Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rose Bowl Flea Market and a 35 by 35

In the interest of adventure, not to mention crossing items off of both my 35 by 35 and my Mighty List, we {Sara, Stephanie and I} visited the Rose Bowl Flea Market {in November}!

We tried to choose a time when it would be a little cooler...but joke's on us, it was blazing hot.

The last time I was at the Rose Bowl was when I auditioned for American Idol {just after Kelly Clarkson had won} and we slept on the ground all night. Another story for another day.

We woke up early and {after coffee, of course} headed up to Pasadena. I was certain I would come home with several very kitschy and one-of-a-kind items about which I would forever say, "Oh, I bought that at a Flea Market yeeeeeaaars ago!"Or, at the very least, a C-list celebrity sighting.

I think Sara is the one who really scored. Though she did not buy this incredible coat, she did buy a beaded dress...and we almost convinced her to buy a sequined skirt, but then she reminded us that "one girl does not need to own two sequined skirts."

So many classy displays

Speaking of class:

We walked the booths for a few hours--until we could no longer stand the heat--spending most of our money on ice water and lemonades.

Stephanie knows her way around Pasadena, so she took us to a great little French bakery for lunch. Iced coffee and a few sandwiches later, we decided that it was early enough to make one more stop before heading home.

That's right! The Father of the Bride house!

I wanted to head in to the backyard to play a quick game of one-on-one {and cry my eyes out, I'm sure} but out of respect for the homeowners, we just took a few dozen photos from the curb.

And now--the one purchase I made at the Flea Market!

Yes, this is my second globe and no, I did not "get it for a steal."
I'm the worst at bartering. The absolute worst.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Road Trip Day 6: A Walk Through DC Part 2

On our final full day of vacation, we knew we had to do it up right. So, we slept in a bit, ate a big breakfast at Lincoln's Waffle House {where it is rumored that many Presidents have eaten...there's no way that's true} but it was delicious and we had a waiter who literally stood in front of us at the counter and met our every dining need: coffee was always full, no want for a napkin, check handed at the right moment--not too early, but we needn't ask for it. Fantastic service.

This was Sara's first time in DC, so she had a long list of sights she wanted to see. Cathi and I had been before, so we were ready to accommodate Sara's tourist dreams! The only place I wanted to see was Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated.

We walked in at the perfect time: the next tour was just beginning and tickets are free! However, the tour is 90 minutes. Seriously? Fortunately, the first part is self-guided, so we quickly made our way through and then up the back stairs to take a photo of the balcony. 

We did overhear a piece of the presentation in which he said, "Lincoln loved to go to the theatre since it was the rare occasion when he was able to hear the people laughing and enjoying themselves, as opposed to the rest of his day-to-day when he heard about the problems of the country."

From there, we decided to start at one end of the stretch of important buildings and work our way across town. Beginning first at the Capitol Building. {Man, the number of grumbling comments this instagram photo received...give it a rest.}

As we arrived, it started to sprinkle, so we took cover under a tree next to a pond in front of the building. {My time is Kenya has caused me to believe that a sprinkle can become a downpour within minutes, so I always run for cover.} We walked through a group of middle school kids {150 of them, at least} taking an organized-by-height group photo and finally found our way to the next stop.

The White House Backyard

Cathi had some work deadlines she had to meet that afternoon, so she had stayed behind for the morning. We stopped for coffee and to check in with her and then decided to have some lunch. Lucky for me, there was a Pret A Manger up the street--my favorite!

After lunch we saw the front of the White House {I prefer the back yard}, the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial {where there was a group of Veterans touring the grounds, which made it so much more moving}, and the Reflecting Pool {you know, from Forrest Gump.}

We opted not to go back inside the Lincoln Memorial, since I had at least 50 pictures from the night before.

As we walked down the Pool we saw this fox running the path. He circled and came back around and was just too close, and too beautiful, to go un-photographed.

Our final stop was the Martin Luther King Memorial. Throughout this trip, I was consistently in awe of how great an impact he had on our country. I'm hoping our 2014 road trip will have quite a few MLKJ-related stops.

For our final--and Birthday week kick-off--dinner, Herman {our friendliest concierge} recommended Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown. We had an appetizer of cheese, bread and garlic {my absolute favorite meal} followed by amazing cheeseburgers, and capped with a huge slice of chocolate cake and, of course, some singing.

The next morning, after a dark taxi ride to the airport, we were greeted by curbside check-in. The guy helped us moved our bags and began to check us in, but when he got to me, he said, "Well, this is strange. It says here you're on the no-fly list and there is a warrant for your arrest." We were shocked. He told me to please move over and put my hands on the counter as he pulled out his walkie-talkie and said, "I have Allison Hibbard here and it says to notify you." He looks back and me and says, "Believe me, I'm as scared as you are." The three of us all looked at each other, unsure of what to do next. And then he says, "Well, are you all fooled?" We breathed a sigh of relief and began to laugh with him. He told us it's his favorite trick to pull on people--that the walkie-talkie power just went straight to his head. He also said that earlier that week when he'd done the same to a man, who ended up throwing his wallet at him after he was told it was a joke. What a memorable pre-sunrise airport experience!

We landed in Long Beach at 8:30am and each headed off to work--vacation was officially over. {Well, mostly for them, since it was birthday week for me!}

Second Annual Road Trip was a huge success. We're already talking about next year's trip, hopefully to the South!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Road Trip Day 5: Drive To And Walk Through DC (Part 1)

Our final stretch of road included a drive through the tiny top of Delaware {I, of course, was sure to say, "Hi, I'm in Delaware."--anyone? Neither of the girls understood} Maryland, and in to a bit of Virginia to get to Washington, DC.

So many huge rivers--and gorgeous trees--all along these highways.

Good morning Baltimore! We stopped for gas--and coffee, of course--at a little shop in Baltimore. The owner was originally from California and accidentally charged us twice for my iced coffee. {I also sang, "horses, horses, horses, horses" on the drive through Baltimore--anyone?}

Our fantastic friend Cheryl's previously mentioned list was about to come in wicked handy, as we pulled in for a late lunch in Georgetown. I'd never been there before--that town is adorable! I want to make friends with a multi-millionaire so I can sleep over in one of those houses sometime.

We were told to eat garlic bread with Gorgonzola and cream sauce at an Italian restaurant called Paper Moon and then go for coffee and treats at Baked and Wired. I'm telling you, Cheryl could plan your next trip for you...or at the very least, the food stops.

My peanut butter cookie and chocolate ice cream Sammie.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts

We had a deadline for our car return and knew, in rush hour, it would take us at least an hour--if not more--to get to the airport. We thought we'd check in to the hotel, get ready for the night, and ask for dinner recommendations from the concierge on our way to return the car.

As she checked in, Sara mentioned that we were in town for a special occasion and the woman upgraded our room to the TOP floor of the building with the best view. So, this was the view from our hotel room's BALCONY. We could even see the monuments lit up at night!

Talking to the concierge(s) turned out to be the best decision ever! Not only did they give us an incredible dinner recommendation, but they also called the car rental place to let them know that we'd be returning our car to a closer location--saving us two hours AND about $75. Come on, concierges!

Oh yeah! When we showed up to turn in the car, we had about 3/4 tank of gas and did not see one gas station on the drive. So we knew we'd be getting a little screwed by the refueling charge. When the man told us he'd have to charge us $17 a gallon, and we mentioned that we didn't see a gas option, he said, "It's okay, I'll just charge you for one gallon." (!!!)

So, metro to China Town. Suuuuper good dinner--including a trio of desserts that contained espresso dipping chocolate, cinnamon donut holes, chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream, and three scoops of fruit sorbet. (Obviously, I skipped the sorbet.) 

Then. We walked up the street to the W Hotel where we could see the entire illuminated National Mall from the rooftop bar. (Joke's on them: we didn't even order a drink! We just took a few photos and left!)

The doorman at the hotel said it would still be very safe for three girls to walk through the mall at this hour. So, that's just what we did!

A nice couple took about a dozen photos of us and this was the best one. Read: the only one that does not have the Washington Monument coming out the top of my head...sorry, Sara, your closed eyes will have to do.

We spent over half an hour here. Through misty eyes, I consider the hundreds of thousands of lives that were changed--better--FREE because of Lincoln's willingness to fight to abolish slavery.

A brief stroll back to the metro and we were back in our hotel where we made a lifelong friendship with our killer concierge, Herman. He took some photos of us and with us and then we headed upstairs to get ready for our last full day on the East Coast!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Road Trip Day 4: Lincoln Bench to Liberty Bell

Our New York morning began a little later than the previous days. And, of course, with a Starbucks. Walking in Manhattan is one of my all-time favorite things to do--and to do so with a coffee in-hand?! Come on!

Also, we were headed toward my very favorite President...
So, this was the very best Sunday of the trip.

Last year, when we went to Mount Rushmore, we learned that the same designer (Gutzon Borglum) built a Lincoln bench that sits in front of an old courthouse in New Jersey. Coincidentally, we had to drive through New Jersey to get to Pennsylvania, and so...destiny.

Being that it is an old courthouse, it was difficult to find it on Maps. A few wrong turns and a Google search later, we could see it--about three blocks away. But there was a crazy traffic jam! We inched closer and closer to Mr Lincoln until we found the reason for the madness: a breast cancer awareness parade. A PARADE! So, we made the most of it: we rolled down the windows and enjoyed the marching band--yep! A full-fledged marching band!

And then...
We made it.

Hello, old friend!

We took a few {dozen} photos--here are just a couple.

This girl walked up and wanted to take a picture with me. Obviously, I said yes!

We hopped back in the car--found a bathroom, of course {highways, wrong turns, and a parade sure can take a while!} and were on our way to Philadelphia!

Our great friend, Cheryl, grew up in the Northeast and sent us a very, very long list of recommended restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and stores, sorted by city--and man, does that girl know good food!

First stop in Philadelphia--appropriately enough--Philly Cheesesteaks!

And then, of course, Independence Hall: where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Across the lawn--the Liberty Bell! Cathi kept saying, "You guys! Nicholas Cage totally stood right here in National Treasure!"

We did see a full street blocked off for a police motorcycle drill team show {sure! why not?} but we didn't stick around since we still had sights to see before dark!

In the middle of the city, there's a full corner dedicated to old board games: Chess, Sorry, Monopoly!

When people heard we were visiting Philadelphia, the majority had no idea what there was to see. Those who knew a bit about history, asked about the Liberty Bell, and those who lean more pop culture, asked, "You're going to see the Rocky steps, right?!"

So, here they are. Clearly I'm not so in to running--though, I did enjoy sitting there while watching several other groups race one another up the steps.

We checked in to our hotel and the bellman recommended the Japanese restaurant next door: Pod {they have fluffernutter egg rolls {peanut butter, marshmallow, chocolate in an egg roll! Get at me.}

After dinner, we walked to CVS for nail polish and candy bars. Classic girls. 

We stayed up too late, but slept wonderfully in big fluffy beds...all in preparation for our final stop: Washington, DC!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Road Trip Day 3: Plymouth Rock to New York City

Day three began reeeeeally early--like darkness early. We were picked up from our hotel {by Kelly...I'm telling you, she's the best} and taken to the airport to get our rental car. Our ultimate destination for the day was New York City, but we had a few stops to make along the way.

First up: Plymouth Rock! Quite literally a small rock on the beach.

We had breakfast at a place called Gunther Tooties and, honestly, could not stop giggling at the name. While in Plymouth, we also stopped at a CVS, where Sara carried on a conversation with one of the pharmacists about overweight cats, obviously; over what else might one bond with a Plymouth pharmacist?

Our next stop, on paper, was our hotel in New York, but we decided that the only way to say we'd actually been to each of the states was to make a stop in each state. So, Rhode Island it was! Last year, we were so excited to stop at each state line. This year, this was the only sign accessible to us--crazy highways!

When we pulled off the freeway to get to downtown Providence, we saw this beautiful building and knew it would be our stop for the state. We passed RISD {Hey Seth Cohen!} on the way to The Rhode Island State House. {Cute Sara, frolicking on the steps.}

There you are, Fall!

Connecticut was our next state and it could not have come at a better time! We'd been in the car for awhile. What better way to make our Connecticut visit official than coffee and pastries at Yale?

My roommate and I had just started the Gilmore Girls "Rory at Yale" years, so it was only appropriate to make a few Paris Gellar jokes. Oh, and we saw some Yale students playing Frisbee on the lawn--Ivy League students are just like us!

I was diagnosed with bronchitis the weekend before we left for the trip, which means I spent three days in bed, watching the most recent season of Pretty Little Liars, making playlists for each state we'd visit and googling "what to do in _______ during the government shut down." 

I was so sad to find that I had not packed the audio cable, which meant we could not listen to my kick-A playlists on the drives. {I don't know that Cathi and Sara felt the same.} However, we did have XM Radio in the car--and had great luck with the 80s, 90s, and Pop Hits stations: including the FRIENDS theme song as we crossed the New York state line, and Empire State of Mind as we drove over the Brooklyn Bridge! Driving in the city was a completely new experience for me--much less anxiety-inducing than I had expected!

About a month ago, a woman I work with told me she wanted to give us money to have a fancy dinner in New York. Sara contacted a friend who frequents the city and narrowed it down to a few delicious options. We'd planned to eat at the opposite end of Manhattan so we could walk all the way back to our hotel and soak up as much New York as we could in our quick 18-hour trip.

And so, courtesy of Mariana, we ate an amazingly delicious dinner at JG Melon on the Upper East Side. Burgers and fries and beer. Hip Hip Hooray for Saturday night!

Though the girls had been to New York several times, neither had been to Serendipity. So, as cliche as it may be, we put our name in, and wandered over to Fifth Avenue to take a look around and have Sara's broken iPhone looked at. 

About an hour later, we were enjoying these: Frozen Hot Chocolate and Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Dang, this place is worth the hype.

Back at the hotel, we had to repack--it's amazing how quickly items can become too large for the suitcase! Cathi watched in the lobby as the Red Sox won the World Series...Sara and I recounted the adventure of the day and prepared for yet another journey on Sunday.

Look out Rocky--we're headed to Philadelphia!