Road Trip to Stratton, Vermont

August 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

It’s been over a month since my girlfriends and I rented a car and drove to Vermont — I’ve visited the northern part of the state before, but it was the first time for the three of them!

I planned pretty much the whole thing because one of the biggest benefits of my company is that employees get a yearly stipend to book one of our travel deals to experience personally, so I covered the hotel costs and booked all our activities.

I also had a fun time vlogging the trip because my friends are much more fun on camera than when J and I are alone together, haha.

Stratton is a resort town with a little village, a number of ski lifts and a ton of hotel capacity. The mountains are gorgeous in summer, but I guess most tourists don’t bother visiting when there’s no snow — when we arrived on Thursday afternoon, the place was a ghost town. We had the place to ourselves! It was creepy but fun in a faux-post-apocalyptic way.

Fortunately, Stratton’s restaurants were still open, though I can’t say the same for the restaurants we tried to visit in nearby towns. Two of the ones we attempted to eat at were closed for summer renovations. D’oh…

The highlight for me was probably Saturday morning, when we bought a bunch of produce at the West River farmers market and also visited Taylor Farm and got to feed chickens, cows and horses (but not goats, sadly). Doing yoga on the mountain summit on our last morning was pretty cool too, so I’m glad Sarah requested it.

Also, we watched so. much. Harry Potter.

My only regret is that we didn’t get to hike on the mountain because of rain. Next time!

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From Blogging to Vlogging

June 21, 2018 § Leave a comment

Oh my! It’s been half a year since I’ve updated here — partially because I haven’t done that much traveling in the past six months, but also because two of the trips I did take were captured in video format. Even writing my thoughts in these few sentences feels foreign already.

Over New Year’s, J and I took my parents to Las Vegas and had a grand time.

And during Memorial Day weekend, I spent a week in China with my relatives that I haven’t seen since 2010:

Editing a video is definitely more work than editing photos and writing a blog post, but I feel like it’s much better at encapsulating what a place and time really felt like in the moment. A photo has to be near-perfect to warrant a spot in a blog post, but even a random video clip can be perfectly imperfect within a longer video.

Plus, people have been trained to either pose or seize up when being photographed — it’s easier to catch them being candid on video.

The downside is that vlogging entails me having to talk to the camera, and I hate listening to myself talk. I don’t think I’ll ever get better at it!

I don’t feel like paying for Adobe Premiere, so I just used iMovie, which makes editing fairly simple except for its garbage caption/title options. It takes me twice as long to make those separately in Photoshop and then import to iMovie, but it must be done so long as I fail at narrating most of my clips, hehe.

The Genie’s Bottle Life in Roxbury

December 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

After our shopping expedition in Woodstock, we drove farther northwest to the town of Roxbury, where J had found what is probably the most interesting hotel in the country.

The Roxbury is a boutique hotel in the Catskills with 20+ rooms, each inspired by a movie or TV reference from the ’60s and ’70s. The rooms are decorated with a level of detail bordering on insane. We looked at some TripAdvisor photos the night before and really weren’t sure what to expect — the kitschiness could either be really cool or really gross.

The property doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the lime green doors and decorations on the porch hint at the spectacle inside. We got a taste of it from checking out the reception bathroom:

Where do you even get a sink like that??

Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we wandered around the patio and made our way over to the spa lounge. Every inch was a celebration of sparkle or color or both.

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Thanksgiving in Woodstock, NY

December 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

For Thanksgiving this year, J decided to book a surprise trip for us (I knew we were going, just not where). It was a short vacation — just two nights — but we made the most of our time.

We left early Thursday morning and started driving north. Along the way, we stopped at Jorge’s Kitchen for breakfast. The place looked like the inside of a gas station, but more spacious (and much cleaner) with some actual seating.

There were fridges full of drinks and racks of chips, but there was also a menu full of sandwiches, and we saw signs for pizza and wings. Our breakfast sandwiches were hearty and delicious.

After a bit more driving, we finally made it to Hotel Dylan, a cute boutique hotel in Woodstock that embraces the iconic music festival, but with a cute hipster aesthetic.

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Return to Ithaca, pt. 2

June 8, 2017 § 1 Comment

After our hike through the Buttermilk Falls gorge, we cleaned up and went to what is arguably Ithaca’s nicest restaurant: The Heights.

32 heights

Well, I thought it was a really nice restaurant — J said that’s where a lot of big law firm dinners took place when he was in school at Cornell, and the interior was definitely upscale for the town — but the young woman seated next to me at dinner was wearing a baggy hoodie, shorts and sandals, so who knows. And our (VERY STRONG) cocktails were served in mason jars, which I thought was a strange choice.

Our appetizers were pretty good (carrots and Brussels for me, chicken liver for J), but my entree was … not. I wanted to order the regular grilled swordfish, since it’s not an option I see often, but there was another swordfish special for the night so I opted for that one.

33 swordfish

My mistake. It came with two giant hunks of swordfish, one big scallop, a slice of sweet potato, some smoked pork and some low-quality salmon tartare. Plus a bit of vinegary salad on the side.

The dish had no cohesion whatsoever! Who would pair chopped salmon with grilled swordfish and pork jerky?? Why did I order this??? The swordfish pieces were so big that they were inevitably dry and not very fun to eat. At least my chocolate souffle dessert was good.

We ended the night at K-House, which was very exciting for both of us as we hadn’t been to karaoke in months. Love that place.

34 market

Saturday morning was farmers market time! We filled up on breakfast burritos, hot apple cider, mini pies and some very pretty but bland rice pudding.

35 rice pud

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Return to Ithaca, pt. 1

June 6, 2017 § 2 Comments

3 view

After some shenanigans involving an expired passport, J and I canceled our planned trip to Iceland and instead took a very last-minute road trip to Ithaca, NY. Both destinations have plenty of waterfalls — no big difference, right? Haha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2 room1 bed

We stayed in our usual place, the Statler Hotel on the Cornell campus. It was hopping with graduation activities for Ithaca College.

4 gola

Dinner the first night was at Gola Osteria, which could be described as an Italian speakeasy restaurant as it’s located in the back of a random apartment building. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the big fish sculpture.

5 hallway6 gola

From there, buzz in and go down the creepy hallway (why all the railing??) until you reach the nondescript entrance. The interior was quite nice and looked like a totally normal restaurant setting. We couldn’t figure out why the owners would occupy a random space like this other than really cheap rent, maybe?

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Hold the Tuna

April 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

Almost every time J and I go to Las Vegas, our first dinner is always at Kabuto Edomae Sushi. There’s already plenty of literature on why it’s a fantastic restaurant, so I won’t elaborate, but we’ve always enjoyed our meals here, and the price is really good for the quality, especially compared to similar places in NYC.

This time, though, I was accompanied by the burden of guilt. I had just read this fascinating and compelling article about endangered bluefin tuna, and I knew it was definitely going to show up more than once in the omakase. But I wanted to do my small part as a consumer and stop eating bluefin. So I had to steel my resolve before going so as not to chicken out. Think of the poor tuna!

It was mostly that I didn’t want to create a fuss at one of our favorite sushi restaurants. I don’t actually like tuna that much. Yes, fatty pieces of chutoro and otoro are objectively delicious, but I actually prefer leaner cuts of meat in general, and that includes tuna. I want to taste the flesh, not just fat. (I realize I’m definitely in the minority on this.) And when it comes to any kind of tuna, it’s just not as high on my list of loves as other things like giant clam, squid or amberjack.

Not tuna, still delicious

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