Tag Archives: Champagne

Back in Time

1 Sep

I’m taking a short detour from my posts about my London/Ireland/Scotland trip to write about a more recent journey… to the 1920’s. With a quick (and free) ferry ride to Governors Island, my friends and I found ourselves at the Jazz Age Lawn Party. It was our second summer attending so we knew what to expect, but we were still impressed by the clothes, hairstyles, dance moves, and picnic spreads the attendees had on display. 

A view of the crowd.

A view of the well-dressed crowd.

Ripping up the dance floor.

Ripping up the dance floor.

With hair to match.

With hair to match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking around and checking out everyone’s outfits and watching them dance was worth the ticket price alone, and if you don’t bring your own food, they had various food and drink packages you could purchase ahead of time. Being lazy, we went for this option, and ended up with some tasty gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, awesome St. Germain mixed drinks, and more than one bottle of champagne that was wheeled and dealed from a bartender by Andrew and Laura (well played, guys!).

Andrew, Laura, and champers.

Andrew, Laura, and champers.

Kenda and Masai enjoying the ambiance.

Kenda & Masai enjoying the ambiance.

We grabbed some grass by the smaller of two dance floors/stages and had front row (front blanket?) seats to both professional acts as well as amazing amateur dancers.

Well, hello there.

Well, hello there.

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She was not messing around.

One couple in particular was really awesome; you could tell they were having a great time and they were both fabulous dancers. I spoke to them briefly and they said they were friends that danced with each other at various events, and their names are Kevin Tan and Ila Myers. They were so much fun to watch.

Kevin Tan showing us how it's done.

Kevin Tan showing us how it’s done.

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers.

We were lucky to sit next to fabulous blanket neighbors, Terry, Matthew, and Steve. They are the epitome of class, were perfectly dressed, and calling their set-up a picnic spread is insulting how gorgeously done it was. We had a lot of fun chatting with them and admiring their outfits. Terry, Matthew, and Steve, we bow down to your Jazz Age Lawn Party expertise! If you read this, hit me up, I have lots of great shots of you guys that I’d love to send to you.

Looking amazing without even trying.

Looking amazing without even trying.

We hated to see them go, but damn do they look good walking away.

We hated to see them go, but damn do they look good walking away.

A few more shots of the day: 

Nice set-up.

Nice set-up.

Foot shot.

Dance floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Masai.

Happy Masai. 

Dancing the day away.

Dancing the day away.

I also learned that day that if I am ever in an emergency, I want to be with Andrew. Check out the goods that he carries with him at all times. That is preparedness, organization, commitment, and insanity of the best form all at once. Andrew, you are my new go-to person.

Need anything? Anything at ALL?

Need anything? Anything at ALL?

After a quick ferry ride back (after a wait in a LONG line for it), we stopped for a snack at Stone Street, and I met the wonderful Miles and his parents (you didn’t think I’d have a post without an animal in it, did you?). He has these amazing white markings across his face from harder times, when some horrible person tied a muzzle around his face and left him in the dessert. The white markings are what remains from him being tied up like that and left in the sun. As you can see, I was very happy to meet him and his wonderful parents who adopted him.

Me & Miles, my newest boyfriend.

Me & Miles, my newest boyfriend.

Instant friends.

Instant friends.

We had a great time spending a Saturday in the 1920’s. It was another reminder to me that no matter where I travel, Manhattan is such an amazing place. There’s always interesting, friendly people, amazing dogs, and awesome events right around the corner, or in this case, just a free ferry ride away.

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Underground

4 May

The first photo of my trip on my “real” camera and not my phone is of  glasses of champagne, which is definitely suiting. This whole trip was a celebration. Though I’d be working many days while there, I was also going to be seeing some of my best friends in the world, visiting places I had always wanted to see, and watching one of my favorite people ever get married to an awesome man. Champagne was definitely called for.

It started with champagne.

It started with champagne.

London was my first stop. While there, I was staying across town from my friends, as I was in a hotel near my office. This left it up to me to figure out how to navigate mass transit. Living in Manhattan for more than a decade, this wasn’t something I was worried about. Look, they had friendly signs that said “Subway” and clearly marked the stairs to show me where to go.

"Go here, stupid American." Or, don't...

“Go here, stupid American.” Or, don’t…

“But wait,” I thought, “don’t they call their transit system the tube, or the underground, or something properly Britishy?” I dismissed my thoughts and figured they must cater to tourists and call it the subway in some signs. Sure, that made sense. And I proceeded to walk down approximately one million stairs, where I was faced with a tunnel about a block long. I walked through said tunnel, where I was confronted with one million stairs going up. Okay then, London, I’ll do you. I marched up the stairs confidently and found myself back outside. Confused and blinking like a mole in the not-even-that-sunny London sun, I looked around to get my bearings. This looked familiar.

Hm. This looks familiar.

Hm. This looks familiar.

I’m extremely ashamed to admit what happened next. I actually went BACK down the stairs, through the tunnel, UP the other stairs, came back outside again, turned around blinking and confused in the unsunny sun, again, and only then did I finally realize that in London, “subway” meant “underground passageway you walk through under the street so you don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars while crossing the street.” I think it is also British slang for “Americans are morons.” I then acted like I didn’t just cross the street underground twice and walk up and down two flights of stairs four times and swallowed my tourist pride and asked the next person walking by where the tube was, and I was on my way.

The London Underground. A cooler logo and name than NYC’s “subway.”

The London Underground. A cooler logo and name than NYC’s “subway.”

With the help of some abiding locals and my hotel-provided map, I’m happy to say that I did, eventually, find my way to a train, and ultimately, dinner with my friends.

Thank you, tube, for taking me to my friends and food. And more champagne.

Thank you, tube, for taking me to my friends and food. And more champagne.

 

 

First Class: My Trip Begins

25 Mar

After much waiting and planning, the night was here. I was off, ready to laugh euphemisms in the face and mix business with pleasure. I was going to visit and work from my company’s London and Dublin offices, while fitting vacation days in between for sightseeing in both England and Ireland and, perhaps most exciting of all, seeing my friends marry each other in a castle in Scotland. I lugged my over-packed suitcase and bursting carryon bag down my three-flight walk-up with a “Let’s get this started” attitude. And then I panicked, because the car sent by my company to pick me up wasn’t there.

“He says he’s right in front of your apartment, ma’am,” a bored dispatcher squawked into my cell phone.

“Well, I’m right in front of my apartment, and he’s not here,” I said, trying to quell my nerves. I am not good with being late. I don’t do late. Especially for things like international flights.

“He’s on the corner, he says. Black Expedition SUV.”

“Well I don’t live on the corner, and I didn’t order an SUV, I just wanted a regular car” I muttered and began to drag my bags down the street, sweating profusely. There was a black Expedition SUV just like he said, but as I limped my way over to it I saw that a man in jeans was sitting in the passenger seat with the door open, looking at me suspiciously. Not exactly the welcome you expect from a professional driver. I’d already over-committed in my walk towards him, though, and as he awkwardly stared at me I mumbled “Sorry, the car company told me to look for a black Expedition SUV…”

“Ah. Well, I’m not your driver,” he laughed at me as a woman came out of the nearby bodega with sodas and handed one to him. “She wants us to take her to the airport,” he said to her, laughing more.

“I do not! I just…” and then I saw the other Expedition, across the street, a whole block and a half from being in front of my apartment. “Never mind.” I hauled my luggage into oncoming traffic like the New Yorker I am and cursed at cars as if it was their fault they almost hit me and finally made my way. I started to relax, and decided to document that fact.

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The face of someone who was sent a much more expensive car than ordered and is not being charged for it.

When I finally got to JFK, I waited a few minutes in a long line to check my bag before I saw a sign for premium economy check-in. Since it was a long, overnight flight, my company sprang for premium economy. I asked the JFK worker standing nearby, “Should I be over there if I’m flying premium economy?” Sometimes, I like to ask dumb questions.

“Of course!” he smiled and came over, took my suitcase for me, and led me to the quickly moving line. Am I still at JFK? I thought? This guy is carrying my luggage for me? I was immediately whisked through line, and after the usual dance of taking things in and out of pockets and feet in and out of shoes at security, I was on the plane before I knew it. I seated my economy ass in my seat in ‘prem econ,’ which was what I was now calling it in my head like it was some sort of college course all my friends took while I was taking Poetry by Lovers or something else ridiculous. I was handed a tiny mini wee glass of Prosecco and I suddenly felt the urge to hide the Doritos I bought in the airport from my dashing seat-neighbor. For shame.

I watched with limited curiosity as a bumbling couple barely made it onboard before the flight attendants closed the door. They were probably in their late thirties, and they stood in the aisle staring at their tickets, seemingly annoyed at not being seated with each other. Actually, the man looked relieved; the woman looked annoyed… at life. She made a dramatic show of getting her things out of her man’s bag, asking him where her water was and this and that. At least, I thought she was; I could blessedly barely hear her as I already had earplugs in my ears due to a recent double ear infection, and I wasn’t looking forward to feeling what take-off was going to do to me. I’m totally cheap though and bought the pharmacy brand, so I could hear her a bit. And the next thing I knew, what she was saying was “Now I need to find my seat,” and she marched right over to me.

“That’s my seat,” she informed me, as if she made it herself.

“Excuse me?” I said, slowly. I was acting like English was not my first language. I struggled to get my hand out of the Doritos (really? I couldn’t wait until we left the ground?) while simultaneously trying to sit my baby Prosecco glass down and get my earplugs out of my ears. “I have a ticket for this seat,” I said, sounding a lot less positive about that fact than I actually was.

“Well, so do I.” Was she really standing there with her hand on her hips, challenging me? People actually stood like that? Well, game on, lady. You are not getting my Prosecco shot glass.

“Well, I suggest you get a flight attendant then to take care of this, because I am not moving.” You go, me. You sit there with your orange stained fingers. She huffed and puffed and got a flight attendant, who asked me to produce my ticket. I felt like I had won the lottery when I saw that I was indeed in the correct seat (I had completely started doubting myself as soon as I saw the flight attendant headed towards me). And the challenger, little miss You’re In My Seat? Admitted that she was flying standby when she was given the same seat as me. Information that would have been useful five minutes ago when you were trying to scare me out of my comfortable little pre-booked spot, lady.

Flight attendant: “OK, unfortunately, this seat has been double booked. Ms. Prozac, if you’ll just get up and come with me, we’ll get that taken care of for you. Ms. Azzhole (shockingly, not her real name), you can have a seat.”

Me: (Loses it, gets squeaky voice) “ME?! I have to get up? I have a ticket for this seat! Why do I have to get up? I’ve done nothing wronnnnnng!” (Yelling like I’m being dragged to jail for a crime I haven’t committed, seeing my one chance at a nice plane seat being taken from me. They were moving me because of the Doritos, weren’t they?)

Ms. Azzhole: (Smirks hautily.)

Flight attendant: Someone will get your things for you, miss, I promise you will be comfortable.

Defeated, I follow her solemnly… forward. What’s this? Forward. Why are we going to the front of the plane? There’s nothing up front but… I quickly turn to look at Ms. Azzhole settling down in the seat she fought so hard for and say “Are you taking me to FIRST CLASS?” as loudly as possible, and the heavenly flight attendant confirms that yes, in fact, she is, and she’s sorry for the inconvenience. BooYAH, lady. That’s what you get for sucking at life.

I’d like to say that I acted like a normal human being in first class, but instead I admit to committing the following indiscretions:

  •          I giggled with happiness for at least the first half hour
  •          I stared at a grown-ass woman who sucked her thumb the whole flight
  •          I found myself saying things like “crisps” and “loo” even though I hadn’t even made it to the UK yet and I am decidedly not Madonna
  •          When asked what kind of wine I wanted, I asked if they had white. Really? REALLY? Not if they had Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc, but white. I was assured that they did. Many varieties, in fact.
  •          I tried to turn my seat into a bed without help even though it says to ask for help. I needed help.
  •          I took the following photos. I don’t know why they are all purple.

 

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Thumbs-upping myself because I am cool.

Champagne in a glass larger than a shot glass.

Champagne in a glass larger than a shot glass.

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Chips that are not Doritos. Oh. I mean ‘crisps’.


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Dinner and a movie. I wish I stole the mini plane salt and pepper shakers. But stealing is bad.

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Cheese plate dessert.

 

All told, I arrived in London happy, well-fed, and fairly drunk. I filled out the customs form incorrectly, likely due to the amount of alcohol they kept handing me on the plane (it’s their fault!) and had an unintentionally contentious back and forth with the customs agent about my hair color as it was a very different shade on my passport. Apparently “That’s because I’m a spy” isn’t a funny or witty reply, however commenting on how a woman dyes her hair isn’t exactly proper British decorum, either, now is it? Regardless, they let me into their lovely land and the shenanigans continued from there.  Next stop? London.