My Birthday Week

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been pretty quiet this week. While I’m no longer in Africa, I’m still technically on vacation. This week (cough Tuesday) happened to be my 28th birthday. I know, I’m so old I fart dust. It’s been a fun week of celebration.

On my actual birthday my friend Jess and I drove down to Westport, CT to explore. We took the Merritt Parkway out there (so pretty), hit=up West Elm (well, because it’s West Elm), and then meandered back along the coast. We even stopped off and found Martha Stewart’s former property (Turkey Hill, Westport). We stopped at beaches to walk around, and I got a tuna sandwich at Oscar’s Deli.

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(Wandering around Westport, CT)

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(The PEZ Visitors Center)

See, such a pretty day! We also stopped into the PEZ Visitors Center in Orange. How cool is that?! That make and package PEZ in CT and they built a beautiful visitor’s center, with games, puzzles, and a find-the-7-dwarfs pez dispensers to win a free pez holder and candy. IT’s a game everyone plays and wins. The price is $5, but comes with a coupon to use in the gift shop as well as the free pez at the end of the visit… it felt like we got back the $5 we paid. I highly recommend stopping in there!

For a special birthday dinner my parents and I went to Geronimo in New Haven. It was a great meal and the restaurant atmosphere/decor is a lot of fun. My mom made me a special birthday cake and then I crashed. I’m still on Africa time!

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Yesterday I trekked into New York City on a Metro-North train. Met my friend Lily for lunch and then my friend Diana joined me for a walk along the river and High Line visit. I love that place, and they keep expanding it! It’s so fun at sunset to just walk above the city, free of cars.

Then Dot, Diana, Sally, Lily and I had a fabulous dinner at En Japanese Brasserie. Dot took the photo of me at the top of the post. These girls are the best 🙂 I took a sleepy ride back to CT last night and have been working all day today.

I hope to have some Africa posts up soon, I’ve just got a packed schedule here as you can see above. I’ve also got some friends and family to see while I’m on the east coast.  I promise things will be back to normal soon enough.

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Snowy Connecticut

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Happy snow day everyone! The East Coast got some crazy snow last night. It was actually a rare treat to shovel the driveway this morning (I volunteered). Shoveling is quite the full body work out. I even went snow tubing today- what a treat!

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon/evening with another Israel post. Happy Friday!

A Snowy New York City

Well, I’m writing this to you twice as WordPress just lost the post I spent hours on (#wordpressFAIL).

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I arrived in Connecticut late last night after spending two full days in the blistering cold of NYC. I always try to start my holiday vacation by staying in NYC for a few days visiting with RISD friends and getting in the holiday spirit. I normally take the redeye to JFK, so this marathon visiting of NYC is also filled with exhaustion and time adjusting. This visit was no exception to that. After dropping off my 50lb suitcase at my friends office (a Graphic Design firm called OneThread– check them out as they’re awesome), I headed to Columbus Circle with my friend Diana. We hopped from the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) to Whole Foods to the mall to the outdoor market to back in the warmth of the mall.

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This view is from MAD looking out on the snowy streets. It was beautiful to look at but made being outdoors difficult. Columbus Circle was a great place to go because it has so much all within the circle, so we never had to be outdoors for too long.

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MAD also has some fun exhibits going on right now. We saw several floors of work made with 3D printers. They had a fun exhibit on costume jewelry and also one floor with a very murderous theme… lets say I ran through that with my hands over my eyes. It was a great place to spend a few hours and we enjoyed ourselves.

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That night I stayed at my friends new place in Irvington, NY. It’s a 40 minute train ride north of the city and is super adorable. Above is her train stop. The town is a hillside along the Hudson so every view is a good view. It was fun to spend time here with her and her husband. We enjoyed a game night of Pandemic too. Super fun.

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The next day we went back into the city where I visited the Museum of Math and learned that 2nd graders are smarter than me. I also spend several hours walking around the West Village. Thankfully it was a sunny (but cold) day so being outside wasn’t brutal. I always love walking around the West Village and just moseying around into cute small shops. Once the sun started to set I made my way to City Bakery where I sat listening to my John Mulaney comedy albums while sipping on some of the best hot chocolate in the city.

I met up with more RISD friends for dinner at Crispo (get the brussels sprouts!) and had fun catching up with them before heading to Grand Central to hop on my train to New Haven. And like that, I’m back in CT getting ready for Christmas. Im currently in my huge comfy white bed, blogging while looking out at a snowy landscape with horses and cute farm houses decorated for Christmas out my window, and Im sipping on a mug of warm coffee. Ahh, happy to be home.

Well I leave you with this holiday treat from Craig (Reno 911):

My Quick Voyage East

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Over Memorial Day weekend I was lucky enough to make a quick trip home to see my parents on the East Coast. Unfortunately I found myself in a tough spot with an unruly (aka super drunk) passenger sitting behind me. As much as I wanted to get to the East Coast as  fast as possible, I’m grateful that the pilot decided it was unsafe in the plane and we made an emergency landing where this passenger was arrested. I was one of two victims in this situations, and it truly was my first time feeling like a victim. It’s not fun. Even thinking about it now is upsetting and I’m doing my best to block it out. It’s never good feeling violated and trapped in the sky. But, that is behind me and my weekend continued once I finally made it out to Cape Cod. 

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This whole ordeal cost me most of Friday (out of a 3 day trip) giving me late Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to be with my family. I did my best to put the days events out of my mind and really enjoy my trip. It started with a delicious belated birthday dinner for me at Marshside in Dennis, MA. Followed by a homemade cake made by my mother with love, and a night of boardgames!  

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On Saturday, I awoke to partly cloudy skies, but it didn’t ruin the day! My mom and I made a visit to the beach and in the afternoon my dad and I took a nice ride on the bike path. 

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It was so pretty, even with the gray sky. 

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The bike ride was followed by a big family meal out with my Aunt Chris, Uncle Doug and cousins Julie and David. It’s been so long since we’ve been all together and it was such a fun time. 

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Sunday morning was rainy, which delayed our kayaking plans, but it allowed for awesome reading nook time! There’s nothing like doing the crossword, sipping coffee and watching nature outside the window. It’s how I want to start all of my days. 

My good friend Henry (you might remember from HERE) made a long trip out to Cape Cod to share lunch with me and my parents. What a fun reunion. I think it even had to do with the clouds lifting, which made for excellent afternoon kayaking weather.

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We headed to Bell’s Neck/West Reservoir where my Dad and I kayaked around the lake while my mom did a loop on the walking path. 

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Dork. 

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I’m not a birder. At all. But you have to appreciate that while kayaking around you’re seeing rare looking birds flying/perched all around you. My dad is a birder, so he was in heaven.

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“THIS ONE’S SO RARE!” 

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After doing a loop, we decided it was time to head home to get ready for my last meal on the Cape. My parents love to do dinner on the beach, since one of the local beaches doesn’t close until very late (midnight?). They suggested we get fresh fish from Seafood Sam’s to-go and take it with us picnic style. 

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Sorry for the bad image, but isn’t this set-up awesome?! Oysters, scallops, and onion rings with a view of the ocean and lit by candle (well electric candle anyway). What a treat! Once the sun set, people started shooting fireworks off down the beach, so we even got a show. The clouds subsided and once the stars came out it was perfect for star gazing and we even had reclining beach chairs. Images couldn’t capture how calm, beautiful and relaxed the whole night was. I wish I could bottle that up, It made me think of how little I see stars, which is so sad.

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Monday morning it was time to get up early and begin my trek home. After my bus arrived at Logan airport and hour+ behind schedule, I found out my plane was also very delayed. The one positive is that I got to see Fred Armisen also heading to NYC after spending the weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for Seth Meyer’s wedding. After a lot of prayer and running, I ended up making my layover despite all the delays. 

 

Visiting Home 4: The Joys of Home

To catch you up on my Connecticut trip check out Visiting Home: Getting There, Exploration and Touring Wallingford. This is the last installment of my week long trip home. It’s a hodge-podge of some of my favorite parts.

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I got to paint Grandma Gertrude’s nails one day. Gosh she’s so cute. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it was a sparkling light pink (on of grandma’s favorite colors).

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I got in a game night with my parents. I (we) LOVE board games. Love them. We have so many because it’s one of our favorite past times. The above photo is of my favorite game (and my father’s least favorite game), Masterpiece. This board game is all about collecting and selling paintings (based off the Chicago Institutes Collection of classics).

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Another day I got to layout in the sun in our backyard (notice David Sedaris’ new book? Amazing).

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While laying out side I was being watched by a curious cat.

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My mom brought me to a place in Hamden CT called Urban Miners. I want to own a store like this. It’s filled with recycled architectural materials. Just walking around this place the creative part of my brain was freaking out. So many ideas!

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I could use this whole stack of wood. Badly.

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Another day I met up with friends and went to Hubbard Park in Meriden.

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We just laid out on the lawn like bums. It was awesome.

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Such excellent weather in the park.

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On my last night I got to see my good friends Alex and Jess play hockey (they are in a coed league). They didn’t win, but they played well and we tailgated under the stars afterword.

It was hard to say goodbye, but it was time to get back to normal life. This was a special trip home and I hope to sneak another one in before we approach 2014.

Visiting Home 3: Touring Wallingford

To catch up to speed, check out Visiting Home: Getting There and Exploration.

After spending the previous day in search of adventure and small town beauty, I decided to spend some time in my own home town (Wallingford, CT) looking for excitement. While I didn’t find excitement, I did enjoy a sunny walk with my camera out. My town has actually made it into some movies, and the 06492 zip code is that of Stars Hallow’s in the TV show Gilmore Girls (which it does look similar to). And the Drew Barrymore film Riding In Cars With Boys is supposedly set in Wallingford, CT (although it was not filmed there).

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I drove to the center of town, Main St., and just set aimlessly on a walk with my camera in hand.

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Wallingford has a lot of small town charm.

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And old homes… lots of old beautiful homes. Given the spring/summer season, the grass was green and the sky was perfectly blue. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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My town features the private high school Choate Rosemary Hall. Their campus and buildings are meticulously maintained.

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School’s out for summer.

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All the flags are up for the 4th of July, and the little shops and restaurants had some activity as colleges are letting students out for summer.

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The above church is where I spent a lot of time growing up. So pretty.

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Lastly, here’s the Wallingford Town Hall with its clock out front. Oh, Wallingford, you’ll always be home to me.

Visiting Home 2: Exploration!

To catch you up to speed, check out the first part of my trek, Visiting Home 1: Getting There + Father’s Day.

This next chapter took place on Tuesday of my week home in Connecticut. I was so inspired riding the train from NYC to New Haven seeing all the little cute downtowns that I’ve never explored that I decided to make a day trip exploring the coast of CT. I decided to explore East Shore, East Haven, Branford and Guilford.

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After a lovely brunch with friends, my buddy Jess and I ventured down 91 to the first exit off the 95. We had no real destination, so when we saw signs for a park, beach or historical landmark we stopped in. Our first stop ended up being Fort Hale where there is little beach called Nathan Hale Beach. I was surprised on this Tuesday noon there were actually people parked here walking around. It was a little overcast, but still fun to explore. This isn’t a beach I would swim at (fyi).

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It was a rough rocky beach, but still a nice view. Onward we go!

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We continued down Townsend Ave and ended up at Lighthouse Park. This beach did have people laying out and picnicking (although I don’t think anyone was swimming). It has a window lined pavilion with a carrousel in the middle! I think this space can be rented out for wedding receptions.

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This is the New Haven Harbor Lighthouse. She’s a beauty.

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After doing a loop of the walking path, we were back on the road looking for our next adventure. We saw a sign near the East Haven Town Green pointing us toward the Shoreline Trolley Museum. As we were debating if we should explore, a conductor flagged us over and told us to hop on, so we did!

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It was adorable. The train conductors are volunteers, so they are in it for passion rather than donations.

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They take you on a short ride through the Beacon Hill Reserve where you learn about this history of trains in CT. Even though it was overcast, we still saw people kayaking. What a great spot for it!

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Views from the train car.

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The have a spot midway through where they keep the very old trains. Everyone exits the trains and explores barns with trains from all over New England. Here’s a photo of the train back when it was in use.

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Once our tour ended, we moved along to the Guilford Town Green. At this point we got coffees and snacks and walked a loop around the Town Green.

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We passed cute houses.

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We had a nice view of the Guildford First Congregational Church.

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After the loop it was starting to drizzle so we made a quick stop down by the water near the Guilford Boat Launch. If we had more time we would have liked to stop into the Henry Whitfield State Museum.

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Right after I took this photo, the rain came in and meant the end of our exploration. It was a lot of fun not knowing where we were going and just following the coast. You never know what you’ll stumble upon and learn about where you’ve spent your life growing up. I highly recommend doing something like this, no matter where you live.