Happy Monday to all! It’s a Happy Monday for this blogger girl because I’m finally self-hosted! Did you notice the Bluehost logo in the URL bar today? Yep, I finally did it! More on the process in another post, but suffice it to say, moving to self-hosting wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Bare with me the next couple of days as I explore new layouts/fonts/color schemes/etc. I should have everything finalized by the end of the week.
But, in the meantime, there’s not reason to stop talking to you, my reader friends!
This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends in recent memory. It was the first time I had an official houseguest in the Hudson Valley, and since the BF was in China for work, I got to squeeze in a lot of quality girl time with an old friend. If you read some of my old posts, it will become pretty apparent that I absolutely love being a host. I had plenty of guests when I lived in NYC, and nothing brought me more joy than making their experience at my apartment fun and exciting.
Since moving to the Hudson Valley in February, I have not yet had a friend stay with me, so I was very excited when my friend Molly texted me and asked if she could come spend the weekend in the Valley. Whenever I hang out with my friend Molly, it’s a guaranteed adventure, so I eagerly said “YES!” and texted her daily to check in and ensure she was still coming.
A Friendship Born in Battle
I’ve actually known Molly since my junior year of high school when we met on the tennis courts during what some might call a battle of epic proportions between Millard West High School and Omaha Burke High School. I wasn’t exactly the most consistent tennis player, and that night just wasn’t my night. This little pint-sized powerhouse was beating me by 5 games, and there was no hope for a comeback.
So, I gave up and started chatting with my friendly opponent during games. We discovered we had a lot of mutual friends and ended up taking extra long breaks to talk. I distinctly remember how nice we were to each other. Whenever a ball would be hit too hard at the other player, we’d yell, “OMG, sorry!” Somehow, in the midst of all the conversation, the comeback queen (aka me) ended up evening the score and eventually beating Molly. Her coach was NOT happy. We could have cared less.
Years later, through those same mutual friends, I learned Molly was going to Northwestern too! Amidst all the craziness of freshman year, we didn’t end up hanging out very much. But, sophomore year, we randomly ended up across the hall from each other and instantly picked up our friendship where we left off on the tennis courts. By junior year, we were so close that we decided to study abroad in Mexico City together. Senior year, we lived together, and post-college we both ended up in NYC.
Besides being one of the most amazingly talented and creative people that I’ve ever met in my entire life, Molly is also incredibly fun to hang out with. No matter where we are in the world, we always end up having a good time, whether it’s the two of us or a group of people. She also always helps me to see a different perspective when I’m stuck on something or need help working through a problem.
A Long Time Coming
Before Wednesday night, we hadn’t seen each other in a very long time, so we had A LOT to catch up on. Since it was late, we decided to stay in and catch up over wine and cheese.
Since I’ve last talked with Molly, I left NYC and moved to the county. And, thrill-seeking Molly has sailed all over the world, including the Amazon and the Caribbean. Yep, we had quite a few things to discuss. Before we knew it, the bottle of wine was gone, we were tipsy and it was 2 AM!
Thursday morning, we slept in and then leashed up the pup for a hot and sweaty run.
Cole was pretty excited about the extra company and actually ran between us the whole time. Then, I FORCED Molly to go to the gym to lift. I say forced because Molly is more of the yoga/pilates type (former dancer) and finds gyms a bit boring, whereas I love gyms so much I am studying to be a personal trainer, and, as you know, yoga isn’t my thing.
I told Molly about the 100’s challenge and even demonstrated the moves for her.
She took some pictures as I squatted with a smile, and then we headed to the showers.
Lunch was spent in one of my favorite towns, Cold Spring, where Molly attempted to sink her teeth into the tallest burger ever.
Then we walked to the riverfront and snapped some photos amidst some rainy weather.
Since the weather was so ugly, and we had been up late the night before, we decided to stay in, and I cooked for us. Check out the recipes from Friday if you haven’t seen them yet!
Taking Advantage of the Hudson Valley
Friday and Saturday, we really “upped” the ambition, and experienced many of my favorite things about The Hudson Valley.
First, a hike up Mt. Beacon.
This was my first time hiking up the mountain sans guide (AKA the BF), so while we had quite an adventure, unfortunately, we never made it to the lookout point. Oops.
Nonetheless, we still hiked for almost three hours, so our stomachs were grumbling by the time we found the car (yes it took a while). We ate at a restaurant that I have been wanting to try, The Roundhouse, a new boutique hotel located on a waterfall that features both an upscale restaurant and a more casual patio cuisine. The food.was.delicious.
Lobster mac n’ cheese, crispy chickpeas and french fries slathered in a smoked gouda cheesy sauce. All devoured. All delicious.
The hike wiped us both out, so we called it a night early.
The Perfect Saturday
The early bedtime left us feeling extremely energized on Saturday morning, so we decided it was time to take advantage of my neighborhood tennis courts…and see if Molly could even our lifetime match score.
The battle was fierce. There was plenty of grunting. And hard serves.
Okay, actually, there was mostly just a lot of talking and hitting balls into the net/over the fence. By the end, it felt like we were getting our groove back, but clearly, not picking up our rackets for 5-10 years had an impact.
In the end, after a “hard fought” battle, Molly prevailed.
As you can see, I took the defeat in stride. Sportsmanship was always my thing ;-).
(In case you’re wondering how we got all of these pics, Molly has an app on her iPhone with a camera timer. It’s AMAZING!)
After working up a sweat, we wanted pancakes. But, not just any pancakes…Fruity Pebble pancakes. While at the Roundhouse Hotel, we learned of one of the restaurant’s signature desserts, “Breakfast,” a waffle with Fruity Pebbles and bacon. Apparently, it will soon be taken off the menu.
So, we decided we needed to recreate the idea in my kitchen!
We finished the pancakes off with crushed Fruity Pebbles AND a sweet vanilla glaze. BAM!
These pancakes may go down in history as one of my best ideas ever. They were sweet, fruity, crunchy and fluffy all at the same time. And the great news? They tasted even better the next day!
I bet you want the recipe, don’t ya? Well, you’re going to have to wait until Friday! I’m trying to establish an order in my weekly content, and Friday is recipe day.
Don’t worry, this recipe is DEFINITELY worth waiting for.
Fueled by Fruity Pebbles Molly forced me to expand my cultural horizons and go to the famous museum in Beacon, Dia. Culture to me is Fruity Pebbly Pancakes, Wacky Food Combos and reality tv, so clearly, I was in need of a bit of a cultural expansion.
The museum itself is a giant old warehouse with lofted ceilings and lots of natural sunlight. Much of the “art” in the museum lies in the way that the different pieces interact with the space itself. I found it interesting, but I still needed to read every informational card to understand exactly what the hell the artist was thinking.
I’ve actually always been a Warhol fan, so this exhibit was cool to see in person. A vast majority of the exhibits were larger than life and…just plain weird.
At the end of the day, I really enjoyed our 90 minutes in the museum and found some of the artwork absolutely fascinating.
But, I was pretty pumped to head back to Newburgh to watch the sunset over the bridge and drink some beers.
We took a few cheesy pics on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (my FAVORITE spot) and then headed to the Newburgh Brewing Company to enjoy some beers and a view.
The Newburgh Brewing Company is another one of my favorite spots in the Hudson Valley. It features incredible views of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon, along with extremely tasty local brews. The brewery is very wide open, and you can sit and watch football, play board games or even corn hole while you drink.
If you’re ever in the Hudson Valley, this place is a must-see!
Post-beer, we finished off the night with dinner at the river at Billy Joe’s Ribworks.
Again, this is one of my favorite restaurants around. I’m a firm believer that everything is better with BBQ sauce, so I tend to love BBQ joints. We split this delicious plate, along with the BBQ salad.
Cornbread, sweet potatoes, baked beans (slather in sugar), brisket and pork. I didn’t waste time trying to take a photo with the right lighting, because my mouth was watering.
Back to Our Roots!
This post is long, because the weekend was jam packed, and I didn’t know how to leave anything out! But, by far, one of the best parts of the weekend was apple picking at Lawrence Farms Orchards. I’ve mentioned this place before on the blog, and I knew Molly would love it.
After all, we are both former Cornhuskers!
Lawrence Farms was packed yesterday, and I was pleased to see that in addition to apples, they had a bunch of vegetables available for picking!
Kale, tomatoes, string beans, broccoli, mustard greens, apples oh my! We spent about 2 hours wandering through the fields and picking anything and everything that caught our eye. The best part is that the BF was back from China, so he got to come too!
While it was sad to see Molly leave, I couldn’t have had a better weekend, and I’m so glad we reconnected. She plans on coming up here again for another tennis battle, some rock climbing and to visit some of the wineries in the area. Can’t wait to see her again!
This post has DEFINITELY dragged on to long, but that just means the weekend was that good.
PS – Check out the new “share” buttons on the bottom of the post. I was up way too late last night playing with all of the new self-hosting plug-ins, including these flashy buttons. You should use them Sharing is caring!