Sunday, July 27, 2014

London 2014

When I got back from my last trip to New York, I unpacked and repacked my suitcase in between many loads of laundry, and the very next day I got on another plane to head across the pond. I go to London one week every year (also for work) and this time Bo tagged along (for fun). He went to London a few times when he was younger so we've both done most of the touristy stuff, so it was nice to just enjoy the city, especially since it was our first time there together.

We took a red-eye flight and got into London on a Sunday morning. Took the train to our hotel, changed our clothes, and went straight to Hurlingham Park to go to our very first polo match. So posh, we are.  

There were several matches throughout the day, though we never really picked up on the sport. Polo is basically a big, fancy tailgate. Everyone gets really dressed up and really drunk and sometimes watches a little polo. We started our day off with a pitcher of Pimm's, which was a terrific idea after a red-eye, no?

Regardless of how little we actually know about polo, it was always easy to know when they scored...

During halftime, they let all the fans go out on the field and replace the divots, which is called "treading in". It was kinda cool, but a little underwhelming - if only Richard Gere had been there it would be been a little more exciting ;)


The rest of the week was much less interesting. Lots of work meetings for me, and lots of relaxation for Bo. We stayed at the Grosvenor House, right across the street from Hyde Park. It was a great location for morning runs in the park, and it took me about 15 minutes on the tube to get to my office, so much better than my normal daily commute in Atlanta traffic. It was also a convenient location for Bo since he did a little sightseeing and mostly spent time reading in the park and enjoying the beautiful weather. I've really lucked out - in the four times I've been to London it's really only rained for a total of one hour. Blue skies and mid-60s, really just perfect.


Throughout the week we enjoyed some very scenic meals...

Sunset dinner over the River Thames near Putney Bridge

Lunch with a view from Duck & Waffle

Dinner with a view from Smiths of Smithfield


Thursday of that week was the opening night of the World Cup. Neither of us really like soccer (as they call it, football or "footie"), but we ventured out to the local pubs to enjoy a few pints and be a part of the excitement. England wasn't playing for another few days (we just missed them!), but the pubs were crowded and everyone was really into it. I almost cared :) 

That pretty much wraps up our time in London and kicks off our weekend...once my work week was over, we headed to Brussels for the weekend! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New York, New York

I don't really talk about work here on the blog because I'm fairly certain it would bore you all to tears. But apparently this has led a lot of you to think that all we do is travel the world and never go to work. Ha! I wish :) Unfortunately we still have not won the lottery and we are not aware of any trust funds (dare to dream!), so we most definitely have to work to be able to vacation the way we do! And we actually do quite a bit of traveling for work as well - which is how we are able to earn all the Delta Skymiles and Marriott points we need to be able to go on said vacations. Bo is still steadily traveling for his clients, and my work travel has especially picked up over the past six months since the company I work for recently bought the New York Stock Exchange (it still sounds crazy to say that!). I've gone up to New York City several times now and have certainly made the most of it.

My favorite part of being in the big apple was getting to see these ladies!!

When it was finally warm enough outside, Megan and I went for a run on a trail near my hotel that goes right along the Hudson and up to her neighborhood. It's now my regular route whenever I'm up there.

After our run, Megan took me through her neighborhood and we stopped by her apartment. West Village is such a cute area, and of course we had to stop by Magnolia Bakery and get a little dessert before dinner!

Thankfully I also have some really great co-workers to hang out with when we travel, so we did some exploring of our own. The Yankees were in town one week so the auditors took us all to a game one night - it sure is nice to be on the other side of that now! :)  And I will admit we accidentally caught ourselves cheering for the Yankees when one guy hit a homerun. Oops, sorry Braves. The new stadium was pretty nice, though I never went to the old one. Hoping to make it to a Mets game during a future trip, I've heard their stadium is even nicer.

Another night we had dinner at Bobby Van's, which is in the old JP Morgan antique bank vaults. The dining room is lined with bronze deposit boxes and we even got to open up the big vault which was so massive and heavy that it took 2-3 of us just to open the door.

Bobby Van's is right across the street from our office, and it is so pretty all lit up at night!

The office is actually a really old building and we're working on some major renovations - with the exception of the executive floor. The board room is enormous! I was in complete awe.  The ceiling is stained glass, all the trim is real gold, and the clock behind me in the picture below is over 200 years old. I've never seen another board room that comes close in comparison.

A few times I've been able to go down to the trading floor to watch the opening bell. There is a lot of energy on the floor - especially watching Cramer live - though I'm sure it's nothing like it was back in the day, since so much is electronic now. The most exciting day I've seen so far was when the owners and jockey for California Chrome rang the bell in honor of the Belmont Stakes the following weekend. They were all so excited! Sadly they ended up losing the Belmont, so no triple crown - better luck next year.

It sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is, but working on NYSE has definitely been one of the more exciting (and challenging) projects at work lately. I'll be going back next month so those of you in New York City, let me know if you want to hang out!! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Puppy Parties

Over the past few months, we've had quite a few celebrations for our pups. They are exactly two years and two weeks apart, and since we got them when they were both at exactly the same age of 10 weeks old, their birthdays and "gotcha days" become a bit of a blur. We were out of town for a few of these days this year, but did our best to make it up to them when we were here :)

Every year on Molly's birthday, I've made her a dog cake using Kristin's recipe. It seemed a bit excessive to make two separate cakes for both Molly and Abby in such a short time frame...especially given Molly's historical weight issues. So I just made one cake for them to share this year. And since Molly has been doing well with her weight lately, I frosted it with peanut butter instead of cottage cheese and decorated it with dog treats instead of vegetables. I have to say, it was SO much better looking - and I would imagine better tasting as well. And it kept pretty well for an entire week since they only got one small slice each night with dinner.

Molly knew exactly what it was and that it was for her. Well, maybe not..she thinks all food is for her. Regardless, she was very excited and never left the kitchen until cake time.

Abby, meanwhile, was clueless.

She quickly figured it out :)  No crumbs left behind!

For their "gotcha" days - which we call "present" days - we took them to the dog park. We had several weekends in a row with gorgeous weather so it became somewhat of a regular thing which was good for all of us. The dogs are usually wiped out after an hour and will sleep for days afterward. Tired puppies are happy puppies... makes for very happy puppy parents!



And just for fun, comparison shots to the day we brought each of them home. They were such little puppies!!

We love these girls so much!

Molly Present Day 2012
Molly Present Day 2013
Abby Present Day 2013