a fuller life

adventures… eats… laughs… life


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NYC: Extreme Broadway Edition

When your husband tells you that he’s being sent to upstate NY for a conference, the perfect response is “I’m coming too, and we’re spending a few days in NYC to visit friends!” And so we did.

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After uneventful travels and an early morning departure, we were at the airport in Jersey shortly after 10am. Our awesome friend Melissa picked us up, we found some tasty Thai food for lunch, and spent the rest of the day chilling out and catching up.

After some Cuban food for supper with Mel and Melissa, we headed out to our first Broadway show of the weekend… Come From Away. It’s based on the happenings in Gander during and after 9/11. It was outstanding. They did an amazing job finding the right balance of funny and serious, while still paying homage. I laughed, I cried. Great show. If you’re headed to NYC, go see it.

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Friday we headed out to find some tasty bagels, relaxed for a bit, and then decided to check out the Museum of Natural History, since it’s one of the few major NYC tourist attractions we haven’t visited. It’s pretty interesting, but after a few hours of walking around, I don’t really find any museum all that interesting. It was pretty windy and chilly in NYC, so it was also a great break from the cold. We had a nice walk through Central Park on the way, enjoying the sun without all the buildings blocking it.

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Had some beer and something to eat at some place with terrible service on the edge of Times Square, and then headed back to our hotel to meet up with Melissa. Lack of a better plan for the rest of the day and it being too cold to spend much more time randomly walking around meant more Broadway. Scored some tickets and headed off to see School of Rock. This was really cute… the “Stick It To The Man” song is super catchy, and the kids in it are amazingly talented. I’d recommend this one too.

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Saturday was time to do some wandering around and hit up a vegan spot I’ve wanted to go to ages – Cinnamon Snail in the Pennsy… vegan eats and sweets. Yum! Then it was time to meet up some more of team cool kids, Michelle and Dionne, to go see Avenue Q. I have to admit, this one was not for me. The actors were super talented, but I just didn’t find it that funny. But now I’ve seen it, and the goal was to hang with friends. Paul met us after the show and it was time to find some beer… beer and eats at Jasper’s Tap House, and then some more beer at Valhalla, before calling it a night.

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Sunday… more vegan eats, a matinee of In Transit with Melissa (another great show), and some eats and drinks in Hoboken. So fortunate to have been able to spend so much time catching up with friends in NYC.

Monday mostly involved sitting on a Greyhound bus headed to Albany and then Saratoga Springs. We stayed at the Embassy Suites there and it’s AWESOME!. Hit Druthers Brewing for eats and beers and wandered around a bit.

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Tuesday we both worked… very exciting. In the evening, we went to a social gathering at a Broadway producer’s place (also the host of Greg’s conference), and then more working. Wednesday, more working, though I briefly went out and explored the town since it was sunny and nice out for a change. Had supper at a place called Hattie’s –

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Thursday, working in the morning and then time to head home. Cab to Albany airport, some sitting around, first plane late leaving, made up the time in the air enough that we just caught our second flight from Washington to Montreal (I do sooo love flying away from where I live all the time to get home)… something to eat in Montreal and then flew home. A long but uneventful travel day. And even though it was cold, it was very nice to not see any snow for a week. And more importantly, it was awesome getting to see some of our friends.

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We’re not sure what’s next… but I think it needs to be warm because I need a snow reprieve.

Ange out.

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What Happens in Vegas… 40th Birthday Edition

This has been a pretty epic year for traveling and it’s been awesome to be able to spend so much time with friends from away… but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to milk my 40th birthday for anything else. Celebrating in Vegas was a pretty fun way to do it up!

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California dreamin… kicking off 2016

IMG_8150I must have all the adventures!

I love taking holidays after the stress of November/December… and I especially like it when we go somewhere warm… and meet up with friends. So maybe California in January isn’t that warm sometimes, but it was definitely warmer than here and there was definitely friends involved.

Uneventful travels put us in CA before lunch, even though we had been up for about 12 hours by then. Our most excellent friends Alice and Bill picked us up as LAX and we were off to find some lunch and beers. We ended up at the Baja Cantina near Venice Beach. After lunch, since it was nice out and we found easy parking, we explored the pier and some of the canals (admiring IMG_8173their most snazzy Christmas decorations… which even after seeing a lot of them, all look weird to me because they don’t really have winter in my world), found coffee and beer to go, and then hit the road for our hotel in Mission Viejo. Might as well enjoy some LA traffic en route, right? Drive to the hotel took about 2 hours. Continue reading


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40 is the new awesome…

Today I turn 39.

It’s not a conventional milestone birthday, but my 30s have been amazing and I think I need to show them out with some fanfare!  I’ve already achieved my original 40th birthday goal of visiting 40 countries by then (who knew I was such an overachiever?!)…

So here’s my new intention… Over the next year, I plan to try 40 new things. I’m being realistic (shocking, I know) – they don’t all have to be epic, life altering things… I mean like it or not, I do have to work sometimes and my funds are most certainly not unlimited. Just 40 things that are new to me… try a new food, visit a new place, or learn to do something new (banjos and crochet look fun, but I’m not committing on the first day).

I do have a few things in mind already… a 10K, a new tattoo, a new language, and visiting a new country or two. The rest of them I’ll discover along the way.

So here’s my 40 new things:

  1. Disneyland. Honestly, I’ve never really had any desire to visit anything Disney. We don’t have kids, I’m not big on standing in line for things, and it’s expensive… but when in Rome, right? We visited California again to celebrate the wedding of some friends, so we decided to check it out. It was actually a lot of fun spending the day there with Alice and Bill… (but still really expensive).IMG_8543
  2. Big ball bowling. Where we live in Canada, big ball bowling is just not a thing.  So we’ve never tried it before. Putting your fingers in holes in the balls is totally weird, but we got the hang of it and maybe even rocked it.IMG_8284
  3. Pop culturing. I’m not obsessed with any actor, band, or general “celebrity”… but I did love the show Ace of Cakes when it was on, and it was the reason why I decided to try cake decorating. So I was pretty stoked to have awesome friends come with me to decorate some cupcakes (with very, very limited tools) and peek through the windows at Charm City Cakes West in LA.IMG_8317
  4. Snowshoeing. I’ve lived in a country with significant winter my whole life, but it wasn’t until this year that we finally bought snowshoes. And that, of course, meant we got a winter with not that much snow. But that’s OK, we made good use of them when we could and enjoyed not having to dig out our cars as much.snowshoes
  5.  Crocheting. I attempted to teach myself how to crochet from YouTube… and that totally wasn’t for me. So a friend showed me some tricks and I crocheted an entire blanket. Greg is an excellent blanket model 🙂blanket
  6. Creating. If you read this blog or know me at all, it’s no surprise that travel is my thing. I am also totally a creative type and have been combining art and my love of travel for years. But I haven’t sketched in a very long time, and have gotten back into it with collection of travel sketches drawn on old maps.drawing
  7. Hibachi. I’ve never been to a hibachi restaurant and have always thought that they look like a lot of fun. We also don’t have one where we live. So on a recent trip, we visited one at sea with friends. Yum!hibachi
  8. Haiti. In April we spent a day relaxing on the beach and floating in the ocean in Haiti – visited country number 44 on my list.haiti
  9. Farming. I love being outside, and in my odds and sods of jobs so far this year, I’ve gotten to trim apple trees and feed a baby lamb (though I wasn’t really in a position to take pictures of either).
  10. Freelancing. I’m determined to not have to return to a full time IT office job. I don’t get our strange North American theories that working all the time and being crazy busy is the way life should be lived. So I’ve been freelancing outside my normal IT knowledge, recently working on interesting projects like data mining for a 3D furniture imaging app, transcribing letters from the late 1880s by English missionaries in China, and transcribing interviews for someone’s thesis on how clothing relates to gender identity.
  11. Tempeh. I’ve been in varying stages of vegetarianism or veganism since high school, but I had never tried tempeh… so after I managed to find some locally, we decided to give it a go in taco form. It was delicious (though a lot of that credit has to go to my amazing cook of a husband).IMG_8738
  12. 10K. We signed up for the 10K of the Fredericton Marathon last year, and I had the best of intentions of training properly for it. But I have a super hard time staying motivated in winter and I didn’t. So I completed my first 10K, but I did have to walk some of it. I’ll get it next time.m
  13. Hays Falls. There’s a lot of great outdoors to explore where we live (a benefit of having only a few small cities and a small population) and I haven’t been to nearly enough of them. So we took advantage of a beautiful, sunny afternoon in May to hike in to Hays Falls and climb around for a while. Cause waterfalls are awesome.IMG_9067[1]
  14. Beach trekking. I grew up in Saint John and I’ve spent a fair amount of time at both McLaren’s Beach and Bay Shore. But, I’ve never been there when the tide was low enough to walk (and rock climb) between them. So we spent this morning (our 12th anniversary) doing just that and it was awesome. I do really miss living close to the ocean.

20160626_105029 15. New food – bibimbap. We were watching Masterchef and they made this. Neither of us had had it before, and both immediately knew we needed to. So we made it. It might not have been totally authentic, but it was delicious.IMG_9251[1].JPG 16. Away 10K. When our fall race was moved to a date that didn’t work for us, we decided to try Saint John’s Marathon by the Sea races. And this equals more new things – running on the Harbour Bridge (which is totally closed to pedestrian traffic always), running a 10K in another city, a new 10K personal best, finishing a race before my husband (ok, well, he did run over double my distance), and cheering for my husband at his first half marathon.IMG_9272[1]17. New food – Ntakos. It’s a tradional Greek salad of bread covered in tomatoes, feta, and herbs and I decided to give it a try in Athens – it’s delish (minus the olives, because olives are poison).img_932918. Beer sampling. Wait, read the whole thing! The Carnival Vista has a brewery on it, and we sampled all of their beer and took a peek at the operations. Their IPA is quite delish.brewery20. Sky Ride. Another fun feature on our latest cruise was the Sky Ride – a pedal bike type thinger hanging from a track on the top deck of the ship, with great views of the ocean. Super fun!
21. Malta. We only spent one day in the stunningly beautiful city of Valletta, but I would definitely return to explore the rest of this country – number 45 on my list.img_959122. IMAX at Sea. We don’t have IMAX where we live, so it’s not something we do… but I’ve never been to one in the middle of the ocean before. Had a lovely date with my friend Melissa to see Suicide Squad.
23. New food – pasta. I’ve had lots of different kinds of pasta, but never cheese and pear with pistachio sauce like we had in Tuscany at Castello di Monteriggioni. Amazing!
20160921_13314924. France. After a previous failed attempt, I have now finally set foot on France (country number 46). We spent a great day in Marseille exploring Notre Dame de la Garde, Chateau d’If, and other sites with friends.
20160922_10350025. Singing in public. On more than one occasion on our latest cruise, I sang in public (for a chance at winning beer). I’m a total team player 🙂
26. Writing something different. I write a lot, but I rarely share anything that isn’t about traveling, beer, or a shameless self promotion of one of my (or a family member/friend’s) business ventures. You can read about my adventures in running here.
27. Pursuing a goal. For quite a long time, I’ve wanted to find something in the travel industry that I would enjoy and could actually get paid for. Travel is my thing. I love everything about it. And now it’s part of the master plan. Check out my travel agency – Those Who Wander by Go Travel.
wander-logo 28. New restaurant:  A Taste of Egypt. Had been trying to find time to have supper with my good friend Sue… so I decided to combine it with a new thing (getting down to the wire with 11 more new things required in the next week)… so we checked out A Taste of Egypt in Saint John. Not too shabby!
29. Winning something. In my new adventures as a travel agent, there’s so many learning opportunities… including lots of webinars. And apparently some of them give away prizes. And I won a Visa gift card learning about a cruise supplier. Yay me! (This is new because I NEVER win stuff)
30. Valley of Fire State Park. Spending the day here was AMAZING! Can’t go wrong spending the day climbing and hiking around somewhere beautiful with great friends and great weather. img_981031. Love. Adding a new Cirque du Soleil show to my list – checked out Love (based on the music of the Beatles) while we were in Vegas.
img_010232. Celebrity chefs. We had decided that while we were in Vegas, we would at least check out one celebrity chef restaurant… but we ended up with four. Border Grill (Top Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger), Buddy V’s Ristorante (Cake Boss Buddy Valastro – hate his show, but my pizza was good), Burgr (Gordon Ramsay), and Sprinkles Cupcakes (Candace Nelson).
img_008433. Away 5K. While I have now run numerous 5K races, this was the first one in Las Vegas at night with 9000 of my closest friends!
34. Rock ‘N’ Noodles. This place was my favourite place we ate at in Vegas… we showed up 10 minutes before close and their chef David welcomed us in and fed us delicious food and beer. Highly recommend.
20161112_21221235. Hip-hop concert. I’m not a hip-hop fan, but this was the included concert for our Rock N Roll Half (and neither rock nor roll in my world)… but I went. I still don’t like Snoop.20161113_15214336. Sports book gambling. I am admittedly not a huge gambler because I work too hard for my moolah to be OK with just throwing it away. I do normally bet small amounts on football though, so on my birthday I thought I would give sports book gambling a try instead of Fanduel. And with Greg’s help, I even won!
img_994637. Birthday party away. For at least the last decade, I’ve barely had time to even acknowledge my birthday, let alone go away for it. But being in Vegas for my 40th birthday was pretty damn fun… and having awesome friends and my awesome husband surprise me with cake and prezzies and beer and dinner and brunch and decorations was amazing! Thank you all!
img_993838. Vegan ice cream. I’ve had vegan ice cream before – because I make it and sell it in my bakery. But I’ve never been able to go out somewhere and try it. So when we walked by a Ben & Jerry’s in Vegas that had it, it had to be tried… even though I was already dying of full. It was good (but mine is better).
39. High roller. Great way to get a view of the strip from up high… so we gave it a try (this actually happened 2 days after my birthday, but I’m counting it because it was planned in advance and part of my birthday trip :))
img_012040. Half marathon! It’s been my intention to finish my list off with this for a very long time… and I did it. On the evening of my 40th birthday, I ran my first half marathon, on the Las Vegas strip, with many thousands of other people. And it was hard. And awesome. And I did it.
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And so, 40 new things were achieved this year, and a lot of fun was had achieving them. What to do next?

 


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Conquering NYC…

IMG_7498Every time I return to NYC, I remember how much I love that city… not the shiny, loud, seizure-inducing “for tourist” parts like Times Square where people are always trying to sell me something… but the gritty, dirty, parts with character… brick and stone and street art and uneven sidewalks and clever uses of space… restaurant options with no meat that aren’t salad.. friendly folks that give a shit despite living in a city that the rest of the world assumes gives no fucks. Every time I leave, I instantaneously start thinking about when it will be time to go back. And now with true friends in and around the city, it’s only going to get worse …

It was another drive to NY and spend a few days in the city on the cheap kind of trip… so we left Saturday immediately after I finished market (thanks for working around my schedule Sue and Tara), stopped to fill our bellies full of Chipotle and Starbucks in Portland, and then on to our hotel in NH for the night. Left early morning on Sunday, with a belly full of pancakes, to find us some outlet mall shopping in CT on the way (and food trucks… with cupcakes … but not the giant pile of food trucks further on in CT several lanes across the other side of the interstate by the water… boo). Continue reading


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Kickin’ it in the Caribbean with Cool Cats – 2015 Edition

This blog has been brought to you from the back seat of Sue’s car while she and Greg listen to the Bruins game…

st_thomasDay 1 – The Philadelphia Beer Vortex

Adventure time!  With snow up to my neck in the yard, you have no idea how desperate we were to get the hell out of dodge…

Wee hour of the morning departure, as per usual. Stop for harvest nut and grain pancakes and Starbucks en route (holy shit, in America they have coconut milk as an option!), got to Manchester early… killed some time at the mall (very out of character for us, but essentially this stop was just for stretching our legs), dropped the car at the hotel (Homewood Suites Manchester Airport – highly recommend… park & fly, free shuttle, free breaky and ninnernet) and off to the airport. Tasty beers to start off the trip, while watching the gang (whoever wasn’t already in PR) check in stop to stop online (that part of FB is super fun). Flight was short and completely uneventful. Time to kill in Newark, so there may have been beer, food, and more Starbucks.

Flight to San Juan leaves late after a gate change so I check in with Alice to let her know that we’d be arriving at the hotel we’re sharing late…. only to discover they’ve decided to take the scenic route to PR and we won’t see them until we’re on the ship. And when you don’t sit anywhere near your husband on the plane, the best method to communicate this information is by secret_harborwriting it really big on a piece of paper and waiting for him to look in your direction. Using a doodle app on a tablet later on also works. We flew United for this trek of the trip, and while the plane was nice and we had lots of leg room in the emergency rows, they still get a fail for their stupid fucking DirectTV. I paid to  get on the plane, I paid for my luggage to come on the plane, I have to pay if I want to eat anything on the plane, but I draw the fucking line at paying to watch TV or movies on the plane. Plus, a lot of it only works in US airspace. Get bent you bunch of corporate pigs!  So I watched some Doctor Who on my tablet and dozed off and on (since we had been in transit for 20 hours or so by then). Continue reading


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In need of the fountain of youth, a big lottery win, and/or the TARDIS… a travel plan

Alright. I’m giving in. I hate lists. I mean I really, truly hate them. Even a grocery list feels like it’s stealing a little bit of my soul. Lists equal work and I work hard enough already.

But I’m losing track in my head and I have a lot of things I want to do and see before my adventure ends. So I’m gonna get organized and keep track. Or try to. Or try to enough without sucking the spontaneity out of adventuring in the first place.

We also seem to be collecting UNESCO sites, Olympic Parks, and beer – so they live indefinitely on the list.

Feel free to chime in with suggestions. If I’m going to make a list, it might as well be an epic one! Continue reading