Tag Archives: Recommendations

Miami Vice

Or would you say more Miami nice? I guess it remains to be seen, but I’m hoping for a positive mix of both. I’m planning a long weekend in Miami Beach and I’m looking for recommendations.

I know I’ve been to Miami twice before, but it’s been a long time since my last visit and this quick trip is a bit out of my comfort zone. I’m staying with a friend who rented a place for a few weeks and really have no idea what the scene is going to be. It’s kind of a larger house and I’ve never taken a vacation quite like this where I have no idea who else will be sharing the house, other than my friend who booked it and then invited folks to come down and stay. An adventure, right?

So, the last time I went to Miami Beach I fell in love with a new moisturizer and had my cartilage pierced. That’s about all I remember, other than the oppressive heat that smacked me in the face when I walked out of the airport that Columbus Day weekend many years ago. I’ve poked around a bit online and am excited to check out some of the events related to Art Deco Week and I know I’ll be taking a run or two. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing.


Have you spent any time in Miami recently? Where should I eat? Are there any activities you would recommend – and, yes, day drinking counts in that category. Tips for getting from the airport in Ft. Lauderdale to Miami Beach would be particularly welcomed, as would ideas for fun, outdoor activities and cocktails.

Tell me something I shouldn’t miss. 

 

 

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Filed under drinking, Eating, friends, Recommendations, travel, vacation, winter

Tidying Up

What does one watch after they blow through Mrs. Maisel, Season 2? Well, if you’re feeling inspired by the start of a new year, or as if your life is somewhat out of control, you can’t go wrong with the Netflix series Tidying Up.  It’s the perfect antidote to an overly consumptive holiday season and promises to provide a pathway to a more simple and satisfying home life. Interested? I’ll tell you more…

Marie Kondo, “world-renowned tidying expert,” has developed a process which she calls the Konmari method for eliminating clutter and home organization and I’m hooked. She divides what can be a daunting task into 5 distinct areas of clutter to address – Clothes, Books, Papers, Komomo (a catchall of kitchen, bathroom and garage miscellanea) and Sentimental. I don’t know about you, but the first and last of these categories are the ones that really can hang me up – especially when we’re talking about items which straddle both of those groups, like articles of clothing I no longer wear, but which retain a strong sentimental value. I could do a series of blogposts on that topic, believe me.

Here’s how she suggests dealing with your specific clutter:

1. Commit.
2. Imagine the ideal life you wish to live.
3. Discard first.
4. Tidy by category.
5. Follow the order above.
6. Ask yourself “Does it spark joy?”*

I’m three episodes in and witnessing three different families apply these rules to their individual situations has been really interesting. Each family has their own personal accumulation of possessions with which to deal, but the Konmari method adapts to address their unique circumstances and helps to create a more peaceful home environment. Who doesn’t want that?

While a lot of the focus is on ridding yourself of physical items, based upon the emotional prompt of “does it spark joy?,” it isn’t just about tossing things in the trash. Marie is a creative user of containers, boxes and folding techniques to manage what one retains and I can’t wait to explore how my home might benefit from her wisdom. Even though I get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought of discarding stuff I’ve owned for perhaps decades, I’m even more excited by the possibility of simplifying my life.

I can’t wait to create my own personal mountain of clothing to sort into piles to be folded or to be kissed goodbye. Looks like my February break is going to be spent with Marie Kondo. It may not be quite going to Japan, but if things go well I’ll treat myself to a sushi feast when I’m finished, with sake.

*copied from housebeautiful.com.

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Filed under house, ideas, Observations, Recommendations, television

Desert beauty – Palm Springs, December 2018

Here are some photos from my recent trip to the desert. I’m already looking at the calendar for Christmas 2019. I need to get back there again to spend time with someone I dearly love and to soak in more of this beauty.

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Filed under beauty, California, Christmas, Exercise, favorites, Flowers, friends, Hiking, holidays, love, Observations, Recommendations, running, travel, Uncategorized, vacation, winter

Joshua Tree and the miracle of hot springs

When I travel I refuse to overbook myself or make too many specific plans, preferring to be flexible because it’s vacation and having a rigid schedule sort of contradicts that concept for me. Prior to departing from home, I familiarize myself with some of the offerings and attractions available at my destination and try to determine what might need to be booked in advance. It sucks when there’s something you might want to experience when you’re visiting a new (or favorite) place only to learn that reservations needed to be made ahead of time – think the statue of David in Florence or the Washington Memorial in D.C.

Beyond those sort of points of interest, I’m all about getting a feel for a place, figuring out what can be accomplished without sacrificing my vacation vibe and seeing how the local weather influences which activities can be enjoyed. On this trip, my focus has been spending time with a dear friend, but I did have a couple of items on my hope-to-do list. On Friday I knocked two of them off.

I began with Joshua Tree National Park, a place I’ve never been before. As a person who considers U2’s 1987 album an absolute desert island record, checking out JTNP has long interested me. Unfortunately, the current government shutdown, along with a fierce and cold wind, made for a less than ideal visit. There weren’t any guided tours or services available and I was hesitant to hike any distance solo, so my explorations were limited to a short walk and some clambering up rock piles to access the best views – and what views there were! Every direction beckoned and I had to remind myself to not allow the vistas to tempt me into going further into the park (and away from where I had parked) in an attempt to see what might be visible from a different angle. 

The wind was numbing and my hands were stiff from the cold, but the hour or so I spent looking around, climbing and shooting photos provided an introduction to a fantastic national resource that I hope to visit again under better conditions. With teeth nearly chattering, I made for my car and a destination that promised to warm me up – Miracle Springs Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs. I needed to soak.

It wasn’t easy to find a spot that offered mineral baths with a day use option, but the established Miracle Springs met my requirements of convenient location, multiple outdoor pool options and not expensive since I only planned to indulge myself for an hour or two. This place checked all the boxes and the $14 daily use fee was just what I was looking to spend. If you’re hoping for fancy this may not be the resort for you, but, if you’re satisfied with hot, bubbling water, sunshine on your face and a view of the mountains, perhaps you’ll be content. I was. Bonus if you, like me, enjoy a dry sauna because there are even a couple of those available. Not luxurious, but more than serviceable and a great way to warm up on a cool, high desert day.

Stretched & soaked

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Filed under beauty, California, Exercise, Hiking, ideas, Recommendations, road trips, travel, vacation, winter

Going back to Cali

The running here is magical. I’ve been known to take a run, drive back “home,” hear a good song and take a second run. True story.

Do I look like a desert girl to you? I said desert, not dessert, folks… As a fair skinned, half Irish person, I never imagined that I would be so captivated by the desert, specifically Palm Springs, but I absolutely love it there. There’s something about the dry heat, spectacular mountains and clear, cool nights that keeps me coming back for more and I’m excited to be visiting a close friend who lives there soon.

 

Have you been there? It truly is a desert oasis – gorgeous homes, beautiful people and a climate that during the winter and spring months offers fantastic running in the hills surrounding the city. Palm Springs is the place where I ate my first Mexican food and drank my first margarita, which obviously makes it forever special. I’ve also taken the aerial tramway to the top of the San Jacintos for a “hike,” spent a significant amount of time hanging out poolside, and, way back in the day, went as close to clubbing as I’ve ever been. It’s a fun, cool town and I’m looking forward to getting back there this winter.

 

Now, here’s where you come in – beyond the experiences I’ve already enjoyed in PS, what should I do when I’m there? I’ve been drawn to a mid-century modern aesthetic in recent years and am thinking that an architectural house tour might be fun. Have you ever done that there? The last time I was in Palm Springs I found a nice little hot yoga studio that I may hit up again, but maybe you have a recommendation for a place for a challenging class or two, preferably not Bikram? There seem to be hot springs in the area and I would love to soak outdoors in some hot and bubbly water. Suggestions? And, lastly, maybe you’ve been to the surrounding area? What else should I try to see when I’m there?

 

 

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Filed under beauty, California, Exercise, favorites, friends, Hiking, ideas, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, winter, yoga

Wrapping up Rent the Runway

You know that credit game? The one when you transfer an outstanding balance on a credit card to a new bank which promises zero percent interest for a limited amount of time, which gives you enough time to pay off your debt at a minimal expense? Well, back in the day, I was a champ at that game. My recent experience with Rent the Runway provided me with a similar sense of totallygettingoverontheman accomplishment.

To recap, I purchased a one month unlimited subscription which provided me with 4 garments at a time with an unlimited number of swaps for new items. There was no charge for shipping, cleaning or insurance. All this came for a special offer price of $106, a great discount from the usual $159+ tax charge.


Here’s how I maximized my rentals:

 I purchased and activated the subscription exactly one month minus a day ahead of the big event I planned to attend in a rented gown. This meant the last day of my subscription, aka the day everything needed to be shipped back, was the day after my event.
 My first couple of shipments included gowns that I was considering for the gala. The dress I ultimately selected arrived in my very first shipment and hung on the back of my bedroom door for the entire month – great incentive for running that extra mile and declining a third cookie. Although this decision meant I really only had 3 slots in rotation, I was too worried that I’d somehow “lose” the dress if I sent it back and tried to have it reshipped closer to my date.
 My absolute favorite item was the gorgeous, purple motorcycle jacket which arrived brand new with tags on. I wore the hell out of it for a week and felt like a rockstar each time I put it on.
 I made a point of choosing garments that are beyond my budget. Why waste time with a dress that retails for $150* when you can wear one that would set you back $500 or $600? 


I’ve placed my membership on “hold” rather than cancelling it, which gives me the option of simply restarting my subscription. This courtesy is available for 3 months at which point I’ll need to either restart or cancel. I’ll see what kind of deals I’m offered in the next 10 or 12 weeks and will consider reactivating if the price is right and my social life demands an infusion of new outfits.


Overall verdict – awesome. If you’re interested in giving it a whirl, leave a comment and I’ll try to share a code that will give you $30 off your rental.

*even $150 is more than I’ve ever spent on a garment other than a leather coat.

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Filed under Events, Fashion, favorites, ideas, Observations, Recommendations

Little Pecks knows what you want

At a time of the year occupied with what one wants for Christmas, I’ve found myself twice in the past week in a position where it’s lunch time, but I’m lunchless without a clue as to what I want to eat. You know I’ve got some food issues and I’m kind of particular about what I eat, so these kind of situations stress me out. Often I know what I don’t want – food that’s expensive, unnecessarily heavy or too time consuming, but I’m at a loss as to what will satisfy.

On the first recent occasion, I selected a couple of items from the prepared case at the nearby deli which left me feeling less than satisfied. The tuna salad, with a side of pickled beets and onions, I bought was tasty but it just didn’t fill me up. I regretted my choices.

Monday afternoon I found myself between appointments in Troy, hungry. I made my way to Broadway, parked and considered my options. The Placid Baker was closed, the Whistling Kettle felt like too much of a commitment, and the Illium Cafe seemed like more than I was looking for in the 30 minutes I had available. Little Pecks for the win.

While the baked goods looked awesome, I knew that I wanted something more substantial and less carb-y. The chalkboard menu had a number of items that sounded delicious, but nothing really appealed until I read this:

CHICKPEA & SQUASH STEW
salsa verde, fried breadcrumb

Yes, this was exactly what I craved. I placed my order at the counter, took my table marker and made my way to the light-filled atrium where I found a seat. A few minutes later, I was spooning into a flavorful stew of firm chickpeas and tender squash, finished with buttery breadcrumbs, bright salsa verde and the unexpected brininess of capers. It was perfect.

Thanks, Little Pecks, for giving me my belief in an unplanned lunch back. Now, back to that holiday shopping list…

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Filed under Eating, Food, holidays, Local, Recommendations, Troy, Uncategorized, upstate New York