Category Archives: Travel

A Weekend in Montréal: Friends, Food, and Frigid Temps

After two weeks in Pittsburgh, Dave and I decided it was time to take our first road-trip together from Pittsburgh.  With Dave’s extremely busy volleyball schedule on the horizon and my freedom to travel during the week (since I don’t have a job right now), we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to see a new city. We both love to travel, don’t mind driving long distances, and have a great friend who lives in Montréal, which made our destination decision easier. We mapped out our route, which included a pit stop in Rochester both ways (Dave’s Hometown), which put us at about 20 hours in the car.

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Spread out across three and a half days, our weekend getaway to Montréal was one to remember.

Day One: Thursday, April 12th, 2018

3:45PM – To help reduce the total number of hours in the car, I took the P67 bus out to Monroeville to meet Dave by his office. Not only did this lower our time on the road, but also helped me get acclimated with Pittsburgh’s public transportation.

4:45PM – On the road! Next stop: Rochester!

5:00PM – Just kidding! Quick stop at Chick-Fil-A to get some dinner! Chicken nuggets and lemonade were calling my name after a three-day juice cleanse.

9:30PM  After a quick four and a half hours in the car, we finally made it! We unloaded some items we’re keeping at his parents place,  caught up for a little bit with his family, and went to bed so we could be ready for a long day on the road tomorrow.  Goodnight!

Day Two: Friday, April 13th, 2018

8:00AM – Time to hit the road. Next stop: Montréal!

3:20PM – After a gas stop, and an extended wait at the border, we finally made it!

4:00PM – Time for a late lunch at Olive Et Gourmando. Our concierge at the hotel recommended  this cute little cafe for us plus it was on our way to the waterfront. I indulged in the Grilled Cheese and Sautéed Onion Panini, while Dave opted for the healthier green salad with roasted almonds, red onions, house vinaigrette. We also ordered two La Saison du tracteur beers and Dave finished off the meal with an Elixir + Bourbon (green tea, ginger, pomegranate).

4:30PM  Walk around the waterfront, up and down Rue Saint Paul, and around the ‘old city’. We also stopped in the Intercontinental Hotel to see a piece of the Berlin Wall and an ‘infinity pool’.

7:30PM – Quick workout at the hotel. Chest and Tri’s and 20 minutes on the bike to get the blood pumping.

9:00PM – Meet up with Wojtek and Memye and head to dinner. I chose Brasserie 701 based off Yelp reviews and it’s pretty close. Win-Win!

10:30PM – After an amazing dinner, we decide to head out on the town. I indulged in Scallop Risotto with Truffles, Dave got Duck with Mushroom Sauce, Wojtek ordered the Duck with Apricot Sauce, and Memye had the Rosemary and Red Onion Marinated Flank Steak. We bounced around Montréal from: 3 Brasseurs to The ColdRoom, which was a speakeasy with a freezer-like door opening.

Day Three: Saturday, April 14th, 2018

9:30AM – Up and at ’em! Time to take on the day. Dave and I sneak out for a quick breakfast and coffee at La Finca, which is down he street from our hotel.  Dave ordered the Danois Dejeuner (Breakfast Danish) with coffee, and I had a croissant (my fav) and a Chaud Chocolat (Hot Chocolate).

10:30AM – We returned to the hotel, grabbed Memye and Wojtek and headed out for the day.  First on our list: Fairmount Bagels! Apparently bagels are different in Canada and I wanted to try it!

11:15AMFairmount Bagels was a disappointing adventure. The bagel was small, not toasted, and sweet?! It makes me miss my NYC bagel habit (Salt Bagel with cream cheese, anyone?)

12:10PM – Time to head to Mont Royal, which is the name sake for the city of Montréal. It is an extinct volcano with beautiful panoramic views of the entire city and a cross on the top. Unfortunately it was extremely cloudy and FREEZING (about 24 degrees!), but we still had a nice walk to the top.

2:30PM – We headed back to the hotel to drop off the car and grab some lunch! We decided on a cute fondue and creperie about a half mile away from the hotel aptly named, Creperie Chez Suzette. I ate the Crepe Parisienne, Dave had the La Spécial Délice, and Wojtek and Memye ordered the La Charlevoix and French Onion Soup! Dave and I also enjoyed a Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Crepe for dessert – my sweet tooth was more than satisfied! We spent the afternoon giggling (mostly at my poor french skills), eating our hearts out and enjoying each others company.

5:00PM –  The four of us retreated from the harsh conditions outside into the warmth of our hotel room and continued catching up for the next few hours before we said our goodbyes! Trips like this remind us how blessed we are to have friends around the world.

9:30PM – After a mini nap (errr.. 2 hour nap), Dave and I headed back out to dinner at the nearby Monsieur Resto+Bar which was a 30 second walk from the hotel (and another Yelp find)! The atmosphere was incredible – jazz music in the background, cool lighting, and lively! I saw scallops on the menu and I had to order them again, this time with an asparagus risotto. Dave ate the butternut squash gnocchi and said it was amazing!  We retreated back to the hotel after a cozy dinner and I fell asleep to the Trailblazers-Pelican game.

Day Four: Sunday, April 15th, 2018

9:00AM – After two unanswered alarms on my phone, we finally got up and hit the road. We decided to stop in Rochester on the way back to break up our drive and aimed to get there around 3PM.

3:20PM – Safe on deck in Rochester! We were making great time, but unfortunately got stuck behind two snowplows that were going about 30 MPH for about an hour and experienced some terrible weather. Major Bummer, but we made it safely!

5:45PM –  After a great lunch/early dinner, we were back on the road to Pittsburgh. I was at the wheel for the majority of this leg, until we got hit with a torrential downpour closer to the city and Dave took over for me.

10:30PM – Home Sweet Home! Trust me when I say, nothing feels better than crawling into bed after a long weekend away.

While we didn’t have the time to do Notre Dame or the Olympic Stadium or eat Poutine, it was still a wonderful weekend. I am definitely glad to be back in the ‘burgh, and in my routine of working out and eating healthy. Here’s to our next adventure, whether that is near or far! Au Revoir!









Labor Day Weekend in Rochester

I like to travel. I also like to do things at the spur of the moment, which is why at 9PM on Friday night, a mere 36 hours after moving into my new apartment in Hoboken, I booked a flight to Rochester to spend Labor Day Weekend with Dave.

I barely slept that night, in part due to my sheer excitement, and partly because I had to be up at 3AM to catch the 6AM flight up to Western New York. I got to Rochester, a little after 8AM and was beyond excited to see Dave. After a short ride to his house, I took a quick cat nap before we decided to go hiking up by the Finger Lakes. I am not as familiar with this part of New York, so I was absolutely stunned by the beautiful scenery as we made our way to Watkins Glen. These lakes were all so beautiful, and there was so much GREEN everywhere. It was quite a stark contrast to summers in San Diego and the city!  After an hour or so in the car, we made it to Watkins Glen State Park, where we hiked and walked around. I had never been to a gorge before, and it was like anything else I had ever seen. The rock was so intricately carved by the water over time, it was beautiful – I don’t know else how to describe it.

Following our beautiful hike through Watkins Glen, we went wine tasting at one of Dave’s mom’s favorite wineries, Fox Run. We tried a few wines, and came back with a box of bottles, some cheese curds, and smiles plastered across our faces. That was my first time officially wine tasting and I had so much fun learning about what I did and didn’t like. Turns out, my taste buds liked the cheapest and one of the sweeter wines available, which I was a big fan of.

On Sunday, we had a relaxing morning and then ended up going out boating on Dave’s friend, Q’s boat. It was the first time I had ever been on one of the Great Lakes and the water was so crystal clear. Our first stop in the boat was Irondequoit Bay (I still cannot pronounce it) and we climbed to the top of these sand dunes that overlooked the whole bay – it was absolutely stunning. That night,  I had my first real “Buffalo Wing” experience with the Evan’s family. Two things I learned, 1) There are lots of different wings flavors (I liked the sweeter wings) and 2) I still need to practice “Eating” them to the bone, as I leave too much meat on them.  The wings were so good and definitely reminded me of the impending football season – can’t wait to have real Buffalo wings again.

On Monday, Q, Dave, Caden and I hopped in a car and headed back to the city. I was able to score some pretty sweet Yankees tickets through work to surprise Q’s son, Caden. He was lucky enough to not only score a baseball after the third inning, but also A-Rod’s batting glove. All in all, it was easily my favorite labor day with some of my favorite people.

A huge thank you goes out to the Evan’s family for letting me stay with them on such short notice. I had a fantastic weekend up in Rochester and am so glad I was able to spend some quality time up in Dave’s hometown.

White Rose

What a weekend it’s been! I returned to San Diego on Monday for a few days (48 hours to be exact) before I jet set back to the East Coast on Thursday. Call me crazy, but I’ll tell you I’m having the time of my life living bi-coastally.

I am currently recovering from an amazing weekend spent at Dave’s fraternity formal in New Jersey.  In March, I was  invited to Sigma Nu’s White Rose Formal – this formal not only celebrated the chapter and its accomplishments but also the 115th Anniversary of the founding of the fraternity. It was a very big deal and was hosted at a beautiful resort in the mountains.

I flew out of San Diego on Thursday morning and stayed with Phebe for our typical girl’s night in the city. The first thing we did after dropping off my luggage, was grab a slice of dollar pizza. I hadn’t eaten all day and since she had yet to find shoes for formal, I knew that I needed some fuel before embarking on one of our shopping adventures. We rushed to Macy’s and couldn’t find anything, but we ended finding some cute white heels with studs around the ankles at Aldo.

The following morning, I had an interview uptown and was also able to meet up with my old bosses, which was great . I was very fortunate I had the free time to squeeze in the interview and see everybody! Later that day, Phebe and I headed to Hoboken with all of our gear ready for formal weekend. We got to the house before the boys were done with practice, so we dropped off our bags and beelined straight to the store to grab some snacks to fill up the cooler for the weekend. A cooler, you ask? Yes, you read that right. Right after Dave asked me to formal,  I came to learn that it is a fraternity tradition for a girl to decorate and fill a cooler for her date to show her appreciation. Most people know that I have close to ZERO experience or skill with a paintbrush, but I was determined to decorate it to the best of my abilities with some of his favorite things (Volleyball, Beaches, The Chargers and Bills)  and surprise him with it.  Even though I struggled tremendously with the artistic aspect of decorating the cooler, I would like to believe I excelled in filling it with goodies, transporting it 3000 miles across country, and answering a million questions from other curious flight passengers. I’m in the process of making a time-lapse video and  blog of how one should go about making a cooler – I’ll upload that as soon as I finish it!  After the boys were done with practice, Dave and I went out to 1 Republik for dinner and later to Tally Ho to play some Jenga with one of his friends. It is weird to think that it had been nearly two months since we had last seen each other, but we picked things up right where we left off.

On Saturday morning we got up relatively early to head to the resort so we could make our tee time at noon. We carpooled with one of Dave’s fraternity brothers, Chris, and his girlfriend Lexi, who also happened to be our golf partners for the day. We arrived at Mineral Springs about 20 minutes before our tee time so we headed right to the club house instead of check in. To be honest, I was pretty worried about my golf game (or lack thereof), but I was assured that we would be playing best ball and it would be fun. Much to my surprise, we had A BLAST on the golf course playing the first nine holes. By the end of the round, we had a little less than two hours until we had to be on the buses headed to the formal venue. One quick cat nap later, we started to get ready and hopped on the bus. This was my first formal fraternity function, and I was beyond impressed with everything! I loved seeing the guys and their dates dressed up and looking dapper in suits, learning about the tradition, and meeting current and former brothers of the fraternity. In addition, the Gamma Delta chapter (Steven’s)  was awarded the Rock Chapter Award  for excellence in pretty much all that they do. Congrats guys! Overall, the weekend was magical – we had perfect weather and danced the night away – a perfect ending to say the least!

Sunday morning, I returned with Phebe to the city, while the boys practiced. I decided to meet up with my former roommate Erin in the park after grabbing bagels from Tompkins Square Bagels – it had been months since we had caught up. After the boys finished practice, I headed back to Hoboken to meet up with Dave and grab some dinner. As some of you know, I LOVE trying new restaurants, so Dave took me to this great hole in the wall called Tony Baloney’s . I’m not the biggest sandwich fan, but between Vito’s and Tony’s, I think I’ve changed my mind. I ordered the Kaka Sub, while Dave munched on the Revel Boy and split the Shitfaced fries (absolutely delicious). Tony’s is one of my new favorite restaurants and definitely recommend trying it!

I headed back to the airport on Monday afternoon, but unfortunately my flight was delayed nearly four hours and I didn’t get home until past midnight. On a positive note, the flight attendant that I bonded with over the cooler (on the original the trip over), sat next to me before boarding and asked about my weekend!

I had a great weekend at formal and can’t wait for this upcoming weekend, where I’ll be catching Dave and his team, the #1 ranked Steven’s Volleyball team host and compete in the NCAA Championships.



Surprise Megventure!

Surprising friends and family is one of my favorite things to do, especially while I’ve been in college. Thanks to the generous support of my Dad, I’ve been able to surprise my mom on multiple occasions and now my sister! Here’s the latest “Megventure” update from Chattanooga, Tennessee!

This season has been physically and emotionally draining. After sitting out for nearly a month with my back, and going through the painfully slow process of getting cleared, it was established that I probably wouldn’t be traveling with the team to Chicago and St. Louis over Halloween weekend. This happened to be the same weekend my sister was also set to be in Chattanooga, TN for her first college race. After learning I wasn’t traveling on the 29th, I jokingly texted my Dad asking if I could surprise my sister in Tennessee with a quick stop in Nashville on Halloween to meet up with Dave and his friend CJ. My joke soon became a reality, when just hours later my flights, Megabus (oh my) and hotels were booked.

Fast forward: It’s now Friday morning (Halloween) and I find myself trekking it to JFK via the subway. Truth be told, I’ve never taken the subway to the airport, just the LIRR – THEY ARE VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES.  After switching trains four times and finding a fellow Greenwich Villager like myself, I finally arrived at JFK and made my way to the Admiral’s Club (my airport safe haven).  This is when the surprise truly began to take form – I had talked with Twist and explained that I was going to have a boring weekend and was considering going to Boston (lest I slip up and accidentally post a traveling pic to social media). After some delays, I finally got on my flight to Nashville via Dulles and then sprinted through the airport to catch my next flight. Less than 10 minutes later, I was upgraded to First Class (granted it wasn’t that different on the tiny plane),  and well on my way to the south.

Upon arriving in Nashville, I was immediately greeted by a gentleman on my flight asking if he wanted to split a cab downtown. HELLO SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY?!  I quickly abandoned my New York attitude and said, “Why not?” 20 short minutes later, I was in downtown Nashville and met up with the boys. I immediately fell in love with the city – the people were so sweet, the food was to die for, and the music… don’t even get me started. The three of us ventured out to get some food at Peg Leg Porker (definitely recommend it) then out that night to numerous bars to celebrate Halloween, country-style!

Hours later, I was packing up and headed on my first Megabus Adventure. I paid $14 dollars for my seat on the double-decker packed bus to Chattanooga. I ended up sitting next to a mother and we exchanged stories about our lives – she was on a 15 hour bus ride from Indianapolis to Atlanta (WOAH!). Upon arriving in Chattanooga a few hours later, I sprinted towards “civilization”, also known as Starbucks to get some caffeine and figure out how to get across town. Unlike New York or Nashville, Über does not exist in this quaint town.  After ordering, I asked the barista his recommendation on getting across town. His response, “Try making a friend, I’m sure they won’t mind.” I wish I could have seen my face in that moment because before I could utter another word, he added, “You’re not from around here are you?” Laughing off what I thought was a joke, I began looking up taxi services to bring me to the hotel a few miles down the road. Thirty minutes later, a woman in an old, cluttered white mini van pulls up and I hop in. I kept saying to myself, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in New York anymore.”

After checking into my hotel, I began my reconnaissance of my sister’s hotel across the street. I sat in the lobby for an hour waiting for her team to come back to the hotel from the race course, but began to get hungry so I headed back to my room. I found out that a website similar to exists in Chattanooga, but there’s only about 5 different restaurants with the same cuisine (BBQ) – lucky for me, I was in the mood for some southern cooking.  Once I finished eating, I trekked back to my sister’s hotel and ran into some of her novice teammates who led me into their workout room where Twist would soon be heading.  A few minutes later, Twist was in my arms crying; a surge of emotions no doubt overwhelming the two of us. I knew she had team obligations and workouts before we could hang again, but I was just so happy I was able to see her for a few minutes! It had been almost three months since I had seen her last – and so much had changed for the two of us since then.

Unfortunately, my sister’s races were canceled on Saturday because of strong winds, so she told me to go ahead and move my flight up a day because there was literally NOTHING for me to do in Chattanooga except watch her race.  No more than fifteen minutes after I changed my flights, her races were re-scheduled to Sunday. I was really bummed I missed her race, but that’ll be something I can do next time I surprise her!

Sunday morning, I headed back out to the airport. I gave myself an hour and a half (because of my history with flights) even though the airport was a whopping 7 minutes away. I could have waited 20 minutes before boarding because that’s how long it took to get from my hotel room to the gate. Chattanooga has a single terminal, 5 gate airport (sans Starbucks) with a grand total of maybe 10 employees working at any given time. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed on the ground and I missed my connection in Chicago, pushing back my New York arrival time a few hours. I got back to my apartment late Sunday night with a big smile on my face, knowing that I had once again successfully surprised my family!

It was definitely another Megventure for the books and I am so incredibly blessed I had the opportunity to surprise Twist, hang with Dave, and see Nashville!

Save Me San Francisco

It’s amazing to think how little of the World I’ve seen, let alone the United States. I recently traveled up to San Francisco to visit my best friend, Phebe, and one night we met two Swedes who were rambling on about all the countries they had visited. Their stories were impressive – they had left their home countries to visit the United States and see everything it had to offer for weeks at a time. A trip like that seemed unfathomable in my twenties – how could one just drop everything and go for six weeks, or even six months? It was this beautiful sense of wanderlust that captivated me, refreshed me. I was proud that I had “taken the weekend” off of work to visit my best friend; I was mesmerized by these new friends who had “carpe diem-ed” – seized the day.

That wasn’t the only thing I was mesmerized with on my trip to San Francisco. I hadn’t visited the Bay Area since 7th grade – nearly ten years ago (WOW, I’m getting old!) and the only expectation I had, was the inevitable fog in the morning in the city. I was gladly taken aback by the beauty of the Bay Area. Lucky enough for me, Phebe lives in Mill Valley which means not a ton of fog. It is absolutely breathtaking because it is surrounded by mountains and gorgeous views of the skyline.

During the trip, Phebe and I hiked twice – once in Mill Valley and once from Stinson Beach through some beautiful Redwoods. To say I was sore might be a little bit of an understatement – the incline was something I wasn’t used to! The weather was unseasonably warm so we also spent a couple of hours by the pool – I even got burnt! Who would’ve thought?

The rest of my weekend consisted of eating delicious cuisines, relaxing, and then taking in the sights and sounds of Marin! On my last night in San Francisco, Phebe and I embarked on a pub crawl near Nob Hill. This is where the story comes full circle; we met the two Swedes from the beginning of this post at the first stop and instantly became friends.

My words have failed to give this trip and our adventures together any justice, so I’ve created a small photo gallery instead. A picture is worth 1000 words, right?

Thank you to Phebe, Momma Pheebz, Burton, Maddie, Julian, Essie and everybody else I may have forgotten for an amazing unforgettable weekend. Can’t wait to visit again!