You know the feeling you have when you’re sitting around with your best friend(s) and nothing else in the world matters because a) there are cupcakes b) there is pizza and c) there are nonstop, sidesplitting, tears-rolling-down-your-face laughs?  Yep, I had a weekend like that recently.  And it was the bestAnnie, Courtney, Elly, and Josie all came to visit me here in CT for a weekend back in October and in spite of the fact that we’ve had an perpetual Gmail thread of emails going since the winter of 2011, this was the very first time we were all able to get together at the same time.

The girls flew in on a Thursday night and we spent the following very rainy Friday morning having a late, quasi-hangover-esque (not from booze but lack of sleep) breakfast at Leo’s, my absolute favorite breakfast place in town, where beaucoup eggs, pancakes, and Belgian waffles with [pumpkin!] cannoli cream were consumed.  Kyle and I have breakfast there religiously every other Sunday morning and I was thrilled to share our little spot with people who love breakfast food as much as we do.

We spent Friday afternoon relaxing at home, perusing blogs and cookbooks, munching on Doritos and pretzel M&Ms (this was a sleepover weekend, after all) and chatting the time away before heading out for a short road trip to New York’s Hudson Valley for our evening activity.  We hit up Taste for dinner on the way to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze where we shared an artisinal cheese platter and flatbread pizza as appetizers and I had some amazing crab cakes and truffle fries for my meal.  It was a last-minute and off-the-cuff find for us (thanks, Courtney!) but it turned out to be a pretty fabulous meal from a menu consisting of many locally sourced ingredients.

The Blaze has been on my list of Halloween things-to-do for the past 3 years but since tickets sell out quickly and Kyle isn’t a huge Halloween fan (sheesh), it just hadn’t happened yet.  But when planning this weekend, I knew this would be a perfect activity for us to do!  Think about it:  a late October night with over 5,000 jack o’lanterns set up in stunning displays lighting up the sky in a small town just a few miles away from where Washington Irving set The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It.was.awesome.  Annie took some incredible photos and if they don’t encourage you think about being there next Halloween, I don’t know what will.

In our random 45 minute quest (small-town problems) to find dessert (priorities) following the Blaze, we actually stumbled upon Sleepy Hollow itself – yes, it’s a real town! – and I think the classical literature book-worm in her made Courtney just about screech with her excitement of our find.  Dessert was crepes al fresco on this oddly warm evening in Tarrytown and I don’t think any of us went home hungry that night.

This weekend just happened to coincide with Cupcake Camp New Haven; needless to say, there was no arm-twisting when I asked the girls if they were interested in going.  And just like the first year when I participated, this event left no empty stomachs.

I’ll let the photos do the talking here but also note that we crazily ate pizza at BAR (after our cupcake appetizers) where CCNH was held and I wouldn’t have chosen another place to have pizza in all of New Haven.  While Pepe’s and Sally’s are famous for being around for so long, BAR by far has the best pizza and it’s the favored lunch haunt of me and my work girlfriends.  Garlic mashed potato pizza with bacon?  Uh, yes freaking please.

Saturday afternoon allowed us to relax a little on the front porch while our bellies recovered from lunch and the evening consisted of a fully homemade Mexican feast that included chips and guacamole, an ahhmazing chorizo dip (coming soon!!), and some killer shrimp enchiladas made with homemade tortillas.  Dessert = more cupcakes, naturally.  Our gabfest continued into the wee hours and there were more than a few times when our laughing turned so raucous that I was sure we would wake Kyle.  That boy sleeps like a rock.

After Courtney, Elly, and Josie left on Sunday, Annie stayed for an extra day and we made excellent use of our time at a mini-cheese tasting at Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, CT (the Dairyere and Aged Bloomsday were outstanding choices to purchase), making both of our favorite chocolate chip cookies, as well as a decadent chocolate truffle tart.  Needless to say, I stocked up on veggies on the way home from dropping Annie off at the airport on Monday and puddles of sweat ensued at the gym that week.

These girls are seriously the sweetest ever and I’m so so proud to call them my closest friends.  They are stand true to themselves, love their families like no other (you should see them Facetiming with their kids!), blog with enthusiasm and integrity (and talent!!), and are the most loyal, honest, and caring of friends.  Living so far apart is a major downer for us because we’d love nothing more than to be able to spend more time together but have no doubt, we’ll be doing something like this again in the future.  Thank you, my friends, for coming to visit me in Connecticut and for putting up with a growling cat, cat messes in your bathroom, and being crammed into the back of my Jeep for 3 days.  I love you all dearly.

Note: These photos were taken by all of us and permission has been universally granted to use them for the purposes of writing this post.  All photos are still copyrighted – do not use without our permission.

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  • November 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    I’m still dreaming of that super thin crust pizza with mashed potatoes. So, so good. I need it in my life soon. Loved reading your post Tara, and thanks so much again for hosting! I can’t wait till the next time we can all get together again.

  • November 29, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    It sounds like y’all had an absolutely wonderful weekend! I have loved reading each of your recaps 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • November 29, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    That sounds like a great time. Those cupcakes look amazing too!

  • November 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Thank you so much for inviting us to your beautiful home (and thanks, Kyle, for putting up with us for a few days). I had such a lovely time, and I’m thankful we had more time together on this trip. I can’t wait to do it again!

  • December 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I love reading about your weekends together. You all always have the best time. I’m so glad you got to do this again!

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