Tattoo Tales: That Other Design

While I was researching designs for the first one, I had come across a little piece that I couldn’t get out of my head.  A simple little black cat outline that just stuck with me for years.  I would draw it on my forearm with a pen and act like it was another temporary tattoo.  A passing fancy.  I’d told myself I only wanted one tattoo.  That I didn’t need any more ink.  But I couldn’t forget the design.  And where I would put it.  And how much I knew I would love it (senseI love cats and all).  And how it was a little black cat and I would get it on a Friday the 13th so it was even more cool.

Fast forward forward about 3 years… and find me, on a Friday the 13th in May… wandering into another tattoo parlor.  This one not nearly as fancy and posh as the studio I did my first tattoo at. In fact, it was not fancy or posh at all… it was a literal hole in the wall tattoo studio somewhere in Wash Heights that shared space with a gym and was a total of 1 room.  No paperwork to fill out.  Cash only… I know, it sounds like the start of a horror story, but you know the ending- I’m still here and I have not lost any limbs… so it turns out ok.

The kid (honestly he was 18) was super nice and when I walked it said he could do the design for cheap and asked if he could clean up the image for me.  Of course I said yes, cause I can’t draw to save my life and my rough little sketch was not what I wanted the final piece to look like.   After about 10 minutes we were ready to start.  I sat in a folding chair with my forearm on a little stand covered in fresh plastic wrap.

Snap on the gloves, peal open the needle, squirt in the ink, and buzz the gun…. and we were ready to go.

I felt like it was over before it even began!  I guess that’s what happens when you get your largest piece as your first tattoo.  Everything else starts to feel a little easier.  Or at least shorter.  I wouldn’t say easy.  It’s still painful.  You are still agreeing to have your body pricked repeatedly with a needle and inject ink into your skin.  But 20 minutes later it was done and (only a little bloody) cleaned and neatly wrapped in plastic.

IMG_0403Like nothing had happened I jumped right on the train and went to work.  That’s life isn’t it.  In my mind yeah, getting tattooed was a big deal, but in the grand scheme of things, it is just like running another errand and you still have commitments to take care of.

I remember being at work that evening siting at the computer and trying not to brush my arm up against the desk because it hurt.  And waiting 3 hours till I could take off the plastic and clean my arm- finally getting a really good look at my little black cat.

I mean, it’s been another 3 years now and I still look at my arm and wonder why the pen drawing hasn’t washed off yet.  Honestly I forget it’s a permanent tattoo.  I got so used to seeing it on my arm and acting like it was real, not that it is, it’s not a big change.

I get all of my tattoos for me.  So I want them look best when I look at them (sense I’m the one seeing them the most). The best is when people see the cat and ask what it is.  Apparently upside-down from a distance and if you have no idea what it could be it looks like the “death eaters” symbol from Harry Potter ….. I’m sorry to disappoint- it’s not… but that makes a fun story to share here.

A word of wisdom to the wise from someone with ink?  Have a reason for an piece you get.  Have a story to tell about it.  Have a really amazing personal reason for getting it.  Cause you know what, people will ask.  They will want to share their stories.

So I have a little black cat tat that I got on a Friday the 13th with a full moon and while Mercury was in retrograde.  Thats a lot of superstition right there!

Do you have a fun tattoo story to share?  Let’s here them!



Race in Review: Brooklyn Half Marathon 2017

2 years later and I’m BAAAACK!

After taking on Brooklyn back in 2015 with rain and shine and a PR (!) then a 3 hour commute back home to a shower and a nap, I had sort of swore off this race.  I’d run it, I’d had a good time, I’d experienced this iconic event… but I knew there were other races I wanted to tackle and well… Brooklyn is just so faraway from home!

But, when a number is coming your way,  and you have already been in training for 13.1, it’s very hard to say no.  So you say yes and just a week after the Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon you are back in the start corrals to conquer the distance again.

What comes before the race?  The pre-race party!  Bib pickup, apparel, music, and fun give aways.  Right on the water on the pier, with a lovely view of the city and Liberty Island- Brooklyn knows how to throw quite a party.  Then it’s all about race day prep!


The first time I ran the Brooklyn Half, yes I PR-ed and finished in 2:18… but the conditions were rough and I was knocked out the rest of the day.  First it was humid, then it RAINED, then if got real sunny and well… that was a hot race.  The course was new and I got a little turned around… cause I don’t spend that much time in Brooklyn.   So this year, the partly cloudy conditions with a light breeze and my knowledge of the course made things a little easier.

This race is really divided into two sections.  The first 6 miles go from the start line and after a little out n’ back you head into and around Prospect Park.  These miles are hilly and curvy keeping you on your toes as the race kicks off.  The second 6 miles or so are flat flat flat along Ocean Parkway all the way to the boardwalk of Coney Island.  Flat can feel easy and be crazy challenging in it’s own right.  Not only are you starting to get tired, but flat puts a whole different kind of strain on the body.

This year, over half of Ocean Parkway had been re-paved the night before, making this segment of the race literally SO SMOOTH!  After the adrenaline of the first 6 miles and the cheering in the park, I was able to fall into a groove for the second half.  I had already started my run-a-mile/ walk-a-mile routine at mile 5 and was happily plugging along.


Honestly there was nothing about this race that went wrong for me.  I felt strong and happy the whole course.  No, I didn’t end with a PR but I also didn’t end with an injury or a migraine.  Crossing the finish line as a light drizzle began felt good… until that light drizzle started to turn into a bit more of a steady downpour.  Ok, so maybe that was the worst of it… being sweaty and wet.  But that’s not too bad!  And this year, I was able to carry on with my day after racing.

Did you run the BK Half this year?  In the past?  Maybe you plan to run it next year and have a question?  Sent them my way!



Tattoo Tales: One & Done

It’s true what they say, tattoos are addicting.

You think “Oh, it’s just one tattoo.  I have no interest in any other design or any other ink.”

Summer about 6 years ago I wrote a bucket list in my head.  A few various interesting things I decided I wanted to do during my life.  Get some time on the gun range, go trail riding, and get a tattoo, were the 3 that made the top of that list.  To this day I can’t tell you why “get a tattoo” came up first on that list, but it did.  Not cause a friend got one or my parents had them, not cause I wanted to be accepted or cool or fit in or join a gang.  I just couldn’t get it out of my head.  I started looking up design ideas and placement and looking into what it would entail to get a tattoo.

(I’ve still never gone trail riding again or shot a gun… although I’ve added run a half marathon in all 50 states to the list!)

After a few months I’d custom designed what I wanted, decided on placement, and scouted parlors.  I put the design on my screen saver so I got used to looking at it every day and ant time I saw something I didn’t like, I’d tweak it,  adjusting it to be just so until it was perfect.

I’d told family and friends that I was planning on “getting tatted” and of course I got mixed responses.  Mother dearest at first thought it was a cool idea, then changed her mind… the boy told me how it would mess up my future or career options… my roommate was totally excited (cause she also wanted one)…  Of course no one could really understand why I would want to do that.  What was I thinking?!

Finally the day came.  I’d made an appointment, finalized the design, and had my best friend there to distract me the whole time and drive home (lol).  I rolled up to Liberty Tattoo on Ponce, filled out my paperwork, only to discover they hadn’t gotten the design I emailed or written down my appointment.  So I waited and waited… of course getting more and more anxious, but I didn’t leave.

Finally I was getting settled on the table, the design was traced and drying on my ankle before my artist started.  Fresh needle, gloves, plastic cover, black ink.  She asked if I was ready and so it began.

270050_10151561083247468_1948931146_nBeing totally honest, I don’t remember much about actually getting that tattoo anymore.  I remember almost breaking Jessica’s hand and nearly changing the design in the middle of the whole thing cause it hurt.  But once it’s started there is really no going back.  All you can really do is keep breathing and remain very still.  How long this took I don’t remember but I was probably done shortly after an hour.  I do remember looking at the fresh tattoo on my ankle in the mirror moments after it was finished and cleaned.  I remember freaking out (in my head of course) just  a little at how much bigger it was then I have visualized and how much lower on my ankle it was then I planned.  But it was done.  There was no going back and I couldn’t look at it long… seconds later it was bandaged up and covered in plastic.

It was done.  I had a tattoo.

149157_10151561083017468_2012135467_nLooking at it a few hours later when I was able to unwrap it and wash it for the first time, that’s when I really fell in love.  It was perfect.  There were things I didn’t know would work- the placement and size especially- but I trusted my artist and my guy.

I heard over and over how after 2 years I would regret getting the tattoo.  After 2 years passed it was, “well after 5 years it will start to fade and you will have grown up and changed and you will regret it”.

Well y’all, it’s been over 6 years and I still love it more and more every time I put my shoes on or paint my nails.   I’ve taken exceptional care or it and there is very little excessive fading.

I couldn’t listen to all the noise.  My body, my design, my choice.  And I’m more myself for it every day.

What have people told you about getting tattooed?  Is it still taboo?



Social Media Memories


July 23rd.


I set up my Facebook account.  Sitting in a bubble tea/Internet cafe in the small river town of Grafton, IL. before there were smart phones and selfies and unlimited data and so much more.  I sat there with some girls that would become my life long friends regardless of where life took us.   We laughed and took tons of photos.  We accepted each others Friend Requests and started something that would last for well… 10 years and counting.

I’ve kept that Facebook account active all these years to keep in touch with all of those people and the hundreds more I’ve met along the way.  We are spread out all over the country… all over the world… and thanks to Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter and the rest now) we are able to wish one another Happy Birthday, anniversary, graduation, move, baby, pet adoption, and job change.  We can celebrate, grieve, argue, and explore all through social media.  We have watched each other grow up thousands of miles away through a screen.

Social media can be pretty amazing.  Not only can we keep up with so many people and activities, but we can document moments and events, special occasions and meetings through photos and written accounts. Through our accounts we can save memories to look back at them later.

So often these memories are good.  Don’t most people only share the fun times and keep the painful ones private?  But no life is perfect.  Not all memories are good.  Some things are very hard to relive.  There are life events we barely got through in the first place.   Painful or upsetting times and people who are no longer in our lives. Then Facebook pops them up on our time lines reminding us of the good, bad and ugly.   You see yourself in different times and places with different people.


Should we be able to relive these memories?  I have an account with 10 years worth of memories.  Celebrations.  Death.  Love.  Loss.  Performances.  Relationships.  Travel.  Parties.  This list could go on.  We can so easily go back and see our good times and bad times.  Looking through only profile pictures I see so many hair colors and pounds gained or lost, and other people who mattered enough to be there… then.


There have been SO many times I’ve thought about deactivated my account.

I can’t live with the memories.  The constant reminders of what I had that I lost.  The constant look back at my ridiculous state of mind as an angsty teen or the beautiful performances that are from a life I no longer live.  In another 10 years, what will I think of myself now?  Is that something I want to know?

Then I see the happy times.  Those events or people or celebrations that make it all worth it.  Having the beautiful (although occasionally painful) ability to see the relive these memories can remind us who we are.  Our brains can change these memories.  We pull what we want… from time to time we loose the details.

14889861_10155440850462468_4122340096916980480_oJuly 23rd.


I mean, I still have Facebook.  I’m very active on Instagram.  Twitter is always in the back seat, but it’s there.

There are 10 years of life and memories accessible through my computer.  What will the next 10 years bring?  What advances in technology and life will there be?  Where will we all be in 10 years?  Or even 5 years?  Will we still have Facebook or Instagram?

One thing is for sure, we will continue to live life and make memories.  We will continue to find ways to document these memories.  It’s our nature… as people…. to save memories. And right now Social Media is the way we do it.

Store your memories through Social Media?  How do you feel about that?



Race in Review:: Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon 2017

May races are my favorite!  I don’t know, something about the weather and the air and the light.  I almost always have amazing race experiences in May.  And this year was no different, as we crossed 5 state lines in 2 days to get up to Biddeford , Maine for the Maine Coast Half Marathon!  Another state down and another 13.1 in the books.  Here is a little recap and some great pictures from the race.



Getting from New York City to southern Maine for a few hours of racing without taking much time off work, that is a feat in itself.  With bags packed and coffee in hand, Megan and I took off for a race weekend road trip.  First stop, Boston— thank goodness for family in the area.  We were able to drive about half way then have a night of being taken care of including an amazing hot meal and cozy beds (beats a hotel any day!)  Next morning… and I mean early morning we pilled back into the car with race gear and sweats for the second leg of the trip to Maine.

Arriving at the start “village” where we needed to go to park and pick up numbers was clearly marked and everything was smooth.  With numbers and pins in hand it was time to relax, stretch, and wait to coral up.  I’m a race snob… I know… and I expect a certain level or organization and treatment on are morning.  Surprisingly this was was pretty well set up!

Finally corralled and ready to go, each wave was sent off with the sounding of the conch shell instead of a buzzer.  This was super unique and really kept the unique feel of this race.

The weather was rather perfect.  Rain was on the way, but race morning was clear, sunny, breezy, and fresh.  A good chunk of the course was right along the ocean which was not only amazing to look at but helped to keep the air cool and mild.  Some of the course was very exposed, so I definitely got a few tan lines the 2+ hours I was out there, but luckily it was not full summer sun so we didn’t get baked.



You know what else comes with a course that is right along the ocean?  A FLAT course!  Yes, that’s something I like from time to time.  Hills keep it exciting and challenging as all goodness, but a sometimes flat is nice.  Between manageable rolling hills and some turnarounds, this predominantly flat course showed off the beautiful beachfront neighborhoods as well as the coast.  The course was challenging enough that I’m glad (as always) training was involved, but not so hard that I was dying by the finish.

Throughout there were well stocked water stations with cheer squads.  The whole community really made an amazing turn out to support all of us runners.  Entertaining signs, bells, and whistles all along the course are so key to keeping this runner going.

While I was ticking off mile after mile on this half, my first major race sense the NYC Marathon, I happily fell into my run-a-mile/walk-a-mile routine.  Read all about that experience in my other post “How I Learned to Walk”.




After that story, I sprinted to a fabulous finish and great post-race event.  There was plenty of water, snacks, and photo opts.

Then began the drive back.  Back to Boston for a shower and lunch (thank goodness there is family all over!) then back to New York.  We outran if for a while, but eventually the rain caught up with us.  But not before we discovered the tax free state liquor stores in New Hampshire…. let’s just say we have more gin in the apartment now then when we left.

But we made it back.  another medal around my neck, miles on my shoes, and memories of another great half marathon!

Have fun spring race stories?  Share them here!



Conversation Chess

Before we even begin this little intellectual adventure, be warned that I’m writing pre coffee and contacts.  Yes, you all ready that right and I’m relying on my oh so smart MacBook Air  maybe more then I should to catch the errors I can’t see (literally).   So here we go, a little morning brain dump/rant/concept exploration that kept me up half the night.

Now I don’t mean that in a negative way- kept me up half the night- it’s ok, it’s good, it’s important.  When you have brilliant friends, as I do, you are often challenged to see and think a little differently about your words, thoughts, and actions.  You are challenged and engaged to see past the end of your noise and maybe just maybe trust yourself enough to go out on a limb for something you want, even if it’s totally new and scary for you… cause you know what, you may like the outcome.  Of course it may turn out it’s not what you want, but then you know.  You know not because you assumed but because you did.

I know what you all may be thinking– HOW is this anything about conversation or chess or anything?  It’s Monday morning and you were really hoping for a white piece about a race or a cat…. well, exactly… that’s what you would expect (and there will be plenty of those in the future) but today let’s make the move you didn’t see coming.

Conversation as Chess.

I had a long conversation last night about conversations.  Analyzing conversations and looking for a potential desired outcome.  The importance of paying close attention to the small details and acting no them.  Answering a question not with a straight flat answer, but with another question or a gripping answer- which in turn causes your opponent (let’s keep with the chess theme) to respond- to engage you in a conversation to the death (preferably of their king of course, but you never know).

The artist in me had so many visualizations of this concept.  One that I almost used was a play off the ConEd ad “Smell Gas, Act Fast.  Don’t thinking someone else will make the call”.  But this ended up lacking  the complexity of a conversation analysis as I wanted for this post… so chess can to mind.   Even though I know very little about the actual playing of the game, I have a pretty solid idea… I lost many a game to my brother back in the day.

Let’s say the piece are different words and topics you could use to start or continue an engaging interesting conversation.

The moves and strategy involved in each play is the same as the thought and strategy (new favorite word here) you involve in a conversation to draw out and reveal the interesting angles of your partner.

And that partner, that opponent who’s king you are trying to capture, is the person across the table or sitting next to you, with whom you really want to engage.

From time to time, a Pawn must be sacrificed.  You test the waters of conversation with them to see what sticks… and what gets shot down quick.   But they can also clear the way and begin to open up windows of opportunity for you to get something deeper  from your opponent.  The pawns can draw out the more interesting characters, the more complex topics, that can surprise you.   Don’t always talk about the expected- the race, the cat, the job, the travel destination… but find the nugget of common interest in each one… the photo, the whisky, the charred interest.  That’s where things go from flat to rolling hills (runner moment there).

These surprises are what can build exciting conversations, if you know how to use them correctly.  Don’t attack in a straight line- here don’t give a flat one dimensional answer to a question that could be a jumping off point for something more intriguing.  Instead, attack from the side or jump over someone to get at something more important that was just left lying around- find the sparks in the conversation, reply to something not asked but mentioned in passing and keep your partner watching your plays.  Keep them on their toes so they want to know what you have in store.

These plays can go on for days or maybe they are short lived (as my games were when I was 14).  Either way, each play needs to be worth the move, worth the piece, worth your time.  If it’s not, both players spent time on something that fizzled out and ended up being nothing.   Maybe it takes a game or two or even three to get you bearings and get some nerve to be yourself on the chess board.  To make the unexpected moves and take your opponent off guard.  Then maybe, just maybe that bold move, that humorous unexpected answer, will leave them wanting just a little more and a little more.  You start a volley.  A deeper back and forth conversation that is now more then rolling hills, but some steep inclines that force you to go to a much deeper level before you can enjoy the downhill (oops, ok again more of a running image there… but I’m better at that then chess, geeze!).

Perhaps you eventually get to the cat and mouse game with the king and queen dancing around the board, a few meager pieces attempting to stop her wrath and guard their king.  A battle to the death or a draw.  Where does it go from here?

Two players shake it off and walk away.  The moment was fun but now the moment has passed.  On to find a more suitable opponent.   OR.  Or these two set that board up again and play another round.  Another change to engage one another in something deeper and intriguing that keeps both coming back to the chess board over and over.  Even if the same one of the pair looses each time, the game-the complexity and deep interest of the conversation- that’s what matters most.

But remember… it may take a round or two to get there.

And there you have it.  This may be the most intellectual I will ever be without coffee.  But as I don’t see and red dotted lines running rampant through this post, I must have done something right.

I hope you enjoy. I hope you can see (at least a little) what the underlying message here.  It applies to everything, to just about every conversation- every relationship.


Thoughts?  Please share!



Can’t be MIA anymore!

Beautiful amazing readers and followers!

I know, I’ve been MIA for… well, longer then I should have been.  BUT there is a lot of amazing stuff coming your way.

Just to peak your interest (and hold myself accountable) let’s take a look at what I have in store and draft for y’all!

  • Tattoo Tales– I have 5 now, why not tell the stories behind them.  There can be so much taboo about tattoos and I want to break that down.
  • Race Reviews– I’m taking a break from running right now but I have some great stories to tell from the last 3 big races I did in the spring.
  • Bali Files– The stories continue!  I still have some fun times to share with you all.

… and more!

Anything you all want to hear about?  Topics you want me to write about or questions you have about anything I write?

Let me know!



How I Learned to Walk

Rewind.  Remember when I ran the TCS New York City Marathon?  Yeah, so do I.

Rewind again.  Remember when I ran the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon in DC?  Ummhmm, I remember that too.

Well, then we all remember that I got very overheated and sick after that half marathon and nearly deferred my entry for the marathon.  I was terrified of getting sick again, not being able to finish a race, disappointing myself… not be able to do something I love- run distance.

What ya’ll may not know is how I’ve worked to overcome that fear and physical reaction.  To meet my body half way and find a way to run safely and enjoy it…  first, I had to learn to walk.

Yup, you read that right- WALK.

I walked a lot during the NYC Marathon and all the other half marathons sense.  I walk during long training runs and really any other time I feel like it’s what my body needs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t fall into a “tourist stroll” no no!  I keep up a nice power walk pace and can smoothly transition from a jog to a walk and back again. I keep my legs and arms moving, I keep my breath steady, and my posture correct.  But I slow down a little which gives my body a change to cool off.

For both the Maine Coast Half Marathon and the Brooklyn Half this month (reviews coming your way soon), I worked with a walk-a-mile/run-a-mile game plan after mile 4 or so.  Alternating gave me time to consume gels and water as well as cool down.  This was also time to take in the surroundings and enjoy each race a little more knowing I would finish feeling good!  At the end of the day, this was the desired outcome.  Sure maybe my pace has taken a slight hit, but I’m not going for a PR every time I run and if I keep pushing it so I get sick, eventually there will not be a next time.

At first, yes, this whole “walk if and as you need too” was very hard to accept.  It felt like failure.  Like I was lazy and not working hard enough.  The thing is though, that I was training right and eating right and it was still happening.  I wasn’t being lazy– I wasn’t listening to my body.

Completing 13.1 or 26.2 is nothing to sneeze at!  No matter how you do it.

Sense I started this method, I have felt so much better while racing and while living my life afterwards.  Less pain, no getting sick, and I can actually enjoy the rest of the day after a morning race!

Finishing each race that I start on my own two feet, this is what really matters to me.

While I was running the Maine Coast Half Marathon a few weeks ago, I was thinking about this post.  Actually, I was in a “walking mile” while I was thinking about it… and I had an experience I won’t soon forget.

A woman came up behind me and passed on the left.  OK, totally normal.

As she passed she asked, “Are you walking this whole thing?”

I nearly fell over (or slapped her)!

I replied, “No, just every other mile” and managed a smile… continuing on the rest of my walk mile and the rest of the race… but I was actually pretty annoyed by the comment.

For me, racing is personal.  I don’t want to talk to anyone, I want to be with myself in the moment of every step of each mile.  I’ve never had someone say something to me in a race.  Sure, usually I participate in much larger races that have a different caliber of runner, but also there are just so many people you can’t talk to everyone, so you don’t say anything.  (Unless it’s something encouraging while going up a big hill or approaching the finish, we all cheer and support one another).

But this woman stayed with me.  I mean that literally!  She was alternating run/walk as well!  So for the next few miles- up to the finish when I couldn’t let her cross before me and I pushed through with an amazing finish sprint- we played a little unspoken tag, I’d pass her as she walked and she would pass me when she started running again and I would have started walking again.  All the while I was thinking about this post.

Because in that moment with her, I realized SO MUCH!  It shouldn’t matter to anyone if I’m walking in a race.  No one but me… and well, now all of you… know what I’m working through or what I have going on.

The long and short message- I walk in all of my major races and it’s the best thing I’ve allowed myself to do.  Yes, at first I felt like I was failing and not worthy to take on these major races.   But now, now I am finishing races and not feeling like I’m doing to die.  I feel stronger and happier during and after each race.  I’ve accepted what works for me so that I can continue doing something that I love.  I not longer feel like a failure, I feel like I can take on any course and any race I pin on a number for!


What helps you through long runs?  Share, comment, and like! Most importantly, don’t worry about what anyone else says or thinks, this is just for you.



Tourist for a Day

Living in a city like New York means you learn to put blinders on to the unpleasant and annoying sights, smells, sounds, and strangers.  It also means you can miss those beautiful moments that only have the opportunity to happen in a place like NYC.

Visiting a city like New York means you are just the opposite.  You see everything (and of course you comment on it).  Nothing gets past you.  Maybe you don’t know exactly what you are seeing, smelling, sampling, or supporting, but you experience it all.

If you are like me and you live here, it means you are the person every friend and family members wants to see.  No, they don’t particularly want to see you, they want to see the city (preferably with a room and a guide they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for) so you are their ticket in.  This can go two ways, 1. they have a plan and just crash with you, maybe have dinner, but otherwise they are out and about on their own OR 2. they need you to take them everywhere, navigate the subway, explain every thing you see, and be sure they eat and get home at night.

It can always be a little overwhelming having visitors, especially those who need all your time and attention.  But it can also be a chance to show down and actually see the city you have decided to call home.  Maybe the building you pass over and over again on your commute is actually a beautiful historical piece of architectural work, but you never noticed cause there is always a homeless man there and you never wanted to seem too interested.

Having a visitor in town gives you the perfect excuse to turn into a tourist for the day and see your home free of blinders and tinted ideas.  This is that once a year time you allow yourself to actually set foot in times square or stand in a cue for something.  You may eat out a little more or splurge on those nicer seats for a show (I think this may be my favorite part of having guests).

I’m not saying it’s not exhausting or expensive, but playing host can open you up to a lot of fun and adventure that’s right in your backyard… if you are able to look up and see it!

When you are a tourist for a day in your home city, what is something you enjoy experiencing?

Share all of your stories here!



Drink Scotch Whisky, All Night Long

(A memorable line from one of my favorite Steely Dan songs on the Aja album.)

IMG_0506Or all day long, if you are in Scotland!
On a truly Scottish morning, grey and damp, we got an early start to walk about the city and plan the day.  Walking past Edinburgh Castle shrouded in misty, passing through a market, and from Old Town to New Town.  Seeing this beautiful city on foot is really the best way to go.

After a stroll, it was 11AM and time to head off to the Scotch Whiskey Experience for a lesson on scotch whisky making and a little tasting.

What?  Scotch Whisky at 11am?  Are you crazy?

Maybe only a little crazy, but it’s actually best to do a tasting earlier in the day before one’s pallet is tainted.  And besides, what could be more Scottish?!


This tour included an entertaining little ride in a barrel to discover the ingredients and techniques used to make scotch whisky as well as a lesson on the different scotch making regions in Scotland, each with different flavors and specialties.




After the learning came the tasting! We got a review of the old swirl, sniff, and sip techniques while admiring one of the worlds largest collections of unopened scotch.




After this, if you possessed the “Golden Ticket” you had the opportunity to sit in the cafe and explore a tasting flight of 4 additional different Scotch samples from the different regions discussed on the tour.  I discovered Highland Scotch is for me and anything to smoky makes me cough, but there was no complaining involved, how often will this get to happen!


Now personally, I’ve always been a gin girl myself… but there is something very pleasing about a smoky scotch to warm you on a chilly evening.  I was also in luck, as there was plenty of gin to be found in Scotland!  My favorite haunt?  Nicholson’s Bar– basically a whole section of the menu dedicated to “build your own Gin & Tonic” and I was in heaven.


My favorite of the evening?  Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic.

If I could get this in the states, I would fill my apartment with it (sadly they don’t bill or ship outside of the UK).  Basically a little sweet and more tart then other gins I’ve had. Very different from many gins in that the juniper flavor was very low key.  The Lemon Tonic added a lot, and who knew there were so many different options for tonic!

So yes, on this trip there was a lot of (good) drinking.  Instant coffee all morning- don’t get me started on this!- and Spirits all night.

On our walking adventures we did find a cute local coffee shop, aka not Starbucks, and had a peaceful sit down to sip lattes and watch the people go by.  I’ve found that everywhere I go I’m looking for a local coffee place to perch relax, it really helps me feel like I’m actually living in a place and in that moment, a member of the local community.  It’s like a tradition.  My local corner in Upper Manhattan, Anomali Coffee in Ubud, Bali and  now Procafination in Edinburgh!  Really no better place to get a feel for a city, while taking care of my never ending caffeine need  😉

Have you had the opportunity to drink whiskey in Scotland?  What fun drinks have you found on your globe trekking adventures?   Share them in the comments below!