back from the BVI's

Today is a day that has replayed itself many times in my life--the first day back to work after a long vacation somewhere sunny.

It is always hard to get back to the colder temps (30's), the early morning wakeups and the hundreds of emails waiting for attention in our work inboxs. Since I always try to look on the bright side, I DO love coming home to this area of the country (vs when we lived in Seattle and arriving home there meant depressing rain and horrible traffic once leaving the airport. Ugh). Also, the hundreds of emails waiting for me means I have a job--and one I like-- and for that I am very thankful.

The trip was amazing. That word is not nearly descriptive enough. All of the things and places we saw and experiences we had cannot be summed up easily, let alone in one word. Over the next few posts I will summarize the highlights of the trip and of course attach pictures. The pictures will be necessary to back up what I write--- without them reader, you surely wouldn't believe me when I say we were in paradise. It took me days to even think of a word to describe the color of the water in this part of the Caribbean Sea.

I am attaching a couple pics now to give you an idea of this paradise. Check back often because I have a lot to say!

Jer, Tom and John deciding where to shore dive. This is on Anegada, the furthest of the Islands in the chain we explored. The beach was empty except for us and one other couple.




The view through some of the Volcanic rock formations at the Baths on Virgin Gorda

Aye Matey!

Shiver me timbers! Walk the plank! and whatever other pirate sayings I can't think of...

We are in Pirate Land here in the British Virgin Islands and it is so amazing! The sun is extremely hot (close to the equator) and even just with day 3 we are all a bit toasty and already sitting in the shade part of the day (which for me, as you may know, is extremely rare)-- but we are not complaining! Whoo hoo! Blue sky, even bluer water--an aqua sort of color that is hard for me to compare to anything.

With 3 other couples, Todd & Kyla, Jerry & Kay and Lisa & John, we chartered a power catamaran in Tortolla and are island hopping all around. Yesterday we hit Virgin Gorda and we got in some snorkeling and diving at the Wreck of the Roan--a shipwreck from 1867. It was a bit creepy... the ship's form was still pretty intact.
We also went to the Pirate Caves--- an island that is rumored to be the inspiration to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

We saw TONS of Parrot Fish, Trumpet fish as well as tons of urchins, angel fish, barracuda and super colorful coral.
Lisa, Jer and I got brave and I swam into a cave that had no natural light-- none. Super dark. It too was creepy and I am wondering if this may become a theme for the trip.

The best thing we saw though--the most amazing natural place we may have ever seen thus far in our travels--was the Baths. Giant boulders pushed through the ground by a primative volcanic explosian and have formed caverns, ponds with rushing waves that crash in every few minutes and hidden rooms that remind you of episodes of Lost in Space or even Land of the Lost (I was expecting a Sleestak to pop out any moment).

Today was a lay low day. We are at the Bitter End Yacht Club for the night and spent today lounging at the beach, taking small boat rides and Todd and Kyla rented a Hobie Cat Sailing boat. Can it only be day 3???
Even with the British name, this IS the Caribbean in every way you can imagine!

Pictures will follow. We have taken quite a few but coverage here is not always ideal to upload them.

hey all-- not much to report lately--pretty quiet on the home front.
Aside from the tragic amount of rain we got last weekend (Central Park counted nearly 6" of rain in 48hrs) which led to terrible flooding (not for us but for so many in Jersey, NY and Connecticut) and made us feel as if we were back in Seattle, we have just been busy working getting ready for our trip to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) in a few days.

The dogs are still not able to come along on this trip, but instead of the doggie spa which they really don't prefer (neither do we), our great friend Nick is going to be staying at our house and watching Frank and Ol. We cannot tell you how happy this makes us and knowing Nick is here with them will make this vacation even better!! He came over to visit the dogs the other night and normally feisty Ollie took to him INSTANTLY. I think a tear dripped from my eye I was so happy.

I will have lots to write about during our trip so stay tuned... also check out this link for my travel web site. :) I hope you like it---its still a work in progress but its coming along.

Here is to a happy Spring for you (March 20) as well as the celebration of the best day of our lives (Tom and I): our 1st wedding anniversary (March 20).

Here is a pic to take you back to that awesome day if you were unable to join us in person!!

my cousin Ryan (fellow travel junkie, apple/mac lover, my travel partner in mexico years back, author of this blog (on my blogroll) and general wonderful guy) and his gorgeous wife Katrin just had their first baby! A healthy little boy! I think his name is Ben... (no middle name chosen yet)... but they may still be contemplating.

Regardless, he is a cutie and when Ryan was a baby--he won a "Cutest Baby of the Year" contest in California... I think his son will be following in those footsteps! I can't wait to see him in person when I go to Seattle next!

Here is link to a pic of the little family!

hey everyone-this was featured on the news tonight here and it was too great of a story to pass up!
A German artist has been using Lego blocks to fill in open cracks and holes in buildings all around the city (as well as in Europe).
Here are just a few pics I found on line. Fun. :) I must go find one of these spots in person now!!



top NY songs

New York Magazine just released the list of top songs they think describe/feel/bleed/scream/cry New York City.

Some we TOTALLY agree with, others--eh. And--we do think they missed a few we would have added (including the PJ Harvey/Thom Yorke duet "The Mess We're In" & "Daylight" by Brooklyn's own Matt & Kim) but, here are some we like that made the grade as well as the whole list here.

Listen and imagine you are here. :)


The Only Living Boy in NY-- Simon and Garfunkel

New York, New York-- Ryan Adams

B-Boy Bouillabaisse--Beastie Boys (Diana's fave NY group -- pic below)

Empire State of Mind--Jay Z (with Alicia Keys)

New York State of Mind-- Billy Joel

Around the Way Girl--LL Cool J


Aruba... relax

need a vacation? Want a clean, tropical spot that has pretty much GUARANTEED perfect weather?
Check out my latest piece on Aruba.

http://www.dianaellefson.com/

Now and again, when I have a free minute, I go through all of my magazines that seem to pile up (this includes my online subscriptions), many of which are centered on NYC, and I am amazed at the eye catching, sometimes odd things I discover. New York is a melting pot of all that is good, bad and weird in the world and here are some of the things of late that caught our attention.

Posh Icelandic couple sued for putting IKEA kitchen in swank Gramercy Park Hotel pad
courtesy of the Daily News

Apparently, the swank GPH is far too glamourous for run of the mill Ikea sinks. People, COME ON! Don't you know that you need to ask all of the important questions (like if the iron steams horizontal or vertical or sink brand) BEFORE you agree to rent a room... Geez. Obviously not locals.

In keeping with the above posh theme I have started...

Posh Soho House boots 'uncool' members
courtesy of the NY Post

This very, very, VERY elite hotel in one of my fave hangouts, the Meatpacking District, seems to be ditching the crowd that may look too elite (even the Sex in the City girls got booted in an episode). If you can get into Soho House parties (in particular, their pool parties on the roof are FAMOUS) you are definitely living right-- but now it seems, unless you can fit into the restructuring plan to get the House back to its "creative roots", well-- forget it. Even the early members (4500 in total with 3000 on the waiting list) are having their membership renewals declined because from what I can gather from this article-- the image of stuffiness and corporate-ness is a thing of the past; the management even requested that members not wear suits and ties. What apparently is still supported by the management is the "encouragement of under 27 memberships".

Side note: my very fabulous friend Justin (under 27), artist and film producer, actually had an invite to one of the pool parties last summer and INVITED ME! Sadly I was out of town and I recall wondering that I'd be a bit nervous for Tom and I showing up because maybe WE were not elite enough--- I mean, I actually swim when I go to pool parties--CANNONBALL! Anyway, now no need to worry about that! I am calling Justin to see about this summer!

... and to wrap this up I want to bring the last example down a level---one the common man can relate to: motorcycles.

New York Magazine had a feature on some new shops that offer complimentary food & drinks while you shop. This in itself doesn't sound too odd; in this economy you gotta do what you can to bring the consumer in, right? One of the stores' food and merchandise pairing though does seem to be a category in the childhood game of "one of these things doesn't belong".

NYC Motorcycle Federation on 6th Ave sells biker jackets, stylish gem encrusted helmets, customized leather seats and shredded Harley tees.
The food: Illy coffee, Ceci-Cela croissants and prosciutto panini.
Did I mention that their logo is a skull of the Statue of Liberty, her crown still intact?

Anything about this seem weird? Something about this combo of Harley and croissants doesn't quite work... but in NYC, well everything works.

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