Saturday, November 25, 2017

Catching Up: Thanksgiving + My Birthday

Howdy, folks. How are things?

Life is peachy here. I mean, there's always *things*, but really I cannot complain.

We had a whirlwind week that culminated in Thanksgiving and my birthday. I took a gamble and ventured to the mall with Will on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and much to my surprise, it wasn't a shit show! In fact, it was downright pleasant. Most stores were already running their Black Friday promotions.

J. Crew had everything 40% off! I had a $25 birthday credit, and had an exchange worth double that, so between those and the promo, I walked out a winner! Plus I'm finally fitting back into my wardrobe, so that's incredibly encouraging.

I went outside of my comfort zone and bought a tomato red lace top that will be perfect for holiday dressing and Valentine's day. It's honestly the only red thing in my wardrobe.

Paired it with these black high rise skinny jeans. Not gonna lie, I was feelin' myself.

I found table linens for 65% off at Macy's, then stumbled upon a toaster oven for $7.99. Yup, eight dollars. An air fryer was marked down to $39.99, which just so happens to be on my list to Santa. It was fun maneuvering the stroller with Will, two kitchen appliances, a diaper bag and more, but we did it! I seriously lucked out and I NEVER seem to catch a break with steals and deals.

We just wrapped up a busy week with doTerra essential oils, hosting our beloved Buy One, Get One week. It made for an even more demanding Thanksgiving week, but was totally worth it and fun. I learned a lot about (new to me) oils and can't wait to add some to my collection.

In fact, as I type this, I'm sipping a mug of warm water with lemon, grapefruit and clove oil to ease my stuffed tummy.
Would you guys be interested to see my daily schedule and use of oils? I get a lot of question about how I actually USE them...

Ok, Thanksgiving. I personally love the holiday, partly due to the fact that my birthday falls on the day every seven years. I've helped my mom cook our traditional dinner over the years, but have never ran the show from top to bottom. Whelp, this year was it, and everything went swimmingly! I can't believe I didn't take practically any pictures! The leftover sandwich is the closest I've got to documenting the meal, which included green bean casserole, candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread, whole cranberry sauce, and a turkey fried by John! We also had several Trader Joe's appetizers and veggie and fruit tray. John's dad, his lady friend, and John's brother came for the day, so we had a nice crowd but nothing too big.

On a related note! I went into Total Wine with the task of getting a case (12 bottles) of wine to see us through appetizers to dessert, both red and white. A salesperson walked me thgouhout the store making suggestions in my price range and based on my preferences. Every wine was great and I was in and out in 30 minutes. The day before Thanksgiving! I'm a customer for life now.

The day after Thanksgiving was my 36th birthday. We didn't have any plans and it was so luxurious sleeping in, taking two naps, a steaming hot bath at 2:00 in the afternoon, and not having to lift a finger all day. Plus, the weather was overcast and chilly, so that further encouraged our hibernating. Family had all left by then and it was just me and my boys. A perfect birthday, indeed.

Speaking of the cool weather we've been having, it made me look into getting a pair of snuggly slippers for Will, as well as some cozy pants for lounging and playing around the house. Gap has a great promotion going on, and how cute are these slippers? And you know the Donald sweater had to come home with us for 60% off!

Friday, November 24, 2017

NYC Trip- Food and Wine Festival

To read about our first day of our trip, click here.  I'd be remiss if I didn't share the pictures of our oysters from lunch that previous day, too. Oysters became somewhat of a theme for the weekend...

On Saturday, John and I headed into Manhattan to start our adult weekend. Papa and Will galavanted around town in Connecticut while we met up with Ms. Laura and he hubby John. Laura and I taught together in Connecticut years ago, but she'll always be 'Ms. Laura' to me. We all convened in the lobby of The Michelangelo hotel. We had been gifted the room and found out we had been upgraded to a corner room. It was sweet. From there it was off to our first event, the Grand Tasting at Pier 94.

This event is always fun, but in years' past has really gone the way of a booze fest. When I first went, ten years ago, the culinary demonstrations and tastings were top notch. Not to say we didn't enjoy ourselves, because we did. It's just not a NYCWFF event I feel the need to do each year.

Let's see, after that we parted ways with Ms. Laura and her John, recouped in the hotel room, and headed downtown to a UF Gator bar to watch the rest of the football game. It was a fun place with porch swings inside.

We started our walk to the restaurant and passed by quite a few people relaxing on their stoop, a few of which we chatted with. Our dinner was at Old Homestead Steakhouse, where we had a house account to use. We indulged in steaks and a nice bottle of wine, even dessert, AND took a burger back to some of our stoop friends. It was a memorable night in NYC for sure.

Sunday we were up and out of the hotel, and headed downtown for our FAVORITE event of the weekend, the Oyster Bash. Situated underneath the High Line at the base of the Standard Hotel is a Biergarten. Dozens of oyster farmers bring their wares and shuck them right there, paired with all-you-can-enjoy cocktails including bloody mary's, champagne splits, beer, some vodka drink, and more.

We shucked oysters and chatted up the farmers. I braided one guy's beard, and we all met Adam Richman and took a blurry picture with him. By the end of the event, everyone was feeling very hospitable. My friend Brian from the RetroWDW podcast had joined us earlier, along with his friend Alex. Brian was told he looked just like Matt Damon.
The event ended and people slowly began to dwindle away. Brian and Alex jumped in a cab while John and I popped into the Tory Burch that was across the street. We spotted a leopard print pair of the Miller sandal, tried it on, and wore it out the door. It was the quickest shopping trip in history!

From there we cabbed uptown to Grand Central Station to continue our oyster gluttony at the Oyster Bar, but alas, did you know they aren't open on Sundays?! We do now! Brian made the executive decision to head to Wolfgangs steakhouse, where we had another lavish meal. First the guys had to get their shoes shined. Gentlemen, I tells ya.  We lived like kings for the weekend.

Meanwhile, my dad and Will were bounding around Central Park. Oh, and John was lugging our suitcase all around, so that had me laughing.

We all met back home that evening, after what felt like a loooong train ride home.

John felt pretty ripe as we went to the pumpkin patch the next day. It was windy and COLD! But fun. That evening we picked up pizza from Post Road Pizza (the best greek salad/feta cheese!) and packed for our return trip.

It was a memorable family vacation, and one that I'm so grateful we get to do annually.

Thanks for reading! XO, Ashley