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Headed to San Antonio

13 May

Headed to San Antonio

This Brooklyn girl is currently en route to San Antonio for a big convention for work.  Wish me luck!  Last time I went to San Antonio on a work trip I broke my foot doing karaoke.  I think I’m the only person on this planet capable of doing that.  Luckily I’m now banned from doing karaoke at work events, so I think I’ll return the end of this week in one piece.

In the meantime, this entire week will not be quiet on Brooklyn Bliss.  I have a few surprise guest posters lined up, as well as a giveaway!  So stay tuned and I’ll be back the end of this week.

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Napa

27 May

Booze Bus

I just got back from my San Francisco/Napa Trip and wow was that a whirlwind tour. I flew in late Tuesday, and then Wednesday had a full day of meetings at my vendor’s headquarters in San Mateo. After the “business stuff”, we enjoyed dinner, networking and some wine tasting at Kingfish Restaurant, who I must say did an amazing job on creating a special vegan meal for me. We ended the night early to rest up for our trip to Napa the following morning.

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The incredible view from my vendor’s conference room

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Vegan Tofu and Vegetables over rice at Kingfish Restaurant.

The next morning we got on the road at 7 am for the scenic one and a half hour ride up to the Napa Valley. Once we got to our resort, The Silverado, we had a few quick minutes before we had to board the wine tour “bimo” (limo plus bus equals “bimo”) to head to our first vineyard stop.

Napa 2012Me in the car on my way to Napa.

Napa Trip 2012

The Silverado Resort.

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My private cottage at the resort.

We boarded the bimo at around 9:50 am, and the champagne already started flowing. I don’t think I’ve ever started drinking that early ever.

Napa Trip 2012

Shortly after we reached Cakebread Cellars, where we received a quick tour of the grounds. It was absolutely gorgeous! I’m not a big fan of anything floral, but there were so many beautiful flowers I didn’t know which ones to photograph first.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa 2012

What I’m Wearing {Jacket: Gift from Jim; Blouse: Macy’s INC (old); Slim chinos: Victoria’s Secret; Flats: Steve Madden (thrifted); Tote: Bijou Fashion Jewlery Store (looks to now be offline? Can’t find the link anymore).}

Napa Trip 2012

After taking it all in, we then got down to business, wine tasting!

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Needless to say after the tasting we were all already a bit silly. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the bimo and head to vineyard number two… Chateau Montelena

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After receiving a quick overview of the history of the winery, we were taken inside the “chateau” and were given a tour of the facilities. I found all the equipment visually pretty spectacular. Gives me a new appreciation of where my wine comes from.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Afterwards we were brought upstairs for our formal tasting. This winery and it’s vintner Jim Barrett are the subject of the 2008 film Bottle Shock, which is about how the winery won the 1976 Judgement of Paris taste test for its Chardonnay. At the time it was a huge upset being Napa wines (or American wines in general) were not highly regarded. Even though they won for their chardonnay, this tasting was heavy on red wines and I usually prefer white wines. It was still really enjoyable and they make some damn good wines.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After the tasting, we were all pretty tipsy and in need of a good meal. We enjoyed lunch at the winery in their private event area. The chef was warned in advance a vegan (me!) would be in attendance, and she personally brought me my special meal as well as told me everything in it. It was amazing. I had mini spanikopita bites with vegan cheese, spinach and mushrooms, quinoa salad, grilled veggies and even vegan cookies. My colleagues on the trip were starting to get pretty jealous of my preferred treatment!

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After lunch it was time to visit winery number three… Frank Family Vineyards.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

This winery just like all the others was perfectly picturesque. We did our tasting inside their offices with their tasting manager Dennis. Dennis was hilarious and his humor pretty raunchy, which our group totally appreciated. Thank goodness no one from HR went on this trip, they would have had a heart attack.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

My favorite part of their office was the clock. We just barely made that cut off that morning!

Napa 2012

After our tasting at Frank Family, we were all pretty beat so we went back to the hotel, took naps and got ready for dinner.

Later on that evening, we dined at Etoile, a local Michelin rated restaurant and had a multi course tasting menu. The chef was kind enough to create a vegan menu for me.

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The food was phenomenal, though I did get a good laugh from my “asparagus forest” appetizer. By far the most bizarre plating I’d ever seen at a restaurant of this caliber. I can’t speak for the wines though being I at that point in the day was so tired from drinking all day I couldn’t stomach even more wine.

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Unfortunately myself and my team couldn’t make it a late night, we had to be up at 3:45 am to catch our early flights back to the east coast the next morning. All in all I had an amazing time, and would love to travel back there some time for a more extended, non-business trip with Jim.

Have you ever been to Napa? Better yet if you are a vegan who has visited Napa, I’d love to hear what your “must visit” restaurants, wineries and resorts are.

Best Business Trip Ever

23 May

Traveling yet again, but this time I’m currently en route to my most memorable business trip ever. I’m flying into San Fran (one of my fave cities!) for a day of meetings in Silicon Valley, and then for a full day of wine tasting and vineyard tours in Napa!

Most trips I go on are all work and no play, so this trip is especially exciting to me.

Zoo York

9 Apr

Baby kangaroo's are the cutest thing ever.

As many of you who already follow me on Twitter or Instagram (my handle is @brooklynbliss) may know, I had a very interesting day at work last Thursday. One of my customers in addition to selling the products my company represents also owns a zoo. It’s a small, independently owned zoo, like in that movie with Matt Damon We Bought a Zoo.

I was visiting his office on business, and before I knew it was getting an upfront and personal tour with all the different animals that reside there. And by personal I mean bottle feeding baby bears, feeding grapes by hand to 600 pound adult bears, and getting the side of my face slobbered on my a 6 foot tall kangaroo named Roo.

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Initially I was kind of conflicted visiting the facility being I don’t feel wild animals should be held captive for our amusement. On the other hand, while there I learned many of the animals (though not all of them) there were actually rescued. One in particular that tugged my heart-strings was a rare long horned goat who was rescued from a captive hunting facility. The previous owner had a change of heart and felt bad having someone shoot down an animal so friendly it eats out of your hand. The goat now resides among a rescued baby cow, emus, turkeys, llamas, sheep, goats (including the biggest one I’ve ever seen, standing at over 4 feet tall to its shoulders, also a rescue from a meat facility) deer and a motley crew of other animals in a petting zoo, where they all co-exist peacefully.

The animals were all so sweet and personable, and had no issues with strangers interacting with them at all. At one point I was in the kangaroo pen and they just hopped around me and sniffed me like I belonged there. Priscilla, a huge 80 pound, menacing looking bearcat turned out to be super affectionate, wanting to sit on people’s shoulders and hang out.

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The experience was by far one of the most interesting work days I’ve ever had. Looking into these animals eyes and interacting with them in such a candid way totally solidified for me why I’m vegan and feel as passionate about animal rights as a do. It baffles me more people can’t look into those eyes and see the same emotional beings I do.

The whole issue of small zoos and exotic animal trade are a totally separate issue, which can not be remedied in a quick and easy way. Until the issue is addressed, I feel much better knowing passionate animal lovers like my customer are there to take them in and give them the most comfortable lives possible, considering where they came from.

In the meantime, here’s a video of me petting one of the baby bears that’s so cute you’ll want to vomit. They’re like little puppies!

Office Desk Makeover

29 Mar

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My original design concept I created on my Moodboard App

One of my big 2012 intentions was to re-design my work spaces, both at my office and at home. Since I’m a very visual person, and since I spend so much of my time working, it was important to me to create a space that was visually exciting to me that I’d be exited going to spend 8-10 hours a day in.

My work (i.e. real, not home) office is somewhat unique, in that it’s housed in a warehouse. The last design overhaul of the space was done in the late 80’s, so it’s in dire need of updating. While I’d love to entirely re-design the entire office right now, now’s not the best time considering the economy and other factors. I’m continuing to collect ideas and formulate an inexpensive plan to refresh everything, but in the meantime took on my individual workspace as a challenge to see what I could us utilizing what we already had in place.

Luckily the colors of my office are shades of gray, which I’m drawn to anyway. Pretty much my entire apartment is painted in a warm, gray tone. It’s my preferred neutral. Our office is also set up that there’s built in desks and cubicles, so no matter how much I may love to have a beautiful, white parsons desk, it ain’t happening. So I tackled my own corner first as a project to see what I could do to freshen things up a bit while working with what I have.

First thing I decided on was a color palette. Starting with gray as my base, I decided I also wanted to include black and white, introduce graphic stripes as a pattern, and use silver as my metal (since my computer monitor was already silver). I could later accent with bright colors should I want to, without being stuck with those colors forever.

Here’s the overall space before, and then after.

Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign

Most of the items I purchased at Ikea, including the magnet board (which I painted the stripes on), magnets, potted plant, pencil cup (which is really a vase), and tissue box. The small white desk organizer I found on Etsy. I also changed out my file sorter, which is a must have for me with an old vintage steel one I found in our supply closet that was being unused. Lucky for me it looks nicer than my old one and is black, which goes with my color scheme.

Looking at these photos now, I see what a cluttered nightmare my original desk was (at least for me). Everything was very haphazard. As you can see in the photos, when I’d have a cold I’d use toilet paper I’d steal from the bathroom instead of real tissues. What kind of impression does that set for my colleagues! Gross.

Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign

Eventually once I get through archiving everything in the notebooks next to the file sorter, those will be off my desk and clearing up more space. I’m all about having less clutter lately.

Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign

I cleared all the junk off the shelf near the ugly blinds so as not to draw more attention to the blinds. Seems to work. I also got a cute potted plant to improve my desk’s feng shui, and got an actual tissue box. So no more toilet paper for me! I’m so thankful for this now that it’s allergy season.

Probably one of the most dramatic changes I made was my message board and how I use it. I had an ugly, maroon pin board I had inherited when I took over the space, and I cluttered it with images of past work trips, time with my husband, random family images, and other crap.

Quite frankly after a while I got annoyed looking at photos of myself looking so “young”.  I not too long ago read a great article on photos people display in their workspace and how it relates to feng shui and your goals and aspirations. Snapshots of past events have a tendency to keep you there, in the past. Why waste that space on the past and why not focus it instead on the future? So I replaced that board with a great, graphic striped magnet board that now stores photos of destinations I’ll be visiting later this year, various visual reminders and images of goals (owning a brownstone in Brooklyn!), as well as various important work reference materials.

Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign

The finishing touches included my desk organizers. My pencil cup is absolutely adorable and was actually a tiny vase I found at Ikea. I also love my vintage mod desk organizer. It spirals out and you can use it to store everything from white out, post its, paper clips, and more. I love that it keeps everything concealed, yet accessible.

Office Desk Before and After Redesign Office Desk Before and After Redesign

Surprisingly enough, my entire re-design was incredibly inexpensive.  Makes me upset at myself I didn’t finish this project sooner!

So I think I’ve geeked out enough on my workspace. My next project is my home office, which is getting the same exact design attention.

What have you guys done to make your work space more “you”?

Las Vegas

26 Jan

The Vegas Strip

Now that my work schedule has calmed down a bit, let’s catch up!  Here’s my trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, according to Instagram.

Vegas sunrise #CES

The Venetian Las Vegas

The Venetian Las Vegas #ces

Sunrise at the Wynn

CES Mayhem

Me and Hopper

Checking In

3 Nov

LGA - DEN

Hola! Just checking in quick. It’s been a busy week or so for me with work and whatevs. So here’s the update.

  • I just got back from a business trip to Denver.  It was a really productive trip, but I’m glad to be back.  Denver’s beautiful but I always get horrible altitude sickness while there as well as homesick for NYC.  I have to go back again in December for another meeting, as well as to Vegas in January for CES so it looks like I’m back on the road a bit again the next few months.
  • I don’t think I mentioned it, but I changed my hair again.  I love it!  I went ahead and got bangs again and have been wearing my hair more wavy than curly.  I really love the change.  Here I am with the new hair and a pair of non-prescription nerdy hipster glasses I picked up while shopping recently just for kicks.

My Nerd-tastic Glasses

  • I was totes pissed my business trip required me to travel on Halloween. The only thing that made me more pissed off was this past Saturday (the unofficial Halloween party day) it snowed in NYC! We never get snow this early! I was so excited for Halloween this year and even got my costume early, which I never do. At least I opted to create my own costume from regular clothing this year so I can re-wear all the stuff, plus I have the costume issue solved for next year.

F you Halloween Weekend Snowstorm!

How’s everyone else’s week been going?  Any big plans for the weekend?  Besides sleeping and probably  having to work, I’m planning on attending the Intermix Fur Protest on Saturday, so if you’re going to be there be sure to say hi!

Home for Now

2 Oct

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I’m finally back from Annapolis and well rested after a relaxing weekend.

So last week I had to go to Annapolis, Maryland on business. It was for a conference hosted by one of the product lines my company carries. There were a few days of meetings and presentations, as well as several dinners and activities. There was also a lot of networking for me, being I was the only representative from my company attending it afforded me the time and opportunity to attempt to bring on more clients. It was nice for me to be back in Maryland for a brief bit. I went to college in Baltimore and also met my husband there, so the visit made me a bit nostalgic.

For these sort of trips I always pack one carry on bag with enough items to mix and match to allow me probably 8 outfit options over 4-5 days. Here’s two examples of outfits I wore to some of the meetings and presentations. My industry is made up of mostly men who wear polo shirts and khakis, so while I have to look professional I can still have a bit more fun with my outfits than women can in other industries. I usually love to take a super serious look, like a pencil skirt and crisp button down and toughen it up a bit with my accessories.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to go sailing on a large schooner in the Chesapeake Bay. We had several activity options, including a tour of the naval academy, a trolley tour, finishing and then sailing. Though I initially debated if I made the right choice, I’m glad I went with the sailing. Annapolis is, after all, the sailing capital of the US (which I did not know before this trip!).

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Besides the sailing being a lot of fun, we also were the only group that received lunch and an open bar on our excursion. Who says work can’t be fun?

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While we were out, we got to watch the women’s world championship sailing event which was really interesting to get to see so close up. Our schooner was also the ship used in the sailing scene in the movie Wedding Crashers, which was cool to learn as well.

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While I’m glad to be back, I do have to go back on the road in a few weeks. I have a lot to get done in the meantime before then. My main goal this week is to finally get the rest of my summer 30 for 30 posts up. It is fall now after all and my procrastination is getting ridiculous.

Airport Again

27 Sep
Waiting for my Flight{Scarf: Gifted; Blouse: H&M (thrifted); Jeans: Mavi; Loafers: Delia’s}

Today I’m traveling yet again. I’m attending a business conference in Annapolis, Maryland and will be there today through Friday. I’m hoping to get some photos while there (both of what we’re doing, as well as outfits) but don’t hold me to it, it is a business trip after all.

Working Girl

5 Aug

Sorry for the delay in posting this week. I came to the realization early this week I was a tad bit unorganized at work and it was making me unfocused. After spending nearly two full days resorting out all of my tasks and projects, I’m now on a crazy productivity roll getting a lot of shit done. So, needless to say I’ve been working a lot… but only because I really like what I do, which is pretty cool.

I’ve also gotten a lot done on the home front between going to the gym every night, eating home cooked meals (no takeout!) and finally putting a dent in re-organizing my home office.  I’m on a roll!  A special thanks goes out to my hubby though for helping make that happen by making us dinner a few nights this week.  He rocks.  As you can see, we’ve both been pretty productive this week.

Regular posting to commence again most likely next week. This weekend the hubby and I are heading to Philadelphia to attend his cousin’s wedding, which I’m excited about because I love weddings. I mean, come on who doesn’t. If you don’t like weddings there’s something seriously wrong with you, seriously.

What are you guys up to this weekend?