Really hoping this will be as good as it looks.
Nathan and I went to Vermont last week for our anniversary and for Baby Dog's birthday (they're a day apart) and it was the best. We haven't taken a real vacation together (I equate a real vacation to mean a trip that's taken purely for the purposes of doing nothing) since Jamaica in 2011, so this was long overdue and worth the wait.
Shockingly, it didn't take us that long to get there - only four hours by car. And the route itself was gorgeous pretty much the whole way there.
We stayed at the Kimpton Taconic for a few reasons:
- I'd stayed at a Kimpton before in Palm Beach (although they appear to have cut ties with that hotel in Florida at the moment) and it was a great experience
- It's located in the middle of a very small town
- They have a wrap-around front porch with rocking chairs
- They have free bikes you can sign out from the lobby
- They're extremely dog-friendly (ie. no extra charge & they got Baby Dog a GIFT for christsake)
- They have a (small, but still great) pool
- We were able to secure one of the more private cottages that sit right next to the hotel itself
And honestly, it was a really great hotel. They had a free wine & small snacks reception every night from 5-6pm, which was lovely. Their restaurant The Copper Grouse had really good food (especially the chicken). It rained one night while we were sitting on the front porch and maybe that doesn't sound romantic, but oh man... listening to rainfall on a wrap-around Victorian porch in late summer should be on every person's checklist at some point in life.
On the first night, we had dinner at Ye Olde Tavern, which was dimly lit and really nice. They had a policy of no cell phones and oh man, why doesn't every restaurant have this already.
We also took the bikes one day into town to the Northshire Bookstore, which was great. We then, foolishly, rode the bikes three more miles to get burgers at Zoey's Double Hex Restaurant because we thought it was much closer than it was in reality. I mean, I'm glad we did it because it turned out to just be funny, and the burgers were actually incredible, but good god was that a hot day.
We drove up to see Mount Equinox on the Skyline Drive, which was more beautiful than I can express.
The drive up the mountain only takes about twenty minutes, so it's such a nice thing to do in the afternoon on a clear day. It was so crazy quiet up there too, if you're anywhere near this town this is something you should definitely do.
Such a beautiful town, such a lovely trip.
This is me right now.
SUMMER'S OVER, GEEKS! And look, I know the official end of it is in a few weeks, but I don't give a damn and neither should you. Here's what I did this month.
- I finally tried oat milk and yuuuuuck. Both my dad and Nathan made such a stink about how stupid a product it is that I had to buy it for myself to see if it was any good and WOOF. It was just weird and terrible and stay away.
- I tried the watermelon soft serve at Dominique Ansel Kitchen and although it was really pretty and refreshing, that thing was huge and waaaay too sweet. Happy I tried it though.
- I saw Sorry To Bother You in theatres and wow, it was unique and good and made me scream to myself even louder about how it's so stupid how remakes keep being made when money should really be being put into new, original screenplays.
- Also saw The Meg in theatres with Nathan, which was probably a perfect summer movie because of how ridiculous it was. We literally only went because of that one scene with the tiny dog in the preview. WORTH IT.
- I finally saw Dead Poets Society (yes, I'm aware it came out almost 30 years ago) and what a good movie. I miss Robin Williams. On another note, it made me really mad that the speech he says in that one scene was used in that iPad commercial and I never realized that that's where it came from, fuck Apple!
- I've been limiting my horror movies since it was technically still the summertime, but the mood was right so Nathan and I watched The Strangers (I'd not seen it before) and it. was. good.
- I also watched Steel Magnolias on Netflix and even though it was pretty sad, it's such a fun movie.
- Also, finally watched The Little Prince and oh good god, was it perfect. Such a sweet movie, with maybe one of the sweetest endings on earth.
- I started watching Disenchantment because I sort of have to, don't I? I'm only on episode three, but a few things have made me laugh so far. I'm hoping for the best? Full review coming next month.
- No idea why I watched so many movies this month --oh wait, yes I do because ONLY MURDERERS LIKE TO GO OUT AND BASK IN THE DEATHLY HEAT ALL DAY. Sooo that meant some rewatching of some good movies like The Fugitive (holy shit, this is still such a good movie, so suspenseful and Harrison Ford is a fucking dreamboat) and Under The Tuscan Sun with the delightful Diane Lane (I love this movie in a way that's hard to explain. It's a perfect movie. It always boosts my spirits. Plus the idea of someone just fucking off to Italy is my dream).
- I mean, it wasn't all great movies, though. The terrible ones I saw? Barbershop - wow. And Made In America - just insanely bad.
- I read Penny Marshall's biography and it was really, really good.
- I went to the Russian Tea Room for the first time and MEH, it really wasn't as good as it's touted to be. I mean, what the hell is up with stroganoff? It's like a soupy version of pasta, where's the thick sauce!? What are we even doing here?!
- I went to the Commodore in Brooklyn to try their fried chicken sandwich and while it was good, it definitely wasn't as good as the one at The Penrose. Also, I hate Brooklyn. Why on earth would a restaurant/bar NOT have a name out front saying who they are? Oh, I know why, because you're in Brooklyn and you think you can get away with that shit. Losers.
- I tried Van Leeuwen's non dairy coffee ice cream and it really wasn't that good, which surprised me. I still want to try some other brands of non dairy until I find a really good one, so the search continues.
- I made this homemade hummus and it was really, really good. Never gonna buy hummus again.
- I made these black bean muffins from an Ambitious Kitchen recipe and holy hell, they were fantastic. I made them for the road trip that Nathan and I took to go to Vermont for our anniversary and they were so unexpectedly delicious.
- Speaking of which, I'll definitely do a post on that Vermont trip in a few days and put a link to it here. Such a great trip.
- I know that you know how loyal I am to Seche Vite's Top Coat, but I ran out of it recently and had to use a backup - Essie's No-Chip Top Coat that actually was kind of amazing for keeping a lasting manicure for at least a week. Now if I can just combine the two into some kind of super top coat, I'll be queen of life.
SEE YOU IN HELL, SUMMER!
Canada's Wonderland is introducing a record-setting roller coaster for the 2019 season: the Yukon Striker. It’s apparently the "longest, fastest and tallest dive roller coaster in the world," according to the park. There's a 90-degree drop “for three breathtaking seconds, staring 245 feet down into an underwater tunnel,” the website reads. “Then suddenly you dive, reaching speeds of 130 km/h and soaring through four dynamic inversions, including a complete 360-degree loop - the only one of its kind for a dive coaster.” It’s a three-minute, 25 second thrill with a 75 metre drop AND IT SOUNDS INSANE.
"The launch of Yukon Striker coincides with the official opening of Frontier Canada, a gold rush-themed attraction area in Canada’s Wonderland."
No idea why I picked this one up at the library other than the fact that it looked like it might be a fun read, and it was! I knew nothing about the woman other than the fact that she had a small part in Hocus Pocus and the fact that I've always liked the sound of her brother Garry's voice. It's a crazy-detailed account of pretty much her entire life and whoa, what a life. The woman knows every person in Hollywood. Best parts ahead:
- "Sometimes you ignored the facts to make life easier."
- A moment she recalled with her siblings when her brother Garry says to her and her sister, "If something goes wrong, they <their parents & grandparents> aren't going to be there for us," he said. "That's just the way it is. So as we go forward in our lives, we have to stick together. We're the only ones who are going to understand each other." - I love this part so much because it's the sweetest thing in the world to think about a brother talking to his sisters this way as a young adult.
- She dated Art Garfunkel for awhile and good god he seems like one of the coolest men alive. They went on an open-ended motorcycle trip across Italy and France and I wish there were way more chapters on that trip alone. Romantic as hell.
- "I had asked my therapist why I had left a marriage that was comfortable and predictable for a great big question mark. "Were you happy?" he asked. "No," I said. He shrugged. That cost me a fortune, but he was right. Sometimes the most complicated questions have simple answers. Were you happy? I was learning that I didn't have to have everything figured out. Often the point was to live and see what happened."
- Have you ever heard of the volunteer position of being a hugger at a Special Olympics event? Because I hadn't and she wrote about doing it briefly, and it sounds amazing.
- "One day I got on my computer and searched for "What do people do with their lives after surviving cancer?" Nothing came up. Apparently people didn't do anything. I guess they either dropped dead from trying to pay their medical bills or they went back to whatever they had been doing before, because what the fuck else is there to do when, as in my case, you like your life?" - God, I love this part so much, I almost wish she ended the whole book right there.
It was really a great read! This woman lives an insanely cool life.
It's probably a little silly to write about this trip that I took in April now, but here we are! This was my second time coming to Vegas, and I liked it a whole lot more this time around. The first time I went was when I was 21 and I found the whole place wildly depressing, especially in the day time. But this recent visit definitely changed my view point of the city as a whole. I went with Jenn for our annual birthday trip and here's what was on our agenda for the week:
- We stayed at the Bellagio and it was as gorgeous as you'd imagine it to be
- Got pizza on the first night inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel that was really, really good - and I know you're probably rolling your eyes at the fact that all pizza is good, but no really, this was the best thin slice I've ever had outside of New York City
- Lunch at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House inside the MGM Grand (the Fall River clam chowder was OUT OF THIS WORLD)
- Dinner of onion soup and dessert at Jean Georges’ Prime (which was big time overrated)
- Found the Las Vegas welcome sign (it's not that crazy long of a walk either, so everyone should do this if they're in the city)
- Lunch at Lagasse Stadium inside The Palazzo (such great service, food was sports bar food but still good!)
- Ate a Lobster Tail (the dessert, not the seafood) at Carlo’s Bake Shop in the Grand Canal Shoppes (whoa)
- Visited Old Vegas to walk along Fremont Street and gambled inside the Golden Nugget and El Cortez (which is the oldest casino in the city and "one of the only places where the slot machines use actual coins” which I think is amazing)
- Dinner at Emeril's Delmonico Steakhouse (are you seeing a theme here? Yeah, we made a note of eating at all of Emeril's restaurants and each of them were fantastic)
- Saw the volcano at The Mirage (it erupts nightly at 8pm & 9pm)
There were so many other things that we'd planned on doing but didn't have the time for such as:
- Visit the day spa at The Bellagio
- Brunch at Giada’s restaurant inside The Cromwell Hotel
- Eat at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant CUT in the Grand Canal Shoppes
- Eat at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill inside the MGM Grand, which is essentially the cheaper version of CUT
- In-N-Out Burger
- Luv It Frozen Custard for sundaes
- Rao’s for Italian food in Caesars Palace
- Try a buffet at either the Bellagio or the Cosmopolitan (brunch is $28/per person and unlimited two-hour bottomless beverage packages are available for an additional $17 and include mimosas, champagne, Bloody Marys, house red or white wine)
- Mon Ami Gabi for steak frites
- Bars That Look Gorgeous or Have Gorgeous Views: The Chandelier, Mandarin Bar, Skyfall
- Visit Red Rock Canyon (this one I really, really wanted to do)
- Luxor offers free Craps, Black Jack and Roulette lessons daily at 12pm
Next time, for sure.
Such a short, fun trip!
Summer is finally half over!
One more filthy month to go before the best time of the year! Here were the highlights of July:
- So you know how much I love the banana pudding from Magnolia already, but what you don't know is that it's probably my favourite summer dessert to make and bring to parties because people go fucking nuts for it. So for July 4th this year I made it, but I also bought some Coffee Crisp chocolate bars to Canadian it up (if you're in the U.S. then you can buy them in the international foods section at Bed Bath & Beyond), then dumped those bars into a food processor to make a COFFEE CRISP CRUMBLE TO GO ATOP THE BANANA PUDDING. And it was heaven.
- I ate some of the best fish tacos in NYC at Tacoway Beach in Rockaway near the beach. They're crazy simple but so good, I try to get them once a year so I never grow sick of them. Tip: definitely skip the black bean tacos AND the elote because they are both wildly unpleasing.
- I made this Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Spinach Cream Sauce but full disclosure: I bought the sweet potato gnocchi already put together at Trader Joe's, and then just made the sauce from the recipe and it still tasted amazing. There's something I'll never like about buying frozen food from Trader Joe's (I feel like I haven't completely given up on life yet?), but this gnocchi is the exception (this and their cauliflower pizza crust). Will definitely be keeping this one in the food rotation because it was delicious as hell.
- I read two books this month and I refuse to stop saying that out loud to people, but I guess I have to move on since it's August soon, so that sucks. The Simpsons one I read was great and the Ijeoma Oluo one was even better!
- I did start to read Steve Martin's Born Standing Up and wow was it dull. Don't get me wrong, I think Steve Martin is great. But I read about half of it before collapsing in extreme dissatisfaction. IT'S SO BORING. Why do people think that it's such a good book? Famous comedians will gleefully prattle on about how great it is to one another, which is why I wanted to read it in the first place, so this just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I was going to just suck it up and keep going until I asked Nathan if it got any better and he very politely told me that it did not. Can someone tell me why it's supposed to be so good? It shoulda been called Bore Standing Up! Okay, that's not a good joke, I know, but it's better than WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE THIS BOOK.
- I tried the frozen Irish coffee at Passage in Astoria finally and... it was great! Duh.
- I watched Hannah Gadsby's Nanette on Netflix and didn't really care for it for the first half. The only reason I kept watching was because a friend of mine echoed the same thoughts of the beginning not being good but it getting good the second half. And she was completely right because the second half was powerful as hell. My real thoughts are just a general annoyance at people who plainly say, "It isn't standup." And maybe my opinion on this matters in no way since I'm not a comedian, but it just bothers me that there's this weird line of what standup should or shouldn't be, as if the idea of anything more being said with no punchline isn't worthy enough for the untouchable standup stage. She's a comedian! She said jokes! She also had more to say, which is great. Especially with what's going on in the world right now, it seems weird to purposely not want to comment on that and focus solely on what a comedian "is supposed to do." That idea just seems strange to me.
- Nathan and I went to a wedding and it was fun and we looked great. Proof!
- I saw a bunch of movies.
- Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (in theatres) - I mean, a Macarena joke made me laugh so it obviously wasn't a good movie, but some of the kids had a good time so that makes it a success.
- Can't Buy Me Love (Netflix) - I'd never seen it and it's a terrible eighties movie so I kind of needed to all of a sudden. Also it was on a list of things leaving Netflix in August so I suddenly felt the urge to grab on tightly before letting it go off into the distance? That's normal?
- Girls Trip (HBOGO) - I have no idea why the urge to see this movie happened inside of me. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Not good, but not horrendous.
- Ibiza (Netflix) - I guess I've been having real moments lately where I've just been missing certain groups of friends and watching these ridiculous movies puts me at ease a bit maybe? I don't know, let's not analyze it. Oh! The music from this one was really great, though. Also, Gillian Jacobs' eyes are so ginormous, I'm always shocked that men aren't looking for a woman with huge eyes instead of a huge ass or boobs, makes no fucking sense to me. Her eyes are insane!
- Obvious Child (Netflix) - Jenny Slate can do no wrong and of course this movie was great. Other than all the cringe-inducing standup scenes (that are supposed to be cringe-inducing, I'm assuming), it was just a nice movie. The music from this one was pretty great, too.
- I tried the new Crispy Chicken at Swiss Chalet and it was really tasty because of course it was, anything fried is most likely amazing. It's funny to me that they're not just calling it fried chicken. Obviously it's purposeful too, like they're thinking that if they did call it fried chicken it'd sound too Americanized or something. That's definitely something they thought. "No, calling it Crispy Chicken just makes it seem healthier, like it was just slightly dunked into hot, frying oil and not, like, submerged for hours."
- I've had an iPhone 5 for three years and the battery had gone completely to shit (ie. dying at 80%) a few weeks ago, so I took it to Mobile Klinik (outside of Wal-Mart on the first floor of Square One in Mississauga) and they replaced the battery for me within an hour and it only cost me $60 and now it's been working amazingly. They were super nice and it came with a one year warranty, so definitely keep this in mind if you're ever in need of their services.
- The only thing I've ever eaten at Dominique Ansel Kitchen was the burrata soft serve ice cream from a few years ago, but I stopped by recently and had the cold pear yogurt and hot toasted granola and maaaaaaan why can't the version I make at home taste as good as theirs. WHY.
- A friend told me about this great site Zaful that has gorgeous swimsuits for crazy cheap and are actually good quality. Are you even kidding me with how gorgeous those marbled ones look?!
- Tried the soft serve at Tom's Dairy Freeze in Etobicoke finally and it was goooooood because all ice cream is good.
- I went to see the Scarborough Bluffs with Marla and some of my nieces and it's such a beautiful place. So glad we went.
- It's Restaurant Week in New York right now (it actually lasts a few weeks), so I'm hoping to eat at some places I've always wanted to go to. So far I've only gone to Astor Court inside the St. Regis hotel, but it was so, so good. Here's what I had.
Only three more months.