How I Spent My Summer Vacation – A Photo Story

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, I cry in a corner wishing for a do-over of summer think about how I spent my summer and reminisce.

Much of the summer was spent in the city. As is always the case for me, I start to get tired of it and I need a change of pace to remind me why I call this gem of a city home.

First stop, San Diego.

Glittery Beach
Glittery Beach

We took on Coronado Beach which, due to the presence of mica, glitters like someone dropped a glitter bomb across the entire beach. Also notable were the donuts (and donut-like poptarts) at The Donut Bar.

Next stop, Los Angeles. Continue reading "How I Spent My Summer Vacation – A Photo Story"

Come Away (Luggage) With Me: An Unboxing

Yes, this is a story about luggage but it begins several years ago in Dublin, Ireland. Let me explain.

The River Liffy
The River Liffy, Dublin (photo by Jen Gallardo)

A while ago, I purchased a really unique piece of luggage. It was damask-printed and, if you know me, you know I've never met a print I don't like. It was a duffle bag on wheels and I was okay with that — until I flew Ryan Air.

Going through all the checkpoints from London to Dublin, nobody glanced at my luggage. It was big and yellow (and fancy printed!) but nobody really cared as the Ryan Air flight attendants were trying to simply get everyone settled in for the slingshot across the way to Ireland.

However, when flying from Dublin to Liverpool, I hit a snag — an overzealous employee who wanted to see if my bag could fit the sizer (i.e. the contraption they use to suss out if your bag exceeds their size limitation). She didn't care that I had flown with it on the previous leg of my journey on their airline, she wanted to see it fit in the sizer.

Of course it didn't fit and so I was slapped with a fee to check it of 50 friggin' euros! Ugh! Continue reading "Come Away (Luggage) With Me: An Unboxing"

Atlanta Trip

My husband and I went to Atlanta end of April leading into early May which honestly now feels like forever ago. I think that's usually the first indicator that I need to start planning another vacation! But first, let me tell you about Hot-lanta.

Of course, I always unfairly compare all new cities I visit to my hometown so while Atlanta didn't make my list of cities I'd want to live in one day, it's still a neat town. Here are some highlights.

At South City Kitchen in Midtown

Continue reading "Atlanta Trip"

Travels In Europe

It's February which means I'm officially back in New York City (at least for now). I've always wanted to travel in January and February but husband and I historically have rarely been able to get our act together to do it. This time, I was traveling for work so everything was booked and mostly organized before 2016 was over. Of course, there's a saying about the best laid plans…in short, they don't always go as planned.

I happened to be flying to London the day of the first major snowfall of 2017 in New York City. Of course it would be a snowy day! Why wouldn't it be? Throughout the day, I kept checking on the status of my flight and it continued to say it was "on time." Meanwhile, the cost of my Uber to the airport was double the cost of a regular taxi (hello, surge pricing!) and the fact that I even took an Uber tells you a lot as I never take Uber (for personal reasons I'll discuss at another time).

To make a long story short, my flight did not depart until FOUR HOURS after its scheduled time. I think I learned my lesson about flying during peak New York snow season! However, I did get to fly Premium Economy on a Delta flight operated by Virgin Atlantic. In this class, I was greeted with a welcome sparkling wine. Delays and all, I could definitely get used to flying like this.

Pre Flight Drink
I can get used to welcome champagne and a cute little overnight bag.

Continue reading "Travels In Europe"

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

I got back from New Orleans a few days ago and soon I'll be back on the road visiting London on business. London is one of the few places I've been where I can see myself living. The pace is similar to that of New York and there's a ton of culture every way you look at it: old buildings alongside new, diverse food options and a ton of museums and theaters. Of course, I will mostly be in an office building but that's merely a minor technicality!

Piccadilly Circus, London
Piccadilly Circus, London

After London, I've decided to book a mini solo trip to Paris since the proximity can't be beat (by comparison, it's like taking a train from New York to Philly). I've never been to Paris so I'm excited to take pictures of and explore the city. I'd also like to try to practice some of the broken French I've learned thanks to Duolingo. I know how to say the cat is black (le chat est noir) and other not too useful phrases. I bought a phrase book to carry with me so hopefully that can help jump start me a bit.

I do love to travel but I'm starting to feel somewhat ready to get back to my real life. Though I'd like to pretend that I'm some sort of jetsetter, I'm really not, especially when it's cold. I don't mind cuddling on the couch with my dear husband and some warm white rose tea (my new favorite tea from T2). I'm also trying to be good (cooking lunches and dinners at home, exercising) so that's going to be a little bit wrecked — but hello, per diems and happy hour!

In truth, when it comes to getting back to my life, I more than anything want to be back from my trip so we can officially start the search for a home. I've been stalking properties on Trulia and Streeteasy which is definitely not the same as meeting with a realtor. However, this is the year that we feel confident financially to buy a property within the city limits.

And every time I come home to find, ahem, surprise visitors of the creep-crawly variety, I can't wait to get started on that search!

New Year and New Camera

Happy New Year!

Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented)
Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented – click on any photo to see full size version on Flickr)

After many days off from work and some fun travels, I'm now back in New York City and ready to resume my normal routines again — well, somewhat. The new year is all about resolutions but I didn't make any specific ones. Instead, I'm striving to have a majority of happy and healthy days in 2017. In keeping with that, there are a lot of things I will continue to do, or simply do more often, but I'm not aiming for some sort of dramatic change.

I think, despite what we say every January 1st, we are all creatures of habit. I'm going to focus on all my good habits like investing in my body with exercise and eating well and hobbies like reading (now with my new kindle paperwhite – thanks, Santa!), writing and taking photos.

And, speaking of photos, I took a bunch over the past week or so. I've been meaning to try out a mirrorless camera for a WHILE and I just haven't gotten around to it. I think this also ties into my being a creature of habit; I love my old Canon SLR and it, in return, has been very good to me over many many years. I'm typically pretty good with my electronics so they last a while – this camera is no different. That said, it's a little big for traveling and doesn't have any of the bells and whistles that newer cameras have.

So when Adorama (one of my favorite places for camera equipment in the city) was having a Christmas rental deal, I decided to go all out and rent a Leica Q. But that was taken because I didn't act fast enough, so I ended up with the Fuji X100T instead. In truth, I'm glad I ended up with the Fuji because it is way less expensive and therefore something I could consider buying in the future. Though, honestly, I still think I need to do a little more digging before I settle on a mirrorless camera. While the X100T is a really nice camera, there are some things about it that quickly became deal breakers for me. Continue reading "New Year and New Camera"