Tuesday, July 22, 2014

City of Sisterly Love

This past weekend I jumped in the car and headed down to the city where I was born-- the city of Brotherly Sisterly love -- to participate in the Color Run, aka #YArunsa5K.

I even talked some of the girls into joining me.

The run was fabulous. So many great YA supporters were there. I managed to run the whole 5K (my first!) and I only got color in my eye once.

But no trip to Philadelphia is complete without a few staples -- especially if the people you're with are newbies to the city.

When we arrived in Philly, we checked into our hotel (the Holiday Inn near the stadium, which was super convenient and a great choice for the run!).

Then we headed to one of my favorite places: Elfreth's Alley.

The buildings were all built back in the 1700 and 1800s, and it's a pretty close depiction of what the city looked like back then.

There was some peering down alley ways.

And some exploring.

Then we were off to get some dinner.

Obviously we needed to have Philly Cheesesteaks.

We hopped over to Sonny's on Market St and snagged an outside table.

Then we ordered: Cheesesteak Hoagies for all of us, but a side of Bacon Cheez Fries.

It was as good as ever and we were very quickly finished.

Even though this might not have been the best "pre-run" idea, we decided that we needed to check out Happily Ever After. Next to Sonny's, the sign called to us and we headed over to check it out.

Only to find they seriously spoke to our nerd sensibilities.

We had some samples. 

I skipped fro-yo and got a giant s'more because it's summer and I have a thing for s'mores. 

Then, even though it was dark, we walked to Penn's Landing and looked out over the water.

And then passed Independence Hall where we also spied the Liberty Bell from behind some glass.

All in all it was an awesome night. The only thing left after the Color Run the next day was Rita's.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That Time I Vacationed on a Private Island

One of my dear friends has a family lake house where she grew up spending a lot of her summer weekends. I was lucky enough to get an invite for a weekend escape from the city.

The coolest thing about this lake house? It's on it's own private island.

When she explained this to us, we were all a little confused. Danielle had her own private island? How had we not known she was so glamorous.

The conversation looked a little like this.

Without the kilts and beards of course.

The island is in Saranac Lake, right about here:

I drove up Friday night following my cousin's wedding and took backroads almost the entire three and a half hour drive. The full moon lit my way.

I arrived in time for a slice of pizza and to enjoy the bonfire.

I had to wait until the next day to actually see the island though. After exchanging travel stories and enjoying the fire, it was promptly time for bed.

I was the big winner with the Barney sheets.

Saturday was glorious. The girls were enjoying the morning sunshine when I woke up.

I took a peek around the rest of the house.

And checked out the island.

And it's spectacular views.

After breakfast we took a boat ride through the lake and up to a beach.

We picnicked lunched on the side of the boat. We weren't the only ones out taking in the sun.

There was some reading.

Even some dancing.

And a lot of lounging.

Then there was the cliff jumping.

This bad boy might not look that high but it's 20 feet off the water. I admit that I didn't partake. I was a little too nervous about losing my bathing suit when I hit the water.

Tori, Jess, and Danielle were more adventurous.

Then we headed back towards the island.

After wards there was some jet skiing and wake boarding. (I might have napped through this).

And some wipe outs.

Back at the island, we did some more lounging on the deck and grilled up our dinner.

 Burgers, potatoes, and veggies.

Then we set the table and enjoyed our feast.

Afterwards, we fired up the grill again and toasted some marshmallows and made my favorite: s'mores.

Then we escaped the mosquitos and settled around the table for a game of Cards Against Romance Tropes. 

This is basically Cards Against Humanity, but for Romance Readers. And I owe the lovely and talented writers and conference organizers at Chicago North's RWA Spring Fling for this lovely gem and the amazing laughs it inspired.

Jackie was the big winner.

Then it was time for bed.

Sunday morning after pancakes and coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, it looked a little like rain so we hung out inside.

I pulled up my iPad and read Nash by Jay Crownover which had been on my TBR list for a while. Jess also curled up on a recliner to read while some of the girls played Cards Against Humanity (the real game this time) in the other room.

When the sun came out, we pulled out the kayaks. 

The current turned out to be a little stronger than anticipated so it was quite a workout!

Then after a quick stop for the ice cream that Danielle had raved about all weekend, it was time to head home.

I promptly tilted my cone and lost all my ice cream.

And then did it again after they gave me a new one. I at least made it outside with the second cone.

I was hardly the only person this happened to which made me feel better. But after two strikes, I figured me and this ice cream wasn't meant to be.

On the way home, we drove through Lake Placid, home to two winter Olympics.

Danielle found Unraveling this this bookstore!

Then it was about five hours back to the city through a lot of rain and some traffic jams.

But well worth it. I'm kind of up for having my own private island some day.

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