Sunday, January 15, 2017

Home Sweet Homeless

I just got back from Portugal, and on my last evening there, I found out that the location transfer I was hoping for isn't going to happen.  So now I am homeless with no end in sight and no promising opportunities on the horizon, but with at least a couple months of decent travel to anticipate!

Portugal was so much fun with my friend, Lauren, even if we were both sick at various parts of the trip.  I'm working on a full post about it, but here's a little teaser!

Now I'm back in London for a few days.  My Airbnb is great, but very...utilitarian.  It's pretty basic, and the laundry is in a downstairs communal laundry room, so I can't just put laundry in during the day and leave it (which I am only now realizing is a huge problem for all the clothes that can't go in the dryer because if I don't do laundry until Saturday as planned, they won't be dry in the <24 hours until I have to pack and fly again...crap).

I'm finally feeling better after a horrible cold kept me out of it for a few days, but now I have a big week to get all my projects in a stable condition before I go on vacation to Asia.  I travel all day Sunday to get to Groningen, Netherlands for work.  Of all places, I just found out there's a huge music festival happening in Groningen right now, but it ends the day before I arrive - go figure.  Hopefully I can find somewhere to watch the Dallas Cowboys playoff game, and the hotel I stay in, fortunately, has a great breakfast and onsite DIY laundry (rather than absurdly expensive hotel laundry service) and a decent gym.  The "workouts" part of this blog and my life have fallen in priority with all the travel and various aches and injuries (plantar fasciitis - ouch!), so hopefully I can manage a few sweat sessions while my laundry is going.

 Until next time, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Things of Lately Thursday

Hi Blog friends!

I know it's been awhile :)  I've been writing intermittently, but everything is unfinished and I've been lacking in the photo-taking department.  The travel and work schedule of lately has made my brain more scattered than usual (<- really saying something!), so how about a somewhat scattered post just for an update? Here's some things of lately!

Strong as ever!  The work travel has gotten a little old, but being in new places still excites me.

Tel Aviv - view of the city from Old Jaffa
I just got back from Tel Aviv and I definitely owe you a whole post on this city, because it's one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world!  It was a lot of (que Rihanna:) work, work, work, work, work, but I did enjoy some beach time on my couple of free days and get to explore!

Sunset over the Mediterranean
This week the wanderlust (and work, haha) are taking me HOME!  In about two hours, I'll be boarding a flight back to the Lone Star State!  I'm SO looking forward to seeing family, friends, a certain little furball, and some decent Mexican food ;)  Oh yeah, there's a team summit in there somewhere too - I'm excited to see what my European colleagues think of my home state!  Heads up, Texas - the British are coming, the British are coming! (Heads up Brits - don't fuck with us, we have guns).  

Hey, remember when I said I would post about these?! :)  Due to the travel schedule, I'm lacking a gym membership at the moment - I've been taking over the fitness studio at work to have my own personal little Turbo Kick classes.  It reminds me how much I love this workout, how sweaty and effective it is, and how much I miss teaching!

Part of my Turbo Fam after my final class teaching!
I'm trying to get back in teaching shape soon and hope to teach a few classes at work - in the meantime, I've been upping my running game, 

 Working out at home more, 

And trying to eat healthier!

I'm definitely hoping to squeeze in some Turbo Kick classes while I'm in Texas (to make up for the inevitable overload of BBQ and Mexican food!).

For the "wine" part of the blog, I always planned for it to be about more than specifically wine, but more of a complement to everything else - the delicious extra flavor on the side ;)  Perfect for the rest of this incredibly random "things of lately" post!  

My bare minimum makeup needs: Clinique airbrush concealer & tarte mascara (my all time fave!  I brought a "new" tube with me on my last trip and it turned out to be dried out and the replacement I tried was definitely not as good!) - most days, I apply this concealer and this mascara, and I'm good to go!

Getting upgraded to First Class on my way back from Tel Aviv!  Even if I did get a little tipsy on all the free champagne and wine (they kept refilling it!) and forgot my book and laptop on the plane (don't worry, the laptop was recovered!)
Fancy toiletries, sleep suit, and delish champagne
Reads of lately - I am usually not a read-more-than-one-book-at-a-time kind of girl, but some of these are fairly segmented books (perfect for reading on the tube when commuting!), and then I also started another book while I lost one - which I've replaced because I want to finish it!  Surprisingly, there's not a single fictional or light/funny read, which is what I usually alternate with "smart stuff" like this :)

  • Wherever You Go, There You Are - this is a book about mindfulness, something I like in theory but kind of suck at...I'm not really that into the book yet, but it makes a nice relaxing read before bed.
  • Daily Rituals - a random book store find with daily routines of various writers, artists, scientists, etc.  Perfect, short chapters for reading on the tube!
  • Losing the Signal - the story about the rise and fall of BlackBerry - combines technology, business, and a good story and is really interesting.  This is the one that got left on the plane (you can see it peeking out in the photo above), but I Amazon Primed that baby so I can finish it - I'll probably finish this one in the next couple of days, if not on the plane shortly!
  • Prisoners of Geography - I just started this one, and I'm already through Russia and halfway through China.  As someone who doesn't know much about politics, especially on a global scale, this is an awesome, well-told round up of the political history of the world and how geography has played a vital role in it.  

Well, there you have it - my most random post yet!  I'll close for now and get some work done before my flight.  See y'all from Texas!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

...and then I went to Amsterdam!

Hi y'all!  I just got done with a trip in Amsterdam for ISE 2016 (AV trade show) - and it included mostly work and a lot of boozing with the team, but here's a few snapshots of the trip!  It is horribly disjointed and out of order to give you the feeling that you're in Amsterdam too! ;)  Just kidding, it's actually that way because Blogger is really terrible at photo-handling and after multiple attempts to rearrange photos, it has bested me and my patience, so I opted for randomly ordered photos with captions.  Hopefully I'll have a better method soon, but until now, I'm just trying to provide posts and photos without throwing my laptop across the room.

VIP Treatment at the Crowne Plaza!
I squeezed in only a couple of workouts (this one is courtesy of Fitnessista, one of my fave bloggers)

Dutch sausage with apple chunks in it, mustard, and a zucchini mash with a dill cream sauce on top

One of the most beautiful cities in the whole world

Funky cafe with wifi and coffee - the perfect work environment

I seriously can't walk past a canal without snapping pictures

New favorite beer - IPA from Brouwerij't Ij (Nope, can't pronounce it, and yes, I had a gluten-induced stomachache afterwards, but it was worth it!)

Check out that sun!

Hey look, it's me!

Bikes everywhere
Alfa Romeo rental car upgrade is "GR-8"

Accidental artsy shot with the reflective bicycle wheels, haha

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Playing Tourist in London

Good morning from London City Airport! 

It is a stereotypically rainy day in London and my flight has been delayed a full hour, so I thought I'd try and make it up to you all that I've been a terrible blogger lately (it's the day job keeping me busy) and share what's been going on in my neck of the woods the past week!

As some of you know, I'm a colossal nomad at the moment - literally, I don't have an address or anywhere that I pay rent, with exception of a storage closet:

Home Sweet...Mess
That is coming to an end shortly and probably deserves its own post (so that I can look back and see in my own words exactly what I thought of it if I ever consider doing it again), but one of the benefits of it is that when I am in London, I get to stay in a different part of town every time.  I also happened to have a friend in town over the weekend, so I had even more of an excuse to be a tourist 😜

I rented a room from a coworker who is out of town (we have a mailing list for this sort of thing) and stayed in the very trendy hipster mecca that is Shoreditch and Hackney - which I unfortunately got very few pictures of, but this kind of sums up the type of places you'll find:
The Bike Shed - Motorcycle club/shop/gallery/cafe, all in one!
While I didn't actually go to The Bike Shed, I went to quite a few local cafes and pubs.  Including finally going to The Breakfast Club, which has been on various "Things You Have to Eat in London" lists and long ago featured on my Instagram when I was passing it while wandering London.  It didn't disappoint:
Huevos al Bene, aka eggs benedict with chorizo, guac, and chiles = it was rock your face off good, especially with a mimosa on the side ;)
Post-brunch, the touristy thang happened and we hit up all the London first-timer spots.
Tower of London (note: it's actually more "fortress" than "tower"

Tower Bridge (NOT London Bridge, which is across from Tower Bridge and much less cute, even as bridges go)

Cool mosaic wall!

South Bank, one of the prettiest areas to walk along the river!

Big Ben and Parliament at dusk

Kind of makes you feel small, huh?
I'll just provide pics and sassy descriptions and you can look up the historical deets on Wikipedia if you're so inclined. We ended the day with curry on Brick Lane (so good) and started Day 2 with the Brick Lane market - the two major things the area is known for.
Food Stalls at Brick Lane Market

We escaped London dampness by wandering the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman eras of The British Museum

enjoyed a Sunday Roast at a local pub (a tradition I think we should really adopt in the US!),
Roast chicken, duck fat potatoes, veggies, Yorkshire pudding (which is actually a flaky dough thing), all smothered in gravy (and a side of wine, obviously)
a nighttime stroll through Trafalgar Square (pics just for you, Dad!),

and then a little American-ness - NFL Playoffs:
We had mediocre seats on the side of the top level, but they still served buckets of cider, so it turned out ok
I found the elevator sign pretty funny:
Why do the Germans have towels???  If you get it, please explain to me in the comments...

The rest of my stay in London was all work and no play and 37,592 cups of coffee that I won't bore you with :)  If you have any London faves or wishlist spots, let me know in the comments and I'll check it out!

Until the next adventure! ✈️


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wine and Wandering in Barcelona

Extra wine and wandering to make up for the lack of workouts ;)

I mean it on the extra wandering - my friend’s fitbit count was in the 20,000 steps range every day!

Despite starting with a 3-hour delayed flight, I had an amazing long weekend with friends in Barcelona - the kind that makes me want to pick up and move there for a few months!  I would definitely have to buy a bigger jean size though, to allow for all the extra jamón (aka meat candy) and wine.  

Since we all arrived really late on Friday, we wandered in the streets until we found an open tapas/wine bar and started off the trip with a lovely late night meal - I can’t remember everything we ordered, but there were jamón Ibérico croquettes, octopus, and a grilled goat cheese salad with figs and honey, all washed down with [a couple glasses of] a beautifully smooth Tempranillo Grenache (I think it’s granacha in Spanish - * edit - it's "garnacha" ;) *).  A perfect meal and a good night’s sleep for a big first day ahead of us!

Exploring Park Guell and Gaudi House Museum

After a lot of walking, we went to Cerveceria Catalana at a friends’ recommendation - and, just as she said, there was a wait for a table, but it was 1000% worth it!  The restaurant serves upscale tapas (small sharing plates), with a large selection of fresh delicious, seafood.  We loved it so much that we came back here for our last meal in Barcelona.  Some favorites (basically everything we ordered!):  grilled octopus, calamari, padron peppers, patatas bravas, prawn skewers, pan con tomate, cheese, crispy camembert (cheese coated with peanuts and topped with jam) and of course, jamon Iberico (<-- we ate a jamon plate roughly twice per day and I’m not even a little bit sorry).

Casa Batllo

Dinner was at the famous 4 Gats and the highlight was the gin and tonics - they don’t even have a cocktail menu, and if you ask, they will just tell you they do gin and tonics.  There was a card on the table showing four G&T options - classic, herbacious (my pick!), floral, and spiced.  My two friends rolled with the floral option and it had whole strawberries in it that tasted like fruity, gin-soaked heaven.  Part of the treat was watching them be made very elaborately in these lovely goblets.

To finish off the night, we walked around the Gothic quarter and discovered that there was a massive music festival in town for the weekend (we saw it several times), came across some street tango dancing that I could have watched for hours,

and ended up at a Vinateria for a late night jamon and wine snack (the best!)

Crucial Wine Choice

I could eat this every day and die happy!

The next day, we took a looooong stair-filled trek to Montjuic and enjoyed a beautiful tram ride up the mountain:

There we discovered that the music festival had taken over much of the area and there was no coffee to be found.  

We consoled our dropping blood sugar with some sweets before searching for the “brunch place with an amazing view” that we’d gotten an insider tip about and ended up unknowingly hiking all the way down to the base of the cable car.  

The restaurant was completely unremarkable on the outside, but after walking in, we knew it was worth it.

We stayed for awhile and enjoyed some lighter entrees and a bottle of Cava to prepare ourselves for a long walk to La Sagrada Familia.

We couldn’t go in the main church because it was closed for an event, but we went into the crypt and walked around the outside. It was absolutely beautiful.

We then walked EVEN MORE to head out to the W hotel to check out the killer views.  We weren’t allowed in to the club (which we were pretty okay with) due to our casual footwear, but we found a perfect spot outside to sit and watch the sunset.  

Rare pic of yours truly ;)

Then we found a fantastic restaurant nearby for dinner.


It turns out that the secret to liking olives is to soak them in a gin mare and tonic, and then they’re delicious ;)  More jamon, tapas, and Gin Mare (<-- my new favorite gin and first ever duty free alcohol purchase on the way home!).

Cheers to birthday girl, Katelyn!

We finished our final night in Barcelona by exploring the Gothic Quarter some more in search of this peaceful square that Katelyn had seen before - a former bomb site where the damaged walls remain around a fountain near a beautiful hotel and restaurant.

I had such a wonderful time with Katelyn and Olga and can't WAIT to go back to Barcelona any time and go explore other cities with these girls! :D

Hasta luego!