn’t very far away. It is estimated to be about 400 years old and it’s actually 4 trees that have grown together.

Angel Oak Tree

Angel Oak Tree

I desperately wanted to climb it, but you can’t even sit on it. That’s me fake leaning, by the way!

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M & the Angel Oak

 

All in all – it was a great Christmas break. The kids tried my patience (and truth be told, so did my sister), but it was great to be with family. The older I get, the more important I realize how much I crave time with my family and these special moments together.

Weekend Review: Ireland, England, and Belgium

After publishing my goals stating that I’d blog every Monday, I’ve already missed 2! However, it was for good reason – I was away in Ireland, England, and Belgium!

I was only gone for 11 days, but managed to travel to 3 different countries in that short time frame. Somewhere in the last few days, I did a rundown and I won’t lie to you – I was really exhausted.

Here’s pretty much my trip in a nutshell: 11 days, 8 planes, 4 buses, 3 countries, 2 trains, and an undetermined amount of drinks.

It’s crazy to think I fit all that into one trip, but it was absolutely worth it. It also helped me achieve my 2014 goal of traveling to 3 international destinations. Boom! So what exactly was I doing? Well, I’ll tell ya 🙂

Ireland: I was invited to long-time friends, Edel and John’s, wedding. I first met Edel and John in Australia when I went back after I graduated from college. It’s crazy to think we stayed friends all this time, but how could I not? They are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful couples I’ve know from the start. I was even there when they first got together. I remember the days when Edel and I would gossip over coffee and she’d gush that she had a crush on John! Teehee.

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At the reception, Edel and John’s wedding.

I also got to catch up with long-time friend, Emer, who I also met during my Aussie days. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years. We decided we won’t let it go that long again!

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Myself and Emer

England: I certainly couldn’t go all that way without hopping over to visit my sister and her munchkins. I realized this summer that they were just growing up too fast and I didn’t want to miss a single moment. A quick flight to Manchester and a train out to her and I was snuggled up with my 2 little English muffins, Lewis and Georgina.

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Georgina playing with my nose ring.

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Eskimo kisses with Lewis

And I couldn’t forget a selfie with my sis, Izzy. I’d say we haven’t changed all that much since our days in the Netherlands.

Me & Izzy

Me & Izzy

Belgium: And as promised to myself, anytime I went to see my sister, I’d stop in to see the Manchester girls. It was a promise I made when Allison passed away – a reminder that the days are long, but the years are short. The Manchester girls and I always try to do something a little bit different. Even if we can’t afford much, we like adventure. If you can believe it, Brussels is actually pretty cheap – to both get to and to get around. We went for fun. You can read that as lots of drinking, little bit of sightseeing. Definitely a great holiday!

Shelley, Lindsey, and Me in Grand Place, Brussels

Shelley, Lindsey, and Me in Grand Place, Brussels

A little blurry, but the trio in a pub (shock!)

A little blurry, but the trio in a pub (shock!)

Grabbing lunch at Le Cirio, Brussels

Grabbing lunch at Le Cirio, Brussels

The only thing I wish I’d had more of (other than sleep!) would have been time. I would have loved to be able to make it Glasgow to see my old work friends and down to London to catch up with a few more travel buddies. It’s just been too long. Maybe next year 🙂

Weekend review: Labor Day (plus a rewind!)

This past weekend flew by and while I had intentions of at least one other blog post…alas, it is Monday night. Already. Sadsies.

I did a lot of work over my holiday weekend, but I did manage at least one, fun awesome day of wine tasting with my sis and a few friends. It’s kind of turned into a tradition that my sis and I go wine tasting and after a few really fun trips with a couple of people…we’ve sort of, accidentally on purpose, turned into a wine group.

Yesterday, we checked out Maggie Malick Wine Caves in Purcellville, VA. And yes, the tasting room is actually in a wine cave!

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While the winery itself has that “small business” feel to it, there are over 200 acres of land/vineyards. All of us really loved that Maggie herself, was behind the counter, pouring her guests tastings and interacting with everyone. Of course, we got a photo!

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And here’s the view!

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They had a live jazz band there as well. Here’s Belle enjoying the music (and yes, we only pick wineries that are pup friendly so Belle can join the fun!).

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It was a great day with the wine group and we’re already planning our next winery adventure. It’s pretty fun to just pick a spot, meet up, eat and drink for a few hours, and walk away with some great memories.

And since I’m here, I thought I’d do a quick recap of the past few weeks since I haven’t quite found my blogging groove again. I’m working on figuring out a schedule that works for me, but for now…here we go. Here are 4 great pics that sum up my past couple weekends.

1. Brunch at Beuchert’s Saloon: Had brunch with a long-time friend and her hubby a few weekends back. They were visiting for a conference and we met up for bottomless mimosas at Beuchert’s Saloon. We kept the party going and had a few more bevvies. I don’t know what we’re all laughing at here, but this picture is priceless in my book. I do love the friends I’ve made along the way and even though we don’t talk every day, we’ve managed to stay in touch.

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Road trip to Richmond: I visited Richmond, VA last weekend to catch up with an old college friend. In truth, we were really only acquaintances at best, but life has a way of bringing people together when you need them most and now she’s definitely a friend. Here’s her adorable pup, Annabelle. You know I was in love!

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3. Puppy sitting
I’ve been puppy sitting again to boost my travel fund. Sometimes I forget how fun it can be, especially when you get to hang out in rich people’s houses and enjoy their fancy hammocks. Man, I love a good hammock.

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4. New job!
And last, but not least…my new job! I’m in love, people. In love! My coworkers are fab and I love all the events and adventures I get to go on. It’s not all conferences in SF, but just getting to be a part of something greater has put new spirit and excitement in my blood. They look to me as a marketing guru and when I voice an opinion, I”m heard! I’m also doing TONS of reading which feels good and I feel like my writing has been elevated. There is a big hill to climb, in terms of getting our site/blog/feed really out there…but it’s good to be a part of a team again. Here I am in Crystal City, checking out an art installation called #crystalwings. We saw it coming back from an event. Fun, right?!

photo 4(1)And that’s a wrap. Back to your regularly scheduled Monday program!

Adventure: Geocaching

So – has anyone ever geocached before? I know I’ve heard about it, but never really thought about giving it a try or investigating it.

It’s actually come up in quite a few conversations since I started my new job as apparently, my boss is a fairly avid geocacher (is that correct terminology?). So last night, after quite a few drinks, a few of us decided that we were going to geocache around SF. At 2 AM. No big deal.

Let me just say – it was so much fun! Look at my face…lol. Also pictured, my boss (to the right) and a colleague (to the left).

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It was so much fun that we did 2 last night. I don’t know if they were “hard” but it did take us awhile to find them (we were also drunk). I’m sure we looked like loons rubbing our hands over the walls, trash cans, etc trying to find the cache. Here’s a pic of one of the caches we found:

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We were so excited, but since we didn’t have a pen, we just marked it in red lip gloss. Ha – so if you’re caching in SF and find that one. It was me.

So, if you are like me, a total newb to the scene, allow me to briefly explain how you even get started. You geocache using the official app and it’s pretty much a treasure hunt. Not actual treasure, per se (though apparently sometimes!), but it’s about finding hidden items that are left for other cachers in plain sight. Here’s a screenshot of the app – so many around me…only 24 hours left in the city.

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Once you find the cache, you log it and submit that you’ve found it, earning a sweet smiley face on the map! And then you put it back so other people can find it. What’s amazing is that the 2nd cache we found had already been found 3 times earlier that day. How cool is that to think that somewhere out there, 3 other geocachers made the same discovery I did on August 5, but on the whole…most people are entirely clueless.

I don’t know if I’ll turn into a fanatical geocacher, but for now, I love the new adventure and plan on doing it wherever I go. I even looked up quite a few around my apartment. Can’t wait!

Weekend review: Dog love

Last September, one of my good friends moved to Boston. I was happy for her because she was starting a new chapter in her life, but also sad as she was my hiking buddy and she took her pup, Sophie with her. Rude.

But last weekend, I went to visit said friend, Sophie, and do a little Paddy’s Day celebrating in Southie like a local. This visit also meant I could cuddle with Sophie!

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I was actually really excited for the change in city and the change in pace as compared to my previous weekend shenanigans. Instead of being a lush, we were outdoorsy and did several hikes in the North Boston area.

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There was still plenty of snow on the ground, but it was manageable. It was also good training for my knee. I’m finally comfortable enough to get out there and do more rigorous activities…and not a moment too soon! But of course after every hike, there was always a bit of cuddle time. Sophie really has mastered the selfie…

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After 2 relaxed days of hiking, nomming, and catching up we headed to South Boston on Sunday for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and to hang out with some of her friends. Her friends had a townhouse right on the parade route – talk about an amazing view! Nothing beats a good Sunday session!

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It only took me 2 days into this week to feel rested and back to normal, but it was worth every minute. Tiny hats ftw!

Travel: Selfies (part 8)

Welp, this will be the last installment of selfies from my grand Asia adventure. I’ve already admitted to being restless this week and I regret not holding on to that feeling of freedom and zen I had when I came back, but maybe with a little bit of inner focus I can get back there. Enjoy and let’s cross our fingers for an even bigger adventure in the coming months!

Day 41 – when conducting your own walking tour around Ho Chi Minh City, it is customary to stop and act like reindeer outside of the shops in the fancy part of town.

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Day 42 – hello world, this is mags reporting in from Hoi An, Vietnam

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Day 43 – I think when people fall in love with cities, they really just fall in love with who they are in that city. At least, that’s how I feel about Hoi An. I know it’s not my widest/brightest smile, but I’m just in a happy haze/daze.

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Day 44 – Last night I randomly had dinner with a man from Hong Kong who lives in Paris and sells books. Then I met some Germans and drank snake wine and whisky until 4 AM. I love the adventures you find when you travel by yourself.

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Day 45 – motorbike adventure to My Son and Marble Mountain.

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Day 46 – Merry Christmas from Vietnam

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Day 47 – it’s been a while since I showed you my tiger face. This is my tiger face.

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Day 48 – oh ya know, just your standard lion dog guardian.

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Day 49 – well, this was awkward at the Ethnology Museum in Hanoi

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Day 50 – In Vietnam, motorbike is the only way to travel.

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Day 51 – back to life, back to reality. Hanoi > Bangkok > Seoul > DC. See ya on the flip side.

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Day 52 – that’s me back in DC after nearly 2 months of being away on the most amazing adventure. Last selfie of 2013 and to complete my journey. It’s definitely bittersweet, but I’m ready for 2014 and to figure out the other pieces of my life puzzle.

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And if you wondered what I did with all those selfies, well – I made myself a little Flipagram because travel really is about discovering your selfie! You can watch it over here (because I’m too impatient to try and figure out how to embed it here!).

Travel: Selfies (part 7)

Special edition of my travel selfies coming at you with 10 featured below. It’s a funny old thing being back here in DC – there are days I miss being out there and on my own and other days I love the normality that the city gives me. For now, I think I’ll just live happily in the in between.

Day 31 – last night out in Bangkok with the crew and this crazy gal, Janie.

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Day 32 – Andrea arrived in Bangkok! Off to Cambodia the next day.

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Day 33 – Finally left Thailand after a month and made it to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sorry for the weird smile, children were asking me for milk.

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Day 34 – exploring Angkor Wat

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Day 35 – what happens at the silk farm, stays at the silk farm. unless of course, you buy something…which you should, to support Angkor Artisans & Cambodian culture.

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Day 36 – crazy day warrants crazy hair and Dammit Doll. Left Siem Reap at 9 AM. Made it to Phnom Penh 12 hours later (it’s only meant to be a 6 hour journey).

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Day 37 – everyday at dawn and dusk, people gather around the city and do aerobics for all the world to see; shakin’ their groove thang to Katy Perry. Phnom Penh is currently in the lead with zero fucks to give.

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Day 38 – went to the killing fields and S-21. It took me a few hours to digest everything I read and saw, but I’m really sharing this photo so more people can learn about Cambodia’s recent horrific history. Just as shocking as the genocide is that it never made it into a single US history lesson. So why should you care? Here’s why: “Keeping the memory of the atrocities committed on Cambodia soil alive is the key to build a new strong and just state…and preventing a new Pol Pot from emerging in the lands of Angkor or anywhere on Earth.” So go on, educate yourself, and be good to one another.

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Day 39 – 20 million bikes and it feels like we’re playing a twisted game of Frogger every time we cross the street. Must be Vietnam.

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Day 40 – right before Andrea and I crawled 100 meters through the Cu Chi Tunnels.

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