Friday, September 30, 2011

Gone to Marco to Be Married!

Well, once again, I've totally not been on the blogging game... in fact, perhaps it's time to reevaluate my POV, maybe I don't have as much to say as I thought?!  More so, I feel I almost have too much to say, so much that I haven't been able to put it into words...

Since the last post, life has been quite a whirlwind, but none like I've encountered before.  See, it's finally here - Jason and I are getting married in just one week.  So, September was filled with besties' secret trips and bachelor week-long parties, another board meeting for this gal (because my request for wed-ternity leave wasn't taken seriously), surprise office bridal showers and a lot of to-do lists.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to recap it all, but maybe in the winter when things return to "normal" (does that exist?), I'll try.

At any rate, we're headed to Marco Island, FL in just a few days.  And after we become Mr. & Mrs. on October 7th, we're off to the British Virgin Islands.  I know we're in for a lot of travel, a lot of memories and a lot of love.  I. CAN'T. WAIT.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Naked Jay Journey

9.5 miles.  That's how long it took Jason and me to drive from our house to the VA ABC store at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center.  Surely, you think, there must be one closer, within a 5 mile radius perhaps?  True, but not one that carries a very special product, a little something called Naked Jay Big Dill...

Buying his first case of that crazy "pickle vodka" dream come true!

And so begins a different kind of journey... One that's not traveled by car or by plane.  No, this one comes from the heart via determination, passion and courage.  It's finally happening and I am so proud...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Little Neglected

Today is my birthday.  And I expected this year for the day to be a little neglected due to 1) last year's 80's prom extravaganza; 2) Jason being in Charlotte for business; 3) planning a wedding; and 4) it being the last hurrah of my twenties.  However, it has turned out to be the complete opposite!

It seems that I'll actually be celebrating this gem of 29 for an entire week.  It started out on Sunday and Monday as I baked two guilty-pleasure cakes from the box (funfetti and lemon) for our association's tradition of bring-your-own-birthday-treats.

Then yesterday I was surprised by my office being wildly (as wild as three birthday banners and ceiling curly-q's can be!) decorated with party-store flair and a delivery of the most gorgeous flowers from my most amazing fiance.

Today my coworkers and I plan to enjoy the beautiful weather (another great present) and have lunch somewhere outside.  And then it's off to pack for... Secret Trip 2011!!  This brings me full circle to the title of the blog - "A Little Neglected."  For while my birthday was not at all, this poor little blog has been.  I still owe it a post about my latest business trip to Boston and I plan to have a helluva post about the aforementioned Secret Trip.

The Secret Trip is not only how I will continue to celebrate the close of my decade for the remainder of the week, it is also what the besties have cooked up to substitute as the dreaded bachelorette party - a weekend that has been described as relaxing, breezy and charming, and I have no idea where I am headed!  I've been told to pack a bathing suit, sunglasses, a huge straw hat, anything navy blue and flips flops.  And the flight is an hour in length.  Any guesses?  Girls, am I on the right track here?

Where ever it is, it will be perfect.  And my birthday has been perfect thanks to EVERYONE.  Now I owe it to this little blog to get it back to perfect - fear not bloggie, the next few months are full of fun travel, I promise!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Snacks on a Plane!

Imagine my surprise when I received a most amazing treat during my flight from Reagan National to Boston this week...

This little article describes my experience to the tee!  Well done, US Airways, well done.  I don't care how you have to get me free snacks, just get them.  And Air Advertainment, you are a genius.  Bravo.

Check out next week's post following my trip brief trip to Beantown...  happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bethany Bound

While sadly I won't be heading to OBX this summer, it turns out I am managing to sneak in a weekend at the beach afterall!  Jason's friend's family has invited us to their house in Bethany Beach, DE for the July 4th holiday.

Until this week, I knew nothing about Delaware except that it was featured in an epic scene from the 1992 pop-film Wayne's World (a fave of mine and many besties growing up).  But, after a little research, I've found that Delaware, or at least the town of Bethany Beach, is pretty darn cute!

Known as The Quiet Resorts (along with South Bethany), it's situated on the Atlantic Ocean just south of Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach, and north of Fenwick Island and Ocean City, MD.  According to the cenus, the town's population is only around 1,000 - however, during the summer months, it's home to more than 15,000 visitors.

A few facts about the area...  Despite it's small size, it does still have a boardwalk (albeit short) and a "bandstand" for entertainment.  The town's landmark is named "Chief Little Owl," a 24-foot totem pole located at the downtown entrance.  Some beneficial state laws include no sales tax and a ban on smoking in most of the beach regions.  Foodies should look out for Maryland blue crabs, the bbq at Bethany Blues, local craft beers by Evolution, and, of course, Five Guys (one in Dewey and one in Lewes)!

About a 3.5 hour drive from NoVa, Bethany sounds like the perfect beach-weekend getaway!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

OBX obsessed

As mentioned, travel this summer is a little slow for me.  But for Jason, he's already been on 3 trips in the past month!  Typically, the areas he travels to are not ones I am dying to see, but he recently returned from a FG opening in Kill Devil Hills, NC.  How jealous was I?!  He got to "work" for a week in my most favorite beaches on the East Coast - the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a 200-mile string of barrier islands.

When I was younger and to this day, Northern Virginians still have a serious obsession with OBX.  And Jason considers himself to be a connoisseur on the area.  So, we sat down for a little interview about his top must-see-and-do's...

L:  What's your favorite beach in the Outer Banks?

J:  Carova - Just north of Corolla, you take four-wheel drives up on the beach (there are no paved roads connecting) and can see the Banker horses.  With no commercialism, it's a very peaceful place!

L:  Why is OBX a surfer's dream?

J:  There are so many places that are good for waves!  For instance, Rodanthe has great breaks and s-turns, plus very secluded beaches (not to mention there was a movie made about it).  And on Hatteras, there is an awesome break at the Cape Lookout lighthouse.  I could go on forever...

L:  Where do you love to eat?
J:  Can't miss Mama Kwans - get the fish tacos, blackened!  And JK's - I always get their ribs.  They also have amazing bacon-wrapped scallops!

L:  Where do you shop?

J:  I have a huge spot in my heart for Corolla Surf Shop.  Opened circa 1996, they have a great selection of boards and give the best lessons (J should know, since he taught for them).  You also have to hit up the Stop N Shop.  They have everything you need in one stop - grab a pair of flip-flops, some surf wax, a case of beer and a koozie, a beach chair, a Boar's Head sandwich, and you're set!

So, there you have it, a quick visitor's guide to what NoVa considers our real beaches (sorry Virginia Beach!).

This post is dedicated to Jason's dad, Bob Zimecki, who, on Father's Day, is surfing somewhere for sure...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mayday! Mayday!

Well, the month of May has completely come and gone, and this poor blog has been neglected.  My travel (and sanity) were limited to Phoenix, AZ for my association's largest conference of the year.  Unfortunately, I don't have much commentary on the city, as my sightseeing included only meeting rooms, trade show exhibits and hospitality suites.  And after it finishes, rather than explore the locale, I tend to go into homernation...

The Arizona Biltmore, host to my association - saw more of
Camelback Ballroom rather than Camelback Mountain (pictured?)
But now, June is here and in full effect!  I am looking forward to a summer filled with trips to the pool and the farmers' market.  Not a lot of big journeys until later on in the season, which makes it all the more exciting to look forward to!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lovely London

Cheerio!  In honor of the beautiful royal nuptials of Kate and Wills, I'm dedicating this week's blog to my time spent in London back in 2004.

After graduating college, the besties and I took our backpacking trip in Europe (as mentioned in The Gift of Travel Past).  Our first stop was England's most popular city and it's easy to see why.  While there, we viewed all of the tourist spots, so it was pretty amazing on Friday watching the ceremony in Westminster Abbey and the kiss at Buckingham Palace, and knowing that I've been privileged enough to be there!  In fact, of all of the churches we saw on our travels, the Abbey was hands-down top on my list.

However, the next time I visit, I hope I can be more like the locals and see other parts of the country.  Pretty much all of my favorite movies involve it in some way and it does host my most absolute favorite airport of all time, Heathrow.  So, I feel I owe it to myself and fellow travelers to be more experienced on the British subjects.  And I must get my hands on one of those splendid hats...  Oh, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, next time you'd like to entertain some out-of-towners, just let me know and I'm there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

California Girl

You can't control the wind, but you can always adjust the sails...
This week is a blog-hug for the only person I know who travels more than Jason and I, my bestie, Kate.  This girls is always on the go with her career, but on Tuesday it's a pretty-permanent (for now :)) relocation from East to West.  She's heading back to San Diego and although we're going to miss her like crazy, we couldn't be more proud.  I can't wait for my next reason to visit.  I've loved every trip to The Golden State and when she's there, I love it even more!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dress Quest 2011

I've been on a bit of a traveling hiatus since the move to our new home, but two weekends ago I finally got back at it!  Over the past few years, I've tried to make an annual trip to NYC for one reason or another.  Mostly it's to see my bestie, Katie, who achieved our childhood dream and now resides in the Village.  And when Jason and I made the trip to Rockefeller in 2009 to see the tree, I thought I had reached the height of my affection for the Big Apple.  But this last trip definitely was the icing on the, should we say wedding, cake.

On a Saturday that predicted gloomy rain but turned out to be clear and sunny, mom (who traveled the tracks in from SC - go girl!), the other two besties and I took the train up to the city.  The goal was to find a dress and the means were two very opposite locales...

Kleinfeld Bridal, otherwise known as the place where they film TLC's Say Yes to the Dress (everyone's but mine favorite wedding show), was the ultimate New York experience.  Very fast, very bold, very much - very not me.  But we went for the fun of it and I'm glad we did - it set me up for an amazing time at J.Crew.

After jumping back in our Escalade with our driver for the day, courtesy of the best fiance ever, we headed over to the boutique but arrived an hour early.  Just enough time for some prosecco across the street at Bar Italia - Euro-perfect in every way.  Nice and bubbly-feeling from our late afternoon snack, we entered the mothership, J.Crew Bridal.  It was everything I'd hoped - warm, cozy and our favorite fashions at their finest.  Surrounded by the absolute lady loves of my life, I had the moment every girl imagines - hold your breath, this is the one, the dress he'll see me in as I walk down the aisle.  To say it was magical is an understatement.

We closed out the too-quick trip at a fabulous spot in Katie's neighborhood, Low Country, which had delicious southern food, hard core bourbon drinks and the most fitting atmosphere for the occasion.  I couldn't ask for a better way to kick off my travels in 2011.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tire Tracks vol. 3

This week we're taking that 21.2 mile trip to Reston... While it's not the longest roadtrip in the world, the move definitely requires a soundtrack!  Here's a sample of what will be playing as we drive the Focus and the Ac loaded with boxes, following the moving truck, over the highways to our new home...

The Old Apartment, Barenaked Ladies
Pink Houses, John Mellencamp
Feels Like Home, Chantal Kreviazuk
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), Billy Joel
Money For Nothing, Dire Straits
No Such Thing, John Mayer
Two Of Us, Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
Dog Days Are Over, Florence And The Machine

After a brief hiatus, I'll be back in April to finally recap my last trip to Florida and (hopefully) gush about a special excursion in NYC!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

21.2 Miles

That's how long is takes to get from our house now in North Springfield to our new townhouse in Reston. Yes - it's official.  Jason and I are homeowners!

While it may not be the prettiest thing on the outside, be assured there is a lot of love on the inside!

After traveling home from Phoenix, AZ this past Thursday, I joined Jason on a rainy evening as we met with our closer and signed our lives away.  But it was well worth it.  While living in Reston will add to the work commute, we absolutely love the area and are sure to share our neighborhood discoveries soon.  Besides, we're all about the miles!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Honeymoon Help

As the knowledgeable travelers Jason and I consider ourselves to be, we thought planning our honeymoon trip would be a piece of cake.  But after countless hours researching the Internet and getting absolutely nowhere, we realized that couldn't have been more wrong! We knew we wanted a place that was, in Jason's words, "all about maxin' and relaxin'."  Yet, we had no idea where to go or how to get there!

So, after the gracious recommendation of our newliest-wedded friends, The Beales, we decided to meet with Jim of Perfect Honeymoons, a travel consultant who specializes in romantic getaways.  As we sat in the waiting room, completing our "honeymoon quiz," we were admittedly a bit skeptical.  But two hours later, we left feeling excited and full of recommendations for our post-nuptial vacation!  Perfect Honeymoons' advice was just that - perfect, which was going to make it really hard to decide.  Still, we managed to narrow it down to two...

Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
A private paradise, Peter Island has won countless awards and rankings from the top travel publications in the world, including Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast.  The retreat is all about serenity and catering to classic desert-isle fantasies.  Its five isolated beaches, lush green backdrop and outlet names like Deadman's and Tradewinds, make it right up our secluded-alley!

Cap Juluca, Anguilla
After recently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, Cap Juluca embodies the essence of Anguilla, which has also received many accolades from the travel community, making it one of the trendiest exclusive spots around.  With its expansive white sand beach, dramatic Moorish architecture and plentiful Caribbean heritage, it's no wonder we're completely torn!

I think Jason and I are going to "sleep on it" - I mean, can you blame us?  Who doesn't want to go to bed dreaming of pristine beaches, turquoise water and 5 straight days of relaxing bliss?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simply Sunny

In ode to my bestie's blog, here are three simple pleasures from this week's trip to Florida...

1.  Going for a morning jog outside in February at the Fairmont Turnberry.

2.  Dining on pan seared scallops prepared by Hell's Kitchen runner-up, Executive Chef Paula DaSilva, at Eden Roc's 1500 Degrees.

3.  Flying home on Delta with only 20 people on board and lots of empty seats!

Let's just say it was hard to leave the sun behind and return home to 28 degrees.  Stay tuned next week for the recap of the amazing properties I toured... Palm Beach to Miami, there's something for everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

These boots are made for walkin'

...or flyin' or drivin'.  This time of year, I am always surrounded by one of my favorite travel accessories -- boots!  Whether you're going through airport security, riding shot gun across state lines, or just sight-seeing in your local city, boots are the quintessential easy-going footwear.  They pull on and off with one swift motion.  They protect in all sorts of weather.  And you can really give people a laugh if you sport some funky socks underneath!

Here are my top 3 brands:
I'm more of an Ultimate Tall girl myself, but the Classic Short Sparkles were featured on Oprah's 2010 Favorite Things.  These sheepskin-lined boots go everywhere with me!

Legendary for comfort and fit, the Original Tall comes in many colors, perfect for coordinating with luggage!  Pair them with the Fleece Welly Sock (said in your best British accent) for an added look.

I've had my eye on these, which are perfect for transitioning into spring.  And the brand is known to have "A Passion for the Sea" which precedes many good things to come this year! 

What boots do you like to globe trot in???

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eat Pray Travel

As I sit here watching the snow fall outside my window, exhausted from having shoveled alone twice already (Jason always manages to be out-of-town when these storms happen!) and baking my delicious DiGiorno pizza, I have decided to forgo tonight's Idol episode for something that can take me away to a much warmer place.

Eat Pray Love, the film based on the best-selling novel, follows Liz Gilbert, a woman at a crossroads, on her quest for self-discovery.  Played by Julia Roberts, she journeys through Italy, India and Bali - all warm (both in climate and culture), all amazing (one I can attest to, the others I'll have to take her word for!).

While I simply adore my suburban, twenty-something, engaged-to-be-married life, a tiny little part of me wishes that I could follow in Liz/Julia's footsteps, leaving everything behind to travel the world in search of divine transcendence.  Oh well, for now the divine sofa will have to do.  Here's to Eating (pizza), Praying (the snow will stop) and Loving (to travel even if it's just within the borders of my own country!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

California Dreamin'

With this week's ice storm, the impending snow showers of tomorrow and the postponement of my Miami trip to next month, I think The Mamas & the Papas got it right!  On such a winter's day, I'm recalling a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway that Jason and I took last January.  We started in Merced, CA and picked up Route 1 just outside of Monterey.  I'd always heard the drive was amazing, but it exceeded that by miles, literally!  The sights were beautiful and the climate was surreal.  The highlights for me were Big Sur, Nepenthe - a rustic restaurant with an incredible view, and the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.  We got off around San Luis Obispo, finishing a good portion of the famous route in under a day, and ending with a terrific sunset as we headed to San Diego for a conference.  I can honestly say it was the greatest road trip of my life thus far, no soundtrack needed - just the background of the waves crashing and the pavement racing.  Here's a little slideshow of some of my favorite pictures on the drive.  Hope it helps to cure those wintery blues!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Falling for Florida

I was never a fan of our farthest southeast state...while it holds fantastic beaches and sunny weather, I just couldn't handle the humidity nor the tourist traps.  But these days, I can't seem to get enough of it!

Just after we rang in the New Year, I flew from Washington National (DCA) to Southwest Florida International (RSW) located in Fort Myers.  It is by far one of the easiest and most hassle-free airports around, so traveling to anywhere within a one-hour radius of its terminals is almost a joy!

My association held a meeting at the South-Beach-meets-Hilton-styled Naples Grande Beach Resort.  Boasting a very hip lobby and luxurious spa, the resort was a huge climate relief for our attendees who travel from states such as Wyoming, Utah, and Oregon.

Jason met me there and we then headed to the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort.  As previously mentioned, 2011 is going to be a good year.  So good, we've decided to be married in it!   And the location?  You guessed it - Marco Island.  During our wonderful mini-vacation/planning-session, we decided on an October wedding.  The resort is amazing - a perfect blend of service mixed with casual atmosphere.  I've been coming here on business since 2006 and can't wait for our family and friends to experience it.

And at the end of the month, I'm off again to Miami to explore half-a-dozen hotels in the area for an upcoming meeting.  So, it's official... FL, I'm totally smitten with you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

MassaNew Years

This year, Jason and I decided that “New Year’s Eve” would not get the better of us. No more making last minute plans or standing in line at tired bar parties around the area.  So, we headed for snow, albeit fake snow, but none the less!

Just 2 hours Southwest of DC, Massanutten Resort has welcomed visitors to their four-season (that's year-round, not Four Seasons :)) property for more than 30 years.  For a two-night getaway, it really wasn't half bad.  We had a 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with full kitchen and plenty of windows to let the outside air in.  All that was missing was a hot tub, preferably one with a time machine!

While I didn't quite make it on the bunny slopes or hit the halfpipe Shaun-White-style, I enjoyed our eve-countdown tubing on the mountain and a New Year's day coffee-scrub at the spa.  And Jason proved that he's still got "mad skills" at age 31 as he "ripped it" with his buddy, Matt.

All in all, it was a really great start to what we know is going to be an amazing 2011 (stay tuned for new posts).  And as one of our resolutions, we're committing to planning this little snow-trip as an annual tradition.  There's plenty of resorts that might be a cut above the Massa-version, and West VA or PA will definitely get us more of those miles we love... Wishing you all a New Year full of travel!