Tacky Lights 2017

Another year (and a month late!) with more tacky lights! It occurred to me driving around this year that I have never given credit to the houses. There are also houses that I have really enjoyed in years past, but I didn’t write down the address and therefore don’t know where to go back the next year! I am rectifying that this year. Most of the houses in this post I’ve been to, and posted about before.

2334 Thousand Oaks

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9608 Asbury Court – 2017 “Great Christmas Light Fight” winners

Yes, the lights go ALL the way up to the top of those trees, and they are 70 feet tall!

A whole flamingo section!

I’m very partial to geese too. And the vultures for some odd reason!

I’ve never seen the squirrels and the mailbox, the santa building the snowman, or the polar bears climbing the trees. I thought they were really cute!

9215 Venetian Way

But don’t go down Venetian Way, they don’t decorate the front. Take Maybeury instead so you can see the lights reflecting off of the lake.

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And someday I’ll be on the tacky light tour!

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New York City – Holiday Edition

Other than making connections in New York, I had never actually been into New York City (and I don’t count the time we stayed overnight during a long layover because a travel agent had no clue how to do her job).

I thought Mom had always wanted to go to NYC to see the Christmas windows. She thought I had been dropping hints for a long time. We both thought this little jaunt was for the other, but regardless we had a good time. Despite the FRIGIDLY COLD TEMPERATURES! But I guess it wouldn’t be December in NYC without the cold.

We arrived a little early to the hotel, so we walked around as much as we could stand (which wasn’t long).

View of Central Park from our room

The Plaza

Walking to Rockefeller Plaza

 Rockefeller Center!

Top of the Rock!

It snowed overnight, which was BEAUTIFUL!

But it slightly dampened and tampered with the open-air double-decker downtown bus tour planned for that morning. But I made the best of it, shivering all the way!

These were probably cool shots, minus the ice on the partial enclosure.

Times Square

NY Public Library

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One of the Christmas Marts. We went to the one in Columbus Circle and I don’t know if they are all the same, but the one we went to was more of a flea market.

Brief glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge

I’m not 100% sure what all of these buildings are, but I’m pretty sure the justice statue is from the NY City Hall building.

After zooming in, I could see this was the US Customs building.

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Charging Bull in Wall Street. The tour guide said it was “anatomically correct” and if you take a picture from the bull’s back, it is said to bring good luck. I’ll take his word for it. Not sure there is any superstition to putting one’s purse on the horns, but they ruined a good on the move shot!

We had to disembark at Battery Park for some inexplicable reason. The new bus would not arrive for 15-20 minutes, so we walked down to get a shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Was also able to see the Freedom Tower unimpeded by other buildings and ice on the windows. Hard to believe that was the site of so much devastation.

Our new guide pointed out a rich guy had to move to NYC, but didn’t want to leave his cape cod, so he moved it piece by piece and reassembled it on top of a building.

Our new tour guide was strangely obsessed with pointing out every hospital and medical center on our route, rather than the popular touristy sites, so not sure if any of these buildings are actually something, or just cool.

This is just something cool though.

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Empire and Chrysler (respectively)

Not sure, but the connected walkway is cool.

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I think this is Brooklyn.

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Rockefeller Plaza (from the ground)

Saks Fifth Avenue (finally some windows!)

More Christmas-y stuff!

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After the tour, (and after I regained feeling in my lower extremities) I walked around on the hunt for decorations!

Bergdorf Goodman

A cool building that was concave (did I say that right?)

Tiffany & Co.

I don’t know why I find this juxtaposition ironic.

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Ferragamo and Cartier

Several more…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just smack dab in the middle of all the sparkles.

And half a block away is St. Thomas Church.

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Back to the sparkles!

A walk through Central Park ended my adventure.

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The next day was even colder and kept us inside while we waited to go to the airport. But I experienced de-icing for the first time!

All in all it was a very merry adventure!!

Pumpkins 2017

Growing up in Southern California, there was never an absence of fresh anything. You want to pick your own apples, done! Strawberries, of course! Avocados, you bet! Pecans, absolutely! Pumpkins, perfect!

Pumpkin picking was a favorite pastime of mine when I was a kid. We drove to a pumpkin farm and we could roam around for an hour looking for perfect pumpkins. Living in Richmond is a little different. There are farms, but you have to pay to get into them. Then you have to ride a tractor to get to the part where you can pick your pumpkin. Not always ideal.

However, after a little bit of inter-web searching, I found the PERFECT Richmond pumpkin patch! Gallmeyer Farms sorta near the airport was not only close by, they didn’t charge an entrance fee, and I could also WALK to the patch! While I didn’t purchase my pumpkins here, I very much enjoyed walking around. I will return for sure next year!!

They had a ton of jumbo pumpkins!

The field of pumpkins! They did have a tractor ride (for a fee), but you didn’t have to ride it to get to the field.

So many pretty pumpkins!

Proof I was there.

You had a take a wheelbarrow to cart your pumpkins away.

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This is where I bought my pumpkins. Not the same experience, but they were super cheap!

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This one had some interesting stuff growing on the stem.

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On to the carving!

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This picture was taken four days after I carved them. I put some Vaseline around the cut edges to help preserve them a little. The little black flecks you see is mold on the inside.

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I wish pumpkins were year-round. I would carve one for every holiday!

The Jefferson

The Jefferson is one of those places that I tend to take for granted. It is close by, so I have no excuse. It is historic, so there are plenty of photo opportunities. But because it is right there, I don’t go often.

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In a nutshell, it is a luxury hotel built in the late 1800s by Lewis Ginter and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Beaux Art. It has been partially rebuilt twice from fires, and undergone numerous renovations. 13 presidents stayed there, along with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and countless other celebrities.

Apparently, alligators used to live in the pools at The Jefferson. They now have sculptures in and around the building to memorialize them.

I’ve been twice (or three times, I can’t remember) for their infamous Sunday Brunch Buffet. I’ve also gone to a couple of work-related happy hours during the holidays.

The most recent trip was for a belated birthday brunch for Mom. Her birthday is in July, but they didn’t have any openings until August.

We were seated right next to the giant dessert table!

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My perfect breakfast (including a mimosa!)

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Me and Mom :)

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That is what a normal photograph of people in a picture should look like. The next one is, well…a representation of the kinds of photographs my Mom used to take before we banned her from taking pictures (we purposefully posed for this one).

Note the ice sculpture is now “growing” out of her head…

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…and cue the “photo fails“…