Oh Hey, Thursday.

No seriously, how is it Thursday already? I swear to you, as I was typing the title of this post, I wrote “Oh hey, Wednesday,” and quickly realized OH SNAP IT’S THURSDAY. This week has been bitter cold and seriously nuts at work. I have barely opened my laptop, let alone thought about blogging.

SORRY!!

So here are a few updates on what’s been happening since we last spoke…

1. Well first, I should mention that I spent Valentine’s weekend on a work trip to Florida, which wasn’t so bad since I saw sunshine, sand, and my Uncle Bob.

2. Then I came back to Ohio where there was much snow, many blankets, and a small but amazing concert by Tim Reynolds.

3. Also, my husby bought me an amazing new bag for work & travel… LOVE IT.

The Escape Game *Nashville*

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While visiting Nashville over New Years, me + the hubster + sister-in-law + her hubster + hubster’s best friend + his wifey all got together to attempt The Escape Game.

It. Was. Awesome.

For the record, we did not escape. BUT we were in the hardest room (The Heist) which only has a 27% escape rate…

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The best way I can explain it is that it’s like the movie Saw (tons of clues you have to piece together for a specific end-goal), but it’s not scary. You have one hour to escape the room. I’d like to think we were a group of six highly educated adults, but we were only sort of kind of close to getting out. But we had a blast doing it!!

Next time, another room. This would be so fun for a girls night, a birthday, an office outing…pretty much anything!

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In-laws in the middle, friends on the outside. BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

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That’s us! Party of 2.

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One Second Everyday

In July, I discovered what was soon to be one of my favorite apps of 2014. One Second Everyday. (Almost) every day, I took little videos of my surroundings, starting July 24. Some days it was just the TV show I was watching, or my puppy, or my dinner, or whatever. But that’s just my life…not always terribly exciting! But I really had fun piecing it together over time.

Locations in this video include: Columbus, San Francisco, Nashville, Orlando, Negril, Atlanta, Chicago, Savannah, Tampa, Sarasota, Lexington, and Milwaukee.

And one more note. While the very last shot – over midnight on new year’s – may be a tad quick, I want to point out that while our cousin said “Happy New Year!” his very pregnant wife said, “He kicked!” about the sweet baby in her belly. Kind of a cool way to ring in the year!

More of these videos to come in the future…I hope you enjoyed my little life video.

A Sweet Trip to Sarasota

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Y’all know I travel for work. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s stressful. But hands down, THE biggest perk is occassionally being able to see friends or family I wouldn’t otherwise get to see. I tied a Dallas trip to a bachelorette weekend for Katharine. An Atlanta trip to a fun weekend with the one and only Katy. A few Chicago trips with weekends either in Chicago with my hubby, or in Milwaukee with my parentals. San Fran = Christen. NYC = Kimmy + a solid handful of college pals. You get my drift.

Florida, which is now a huge part of my territory, does not house many (any?) of my buddies from high school or college. I do, however, have one very sweet uncle in Sarasota. So when I was there for a work trip last week, he picked me up bright and early for breakfast and beautiful drive out and around the bay area. I admit, I didn’t take many pictures at all. But we did visit a low-key fishing pier, right around sunrise. A nice add-on to  my work visit!

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The Lady and Sons {a.k.a. find Paula}

Last week, I got to travel to Savannah for work. Having never been there before, I made sure to research and plan out my free time in advance. I knew I wanted some of that good southern cooking, and I really wanted to see all the weeping willows and old buildings and all that good stuff! And what better place to start than Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons?

Honestly, I sort of expected it to be only so-so. I mean, don’t you think that somehwere as hyped up as “Paula Deen’s Restaurant” can’t really live up to expectations? Well, let’s just say my inner southern fat kid was NOT disappointed. I got the buffet (partly because I was indecisive and partly because it was one of the cheapest menu choices, and I’m on a limited per diem over here), which included, among other things, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, greens, green beans, and mac & cheese. First plate was as follows: chicken, greens, a little pork, and a little cornbread. I told myself, “This isn’t SO unhealthy.” And when I finished, I was full. And I sat a little while longer. Thinking about mac and cheese.

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And so I may or may not have gone back to the buffet to make a small “dessert” plate of mac & cheese and sweet potatoes.

At that point, I became uncomfortably full. But whatever, it was worth it.

The restaurant itself was really pretty, and much bigger than it looked. Being a loner, I asked for bar seating which was all the way up on the third floor, down a random hallway, to it’s own little room. It was cozy, however as the photo below implies, I was definitely alone at the bar. Thankfully, with all the traveling I do, I don’t really mind riding solo. It makes me, like, mysterious or something, right?

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ALL of this to say, if you find yourself in Savannah, GA, do not be intimidated by the Paula. Go there! I didn’t get to see Paula herself, but the food definitely lived up to her reputation. Cheers!

 

Some People Get To Travel For Work

Have you seen those commercials? The ones that are like “Some people have to travel for work – other people GET to travel for work.” Well, they are advertising for Courtyard Marriotts, which happens to be my work travel hotel of choice, and has been for quite a while. I know it seems kind of random, but let me tell you about my love for the good old Courtyards.

(Here is the commercial if you care.)

Obviously, loyalty = rewards. But I could stay at any Marriott and reap the same rewards. The thing about Courtyards is that they are all laid out the same (they all have a courtyard – duh – and a fitness center and a super casual lobby restaurant area with delicious breakfast and dinner options. They have snacks for sale 24/7. They have balconies. And every room has a sofa and coffee table and tons of space.

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This all probably sounds silly, I know, but I don’t always appreciate these things until I am forced to stay in a different hotel and realize that not everyone has this. Seriously, I feel like I’m in a house at these places. The lobbies are like big living rooms. Here’s a view as I write this blog:

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That’s the lobby. Where I am sitting on a couch in a corner nook with a remote control, watching the crossfit games on ESPN.

And last night I watched TV on my computer in the courtyard while drinking wine.

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Really, as much as traveling for work does get SUPER OLD, it’s really nice to know what to expect at the end of a long day. And I find a lot of comfort in the routine of the Courtyard Marriott.

Are you loyal to a chain or a hotel? Tell me why!

24-Hour Chicago Whirlwind

When Jonathan bought tickets to see Garth Brooks, I was thrilled. When I found out it was in Chicago, I was more thrilled. When I found out it was at 10:30 pm, I was only sort of thrilled…because let’s be honest, I’m a super grandma.

We booked the cheapest flights we could to and from Chicago, and they put us into the City around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and had us leaving at 8:20 a.m. on Sunday: a full 24-hours in Chicago.

Excellent, however, due to the very late concert time, and the fact that it was waaaaay up in Rosemont at the arena, we opted not to book a hotel. “We won’t be done until 2 a.m. anyway!” we said. “We will go to a 24-hour diner and then to Midway!” we said.

We, however, are old.

So without further ado, let me tell you the story of our 24-hour visit to the windy city with one photo per hour. ENJOY!