Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Vacation Open Thread

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Hi! I’ve been on vacation with my family this week in Miami Beach visiting my sister (my parents are visiting, too), and I didn’t get around to lining up any new posts for today, so here’s an open thread for you instead. I’ll even suggest a few conversation topics. Let’s see. How about: Do you have any vacation plans coming up (or have you been somewhere recently)? Have you seen any of the Oscar-nominated movies this year? Do you have Valentine’s Day plans? Do you even care about Valentine’s Day? Do you have any links to recipes you’ve tried recently and recommend? (And if none of these topics interest you, feel free to start your own). Go!

103 comments… add one
  • Lianne

    Lianne February 11, 2016, 8:11 am

    I’m so jealous of your beach vacation! I hope it’s fantastic and warm. We just visited my parents in Hilton Head, SC but it was just as cold there as it was in MA so that did nothing for my winter doldrums. Sigh. We did visit a nearby beach though and it made me alexcited for future, warmer visits.
    .
    I took off this week to start to get things ready for baby. Man, doing manual labor when you’re pregnant is exhausting. I started on Tuesday to clean out one of the closets in the baby’s room and couldn’t even get an hour eeked out. Yesterday my husband unexpectedly had a half day so we tackled it together, which was great but he holds onto things longer than I do and a lot of what I just wanted to throw away/donate didn’t make it. Oh well.
    .
    Since you asked, we’re not hugely into Valentine’s Day, but usually get each other a card and go out for a nice dinner. But this year I made us massage appointments. I just had one a couple weeks ago and already feel like I need another. Pregnancy is as good of an excuse as any to get more than one massage a month!
    .
    That’s all I got. Happy Thursday, everyone ☺️

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy February 11, 2016, 8:19 am

      It actually hasn’t been very warm here at all. I mean, it’s warmer than in NYC, for sure, but it’s not quite beach temps (hence the long sleeves and jackets in the photo). That’s been disappointing, but the fresh sea breeze and change of scenery and visiting with family has been nice.

      I hear you on physical labor being exhausting while pregnant. I didn’t feel that especially with my first pregnancy until I got a kidney infection, around 26 weeks. But I was tired all through my second pregnancy; I think the hardest part was taking Jackson to preschool (a mile-walk away) twice a week in 90+ degree heat those last few weeks before Joanie was born. Oh, and our three flights of stairs. But, as tired as you are after the baby is born, your physical strength and stamina returns pretty quickly. Enjoy the massage!

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        Ktfran February 11, 2016, 8:44 am

        The guy was just in Fort Lauderdale with friends and he was also disappointed in the cooler temps. We’re going to Clearwater in two weeks using his Super Bowl winnings. I’m hoping it’s maybe 10 degrees warmer then. But you’re right, getting away and a change in scenery is always nice.

        Also, Lianne, I’m spending 10 days in Charleston and Hilton Head in April Charleston is my cousins bachelorette and Hilton Head is just hanging with fam and fun. The guy is joining midweek.

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        jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:06 am

        Charleston! If you need any restaurant recs or things to do let me know! πŸ™‚ I love that place!!

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        ktfran February 11, 2016, 9:10 am

        Some of the girls want to go to Husk?!? We’re having trouble with reservations there for 10 people. What’s a good brunch spot for a large group?

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        jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:15 am

        Good luck with that! πŸ™‚ You could try Poogan’s Porch too. It’s one of the restaurants on Charleston’s haunted places tour and the food is amazing as well. Or there is High Cotton and Slight North of Broad (SNOB). But, I’d try Poogan’s first.

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        ktfran February 11, 2016, 9:18 am

        Thanks! Yeah, I wish we could skip Husk. I like good food. But I don’t like good food with a side of pretention. But some of the girls want to go. Ugh. I’ll tell my cousin to look into the other places.

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      • Portia

        Portia February 11, 2016, 9:19 am

        I might be going to Charleston on a work trip in a few weeks (or another city in SC, we still haven’t been able to nail it down). Any areas of town you would recommend staying in?Fun coffee shops to hang out in? Cool late night spots?

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        jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:23 am

        If you’re going to stay in Charleston and you have a decent budget stay downtown. I love the Pavilion (http://www.marketpavilion.com/index.cfm) but it’s pricey. You can usually get some deals on Groupon or Living Social for Charleston right now because it’s the off season though. For night time try the roof top bar at either the Pavilion or the Vendu Inn. They also have bars inside if it’s too cold. But, the roof is so fun! You know I never got coffee while I was there. But, if you love dessert and want a funky place to hang out in try out Kaminsky’s. I know they have coffee and specialty coffee drinks on their menu and the tuxedo cake was amazing.

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        jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:26 am

        And if either of you want to go off the beaten path and head out to one of the island surrounding Charleston check out the Fat Hen for brunch or dinner (they have an outside wine bar now too!) and the Charleston Tea Plantation.

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      • Chaotonic

        Chaotonic February 11, 2016, 2:02 pm

        I totally second Charleston Tea Plantation. Their Peach Tea is delicious!

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      • Portia

        Portia February 11, 2016, 9:35 am

        Ooo I’ll keep that hotel in mind… We can only stay at places where we get government rates, but maybe they’re on the list. And Kaminsky’s sounds awesome! I’m guessing most of my free time is going to be at random times, so it’s good to have a place to just hang at.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:46 am

        I love that the guy is coming! Has he been better about including you more in other aspects of his life since your talk?

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        ktfran February 11, 2016, 10:22 am

        He has. I met his parents and grandparents a couple of weeks ago. He hasn’t been out to dinner since, so I’m sure I’ll get another invite soon. I met a frien and his wife too. The convo. helped. He knows it’s really important to me.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 10:42 am

        So glad to hear it. Communication! It’s key!

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        K February 11, 2016, 12:09 pm

        I was just in Fort Lauderdale and other places in FL for work – got back yesterday. It was definitely cooler than average, and pretty windy, but it still felt great compared to NY! I was walking around without a jacket and a dress on, and multiple people asked me if I was cold! 66 and sunny is still warm for me, during winter. But there were a couple of 80 degree days and those def felt nice.

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      • Chaotonic

        Chaotonic February 11, 2016, 2:05 pm

        Totally check out Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe http://www.kaminskys.com/errorPage.aspx?error=404. They have a rotating selection of desserts and they’re all delicious, but everyone raves about their Bourbon Pecan Pie.

        Cypress and Magnolia are also great places to eat at besides Husk, though I really prefer Low Country Bistro because they sometimes have a quail appetizer. Also, there’s a great escape room that just opened up down town – Escape in 60 (http://www.escape60.com/). It’s really fun and I currently hold the record for breaking out!

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:38 am

        I might walk about the same amount to train/to work and back each day, but I’m not caring for a toddler. And it’s not 90+ degrees! I’m grateful for that. I also don’t have any infections, but I did spot the other day as we were about to board our flight to come home. Saw my midwife the next day and everything is fine though. She said though it’s so small they barely consider it, the hematoma is still there and may still cause spotting. I seriously can’t wait until this baby is in my arms and I can stop worrying about the spotting and any ache and pain that is unusual.
        .
        I did notice the long sleeves but hoped you were just protecting from the sun. I remember when winter in Florida was a relief. Guess those days are over!!! Enjoy the rest of your trip, regardless ☺️

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    • Portia

      Portia February 11, 2016, 8:57 am

      Aww putting together the baby room! Have you decorated it yet, or does that come after the decluttering? I have no idea of the timeframes for these things. And if you haven’t decorated it, do you have ideas for what it’s going to look like?

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:34 am

        We’re still in the declutter phase. And also my husband is making a pseudo-office out of one of or closets in the guest room and make a nice closet system in another (we are lucky enough to have three closets in there!) and wants to use the space in the baby’s room to cut the wood etc. so we’re a ways away from actually decorating! But, we’ve picked out the paint (Benjamin Moore Neon Celery) and I spent a good chunk of change at Home Goods yesterday on these adorable baskets with elephants on them and another set with giraffes on them. We’re doing an animal theme in there. We also have the crib already, but it’s still in the box. I’m looking forward to the decorating part. This part is the pits. ☺️

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:42 am

        I bought other things at Home Goods which warranted the “chunk of change” but didn’t mention them haha. The baskets were inexpensive. I love Home Goods and am actually going to another nearby today!

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      • Portia

        Portia February 11, 2016, 10:45 am

        Haha, I always want to buy so much from Home Goods, too! Good thing I don’t go there often. And I love that color for the baby’s room! Aww, animals on it is going to be adorable. Good luck on the decluttering part! I’m the worst at that.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:01 am

      Be glad you’re not here today it is freezing (by my standards!). And this Saturday night it’s supposed to be 18!!!

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki February 11, 2016, 10:09 am

        Its 0 outside right now where I am. But with the wind, it feels like -10. Yuck.

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      ktfran February 11, 2016, 9:20 am

      Lianne, what’s your fave things to do in HH?

      We’re going to the Heritage Golf classic and day drinking. It’s me, three of my cousins and our boyfriend/fiance’s/husband. But other than that, no plans.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:40 am

        It was literally my first time there so I got nothing! We did have brunch at a place – and of course the name escapes me – that had an amazing buffet and $3 bloody Mary’s, mimosas and screwdrivers until 3. It was more casual and I really enjoyed it. Sorry I can’t be of more help!!

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        ktfran February 11, 2016, 10:20 am

        Oh, no worries. Since you said you were with the parents, I thought maybe they lived there and you visited a lot. I was making assumptions based on not much.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne February 11, 2016, 10:43 am

        They do live there, but just moved last January and this was (shamefully) our first visit.

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      RedRoverRedRover February 11, 2016, 11:32 am

      I feel you on the baby’s room, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m so tired. I’ve got a toddler too which seriously cuts into sleep time, and on top of that I’ve been sick for ages. I just keep getting sick. I had the flu for two weeks, and my throat’s been sore ever since. I wake up at night and cough for literally an hour before falling asleep again. Last night I got less than four hours sleep total. I haven’t gotten more than five hours any night all week.
      .
      I’m honestly so friggin sick of this pregnancy. I can’t wait for it to be over. I’m sick of being sick, I’m sick of being tired, I’m sick of dealing with the terrible twos when I’ve had almost no sleep and can’t even talk without pain. My husband has been great but I feel bad that he’s bearing the brunt of dealing with our son because I’ve been so sick. And with his commute he just can’t do more than what he’s doing, and for me it’s not enough because I’m having such a hard time.
      .
      Sorry about the pity party, I’m just so tired. And my job’s so busy and I have tons of work to do before I go, so there’s no rest during the day (when my cough actually subsides and it would be possible to nap). I just keep telling myself that it’ll end in a few months and I’ve just got to keep pushing. But it’s so hard.

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        Anonymousse February 11, 2016, 5:50 pm

        I hope you feel better soon!

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        RedRoverRedRover February 11, 2016, 7:18 pm

        Thank you. πŸ™‚

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  • Portia

    Portia February 11, 2016, 8:49 am

    Oh I’ve got a great recent vacation. We went on our honeymoon recently (December/January) and it was awesome. We usually try to save money where we can, but we went all out for the honeymoon. Our hotel in Japan was luxurious and had an amazing view, we stayed in a bungalow over the water on a tropical island, had a private boat ride, massages, the works. It was the most expensive vacation I think I’ve ever been on and it did take all the vacation days I’d saved up at work, but so worth it. And now I can dream about it for the next year while I build up some more vacation days.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:43 am

      Omg this sounds amazing!! And good for you for going all out. It’s the time to do it!!

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      • Portia

        Portia February 11, 2016, 10:49 am

        Thanks! Even though it meant all our upcoming travel days are now restricted to visiting family or going to weddings (the ones we can make), it was totally worth it.

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      Anonymousse February 11, 2016, 5:51 pm

      That sounds like heaven!

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    Jane63 February 11, 2016, 8:52 am

    I am relocating from SWFL to Dallas this weekend. Getting packed today and the moving van tomorrow. Trying to stay sane and just go with it. I guess my vacation will be a 3 day road trip to TX. Fun times. Sorry the weather is not cooperating with you, Wendy. It has been cold here the last few weeks. Very disappointing.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray February 11, 2016, 12:14 pm

      Oh that will be a fun road trip! I love road trips. I want to do a road trip through Louisiana for my next one.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl February 11, 2016, 4:17 pm

        we did that AP! it was awesome. stopped in nashville on the way down, memphis on the way back up

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      Rangerchic February 11, 2016, 2:55 pm

      Good luck with the move! We moved last June from NW Arkansas to Colorado Springs. I have to say…we absolutely love CO Springs! It’s about 12 hours from where we lived but took us 3 days…because of stuff like the dog locking himself in the UHaul!
      But being from NW AR I’ve been to Dallas several times (it was about 5 hrs away). Can’t say I’m a Texas fan but I hope you enjoy living there!

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        Jane63 February 11, 2016, 3:52 pm

        Louisiana is awesome. If you do go & can get to the Katrina Memorial in New Orleans it is life changing.

        I lived in Monument and Denver for 12 years – spent lost of time in the Springs. Glad you love it there. Colorado rocks!

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        Jane63 February 11, 2016, 3:53 pm

        LOL I probably did lose some time in the Springs at the Ritz:)

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        Rangerchic February 11, 2016, 4:25 pm

        I’ve been to New Orleans once for a vacation and it was the worst vacation I’ve ever had (pre-Katrina). I mean it could be turned into a real live National Lampoons vacation and now I can laugh at everything that happened but not for a long time! I still don’t know if I ever want to go back though :()
        .
        What I love about living in the Springs is you have Denver just to the north and if you can’t find something to do here then you can always find something in Denver….and Monument has at the cutest tea house and an awesome moonshine bar!

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    jlyfsh February 11, 2016, 9:04 am

    I think we’re actually going to take the dogs for a ‘family’ Valentine’s Day in another beach town that’s close and supposedly really dog friendly. We’ll see! If nothing else we’ll get to see somewhere new. And I found a brewery I want to check out. We typically use all of our vacation days to visit family so this is an easy way to do something with just us.

    For the Super Bowl I actually took one of Skinny Taste’s Spicy Shrimp Dip recipes and put it in little won tons in a mini cupcake pan. They were amazing!

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      SpaceySteph February 11, 2016, 11:20 am

      That sounds lovely. We try to do dog vacations too when we take personal trips because we visit family a lot and almost always have to fly to see them which means leaving the dog behind (at 50 lbs he does NOT fit under the seat). I don’t want to kennel him any more than I have to so we try to take him as much as we can. We took our dog to the beach a couple years ago for labor day and had a great time. We stayed at a vacation rental walking distance from the beach and it was nice and relaxing.

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    Jax February 11, 2016, 9:04 am

    Not really a vacation, but I am living in Denmark until May. My boyfriend is coming to visit in April and we plan on doing some country hopping for a week.

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    Savannah February 11, 2016, 9:25 am

    I just got back last week from a 2 week vacation with my boyfriend (now fiance) in Paris and Belgium. It is the longest I have ever taken off from work and coming back to my desk was mind numbingly depressing. We had a wonderful time, a semi-surprise super sweet proposal and lots of cheese but I think it has also really made us question where we live and what we do every day that is not vacation. We are both on call 24/7 for our jobs and I never realized before the toll that was taking on everything in our lives. At the very least as we are going into the mess of wedding planning we are also having a lot of conversations about long term plans and what we want life to look like eventually.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne February 11, 2016, 9:44 am

      Congrats! Sounds amazing!

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      Anonymousse February 11, 2016, 5:55 pm

      I feel this so hard.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki February 11, 2016, 9:36 am

    I hope you have a great vacation! Normally we don’t do anything for Valentine’s day, but this year we’re going to Baconfest in Milwaukee so we’re staying in a hotel overnight Saturday (first night away from the baby!) and having time for us.
    Annnndddd…. we totally got a dog. He’s super sweet and lovey and is very gentle with the baby. And he’s afraid of the cats. This morning one of the cats hissed at him and he started whining and ran over to me.

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      Anonymousse February 11, 2016, 5:55 pm

      Awww, cute!

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    ktfran February 11, 2016, 10:23 am

    Oh, and Wendy, I really like that pic. Super cute!

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    shakeourtree February 11, 2016, 10:46 am

    I’m back working after my emergency surgery last Thursday. So I took a break, but it was not exactly a vacation. This whole ordeal has been very overwhelming, and I’ve been crying a lot for no discernible reason. I’m still in a lot of pain, so I’m on narcotics, which means I can’t drive. And I can’t even lift my own briefcase for the next three weeks because it’s too heavy. So not only do my friends have to drive me around, they also have to carry my bag around for me. I feel like a baby. But I ordered a rolling briefcase that should be delivered tomorrow, and my doc and I set up a plan yesterday to taper off the narcotics. My friends and family have been really, really good to me, but I’m just ready to get some independence back.

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      shakeourtree February 11, 2016, 10:53 am

      Oh, I was so busy being a sad sack that I forgot about my romantic beach vacation. Went to the beach over New Year’s with my Latin lover. It was an epic second date. Details are over on the dating thread, I think.

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    va-in-ny February 11, 2016, 10:56 am

    Anyone want to help plan a honeymoon?? I’m the type that would love to spend 10 days lounging around in a bathing suit, swimming in the ocean, and sipping drinks out of coconuts, but my fiance would be able to spend approximately 1 day doing nothing before going crazy. We need to find a solution that allows for 1-3 days of post-wedding decompressing in a tropical/sandy beach setting, going on some adventures for 4-5 days, then ending up back in a do-nothing setting before getting back to the real world.

    We’ve tossed around a few ideas (Portugal/Spain? Bali? Southern Caribbean?)

    We have been saving like CRAZY to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but we can’t seem to narrow it down!

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    • othy

      othy February 11, 2016, 11:06 am

      Go to Costa Rica – they’ve got beaches and adventure, and from what I understand they are quite cheap.

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        RedRoverRedRover February 11, 2016, 11:21 am

        That’s what I was just about to say! We took a 10-day trip that went around the whole country. It wasn’t a beach vacation, but it was great. We did have a lot of time on the bus though, I knitted an entire lace shawl. πŸ™‚
        .
        That being said, there are some beautiful resorts on the coasts. I think they’re mostly on the west coast, so you could see what they have for day trips and such. There are also nice resorts around the Arenal volcano, and an amazing spa/hot spring. It’s also more central so might be better for day trips. Personally I liked the east coast better, we actually saw baby turtles hatch and run down the beach! But I’m not sure how resort-y it is. I think it has a lot of nature reserves and then a bunch of rough port towns.

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      mertlej February 11, 2016, 11:13 am

      We had a combo of adventure and relaxing for our honeymoon – we had 2 weeks, and hit Istanbul (lots of activity), Athens (activity) and Santorini (relaxing!). If you have a week, I’d say go for Greece – you can explore Athens, and then head to one (or more) of the Islands to relax. When we were on Santorini, we basically lounged, drank a ton of wine (and went to a vineyard for a wine tasting… that was huge and amazing), and ate a ton of food. In Athens, we were able to take every day at our own pace and have very lengthy meals, but we also explored every single day.

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      • Portia

        Portia February 11, 2016, 11:46 am

        I second Greece. I had a fantastic time there. Two days in Athens was plenty for me and I loved our island getaway (Skopelos), but other than beaches and delicious food there wasn’t much to do.

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        mertlej February 11, 2016, 12:04 pm

        Yeah, I think we spent 3 days in Athens and 3 days in Santorini (and we spent about a week in Istanbul). It worked out perfectly, and after so much exploring we were really relieved to have some relaxing time – even my husband, who doesn’t like to read and gets bored very easily.

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      SpaceySteph February 11, 2016, 11:22 am

      Hawaii? Good mix of loungy beaches and adventure.

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    • Portia

      Portia February 11, 2016, 11:53 am

      I loved Portugal and there is plenty to do without breaking the bank. It’s a small country and would be very easy to travel around.
      .
      Have you thought about New Zealand? I’m not sure how much you could get done in a week (or what time of year you were thinking) but it’s certainly got beaches and adventure. Or you could do Thailand – amazing beaches in Krabi and lots of places to explore there or a nearby country.

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        va-in-ny February 11, 2016, 12:01 pm

        Ah, I forgot to mention! It would be in July, and we could likely do up to 2 weeks.

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      • FireStar

        Firestar February 11, 2016, 1:45 pm

        Cruise? Days at sea to relax; port days for adventure and some of those adventures build in beach time… We’ve done a bunch of different Caribbean ones but the Hawaiian cruise was AMAZING (loved the luau fire dances). Just book your own tours – not off the ship – they are sites where you can book ahead if you don’t want to roll the dice in the port…and splurge on balcony suites. Husband booked one for our honeymoon and now it’s our favourite way to vacation….

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        Ange February 11, 2016, 3:11 pm

        Ooh not new Zealand then if you want warm beach times.

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  • othy

    othy February 11, 2016, 11:08 am

    I leave for Florida in a week! I’m so excited. We’ve been having a nasty inversion which has been triggering my asthma and keeping me indoors. So a week in the warmer, cleaner air sounds fantastic. I’m also running in the Disney World Princess Half Marathon, which I am SO excited for.

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  • Pamplemousse Rose

    Pamplemousse Rose February 11, 2016, 11:10 am

    We’re going to Phoenix in April with my inlaws. Since it can still be wintry in April where I live, I’m looking forward to the warm weather. With the Canadian dollar as bad as it is right now, I don’t think we’ll do too much besides sitting by the pool and drinking gin & tonics – which is okay by me πŸ™‚ We will be there for our anniversary and have grandparents to babysit, so if anyone can recommend a nice restaurant (we’re staying south) that would be great!

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      Anonymous February 11, 2016, 1:11 pm

      Flemings is my favorite steakhouse.. they have locations all over the valley, but if you are staying south then the Chandler location (which is my favorite) should be relatively close for you.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl February 11, 2016, 11:23 am

    Valentines weekend: RadioStar had gotten $200 gift card to a lettuce entertain you restaurant from a vendor, so we’re going to blow it (and blow some of our own $$) at Everest. So. freaking. excited. I managed to get a reservation a month or two in advance for 6:30 (a little early but the other option was 930 and i didn’t feel like falling asleep in my soup). Sunday will be relaxing and maybe making some homemade ramen? and old movies.

    Trips coming up: i have a lot of travel for work in the next few months. HOWEVER….. We’re planning a very *special* vacation in June. Flying into San Fran, then heading out to Napa for a long weekend. After that, we’re going to be hiking in yosemite and staying in Curry Village in the tents. The HalfDome hike permit lottery starts in March so REALLY hoping we snag one of those. We’ll finish up in Tahoe with some easier hiking and maybe a relaxing massage.

    Oh yeah.. and we’re eloping.

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    • Pamplemousse Rose

      Pamplemousse Rose February 11, 2016, 11:53 am

      Congratulations! (Way to bury the lede)

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray February 11, 2016, 12:15 pm

      Haha congrats!

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      K February 11, 2016, 12:16 pm

      It shouldn’t be hard for you to snag a Half Dome permit. We were in Yosemite last July and my boyfriend had no trouble with the lottery. We also stayed in the tents at Curry Village! Sounds like a great trip.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl February 11, 2016, 12:22 pm

        how are the tents? I actually booked the two twins beds since squeezing two tall people on a double cot after an exhausting day hiking didn’t sound really fun to me. I’ve got it booked for at least the day before the hike and the night we get back. Once we figure out what day we get, i’ll book something outside the park and closer to another set of trails. I’ve been to Yosemite once before for rafting which was insane.

        I have a hotel booked for South Tahoe, but I think i’m going to switch to the north side of the lake instead. Anyone travel there before? As for Napa, my goal is to buy a case (or two) of wine and join a club. And maybe a hot air balloon ride. If i have to pick, i’ll choose wine

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        K February 11, 2016, 12:35 pm

        We also had the two twins. They were fine, spartan, but the cots were decently comfortable for what they were. Showers/bathrooms are like typical campground showers. Try to start your hike of Half Dome early. I think my boyfriend left around 5 am. The trail leaves right from the Curry Village area. By the time he was descending, he said there were a bunch of people coming up on the part with the cables and it was pretty crowded. I hike, but I haven’t hiked more than 11-12 miles before so I skipped Half Dome and did a shorter hike with views instead. Maybe next time!

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl February 11, 2016, 12:43 pm

        yeah everything I’ve read has said early early early for half dome, bring leather /gripper gloves for the cables, don’t ascend if you even THINK it might rain, and pack lots of water and jerky.

        Glad to know the tents aren’t bad. We don’t have a problem with it, especially since the other accommodations during the trip will be awesome.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 4:20 pm

        Yes to gloves- leather or those rubber ones. There was also a pile of gloves at the bottom that people had left for others to use just in case. πŸ™‚

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 1:39 pm

      Congrats MG!!
      If you want some tips on SF and hiking Half Dome, let me know. (I live in SF and have hiked Half Dome πŸ™‚ )

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl February 11, 2016, 1:45 pm

        oh yea? how crazy is it? i’ve done angel’s landing which wasn’t too horrible.

        registration for civil ceremony opens up mid march.. and registration for permits opens up about the same time.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 4:19 pm

        I went in August, so my group started really early (4am) to get to the top before it got too hot (which we reached around noon). We got to Vernal Falls at sunrise, so having a head lamp was a necessity while hiking in the dark. I packed as much water as I could without my pack being too overloaded, and brought a water purifier. I’m glad I brought it, because on the way down, I was almost out of water and was able to refill at the river. (and dunk my legs! It felt amazing.) Also I recommend trekking poles, since you’re basically hiking uphill for 8 miles straight, and it’s pretty uneven. And, right before you get to the cables you have to hike up a smooth face of granite to get to it.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 5:20 pm

        Also to add: It’s a pretty strenuous hike. Mainly (for me) it was the altitude adjustment and the length. I’m pretty in-shape, but I wasn’t fully acclimated, and towards the top (the couple of miles before the cables) I had to stop and catch my breath frequently. Round trip, we started at 4am and made it to the car around 5pm or so.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 6:50 pm

        Ugh, one more eta: I meant Nevada, not Vernal Falls! It’s not that far to Vernal.

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    • FireStar

      Firestar February 11, 2016, 1:58 pm

      Congrats!

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  • mylaray

    Mylaray February 11, 2016, 12:20 pm

    My husband has been planning a fancy tasting menu at home for Valentine’s Day. I love that I’ve inspired him into cooking. I have a couple of sexy surprises in store for him. Mostly we’re just trying to keep everything low key right now as we’re going to India next month for Holi and to see a good friend of mine. I can’t wait, and I especially love traveling with my husband.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny February 11, 2016, 1:44 pm

    I have no vacation plans coming up. I realized last year that I have not taken more than 1 week off of work at a time since 2008. I’d love to go somewhere that is actually relaxing, since I typically jam pack my trips and come home more tired than when I left! I’m moving in June, so I’m focusing on saving my money for that.
    I also have no Valentines Day plans. (Secretly, I was hoping that one of my dates would have worked out by now but that hasn’t happened…) I think I’m going to go to ballet class in the morning and then go to a coffee shop and study for my exams. However, it’s a 3-day weekend for me, so I at least will get a holiday from work!

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  • FireStar

    Firestar February 11, 2016, 1:54 pm

    We just came back a couple of weeks ago from a Caribbean cruise (Mexico/Honduras/Belize) with our 2 year old and my friend and her 2 year old. We had side by side cabins and made the balconies open. Had lots of fun and loved the two munchkins playing with each other. Easier travelling too for the single mom with extra hands – and I just love travelling with her. No other vacations coming up – my husband took a six month contract across country so all travel will be between work and home for him.

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    • avatar

      Sandy February 11, 2016, 2:22 pm

      Honeymoon in March so that will be my first vacation for the year. Taking a cruise to Mexico, Belize and Honduras (my first cruise!). For Valentine’s Day we’re going to a nice steak house called Seven at the Ritz Carlton that has doable prices for a nice restaurant.

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      • FireStar

        Firestar February 11, 2016, 3:44 pm

        We loved it! A range of adventures to choose from at those ports (though we were a little limited by the babies). Have a great time and congrats!

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki February 11, 2016, 2:48 pm

      Was it pretty easy to go on a cruise with a little one? I was thinking I wanted to take mine in the next few years.

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      • FireStar

        Firestar February 11, 2016, 3:43 pm

        It was really easy to take her on the cruise – you unpack once and get to see different places; food selection good for picky eaters (like mine); activities and play areas set aside for them for sea days… get to see them all dressed up for formal nights and have super cute pictures… the only down side is you have to pay for babies (vs. resorts where kids under 12 are free) so they charged us a third person rate for her in the room and my friend had to pay full price for her little one since she was technically the second person in the room (has to do with number of people allowed onboard/life boats, etc.) even though they don’t use all the resources as a grown person. Somewhat irritating. Also look at the different cruise lines for who is baby friendly (has splash pool/allowing swim diapers etc.) We went with Princess because they have a bunch of things for her but our favourite line (Celebrity) was not as baby friendly.

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  • Chaotonic

    Chaotonic February 11, 2016, 2:17 pm

    My husband and I have a ton of trips coming up, mostly work, a high school reunion, a wedding, and a family reunion all within the next 4 months. BUT, we are planning a trip to Japan this year! I’m so stoked about that, I always wanted to be stationed there, but it never worked out. I’m a little bummed about what weekends the wedding and family reunion were planned for. The wedding is the day after my birthday, but since the husband is in the wedding we have to be there a couple of days before hand. Which isn’t a big deal, I was just super excited about my birthday falling on Friday the 13th and was planning on throwing a huge superstitious bash, since it’s my first birthday back at home on the mainland in 4 years! But, I’ll just put a pin on that until it comes around again. The family reunion falls literally on my five year wedding anniversary. My mother-in-law wants to kinda turn it into a reunion / anniversary party, but I just not feeling it. I kinda wanted to just spend the day with the Husband and do weird couple things like stay in bed all day and watch crappy C movies. But, apparently that was the only day / weekend that would work for all the family because if we do it on a four / three day weekend its too expensive, if we do it further in the summer its too hot (there’s a pool), and all kinds of excuses, even though they started planning it over a year ago. Actually, I think I’m just bothered by the entire family reunion not because it’s held on the anniversary, its the fact that the Aunt planning it wants to make it a pot luck, but everyone is driving down from several states away so she told all the out-of-towners to bring soda, chips, and paper plates, so it’s going to fall on my Mother-in-Law, myself, my husband, and my Father-in-Law to cook the actual meals, do all the clean up, and just take care of everything. Because that’s what happens every single time. Which is ridiculous. Which is also why I’m looking at just spending the money to get it professionally catered.

    Sorry this turned into a huge rant. But anyway, JAPAN! Super excited.

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    • call-me-hobo

      call-me-hobo February 11, 2016, 8:41 pm

      What part of Japan will you be visiting?

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      • Chaotonic

        Chaotonic February 12, 2016, 1:07 pm

        I’m planning on seeing Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and possibly Osaka. So mostly just the Eastern Seaboard side.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 February 11, 2016, 2:36 pm

    I have a trip coming up in March to Atlanta to visit my friend and run a half marathon with her. It will be her first and my fourth and she’s so excited and we’ve been motivating each other from long distance. I’ll fly down on St. Pats (Thursday night) and fly back Monday night after the marathon. She has to work that Friday but her husband has a half day so he’s going to take me to the capitol (political nerd I have to go visit all the state capitols if I can) and then we’ll do fun stuff Saturday, run Sunday/eat all the things) then do touristy stuff on Monday before I fly back.

    It’s not confirmed but my travel agent friend has a couple free nights at a resort in Riviera Maya and she asked if I’d go with her. And I’ve never been on a tropical beach vacation so I said yes! We just have to get plane tickets. The thought of sitting on a beach and drinking margaritas and doing absolutely nothing just sounds like the best thing ever and totally needed. So hopefully I’ll be doing that near the end of April or early May. Definitely enjoying the part of being single that allows me to drop everything and go on a vacation.

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  • othy

    othy February 11, 2016, 2:44 pm

    Othello and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy for it. I’m thinking October may be the best time to go. Any good advice on booking travel outside of the US, especially if we want to city hop? I’d be fine with a tour if it were geared towards younger travelers, but I’m also open to managing trains on our own.

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic February 11, 2016, 2:52 pm

      My friend used a groupon to travel through Italy for a week or so. He and his wife did it for their honeymoon and they loved it.

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    • avatar

      Kicia February 11, 2016, 3:09 pm

      My friend has booked a few European multi city vacations through Travelzoo.com and had positive experiences on all of the trips she took.

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    • avatar

      Vathena February 11, 2016, 3:12 pm

      My husband and I were in Italy in 2008 and found it pretty easy to navigate the trains. If memory serves, we did passes that allowed stops in a certain number of cities within a 30-day window and it wasn’t too complicated. We stayed in the northern part of the country (passing through on the way from Austria to Switzerland) and loved Venice, a lot more than we expected to. Also spent a few days on Lake Como and it was really beautiful and relaxing.

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana February 12, 2016, 9:21 am

      For Italy I would plan to fly in to – probably Rome and then take trains from there. The trains in Italy are very user-friendly. I would also suggest limiting if possible your trip to a few main locations so you have a bit longer to explore. There is nothing that will ruin Italy more than trying to see all the major cities and giving it like one day each (although IMO Venice is the one major city that is easily a day-trip). Also, October is probably one of the best times to visit Italy. For Rome– I would give 2-3 days and then you can travel up to Florence, again 2 days and from there in to the Tuscan countryside, Bologna is amazing! From the main cities buses out to the smaller cities are very easy. Pisa is a fun day trip, don’t need much more than that.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic February 11, 2016, 3:01 pm

    We are currently building a house and close March 10th!!! We are super excited to finally get out of the tiny apartment we had to rent. Since the house will be done in time for the summer…all of our vacation will be used when family comes to visit us so we don’t get to go anywhere for a vacation though I’m going to try and find some weekend trips to do. We’ve never lived this far away from our home state and didn’t go “home” for the holidays so I’m sure we’ll have to use any left over vacation to go back and see more of the extended family. (Though I’d be happy staying right here!).

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  • avatar

    Vathena February 11, 2016, 3:05 pm

    Next month I’m going to Florida for a long weekend with my three best friends. My in-laws have a condo on the beach and love it when people go and stay there for free (one of the many reasons my in-laws are awesome). We went last year and it was too fantastic not to do it again. We’ll go for morning runs and then eat bacon, lay in the sun, and gossip. Three of us are moms of toddlers, so getting to travel without that stressor makes it even better! The other travel this year will be family-related – a June wedding in Colorado, possible visit to my brother and his family in northern Indiana this summer, and a trip to see my mom in Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in October.

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  • avatar

    Ange February 11, 2016, 3:18 pm

    We’re still waiting to book our US trip. With the potential stops we have being so dependent on the NFL schedule we have to wait until it comes out or we risk booking for nothing. So April or so we’ll do it. It’s shame as we would have saved money doing it earlier but either way we still get an amazing trip in September. It just won’t feel real until we get that itinerary.
    .
    We have also just heard about our next postings and it looks like we aren’t going to get what we want so I’m going back to where we used to live and my husband is going… not sure. It will be good to have a nice trip together before then.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana February 11, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Reading about everyone’s trips planned or that have happened is so much fun! I have a few work trips coming up and then a combined work/pleasure trip in July! I am going to Germany for a conference and my boyfriend is going to come and we are going to take an additional 2 weeks and travel around Europe. No clue where yet– I have lived in Europe and done a lot of traveling and sort of want to just go to Greece (never been) or S. Portugal or Spain and veg the hell out on a beach, but he has never been out of the country and I want him to have a really memorable first time traveling, not just like oh bumming around on some Greek beaches lol. I also am torn between wanting to go new places with him, or take him back to places I have been/know really well? Maybe I’ll save that for future trips. Right now I think we are leaning towards Prague/Czech Republic, Vienna and Amsterdam but I am just not getting super excited about that right now.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE February 11, 2016, 5:31 pm

    I’m spending a whole week in LA in mid-April and I am SO excited about it! I booked the flight and now I just need to get a hotel room. I’m going to be meeting several friends of friends out there, as well as seeing a good friend of mine who’s moving there AND seeing a guy I hooked up with a few times over Christmas. A little nervous about that but mostly really excited! I can’t wait to explore the city on my own.

    I just need to find a good deal on the hotel…I booked an AirBnB but they had a cat and I’m allergic. πŸ™ LA is so expensive! Argh.

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  • avatar

    memboard February 16, 2016, 5:24 am

    I was in the Keys at the same time. It was more than warm enough for me there (but I think it was notably warmer than Miami).

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