Aww, did you miss us? (Just kidding. Most of you were probably doing something more important, like getting politically active, checking out the latest cocktail bar, or watching your 800th cat video on YouTube.)
In all seriousness, it’s a been a hot minute since we’ve posted on this blog — one month, to be exact. But between unexpected delays getting back home and a major life change, we’ve had time to reflect on what’s next for It’s Five O’Clock Here, our travels, and our lives.
So what happened in January 2018 that led to solitude and some Serious Deep Thinking? From California coastline to new roommates, here’s the deal. (And spoiler alert: cute kitten photos ahead.)
Good Ol’ East Coast Weather = Extended Stay in California
If there’s one thing you need to know about New York City in the winter, it’s that there’s definitely going to be a blizzard or two at some point that will cramp your travel style. You’ll be all set to fly to your final destination and Mother Nature will say, “Hold it, buddy. I’ve got other things in store for you, you neurotic planner who adheres to a perfectly timed schedule.”
Generally, we’ll fly out to California for the holidays and return to NYC before New Year’s. This season, thanks to a crazy “bomb cyclone,” my flight back to NYC was cancelled not once. Not twice. But three times.
So I did what any good travel blogger “trapped” in Northern California would do: say @#$! it and head down to Pacific Grove. After all, if I can’t get home, we might as well escape to somewhere peaceful and serene.
We hungrily drank in the salty sea air. Sipped rosé prosecco, nestled against a crackling fire pit in Pebble Beach. Gazed out the window of a coffee shop, watching couples with their dogs amble around the corner. Lived. Laughed. Loved.
And it was just what I needed.
I realized that I don’t want to be jetting off to a different locale every month. It’s been incredible visiting a new city or country every couple of weeks, of course. But this year, I want to decrease the quantity of trips I take and increase the quality. No more rushing around from place to place — it’s time to slow down and let the essence of a place soak into my bones.
Niagara Icewine Festival 2018
With an expert guide from Grape Escape Tours and seven other passengers in tow, we sampled icewine and delicious morsels at ten wineries in one day. We visited a mix of old favorites (powerwalking over to Trius Winery in the rain for their cabernet franc icewine and devouring the famous spit-roasted porketta at Reif Estates) and new hits (gewürztraminer icewine at Rancourt, how I love thee).
All told, we managed to get 12 or so bottles across the border and safely back to our Brooklyn apartment. Truthfully, all of that sugary sweetness gave me a raging headache this year — so between that and my renewed quest to balance health and work, I’ll leave most of the bottle guzzling duties to my friends.
We were home less than 18 hours before we headed up to Warwick, New York to pick up our new roommates. Drumroll…
….Introducing Our New Roomies, Ash and Merlin!
Listen, if you had told me even a month ago that we’d be welcoming two kittens into our household, I would’ve snorted so hard that whiskey shot out of my nose. Mr. Five O’Clock and I are dog people through and through: I grew up with an Australian Shepherd; he with a Basenji. But due to space constraints, we didn’t think we could give a new dog the freedom to move about that she or he deserved.
When Mr. Five O’Clock casually suggested looking into getting cats, I laughed it off. Like I reeeally wanted some poofy creature eyeing me from the kitchen window, plotting my imminent demise.
But that all changed when we discovered Tonkinese cats. They’re affectionate yet active, family friendly and intelligent, and easy to groom. In fact, they’re the most dog-like cat breed we found in our research.
Mr. Five O’Clock reached out to breeders and shelters to see if we could get two male kittens, and we found our perfect match in an unexpectedly short time via Aristotonks. And as they say, the rest is history…
We welcomed Ash and Merlin into our home on January 29, and we couldn’t be happier. We basically fell down the rabbit hole (cat hole?) this past week adjusting to our new furballs’ presence.
These four-month-old kittens are explorers, to be sure, and you never know what they’ll get into next (it’s true what they say about cats walking on laptops — if only their paws could type out a blog post for me). Still, when you’re tired from a long day of work and you find a fuzzy bundle of love cuddling next to you contentedly, well damn. That’s living the good life.
So What Does This All Mean for What’s Next?
It’s Five O’Clock Here was originally meant to be a space for learning about alcoholic drinks, especially via traveling across the U.S. and the globe. That will still be true.
However, we’re going to expand our drinks coverage to include non-alcoholic drinks as well. The coolest spots to drink coffee in New York City? Yes. Everything we learned about matcha while visiting Japan? Hai! (That’s “yes” in Japanese, by the way.) And if we’re feeling particularly brave, we may even investigate mocktails (can these things actually be any good?!).
You’ll see more posts on New York City and the surrounding area. After all, a wise European writer friend once told me that “just because you live in America doesn’t mean that a story about your home country isn’t travel writing.” We’ll still venture out of the city, but now that we have a ZipCar membership, we’ll be taking more local weekend getaways to eat and #drinklocal.
And finally, you’ll see us asking for more reader input. I don’t want to be shouting out into a void here. I know that somebody out there besides my cats are reading this blog — at least, Google Analytics tells me so, anyway — so get ready for us to really engage with you and ask what you want to read about on It’s Five O’Clock Here. We can’t wait to hear what you think. Cheers!
Julianne promises it’ll be a least a week before we fall into the
cat rabbit hole again. In the meantime, follow It’s Five O’Clock Here on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more thirsty adventures!