Category Archives: Travel

I’m Back! (This is a Lazy Trip Photo Post)

Turns out, posting during my trip to Phoenix was more nonexistent than sporadic, but in my defense it was a crazy five days of booth time, conference sessions, and business dinners. Of course, I did manage to find a little time to relax by the pool (and even go on a few early morning runs):

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We stayed at the Arizona Biltmore, a beautiful resort whose design was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Apparently it was really popular with old celebrities, and there were pictures in the lobby of Clark Gable, JFK and Jackie, and several Rockefellers vacationing on the grounds.

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The resort’s history is cool and all, but I was most impressed with the free jalapeno cheddar bread at the hotel’s restaurant. What can I say, the road to my heart is paved with carbs.

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This picture is to show you my favorite dress ever from Modcloth. I get so many compliments on it every time I wear it, although it definitely requires shapewear if you have curves. I swear by this slip from Kohl’s – it’s comfortable and magically sucks in the hip/thigh area, where all my fat cells like to congregate. (Shoes are from Target last year; these are super similar.)

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And finally, the beautiful California coast from the air. I loved being in the desert for a bit, but I was so glad to come home to mountains, pine trees, ocean, and seasons.

Hello From the Desert!

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I’m in Phoenix for work this week, so my posting will be a bit sporadic. (I can’t use that word without picturing Tai.) Pictured above is the awesome pool outside my room that I will not have time to swim in. Unless I fake being sick and get out of booth duty. Don’t think that thought hasn’t crossed my mind.

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The resort we’re at is beautiful, and so far my favorite thing to do during breaks is sip iced coffee while taking in the views.

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And as a bonus, here is what I wore to dinner with my boss last night:

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The attire was listed as “business casual,” so I took it literally and threw on a plain white tee with my pencil skirt. Travel wrecks my brain.

Have you ever been to Phoenix? Are there any great restaurants I need to try? Let me know in the comments!

Shopping for Conference Wear

I travel to several work-related conferences and trade shows every year, and turns out it’s really challenging to put together trip outfits that meet my desired aesthetic.

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Seriously though, it’s tough to find outfits that are professional without being boring. And can go from booth time to meetings to cocktails to dinner. And are comfortable enough to wear for 12+ hours straight. And don’t get too wrinkly in my suitcase. AND AND AND.

Usually I leave my outfit planning to the last minute, but this time I have given myself three¬† weeks to put together my wardrobe for an upcoming trip to Phoenix. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I do have a few dresses that I tend to fall back on when I leave my packing for the last minute (so basically every single trip). This black peplum dress (with black patterned tights underneath) has become a staple for the inevitable opening cocktail reception, and looks great on its own or with a bright cardigan or blazer thrown over the top. I also usually bring along this little number from Modcloth for days I’ll be manning the booth for 8+ hours (it’s super comfortable and flattering, but Spanx are definitely recommended). I’ll need two more outfits for this trip, and I really want to purchase some ankle-length pants to bring along. Specifically, these:

The Limited Pencil Pants

Finding pants that fit me is tough (short waist + bigger hips = I often cry in fitting rooms), but these pants have gotten really good reviews from bloggers of all shapes and sizes. For some reason I never wear pants at conferences, and I think it’ll be nice not having to worry about flashing anyone the goods when I bend over in the booth.

A pencil skirt in a fun pattern is a good way to show personality without going overboard, and I’m currently eyeing this leaf patterned “curvy fit” pencil skirt on the LOFT website:

Loft Pencil Skirt

This one is also really pretty. GIVE ME ALL THE SKIRTS.

And because I’m always looking for an excuse to buy new shoes, I probably need to buy these, right?

Just tell me I’m right.

Vacation Photos: San Diego Zoo

We spent the last day of our vacation at the San Diego Zoo. I’m pretty sure Dave will never want to go to a zoo with me again because I will not shut up about my new dream of smuggling a red panda into our back yard where it can befriend the cat and snuggle with me on the couch while I watch Toddlers & Tiaras.

Red Panda

This is the photo I plan to show the authorities when they arrest me for harboring an endangered species. “But officer, he was literally REACHING OUT TO ME SO I WOULD TAKE HIM HOME!”

Later in the day, we waited 20 minutes for a family of six to take approximately 3,000 photos in front of a goddamn hippo. These people were like the live version of one of those “practical” math problems on the SAT where you have to figure out all the different combinations you can create out of six items. Mom and dad in front of the hippo! Mom, dad, and grandma in front of the hippo! Just the kids in front of the hippo! Kids, grandma, hippo!

Hippo

He’s smiling because I just elbowed Ansel Adams and family out of his grill.

We faced a similar challenge over at the tiger habitat, only when I went to elbow people out of the way, I tripped and hit my head on a low-hanging part of the ceiling. I guess karma is a thing after all.

Tiger

Either he’s coughing up a hairball, or somebody just showed him a picture of Snooki.

There were flamingos everywhere, which was fun.

Flamingo

Still kinda pissed about that Tracy Byrd song.

We also saw this awesome bear, which was a little scary since there was NO BARRIER between him and us. There was a deep gorge-type thing, but that’s it. Which led to this conversation between me and Dave:

“This doesn’t seem safe. What if he teaches himself to jump?”

“Bears can run and climb, but not jump.”

“How do we know he’s not doing bear push ups at night and gaining the strength to leap the gorge and attack everybody?”

“You know people can hear you, right?”

Bear

I don’t care what Dave says, this bear totally just finished his WOD.

We also spent some time in the incarnation of my nightmares reptile house.

Snake

Not impressed with my Parseltongue.

There was a HUGE line to see this next exhibit:

Me and Dave

Much like the apes, we flung our feces at kids in strollers.

I simultaneously really like this next picture, and feel like a Sarah McLauchlan song should be playing softly in the background while a deep-voiced announcer asks me to donate to PETA.

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In the aaaaarms of the angels fly awaaaaay from heeeere!

We really enjoyed our time at the zoo, even though I think it was unusually crowded since we were there on Father’s Day. We can’t wait to visit again!

I should note that Dave took all of these photos. I was too busy plotting Operation Steal a Red Panda to take pictures.

Vacation Photos: Day 1

After driving all night (and lots of Starbucks), we made it home from Southern California safe and sound around 4:30 Monday morning. We somehow managed to put on pajamas and roll into bed, and I slept until about 11:30 a.m., when the cat decided to wake me up by sticking his face into the little breathing hole I had created in the covers and licking my forehead. Either he’s glad we’re back, or he wanted to be fed.

We took so many photos on our trip that I decided to break them up into several posts. I’ll start with the drive down on Thursday and our first day in Ventura on Friday.

First of all, if you ever find yourself thinking about taking a road trip along I-5 in California, know that your drive will look like this for about 6 hours:

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At first it’s like, “Cool, we’re in the country! It’s so serene!” and before you know it you’ll be fighting with your boyfriend over whether the trash you saw on the side of the road was from Wendy’s or McDonalds because that hamburger wrapper was the most exciting thing you had seen in the last three hours.

Thankfully, the scenery improved exponentially once we arrived in Ventura:

Ventura Pier Sign

My family lived in Ventura when I was younger, and it’s funny the things I remember from when I was a kid. I have no memories of the pier, but I can vividly recall afternoons spent on the swings down on the sand beside it, the crazy-steep streets downtown, and plants so bright they almost look fake.

Beach Swing

Heather and Dave Ocean

California Street

One of my favorite spots as a kid was Grant Park, which overlooks the entire city and offers a pretty spectacular view of the coastline:

Grant Park

My sweet nephew Josh stopped running around like a madman to take a quick picture with me:

Josh

Finally, we rounded out the afternoon with some frozen yogurt and then dinner with some family and friends.

Yogurt

This is Dave’s cup. Mine wasn’t as colorful, and you could barely see the yogurt under the towering mountain of cookie dough bites, Reece’s Pieces, and crushed Oreos I piled on top of it. Don’t judge, I needed to fuel up for the race on Saturday.

Up tomorrow: My official half marathon recap and photos. SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t come in last; a scenario that has been plaguing my nightmares for the last couple of weeks.

Chicago trip recap

After a several-hour delay in San Francisco (which is still practically EARLY by SFO standards) and a rather exciting descent through storm clouds into the Medord airport, I finally made it home from Chicago Saturday night. Although it’s nice to come home to fresh air and open roads, I do really love the energy, architecture, and food in large cities. I was explaining this to the gentleman next to me on the flight home, and he suggested that I keep an apartment in the city as well as a house in the country.

Thanks, sir. I’ll have the butler phone my architect as soon as he’s finished fetching my crown from the vault.

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We had a free morning the day after we arrived and the weather was beautiful, so my coworkers and I went into full tourist-mode. We took a tour of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and then walked around taking photos.

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05.06.13 Willis Tower trio

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Then we hurried back to the hotel, put on our nice clothes, and got to work. Which is pretty much what we did for the remainder of the trip, with the exception of some late-night drinks. And a random excursion to the bowling alley next to the hotel so I could get a pint of 312, one of my favorite Chicago-area beers that I can never find on the west coast.

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I tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour on my last night, since I had to be up early for my flight home. I settled into bed to watch some TV around 9:30 p.m., which is when my neighbors decided to throw a party in their room. My first reaction was to call the front desk and be like MY ROOM SMELLS LIKE POT AND I CAN’T HEAR MY STORIES, but I was kind of embarrassed since it wasn’t even 10 p.m. on a Friday. Oh and I’m 28, not 90.

Around 10 p.m. I started to get passive aggressive. I turned the volume up on Dateline so loud I’m sure the entire Chicagoland area could have heard the riveting story of two families torn apart by a torrid affair, if it weren’t for the aristocrats in the room next door calling each other whores and blasting classics such as Lil Wayne’s “Shit Stains.” Still, I hesitated to call the front desk because of the fairly early hour. I was also afraid that since drugs were clearly involved security would need to talk to me for some reason, and I was wearing pajama pants and a T-shirt featuring anthropomorphized junk food:

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I finally caved and called the front desk when I heard a woman yell, “I’ll kill you, bitch!” followed by a loud thump. Security arrived shortly thereafter, and I tiptoed over to listen to their conversation through my door:

“Security, open up!”

“We were just sleeping, sir.”

“I know you’re not sleeping because I just heard you shout that you were going to kill somebody.”

“She said she was going to throw my weed out the window!”

And as I sat there listening to the cops break up a domestic dispute in my hot dog shirt, I felt like I was already back at home.

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I only have a couple minutes, but I wanted to do a quick check-in from Chicago.

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(I was really excited to discover that our hotel is right next to those cool-looking circular towers that were on the cover of Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” album.)

My flight got in around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, but it was 6 by the time I made it downtown. The rest of my team wasn’t due to arrive until around 9 and I was super hungry, so I found an Indian food place on Yelp right around the corner from the hotel. I was tired after flying all day, so I went with a simple jeans, white tee, and colorful belt combo for my casual dinner:

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After eating, I lounged around my hotel room in a naan coma waiting for the rest of my team to get here so I could convince them to go out for drinks with me.

Waiting

Only they were starving and wanted to go to a steakhouse, so I had second dinner with them at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. I really only wanted a few bites of steak, but wound up eating a slice of ribeye, some mashed potatoes, and some (seriously amazing) clam chowder. Then we got ice cream from 7-11 on our way back to the hotel and YOU GUYS I am not going to fit into any of the clothes I brought with me because I ate about a week’s worth of food today. My running gear wouldn’t fit in my carry-on, so I won’t be running while I’m here, either. I am going to hate myself next Monday when I get back to training.

This morning we are heading out to explore before our work function starts later in the day. And to see how many breakfasts I can log before noon.