Atlanta + #cohelrod

Three months ago I traveled to Atlanta for my first visit to the South. I had a weird sinus problem going on, so flying was pretty horrible, but I arrived, got a rental car, and headed to Megan’s parent’s house in Lilburn, GA. The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at home and then she, her sister, and I headed to Stone Mountain, where I finally got to fly a kite! And let me just say–I am a natural. That Dollar Tree Disney Princess kite did not hit the ground once, thank you very much.

After our kite-flying adventure, we packed the car up and drove to our hotel to check in and get ready for the rehearsal. We had dinner and watched improv in Atlanta at Whole World Improv Theatre. Brian used to do improv there, so it was fun to watch him get brought up for one of the skits.

The next day was the day of the wedding. Since it wasn’t until the evening, Amie and I took advantage of the morning to explore Atlanta. Our first stop was Chattahoochee Coffeehouse in Westside. This coffeehouse was the best–there was wood and taxidermy everywhere. Basically, it’d be what Gaston’s coffeehouse looked like if he was of the coffeehouse-owning types. Right next door, we discovered The Goat Farm Arts Center. There were goats and abandoned buildings and random art pieces and trees and artists. Part of the Hunger Games was filmed there, and it was cool walking around because it was so random.From there we went to get more coffee (because duh) at Octane Coffee down the road and drove around a little more before heading back to the hotel. It was such a good morning. Then it was wedding time, which super fun.

In the morning, Amie and I went to Waffle House, because I had to try it since I had never been in the South before and it’s kind of a thing. And it was very gross and I regretted that choice immediately. After that mess, we went back to the hotel to take naps. Once we had recovered, we headed into Atlanta and visited the World of Coca-Cola. I have never wanted to drink so much soda in my life. There must be something in the water there.

We walked through Centennial Olympic Park and then drove to the Little Five Points neighborhood to meet Laura for a late lunch at this place I found on Yelp called Folk Art Restaurant. When we arrived, we discovered that they were taking shots for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, so the Yelpers knew what they were talking about it. It was really good. From there we visited the SweetWater Brewery, and made it in just in time for a final tasting before they closed for the day. We watched the Braves game at Turner Stadium and then ended the night Tin Lizzy’s Cantina in Midtown.

For our last day in Atlanta, Amie, Laura, and I, visited North Point, Andy Stanley’s church. Andy Stanley is a great teacher. So great, in fact, that word in the pews is that women attend so that they can find good men to date. I had no such luck, but they did give us free cookies, so there’s that.

We had to have barbecue before leaving the South, so after church, we headed to Mustard Seed BBQ. It turned out to be closed, and the surrounding area was a little uninhabited. Except for the man walking down the middle of the street. So we left there and went to Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt, and ate all the food. So good. That ended up being right by the Oakland Cemetery, which is somewhat famous, as far as cemeteries go, and since I love cemeteries, I insisted we drive through it. With that out of the way, we were ready to come home.

Orange County Weekend

CuyanaHere’s to another ridiculously long-overdue post. This happened at the end of March. What is my life.TeamCriesALot

Even though Lily’s wedding was over, my vacation certainly wasn’t. The day after #rodenwedding2015, I met up with Christine and Summer in Santa Ana. They were taking a watercolor calligraphy class, but once they were done we all sat in my car and it was very nice. It reminded me of our college days when we’d just sit together and not have to do much. Made me sad that I live so far from them both. Then, sadly, Christine had to leave.

Summer and I drove to Anaheim. We got Stumptown coffee at Ink & Bean and sat outside for a bit. From there we went to the Packing District for some more sitting and people watching. It was nice and relaxing.

The next day, Carolina, Sofia, my mom, and I all went to Disneyland. Sofia had never been, so I got to play tour guide and show her all the magical Disney things.

I played with the goats and it was great. I also was craving a Dole Whip, but was hesitant to get one since I was pretty sure that I’m allergic to pineapples. In the end, I got one anyway. And turns out, I am allergic to pineapples, which was discovered the moment the pineapple juice touched my lips. It was good though, and I consumed the entire thing.DisneylandI was not looking forward to returning to the freezing world of Boston, but did at least enjoy my morning the next day, driving to the airport, dropping off my rental car, and reflecting on the trip.StumptownPlus I had this baby to soothe me for the end of my vacation time.

#rodenwedding2015

This post is well overdue, but at least I’m finally getting around to telling you about Lily and Matt’s wedding.

We started the wedding festivities off with a Bridesmaids Brunch at The Filling Station in Orange  Circle. The food was very good and the weather was beautiful (though I definitely wasn’t used to it since I had come from the tundra that was the never-ending winter in Boston).

After brunch and walking around for a bit, Lily, her cousin Andrea, and I drove along the coast to Ruby’s Shake Shack in Newport Beach. We drank shakes and watched the waves crash and listened to all the people around us and it was very relaxing. It kind of reminded me of The Spot, a place Christine and I frequented in college, which we actually affectionately referred to as “The Shack.” From there we continued down the coast and drove through Laguna Beach to get to San Juan Capistrano for the rehearsal. The rehearsal dinner was hosted by the Eggers. They live in a beautiful home in the Orange Hills, and their backyard overlooks the valley. We could even see the fireworks from Disneyland. After a long day of pre-wedding fun, it was time to sleep.

Wedding day began with a donut hunt for the bride. I was determined to find Lily a strawberry donut, and I did! Thank you, Pink Ribbon Donuts. I also decided that I needed to get Lily the typical Starbucks cup with the word “bride” written on it. I felt a little silly asking, and then felt even sillier when the barista gave me a weird look. You’d think they’d be used to this? Oh well–I was determined, so weird looks alone weren’t going to stop me. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, eating donuts, getting ready, and trying very hard not to cry. The not crying was definitely a challenge, from the start of the day, to the getting ready times, to the photos, all the way up to walking down the aisle.My attempts to not cry all proved futile once the ceremony began. Lily and Matt chose to write their own vows, and wow. They were so good. (I never thought I’d write my own, but I was so inspired by theirs that I just might.)

Then it was time to celebrate! It was so nice getting to hang with my family and Christine and Summer. The food was great, the dancing was fun, and it was overall a beautiful night. I especially enjoyed getting to sign the marriage certificate, haha.
Congrats again to my Tousins, who are now going on almost three months of marriage!

bridesmaid photos by Nicholas Dunne Photography

Boston Anew

Last weekend Jia Min came into town to visit Boston. I was hoping that I could see Boston through her eyes, since she had never been before, and that it would remind me of why I love this city. I couldn’t have hoped for more because it was one of the best weekends.

I picked her up from the airport Friday night and we had dinner at The Gallows. The next day we started our day at Flour, where Jia Min tried the sticky bun, upon my (and pretty much all of Boston’s) recommendation. Rachael met us there and we walked to Copley Square. We walked around the library and sat in the courtyard for a bit. It was quite lovely since it was so beautiful out.

From there we walked down Newbury and stopped in Trident. And of course, I had to buy some books. From there we walked down Newbury through the garden and the common, and grabbed a late lunch at Stoddard’s. Not sure if our extreme hunger influenced our opinions, but the food was super good and the ambiance in there is pretty cool.

After lunch, we walked around some more before Rachael had to leave us. Jia Min and I went to Thinking Cup in the North End so that she could try a French hot chocolate (I got a cortado). We made a stop at Mike’s for cannolis then took the bus to Harpoon. Love that place. Their beer hall is cool to hang in, and even if you don’t like beer, you can enjoy the best pretzels and root beer.

On Sunday after church we went to Shake Shack in Harvard Square and then walked around that area for a bit. We took the red line back into downtown, stopped at Thinking Cup in the Common, then hung out on Amie’s roof, because THE ROOF DECK IS OPEN. This made me immeasurably happy. Amie was recently gifted a selfie stick, so we had way too much fun with that.

So thankful for that refreshing Boston weekend. And for spring!

LA Weekend

Last month ago I got to go home for a little over a week and it was very nice. I started my trip in LA. I flew into LAX on a Friday and Christine and Summer’s dad picked me up. We drove to Summer’s and the three of us hung out in the hot tub for a very long time. We finally got into bed at about 3 AM and put Frozen in. I only lasted through the second line of “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman” before I knocked out.

 

The next day, the Wulffs, Christine, and I all went to breakfast in Simi at Eggs ‘n’ Things. From there we parted ways with Sam and Tom and Christine, Summer, and I got some Starbucks and headed to Burbank. We got to tour the WB lot and it was very fun. I got sorted by the Sorting Hat of Hogwarts, (I’m a Hufflepuff, and I’m okay with that). I also licked things, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

Once we were done there, we had lunch at Urban Eats. Best salad and side of mac & cheese. After lunch, we went over to Hollywood and met back up with Sam and Tom so that we could all explore The Last Bookstore. From there the three of us went to Hollywood Blvd. to find Snow White’s star. And we did, so that was good. Then we walked around some more and went to MUIJI, which is a wonderful place. We ended our day by strolling through Target and then relaxing at Christine’s.

      

The next day, we were up bright and early for Disneyland. And it was so wonderful. The three of us hadn’t been there together since July 2012, so it was a good Disney/Team-Cries-A-Lot reunion time.

Then the weekend was over and it was time for me to fly to SF. More on that soon.

photo cred goes to Summer’s phone, Christine’s phone, and Christine’s camera, as well as my phone

Memorial Vermont Weekend

This post is long overdue, but over Memorial Day Weekend, I went to Vermont with Heidi.

We left Saturday morning and took our time getting up there. We stopped in Stowe and visited the Von Trapp Family Lodge. We sang to the hills for a bit before it started pouring rain. We ran into the lodge, but not before getting perfectly soaked. We hung out in there for a bit, waiting for the rain to die down. Then we had lunch with Heidi’s mom and her sister, Abby. From there we drove through The Notch and did a mini hike down to the waterfall. It was so beautiful and relaxing. From there we headed over to Burlington to Hannah’s house, Heidi’s other sister, and had dinner and hung out.

 
photo cred for the four above: Heidi 
 
 

The next day was Heidi and Hannah’s race. Heidi ran the first half of the marathon with Hannah. Hannah’s fiance, Scott, and I walked over to the race so that he could run the second half with Hannah. We met up with Heidi’s other sister, Bea, and family and waited for Hannah and Scott to finish. They’re so inspirational. Later on, we of course had to get cree-mees. We walked around Church Street in Burlington for a bit. Heidi bought me a UVM mason jar to-go cup. Later on, we went to City Market and I bought fresh almond butter in a mason jar. I’m so Vermont now.

 

The next day, we visited Shelburne Farms with Heidi’s family. It’s so pretty there. I got to pet some lambs, cows, and chickens. We had breakfast at the inn, which overlooks the lake. It reminded me of The Sound of Music. After our lovely morning there, Heidi, Abby, their mom, and I got pedicures.

We ended our weekend back in Boston with dinner from South End Pita. Falafel, I love you.

And Vermont–I love you.

Mom in Boston

After our NYC weekend, Mom was here in Boston with me for another whole week. That Monday was Marathon Monday. I didn’t really get to see any of it live since I had to work, but the office had the TV on showing the footage, so we kept taking little breaks to go watch the progress. When I got home from work, Mom and I went across the street and got salads from Code 10, and then hung out up on the roof. We ended the night by watching Frozen. Mom did not cry. I, of course, did.

The next day Mom left with me for work and walked most of the Freedom Trail. Then she came to my office and met my team. We went to lunch at Quincy Market. I had never actually been in there, and didn’t realize there were so many touristy food options. Good to know. I went back to work while she hung around, and then we met there again for dinner, haha. Bacon-wrapped scallops. Oh man. From there I took her to Amie’s apartment so she could see the roof deck view, and then we just hung out there for a bit.

I had gotten Red Sox tickets from work, and it worked out that my tickets were for the Wednesday that my mom was here. After work we met at Park Street then went over to Fenway. It was FREEZING, and I was so unprepared for the cold, but it was a fun night, and the Red Sox won, so it made it worth it. Meb Keflezighi, the winner of this year’s Boston Marathon, got to throw the first pitch, so that was kind of cool to see.

Thursday was another relaxing evening. I met Mom at Copley and we had dinner on Newbury at Papa Razzi. It was pretty good, especially after the disaster of a meal we had experienced in Little Italy in NYC the weekend prior. From there we went to the North End (yes, we should’ve eaten Italian food there… next time) and got cannolis from Mike’s. We didn’t want to eat them just yet though, so we got gelato and sat in North Square. Note: their raspberry gelato is the absolute best.

Motif #1
“Sitka, Alaska”

That Friday, I took the day off and we rented a Zipcar. We drove up to Rockport on the North Shore. That is just the quaintest, most picturesque little town. While there, we learned that the Sitka, AK scenes from The Proposal were actually filmed in Rockport, MA. We had a lovely time strolling all about. Mom even purchased some prints from a local artist, featuring Rockport’s Motif #1.

From Rockport, we made a pitstop at Costco in Danvers. I wanted to take full advantage of having a car and my mom’s Costco card. Once done there, we stopped in Salem and walked around there for a bit. Everything was pretty much closed, which gave it even more of an eery vibe.

We spent that Saturday morning sleeping in. Then we took a walk and had buffet lunch at Mela (second Indian food stop of Mom’s visit, haha). From there we walked around my lovely neighborhood some more, and did some shopping at Copley Mall and the Pru before calling it a day.

That Sunday was Mom’s birthday. We went to church, where she got to meet my friends. After church we went over to Charles Street and had brunch at the Paramount. We walked around Beacon Hill for a bit, then got ice cream at JP Lick’s. From there we walked through the garden. I was singing and animals started coming over to me–some ducks, then a squirrel. It works, you guys. Since we weren’t ready for the day to end just yet, we went and saw Noah. It was very weird, and there was a couple sitting in our row who talked THE ENTIRE TIME. So it was not a very enjoyable experience. But the acting was good, as was the popcorn. Ha. We went home so that Mom could pack, and then she left the next day.