The second my last deadline for guidebook number three this year rolled around on May 1, I was on an eastbound plane for NYC. In fact, in a two-week period, my big toe stepped foot in five states—California, New York, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida—and for once, not a bit of it was work-related. So it’s only fitting that this “vacation” was more stressful than the rest.
First up: Manhattan.
Somehow unbeknownst to me, 15 months since my move had slipped by effortlessly, and I hadn’t even been back to visit my homies. So I did just that, splitting time between my three favorites…the lovely Lemon…
We consumed approximately 17 cupcakes each during my five-day stay, both homemade as well as from THREE different cupcakeries. That’s cupcake dedication for you, y’all.
My gay bestie/Lucky coworker. Glad to know some things never change; he wore this Tetris-like hoodie nearly every day when I still lived here.
Lindy, my Britney-obsessed former roomie and soulmate in our love for Taylor Kitsch. Um, perhaps not the most flattering picture of us, so how about this ‘NSync shot instead with the blanket she so kindly let me sleep on?
An avid TopShop enthusiast during my days in Europe, I just had to visit the new U.S. outpost in SoHo. It looked like Zach Morris threw up on the place. How anyone can buy those clothes and not be attending an 80’s dance party is beyond me.
And there were also a bazillion and one coffee and drink dates with some other pals, a visit to my old Conde Nast stomping grounds (no Anna Wintour sighting this time around), a movie screening of The Hangover (hilarious). The constant running around was hindered by the monsoon that lasted from when I touched down until I left again, making me look like a waterlogged sewer rat. Lest I forget, I finally got to meet the hilariously adorable Metalia for Prohibition Punch in Grand Central Station’s speakeasy Campbell Apartment.
(It’s the Tales of Peahead and Monster Noggin! Yes, I have an abnormally large head, and yes, Metalia’s is just as petite as the rest of her. I look like I might just eat her for a bedtime snack in this photo.)
After I managed to hit up some of my favorite spots—Jane on Houston, Stanton Social, Sarabeth’s, Eatery—shopped to my little heart’s content (no sales tax=cheaper shopping than SF or TN, for that matter), partook in one raucous game night and logged some quality friend time, it was off to JFK to catch a flight…
Next stop: Tennessee!
I dropped into my hometown of Tullahoma for 30 hours to play with these guys…
…and hang out with him…
…before driving the seven-hour road trip from Hell (crammed in the backseat with Kari and Granddaddy just like we were five years old again) to see cousin Andrew graduate med school. My only complaint, of course, was that the two-hour hooding ceremony didn’t go on longer.
Twenty-four hours in Mobile was more than enough for me. Of course, it was just long enough for mom to drag us moaning and groaning to the USS Alabama for a bit of “culture” (does anyone else find it ironic that I live in San Fran yet had to go all the way to BFE Alabama for said “culture?”).
(That’s mock excitement, lest you think Kari and I really cared about seeing some old ship. History buffs we are not.)
Next stop: The Beach!
As a child, we spent every vacation and summer in Orlando or the Florida Panhandle, but it had been four years since I’d stepped foot on Destin’s silky white turf. There were 14 of us crammed in three condos…talk about quality family time.
As usual, this one stole the spotlight, as she is wont to do.
She’ll kill me for this when she’s older, but look at the adorable chub!
I had planned to stay pool or beachside from sun up till sun down, letting the stress of the past two months melt away with my sunscreen, but that plot was folied as I began getting semi-threatening e-mails from my publisher that I better tend to their book queries or else. I should add this is not Frommer’s but another company I wrote a book for in 2008 and, subsequently, turned in most of the text back then, too. They thought it cool to hold onto it all for eight months, then slam me with last-minute edits at a moment’s notice. So just like that, my vacation went from continual tanning time to six or eight hours a day spent indoors in front of the computer. Still, I somehow managed to read five books in just as many days and come away a nice chocolate color regardless.
It took me 20 hours to get back home from Florida to San Francisco on Thursday night/Friday morning. Need I point out this is six hours more than my trip back from New Zealand? Next vacation, I’m going somewhere closer, leaving my laptop at home, my phone turned off, staying put and not leaving the beach for the entire duration of my trip. That is the proper definition of a vacation after all, right?