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Archive for July, 2010

Austin, TX Day One

Greetings from Austin, TX! I’m here this weekend for work and so far I’m having a great time. Minus getting here.

Getting here was a trial! Here’s what happened:

  • When I got to the airport my flight was 20 minutes delayed, not normally a big deal, but I had to be in Austin by midnight to get my rental car. The 20 minute delay meant I would be there at 11:30 which was cutting it close.
  • The plane didn’t arrive (that’s why we were delayed) until right before our delayed leaving time.
  • Our pilot had a medical emergency and had to go home. So they had to find a new pilot. New pilot was flying in from Syracuse so we had to wait for him to land.
  • My carry-on (all I bring) wouldn’t fit on the plane so I had to check it.
  • We took off an hour and a half late.
  • My TV (I flew JetBlue) wasn’t working, BUT it meant I got to move to the front-row, extra-leg-room seat.
  • For most of the trip we flew through a giant lightening storm. The whole cabin was lighting up inside and the turbulence was insane.
  • We landed at 11:45, were at the gate at 11:52, and I was the first one off the plane (with the seat change). I skipped baggage check and SPRINTED across the airport to the car rental place. Many, many thanks to the nice people at the Enterprise booth at the Austin airport who stayed a few minutes late for me.
  • The GPS unit couldn’t find the hotel’s address so I had to call the hotel, apparently the address is too new for most GPS units.
  • I’m a moron at reading GPS units and I still got lost several times.

I finally made it to the hotel a little after 1am Texas time and I was exhausted.

I got an amazing night of sleep and woke up feeling great. The hotel is really nice, check out my room.

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(Excuse my disheveled appearance and messy room.)

My view is better than the one I had in Amarillo, but still not quite picturesque.

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I checked out the hotel gym and ran 3 miles on the treadmill. Then I did a few errands. I had to buy sunscreen so I went to Walgreens and then I decided to check out the mall across the street and went to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch.

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After lunch I came back to the hotel and went to set up my booth for the show that evening. Luckily that didn’t take long so I had plenty of time to sit by the hotel pool and do some reading and swimming.

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Finally it was time to come back upstairs and shower. You know a hotel is nice when they give you comfy bathrobes.

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I ordered room service for dinner and got ready for the show.

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And then it was time to work. The show was from 6-10 and it was like a huge celebration. Everyone, vendors and attendees, got 2 drink tickets, and there were tables with carved meat and a giant dessert table.

I didn’t plan on drinking, but those shows are just soul-sucking so I went with 2 glasses of white wine over the four hours. Plus a small rice krispie treat with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Oh and there was a beer pong table. I didn’t participate.

I’m off this morning (scheduled this post) to explore the actual city of Austin. I have some places and addresses jotted down so hopefully my GPS won’t lead me in the wrong direction!

I’ll be back to let you know how it goes!

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Portland, OR Part IV

Missed Part I, Part II, or Part III?

Wednesday was my final day in Portland. My mother and my aunt had come in the night before so our group had expanded.

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Our only activity for Wednesday was to visit vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

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Our first stop was Sokol Blosser and the backdrop was absolutely stunning.

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Our next stop was at Duck Pond.

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It wasn’t as pretty, but it was still very nice. And I liked their wines more than Sokol Blosser’s (although I very much liked Sokol Blosser’s as well).

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After Duck Pond we stopped for lunch at a very nice place that I unfortunately don’t remember the name of!

But after lunch we headed to another vineyard, Rex Hill.

The architecture was a mix between modern and gothic.

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Unfortunately the wines were not very good. At all. But the decor was quite pretty.

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I think I started to look pretty drunk at this point…

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And that’s my Portland trip! I hope you enjoyed reading!

Even though I was nervous at first I ended up having a great time. I don’t think I have a lot in common with my aunt, uncle, or cousins, but they were still fun to hang out with and I’m so thankful for them showing me such a great time while I was there.

I think I will definitely be returning next summer! I want to go to the top of Mount Hood and I hear there’s some type of desert in Washington?

Plus I want to try some more wineries 🙂

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Portland, OR Part III

Missed Part I or Part II?

Tuesday morning we were up early to head to the beach. I love the beaches here on the east coast so I was excited to see the beach in the northwest US. I have been to the beach in L.A. before, but I figured the Oregon beaches would be different.

It took us about an hour and a half to drive to the beach but it was well worth it.

Although it was cloudy and a bit chilly when we first got there the clouds eventually burnt off and we had a great day.

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I think the beach we went to was called Cannon Beach, but I honestly can’t remember!

That’s all for now. My final day in Oregon tomorrow!

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Portland, OR Part II

Missed Part I?

Monday morning we started off at the Portland Farmer’s Market.

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I was really excited to see the fresh produce as I had heard how great the produce is in the northwest.

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I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with the produce, but it wasn’t as fantastic as I imagined it would be. And I don’t know, I didn’t really like the cherries. All the ones I tried were kind of tasteless!

After the market we headed to Multnomah Falls.

First we stopped at the gorgeous summit house.

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After we finished checking out the views we continued driving up to the falls. Apparently it’s the second longest year-round waterfall in the US (I guess after Niagra Falls?).

It was gorgeous.

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We went to the bridge, not the top of the falls.

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We ate lunch at the restaurant at the falls. It was NOT good. I guess my grandparents had been there before and really enjoyed it, but they said it’s changed in the last few years. Definitely not worth the money, IMO.

Ok, this ended up being a long post. I’ll do the beach tomorrow!

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Portland, OR

I don’t think I ever mentioned it here, but since the winter I was planning a trip to visit my grandparents in Portland, OR.

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They moved there, from Long Island, about a year ago to be closer to my uncle, cousins, and aunt, and because Portland is A LOT cheaper than Long Island.

I had never been there before (my grandparents spent summers there for years and my aunt and uncle have lived there for years), so I was excited to check out a new area of the country.

However I was kind of nervous. I hadn’t seen my aunt, uncle, or cousins (14 years old and 9 years old) in probably 10 years and it was really nervous to see how we’d all interact.

I left NYC on a Friday afternoon and landed in Portland around dinner time. I was exhausted, but still had trouble falling asleep, however I managed to rally in the morning for a nice run around the condo where I was staying.

Then I was off to spend the day with my aunt, uncle and cousins.

We started off at the Portland Saturday Market which is a lot like the Brooklyn Flea.

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Then we went to Powell’s Books and had a great lunch at Deschutes Brewery.

After lunch we headed to Voodoo Doughnut (I highly recommend checking out the site, the doughnuts are hilarious and very creative!) where I got two doughnuts (which I consumed over the next few days).

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Filled with blood!

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The Voodoo man was delicious! The Oreo one was ok, nothing special.

They also have vegan doughnuts, if that’s your thing.

I had dinner at my grandparents’ apartment Saturday night (“kickass” meatloaf) and then we went shopping at this upscale mall. I scored some great deals at J. Crew 🙂

Sunday morning I woke up to do some strength training and then went to watch the World Cup final at a bar in Portland.

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It was a totally insane experience and I’m going to write more about it in my World Cup recap post.

After the World Cup final ended, while waiting for my aunt and uncle to pick me up, I did some exploring of Portland

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Later that evening my uncle and cousin took me to the shooting range.

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I had never held a gun, let along shot a gun, so it was a pretty interesting experience.

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Turned out I was pretty good

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I also got to hold a pretty cool looking handgun

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I didn’t shoot it, I actually only held it to annoy my anti-gun, very liberal mother 🙂

I think that’s enough Portland for one post! More tomorrow…

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Amarillo, TX Take Two

You might remember I went to Amarillo, TX once before. I actually am going to be going twice a year for work now.

My second trip happened at the end of June (I can’t believe that was a month ago now!).

I went alone this time so I had plenty of time to take lots and lots of pictures.

The US men’s soccer team was playing in their third group match the day I flew to Amarillo so I made sure to wear my shirt for the trip.

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Check out my room in Amarillo, it’s actually really nice.

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But the view is kind of strange

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I think next time I’ll request a room that overlooks the outdoors 🙂

As I said last time when I went to Amarillo, it’s kind of just a highway with lots of fast food restaurants and chain stores.

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I had a delicious dinner at Blue Sky Burger

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I had the green chili cheeseburger and it was delicious!

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One of the top five burgers of my life.

The fries on the other hand…not so good. Kind of inedible.

So if you go to Blue Sky get the burger, skip the fries.

I also paid another visit to the Cadillac Ranch

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And finally, on my way to the airport, I stopped at Dairy Queen.

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Where there were horses tied in the parking lot. On the side of the highway. Pretty normal.

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I’m Back

I’ve seriously been neglectful of this blog. I’ve seriously been neglectful of a lot of things lately.

But I’ve gained a few pounds, I’m feeling kind of low (not because of the weight, because of stress), and I think it’s time to start back up. Maybe not every day, maybe not every week, but I’m going to start making note of what’s going on in my life here again. Because I think it’s good for me.

Here’s what you have to look forward to in my catching you up:

  • My trip to Amarillo, TX
  • My trip to Portland, OR
  • My reflections on the World Cup
  • My morning in the Emergency Room
  • My new camera lens

I’m back 🙂

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