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Monday, February 29, 2016

Oscar Sunday and other ramblings

PixlrHere is my quick update for yesterday and since we got back. Flew back to NY on Thursday. The 5 days in the Dominican truly flew by but then I guess isn't that the way it always goes when you are on vacation and are having fun?

We really had a great time there and I am glad we got to check out a different island and culture. Not sure when Mike and I will get to take our next vacation together. I have a trip scheduled to Croatia/Austria to see my parents in June. But not sure when Mike and I will go somewhere together next.

Work was busy Friday as we were trying to catch up. Worked Saturday till 2 and then mostly relaxed on Sunday. The weather actually turned out to be really nice and mild yesterday (50ies F, 10-12C) Didn't realize that early enough though so we didn't really get to do anything outside. Oh well.

In the evening we watched the Oscars which is always fun. Thought Chris Rock did a good job as a host. Also glad Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first oscar after being nominated 5 times. He definitely has grown a lot as an actor during his career and it's nice to see that that was recognized. Also very happy that "Spotlight" won best picture. Such a good and important film. 

Now it's Monday again and another week ahead. Probably another busy week at work.  

Mail Update: Letters went out last Friday to: Laura/Spain, Lotte/Denmark and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dominican Update

IMG_20160224_161935Hello again one more time. :) Already time to leave again tomorrow - how did that happen? Not going to focus on that just yet though. 

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to a national park (3 Eyes) which was really cool. It's a network of caves and underground lakes. We ended up hiring a local guide when we got there which only cost $30 for the both of us and was well worth it since there were very few signs and all of them only in Spanish. The guide explained the history and navigated us through the place in an efficient manner. Plus he took a bunch of pictures of us. So yay for all of that. :) 

Then after the park we took a cab to the Blue Mall to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. And at night we went for dinner at a neat place right near the ocean not far from our hotel (Adrian's Tropical) Really nice views at sunset and we had some yummy food as well. Tried mofongo for the first time (a Puerto dish that is also very popular here in the Dominican and has tons of variations) After dinner we had a couple more glasses of wine at the hotel bar. Nice and relaxing evening. 

Today we decided to go for another relaxing and easy going day and just walked along the ocean to another restaurant closer to the old town area to have lunch. Had lunch at D'Luis Parillada and hung out there for a while. Very nice in the shade with the ocean breeze and great views. Yummy food. Had delicious shrimp in a garlic sauce with rice. 

Afterwards we walked back and I spent some time playing around in the pool before drying off at the pool bar with a fun cocktail. Yum. Hung out for a while people watching, enjoying the tropical scenery. In a little while we are going to be heading to dinner. Really don't want to be leaving tomorrow AT ALL. 

Well, hope you're all doing ok and I will catch up with everyone on the flip side back in the snow and cold weather. :) 

Mail Update: Received letters/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 04:13 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Santo Domingo

IMG_20160221_210143Hello from the Caribbean. :) Having a great time here in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic so far. Been meaning to update since we got here on Sunday but time of course just flies by when you're having fun. :) 

We left Newark early on Sunday morning and got here a little before 2pm. It's a 4 hour flight from New York so not so bad. They are an hour ahead here so we lost an hour but we will get it back on our way home. :) Anyway, arrived without incident and managed to grab an Uber from the airport to bring us to our hotel. We decided against renting a car and seeing how the people driver here .. yeah that was probably the right decision. lol. It's pretty crazy. There are very few traffic lights and everyone just drives wherever they want, beeping their horns, motorcycles cutting in and out of traffic at random, people darting across the street. Pretty nuts. 

Our hotel, the Renaissance, is absolutely gorgeous. It's 4 star hotel that we managed to get through Expedia with a good air+hotel package deal. It was just renovated top to bottom last June and you can really see it. Everything is completely new and great looking. And the staff and service is amazing too. 

Sunday after getting settled in a bit we went into the old town and had dinner there at a tapas place. Yummy. Walked around a bit more and then headed back to the hotel. Yesterday, Monday, we went back into the Colonial Zone (old town) to explore some more of the sights. Walked around to see a bunch of the old monuments and streets. 

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and spent some time by the pool. Was nice to go for a swim after the crazy sun and heat and spend some time in the shade with a cocktail. Yummy sangrias here. Very dangerous. :) Later we went for a great dinner at a place close by called El Conuco. So good. 

Today we are going to head to a national park (3 Eyes) not that far away. Should be good. I will try and update some more before we leave on Thursday. 

Mail Update: Received letters/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 08:52 AM in Food and Drink, Nature, Outdoors, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Update

IMG_20160214_153321 Happy Valentine's Day everyone. :) Oh my god it's been so cold. Brrr. We have been relatively spoiled this winter with mild-ish temperatures and not that much snow.  So I think these artic temperatures (-9F/-22C plus windchill) are just a bit much. Brrr. 

The weather really does go through crazy swings as of late. On Tuesday it's supposed to be raining and mild again.  So weird. 

Had a nice Valentine's Day. Drove up to Hartford to check out the Wadsworth Art Museum which had some neat exhibits. Followed by brunch. Yummm.

Going to spend the rest of the day catching up on some TV. Then tomorrow it's already Monday again.  But at least it's President's Day which is a holiday.  We still have to work but it should be a quieter day hopefully. We will see I guess.

Thursday is Mike's birthday.  And then a week from today we are off to the Caribbean. With the crazy cold at the moment that sounds super appealing. Can't wait.  

Mail Update: Letters went out on Friday to: Jessica/DE, Celia/MA and Charles/TN. Received a letter/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain.

Posted by Hanna at 04:07 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anniversary - busy February

PicFebruary is always a very busy month for us and this year is no different really. 

Today, Feb. 10th, is our 15th wedding anniversary. I really don't know where the last 15 years went. It's crazy to think that our wedding in Vienna was really THAT long ago. I guess it falls in the category "time flies when you're having fun". :) 

I think it feels especially weird as we don't have kids. A lot of people my age/friends I grew up with now have kids and watching them grow up you can really see time pass. But it's different not having that. 

Don't get me wrong, neither Mike or I really ever wanted kids. It's just something I have observed watching everyone around me. Anyway, bottom line. 15 years = pretty amazing. 

February 14th is Valentine's Day which falls on a Sunday this year. As long as the weather cooperates we are going to be heading up to Hartford to visit a museum and afterwards we have brunch reservations at Rizzuto's in West Hartford. So that should be fun. 

Then next week Thursday, Feb. 18th, is Mike's birthday. Not sure what we will do for that yet. Nothing too big, most likely just going to get together with some friends. And just a few days later, on Sunday, Feb. 21st, we are off to the Dominican Republic. Yay for the Caribbean. Looking forward to some days off.  

Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain, Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Charles/TN. 

Posted by Hanna at 02:13 PM in Beach, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 05, 2016

Josh Groban Stages Live + snow

Pixlr_20160205135148545Here's a quick update to talk about yesterday's fun evening with my friend Jana. I had never been to one of the Fathom Events at the AMC movie theaters before. Here's a link if you're curious. They are usually either screenings of older movies/classics or broadcasts of shows, musicals, operas etc. 

This time around it was a broadcast of Josh Groban's new DVD special, a recording of a show in L.A. followed by a live Q&A from Los Angeles. It was a lot of fun and nice to be able to watch the performance in a movie theater with surround sound and on the big screen. 

Had fun hanging out with my friend Jana - a fun girl's night out. After the screening and Q&A we met up with Mike and her husband John. All in all a fun Thursday night. 

Much better than today where we had to deal with snow and all the annoying side effects that come with it at work. Originally we weren't supposed to really get much and the storm was supposed to pass us by but then we woke up this morning and that didn't quite happen. Grrr. 

So we had to deal with an annoying snowy ride into work followed by annoying stuff at work. I guess it could be worse and all in all we have been pretty spoilt this winter. It's already February and this is only the 2nd storm we have had. I guess we will see what the rest of the month and winter brings. 

At least tomorrow is Saturday. We do have to work but hopefully we can get out at a decent time and then it will be the weekend. No big plans at the moment. Maybe the movies? Guess we will see. 

Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Charles/TN. 

Posted by Hanna at 02:35 PM in Performances, Weather | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 01, 2016

Movies, Travel plans and TiVo


Had both Saturday and Sunday off this weekend which was NICE. We rarely get Saturdays off anymore right now so it was a happy change of pace. :)

Saturday we went to an early showing (10am) of the movie "The 5th Wave". It was nice to go to the theater early with cheaper matinee prices and not a lot of people. After the movies we went for lunch at Flipside in Milford. Yum. 

Sunday we decided to take it easy and slept in. After we got up we went for breakfast at a local diner close by (yummy Western omelette) and then stopped at the grocery store for a few things. 

Afterwards we just vegged out at home and caught up on a bunch of TV shows we had recorded on our TiVo. Was a nice, relaxing Sunday. No complaints. :) 

In other fun news, we booked a 4-night stay in the Caribbean for the end of February. Heading to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) Feb 21-25 so that should be nice. Our 15-year wedding anniversary is in February 10th so we decided to plan a nice trip somewhere tropical for that. Yay. :) 

Other than that not too much else new. Another Monday at work and also the beginning of the month so some extra things to take care of. We will see what the rest of the week brings. 

Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Charles/TN. 

Posted by Hanna at 12:47 PM in Food and Drink, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)