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Friday, October 12, 2018

Autumn BucketList

I finally feel autumn in the air.  It's cooler and crisper and I'm so happy about it... And yes I know, there have been some days this week that were in the 80s and therefore felt more like summer... but I'm going to ignore it because I'm ready for FALL. 

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures and changing leaf color. And I especially love all the things you and do in the fall. 
As a result I think we need a whole new bucket list just for this Fall.
I would love to get everything checked off by the end of November!
Hopefully, Baros and I will be ticking things off together (unfortunately he had to miss the Renn Faire this year though).
BUT his schedule is free again and come Monday we're travelling to Providence and Boston and Pittsburgh!  3 cities in one week!

Autumn To Do:
  • Walk in the crisp, fall air
Walks along the river are a must
hiking last year with Baros and Mamma bear
  • Go to Renaissance Faire (Part I and Part II
  • Organize my fall/winter wardrobe
  • Clean out the junk drawers 
  • Organize the kitchen cabinets
  • Bake
    • Cupcakes
    • Cookies 
    • Apple Pie
    • Pumpkin Pie 
    • Pumpkin Bread
  • Go apple/pumpkin picking (ON SUNDAY!!!)
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go on a hayride
  • Go hiking
  • Play in the leaves
  • Play in NYC (on so many occasions)
  • Take pictures with the leaves changing colors 
    fall colors
  • Have a photo-shoot 
    • As the photographer (looking for a subject <3 ) 
    • As the subject
  • Read as many books as possible (I'm on my way!! Just finished "Girl on the Train" and will start a new one soon!)
  • Borrow books from the library
  • Study with my Turkish Book 
  • Craft
    • Finish started projects 
    • Make Halloween costumes for Baros and I
    • Make a birdhouse/feeder out of bottle caps and wine corks
    • Try arm knitting (again)
  • Cider nights with Baros
  • Go on a mini vacation with Baros in October 
    • Travel
      • Providence
      • Boston
      • Pittsburg
    • Have a spa day
    • Eat delicious food 
    • See historic sites
  • Celebrate Oktoberfest with beer and sausage at home
  • Cook together
    • lots of soup
      • Tomato
      • Squash
      • more...
    • roasted veggies 
    • Squash
    • pizza from scratch
  • Have Hot Pot with friends         
Hot Pot with my girls last year
  • Sit outside and admire the view with hot cider/hot cocoa
  • Halloween Parties
  • Watch a scary movie: 
    • The Shining (I read the book... now, I just need to watch the movie)
  • Put out candy for the kids in the building
  • Go to a Haunted House
  • Host a small Friendsgiving 
  • Help mom make Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Photos for Holiday Cards
  • Company holiday party
  • Go to a holiday market in NYC
  • Start Christmas shopping
  • Decorate the tree
I've already started some of this fall bucket list so I'm putting those in red!

Are you ready for fall?  Do you have any ideas for your fall bucket list? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Birthday Adventures: A week of celebrations

So I'm finally done celebrating my birthday!  This is my recap of all of the crazy activities we did!!

I had some weeklong mini adventures.  I'm not one for organizing big parties (unless they involve costumes!) because I find it challenging to coordinate my friends who live all over the tri-state and have crazy different schedules.  Some people are only free on weekends, some have rotating schedules, some are never free on weekends.  Some live out of state or not near enough for a convenient trip.  So I tend to celebrate in small outings with different groupings of people so I can hang out and enjoy with everyone I love.

When I turn 35 I think I'll try to organize a big party... with some kind of book character theme, like for my 28th when I got everyone to dress up from Alice in Wonderland.   But I have plenty of time to plan for that since I only turned 32 this week.  3 more years till that craziness!!

So on the 22nd I went to my second ever Paint Night!  I met up with my friend Danielle who brought us a bottle of wine to share and we painted to our hearts content.  We had a blast and made some beautiful paintings to put on our walls. Go here to read more about it!

Then the morning after, I headed to Queens to head over to the Renaissance Fair in Tuxedo, NY. We spent a few hours running around admiring costumes and eating delicious food.
Then afterwards we headed back to NYC and got to go to Little Italy for the last day of San Gennaro.  I love adventures in Little Italy!  We ran around trying different foods and seeing some lovely booths before I headed back to NJ for some rest before my work week.

On Tuesday night, hubby and I got to celebrate.  We ate and then headed to The Color Factory (sadly now closed... but there should be a new exhibition soon so if you missed the Color Factory, there should be something equally fun coming your way!!) We had such a wonderful night.

On my actual birthday, I went to work.  And my coworkers threw me a surprise party at the end of the day!  They managed to really surprise me since they waited till the very end of the day so I thought they may have forgotten!

It was so cute.  They gave me flowers, a teddy bear and a balloon and cake, lots of cake.  I'm so happy to be a part of my team!!  I love them so much!
Afterwards, I caught a ride home (yayyy! no train for the birthday girl!) and then I crashed.  Well, first, I found flowers on my doorstep from one of my besties.  Grace sent me some beautiful fall inspired flowers!   Then I got inside and crashed.  I was so tired.  Eventually, Baros got home and he surprised me with flowers too!  He got me beautiful red roses and lilies!  I was such a happy birthday girl.  We ate a little dinner and I took my first online Spanish lesson (I didn't think he'd make it home till late so I scheduled poorly).
I got such a cute message from my brother-in-law, Burak (later on in the week he even sent me a picture of a beer and a toast in my honor!) and then I got a wonderful call from one of my favorite Californians and we caught up and talked about life and her upcoming nuptials.  Alex is awesome and I can't wait to see her soon.
Then we fell asleep.  Baros fell asleep while I was talking, but I made him move from the end of the bed to where he belonged, next to me.  He was so exhausted and adorable in his exhaustion. He fell right back asleep and then I followed shortly after.  We had wanted to eat the ice cream in our freezer... but it never happened.  We were just too pooped.  It was a "we're asleep by 9:45 kind of night" and that's so rare for me that I'm okay with it!!  It was a relaxing way to spend my evening so I was really happy. 

Then the following Saturday I got to go back to the Renaissance fair for Adventure Part II.  I went with Danielle, Jeremy and his group of friends and it was so much fun. It was an all day affair that ended with pancakes and breakfast food at Brownstone Pancakes.  So delicious.
It was a lovely full and busy day.

One of my last birthday celebrations actually came as a surprise to me exactly one week after my birthday.  One of my best friends, Endira, came in from Chicago for work so I met up with her.  She treated me to birthday dinner and drinks.  We went to an outdoor happy hour and got some wine and some dumplings.  And then we walked over to delicious sushi at Asuka on 8th Ave and 23rd St. We got edamame and rolls to share.  If you're looking for good sushi this is a great place to go. Plus, we had some delicious cocktails.
We had a wonderful few hours of catching up and hanging out. It was a lovely celebration with one of my favorite people who I don't get to see as much as I'd like to!
Life and distance! But no worries, Chicago is on my horizons.

Then on Saturday night I had one last surprise.
Baros and I went to Brooklyn to see our friends Bihter and Ernesto for the first time in a long while.
We had a raki night with yummy food and even better company. And once we were finished eating, out came the surprise cheesecake and birthday song.  It was so fun celebrating with them, even though I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of all of us together.
fried liver, yummy yogurt sauce called haydari made by Bihter, cucumber and tomato salad and feta. 
All the food... just a little blurry... 
About to cut the cheesecake!
The desserts, baklava, cheesecake and a jammy cookie

On the subway home!

With that birthday surprise, my birthday celebrations have dragged on for two weeks so now I must declare the celebrations over!

I'm so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life.  I didn't get to celebrate with everyone, but I felt so loved between the messages and celebrations!
I didn't even get to celebrate with Mom and Paul, but Paul sent me a beautiful color changing butterfly mug and I got to have a great conversation with the mamma bear on the morning of my birthday.

Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll get down to visit them too and we can have some other adventures... Maybe even Mom's first tattoo adventure since she wanted to get a mother/daughter tattoo for my birthday.

Let's see where this year takes us!! 32 is going to be a good one!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Birthday Adventures: Renaissance Faire Part II

So on Saturday morning, I got up to celebrate my birthday again.

Opening gates

I headed over to my friend Jeremy's house, where I met him and Danielle and a bunch of his other
friends.  His dad drove us altogether in a van to the Renn Faire for my Part II!  The van was a great idea since there were six of us.  We were able to save gas and then since Jeremy's dad drove, we had a DD just in case anyone wanted to drink. Jeremy's dad is awesome!

After putting on makeup and starting the getting ready process, we all got into the van.  It was a fun ride with music and singing and lots of chatting.  I did Danielle's makeup and helped put some scales on Masha.  Challenging in a moving vehicle!  And I somehow got my wig and flower crown on too.

When we arrived at faire we were ready for a day full of antics.

From the front gates, we saw some musical performances and then we went to grab food and drinks.

it's as big as her head!

We started with some delicious mead, a turkey leg and some fish and chips!  It was a great way to start the day. 

We were having wayyy too much fun with our food

Afterwards we meandered to the tea shop and armories.  Danielle and I got separated from Jeremy and the others but we caught up with them eventually.

Tea and herbs

so cute!  fairies for the trees

dragon skull to go with your incense

Such pretty lights. 

I don't know why he was cleaning the stone, but he was funny
Eventually we wound up at the Sherwood stage and caught the tale end of an Aaron Bunk show and then the whole of the knife throwing act.  Gotta love the dangerous antics.

We found a beautiful parrot and a dance around the May Pole and gorgeous glass art work. 

he had stolen her rose and destroyed it

such beautiful pieces
Then we wandered through the Enchanted forest.  I'm in love with all of the fairies.  They're all so lovely and perfectly in character.  I hadn't realized until this weekend that they don't talk but instead sign.  And it's so fun to watch them interact with the children.

And then there's the drinking pirates
We saw some bards telling the tale of Robin Hood using some audience participation.

From there we wandered some more through clothing stalls and shops.  I really wanted to get another corset, but I couldn't find the perfect one.  Corsets can be very expensive and I didn't want to buy one without being 100% committed.

Instead, I did find a beautiful dragon shop.  In all my trips to the fair, I'd somehow missed this little shop full of handmade clay dragons.  They are so adorable and their creator is so lovely.  I would definitely consider special ordering something from her because her creations are absolutely amazing and each dragon so full of personality.
That's my baby dragon in the center

a little dragon in a lantern

Eventually we found ourselves at the Acro-Batrix show which was phenomenal.  It was our favorite of the day because they're so cute.  I love their chemistry and their wonderful routine.  The tricks and skills were absolutely amazing.

She fit in a box

They're sooo cute!!

he's got great aim!

What a catch!!
From there we grabbed another cider and met up with two of Danielle's friends.  We sat and caught up and finished our drinks before heading our separate ways.

Danielle and I headed back through the fairy forest and over to the Queen's Court and then the land of the Vikings.
We found the colorful thrones and took sooooo many pictures.  Next year, I would love to do a more full costume.  I got a little lazy and didn't feel like wearing the corset I'd brought with me... and couldn't find the underskirt for the skirt I'd made.

And then we ran into one of my friends that I haven't seen in probably 5 or 6 years, since the last time I lived in Florence.  It was so great to randomly run into Melissa after all this time.  She was one of my Americans in Florence who I adopted into the Old Stove Fold.  Now that I know how close she is, I think we're going to have to have some NYC adventures together.

Then we headed over to the Queen's Court for some Shakespeare.  The actors at Renn Faire are absolutely phenomenal and so funny.  I'm so glad we caught that last show before it was time to head out.

oh selfies

As soon as we made it to the car,  I took my wig off and de-costumed myself.  We made our way to Brownstone Pancake factory and I enjoyed the last of my birthday celebration meals.

I had such a great day with everyone.  New friends, old friends, such a great way to spend that day of  birthday festivities.