Archive | December, 2011

The Ring Has Arrived…

30 Dec

As you may know, Matt proposed in Tahiti, French Polynesia, in August 2011 (see posts about the proposal and the EngagementMoon).  Well, the official engagement ring has finally arrived and it is better than I could have ever imagined.  Justin at Diamond Exchange in Rockville, MD, really helped Matt with creating my dream ring.  I thought I would share a photo with everyone since it has been 4 months in the works…

DO: Watch This 1 Minute Travel Video

29 Dec

The title of this video is ” Guy travels the world and shoots one second of footage in each location.”  MUST SEE for travel lovers.

Thank you to surexpress for making me aware of this video.

The Vineyard… Martha’s Vineyard To Be Exact…

28 Dec

O the Vineyard.  I will admit: my main reason for wanting to go was because of the movie “Jaws.”  And, yes, I did go to the Jaws sites and annoyed locals with questions about Jaws.  However, there is quite a bit more to the Vineyard than just Jaws.  If you happen to be in Boston for a weekend or a week, I recommend renting a car or hitching a ride to one of the ferry pickups.  Once you arrive on the Vineyard, rent a bike and explore.  The following was my itinerary, but obviously you should follow whatever interests you:

Matt and I drove to Wood’s Hole and took the ferry to Vineyard Haven.  We then took a bus to Oaks Bluff where we walked around, had some lunch, relaxed on the beach, shopped, rode Flying Horses Carousel (one of the oldest carousel’s in the country), and rented bikes (DO).  We then biked from Oaks Bluff to all the Jaws sights I could find, which included American Legion Memorial Bridge and Edgartown.  In Edgartown, Matt and I walked around so that I could feel like I was in the movie (yes, I have a slight obsession) and then we got ice cream.  Afterward, we took the bus back to Oaks Bluff and then took the ferry back to Wood’s Hole.

Martha’s Vineyard is a great day trip and easily doable from Boston.

Site To Watch: Courtney Mara

26 Dec

Thank you very much for the support.

One Day in Paris

26 Dec

If you have the chance to do even just a day trip to Paris – do it.  It truly is a magical city.  My mother and I took a trip to Paris for the day.  At the time I was living in London so it was just an hour train ride.  It was wonderful trip and I would definitely do it again.

If you have only one day in Paris these are the definite DOs:

  • Take the tourist bus to see all the major sites and to be able to get off at the DO sites.
  • DO go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • DO take a river cruise on the Seine
  • DO visit Le Louvre – DO just run to the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s David and any other pieces you must see.  DO plan ahead – look at a map of Le Louvre and find out what you can realistically see in 1-2 hours maximum.
  • DO go inside Notre Dame

All of these are possible in one day if you plan ahead.  There is so much to see so optimize your time by ordering tickets online and by getting maps of Paris and Le Louvre.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps

25 Dec

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is one of the lesser known free museums in the Washington, DC area, but it is one of the best museums.  It is an interactive museum – not only do you walk around, look at pictures and artifacts, and read descriptions, but you are able to “experience” aspects of the Marine Corps.  You start your experience by watching a video that explains Marine Corps pride, then you go through bootcamp where you stand in booths and get yelled at, and then, depending on the war, you get to walk through “villages” that show what it was like in those countries.

You do not need to know a Marine or have any tie to a war to visit this museum.  A visit to the National Museum of the Marine Corps is a great outing for the entire family.

Emily Faye’s San Francisco: Part 1

23 Dec
When Courtney Mara asked me to be her first guest blogger and write about what to do in SF (as the locals call it) I got excited and then a little nervous – I’m not sure there are any DONTs here.  I moved to San Francisco a little over a year and a half ago. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to really explore the city. Let me tell you, this is one of the BEST cities in the US. There is SO much to do and eat and the weather is pretty nice year round (60 degrees almost always, with a few exceptions).  Anyways, here are my recommendations:
  • DO bring a sweater at nearly all times (ESPECIALLY in the “summer”). The first thing I learned when I moved to SF was to be prepared to layer and unlayer at all times.
  • DO visit Crissy Field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crissy_Field). It has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and is a nice walk – about 5 miles – to get some exercise in. A lot of people run around there so feel free to bring your running shoes!
  • DO go eat Bi Rite (http://biritecreamery.com/) ice cream in the Mission and DO hang out in Delores Park like the hipsters of SF. You should go wait in line, get your ice cream and eat it in the park.
  • China Town isn’t my favorite, but for many people who visit it is a definite DO.
  • One of my all time favorite things about the city is Pier 39 – mostly just the sea lions. In my book, this is a definite DO, but remember, because it is a super tourist attraction there will be a billion people. Also, get tickets to go to Alcatraz – this is worth it but DO make reservations before you travel because the boats fill up quickly.
  • If you’re in town during baseball season DO go to a Giant’s game. DO go early and eat/drink at one of the MANY restaurants and bars in the area. Pete’s Tavern is really well known – great sports bar.
  • DON’T go to the Tenderloin, unless you are going to Bourbon and Branch (DO) which is one of the most unique bars in SF. Just make sure to make reservations and get the password!

Food Tours: The New “In” Tour

18 Dec

A great, warm way to get to know a city is by taking a food tour.  I mean, who doesn’t love to eat?  These tours provide not only samplings from fine restaurants, but also history and culture of a particular neighborhood.   Probably the most well-developed company in DC providing these tours is DC Metro Food Tours (http://dcmetrofoodtours.com/).  I took its Capitol Hill tour last winter and was able to learn a lot about the history of buildings in that neighborhood, and I tried foods from around the globe (Indian, Greek, Mexican, etc.).  A deterrent for these tours is the cost (tends to range from $50-70+), but check Groupon, LivingSocial, and the other deal sites because they will feature food tours from time to time.

The Best Wednesday Email: TravelZoo’s Weekly Top 20

14 Dec

If you love great deals on travel, make sure to sign up for TravelZoo’s “Weekly Top 20” email (http://www.travelzoo.com/SignUp.aspx?source=_tz_email).  My Tahiti/New Zealand trip was advertised on one of the weekly emails in February and look how that turned out (an engagement) and for a steal ($1200 for the initial package).  There are great deals for almost every continent so I highly recommend signing up.

Ok, People, It’s 3AM… Oh Wait: It’s New York City!

11 Dec

Every time I am in NYC I try something new.  There is just so much to do!  And, if you haven’t done this already, the holiday season in NYC is magical and is a definite DO.

On this trip to NYC, Erika and I took the bus after work on Friday and made it into NYC around midnight.  We had less than 48 hours in the city, so we decided to take full advantage of our time and head straight to an Irish pub (DO go straight out instead of heading to the hotel).  Dave and Wes (our NYC friends) met us at the bar to catch up.  Around 3am we headed home to get a good night sleep before our fun-filled weekend (DO).

Saturday, Erika, Wes, Brit (our college friend), and I participated in an NBC studio tour where we were able to see the sets of Saturday Night Live, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and Dr. Oz (DO).  Afterward, we (along with Dave) explored downtown by walking around Rockefeller Center, Central Park (DO – see picture to left), Dylan’s Candy Bar (DO if you like candy, DON’T if you don’t like candy – see picture below of Erika and me at Dylan’s), and we took in the view of Central Park/downtown from Jazz at Lincoln Center.  We then decided to get a drink at Hudson Hotel, which is a unique, hip downtown hotel (see picture of lobby below).  The drinks are very expensive (DON’T) but the atmosphere is a DO.  

Saturday night Erika, Wes, Brit and I had dinner at Ninja Restaurant (DO DO DO).  What a restaurant!  We were greeted by our ninja host, had poprock sushi (see picture to the right), and participated in a magic show (again, DO DO DO).  After the restaurant, we went out to get our dance and drink on (which consisted of soda water for me).

Sunday was a day that Erika and I planned well in advance – wedding dress shopping.   I made an appointment at Kleinfelds for 10am (DO if you are wedding dress shopping).  Erika, Wes, Brit, and Matt’s sister, Tracey, were my audience.  Even though we did not find my dress, my group helped me figure out what I really want (not toilet paper) and Erika even bought me a “Say Yes to the Dress” t-shirt.  Since we were all starving, after the dress shopping we went to a lovely diner and had brunch.  Unfortunately, our bus was soon after brunch, so Erika and I said our goodbyes and headed back to Washington.  I am sure we will return again soon.