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This month’s post will be a bit of a snooze. I did ALL THE THINGS in October (or so it seemed), and November was a quieter month.  Lots of Sadie pics though, as per usual. :)

She was recovering from her knee surgery and had to wear the cone of shame!
My Christmas decorations always arrive in November.  I’m one of THOSE people.
I love quiet time at my house.  Tuna casserole.  Cozy.  I’m a complete introvert.
Skee Ball date with Pete.
Colored lights on the tree this year!
Paislee and Sadie.
Milwaukee now has a Christkindlmarket! It was OK. Lots of room for improvement, but a good effort for the very first year.
Thanksgiving! Time to Turkey Trot!
Food. Family. Dogs. Home. Love.

Another trip to New York for me and Jillian!  We are developing a pattern of going every 2 years, it seems.  Maybe we’ll pick someplace new in 2020, but we always have such a great time in New York — despite the city being somewhat of a hellscape to our very introverted selves.

This year we arrived on Halloween, which I was curious about.  Would it be cute and adorable — or would New York be all sorts of crazy on the spookiest day of the year?  It was cute and uneventful for us, probably because we were back at the hotel and asleep by 9pm that day!

Our trip was full of food (so, so much food), bakeries, walking (averaged about 9 miles a day!), trains of all sorts, the Color Factory, the Great Jack O’Lantern BLAZE!, the joy of Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, plenty of Mexican food, and a lot of laughs. Onto the photos.

The view from the airplane was pretty awesome.
We arrived, took a Lyft to our hotel, but were too early to check in — and a little too early for lunch.  We killed time by walking around Central Park, which is so beautiful this time of year.
Seeing fresh flowers on nearly every street corner is one of my favorite things about New York.

We went to Black Tap for lunch.  The burger and fries were great, but look at the shakes!
As absurd as they look, they were actually really good. The funfetti cake was one of my favorite desserts that I experienced on this trip — the icing was perfect.
After our huge lunch at Black Tap, we took the subway to see the High Line.  This art greets you at one of the entrances.
The High Line is an elevated park that used to be a rail line.
In other news, have they never seen a squirrel before?!
Resting.  Honestly, every hour or so Jillian and I had to sit down, take a minute, not speak to each other, and just decompress.  NYC is a very over-stimulating city!  Oh, and there’s Bert’s tit. Why? I don’t know.
We visited two bakeries after the High Line:  CHIP and Empire Cake.  The CHIP cookies were just OK, but the black and white cookies and rainbow cookies from Empire Cake were amazing!
We also visited Stuffed, located in the East Village (I think).  Look. At. That. Ice. Cream. Cone. It was truly delicious and stayed completely intact as we ate it. I do not understand the physics. Oh, and hey Michael Myers.
The next morning, we went to Best Bagel & Coffee and we really did experience the best bagel.  Everything bagel toasted with cream cheese was my order (not exciting, I know), but oh, it was so good. The bagels really do taste different (and better) in New York.  We then took the train to SoHo to find the Color Factory!
The Color Factory is an interactive museum of sorts.  Color color color.  My heaven, obviously.
Macarons on a conveyor belt. And balloons with wishes on them, written by elementary school children. I, too, wish that unicorns were real.
The other side had fun facts about whatever particular color you choose. I always thought heliotrope was more purple than pink though.
You guys. A BALL PIT! I hadn’t been in a ball pit since I was a kid at Chuck E. Cheese!
Oh yes. It was sweet to see a bunch of adults having fun and, for a minute or two, remembering what it’s like to be a kid.
The New York palette made me laugh.  They also provided you with a Color Factory map, so you could explore other New York neighborhoods and their colorful highlights.  We wished we had more time to see it all.
After our happy color experience, we went to Dominique Ansel.  The macarons were delicious, but the staff was rude.  Ya can’t win them all.
As soon as I saw this place, I knew that Flour Shop was the bakery for me! Sprinkles! Rainbows!
Look at that rainbow cake… stuffed with rainbow sprinkles!
Chinatown was up next.

Greetings from Chinatown mural.
We then went to the Lower East Side for lunch at Russ & Daughters.  Traditional Jewish fare – we had matzo ball soup and potato latkes.  From there, we went to Supermoon Bakehouse.
Supermoon was great – the staff was so welcoming and friendly – I think the place is secretly run by a group of Midwesterners. ;)
We also stopped at Economy Candy and Big Gay Ice Cream (their sprinkles are somehow different and really, really delicious!).
Then it was off to Grand Central Station to take a train to Croton-on-Hudson, a suburb of New York City, to experience the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze!  My dad saw a bit about it on the Today show and DVR’d it for me.  I watched it and said, ‘wait! Jillian and I could totally go see that!’ I bought tickets and researched what train to take — and we were off and running!
We had surprisingly good pizza at a strip mall when we got off the train — and then went to see ALL THE PUMPKINS.
It was so magical.
All the signs of the Zodiac were carved into pumpkins.  I know, this isn’t all 12 of them, but aren’t they cool?
OMG.
My face the entire time we were there.
SO COOL.
This was the only time in the trip when I wished I had my nice Nikon rather than my iPhone.
The Blaze was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  It was magical and charming and spooky and just plain awesome.  It was 100% worth the hour-long train ride to get there and the photos don’t do it justice.
Radio City + a cool neon piece at the Museum of Modern Art.  I’m not a sophisticated enough person to really enjoy MoMA, but I’ve never met a neon piece that I haven’t loved.
Friday was a slower-paced day (thank goodness).  We went to Best Bagel & Coffee again for breakfast, then we went to the Upper West Side, one of my favorite New York neighborhoods.  The chocolate peanut butter cookie from Levain is just as good as everyone (read: all the food bloggers) say it is!
I told you I love the flowers.
Treat House was so fun! Mini rice krispie treats — that actually tasted as good as they looked. Many people ask how we can possibly eat so much all day long. The answer is simple: we don’t.  We buy the treats and try them, we don’t eat all of everything you see!
I had the best mac ‘n’ cheese of my life at Jacob’s Pickles.  I would 100% go there again.  Later that evening, we took the train to Brooklyn to visit Butter & Scotch, a bar/bakery.  Let me say that again: a bar and bakery.  Why are there not more of these?!  It was so fun.
Cute (and very expensive as compared to Wisconsin) cocktails.
On Saturday, our departure day, Jillian went to get her hair done at Dry Bar and I went to get donuts.  Sounds about right.  The Everything Donut was so good! But then again, I’m always a big fan of the salty + sweet combination.
Another flower photo.  How shocking!
The only pic of the two of us that we managed to take!  We were too busy photographing all the food we ate, obviously. ;)
And, home sweet Wisconsin.  Waiting at quiet MKE for Pete to pick me up.

We had such a fun time.  New York is chaotic, interesting, diverse beyond words, and absolutely full of the best of the best of everything.  I love it and I hope to visit again and again and again throughout my life.  The world is full of beautiful things to see, both ordinary and extraordinary.  Never stop paying attention and always say YES (even if your feet hurt).

I think this month was one of my busiest ever.  Well, maybe not.  I’m sure I had busier periods in grad school and law school, but this ranks up there!  Lots of travel, lots of fun, lots of falling off the diet wagon, and lots of worrying because my Sadie had surgery (more on that in a bit!).  I love October because of the leaves, Halloween, the cooler temps, and the beginning of the holiday season.  It’s one of the best months of the year.

This post, like all of my others, will showcase Sadie.  I love that little fart.
Time to fall it uppppp.
Sadie turned 2 on the 6th!
She’s so fun.
October walks outside are the best. Crunchy leaves!
Made some cookies for the courthouse.
New mural in Oshkosh; and a little trip to M Schettl sales.
Denny and I were models for a photography class (what a hoot).
Pretty leaves and a plate full of cheese – what a dream.
Sushi dinner with Michelle up in Appleton!
October at the Paine.
My little pumpkin near a bunch of BIG pumpkins!
White chicken chili season is BACK! And I got new glasses! And carved a pumpkin for the Military Vets Museum!
SADIE HAD KNEE SURGERY!!  She tore the doggy equivalent of an ACL.  Major surgery.  I was a mess.  She was a tough cookie.  What a honey bun.  She still has a long recovery ahead, but she’s doing well.
I made Pete happy by going to see scary Halloween;  he made me happy by choosing the cutest little movie theater in all the land.  Waupaca for the win!
See ya next year, October.  I miss you already.

My momma and I spent an October weekend in Chicago.  We travel and spend a lot of time together because a) we like each other and b) we know we won’t have this time forever.  Spending time with the ones you love, when everyone is healthy and well — it’s magic that I know won’t last forever.  So here’s to seeing it all, doing it all, and never letting much grass grow under our feet.

Lincoln Park is so pretty.
I love the honeycomb.
We went to the top of the Hancock completely on a whim.  It wasn’t on our agenda but we had some time to kill and decided to go.  I hadn’t been up there in over 10 years.  It’s still completely awesome.  And this pretty view only lasted for about 3 minutes — then it clouded over.  Perfect timing from the universe.
You have to buy a drink in order to enjoy the views.  Twist my arm.
The Signature Room – if you want a fancy meal.
RAINBOW MURAL!
We visited the wndr museum — which I hated.  I’m usually all about cool visual displays, but this was just weird and I had no patience.
Our hotel, the Kimpton Gray, used to be the New York Life Insurance building.  It had a this-was-once-an-office-building vibe and I loved it.
Halloween parade going down State Street.
Early morning visit to the Bean.
Firecakes donuts! OMG
love murals. L-O-V-E.

Last October my mom and I visited Las Vegas to see Death Valley NP and Britney Spears.  This October we visited Las Vegas to see Zion NP and Reba McEntire/Brooks & Dunn.  We had a GREAT time!  Perfect weather, smooth travel, and lots of pretty sights to see.

  • We stayed at the Cosmopolitan, which is the same hotel we stayed at last time.  I love the Cosmopolitan and I’ll never want to stay anywhere else.  Why?  Because the rooms have private balconies and you can request a fountain view (translation: view of the Strip/Bellagio fountain show).
  • We picked up our rental car and headed straight to Seven Magic Mountains, which is a art installation 15 miles outside of Vegas.  I sent a photo to Pete and he said it looked like gay Stonehenge, which made me laugh.  In all seriousness, it’s a cool sight to see and I love it because… NEON colors!
  • Having time to kill before we could check into our hotel, we did what any mother-daughter team would do: visited the outlet mall!  The North Las Vegas outlets were just OK — J. Crew and Kate Spade were the highlights.
  • We checked into our hotel and relaxed for the rest of the night;  I went out and took a walk because I have a daily step quota to meet!
  • The next day we woke up early and headed to Donut Bar — so yummy!  We also drove around downtown Las Vegas (or DTLV, as the cool kids say) and got to see all of the awesome murals.  We had the neighborhood and murals all to ourselves because of the early hour.
  • After eating a few donuts, we hit the road to Zion NP, which is about 2.5 hours outside of Vegas. Much to our disappointment, it was RAINING at Zion. Cloudy skies and cold rain wasn’t what we had in mind, but the park was still stunning. We took some photos, spent a half hour trying to find a parking space at the Visitors’ Center, and then headed back to Las Vegas. A long day of driving but 100% worth it.  I’d love to return someday and spend more time at the park.
  • Our last full day was spent visiting more colorful murals, going to Target (yes, we stop at Target at all cities we visit!), and walking around the Strip.  There’s a weird phenomenon in Las Vegas where you look at something, say a hotel, and say, “oh, it’s right over there, we can walk.”  An hour later, you arrive.  Everything is further away and harder to get to than you think it will be!
  • We visited the Flamingo and enjoyed the open-air “mall” between the Flamingo and Linq. We stopped to see the floral display at the Bellagio’s Conservatory. And then we went back to our hotel for an early dinner before heading to Caesar’s for Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn.
  • The concert was great — I enjoyed Brooks & Dunn, though I will be honest, Reba McEntire isn’t my jam. She’s just too twangy — though I will admit, she’s got a great voice and a ton of talent.
  • We headed back to Wisconsin the next day!

Look. At. That. View!
Some interesting wallpaper in our hotel room closets!
Arguably one of the most famous hotels on the Strip.
Flamingoooooo!
The Chihuly in the lobby of the Bellagio. It’s HUGE – the photo doesn’t do it justice.
First in line for donuts!
The pink one was my favorite.
It definitely can be.
Rainy Zion.
See that little blue speck halfway up the photo on the left?  That’s a person.
I love neon signs.  We drove to a little town outside of Zion and oooo, I loved the Thunderbird sign!  Our hotel is home to the neon sign for Milk Bar.
The hallway leading to Secret Pizza, a secret (unadvertised, no-sign) restaurant in the Cosmopolitan.
Loved the Alice in Wonderland theme.
Sex drugs and sprinkles.
The Chandelier Bar — we had a few drinks here and it was great.
LOVE Eggslut! The line is always long but it’s worth it.
Chinese and Mexican food under one roof.
More murals!  If there’s a cool mural to be seen, I will track it down!
The mural that I’m standing in front of is in the parking lot of the Graceland Wedding Chapel.
I just liked this building.
Next time I visit, I want to go on the High Roller!  Each pod holds 40 people and it takes 30 minutes to go around the wheel.
When near the west coast…
Dreamy primary colors.
Showgirls gotta get their ice cream, too.
The Conservatory at the Bellagio.
They change the floral theme 5 times a year and have a staff of 100+ people in charge of all the flowers.
More of the Chandelier!
Lobby bodies.
Starbucks strawberry refreshers are my new favorite thing.
Yet another photo of this view.  I can’t help it.
My momma – best friend and favorite travel buddy.
Arriving at Caesars!
All I could think of was the Hangover.  “Is this the real Caesar’s Palace?”
Reba + Brooks & Dunn!
The show ended with streamers and confetti – I loved it.