A New York State of Mind

A New York State of Mind

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I have only been to New York one time, but this city blew me away. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis so everything seemed to be at our finger tips. I highly recommend this hotel for its proximity to the action. So much to tell, our trip began with a moment in the Lincoln Tunnel where all the cars were honking even though there was nowhere to go. After living in L.A. for so many years I never find traffic amusing but somehow I found myself laughing in this situation. I got chills in time square, the lights, the people and the rush took my breath away. We grabbed bagels one morning and walked to Central Park. In the park we caught a baseball game and climbed a huge rock with amazing views of skyscrapers bursting out over the trees. We took our time, we had conversation and we people watched. We walked everywhere, including to the Museum of Modern Art in the rain and we spent half a day in there exploring. We had fried plantains at a Cuban restaurant and Ruben sandwiches at Junior’s. We also went to the biggest Macy’s I have ever seen and we literally got lost inside. We got so hungry trying to find our way out that we ended up having lunch in Macy’s.

One night we took the subway to Harlem to see amateur night at the Apollo Theater. I can remember watching that show on television when I was a kid and then to sit in the theater were so many important artists got their chance at fame was surreal. We ate soul food in Spanish Harlem at this seductive little spot. I’m kicking myself because I don’t recall the name, but there was dancing and guitar and a low and constant chatter that serenaded us. Not like how loud restaurants can sometime get these days, it most definitely had a vibe. Harlem was so intoxicating to me; it brought to life all the things I have read about it. From recalling Malcom X’s Autobiography to James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on The Mountain, to stories at the Cotton Club, I could go on but I’ll stop before this gets to be a whole other subject. Needless to say, I was really glad to get to see it all first hand.

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Let’s see what else; we bought flowers in Greenwich Village and saw the Wall Street Charging Bull which poses one of the most important questions in life… Do you take the bull by the horns or the balls? I’m still not quite sure. We saw Ground Zero, SoHo or South of Houston Street, Tribeca or Triangle Below Canal Street, and Smith&Wollenksky a famous steakhouse, the Flatiron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Ferry that takes you to Long Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. We were there for four glorious days and I was so pleased that we could pack all this stuff in. This city made me feel care free and reckless; I had no worries for four unforgettable days wondering around this urban island on foot in whatever direction our interest seemed to point. I think it’s good to try to do a lot if it’s your first time somewhere, then when you do go back you have a foundation and you can try to narrow down your focus a bit.

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New York knocked my socks off and I cannot wait to return. Until next time, I want to thank you for reading this post and invite you to come back and visit my site pretty please with a cherry on top. Click the follow button on the screen and you will be updated every time I have something fun for you to read or look at.

Signing Out With Love,

Kapfanny

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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I’ve seen the sun rise and set so many times in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and it never gets old. This is the one vacation I never sleep in on and I know just where I want to be at dusk. I can’t seem to justify missing one of the two most spectacular parts of each day.  Orange, purple and pink kaleidoscope dreams on my mind when I reflect on many trips to Cabo. Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula and just a short two hour flight from Los Angeles, you get to experience the beautiful Sea of Cortez and the vast Pacific Ocean.

Soundtrack for this post:

  • Miguel Kaleidoscope Dream
  • Caradefuego Tranquilla
  • Selena Como La Flor

 

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We have always stayed at The Playa Grande Hotel and Resort, it has a private beach and lots of pools, a wonderful spa and the people are so nice. I also recommend Grand Solmar Hotel and Resort, both places are beautiful. One of the great things about Cabo and our hotel is that you can basically walk anywhere you want to go for the most part. So you don’t really need a rental car to get around. However, if you are feeling sluggish you can always take a reasonably priced taxi to get to most places. One tip I will offer is that if you have already set up your ride from the airport to the hotel you don’t really need to stop once you get your baggage and talk with the time share sellers, unless you want to. We have done some time share tours and it’s cool to see other resorts and get a free breakfast but if your time is precious and you are eager to get your vacation on then just say no thank you, try not to make eye contact and whatever you do don’t stop walking, they are persistent to say the least.

A typical day on vacation in Cabo for us starts with an early morning workout (if we are not too lazy) then back to the room in time to watch the sunrise on the beach. The first morning we are there we always go to Solomon’s Landing for breakfast. It’s a nice restaurant on the marina where you can dine outside and people watch. Gorgeous boats line the water and there are plenty of people offering all kinds of activities like glass bottom boats, whale watching depending on the season, sunset cruises and fishing trips. We have experienced a variety of the activities in Cabo and they are all fun. Decide what you like and do that.

 

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Now that we are professional Cabo vacationers our days are spent sunning, swimming and sometimes napping either on the beach or at the pools, lying around and ordering food and drinks with an iPhone and headphones or a juicy book in hand. I must say we’ve really mastered the art of lounging on these trips.

 

Late in the afternoon we play volleyball or watch a sports game until it’s time to pick a spot for dinner. My favorite restaurants in Cabo are Salvatore’s, Maria Corona, Desperados, Romeo & Juliet, Los Barilles and Baja Cantina. Mango Deck is a good time too especially for New Year’s Eve. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Word of advice if you are in Cabo during peak season then make a reservation for dinner, tables fill up fast. If you are in the mood to explore start with the marina. You can walk and shop, stop to eat and drink then keep on walking.

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From there you’ll find lots of pathways to the streets where you can dip in and out of stores and markets with all kinds of things to purchase that will remind you of this place when you return home T shirts, ceramics, jewelry and much more. I really like to see the Dia de Los Muertos dolls that are displayed throughout Casa Maria, Glen Zen Mar and Mi Casa. Most are handmade by artists who you can tell put a lot of time and effort into their work.

 

If your hotel has a spa anything like the one at Playa Grande do yourself a favor and make an appointment to get a massage. It was so peaceful; I thought I was in heaven. All I remember was white robes, steam, hot rocks, the subtle scent of oils and warm tea in the palm of my hands. All my stress melted away. We have taken a few deep sea fishing trips in Cabo. You meet your captain at the marina just before dawn, then you are whisked away in search of Tuna or Mahi Mahi or if you are really ambitious Marlin. It’s a whole day of being on a boat and if you are there December to April you may be lucky enough to have this trip to double as whale watching too. If you end up catching fish you can take it to most restaurants and request for them to prepare it any way you like.  We had our hotel grill our fresh Mahi Mahi, it was a lovely meal.

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If you are going to Cabo get ready for a good time. I wish you good weather and strong margaritas. Happy travels! Until next time I want to thank you for reading and invite you to come back and visit my site pretty please with a cherry on top. Leave a comment and click the follow button on the screen and you will be updated every time I have something fun for you to read or look at.

Signing Out With Love,

Kapfanny

 

Portland Bound

Portland Bound

Hello Everyone!

Wow! I’m so happy to do my first official post. I decided to focus on the city I grew up in, mainly because I have been living away from Portland for so long and when I went back last summer I was surprised at how excited I was. Too often we don’t take advantage of the places we live in. Most of the things I wanted to do I had technically already done before, but somehow they were new. Maybe it was because I was getting to show my husband, who is a native to Los Angeles, my city or maybe it was that old saying, distance makes the heart grow fonder.  Nevertheless, I quickly came up with all these places I just had to go. My family was so sweet to me; they made all my wishes come true. I must admit I felt like a bit of a brat for requesting so much but they graciously obliged to most of it and in other cases, and rightfully so, altered my expectations. For instance, when I told my mom I wanted to wake up to a giant jump house in her backyard, (it was half joke and half serious) she came through for me in an unexpected way. Also when I asked to visit Multnomah Falls and on the way we stopped at a winery with Mount Saint Helens in the beautiful background, or when we picked strawberries and ate ice cream under the Bridge of the Gods, all things I had no idea I wanted to do. What pleasant surprises we encounter when we let our destinies unravel without questioning every inch. I would advice that you should definitely have a plan when visiting Portland, but don’t be opposed to coloring outside of the lines a bit.

*Sound track for this post: Little Things by India Arie,  A Long Walk and Golden by Jill Scott and Stevie Wonders Love’s in Need of Love Today. Yea I could rock an all white cotton outfit, put flowers in my hair, be living my life like it’s golden and give love a little love after this trip.

There’s a special place in my heart for downtown Portland early in the morning. The first thing I want to do is grab a cup of coffee and go to Saturday Market. Buy snacks, walk around, look at everything, buy what you love and have fun. I suggest going in June if it’s your first time in Portland because it’s the Rose Festival Season. You’ll want to do the carnival at the waterfront in Downtown Portland; there will be live music, food, and rides. If the weather decides to cooperate with you take advantage and rent a bike. There are many types you can get, we did a four person bike and had a blast. We ended up riding all the way around the waterfront and over a couple of bridges. I’m pretty sure the first was the Steel Bridge, I could be wrong about that but it had trains tracks running on it. A train went by as we pedaled over; perfect timing, it was such a rush, and a bit scary too. Rose Festival also means that it is parade season. My personal favorite is the Starlight Parade. Each float is draped in lovely lights and it’s cool to see the streets lined with people and no cars. If you want a good spot you’ll need to get there early, take chairs and dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing as needed. We basically planned our whole day downtown so that we could snatch up our seats when we saw the parade route filling up.

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In the meantime filling up our day downtown was easy to do. Another thing I was itching to do was hit up Powell’s Bookstore. This is my favorite bookstore ever! You can get lost in this place; you can spend the entire day here easily. If you’ve got the time, do it, but be careful if you have other plans you can certainly fall down the rabbit hole in this fine establishment. (I practically had to be dragged out.) For lunch we had ramen at Marukin, so yummy! (Get the spicy broth.) We also made our way to the Downtown Nike Store where I got some green and yellow Cortez shoes in honor of my alma mater, University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Then last but not least my husband and I made our way to have drinks at the Multnomah Whiskey Library while the rest of my family scooped up our seats for the parade. Word of advice, get a reservation before you go waltzing in expecting to have a quick drink and the host explains that it’ll be a two hour wait. Yep, that’s what happened to us so we ended up getting cocktails and a dessert to share in the smaller bar attached to the Multnomah Whiskey Library called The Green Room. It was still a good time and we learned our lesson for next time. The Starlight Parade was as magical as I had remembered it as a kid. It was extremely cold that night but luckily we dressed appropriately. We had a smashing day; an impeccable launch to my birthday weekend in Portland.

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With an early start to the next day we drove to Multnomah Falls, I hadn’t been there in years. It was stunning. Everything is so green here and the light mist from the falls is all around. The natural beauty is truly breathtaking. You must see it for yourself. On the way back we stopped at a winery with Mount Saint Helens in the distance and we all unwound and had lunch. It was so nice to be outside for the whole day and no traffic seemed odd to me which lets me know I’ve really gotten used to my new city. After lunch we picked strawberries and wandered up and down rows of peach trees, grapes, flowers and berries. After this it was back in the car again, my mom knew a great spot to get ice cream and it was another short drive to the perfect place to enjoy it. We made our way to the Eastwind Drive-In and came up on their more than generous cones. Then we sat under the Bridge of the Gods and indulged with the gorgeous Columbia River in the background. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Multnomah Falls

Portland Vinyard Trio

The next day started slower and I was happy to sleep in a little after all the excitement. We had a lazy brunch at Sherri’s. I don’t think we have Sherri’s in Los Angeles, at least I’ve never seen one but they are all over Portland and I used to go there a lot as a kid. There was a nostalgic feeling I got when I went there with my family.  I think I liked it because it’s not like the places I tend to eat at in California, and I guess I miss being satisfied with simpler things. After eating my traditional Sherri’s meal a huge Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream on top I was feeling like a nap was in order. I managed to drift off in the car for a little while until we pulled up to a huge building. Come to find out my mom and brother were taking us to an indoor trampoline park. I cannot even put into words how much fun this was. I highly recommend that you find one of these places and go. I would love to go twice a week and I would happily forgo my routine exercises. I love a workout that doesn’t feel like you are working out. We got our cardio, strength training, we played a little basketball, we did it all. We jumped for two hours and we felt it the next day. We ended our trip with a family dinner and game of cards or dominos I can’t remember which one. As always it was a competitive event and for some reason I can’t even remember who won. That never happens; I must have really been relaxing.

That’s what this trip made me realized, that I don’t have to do anything too fancy and I can just be with people I love and do simple things and be satisfied. Like playing games after dinner or teasing my mom about how I feel she has replaced me with her new furry baby. Her Yorkie, Dallas, Dallas after the Dallas Cowboys of course. Talking with my auntie and brother or cleaning my mom’s kitchen after she makes me my favorite, fried pork chops and green beans. This trip was a major success but I couldn’t quite fit everything I wanted to do in. The Oregon coast is my second favorite place to go to the beach (my first is St. John, USVI) because you can walk forever in rubber boots a sweater and shorts and you’ll probably never see another person, no bikini necessary on this beach. It is so peaceful and I have to go back. So there will be a part two to this post but it won’t come until later this year. So keep coming back to my website, pretty please with a cherry on top. Subscribe, leave a comment or ask a question. I would love to hear about your Oregon experiences as well. If you want to see more photos and videos from my trip go to my Instagram page search kapfanny or stephanie kaplan and I should pop up 🙂

Side Notes/Honorable Mentions

-Pick blackberries or go fishing on Sauvie Island.

-Go during Fall and pumpkin patches on Sauvie Island are so classic, sip fresh apple juice and take a hayride.

-Sit under the Saint John’s Bridge and have lunch on a warm breezy day.

-The Portland Zoo is pretty cool too.

-Take the Max if you can. Portland’s above ground subway system.

-Have coffee and people watch in pioneer square.

-Check out the Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland.

-The Lloyd Center Mall’s ice rink is always fun.

-Enchanted Forest is a really old theme park located between Portland, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon. I went there in grade school a few times and every time I drove home from college I would pass this place and I knew I was halfway home.

-I’d skip the Voodoo Doughnuts line, if there’s no line I’d eat it, they are perfectly delicious doughnuts, but if your time is precious there’s plenty of doughnuts in the city that don’t require you to wait in a line wrapped around the block and maybe in the rain. Just Saying.

Next up on my posting agenda will be an L.A. outing my husband and I took to the Museum of Ice Cream.

Signing out with love,

kapfanny

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