Mackinac Island

I’m back from my family vacation, and I CANNOT believe August is almost over! What happened to summer? Wahhhh! I can’t complain though. I did just enjoy a very long week off! My family visited Mackinac Island and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Below is my first batch of photos, from Mackinac Island!

Mackinac Island collage 8-23-2014

Day #1 of our vaca was super laid-back. I went for a run and then my mom and I walked half the length of the island to go grab coffee at one of our favorite spots.

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Flowers on Mackinac Island

A pic of our hotel, the Grand Hotel:

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel

We stopped at J.L. Beanery and ordered cherry-flavored coffee. Not your average cup o’ joe! It was sweet and really did taste like cherries. Not too overpowering, though.

J.L. Beanery

Next stop: fudge! Mackinac Island is known for its amazing fudge. There must be at least 10-12 shops on the island within the same quarter-mile radius. No joke! My family’s favorite kind is Ryba’s.

Ryba's Fudge Shop

One of everything?…. Don’t mind if I do ;-)

Ryba's Fudge

Ryba's Fudge

Ryba’s carries a long list of classic and specialty flavors . According to staff, these are the most popular:

  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Chocolate no-nut (my family’s favorite!)
  • Chocolate sea salt caramel

Ryba's Fudge

We bought the chocolate no-nut (a must) and Oreo!

Ryba's Chocolate No-Nut Fudge

Ryba's Oreo Fudge

Ryba's Fudge

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Later on, we stopped at my favorite cocktail spot: the Cupola Bar. It’s situated atop the Grand Hotel. Aren’t the views amazing?

Cupola Bar Grand Hotel

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Cupola Bar Dirty Martini IMG_5578

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We wandered over to the Grand Hotel’s dining room for dinner. This is an experience to say the least. FOUR courses! You really need to pace yourself! I started with shrimp cocktail, followed by an awesome baby spinach salad, veal (not pictured — I ended up sending it back to the kitchen for lamb instead) and salted caramel cheesecake.

Grand Hotel Shrimp Cocktail

Grand Hotel Salad

Grand Hotel Cheesecake


Grand Hotel Geraniums

It rained on our second day, so we hung around the hotel reading and playing cards. I got a massage, too!

Grand Hotel Porch

Later on… back at the Cupola Bar!

Grand Hotel Cupola Bar IMG_5634

On our last day, I woke up early to go for a 4-mile run along the water. Pretty beautiful sunrise to wake up to!

Grand Hotel Porch

Breakfast every morning was a FEAST. This was our bakery/pastry basket. And that’s just a small portion of the meal! I ordered orange juice and eggs almost every morning, aside from the fruit and other bakery I picked up from the buffet. Best meal of the day!

Grand Hotel Breakfast IMG_5663

Grand Hotel American Flag

Grand Hotel Coffee

Daisies

Our last stop before leaving the island: Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor! It’s attached to the Grand Hotel.

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor IMG_5686

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor

Sadie's Ice Cream

Sadie’s offers a long list of flavors. The staff confirmed these to be most popular:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Sea side caramel
  • Grand Hotel pecan ball

Sadie's Ice Cream Sea Side Caramel

My mom and I both opted for the “Sea side caramel” — a very delicious choice! The perfect way to end our three-day stay on the island.

Sadie's Ice Cream Sea Side Caramel

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor

Stay tuned for the second half of my vaca photos! :-D

Marathon Training

Hellloo, there! I’m back to blogging after a few weeks of moving craziness. (I’m still in NYC, but just moved to a different apartment!) I also have some very exciting and out-of-nowhere news: I registered for a marathon! Ever since I finished my first half marathon back in April, I’ve been contemplating a 26.2-mile race. Now, I finally decided. YEP, I’m going to do this! I registered for a race in November. Running a marathon has always been a far-off dream of mine. It seemed like a cool thing to do SOME day. But some day is only today if you just make it happen! I’m excited to start this journey.

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Shore Park in Brooklyn

I found a training plan from HalHigdon.com, the same site I used for my half marathon training. Currently, I’m on week #3:

Beginner Marathon Training Plan

Similar to my half marathon training, I plan to run primarily on the treadmill. I’ll change it up occasionally with outdoor runs in the park. (When the weather is nice, of course!) I know a lot of people DREAD the treadmill. I used to. But it honestly worked well for me with my half marathon. I also just love watching TV during my runs (haha), which helps. During the week, I usually run early in the morning and watch the news (okay, maybe that sounds nerdy… but try it ;-) ). On the weekends, I watch my favorite Food Network shows.

I’m anxious to get further into training, and continue to share my progress and experiences. It’ll certainly be an interesting (and hopefully not overly sore) journey! Stay tuned.

Question: Have you ever completed a marathon? Would you?

Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark

Happy Monday! It’s been a busy past few weeks for me, between traveling home, apartment hunting and hosting my brother in New York. But, I’m baaaack! Time to catch up on my blog. First thing’s first, I MUST share one of my new favorite Trader Joe’s discoveries: Cowboy Bark! Have you tried it?

Trader Joe's Cowboy Bark

I’ve spotted it on the shelves before, but never convinced myself to buy it. Well, lucky me (!), because my mom sent me a bag a few weeks ago! This stuff is crazy addicting! But even a small piece will satisfy — there’s just so much texture and flavor. My two favorite mix-ins are the Joe Joe Cookies and pretzels. They add the perfect crunch.

Then I got to thinking… wouldn’t this be fun to re-create at home? I could totally picture it wrapped up in mason jars and gifted with a cute bow. Might just have to try that… :-D

My Trip to Denver

I took my first-ever trip to Denver a few weeks ago to visit friends. What a beautiful city! Why had I never been there sooner?! That’s all I can ask myself. The views from every single direction are absolutely stunning, and the weather (when I was there at least) was awesome. I’m also not the skiing type, and was pleasantly surprised to learn how many things there are to do beyond hitting the slopes.

Denver collage 5-9-2014 We started the weekend at a Kentucky Derby party — the “Denver Derby.” Fitting name, eh? Everyone was fully decked out in Derby apparel. I wore a “fascinator,” aka hair clip, that I found on Etsy. This is the one I bought, and I was really happy with how it turned out!

I’d love to go to the actual Derby someday. So many hats, so little time….

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Another highlight from my weekend — the Rockies game! I’ve been to a LOT of baseball stadiums in my life. Coors Field has the best views by far! You can see the mountains in the background! How cool is that?!

Coors Field

Coors Field

I can’t wait to go back to Colorado sometime! Maybe I’ll actually go skiing… or hiking at the very least. :-D

Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit

Say hello to one of my favorite ice cream addictions — Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit! I cannot begin to explain my obsession with this stuff. It’s not exactly ice cream — it’s a combination of three ingredients: fruit, water and cane sugar. Super refreshing! They sell a bunch of different flavors, like strawberry, mango, pineapple and my two favorites: dark chocolate and banana.  There are also toppings like pretzels, marshmallows and coconut. When I visited last week, I opted for a twist of dark chocolate and banana topped with dark chocolate chips. Yummm! If you’re ever in the Union Square area, I definitely recommend stopping by. It’s one of my go-to summer treats. Plus, it’s made from fruit, so it has to be healthy, right? ;-)

Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit

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