Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Tuesday Open Thread

Hi! I’m dealing with some personal stuff today (all is well — just busy with important appointments that demand a lot of mental focus and energy) — so in lieu of a column this morning, here’s an open thread for you to talk amongst yourselves. This is a photo of a cute sidewalk cafe where I wouldn’t mine spending the morning. Where are you spending the morning? Where would you like to be spending the morning? Any plans for upcoming Memorial Day weekend?

48 comments… add one
  • Meg May 23, 2017, 9:41 am

    This is perfect timing since there are several of you NYC folks!

    I’m actually headed to NY this weekend- a choir I sing with is taking a piece called The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins on tour (2pm Sunday at Riverside Church if anyone wants to come hear it! It’s a fantastic piece speaking to the need for peace, which is certainly relevant today).

    I’ll have much of the day Saturday, and then Monday-Wednesday free to explore the city. We’ll be staying down by Times Square for the group portion of the trip, and then when the rest of the group leaves on Monday I’ll be headed up to the Upper West Side to stay with a friend from HS. Given that I’m not looking to spend a bunch of money, what should I see/do? Musts to eat or drink? I’m usually such a planner, but I’ve been swamped lately and haven’t even started brainstorming yet except maybe trying to get same-day tickets to a show at some point.

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  • TheHizzy May 23, 2017, 9:58 am

    You guys. After 11 months of a LDR he’s moving SATURDAY!

    I’m excited, nervous, anxious, scared, happy, thrilled, so in love with this amazing man!

    One of his kids is making the drive with us and staying until Wednesday. So it’ll be a few nights before we are alone totally. I can’t wait to see them both and then have him here full time! Woohoo!!

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    • Cleopatra Jones May 23, 2017, 1:36 pm

      Aww, that’s sweet. So happy for you!

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    • veritek33 May 23, 2017, 2:05 pm


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  • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 10:10 am

    Happy Tuesday everyone!

    My daughter graduates high school next May! We are wanting to take her on a trip as a gift but it is also the 20th year anniversary for her father and I and we also wanted to take a once-in-a-lifetime type trip. (Poor planning on our part – to have both happen in the same year 🙂

    Anyway, we decided to combine the trip since we can’t afford two. The problem is she is a beach type person and we like old stuff…exploring old cities, museums and such. We are trying to compromise but can’t seem to find a city/place that combines both. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’d like to start planning now to give us time to save/pay in advance, etc. We can’t afford super exotic but we all do have passports so international would be an option.

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    • Meg May 23, 2017, 10:20 am

      My first thought is either Belize or the Yucatan!

      My ex and I went to Belize on our honeymoon and split our time between the mainland and an island on the reef. On the mainland (stayed in the Mountain Pine Ridge region at Hidden Valley Inn) there was lots of Maya sites (cities like Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, and Lamanai, and the coolest thing ever- a cave where the Maya made sacrifices called Actun Tunichil Muknal), plus exploring the jungle if you’re into that. There’s not a lot of big city stuff, but there is some colonial sites in Belize City if you’re into that. And on the island (Ambergris Caye) all the snorkeling you could want, beach bars, scuba diving, etc.

      I will say that given the reef, the beaches themselves aren’t as nice as in Mexico. It makes for great snorkeling and diving, but you could probably do something similar on the Yucatan if you stayed in Tulum or Playa del Carmen. I’ve always wanted to explore Valladolid, which seems like a gorgeous colonial city that isn’t too long a drive from there!

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    • Juliecatharine May 23, 2017, 10:21 am

      Cancun is the first thing to jump into my mind. Good deals for the warmer months too if you don’t mind the heat.

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    • LANY May 23, 2017, 10:47 am

      Rangerchic, Barcelona would be my vote. There’s a lovely beach there, along with history – its a great place to spend 4-6 days (personally I think a week is a little much, but perhaps then you can go to some of the other beach towns nearby).

      Southern Italy is fantastic – just got back from there – but places like Capri and the Amalfi coast have super rocky beaches, and its more a “beach club” culture which is harder when you’re traveling with your family, I think. Same with Greece – the beaches aren’t nearly as great as being out on a sailboat looking back at the islands. And most of the places you’d want to go for history, I don’t think the beaches would be as much fun.

      You could also consider Thailand — amazing beaches, and lots of cultural things to do (though not strolling through an old city in quite the same way). Brazil, same… I think the cities aren’t as charming as Europe, but you’d have Ipanema Beach where you can get the best of both worlds. Colombia, also, has some fantastic islands with lots of culture and gorgeous beaches.

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      • Dear Wendy May 23, 2017, 4:22 pm

        Yes to barcelona. Drew and I honeymooned there and it was amazing. It has everything you’re looking for.

    • Copa May 23, 2017, 11:05 am

      Thailand! I’m not sure where you are located, but I’d choose something that’s less accessible than Europe and think Thailand is a great option. There are cultural things you can do and beautiful beaches. It’s one of my favorites countries I’ve visited and I’m dying to go back.

      Also, I think it’s really nice that you guys are factoring in what your daughter likes to do. My parents never did that when we would go on vacation and sometimes they’d end up with whiny children when we had zero interest in what they were doing. My family lived in Japan when I was younger, so I guess this isn’t quite the same since it must’ve been on a weekend trip, but I remember being dragged to Japanese puppet theater and being bored out of my freakin’ mind.

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      • K May 23, 2017, 11:27 am

        I really want to go to Thailand – glad to hear that it’s one of your favorite trips, @Copa!

      • Portia May 23, 2017, 11:54 am

        I second Thailand. There are certainly cultural things to do (fewer old historical buildings, though) and the beaches are fantastic! We were in the Krabi area maybe 3 years ago and had a fantastic time. There’s probably other Southeast Asia options that could fit the bill as well. I loved Hanoi for the cultural/historical aspects as well as it being a really interesting city, and I think there might be good beach excursions from there, though we stayed in the city.

    • K May 23, 2017, 11:29 am

      Puerto Rico has old forts, lots of history, Old San Juan is great to walk around. And there are also great beaches there. You can take a ferry to Culebra or Vieques which are less crowded and have beautiful beaches, and stay a couple of nights there as well.

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      • Kate May 23, 2017, 11:43 am

        My parents recently spent a couple nights in San Juan before and after a cruise, and they really liked it. They stayed in just like a courtyard Marriott, but it looked like a fabulous beach resort with a swim-up bar and everything.

      • Copa May 23, 2017, 11:55 am

        I was in PR recently and liked it but didn’t love it. Everything had a tourist trap vibe to me. Old San Juan would have been right up my alley but it was completely overrun by tourists from cruise ships, which I didn’t love. (According to our tour guide, the crowds we experienced wasn’t as bad if it gets when more cruises are docked, but I thought they were pretty obnoxious.) We did some short, local hikes that were pleasant, but, again, super crowded. We stayed at a resort in Fajardo that had its own beach on an island about 15 minutes away by boat, and the resort would shuttle guests back and forth during the day. The beach was alright, and my biggest issue with the resort was that I felt like we were stuck there with nothing walkable around us.
        I’d go back to PR, but I’d do things differently. I’d still go to Old San Juan, but would try to somehow avoid the cruise-goers because I think the city would be significantly more pleasant without them. And I’d go to Vieques for the beach experience.
        I’d go somewhere like Playa del Carmen (near Cancun) before going back to PR.

      • K May 24, 2017, 10:30 am

        Culebra is less crowded than Vieques, if you really want solitude. It was great.

    • Sarahhhh May 23, 2017, 11:56 am

      If you decide to stay in the States, you should consider visiting Pensacola in the panhandle of Florida. We’re famous both for having the whitest beaches and for being the site America’s oldest settlement, which has finally been located and is actually being excavated right now.

      You guys could rent a nice condo or house right on the beach for a week (many have pools, hot tubs, and other neat ameninities for vacationers) and your daughter would never need to leave the island. There are all sorts of things to do (parasailing, jetskiing, go-karting, paddle-boarding, etc) and places to eat out on the beach alone. Plus, one of our big historical attractions is Fort Pickens and is located right there on the beach. It only takes like ten minutes in good traffic to drive into downtown/historic Pensacola from the beach, and that’s where most of our musuems and historical tours are located. We also have a relatively new baseball stadium downtown, with games and fireworks right on the water, plus tons of shopping and unique restaurants and an active nightlife.
      It might be the best of both worlds for y’all and maybe not too tough on your budget either

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      • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 2:35 pm

        Thanks everyone, I love all the suggestions! We live in Colorado – close enough to the Denver airport that it won’t be a problem (hopefully) flying anywhere. We might even decide trying to get in several cities, that would be fun!
        @Sarahhh – we’ve actually been to Florida though not to Pensacola directly. We’ve been to a smaller town in the gulf, close to Gulf Shores but on the Florida side (can’t remember the name currently). This is where she gets her love of the beach from!

  • Kate May 23, 2017, 10:16 am

    Greece?? Southern Italy? Even Cancun has Mayan ruins.

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  • Kate May 23, 2017, 10:25 am

    Also, I don’t know Georgia super well, but there is civil war-era history as well as beaches.

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    • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 10:34 am

      Thanks Kate! I asked her about Greece and Italy as I’ve always wanted to go and she wasn’t to warm on the idea. I have not thought about Cancun or Georgia…I’ll have to ask her about those. The Mayan ruins kinda slipped my mind. They haven’t been on the top 10 of my travel list but, hey, if we can agree than I’m all for it!

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      • va-in-ny May 23, 2017, 10:45 am

        My husband and I went to Croatia for our honeymoon because we wanted something that was both beachy and historical. Highly recommend!!!

      • Kate May 23, 2017, 10:47 am

        Dude, has she seen pictures of Mykonos? The Mediterranean has beautiful beaches.

        St. John in the US Virgin Islands is beautiful and there is plenty of sightseeing, but not exactly like, art and culture.

      • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 11:33 am

        Thanks va-in-ny! (I couldn’t reply to you directly). Croatia never even crossed my mind as I really don’t know much, if anything about it! I’ll have to do some investigating. and as for Mykonos…I’ll have to pull that up tonight – Not sure if we could afford that but it would be an awesome trip.

      • va-in-ny May 23, 2017, 11:51 am

        Also something to consider about Croatia – they’ll be switching over to the Euro in 2019, so if you can get in before then, it’s still highly favorable on the exchange rate.

      • Portia May 23, 2017, 11:58 am

        I haven’t been to Croatia, but it does sound like Dubrovnik is the kind of place you’re looking for.

      • Wendy's Sister May 23, 2017, 3:55 pm

        I second St. Augustine. There was too much to do for the three days I was there last month. The problem with the beach was that we couldn’t get parking, but we already live in a beach city in Florida on the Atlantic coast, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for us.

  • Firestar May 23, 2017, 10:39 am

    I’m with Kate. Find a beach in Europe she will like. France/Spain/Italy/Portugal/Malta etc. Everything is pretty close there so you can explore whatever architecture you want in the surrounding areas. Or take a weekend trip to wherever on the train and leave her at the beach. I love train travel. If you can, spring for the private 1st class compartments… bring a little picnic and wine….kind of romantic…

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    • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 2:21 pm

      I’m going to have to sit her down and take a look at all these places together. I’ve never traveled by train, sounds fun! I think she’s discounting them because she doesn’t know enough about them.

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      • MaterialsGirl May 25, 2017, 9:18 am

        I’m going to Croatia tomorrow.. so yeah its cheap, the beaches are great. you can kayak and see lots of old stuff and be outdoors without TOO much stress on the art museums and cathedrals.

        Also: Portugal

  • Bittergaymark May 23, 2017, 10:40 am

    Fred 62 in Los Feliz. Great diner.
    $2 bottomless Iced Coffee.

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  • RedRoverRedRover May 23, 2017, 10:41 am

    South of France? There are tons of medieval cities up in the French Alps, you can book tours to take you around to them. Lots of history with famous artists too, if you’re into that. You could stay in Nice and your daughter could hang on the beach if she wants while you go on day trips. You can also go to Cannes, Monaco, and other seaside towns. You could also ferry to Corsica, where Napoleon was born.

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    • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 2:20 pm

      Thanks RR. I’m thinking of maybe finding a local travel agent, if they still exist, and using them as well. It’s so hard to plan a trip to a foreign country you’ve never been to…for me anyway. I’m afraid of not picking a good place to stay or staying in the wrong side of town.

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  • LisforLeslie May 23, 2017, 11:16 am

    I say go downtown on Saturday to Washington Square Park or Union Square. Union Square has become a bit of a shopping mall – most of the stores are chains like DSW and Sephora, but it’s still nice to walk around. My fave is ABC Carpet and Home where I can’t afford anything but looking is fun. Washington Square Park and the surrounding area is a little less corporate. During the week, head into Central Park – it’s delightful and you can bring a blanket a picnic meal and just chill.

    When visiting your friend on the West Side – see if there are any shows at Lincoln Center – they have awesome cabaret and jazz performances. Films too.
    Also if you’re in the mood for shopping hit up Century 21.

    On Mon- Wed – weather permitting consider taking the ferry out from lower Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (it should be open again now). It’s a nice trip, not too expensive and the view is gorgeous. I recommend not getting off on Liberty Island – the view from the boat is better. Ellis Island is pretty interesting.

    If you’re interested in museum visits – I love the MAD at Columbus Circle and the Cooper Hewitt on the Upper East side. The Cooper Hewitt has this awesome technology where you take a wand through the museum and capture QR codes of the items you like. Then you can revisit the museum on line and see the things you liked/captured using the wand. It’s also pretty small, it’s in a mansion so it doesn’t take too long.

    Food – Two faves are right near one another – Ethos for Greek on 33rd and 3rd. 2nd Avenue Deli is right near there too and the Corned Beef is fantastic.

    Aside from “not expensive” what are you interests? I mean, there’s everything here. You want to buy a fossil, supplies to make a gold ring, a used Armani suit? We got that. Actually – that might be interesting, there are a lot of designer resale shops on Upper West and Upper East with high quality used clothes and accessories.

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    • Meg May 23, 2017, 11:53 am

      Thanks so much!

      I’m really looking forward to the opportunity for some introvert exploring time after the group portion is done. Obviously I’m into music (mostly nerdy classical stuff) and while I don’t want to live in art museums, I’d check one out. I love history, and coffee/craft beer/cocktails. Food-wise I’m more into hole-in-the-wall finds than anything fancy… and I’m a pescatarian, which makes me a little bit annoying lol. I’m not a huge shopper, and I’m not planning to bring a huge bag so I won’t be able to bring a ton back anyway. Definitely going to make a pilgrimage to Stonewall!

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      • Jen May 23, 2017, 7:08 pm

        Ooh you should get brunch at Quantum Leap (great veggie brunch) in Greenwich village then walk around the NYU/Washington sq park area.

      • LisforLeslie May 24, 2017, 12:08 pm

        Then definitely check out Lincoln Center while you’re here, they have a TKTS location for lower priced tickets. I reiterate the Ethos suggestion. They have a selection of fish and broil with olive oil, lemon and it is amazing.

        A friend just introduced me to an great Brazilian place on the west side at 9th & 50th, Rice and Beans. It sits about 10 people. It’s delicious and totally reasonably priced. Same with Ethos.

        I live on the East side so I’m not as in the know of all the great places on the west side. There’s pretty much a coffee shop or tea shop every couple of blocks.

        If you love history – consider the Tenement Museum downtown.

  • RedroverRedrover May 23, 2017, 12:47 pm

    South of France? There are tons of medieval cities up in the French Alps, you can book tours to take you around to them. Lots of history with famous artists too, if you’re into that. You could stay in Nice and your daughter could hang on the beach if she wants while you go on day trips. You can also go to Cannes, Monaco, and other seaside towns. You could also ferry to Corsica, where Napoleon was born.

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  • veritek33 May 23, 2017, 12:47 pm

    So something I haven’t told very many people – I’m thinking of making a big career change! I’m meeting with a university on Friday to see the feasibility of getting a masters in a completely different field than what I do now (i’d have to take some pre reqs to do the masters or just transfer in as a senior with my previous degree and get a second bachelors degree)

    My layoff last summer has made me do some soul searching about my life and career and I’m just not happy doing what I do. I’m not helping anyone or giving back doing what I do, and I really want to give back and help people. But I’m grown up enough to know that I have to keep doing it until I have another solid foundation because no one is going to support me financially but me! I’m also thinking doing it now, while I’m single and don’t have kids, is the best time to do it.

    Anyway, I’m excited to go learn my options and was wondering if anyone else out there has made a big career change in their 30s? Any advice?

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    • Cleopatra Jones May 23, 2017, 1:46 pm

      I work in academia, making a career switch in your 30’s (especially in a masters program) is not a big deal. Most people in a masters level program are going to be adults in their late 20’s and up. I think it’s rare to see a 24 year old in a masters program. You’ll be fine.

      What are you thinking of shifting too?

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      • veritek33 May 23, 2017, 2:08 pm

        I have a BS in communications/poli sci/ PR (currently work in PR and marketing communications) and I’ve been thinking the past few years of pursing Nutrition and Fitness. The local university has a bachelor’s and masters program and I’m just not sure which avenue to pursue. For the masters I’d most likely have to take some pre reqs as non degree seeking before I’d be admitted for the masters program.

      • Rangerchic May 23, 2017, 2:24 pm

        I’m jealous Veritek33! I would love a career change, but I’m kind of afraid to go that route. I’m 41 and still paying off student loans so I don’t really want to incur more debt. I actually work at a private college (can’t go here though it really is for traditional students) but they have a deal with the local University; however, I have to be here 5 years to take advantage of that.
        You should do it!

    • veritek33 May 23, 2017, 2:38 pm

      rangerchic – The only reason I can even afford to consider it is because I’m almost done paying for the first degree lol. Like, less than 5k left on it. So the goal would be to pay the rest of that off before I took out more loans. But ultimately I’d want to seek out as many scholarships and grants as possible if they exist!

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    • Copa May 24, 2017, 10:44 am

      I thought about getting an MBA this time last year because there are some great universities near me, and one in particular is basically my dream school. I about fainted when I saw how much tuition costs, and was bummed to find out scholarships are only for full-time students. I’d love to go back to school now that I’m older and have a better idea of who I am and what I like, but it seems so unrealistic.

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      • veritek33 May 24, 2017, 11:40 am

        Honestly I’ll probably only be able to afford to do one or two classes a semester and pay cash or get a small loan. I can’t afford to stop working so I’ll just have to cut back on some things. I’m almost done paying for my first degree so at least i won’t have that payment anymore!

  • TheHizzy May 24, 2017, 7:53 am

    I also just set up auto pay on my home mortgage for my first payment. Adulting at it’s finest!

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