My Trip to NYC


Clearly based on the creativity of the title of the blog post, I’m exhausted. After 5 days in New York City, I’m wiped. But I need to document my trip now or I never will. Here goes.

Why I Went to New York

I originally booked my trip to NYC to see Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I saw the show, but it happened to be the first show after NPH was done. It didn’t ruin my trip by any means. I still had a blast.

Accommodations

I went outside my comfort zone and decided to stay at a hostel. It’s basically like dorm living, but instead of one roommate, you have 11! The hostel situation was pretty cool. I mostly kept to myself, but did meet people—mostly from Australia and the UK.

The main reason I decided to stay at a hostel was cost. It’s about $50/night to stay in a hostel, vs minimum $150/night in a hotel. Totally worth the savings.

This isn't a very good angle of the room. There were 6 bunks, 12 beds total. I got the back corner top bunk, which was awesome.

This isn’t a very good angle of the room. There were 6 bunks, 12 beds total. I got the back corner top bunk, which was awesome.

Travel

Everything with my flights and whatnot when very smoothly.  I somehow caught the right bus from the airport to the hostel (honestly I just hopped on one headed toward Manhattan). The subway system was easy to figure out and I used that to get around.

Monday

Again, I’m tired, so I’m just going to go through what I did each day.

Monday was my day to travel to NYC. I got up for a 7 a.m. flight out of Waterloo and got to the hostel by about 3 p.m.

I didn’t feel like venturing out on my own that night, but luckily the hostel had a planned walking tour of Brooklyn. It was a good way to meet a couple people and see the city with a group.

Our tour guide was Bill, a native Brooklyn-ite. He was adorable and clearly had a passion for the city. He showed us historical sites and great views of the city. The tour was a LOT of walking (about 5 hours straight), so I was exhausted when we got in around 10. Bed.

Tour guide Bill. Adorable.

Tour guide Bill. Adorable.

Tuesday

Tuesday, my first full day in the city, I pretty much just wandered around. I took the Staten Island Ferry and had lunch on the isle. Otherwise, I honestly just walked around and saw stuff. Nothing of note, but cool stuff nonetheless.

That evening, I partook in some free kayaking. It wasn’t like white-water kayaking or anything. Quite the opposite actually. Everybody got 20 minutes to just kayak around a small area of the Hudson. This provided amazing views of the skylines. I couldn’t take pictures, of course, because lord knows I would have dropped my phone in the water.

I did take a photo of other people kayaking. The skyline in the background wasn't even the good skyline.

I did take a photo of other people kayaking. The skyline in the background wasn’t even the good skyline.

Wednesday

Wednesday I did another good deal of wandering around. I went to the Union Square Farmer’s Market (thanks for the tip, Libby). And for those of you who know me, the follow is a big deal: I bought an apple and ate it without washing it. Yea, I know. I went all out on this trip.

After the market, I headed to the High Line, a rail line converted into a park. It was surprisingly busy, but really cool. I walked end to end.

Wednesday night was show night—Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It definitely would have been soooo much cooler with Neil Patrick Harris, but it was amazing anyway. And now I can say I’ve seen a show on Broadway! I have quite a few pictures from that night, but I’ll just share a couple here. I’ll put the rest on Facebook.

I took a picture with the guitar player...mostly because of his awesome mustache. Yes, it's real.

I took a picture with the guitar player…mostly because of his awesome mustache. Yes, it’s real.

The show sign.

The show sign.

Me being super happy to be in Times Square. Seriously, it was awful. I think it's the worst place on the planet. Too many people.

Me being super happy to be in Times Square. Seriously, it was awful. I think it’s the worst place on the planet. Too many people.

Thursday

My last day in the city. I made the most of it. I spent most of the day walking through Central Park (yes, you can spend all day doing that). I also went to the pool in the park because, well, sun.

I found a unique plant in its natural habitat in Central Park.

I found a unique plant in its natural habitat in Central Park.

Thursday night was a blast too. I headed to Marie’s Crisis bar. On my way, I saw a delightful ice cream shop, and got hit on by a homeless gentleman (not the only time this happened, just the most memorable).

Ice cream! I didn't have any because I had had Ben & Jerry's earlier that day.

Ice cream! I didn’t have any because I had had Ben & Jerry’s earlier that day.

So Marie’s Crisis is pretty much the best bar ever (again, thanks, Libby). There’s a piano and a piano player and he plays songs and everybody sings. Everybody. Including me. It was amazing. I almost didn’t leave.

But I did leave. And I headed to what I thought was a drag show but was actually a burlesque show so I left and went home and went to bed.

Conclusion

See, my headings are just lazy.

Overall, the trip was amazing. Everything went far too smoothly, and I’m so happy for that. I had a great time.

In case you didn’t realize, yes, I went alone. I’ve come to love traveling alone. The freedom and independence are incomparable. Highly recommend.

While I was gone, my little monkey stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s (my parents’ house).

Somebody might have wanted to go for a walk.

Somebody might have wanted to go for a walk.

We were both quite happy to get home. Little miss is sleeping beside me, and bed is my next stop.

I Went to Mexico…Alone


I’m not a risk taker. I like the familiar. I like the safe. I like my routines.

But…last week I stepped out of my comfort zone (a massive understatement) and went on vacation to Cancun. By myself.

For those of you who know me, this is a surprise for SO many reasons:

  • I don’t really take vacations
  • I’ve never traveled alone
  • I had to leave my Violet for 7 days
  • Like I said, I like safe, routine activities

There are more reasons I’m sure, but my brain is still on vacation.

I want to document some of my vacation here—so you can see it, but mostly so I can remember it when I look back at this post. I’m going to spare you the details, but here’s an overview of my adventure.

Packing

I’m a nervous packer. I hate packing. I know I’m going to forget something. Luckily, all I forgot this time was Q-tips. Those are easy to find, even in Mexico. I packed the night before I left, and as I was doing so, had about 5 minutes of, “What the hell am I doing going to Mexico alone!?” Then I got over it.

Dog in Suitcase

Somebody wanted to come to Mexico with her mama.

Traveling

I flew out of Des Moines at 6 a.m. so I could get to the resort at a decent hour. As you know, when you fly out at 6, you have to be there at 4. Yuck. So I stayed in a hotel Friday night for my Saturday a.m. flight. I was in the hotel for about 7 hours total. Good times.

Hotel Privacy Sign

Not sure why this guy needs privacy…

Everything with the flights went well. I had never been out of the country before, but I figured out customs. It’s surprisingly hard to mess up. I got on my shuttle and headed to paradise.

The Resort

I stayed at the Now Sapphire in Riviera Cancun. It was beautiful. And warm. My balcony view was pretty awesome.

Riviera Maya Cancun

I could also see the ocean…kind of.

the-ocean

I kept very busy with a variety of activities: swimming, drinking, tanning (burning), drinking, playing volleyball, dancing, drinking, reading, eating, walking, socializing, and drinking.

vacation

My morning routine: reading on the balcony.

I wore shorts, tank tops, and sandals the entire week. It was amazing. My phone says it’s 47 degrees right now in Iowa, and it’s supposed to freeze tonight. Stupid. I did get blisters from wearing sandals the whole time, but if that’s my worst complaint, I’m calling the trip a success!

foot blisters

Blister scabs. Gross.

I’ll spare you the more detailed activities of my 4-ish days at the resort (call, email, Facebook, or text me if you want them). But I will say, I had a blast and met a ton of amazing people. I would 100% do it again. Shoot, I plan on doing it again soon.

Home

Now I’m back home. It feels good, but I could have stayed at that resort for at least another week. If Violet could have come with me, I’d never come back.

sleeping dog

Somebody looks happy to be home.

I didn’t understand how awesome a vacation like this could be until I did it. I took a chance, did something scary, and now have memories that will last a lifetime.

OMG, Shoes


I buy tennis shoes about every 5 years. Not even kidding. I realized this week that my workout shoes are from sophomore year of high school…that was like 10 year ago. The last pair of tennis shoes I got was my sophomore year of college (5 years ago…see the pattern here), and my dad bought them for me.

I’m notoriously frugal. I don’t buy things I don’t need. But, I finally gave in and thought it was time to get some new tennis shoes. So, I ventured out in the snow today and headed to the mall (another place I only go ever few years it feels like).

I headed right to the lady athletic shoes section of Famous Footwear. It’s still where it was 5 years ago. But this time, the selection was so different! Neon. Everything is neon. Bright green, bright pink, bright blue. Everywhere. My eyes hurt. Apparently that’s the style these days. We all know how well I keep up with style and fashion.

I walked up and down the wall of shoes, my eyes hurting from the brightness. I don’t mind the neon style, which is good because I didn’t really have a choice. But I settled for a pair that’s more subtle. The picture doesn’t do them justice…they’re bright.

Neon Shoes

Breaking them in like a champ.

I tend to shop by price. As mentioned above, I’m frugal. I don’t see a reason to by $110 shoes. But, I was proud of myself that I didn’t shop just by price. I got the pair I wanted. They happened to be a very good deal, so bonus points for me.

One thing that surprised me about the shoes I tried on was how light they are. Again, since I haven’t bought shoes in 5 years, things have changed, I guess. These shoes are like air light. I’mma be able to run so fast. I’ll be neon blur.

Ending this for my girls: OMG, shoes. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

7 Ways Violet is Like Me


I’ve had Violet for a few months now. And, seriously, we’re like perfect together. We’re just a couple of old ladies living the life. We’re basically twins—kind of meant for each other. Here are just a few ways we’re alike.

7. She does awkward things sometimes

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6. She’s very ladylike

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5. She enjoys snacks and second dinners
I don’t have a picture of her eating, so enjoy this photo of her mohawk

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4. She mostly likes to sleep, but has her hyper/playful moments

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3. She doesn’t like other dogs (I’m not a big fan of other people)

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2. She hides under the bed when she’s scared (I hide in dark, enclosed places when I have anxiety)

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1. She’s adorable

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I Got a Dog


I had dogs all my life. Ever since Pepe came in the house and I ran and hid when I was 3.

That is, until I went to college.

In college, it’s tough to have dogs. I was in the dorms, in no-dog apartments, had wacky schedules, and moved every year.

When I got my house (I may have purchased a house mainly to get a dog…don’t judge me), one of my first to-dos was getting a dog. And this weekend, it finally happened! After 6 years of no dog, I’m back to dog-owner status.

I didn’t have any clue what I wanted. People asked what size and what breed, but I truly didn’t care. I cared about the dog’s personality. I knew I didn’t want a puppy, but other than that, I was pretty open.

IMAG0419I wanted to adopt from the Cedar Bend Humane Society—I’ve been volunteering there for several months. So I took a half day on Friday and headed out there. I walked around for about 45 minutes, looking at the dogs, taking them for walks, and getting to know them. There were a couple I got along with, but I fell in love with Violet.

I got the folder from the adoption ladies and read up on her. She’s a cairn terrior who was a companion pet for an older gentleman until he passed. She lived on a farm with his family for a while, but they couldn’t keep her, so they took her to the shelter.

As a companion pet, she’s super cuddly. She doesn’t leave my side, and she hates when I leave. She follows me everywhere—she can’t have me out of her site.

I wanted a cuddly dog, and that’s what I got.

Violet is 9 years old, which means she would have been at the shelter for a while. People tend not to want to adopt older dogs. I hate to point out the reason because I don’t want to think about that, so I’ll let you figure it out.

She doesn’t really listen when I call her Violet, but she does pretty well with Vi. She’s house trained. She doesn’t really know any tricks. She thinks she’s entitled to always be on my lap and to sleep in my bed. We’ll work on that.

She’s still trying to figure out how to use her bed. She’s getting there.

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She found her favorite toy—Gumby. We wrestle and play tug of war and fetch.

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Overall, I’d say we’re just a couple of happy ladies. :)

Snapchat-3711

I’m sure there will be plenty of pictures on my Facebook page…I’m going to me one of those Moms who’s constantly taking pictures.

Did I forget any details about her? Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Things I Learned During My 2-Week Break


I just had two weeks off from work. Not like normal vacation where you have to keep an eye on work email (and in my case, keep an eye on social networks for clients). But a true vacation. No work email to check, no responsibilities. Yes, it was two weeks off, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t learning.

I learned that vacation rocks! It was wonderful not to have to be anywhere or do anything. I had a list of things I wanted to do or get done, but I could do them on my time. I could wake up at 8 a.m. (ha, no) or sleep until noon (more likely).

I re-learned that I do love being outside. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of staying inside the last few years…very hermit-esque With work during the day and feeling lazy on the weekends, I spent most of my time under unnatural light. But on my break, I spent a chunk of every day outside, and I hope to continue getting more outside time.

I learned that pedicures are just not worth it. They hurt (and tickle). Yes, my toesies look spectacular (exhibit a), but this one will probably be both the first and last one I ever get.

exhibit a

exhibit a

I learned that yoga pants rock. I used to be skeptical about the comfyness of yoga pants…I didn’t understand why other girls liked wearing them. I get it now. I really get it. I try not to wear them out of the house unless I actually am working out, and I will NEVER wear them with Uggs, but they really are fantastic.

I learned that swimming is really, really hard…and it’s great exercise. But, seriously, it’s hard. And exhausting. But I’ll probably keep doing it.

I learned that women at the Y are totally OK with their bodies. While I went in the changing rooms, others did not feel the need to.

I learned that I don’t have a 3 iron in my current set of golf clubs. And also that I can still golf even though it’s been 6 years since I’ve golfed consistently.

I learned that the par 3 course in town does not have a dress code. I know this because I wore my shorty shorts, and a gentleman played a round with no shirt.

I learned that I have shoes for every occasion, and that I wore pretty much all of them during these two weeks.

shoes

OMG shoes. A small selection of my vacation footwear.

I learned I can still rollerblade. But it’s reeeaaallly hard on the leg muscles.

I learned I eat a lot when I’m at home during the day. Like seriously, a lot.

During my time off, I took a break from social media, as in NO social media for the first week, limited social media for the second week. I learned that it’s harder to avoid posting on social media than it is to avoid looking at my newsfeed for what others are posting. That sounds super narcissistic, but I guess it’s now ingrained to want to share what you’re doing. If you have a chance to take a break from social media, I highly recommend it.

I did learn that the only reason I’ll break my social media hiatus is to respond to a message from my brother in Afghanistan. (Miss you, James.)

Now I’m headed into the next chapter of my career, of my life. And I couldn’t be more excited. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m excited to get back to work. My 2-week vacation was wonderful, yes, but I do much better when I’m busy. I’m ready to put my mind toward something, and to grow and learn every day.

Wish me luck!

Ch-ch-ch-changes


Friday was my last day at ME&V. Crazy. I was there for 4 years: 1 as a student, 1 as a part-timer and 2 full time. I learned so much there…started as a student, left as a professional. I’m sad to leave, but excited about my next steps.

I’m going to miss walking down the hall to talk to my sister.

I don't have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here's us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I don’t have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here’s us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I’m going to miss being able to turn around and communicate with Carrie, often without using words.

Cup String Phone

This one time (OK, Friday) Carrie and I set up a high-tech communication system between our offices. It was hilarious.

I’m going to miss Jessica and I dressing similarly without planning it…because the girls taught me how to dress.

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies...we didn't even coordinate it!

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies…we didn’t even coordinate it!

I’m going to miss all the great people I worked with.

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

I’m going to miss this view…watching puppies walk by all day and worrying about the ice fishermen in the winter.

office-view

While I will miss ME&V, on June 3 I will be starting at Far Reach as a marketing specialist. I’m remarkably excited about this opportunity and where it will take me professionally.

In the mean time, I have two weeks off! Two. Weeks. Off. My mom said I haven’t had two weeks off since I was in third grade. And it’s not like when you take two weeks off work and you still have to check email and worry about what’s happening while you’re not there. I have none of that. No work email to check, no Facebook pages to worry about, no nothing. I have two weeks of wide open freedom.

What am I going to do with my two weeks? Well, I’m taking a break from social media. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to get on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for work, so I can avoid them, and that’s what I’m going to do. No Facebook, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Pinterest, no Imgur. It’s going to be wonderful.

“But how are you posting this if you’re on a social media hiatus?” you may ask. Good question. This is pre-scheduled. I wrote it and scheduled it. At the time this publishes, I will have been free from social media for 4 whole days.

I also plan to spend lots of time outside, including at the Cedar Bend Humane Society walking dogs. I have to watch Arrested Development in preparation for the new season, and then watch the new season since it comes out May 26. I will celebrate my birthday. I might go some places (if you have recommendations of fun day-trips, leave them in the comments). I have a lot I want to do, but no schedule to keep. Which is perfect.

Come June 3, I’ll jump back into it and start a new chapter in my life. I look forward to it. But for now, I have 2 weeks of vacation to enjoy.

inbox zero

This was my inbox when I left on my last day. Beautiful. #inboxzero