off to Florida ..

It’s family vacation time! I could not be more excited to see my parents & brother. And to spend a couple days in sunny Florida. [A little less excited Jeff has been home barely 30 hours and now I’m leaving. But the joy of living together, he’ll be there to greet me when I get back].

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My family is the lots of laughter, on the go, jam packed activity kind-of-family. So, I better sleep on the plane …

Happy [hump] Wednesday :)

weekend getaway – San Diego, CA.

I love weekend getaways. Especially when you miss the first winter snowfall in New York and fly cross-country to 60 degree weather. You won’t hear me complain!

We arrived in San Diego around 11:30AM, which gave us just enough time to grab lunch before heading to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for our cheetah adventure. [See all of the pictures, plus the video of the cheetah on Two Coins Photography].

Night #1, we were ready to go out on the town. We got ready and went in search of delicious Mexican food. Which is exactly what we found at La Puerta in the heart of the Gaslamp District. Can you say AMAZING guacamole? Margaritas, salsa, enchiladas ..oh I was a happy camper. But halfway through the meal Jeff & I ran straight into a brick wall. After being up for close to 20 hours, we decided it was bedtime instead of our intended night on the town.

Saturday morning first stop ..breakfast at The Broken Yolk Cafe – Home of a Man vs. Food 8 lb. breakfast challenge. Let me tell you, the service was great, the food came in a blink of the eye, it was delicious, my coffee was re-filled every 30 seconds [which I loved], and the prices were good. So …we came back Sunday morning too! [First morning – Betty’s Southern Biscuits & Gravy. Second morning – California Breakfast Burrito]. Can I go back now? I’m hungry thinking about it!

Sunday morning we ate outside [in January]. It was beautiful.  

It was rainy on Saturday, so I didn’t complain about being stuck inside. [The day of work. with Jeff].

 Unsunny San Diego.

On Sunday, we had the entire day for the taking. [We were booked on the red-eye (9PM) back to New York]. After breakfast at The Broken Yolk, again ..we made our way up the California coast. Destination: Orange County, to visit my aunt, uncle, & three cousins.

Roadtrip .. :)

We enjoyed football, drinks, sun, and relaxation in my family’s backyard. Followed by a trip to the historic town of San Juan. And last but not least, mexican food on the ocean in Dana Point. Perrrrfect end to our weekend in California! [Family, thank you for having us!!]

The family pet – Sunshine. Took quite a liking to Jeff.

We got to the airport just in time to see the end of the Giants vs. the 49er’s game and have a couple cocktails. I do not sleep on airplanes. But with a New York arrival time of 5 AM, followed by a full day at work, I had two options ..sleep/knock myself out or have an extremely miserable Monday. Thank you bloody mary & JetBlue eye mask for the sleep-assist.

Turkey day at its finest.

I took a 10 day “leave of absence” from New York City and headed West …to the Midwest, that is. It was my first time “traveling” for the holidays (unless you count driving an hour from my college to home) so it was a slight disaster. I booked my flight the week prior to departure, dumb. And the 10 day stint of my trip was purely because those days offered the cheapest air fare. To my dismay, it worked out flawlessly. I flew into Chicago, (The cost to fly into Iowa is similar to the cost of flying from New York to London. Ridiculous!) which meant I got to spend two days w/ my significant other & his family before my family time kicked in. Jeff & I loaded up the car Monday morning with Dunkin Donuts coffee and all my luggage and headed to the halfway point. Now I will begin … (ha) :)

It seems like forever since the last time my entire family got together for a holiday. By entire, I mean my 3 sets of “Aunts & Uncles” (from Colorado & California), Aunt B from Iowa, my 7 cousins, my little brother (also now living in Colorado), my parents, and my grandparents. A holiday just means that much more when everyone is together! We had so much fun!

I dislike the “Iowa” stereotypes, but we definitely fulfilled one during Thanksgiving week ..

Oh yeah baby – John Deere tour. My dad works there. I was much more entertained & amused than I expected to be. And to Thanksgiving day …

Aunt B, Dad, & I.

Obviously besides turkey, pumpkin pie, and football games ..Thanksgiving (post age 21) also goes hand in hand with – wine! I left a wine glass of mine (from college) at my parents, for a rainy day …or to match my dress!

kind of.

We set the table ..

Thanks to a team/family effort all 25 napkins were cut, tied, and 25 personalized place cards were made ..beautifully, I might add.

Each table setting had a place card with the person’s name. They served two purposes. The first was obvious, to ensure you found your seat (adult & kids table alike). The second was the most important. Each person had to fill out what they were thankful for inside their name tent. Once they were finished, they were to place them on our Thanksgiving tree.

Thee Thanksgiving Tree.

(My cousin Paige & I went hunting in the backyard for the branches Thanksgiving morning. We wrapped them with twine and put them in rustic vase my mom had at home). The kids were so excited to write what they were thankful for, they did it before eating! Most of the adults held off onto after seconds! Let’s just say, I think we started a tradition!

Then came another first for our family ..a post-feast flag football game. It was an ABSOLUTE blast. I had an interception and made a beautiful catch for my team, but unfortunately I made a more memorable impact ..let’s just say the yoga pants I was wearing aren’t as black as they used to be and my uncle filmed the whole thing. [HELLO backside ..whoops!] And Uncle Craig, let this serve as friendly reminder ..that video stays within family limits and makes no internet appearances. Thanks from my tush & my former yoga pants!

I'm to the far left - see black pants!

And last but not least, my brother did the dishes. It was the first I’ve ever seen. Definite photo op …

Hey Cole!

On my last night in town, I decided to take the reins and host a farewell Mexican fiesta for my parents, grandparents and good friend, Courtney. Perfect way to end a great holiday week!

My mom drove me to Chicago, handed me off to Jeff’s family, and just when I thought I was hours from an airplane ride back to NYC …I was wrong. My 7:30PM flight was delayed 4 hours. Then it was only delayed 2.5 hours. Then up to 3. To sum it up, my expectations of making it back home that night were dwindling. I was graciously distracted by (my first) no-chip manicure and wine. Then I made my trek to airport. The first thing I saw after getting through security …

cots, a lot of cots.

More “dwindle” to my expectations. But after about 4 hours in the airport, my flight boarded. I landed in NYC at 2:34AM and was greeted by Jeff’s smiling/tired face! :)

Last picture I took ..

manicure & starbucks.

I am beyond thankful for my amazing family, for all of the time I got to spend at home, for my friends (near & far), for the things I complain about (excessively) but am truly glad to have (ie. my job), and for my love.

Now – BRING ON CHRISTMAS :)