December 2017 Roundup

Can you believe we have already hit 2018? Happy New Year again friends! December flew by this year, on Christmas Eve my boyfriend said “can you believe Christmas is almost over?”, at the time I couldn’t and I still don’t believe it.

With the holidays comes less reading than usual. In December I read:

  • The Girl in The Tower – the sequel to The Bear and The Nightingale, a review is coming soon
  • Heir of Firethis was not one of my favorites in the Throne of Glass series but it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from not reading the rest.
  • Before She Ignitesthis was not my favorite. I do not think I’ll be reading the rest of the series and if I do it will be through the library
  • Victoria — have I told you I’m obsessed with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? Anyway, not only did I re-watch season 1 (season 2 premieres soon in the US) but I also read the story based on the season by Daisy Goodwin. Review coming soon

The Girl in the Tower and Victoria were definitely my favorite books read in December. Katherine Arden really has a way with words and making everything so magical and I just love Queen Victoria and what she represented/represents.

A lot of traveling happened in December which is probably why it flew by and there wasn’t a lot of reading completed.

Not only did I go to Miami and Key West but we also went up to VT to sell Christmas trees. There is so much work that goes into that, I have such an appreciation for those businesses now that I’ve really seen them in action.

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We also had three different Christmas parties all within a week of each other and starting the day I arrived back from Florida. I’m looking forward to some serious R&R this month where I can get some reading done and start out fresh.

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6 hrs in Key West

Since I was in Miami, I begged my friend to go to Key West for the day. It wasn’t hard, she’s up for just about anything (lucky me). Once I set foot on Key West, I knew I had to come back. I could stay a few days there, go parasailing, lay out on the beach, go snorkeling, do a sunset cruise or maybe go on a dolphin cruise. There were so many activities out on the water that I wanted to run to a boat and get on.

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But since we were only there for about 6 hours, I didn’t have time to do any of the things that I mentioned above and still have time to do some of the land things on my list. Which is reason #1 why I want to go back.

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Key West reminded me a lot of Cape Cod but with clearer and bluer water — above is me in the Gulf of Mexico, an ocean I hadn’t put my toes in before so I knew I had to do that here just to say I had!

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If you’re looking for some places to walk around and just hang out, try hitting up Mallory Square or Duval Street — while you’re at it, go to Kermit’s Key Lime Shop for some Key Lime pie. If you like Key Lime, this is the snack for you. For lunch, try stopping by Conche Republic Seafood or Waterfront Brewery which are scenically located right on the water and boat dock.

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Last but not least try Hemighway’s House — which has his “ancestor cats”, I love that the cats can go wherever they want but us humans can’t touch the bed. Don’t forget about the Southernmost point in the US! That has to be the first thing you do, don’t forget about it! Who knows when you will be able to say that you stood there again!

Overall, I can’t wait to go back to Key West and just relax for a weekend there. It’s definitely worth the 3+ hour drive (one-way) from Miami.

2017 Round Up of Adventures

Happy Holidays everyone! I felt like doing An Adventure Roundup Post before I take a 3 day hiatus from blogging.

I’m using that time to be with friends and family during the holiday season but I will be back soon!

2017 might have been one of our best yet! I don’t normally like odd years but this one was pretty great. A first full year back in New York but we/I travelled so much it didn’t even feel like we were there the whole time.

Before I get into the adventures, I just want to talk about some random ones which were all the weddings we had. 5 in total! Not only were they fun but I got to see states (Hi Indiana and Illinois) that I hadn’t seen before!

Below is a highlight of 2017 adventures (don’t worry, a book roundup is coming) and some of my favorite pictures to go along with each.

Outside of New York Adventures

Well there were a ton of these! Here’s the big reveal for this year, I am afraid of flying but traveled to 4 locations that required it. I think I’m finally over my fear!

Those 4 locations were: 2 trips to Florida (Miami/Key West and Orlando/St. Pete) and twice to Chicago.

Chicago was such an awesome city too, it might be my favorite City that I’ve visited. At the same time Miami was a little bit of paradise.

Let’s not forget my two other trips that didn’t require travel. One is the usual trip, to Cape Cod. The little quaint area has more to do than you might think. But I have to admit, my trip to Maine might have passed the Cape. I hadn’t been to Maine in years so it was nice to go someplace different in the middle of June and really see what the area has to offer without a lot of people.

The New York Adventures

Man, that was a lot of adventures outside of my home state, but let’s not forget about all the cool things there are to do in New York!

My favorite trip of the year was probably Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake. Mainly because it was the first time in awhile that my boyfriend and I were able to just travel somewhere by ourselves. It’s also the most affordable weekend away that you can probably do which is also nice.

We also did a lot of local things, like our hikes (including some 46ers!), musicals, walking around gardens, museums, and even some chowder. All in All I would say it was a good time.

As mentioned before this year was pretty great but I am so excited for next year……….

We have officially booked our tickets to London and Cornwall England. It’s always been a dream of mine to go so I am anxiously waiting and I cannot wait to tell you all about it (any tips are appreciated).

Don’t worry, I have some other trips planned but nothing definite so more to come!

Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy the time with your friends and family, it’s an adventure in its own right ๐Ÿ˜Š

6 Days in Miami

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I had a post about an adventure!ย  I took November off so I could keep my wallet from hating me before I went to Florida. I’m so excited to finally tell you guys all about my trip to Miami. I had never been to Miami before so when my friend asked me to go with her I knew I had to say yes!

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The Weather:

In December, the weather isn’t as warm as you would think for Miami. People were definitely walking around in pants, scarves and jackets but for someone from the Northeast, it was the perfect weather. High 60s to high 70s all week, I could definitely get used to that.

Where to Stay:

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I loved Ocean Drive in South Beach. It was such a classic little street with a 1950s-70s feel. There were a bunch of different hotels to choose from too, I’m sure (especially in December) you could get a pretty good deal. Ocean Drive also has a bunch of restaurants as well as being right across the road from the beach. I loved that it was away from Miami City so it felt like you were in your own little paradise. Also — I had no idea that South Beach was basically it’s own little island. It was great!

The Attractions:

We spent three days at South Beach which was awesomeย  but we also did some other things, such as Key West and attractions around Miami City. Anyway, one of the things we did was get a Go City Miami Card which is not only affordable but also provided us with some transportation and sight seeing. One of things that the Go City card allows you to do, is get on a Hop on and Hop Off ($40) bus which was awesome because parking in Miami can be a bit expensive ($20 for 24hours). The Go City Card was $98 (thanks to Groupon) below is a list of attractions with what the price would have been without the Go City Card.

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The Attractions:

  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens ($18)– so gorgeous and old! It reminded me of Downton Abbey.
  • Miami Science Museum ($22)– this might be one of my favorite Museums EVER. It had everything you could think of.
  • Art Museum ($16) — I think you could skip this UNLESS you really like art. I don’t really like and/or understand contemporary art so this really wasn’t anything for me.
  • Botanical Gardens (Free)– Google really made me think this was going to be a lot cooler than it was.
  • Holocaust Memorial (Free)– if you take the Hop on and Hop Off bus, you can see the Memorial from it, or you can go to the Botanical Gardens which is adjacent to this Memorial. One that is very well done.
  • Lincoln Mall (Free + Parking)– feeling like shopping? Maybe on a day that isn’t really for the beach? This is one of those places to go! Also within 2 blocks from the Botanical Gardens and Holocaust Memorial.
  • Key West Day Trip($75) — that will be it’s own post coming up in a few days ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Wynwood Walls (Free + Parking)– while I’m not a huge fan of art, Wynwood Walls was amazing. I really liked the different art that was shown there. I swear, I tried that whole instagram look but failed, I’m okay with that though :).

We saved $72.50 by doing the Miami (2 day) Go City Card

Where to Eat and Transportation:

Obviously there is Uber and taxis that you can take. You could also rent a car but remember you have to pay for parking everywhere you go. We found a garage that was $20 for 24hours or $1 an hour. It wasn’t terrible but if you’re looking to be a on a budget, I’d suggest not having a car, especially if you’re on Ocean Drive AND doing the hop on and hop off. We used the car a few days out of the week but not every day.

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We also tried not to eat out for every meal. We really only ate out for dinners, partly to keep on that budget. Places I would recommend are: The Leslie and Penguin Restaurant. Both were delicious and reasonably priced. Oh and for dessert try Mammamia Gelato it was delicious!

Those are my tips for Miami. It was so much fun and so relaxing, I read, I got a tan and I just enjoyed some R & R. I can’t wait to go back! IMG_20171215_084246_857.jpg

 

Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

One of my favorite things about reading is that they take me to a different time, a different place and they let you lose yourself out of reality for a just a little bit and enjoy the ride. Once again,ย The Broke and The Bookish had the best Top Ten Tuesday. Who doesn’t want to think about the Bookish Settings they would want to be able to travel to?

  1. Scottish Highlands, like you know, Outlander (which also has the Caribbean, & America) all happening in the 1700’s? Who wouldn’t want to travel to that time?

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  1. Caravel I loved the magical setting and the intrigue in what is going to happen. There was something just so interesting with it.
  2. Middle Earth aka The Lord of The Rings New Zealand, elves, dwarves, hobbits and some magic I would love to me about to go there
  3. Harry Potter I mean come on!
  4. Cornwall England, 1700/1800s aka Poldark Of course I want to go to Cornwall England — it’s because of Poldark that we are going next year! poldark GIF
  5. A Court of Thorns and Roses/Fantasy I like the Fae background setting, a lot. It would be really interesting to be able to go to a setting like that.
  6. Fairytale Russia — ever since I read the Bear and The Nightingale, I cannot get it or it’s setting out of my head.
  7. The High Seas — I love pirates and adventure so it would be awesome to be able to go back to a setting like this
  8. Narnia aka Chronicles of Narnia for me, this is just a winter wonderland and any place that I can go to that has talking animals has me running toward the nearest entrance narnia GIF
  9. 1950’s there’s just something so different about this setting. I don’t have a book I can think of to relate back to it but I love the clothes, the style and the sass
  10. Tudor England — honestly this is one of the craziest times I think in the history I know about England. It would be interesting to go back to that time period though I would be very scared of what could happen!

I know you’re probably surprised that I don’t have Harry Potter on here — it’s honestly becacuse I alwasy talk about Harry Potter and wanted to mix it up a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want My Friends to Read

You guys! This is my first Top Ten Tuesday and I am so excited to bring you these tags every once in awhile on my blog moving forward. What I love so much about them is that it makes me think about all the books I’ve read or want to read and reiterate why to you guys.

So thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for bringing Top Ten Tuesdays to life! They provide you with a different theme weeks in advance so you can get a blog post ready whenever you have some time. Check it out with the link above.

The theme this week was the Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.). I changed it to Top Ten Books I want my Friends to Read because I don’t have a lot of friends who read and would like them to start! I have so many and I can think of so many reasons why that it was hard for me to pick 10 but here’s my best try at it.

1.) Harry Potter Seriesyou can’t possibly be surprised by this. Harry Potter is the main reason why I started reading so much and I fully believe that it can open even the most stubborn children to the joys of reading.

2.) Chronicles of Narnia. Another children’s favorite and one I find to be a classic. There is something so magical about this series. Maybe it’s because it starts through a Wardrobe, maybe it’s the winter wonderland that doesn’t seem wonderful for long, maybe it’s the adventure or maybe it’s just seeing siblings works together that makes this one of my favorite winter stories.

3.) Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. The whole series plus the Hobbit are on my list of must reads. These took me a really long time to get into though, I didn’t read them until after college but the adventure, friendship and different characters is just so interesting and surreal that I can’t not have this on my list. It also made me always want to be an elf — which might honestly be because of a. Legolas and b. I have horrible eye sight.

 

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4.) The Testament of Youth you guys I know I haven’t reviewed this yet because I’m still not done reading it but it’s so good I know it would be on my list. This has to be one of the best accounts of WWI I’ve ever read and I’ve also decided that if you think you’re a feminist but haven’t read this book then you’re really not as much of a feminist as you think. I know, harsh but Vera Brittain is just so inspirational.

 

5.) Still Alice I will say it again, when I finished this book all I wanted to do was scream to everyone that they need to read this. At some point in your life, some illness will hit you, whether to you or a love one, it doesn’t matter. Still Alice deals with every aspect of a person’s life once they are diagnosed with an illness/disease with no cure.

6.) The Nightingale One of my favorites of WWII, it brings to life Europe during the war that us U.S. students don’t learn in history class.

7.) The Bear and The Nightingale I just became real serious in my last 3 books, so let’s add a Russian Fairytale that I found so magical, I cannot wait until the next one comes out in a few months!

8.) Poldark Series. Listen, I know this is a somewhat of a silly series but I just loved it. Any time I read it I feel like I’m reading about friends. It also gave me an interest in Cornwall which we are going to next year. It’s social classes, a little bit of history, love, friendship, loss, betrayal and hard work of being a miner– it’s got it all.

9.) Outlander Serieswhole doesn’t love some time travel, a little bit of history and romance. What I loved about this book is the way in which love evolves.

10.) 12 Years a Slavea story by a real man, once free then captured and sold into slavery. This is his life, as he saw it and his experiences. Again, another that shows life a little different than our history books.

Bonus:

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Northanger Abbey
  • The Martian

Okay, I could keep going probably because I have so many but let’s just end it here ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Wine Tasting in Seneca Lake

Our trip out to the Watkins Glen area also included a day and a half of wine and beer tasting around Seneca Lake. I had never been to Seneca, only Cayuga — my boyfriend hadn’t been to either so I decided it was about time. We both enjoy wine and beer, so I thought why not? Let’s get away for a weekend and stock up our wine table. Here’s a quick 101 on where to go, where to eat and where to stay.

Where to Stay

We wanted to do an affordable weekend so we did Airbnb. It’s not the only option though, there are hotels in Watkins Glen (the South portion of the lake), around the lake and in Waterloo (the north portion of the lake). There are some breweries and wineries that also host their own lodging. We hadn’t researched a lot in cases of places to stay because we knew right off the bat that we wanted to rent a space.

Where to Eat:

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We went to two places for meals (then just did snack things later on). We had lunch at Ginny Lee Cafe and dinner at Scale House. Both were really good and really affordable. I really loved Scale House’s beer, they had so many varieties and the tasting was really cheap. We got dinner that gave us enough for leftovers the next night. If you get to Scale House please get their Peanut Butter Beer and then thank me for it. It was delicious!

The Vineyards:

We went to a lot of different vineyards while we were there. What I love about wine tasting in the Fingerlakes is that it’s really affordable. The most expensive tasting was $5 a person but almost every place you go will give you some type of coupon — whether it be $2 off a bottle or free tasting if you buy some wine, there’s always a way to stay on a budget. Tastings were at least 5 samples while some wineries gave you more than that. While I might have spent more than I meant to. It just means I won’t be needing to buy wine around home any time soon. I’ll take that as a win. Here are some places we went.

  • Boundary Breaks Vineyard:ย IMG_20171020_184144_198.jpgThe first winery we went to and the first where we found a bottle we both like (I like sweet, he likes dry). It had a picturesque scene but other than that it was only okay. The place wasn’t as friendly as some of the others but it was still a good first place. Also- can we appreciate the saying on top of their door? Love it.
  • Wagner Wine and Beer: The cool thing about Wagner is that you can get wine or beer and it’s next to Ginny Lee’s Cafe. The bad news? The beer tasting was expensive for what you got and the beer was not as good as Scale House.
  • Penguin Bay Winery: I had to go here just because of the name. I then found out that it’s the sister winery of Swedish Hill (Cayuga Lake and in Saratoga). This was one of those places where the wine was delicious and you got a coupon when you did a tasting.
  • Lakewood Vineyards: One of the best views of Seneca Lake. Here you got a tasting for $3 plus $2 off a bottle of wine. You cannot beat that. We were lucky enough to get the outdoor bar for the tasting too. 20171021_121303.jpg
  • Rock Stream Vineyards: $5 a tasting, no coupon — but a lot of variety and the bartender was so nice and funny. You could also do a beer tasting there too if you weren’t feeling wine.
  • Glenora: 20171021_141211.jpgThe oldest winery on Seneca Lake. You can tell they know what their doing. They have a restaurant, hotel and during tastings you also get some food tastings. Which is perfect when you’re drinking. The tasting was $5 a tasting plus $2 off a bottle of wine. They also had port. I bought some, and drank it thinking about being Demelza from Poldark…it was a good day.
  • Damiani: Mostly reds, but good reds, wait did I just say that?
  • Standing Stone: Cute setup inside (but hot). Wine was pretty good and the view is fantastic.
  • Caywood Vineyards: $2 samples, I repeat $2 samples. It was so good too. I got two bottles there, but they also had some liquor/cherry type stuff that was amazing. I felt so sophisticated!
  • Lamoreaux: This was all Francis, I unfortunately can’t tell you guys anything about this except he bought a bottle so he must have enjoyed the wine.

The Resources:

Honestly, the easier way to find these places is just by driving, they are everywhere. Francis couldn’t believe how close they were to each other but they really are neighbors. Everyone is so nice and always trying to help you to know where to go next best on your style. I would definitely recommend picking up a map though, it will give you some more information. Information not just on wine but beer, cider, food and distilleries. Need even more info? Click here and enjoy!