Category Archives: travel

Older Than the Trees, Younger Than the Mountains

Andrés and I (and Ruby!) took a trip to my parent’s vacation home (the front windows of which can be seen in the first picture) in the mountains this past weekend to attend a Bluegrass Festival and to meet with the pastor who will marry us.

I love being up there. The air is crisp, it’s consistently about 10 degrees cooler, and life just slows down a little. I drank coffee from a French press and I don’t even like coffee. I’d never want to live there because I can’t imagine that kind of seclusion every day, but I sure do love to vacation in cabins in the mountains.

We read over the ceremony (which is about 12 minutes without adding in any songs) and our vows, and talked about the paperwork side of getting married. There was this holy-shit-this-is-real moment for me. Not in a freak-out-cold-feet kind of way… in a I-can’t-wait-to-marry-him! kind of way.

Ruby hated the ride. We drugged her with anti-nausea medicine from the vet, which did prevent her from throwing up every 15 minutes of the 4 hour drive, but she instead drooled the entire trip. The backseat of my car was covered in puddles. Poor thing. We’re going to work with her to get her over her car anxiety.

On the way back we met with our DJ, who is quite a character. He’s a 10th degree black belt in Aikido, a US Marshall, an ordained minister, ex celebrity body guard, and a landlord! He also used to be a body double for Garth Brooks. And has hand tattoos. THIS GUY. Right? I’m looking forward to him DJing our wedding.



I took a quick (31 hours) trip to Chicago for business Thursday and Friday of last week. I was actually never physically in Chicago proper — just in Rosemont, Illinois and the O’Hare Airport (where I got to meet Neil DeGrasse Tyson!).

Making that bitch my wife.

Last week on Thursday Andrés said we were going to out to dinner on Friday night. I asked what the occasion was, he said to celebrate our offer being accepted on a house. (Oh, yea, we’re buying a house. I’ll explain that more another day.)

On Friday I noticed that this gorgeously renovated townhouse we had been looking at online a few weeks ago was back on the market after it had mysteriously disappeared. I emailed Andrés & called his office like 13 times in a row until he answered because I really wanted to go check it out. I didn’t know I was messing up Big Plans.

We drove back from the city to home to drop off his carpool buddy, then we stepped inside to get changed for dinner. And then he sprung on me that he got a room at the Best Western in case we want to get drunk so I should pack a bag. I was like, “Cool, the Best Western is nice.” I’m not a fancy bitch. So I throw some random clothes in a bag & we left to go see the townhouse. It was AWESOME but smaller & much older than the one we already have a contract on so it was a pass.

Then we were off to the Cheesecake Factory. He was pretending to be lost when we passed the restaurant & rolled through the valet parking of the Ritz Carlton. I was mortified because the guys (one of them named Reuben, like the sandwich) started approaching the car, trying to open the door and carry my stuff. I thought we were in the wrong place & IT WAS ALL JUST A HUGE MISTAKE. I’m like covering half my face & hissing at Andrés through my teeth to PULL AWAY.

Then he was like, “Get out of the car, babe.”

So we get out & we walk into the Ritz motherfucking Carlton. I texted my sister all like, WTF IS GOING ON. When we get up to our room on the FOURTEENTH FLOOR overlooking the city, there is a HUUUGE bouquet of long stem red roses in baby’s breath. Very romantical.

We walk through the hotel into the mall then go to Cheesecake for dinner. We stuffed ourselves full of delicious food & red velvet cheesecake & pineapple upside down cheesecake then went back to the hotel to pass out. I wash my face & crawl into the huge, comfy bed next to him.

He asks, “What kind of pillow do you have?”

Without moving at all because I’m tired, I answered, “Feather.”

Then he’s staring at me with crazy eyes so I’m like, “Why are you staring at me?”

He goes, “Do you think there are mints under the pillows?” So I flip the fuck over because I’m like, YUM! THERE WILL BE A DELICIOUS MINT UNDER MY PILLOW!

But instead of a delicious mint there was a red rose with a beautiful ring around one leaf.

I was like WHAT. What is this. What is this that you are doing.

He goes “I’m making that bitch my wife.” (inside joke, very hilarious)

Then he goes (in a Mufasa voice from the Lion King) CAANNDIIICE. WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?

I was like, “Yea. YES. Yes!”

So we are betrothed.

The next morning I woke up at 6:30AM because I was too excited to sleep. I watched the sunrise & gazed at my gorgeous new sparkly.

Andrés woke up around 10AM, & we got ready.

We went to brunch at Michel Richard’s restaurant, Michel.

Then we had drinks at the hotel bar: a Grey Goose bloody mary & a shot of Johnny Walker’s Blue Label.

Then we went home.

What a fantastic weekend.

I’m unbelievably blessed to one day be able to call this man my husband.


Andrés & I spent Memorial Day weekend visiting Philly, one of our favorite cities. We had tons of delicious food &, of course, lots of liquor.

On Friday night after checking into the hotel, we turned right around & headed to Jim’s to grab some steaks. Andrés says they’re the best drunk food because they’re greasy & delicious, especially at 3AM. I loved seeing huge cans of whiz as we headed up stairs to chow down.

Saturday morning we had brunch at the Morning Glory Diner. I had the Breakfast Pizza which was layered with potatoes, caramelized onions, mozzarella & scrambled egg & Andrés had the Grilled Ribeye Steak-n-Two Eggs. We really loved the extra little touches, like the homemade ketchup & the apricot jam. We shared an amazing slice of creamy coconut cream pie for dessert.

After brunch, we walked a couple blocks to explore the Italian Market. We bought a bunch of teas from the Spice Corner & Andrés got a handkerchief. On our way back to the car, we stopped in a Whole Foods for some cold drinks & then toured the Magic Garden, a house, patio, & garden covered in an oddly beautiful mosaic of broken tiles & glass.

I’m really into ships lately, so we tried to go see the Philly Navy Yard, but it was closed & we couldn’t see much from the street. We headed to Ruby Tuesday (a tradition of ours) for some drinks & then we went back to the hotel to relax before dinner.

At night we headed to Lolita, a contemporary Mexican restaurant on 13th Street owned by Chef Marcie Turney & Valerie Safran. The food was delicious, but what we really got us, was the BYOT.

Bring your own tequila.

We got a pitcher of the Naranja de Sangria (fresh squeezed margarita mix, blood orange puree, wild mint, sugared rim) & mixed in the tequila & orange liquor we brought from home. Fucking delicious.

We ordered the Guacamole con Totopos Mixtos (guacamole, jicama, mixed chips of Malanga de Coco, plantain & corn) for our appetizer. For my entrée, I had the Carne Asada a la Lolita (morita-cumin grilled beef tenderloin, smoky plantain crema, fried yucca, poblano rajas, avocado-tomatillo salsa) & Andrés had the Pechuga de Pato (hazelnut crusted duck breast, sweet plantains, sour cherry salsita, jicama-orange slaw).

For dessert we shared the Tiramisu a la Mexicana (Kahlua-espresso soaked lady fingers, canela-praline mascarpone, toasted hazelnuts, whipped cream).

It was one of the most amazing meals we’ve ever had. We even got to see Marcie & Valerie (the owners) sitting outside before we left.

I should also note that we left the restaurant with more tequila than we came with because the table next to ours had some kind of fight & when they left, they forgot their bottle of Patrón! We had no shame in snatching that up!

On Sunday we slept in & skipped breakfast so we headed right over to Tony Luke’s after checking out of the hotel. We stuffed ourselves with steaks & cheese fries. After eating at Tony’s, Geno’s, & Jim’s, Tony’s is still our favorite. I want to try Pat’s next time we’re up there, though.

On our way to Tony’s, we saw an Ikea, & decided to spend the afternoon picking up a few things for the house.

This was our haul: a Malm dresser, 2 sets of Anita curtains (charcoal & white), two Beskada curtain rods (ours don’t have the finials) with the double wall hardware, two floating Lack shelves (that are too long for where we want to put them, but will probably be used elsewhere), & a Mysa Stra lightweight comforter (mentioned previously). All for around $230.

We also picked up three of those huge blue reusable Ikea bags for grocery shopping, now that we’re bona fide Costco members! Fuck yeah, bitches. We now have the privilege of buying five gallons of mayonnaise from an exclusive warehouse.

Somehow all of this fit in Andrés’ Audi & we headed back to Virginia, but not before stopping to look at the S.S. United States that’s docked in the Delaware River, right across the street from Ikea. I got to see some huge ships, after all. Our next visit, we might have a fancy dinner overlooking the river.