Michelle Ballou: Blog https://www.michelleballou.com/blog en-us (C) Michelle Ballou (Michelle Ballou) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:52:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:52:00 GMT https://www.michelleballou.com/img/s/v-12/u1013436511-o1030311393-50.jpg Michelle Ballou: Blog https://www.michelleballou.com/blog 98 120 London Saturday December 12th, 2015 - A Visit to Kew Garden https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-saturday-december-12th-2015---a-visit-to-kew-garden  

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-saturday-december-12th-2015---a-visit-to-kew-garden Sat, 12 Dec 2015 21:18:21 GMT
London Friday December 11th, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-friday-december-11th-2015  

I had a late meeting on the South Bank today.  After the meeting I dined and debriefed with my colleagues and then went for a stroll along the Thames.

St. Paul's Cathedral:

Hay's Galleria

Tower Bridge:

South Bank Christmas Market: 

Tower Bridge:

South Bank Christmas Market:

Friday night at the Pub:

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-friday-december-11th-2015 Fri, 11 Dec 2015 21:14:11 GMT
London Sunday December 5th, 2015 - The Noses & Ears https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-sunday-december-5th-2015---the-noses-ears  

Here they are: 5 Noses / 2 Ears

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-sunday-december-5th-2015---the-noses-ears Sun, 06 Dec 2015 20:51:36 GMT
London Sunday December 5th, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-sunday-december-5th-2015  

Today I went on a hunt for 7 noses and 2 ears.  These were on walls mostly in SOHO and Covent Garden.  This was a fun hunt.  Thank you Tori for telling me about this.  Along the way I saw some other sights as well:  


Must have taken a wrong turn?


Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-sunday-december-5th-2015 Sun, 06 Dec 2015 20:33:54 GMT
London Saturday December 4th, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-saturday-december-4th-2015 Today was a day of exploring .... again London.

A left over piece of the Roman Wharf - see following plaque.


St Dunstan in the East


Stumbled upon a wedding in progress.


Regent Street 

Oxford Street

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/12/london-saturday-december-4th-2015 Sun, 06 Dec 2015 20:03:35 GMT
London Friday November 27th, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-friday-november-27th-2015  

My sight ever morning on the way to my Tube stop "Marble Arch."  This is Marble Arch:


Oxford Street:

It is Black Friday here.  When I questioned this, since yesterday was not Thanksgiving I was told that Amazon started Black Friday, the shopping and sales on this Friday just like in the US. And the shoppers were out this evening:

Video of the shoppers in action:


The evening was rainy, actually pouring for a while, and cool.  But these conditions do not seem to "dampen" the locals and eating at the street cafes:


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-friday-november-27th-2015 Fri, 27 Nov 2015 21:18:45 GMT
London Tuesday November 24th, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-tuesday-november-24th-2015  

All day in the office but I stepped out for a quick few photos. 
The back of the St. Lawrence Jewry church:

The inside of St. Lawrence Jewry Church:



St Mary-le-Bow and the church of the Bow Bells.   If you were born within the hearing of the Bow Bells you are a Cockney:


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-tuesday-november-24th-2015 Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:37:51 GMT
London Monday November 23rd, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-monday-november-23rd-2015  

Today was my first day of work in the London office.  Because it was a work day I did not get a chance to take a lot of pictures.  However, the thing about being in London is that everywhere you go, even to the office and back home, or in my case the hotel, there are historic sites at every turn.


The street of the office at night:

Around the corner from the office.  If you look through the strung lights you can see St. Paul's Cathedral:

Beyond the lights:

Tonight I choose Pakistani (Northern Indian).  Since I was alone they seated me with this lady and her husband.  Me being me, I figured out a way to chat with them.  They turned out to be from Kuwait and were in London for medical treatment.  At the end of the meal she asked if she could take a Snapchat picture with me.  Funny really, because usually I am the one asking for a picture.  I think I was much a novelty to her as she and her Hijab (head scarf) where to me.  It was either my being an American or that they could not believe me when they asked how old I was.


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-monday-november-23rd-2015 Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:35:50 GMT
London Sunday November 22nd, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-sunday-november-22nd-2015  

St. Paul Cathedral (Sneaky picture)

St. Paul's Cathedral

The Street of my office - Bow Lane

The London Eye framing Big Ben

St. Paul's Cathedral

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-sunday-november-22nd-2015 Sun, 22 Nov 2015 22:57:37 GMT
London Saturday November 21st, 2015 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-saturday-november-21st-20 It was a little chilly today in London.  In fact, it was snowy this morning.

Photo highlights:

This symbol of London is still found here and there in the City.

Hyde Park:

Marble Arch:

Tiny Door:

Buckingham Palace:

Westminster Cathedral:

Oxford Street:

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/11/london-saturday-november-21st-20 Sat, 21 Nov 2015 22:11:40 GMT
Drone Blog https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/5/drone-blog It has been a long time since I blogged so I decided I should post something.  I created this quick and "cheerful" video from my weekend adventure in Walla Walla.  This was a fun adventure and was a first for editing and producing a video entirely on an iPad.


The Adventure



(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2015/5/drone-blog Wed, 27 May 2015 15:47:34 GMT
New York Bonus Post 1 https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/11/new-york-subsequent-post-1 I have been reminiscing about our New York and Paris trip and working to go through all of my pictures.  I plan to continue to post some blogs of my favorite photos and perhaps add some stories along the way. 

Here is a start.

The crazy pajama guy

At Serendipity

Rockefeller Center was getting the skating rink ready and a tribute to NY Firemen

First Flight/First Pictures

Watching Soap Operas and eating ....

New York Subway


Union Station

View from the New York High Line Park






(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/11/new-york-subsequent-post-1 Mon, 03 Nov 2014 05:23:53 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 14, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-14-paris Today is our last full day in Paris.  What an amazing trip with some amazing friends.  Memories for a lifetime for me.  Danielle and I decided to take in a couple of last sights while Nicolie, Katie and Shane did some shopping.  

We visitied Notre Dame and toured the inside.  Again, this is something that photographs just do not do justice with its vast ceilings and beautiful stain glass windows.  The detail in the windows and even the doors is incredible.  From Notre Dame we went to the most ornate, beautiful bridge in Paris - Pont Alexandre III.  The bridge is also near the Arc de Triomphe and gave us somewhat of a view, that and all Monday traffic.  Lastly we took the train outside of Paris to the suburb of Saint Denis to visit the Saint Denis Basilica.  This church holds all but three of the kings of France in its crypt including some other prominent figures like Marie Antoinette. 

We meet up with the other girls and headed out for our last dinner in France.  We found a delicious Greek restaurant and followed it up with unique Gelato with flavors like Chocolate/Wasabi/Ginger named Black Sugar Sex Magic and Popcorn/Carmel named of Porn Cop.  Truly a play on words and a play with mixing of flavors.

By my count, we walk about 115, ate 10 Pain Au Chocolate each, had gelato at least 4 times and saw a ton of wonderous sites and interesting people.  Thank you girls for a great trip.

Now for the long journey home.  

Day 14 - Extraordianiare 

The Intricate Door of Notre Dame


Notre Dame


Kilometre Zero Paris 


Pont Alexandre bridge






Arc de Triomphe


Saint Denis Crypt


Street View


Galleries Lafayette Dome 




(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-14-paris Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:49:53 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 13, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-13-paris Today we started with a subway ride to the stop Saint Michel (pronouced Michelle).  This is the left bank area that we had been Friday evening.  It is full of small streets, quaint neighborhoods, little shops and lots of good food.  We had lunch at a highly recommended Lebanese restaurant.  From our lunch we wander some more to Grom Gelato.  We had had Grom in New York and wanted to try it Paris style.  The gelato in Paris was much better with a lot more flavor. Perhaps because we are closer to Italy?  After our treat we wandered through Luxembourg Gardens.  It was a beautiful day with the temperatures in the mid 70's so the park was full of Parisians enjoying the day in the sun.  It is interesting to me how the pace changes in Paris on a Sunday.  There are still a lot of people out, the garden lawn was packed but there is a calmer rythme (French for pace).

In the park there is a small lake and the kids can rent a small sail boat and a stick.  They put the sail boat in lake, the wind catches the sails and the boat moves across the lake.  They then run to the other side of the lake and use the stick to turn the boat around.  They all seemed to love this activity.  We saw several interesting characters in the gardens - the incessant waving lady, the lady with the leaf (and leaves) in her hair that was not at all bothered by them nor was her husband (we all wanted to remove them for her) she just kept reading, the children running after their boats, the boy and his dog, (the dog played soccer with him by hitting the ball up high or back to the boy).  It was a beautiful day in the gardens. 

From the gardens we continued to wander the streets of Paris that like before, around every corner you find something interesting or picturesque. At one point I lost the others and found myself in a closed Abbey, up an elevator but with a great view of the Abbey.

We finished our day with a dinner by near Notre Dame and a cruise on the Seine.  What a beautuful night for a cruise.  The bridges and buildings were all light up and the banks along the river were full of walkers, runners and people enjoying the night.  

Day 13 - Rythme

The girls eating lunch


Just another street view


Danielle shopping


Latin Quarter street view




Shane Snapchatting


Planning our next destination (Luxembourg Garden)


Katie in the park


Saint Etienne du Mont 


Luxembourg Garden lake


Luxembourg Garden



The lady and her leaf - Luxembourg Garden


Parisian Boys and an iPhone


The cutest Parisian couple spending a Sunday in the garden


Tower of Macaroons


A boy, his dog and a ball - Luxembourg Gardens 


The Abbey


Paris bridges from the Seine


Eiffel Tower 


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-13-paris Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:59:09 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 12, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-12-paris Today was the day for our visit to Versailles.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had no idea of the grandeur and opulence of the palace, the gardens and the estate. I have seen many pictures and books on Versailles but visiting is the only way to really understand the vastness.  I also had no idea of the area the estate covered.  It was a place fit for a king!  No wonder you can buy a 2 day pass.  It was hard to take pictures inside the palace especially since several of my friends from all around the world decided to visit today with me.  It was still worth the visit.  

I tried to imagine all of the kings, queens, princess and historical characters that walked, sat or stood in the places as I was.  The gardens with all the pathways and fountains must have been fun to play in as a child living at the estate.  We chose today to visit because the fountains would be running accompanied by music. They were beautiful. My favorite part of the visit was walking the grounds and most specifically Queen Marie Antoinette's Hamlet.  The village had such charm and it was such a contrast to the other buildings on the estate.

Day 12 - Grandeur

Outside the gate


The gate


The chapel


A face in the fountain










Fountain (one of many)


Ballroom Fountain


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-12-paris Sun, 19 Oct 2014 07:25:56 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 11, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-11-paris Day 11 and we finally made it to the Eiffel Tower.  You can see the tower from just about every where in Paris. But you must see it up close.  We tried a few days to actually get there but with so many amazing places to see; buildings, shops, cathedrals, people to watch, but we finally made it.  It is much larger then I had expected.

The rest of the day we walked around the streets of one or another neighborhood. Hahaha.  You cannot go wrong in any neighborhood. After a short rest our evening began with a violin concert at Sainte Chapelle of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  The lead violinist was quite the entertainer (I am not sure that is how classical music is done but what do I know) in addition to the great music and obviously talented violinists. After the concert we took a stroll in the lively left bank and stopped for delicious savory and sweet crepes. Best crepes I have ever had besides Nicolie's Priest Lake breakfast crepes. We then walked along the Seine to see the lights on the bridges and buildings and a partial view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower.

Day 11 - J'aime

Eiffel Tower


Sainte Chapelle




Some sort of memorial





Mailbox Art


Sitting on a cupcake




Paris at night



Subway tunnel





(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-11-paris Sat, 18 Oct 2014 20:39:01 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 10, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-10-paris Today did not start off very well for those of us who need a wake up shower. The water in our apartment and actually to whole builiding was turned off because of a leak.  There was a sign posted apparently but since we do not read French we did not see it or pay attention to it if we had seen it. Our day was made up of more sightseeing around Paris.  We went to Galleries Lafayette which is an upscale mall that, like Macy's in New York, is a full city block and 8 stories tall.  It has a beautiful dome unfortunately it is hard to get a decent picture of the dome. It will just have to be something you plan to see yourself. We went to the top of the Galleries and got a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower and other parts of Paris.  Tomorrow we plan to actually make it to the tower both during that day and see it lite up at night.

The evening ended with a fantastic dinner at an Italian restaurant aptly named Little Italy. It was raining slightly this evening but that just made for some great pictures as we took a stroll after dinner.

Day ten - J'adore


View From Galleries Lafayette



Paris Streets



Frenchman (I think)



Food Art




Dinner and a stroll






(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-10-paris Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:09:31 GMT
Girls trip - Day 9 continued, Belgium https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-9-continued-belgium I had a short time to get Day 9's blog out so I am doing a supplemental post with a few more of my favorite pictures.







(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-9-continued-belgium Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:42:24 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 9, Belgium https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-9-belgium Today we took the train to Brussels, Belgium and then to Bruges, What a fantastic and "oozing with cuteness" city to quote Nicole. Belgium is famous for Waffles, Chocolate, Beer and Belgium Fries.  Of course that meant we had to try all.  Or a least Shane got all of them checked off.  The rest of us got three of the four.  We started the morning in Bruges with waffles and coffee.  Belgium Waffles also come in two varieties.  Regular whice is taller and sugar which has pearl sugar in them.  Our waffle shop owners have had the shop for 20 years.  They were very nice and in fact Shane even talked to them about doing a Bruges - Wenatchee house swap.  After our waffles we roamed the streets of the city.  Shane and Danielle went through the Bruges History Museum.  While they did this Nicolie and I took a carriage ride.  Our driver Siel was full of information about the city and the buildings. His family had been there said the 1300's and in fact his family name was carved on the main squares statue.

One day in Bruges was not enough with all the canals and streets to explore. Every corner we came around had another fantastic view. I have put Bruges on my must go back to list.

It was a long day which is why this post is late but the long day was totally worth it.

Day nine - picturesque

The four of us after our Belgium Waffles



Bruges Canal











(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-9-belgium Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:08:45 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 8, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-8-paris Today started much like other days of this trip.  Except now instead of bagels with our coffee we are having fresh French pastries.  We started our walk today towards the Le Marais District.  Along our way we passed another arch into the city and the Place da la Republique.  The Le Marais District is one of the oldest with the most beautiful architecture in Paris.  This area also contains the Jewish area.  As we walked the quaint streets with the shops, bakeries and restaurants Nicolie remembered she wanted to try a fallafel place she had read about.  We got in line with the rest of the crowd, mainly locals and got our fallafel.  Funny thing about the line was that there was a fallafel place right across the small street and no one was eating there.  The owner was asking people to come in but every one headed to L'as du Fallafel.  Great find Nicolie, the food was excellent.  

....... However as we stood in the street and ate our lunch a kid, supposedly selling papers approach and crowded Danielle.  She turned away from him and he was gone.  Immediately she realized he had stolen her brand new iphone out of her pocket.  We looked around for they guy but he was no where to be found. Needless to say she felt sick.  We called and suspended her phone service and reluctainly continued on with our day.  From here we went to the Paris History Musuem or Carnavelet.  During our tour I decided to check my emails and found that Denise, Danielle's sister had emailed me and that she had gotten a call from the French Police that they had arrested the guy with Danielle's phone and she included a Paris phone number.  I called the phone number and found it was the police.  This story has many interesting details and perhaps I will go back to write it all later but the short version is that after a 2 1/2 hour visit in the police station with Nicolie and Shane wondering what happened to Danielle and I she got her phone back.  But not before having to actually face the guy and make a positive identification.  I have some of the police station encounter on video and it is very interesting.  The kid was only 17 and repeatedly insisted he found the phone.  He also said he only spoke Romanian until he responded to the police in perfect French.  God is AMAZING.  Once again proof that He answers prayer.  Danielle's phone was in perfect condition with all of her pictures intact.  We believe he was arrested right after he pick pocketed the phone.

After this long ordeal we did continue on our walking tour.  All in all 8 miles today.  We walked around Ile Saint Louis, found some goodies to purchase and decided where we were going to have dinner.  Again, Nicolie comes thourgh on her skill of finding the best restaurants and we ate at Pain Vin Fromage.  Here I was introduced to Raclette.  Which is a cheese that you melt for yourself and eat it on bread and potatoes.  It was amazing.

Tomorow we are off to Bruges, Belgium.  It should be another excellent day with perhaps, and hopefully a different kind of excitment.  

Day eight - Law and Order, Paris

Place da la Republique


Street of Marais


Street of Marais


Fallafel and scene of the crime


Jewish District


Hotel de Ville


Street Art


Wall Art


Street Art


The Police Station we visited for a while


Sandra Schmidt - the only Engilsh speaking officer and the smiling Danielle


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-8-paris Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:15:18 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 7, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-7-paris We started today with a fantastic coffee and even more fabulous pastry.  We then did a little grocery shopping before we started off to Sacre Coeur.  This is a beautiful basilica on the highest point in Paris.  In the front of the basilica was a small group of Portuguese musicians that had a terrific sound so we sat and listened to them for a while.

We found an out of the way Creperie for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed both our savory and sweet crepes.  And yes, these are very different including the flour that is used.  The creperie was run by an Iranian who wanted to practice his English.  Or that was at least the excuse he used to speak to Shane for a while.  From lunch we walked to Moulin Rouge since we were in that area and we could check it off our list.

Much to Danielle's dismay (much too earlier for her) we headed back to our flat to rest before our dinner with my Canadian friends living in Paris.  Pierre and Suzanne took us to a traditional French dinner in the area of Montorgueil.  They gave us at list of the highlights, areas and things that are their favorite spots in Paris that we should not miss.  Then they walked us to the Passage des Panoramas which is the precursor to malls.  The roofed passageways were created for shopping so that the ladies did not have to walked through the mud while they shopped.  These were also the first place in Paris to have gas lights.

Day seven - Si Bon

Sacre Coeur Basilica


Around Sacre Coeur

Parisian Street


Lunch Creperie


Moulin Rouge


Parisian Street



Art Deco Metro Stop


Waiting for the Metro


Passage des Panoramas


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-7-paris Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:46:54 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 6, Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-6-paris We made it to Paris.  Yay!  Our driver dropped us off at our flat, we left our bags and went out for a walk to check out the area. Our apartment  is nicely appointed and is in a very good area.  Within a short walk we found quit a few points of interest.

Day six - jet lagged (explains the short blog)

The Square of the Innocence / use to be called the Fountain of the Nymphs

This fountain was erected to commemorate King Henry II entry into the city.  


The French Cronut


Wasabi and other goods


Wallace Fountains


Notre Dame


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-6-paris Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:27:53 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 5, New York to Paris https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-5-new-york-to-paris Today's blog will be very short.  We woke up to rain but since we have a short day and most of it at the airport we were not to bothered by it. Besides, everyone had brought umbrellas so they would be sad if they would not have been able to use them.  We had a lovely breakfast at Sarabeths with a view of Central Park.  Well us, the NC State Basketball team and the rest of the tourists in Manhattan.  It was worth the wait however.

After breakfast we finished up our last minute shopping and made our way back to get our bags and meet our driver for our ride to JFK.  Next stop, Paris.

Day five - sweet sorrow

Update - I am posting this from our first morning coffee in Paris.  

Clock in front of Trump Tower


As seen around our hotel.  One of the many theatre's


Radio City Music Hall


Shane did not make the light


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-5-new-york-to-paris Sun, 12 Oct 2014 09:13:22 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 4, New York https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-4-new-york We started our day out with bagles, cream cheese and coffee.  Wait. Was that not how yesterday started?  It was worth a repeat and today's coffee and bagels were even better. We headed from breakfast to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street for some more shopping.  We had to take a spin on the WoMo and WoWo. Since we had pretty much seen everything in Manhattan in the first 3 days we decided we would just stroll some of the most popular neighborhoods; West Village, Greenwich Village, SoHo.  We happened upon John's Pizzeria on Bleeker.  The pizza was amazing.  We popped into several neat little clothing boutiques, deli's, cupcake stores and chocolate shops.  We even tried a cronut at Murray's Cheese where they just call it a French Donut. It was delicious and now we have our baseline for French pastries.

In preparation for our next stop Paris, we walked to Washington Square Park to see the arch. I was challenged to a game of chess but let the guy down gently. There was a guy there playing a hand pan.  The music was very soothing so we sat in the park for a long time enjoying it and people watching.  The most unusual sighting was the girl who was walking with the pigeon on her shoulder and petting it as she walked. For our last dinner and since we have had such great luck with Italian food, we decided to try another Italian restuaruant. It did not disappoint. 

We seemed to have slowed our pace a bit and only walked 7 or so miles today.  

Day four - meander

Riding the Macy's WoWo (Oldest escalator, wooded sides and wooden treads)


East Village


Caliente Cab Company


New York Door (I would be remiss if I did not get at least 1 door photo)


John's Pizza - A Bleeker Street original




Around Washington Square Park


Washington Square Arch


Found this beauty in the park


Everyone has to have a schtick - Gelato on a stick


Playing the Hand Pan


Shopping SoHo


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-4-new-york Sat, 11 Oct 2014 02:40:49 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 3, New York https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-3-new-york We started our day with bagels, cream cheese and coffee.  The way most New Yorkers do I would guess. After breakfast we headed to the High Line.  The High Line is an elevated park that they have converted from an abondoned section of the New York Central Railroad.  We walked through the park for several blocks and came down into the Chelsea Market.  This block long and block wide market is chock full of little shops, markets and eateries.  We enjoyed some authentic Thai food for lunch and continued to shop through the market finding all kinds of treasures.  

It was such a beautiful day we decided to take the subway down to South Ferry and the Staten Island Ferry terminal.  We boarded the Staten Island Ferry for a free ride to the island and back which provided us with great views of Lady Liberty, the south view of the Manhatten skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Hoboken, New Jersey.  

From the ferry we walked to get a picture for Michelle Jones of the Bull on Wall Street.  Shane had a fun time photo bombing several serious photographers. We also decided to walk to the 9/11 Memorial Reflecting Pools and Freedom Tower.

Nicolie, as she has done every other day, found us a great place for dinner in Mid Town.  This was a truly authentic Italian restaurant and the food was delicious.  Rich, the brand new waiter helper, took Shane's bread too soon and told me he was not paid to smile but we finally coaxed a smile out of him.

Day three - authentic

View from the High Line 


Musician on the High Line


Chelsea Market Spices


Chelsea Market Custom Brew


Chelsea Market Art


Riding the rails


Lady Liberty


View of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry


Shane Photo Bombing


This man is going to love this photo - nice Shane


Planning Dinner


Times Square


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-3-new-york Fri, 10 Oct 2014 02:00:37 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 2, New York https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-2-new-york Today was about the food.  Well, really on this trip most days will be about the food.  We started off with dessert for breakfast by going to the amazing Eataly.  This place remains one of my favorite places to have a coffee.  It is also right across from the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.  After we enjoyed our coffee and pastry we walked through the park and headed east towards Lexington.  We took a wrong turn which ended us up by Gramercy Park.  "Oopsie daisy"  This is a private park that reminded me of the movie Notting Hill where Hugh Grant  attempted to climb the fence.

We walked up Lexington to a Indian Spice store that made us all hungry for Indian Food.  So we took the subway to Grand Central Station and to Darbar a fantastic Indian Buffet.  After lunch we walked back towards Times Square and passed the Helmsley Building just as they were putting it up for sale.  Tempting?

We walked and shopped our way back to our hotel and decided to have a rest before our night out to the play Wicked.  The play was great and now we know why the Wicked Witch, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man all became what they are.  For dinner we enjoyed Grom Gelato.  

Today we walked about 10 miles and decided that yesterdays total was more like 12 miles.

Day two - succulent


Eataly Treats



Cappucino Love


Flatiron Building



Gold Bikes at Gramercy Park



Mixed Signals



About town 



Grom Gelato


(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/girls-trip---day-2-new-york Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:40:30 GMT
Girls Trip - Day 1, New York https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/new-york-girls-trip We are off and Shane is already Snapchatting our progress.


Our first full day in New York - Highliight pictures are below.  We started out heading to Bryant Park and the fun began.  We walk through the New York Public Library but unfortunately the Rose Reading Room is closed at least through the end of the year.  We  then headed up 5th Avenue, passed Rockefeller Center, St. Patricks Church, Saks 5th Avenue. and all the amazing shopping. We stopped and shopped at Tiffany's (I found a ring I liked!).  We had lunch at Serendipity on 60th and then took the Tram over the East River to Roosevelt Island.  We then walked through Central Park, had frozen yogurt at 16 Handles and walked to the subway and took it to dinner at Uncle Nicks.  We then took the subway to Macy's and walk around a bit to see the flagship store. All in all we covered 8 to 10 miles on our first day.  

Day one = fabulous

Our first stop was to this amazing bakery.  



The girls in front of the library.



Rockefeller Center.


St. Patricks Church


Roosevelt Island Tramway and Queensboro Bridge


Central Park



Childs Play



(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/10/new-york-girls-trip Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:20:21 GMT
Adventures https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/9/adventures I decided to take a quick trip to the Washington Coast. The weather has been 80 and no wind.  Why am I not here more often?  Oh right, this is unusual but very enjoyable. 

Jamie before our 3 mile walk on the beach.



Jamie and her mom on the jetty / Ocean Shores


I love they patterns in the sand that the water creates.



And then this happened


I almost walked right through this nice spider web.  


Spider Web

(Michelle Ballou) https://www.michelleballou.com/blog/2014/9/adventures Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:53:23 GMT