Thursday, June 29, 2006

manhattan, music, and more

So my trip to NYC which was up in the air since I was wait-listed for my training course is now back on. Yes, I realize mid-July in NYC may equate out to being a little on the toasty side, but I'll take the trip however it comes. No complaints! Looking forward to seeing the girls and hitting the town a bit (along with of course doing the work-related stuff that's getting me up & back in the first place). Not going to let a little stats course get in the way of a little time out & about.

Also, TX Dem and I just got tickets to go to Austin City Limits in September. Promises to be so much fun. Nothing like a little spontaneous trip on the horizon. So many bands/artists. I've definitely never been to a music festival quite along those lines... and what a great way to celebrate my birthday. Can't wait! Something like 120-130 artists? Amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Willy Nelson, the Shins, John Mayer, Iron & Wine... the list goes on!!

Other than that, nothing too crazy up here. Just gearing up for the 4th. I'm feeling a little non-commital on plans - but I'm sure something will turn up. Always does!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

sexy ponchos, dancing mushrooms, & rain galore

I love TX's summary of our Sunday afternoon/evening adventure...

"Definitely great times at the concert. I'm still smiling about LJ's new DJ admirer, a delicious $12 margarita, Molly's slicker from hell, dancing mushrooms and Gia, the dancing princess (age 5)."

Our excursion to Nissan Pavillion for the Allman Brothers concert last night was the perfect girl outting for a group of DC city girls (and honorary city girls, for our outta town visitor!). TX, the Cajun, the Writer, Emily and I set off for an adventure... we didn't let several preceding days of rain and promise of more to come dampen our spirits. Hah... pun not intended. We arrived at the venue much more quickly than anticipated, which ended up being great. Turns out, as "luck" would have it, the lawn was closed and our el-cheapo seats received a gratis upgrade. We promptly set up shop front and center (of the area we were permitted to enter, of course) and spread our blankets intended for the sopping wet grass across instead across the rail to claim our turf. We so stuck out in the midst of the people we were watching go by -- TX with her JL bag, our USA 2000 flag, our snacks from Whole Foods... it was quite a sight. Unfortunately, my camera remained in the car -- so you'll just have to use your imagination here.

We roamed from row to row... as people claimed their seats, we were booted a few times. Hey, we got to check out the stage from multiple angles, right? We even made friends with the DJ from one of the area radio stations with the extra time we had from being there so early. He hooked us up with the typical promotional shirt -- white and "ginormous".

Anyhow, once the concert started we were definitely pleased to find that we were behind a nice man and his younger daughter. She was so cute! She danced the whole concert and was quite our entertainment. She was definitely young enough to not understand the intended meaning behind the dancing mushrooms on the stage displays and the other trippy graphics they flashed up. Her dad did divert her eyes when during one song they decided to display some mighty risque strippers dancing. I think the people watching in general was as interesting at times as the concert itself.

After the concert, we were soooo loving our premier parking. We shelled out the extra $$ to park close to the exit. Divided by 5 ways made it a no brainer. And we were feeling might bright as we got into the TX-mobile. Hard to get out of Nissan? Pish-posh! Now hard to drive in pouring rain with road closures? Maybe there's some more truth there!

I'm definitely not a die-hard Allman Brothers fan by any means... but I did enjoy the concert. And I definitely think there's something to be said for a group that's been around that long and can still draw a crowd. And it's also fascinating to see that while there were quite a lot of older fans, the age group represented truly did span the full spectum from Miss Gia to those 10x plus her age.

It was a trip... so much fun. Thanks ladies for going Let's do it again soon!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

peapod grocery magic

Well, I must say the weekend's off to a great start. Most weekends, if I were awoken by someone wanting to be buzzed into my building at 8AM, I would not be a happy camper. However, when it's the wonderful Peapod delivery man, my groggy "hello?" has a more upbeat twist. Poof! Like magic, my snug 1BR condo is surrounded by delightful, fresh tasty goodies. Gotta love that! Hey, I figure the delivery fee is cheaper than monthly insurance and car payments. Would you agree? Want fresh produce? No problem! Thin sliced deli meat? Sure, be right up. Prefer organic? Sure ... and it's even on special this week. Yesssss!

I'm still working on finishing up my pictures from my Italy trip. If anyone had ever told me how long it would take to do this, I wouldn't have believed it. No problem though -- nice to have something to work on that can be done while still watching Best Week Ever on VH1. This way, I can edit photos and catch up on my week's worth of pop culture!

Today's Mississippi on the Mall. A friend of mine from college, Emily, has stayed up this weekend and we're headed out there for a dose of Southern comforts... some good live music (yes, it is country, and no -- I do not want to buy into stereotypes here... I honestly don't love country music, but the band is good - I've heard them before) and fantastic Southern foods (hushpuppies!). Cross your fingers for us that the rain fest holds off -- that would be a definite downer.
Tonight, it's more girl bonding -- celebrating both Jenny's birthday with one group of friends and just girl's night in general with some others. Should be lots of fun!

What's everyone else up to this weekend???

Thursday, June 22, 2006

low maintenance "experiment"

I'm not super high maintenance by any means, but definitely a creature of habit. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I know what I like and don't like and I tend to gravitate time and time again to those things I do like. No problem, right? Although, I can definitely admire those of you who opt for the more spontaneous route.

Anyhow, I digress... (sorta)

This morning I decided I'm tired of wearing so much make-up! I was in a directed photo class, and one of the things we discussed was how to politely mention to a model that they perhaps are wearing too much make-up for the shoot. The teacher went on to note the difficulty since as he noted, women tend to wear more and more make-up as they get older.

So that made me think... I remembered the days I didn't wear too much make-up and I didn't think I remember looking too awful... flash forward to this morning. A morning which, as a treat to myself, I slept a whole extra 30 minutes (and they were 30 beautiful minutes). I remembered this whole thing as I started to get ready and decided just for the heck of it, I was going to wear very very little make-up today to see how I could pull it off.

So, here I am. If you see me today, or in the coming days, and think I look like a train wreck (haha) -- please, don't worry about hurting my feelings. Do let me know. Otherwise, I must say I'm loving the more natural feel. It's like a burden's been lifted -- very liberating


Hi Ho... Hi Ho... it's back to work I go...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

au revoir, europe!

Hot chocolate at a patisserie in Lugano, Switzerland... 3 Euros
Authentic Venetian glass necklace from Venice... 40 Euros
Tri-Colored leather sandals handmade by a shoemaker in Assisi... 45 Euros
Genuine leather purse at Leonardo's Leather Works in Florence... 81 Euros
Black-trimmed sandals at Prada in Milan I wish I could have brought home with me... 329 Euros
10 days exploring Italy and Switzerland with my parents... priceless.

It's hard to believe my long-awaited vacation has come and gone. It's amazing how quickly 10 days can come and go. But what an amazing trip. Italy sure did not disappoint. I loved Florence the most I do believe, although Rome has certainly since grown on me.

I'm working on prepping pics to post shortly. I put up some already on my profile and am busy working on repairing some others. As I feared was the case, my lenses had some dust on them (which I will soon be getting professionally fixed -- what a pain!) so I am working on fixing the many photos which this affected. It is reparable, but will take some time on my part. Guess it works well for that only that I seem to have somehow pulled my back at the end of my trip. Hopefully nothing that a low-key restful weekend and a heating pad can't repair.

On the plane on the way back, my mom and I were going through our list of top things we would miss the most and, likewise, the list of the things we were definitely not sad to see go. I thought that would definitely be an appropriate way to sum up my trip!

Things to be missed...
  • Amazing hot chocolate
  • Pizza galore
  • Gelato 24/7
  • European art & architecture
  • FABULOUS shoe selection (it was heaven...)
  • Wine being less expensive than Coke!
  • The hot vendor working at the plaza in Florence (it was only 5 minutes, but what beautiful minutes they were!)
  • Being able to practice my Spanish -- it was surprisingly helpful in Italy
  • Not having to prepare my own meals
  • One word -- VACATION
  • My mom's students -- they were a fun crew
  • Our tour guide - Annameke

Things to gladly say adios to...

  • Break-neck sightseeing
  • Walking 7 miles a day
  • European hair dryers (sneezing creates more wind!)
  • Funny bathrooms (just a hole on the floor? c'mon!)
  • Living out of a suitcase
  • Uncomfortable cardboard beds
  • Bland chicken
  • Generic french fries (I love fries, but we saw so many generic fries that I think I'm "fried-out")
  • Our tour bus driver
  • No control over the daily schedule
  • Only 1 or 2 TV stations in English -- CNN and, if we were lucky, CNBC
  • Cold, cold showers

So it's back to work and reality... next international trip I'm aiming for is Prague & Budapest with the family, and I'd of course love to return at some point to Spain and Amsterdam. Nothing too soon though, I'm afraid. I'll have to settle for some domestic travels in the near future.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

alps, fondue, and au chocolat

What a perfect day to wrap up our trip. Access to the Internet has surely been scarce (and honestly, as one who usually gets a twitch when not getting an email fix, I've really not missed it -- gasp!), but I've been keeping a journal chronicling our journey. I'll put up some more blogs to share when I'm back to my own lovely fast computer.

It's been a really good trip, but so tiring overall. I think I'm going to need a vacation to recoup from my Euro-vacation, for sure! One gentelman in our group has a pedometer, so I can see just how much "damage" we're doing each day. One day it was 5 miles, another it was 7 miles... we've definitely done our share!
Perhaps that's why I've been enjoying our low-key final day here in Lucerne, Switzerland. It's a nice resort-type town, with nice local shops and such to explore --- with a beautiful lake and the towering Swiss Alps as the picturesque backdrop. I think it's a better farewell than the hustle and bustle of Rome and Florence -- although I'm typically much more of a city girl.

Tonight we are doing a typical fondue dinner. I've heard you can even play their long Alpine pipe during the show, if you so desire. We'll see if I have a burning desire to do so this evening. If not, it'll be fun to watch others. And then, of course, there's the focal point of the evening -- the mighty fine fondue itself. I hope it doesn't disappoint. Lots is riding on that, my friends...

We've had a great tour guide for the trip. Her name's Annemeke (love the name -- Dutch for Anne Marie) and she's Dutch. We've had a local guide in most of the main cities but she's been great to complement in those where we haven't or even just to make the most of our plentiful walking time. She's a law student, which I thought was appropriate!

We're off to find a tea room in hopes of hot chocolate!

Friday, June 02, 2006

firenze bella


Just wanted to say a quick hello from Florence. What a beautiful city. Today has been a wonderful, relaxing day... a well-welcomed contrast from our super-packed visit in Rome. It was amazing to see all of the history Rome has to offer, but it was sooooo tiring. One of the gentlemen in our group had a pedometer and said we walked 7 miles that day. I definitely believe it!

I have taken a ton of pictures it seems - so those of you who wanted to have a look upon my return, definitely no worries there. I loved the history of Rome, but something about Florence is just more welcoming and just overall enchanting. I am definitely loving Tuscany!

Tomorrow we are stopping through Verona en route to Venice. Hopefully Verona will be as nice and quaint as I found Assisi to be. There I bought a pair of sandals from a nice man who handmade the items. He gave me a discount when he learned I am a photo student. He liked that even better than just being a student in general

The pizza, pasta, wine, gelato, and cannoli are amazing... I'm sad at the prospect of leaving those as well!

That's all for now... the computer's too slow for much more. More later!

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