Archive for the 'travel' Category



Tulum travelogue

The last time AO and I went away on vacation together, without a kiddo and without agenda (i.e., a wedding), was in March 2011 when we went to St Maarten. And after some time touring around the island, we realized we should clearly write a travel guide to the place. Hence, this, this, this, this, this and this. Similarly, in Tulum, we thought, “Let’s write it all down to share with the world!” Or, you know, the readers of this blog. All five of you. And anyone who can access the internet.

As far as I can tell, there are no guidebooks solely dedicated to Tulum. Most guidebooks that include Tulum are either guidebooks to the Yucatan Peninsula or to Cancun and the surrounding areas. This makes sense for at least two reasons. One, the place is small. It’s not teeny-tiny, but it’s small enough that it probably doesn’t warrant its own book. Though it does seem like you could make a moderate-sized book out of Tulum, Coba, Valladolid, Chichen Itza and the Sian Ka’an biosphere. But what do I know? The second reason, which we had heard about before our trip and confirmed on our trip, is that there can be lots of turnover of hotels and restaurants. Of course this happens everywhere, but could certainly impair the quality of a guidebook. You wouldn’t want to do detailed reviews on dozens of hotels if half of them won’t be there in a year, would you? Well, I would if it meant my job could be reviewing hotels in Tulum.

Anyway, even if we had had the best guidebooks in the universe (and I’m not saying we didn’t, I guess), I still think we’d want to write down all of our thoughts on our vacation. If only in order to relive the glory. So, over the next week or so I intend to post about the basics, lodging and travel, as well as food, sights and sounds, and the general loveliness of our days in paradise.

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Wedding of the century

Well, she did it. The GAOOG went and got married. Some said it couldn’t be done (no one really said that ever), but she proved them all wrong. She went and married her sweetheart in one of the best ceremonies I’ve ever seen and had one of the best receptions ever. Even the raindrops were perfect. Congrats to the newest Mr. & Mrs. Blue. May you have a lifetime of love and laughter.

And here was an unexpected surprise:

Los Olivos map

Los Olivos

 Los Olivos may be one of the cutest towns ever.

LA weekend

Last weekend I got to go to LA to visit the GAOOG. Special thanks to AO for being so supportive of this trip. It was a great time with sunshine and lots of wine and laughs. I didn’t want to be burdened by my giant camera for such a short trip, so I have only iPhone pics to share. And, yes, they’re mostly of what we ate. You didn’t think I was going to show you the dress we found, did you? Shame on you.

Tacos and flautas!

Tacos and flautas!

Nina's

Nina’s

Our first stop after the airport pickup (holy traffic, LAX!) was Nina’s, a tiny little taco shop in West LA. Delish!

The next day, after sleeping in, we got up and went to get coffee (the GAOOG’s morning ritual involves a trip to Peet’s where, not only do the employees know my friend, they know how to make her very specific Americano. And if it isn’t made right – say because they hired a new employee – they will have it remade without our little Indian having to say a word). Then we headed out for a hike. Me in shorts and a tee shirt, the GAOOG in a long-sleeve shirt, long capris and a hat.

Hiking trail

Hiking trail

View

View

View

View

Orange tree

Orange tree

After the hike, we headed to Olive & Thyme for lunch and snagged a small table (in the shade per the GAOOG’s request) outside.

O & T

O & T

Hummus plate for me, egg number for her

Hummus plate for me, egg number for her

After lunch, we went back to SR’s apartment, showered and changed and headed out for a Dress Appointment. This Dress Appointment was just supposed to be to get the feel of things. We were just supposed to be seeing what she liked, what she didn’t like. You know the drill. In fact, we were supposed to be just scoping out the bridal world so we could go back to SR’s stylist friend and report our findings so he could come up with something perfect (and possibly free). Instead, we found The Dress. Gulp! First dress she tried on. Bam. Nailed it. Done and done. But first, we let the shop treat us to a little Prosecco. Cheers! After such an exhausting emotional afternoon, we headed back to SR’s apartment (after a short stop in a cute furniture store where we saw the First Lady of tv) for a little rest. I admit I snoozed a bit. For dinner, we  went to SR’s favorite place, Cube, where we dined with SR’s fiance. I had a super pizza and a side of delicious baby broccoli with garlic. I forgot to take pics of it, but here is the tasty charcuterie plate we started with:

Meat and cheese

Meat and cheese

Cube

Cube

On Day Three, I really slept in. I mean, REALLY. It was heaven. I hadn’t slept that long or that well in ages. Was it the best part of the trip? Nah, but it was amazing. Ok, so day three we headed downtown to the Grand Central Market, a place I requested we hit up after I saw it featured recently in the New York Times. It did not disappoint. It’s a bit like Milwaukee’s Public Market, but not.

Market, as seen from the street

Market, as seen from the street

Market signs

Market sign

Market

Market

Stuff

Stuff

This is where SR ate. It was super popular.

This is where SR ate. It was super popular.

This pic is for Maggie & Bryan

This pic is for Maggie & Bryan

A little B&W

A little B&W

More market

More market

Market map

Market map

After the market, SR indulged me and drove us over to West Hollywood, so I could get a little shot of this. If you don’t know the significance, you should be proud of yourself.

Sur

Sur

Sur

Sur

After SR made her second of three jean changes of the day, we each got a mani-pedi and I got an amazing brow wax. Thanks again! For the evening, we decided to stay in because we needed to get a lot of wedding work done. We had champagne and wine and tacos (again!), watched Bridesmaids, which just serendipitously happened to be on, and tackled the color scheme, bridesmaids’ dresses, the photographer and the DJ. Phew. It was a lot.

We didn’t have a lot of time on my last day, so we just got coffee, drove around and looked at fancy houses (a hobby of mine) and went to Hugo’s for lunch. If the theme of this year’s visit was wedding and tacos, last time I visited the theme was open houses and turkey burgers. I ate so many turkey burgers last time I visited that LA is now inextricably linked in my mind with the poultry sandwich.

Hugo's turkey burger

Hugo’s turkey burger

After lunch, it was off to JMB’s place because he nicely offered to take me to the airport because SR was otherwise occupied. I snapped this outside his place, figuring it would be the last green I would see for awhile.

Grass. In January.

Grass. In January.

Despite the traffic, I can see why she lives there. And despite the cold, I hope she visits soon.

Who wants to go with me?

Goodness, he continues to amaze.

Border town

Our first night.

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Tile. Le sigh. #tile #floortile #details #tilework #artists #thankyouartists #lesigh #madisonwi
Noontime walk. #hellobucky #bascomhall #ineedthosepitzips #sweatyandfreezing #winterinwisconsin #madisonwi
After an extremely long and entertaining (for those over 6) retirement party, my little Bear has crashed with her little bear. . . . I’ve heard through the office grapevine that some peeps don’t think kids should be at events like this. And that’s a legit opinion. But it’s not mine or Aaron’s so I think we should be all good. . . . Retirements are so bittersweet. This one was a doozy. . . . #wisconsin #friends #ourkidcomeswithus #wiscobarkid #bearonbear #workfamily #humility #sincerity #honesty #love #b&w #eyelashes
A series I’m calling An End of a Era: Skye Had a Limit. Truth be told, she ghosted on Skye and the gang maybe two years ago so this era has been over for some time, but I’m just now getting around to offloading it. And in doing so, I was reminded of both how much we accumulated and in how many forms. The Etsy pegdoll form, in which she asked me to give them little matching string scarves; the tiny little ones Molly insisted on painting because she saw it on YouTube; the pirate series; the Patrollers as poofy rubber squishy friends; and so many more. I love how kids get so into these stories and characters, but the merch is overwhelming. Still, I got a teensy emotional clearing it all out. As you may have guessed. . . . . #pawpatrol #cleaninghouse #growingup #etsy #toomuchstuff #growingpains #decluttering #endofanera
The answer when I Googled why I couldn’t see as well. I’m no doctor, but this seems to check out. #googledoc #visionprobs #over40
Somehow this pic disappeared from my feed! I cannot stand for such an injustice. The best breakfast sandwich in Madison must be seen and heralded. Blueberry jalapeño jam?!? Who knew?! @ancorakingst apparently. #madisoneats #sandwiches #breakfastsandwiches #sandwichesofinstagram #sandwichesofwisconsin #sandwichesofmadison #ancoracoffeehouse

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