#take12trips: Complete!

Back in January, I set the audacious goal of taking 12 trips in 2016 (an idea I borrowed from Clare over at Need Another Holiday). It felt absurd for a number of reasons, including the fact that I have a full-time job with limited vacation time, and the memory of only leaving New York City four times in all of 2015. But I set the goal anyway. The guidelines I set for myself were pretty simple – if I left New York’s five boroughs, it counted – and that certainly made it easier to accomplish. As of the end of last month, I’ve taken 12 trips – and there are more to come! Here’s a look back…

The Washington Monument on a foggy day, Washington DC
1. Washington, D.C.

I started the year by jumping on a bus to visit my friend Courtney in her new home, and we had a great weekend hanging out, eating and sightseeing – despite the rainy weather and the fact that we both had horrible colds.

Sunset in Allen, Texas
2. Dallas

Trip number 2 came somewhat unexpectedly when I found dirt-cheap flights to Dallas on my mom’s birthday weekend. It was my first trip to see them in about a year and a half, so we had a great time shopping, visiting museums and just hanging out!

Marina Green, San Francisco
3. San Francisco

My best friend and I decided to meet up in her favorite city for once – bonus that I had never been and had always wanted to go. It definitely lived up to the hype!

Sunrise on the beach in Nassau, Bahamas

4. The Bahamas

Another spontaneous long weekend away because of a cheap flight, this one motivated by the miserable New York winter.

View of downtown Phoenix, Arizona
5. Phoenix

I re-ignited an age-old tradition this year by spending a week in Arizona for MLB spring training! Bonus that I have a ton of friends and family there, and my parents joined me as well.

Breakneck Ridge, New York
6. Breakneck Ridge

My friends somehow tricked me into climbing a mountain upstate, but I was well rewarded with ALL THE FOOD in Cold Spring after.

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia
7. Philadelphia

I didn’t love Philadelphia, true, but I was thrilled to take advantage of a transitional period and squeeze in an adventure!

Long Beach, New York
8, 11. Long Beach

I have, as you know, become quite the professional beach bum this summer. It’s just too easy to take advantage of!

Mural in Jersey City
 9, 12. Jersey City

I haven’t written about Jersey City at all, because I’ve just been hanging out at my friend Ashley’s apartment, but hey – the walk through Little India is cultural and the street art is on point.

Jones Beach
10. Jones Beach

Not my favorite beach, if only because it’s so hard to get to, but hey – can’t beat a day trip.

I’m excited to see just how many trips I can cram into 12 months – I’m off to Texas again on Wednesday, and I’m thinking at least one more beach trip before summer ends. But as I’ve learned – some of the best vacations are spontaneous!

A week in Phoenix, Arizona

Every time I visit Phoenix I feel a bit like I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions: I want to catch up with friends and family, and meet everyone’s new dog/cat/baby (that was a new one this time around!) and visit all of my favorite haunts while checking out the hottest new places. Last week’s trip was complicated by the fact that I also wanted to hit up some spring-training baseball games – in fact, it’s the whole reason I planned my vacation for March.

Miraculously, though, I always seem to pack it all in and return to New York feeling refreshed and accomplished. Here’s a little peek at what I got up to during my homecoming.

Cheeseburger at In-N-Out, Phoenix, Arizona

As soon as I climbed into my brother’s car at the airport, I announced that I was hungry for an In-N-Out cheeseburger. Nevermind that it was 10 a.m., next thing I knew we were stuffing our faces, surrounded by baseball fans and hungover frat boys. Who knew greasy burgers were so popular on Sunday mornings?!

Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium, Arizona

I made it to three baseball games during the week, thanks to my awesome parents who joined me on this trip and footed some little things like game tickets and a hotel room 😉 First up was my beloved Texas Rangers, who put on a hilarious comedy of errors in an entertaining, if disappointing, loss.

View of downtown Phoenix, Arizona

This was the view from our hotel room and encompassed everything I love about Phoenix and Arizona: The mountains, the palm trees, the blue skies.

Pug

I spent much of National Puppy Day curled up on my best friend’s couch with her pugs, Jak and Sheena. This one here is Jak – Sheena wasn’t quite as fond of the camera (or me, to be honest).

Mac and Cheese at Lux, downtown Phoenix, Arizona

Lux is my favorite coffee shop in Phoenix and has been for years – I used to spend entire days there, going from coffee to mac and cheese to cocktails, curling up with a book or working on school projects or catching up with friends. A return trip seemed necessary, and although they’ve raised their prices, Lux will always have a special spot in my heart.

Street art mural in downtown Phoenix, Arizona

My brother declared that I wouldn’t even recognize downtown Phoenix, the neighborhood I called home for six years. While that wasn’t quite the case, I was surprised at all of the street art and local restaurants that have popped up in the fifteen months since my last visit. Dare I say it feels like San Francisco?! Just a little warmer and a lot less crowded!

Sunset over downtown Phoenix, Arizona

Of course what I miss most about the Arizona landscape is the beautiful sunsets. They’re just not the same on the east coast! I actually got up in the middle of happy hour to take this picture – shoutout to patient and understanding friends!

All in all, a successful trip – my fifth of 2016! You can read about my past Phoenix adventures here.

My week in Instagrams: Phoenix edition!

Hi friends! Between travel and the holidays, I’ve fallen a bit behind on these Instagram posts – whoops! So if it’s OK with you (and even if it’s not), today I’m going to catch you all up on my trip to Phoenix, and next week I’ll do a massive photo dump from NYC!

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The main reason for this trip was that my brother and his girlfriend graduated from ASU! It’s been three years since I walked that stage myself, and I was thrilled to discover that giant balloons are still released at the end of the ceremony. We’re a party school after all – and what better reason to party than earning your degree? Congratulations to Steve, Lily and all of the other graduates!

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Last week was also the first time my siblings and I had all been together since last Christmas. What a treat! These two are my very best friends and we always have such a blast when we’re all together.

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After a couple days of family time, I headed to downtown Phoenix to crash on Steve’s couch for a couple nights and revisit my favorite old haunts from college and the years that followed. This waffle and bacon are from my favorite spot, Matt’s Big Breakfast. The wait can be intimidating, but I assure you it is always worth it!

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Martinis at Hanny’s are only $5, and cheaper after midnight. If I thought that was a steal when I was younger, it seems even better now that I routinely pay $15 for cocktails in NYC!

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Ah, the tacos. Most of you know about my obsession, and that every trip to Phoenix (or Dallas!) requires quality Mexican food. Luckily, Courtney and Gabrielle are always up for a foodie adventure (remember when Courtney and I ate our way around NYC?) and treated me to my favorite tacos from Gallo Blanco! Thanks ladies!

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One of the best parts of Phoenix is the sunsets. I captured this one from my brother’s balcony.

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At the end of my trip I spent a weekend lying on my best friend’s couch, watching Christmas movies and cuddling her pug. Best weekend ever. It was the first time I’d met Jak, who I consider my very first nephew.

You can see more pictures of my trip here, and follow me on Instagram here!

Festive Phoenix

By now, you all know how much I love Christmas in New York City – with the exception of that pesky winter weather, of course. So last week, I spent a few days venturing around Phoenix, Arizona, where I lived for 6 years before moving to NYC. The weather was a beautiful 60 degrees and the holiday decorations, very festive and  very Arizona

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It’s hard to tell, but every year this mountain (“A” Mountain) near Arizona State University features giant fake wisemen making their way to the top. I like to joke that the gifts they bring are likely vodka, rum and tequila.

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Merry Christmas Eve! Where are your favorite holiday decorations in the world?