Archive | October, 2018

Falling out of Summer

31 Oct

A picture of one of my favorites cities in the world:

EC7F2B49-FC34-45F2-9E17-DAE65B1AA7F8

MY city ❤

 

Summer season was winding down, and like any season (in both nature and life), it had its ups like:

  • The best friend sleepover at the dream flat with MY best friend and Emily’s best friend! We got to snuggle in the dream flat and wake up the next morning with mimosas in hand.
826FFFF8-C8C5-4654-8C9D-204A4D58F7F9

#dreamflat pic minus the #dreamflatmate

9CDBFEFE-ED64-4761-B170-E7B663CB4994

The Best Friend Sleepover Squad –  Champagne for breakfast!

 

  • Micromanaging the chocolate chip cookies when Helen and I were baking. We watched these little suckers minute by minute to make sure the cookies would rise like a phoenix from the ashes — but in the end they pretty much just stayed ashes. “Damn us.” Said Helen as we took the first bite.  We’d left them in for a mere minute too long.

 

  • Having a jam sesh with Emily, Bel, and Kevin in the dream flat!  Finally, all of the musical instruments that “we” own in the living room at the same time!  Helen was elated!!

 

  • Going on a date at a Hungarian restaurant and going to banjo night afterwards. “Thanks for coming out!!”, The head guy yells.   “We’re music lovers”, yells someone else. “We’re fans of leisure”, my date responds.

 

  • My NEW TAX GUY, JP.  He’s changed my life for the better.  Thanks to Matt for linking me with him! I celebrated my clean money with a dirty martini.

 

But the fleeting weeks also had its downs, like that one time I:

  • Came back from Burning Man with my skin SO DRY that I constantly had to put lotion all over my body to try to replace the moisture. I basically became a slug.  Bel, remember when I was so slippery that I dropped a coffee mug all over my dresser?!

 

  • Had a very bad day (but got cheered up by taking a walk through the park, in the rain, to a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar).

 

  • This also very, VERY bad day:

 

IMG_5695.JPG

Don’t need to explain this one…

 

  • The Friday night that I was feeling down and Helen was out of town.  After I met a police woman who was somewhat of a sorority sister to me, I drove to a well-lit Get Go parking lot and ate panang curry in the car, windows up and doors locked.

 

  • Unrelated, I went on a bad date with a guy who’s “not a feminist.” Check please.  The bright side was that Helen and Victoria were there to console me when I got home.

 

But even though there would be bad days, they didn’t last.  I started seeing Julia again (she’s so helpful) and here are some more of my FRIENDS…

  • Sam Tallent.   I hadn’t seen him in YEARS, and he’d come from Colorado to perform at a new comedy club that opened in Pittsburgh. It was so great to see him! I saw his standup show for the first (and second) time. (So good!) Afterwards we found time to catch up and reminisce.

 

IMG_5844.jpg

Thankful for how many funny people I know.

 

IMG_5847.jpg

Talkin’ bout Greg. You know, Greg. From college.

  • Victoria, who has made Helen (and I) suuuuuper fancy-adjacent nowadays. She’s so talented and has hung up her gorgeous art on the dreamflat walls, which she said are perfectly untextured, and which, if you don’t know, is one of the fanciest of compliments. #PinkyUp. She also gave me and Bel matching pumpkin necklaces on Halloween ❤

 

468587c7-2c1d-48f3-9cf9-01a58e6b8d17.jpg

#GetAFlaw

  • Our beautiful Katie who started her globe-trotting journey in Iceland and sent us a text with the houses she picked out for Patrick, me, and Helen. Who NEEDS House Hunters International when you’ve got a friend like Katie?

 

7440a811-d718-4da2-bc89-5d6092f395f3.jpg

The row of best friend houses; moving in ASAP.

  • A hangout sesh where I had some balloon flowers made for me which..I hated.. They popped and scared me. But, other times, I had fun made-up bedtime stories told to me and another time still, I got a chocolate flight (yum).

 

  • Emily C. and I had our first official friend hangout!

 

IMG_6023.jpg

New, happy friends!

 

  • Nina, with her short-notice visit to Pittsburgh.

 

  • My pregnant Colleen who visited us in Findley Lake!  I finally got to meet Ben (he’s lovely). We now know SHE’S HAVING A GIRL!!!!!! (squeals of joy).

 

IMG_5599.jpg

Supporting our Colleen and her little bun in the oven.

 

  • This beauty (below) who let me join her kickball team called Pitch, Please! I played one game but I loved it.

 

IMG_5736.JPG

Make them say “Pitch, Please!”

 

  • After my first and only kickball game I got to meet this dog who LOOKS LIKE A NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER!!!! (That would be the THIRD that I’ve met, for those of us keeping track) The owner wasn’t actually sure what his breed was but I ACTED ACCORDINGLY AND TREATED THIS ANGLE WITH THE REVERENCE AND HONOR HE DESERVED!  

 

IMG_5716.jpg

Love at first bark.  He didn’t bark though, so….

 

Some family time:

 

  • Aunt Betsy and Uncle Marvin visit at Findley Lake.

 

IMG_5874.jpg

Nature + Family = Great Photo Opp

 

  • We went to visit the SUPER INTERESTING National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY.  I’d recommend it. Afterwards we had a delicious family dinner with only a little bit of plastic in my (comped) meal.

 

IMG_5876.jpg

National Comedy Center!! 

 

IMG_5901.jpg

Sportin’ my new, souvenir t-shirt, thanks mom!

 

  • My parents came to visit me in Pittsburgh and we got to spend some family time at Aladdins ❤ ❤ ❤

 

IMG_5744.jpg

The OG best friends.

 

And of course…summer parties 🙂 I went to the:

  • New most memorable Labor Day celebration I’ve ever been to.  It was a Nolan’s party, which are SO MUCH FUN!   And then afterwards, Bel and I went stargazing (and laughing) with Sarah, Mindy, Emily, and Kevin.

 

  • The graveyard for a surprisingly playful day.

 

IMG_5620.jpg

Don’t trip on any of those headstones, you two.

 

  • SOUP PARTY, thrown by Emily T. There was SO much good soup, and we also got to dress in costumes for Halloween. SOUP-er fun!

 

IMG_6052.jpg

The soup party. Not pictured: The soup.

 

  • Ian’s Super Soft Birthday Party, complete with a cupcake making station!

 

IMG_6047.jpg

Cupcake party! Not pictured: Any of the attendees.

 

IMG_6734.jpg

Trick or Treat!

 

And I know I don’t need to say it, the pictures will do most of the talking, here’s the goods.  I mean, the food.

  • A delicious vegan meal from Apteka. My first.

 

IMG_5621.jpg

You never forget your first Apteka.

 

  • A dream flat meal that I took extra care to plate.  One of those omelets is dairy free and the other one actually looks like an omelet.  

 

IMG_5694.jpg

Victoria has taught me well.

 

  • Roasted veggies that Katie Barbaro taught us how to make! We were resistant at first but now….THIS IS HOW WE DO!

 

IMG_5810.jpg

Not pictured: Katie. Or the vegetables.

 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST….

  • Helen had her BIGGEST GIG TO DATE! On October 3rd, she opened for CAMERON ESPOSITO in a sold out show WITH A LINE AROUND THE BLOCK!!!  I COULDN’T BE PROUDER!!!!

 

IMG_6748.jpg

From V: BIG flowers for a BIG show!

 

IMG_5812.jpg

Glimpsessssss.  (That’s Katie B.’s shirt on me ON HELEN’S BIG DAY!)

 

  • Earlier that week we had gone to to the venue (The Rex Theatre) to suss out things and to see Addi sing.
  • Anna C. Riley made some SUPER cool, notebook sized stickers to try to help woo Helen some of those sweet, sweet Cameron fans!

 

IMG_5780.jpg

I want to bumper sticker my car!  HOW CUTE ARE THESE?!!!

 

21047e67-8f6b-439c-9710-1afb00aa0f17.jpg

Cameron and Helen in an Espi-tweeto.

 

  • Cameron loved Helen so much (how could she not?!), that she invited her to perform at another show IN ANOTHER TOWN as her opener the following night!!!!!!! And that is how OUR HELEN went about on a mini tour with THE Cameron Esposito!!!

 

IMG_5806.jpg

Is she famous now?

 

IMG_5790.jpg

Outside of the venue, pre show, with names you don’t often see together on a billboard.

 

I’m “falling” onto cloud nine from (late) summertime,
‘mi

Fun in Atlanta: A Blog about Dallas

15 Oct
IMG_4971

Goin’ on an adventure!!

 

It was a glorious, rainy early morning. Kevin and I parked in 9F (we reviewed this so many times that I still remember) and I practically (okay, I did) spun my way inside of the airport.  THIS WAS SO EXCITING!!!  We relaxed in the lounge until the last possible second — “Go big or go home”, they say… and we weren’t going home because we had practically just gotten to the airport. — As we ran to the gate we heard our names over the loud speaker.  Perfect timing.  WE WERE ON OUR WAY TO TEXAS!!!!!!! ….with a not-so-quick layover in Atlanta.

The first flight went well.  But as we headed to our gate for the second flight we couldn’t help but notice the board said “New Orleans”.  Huh?  Is this plane going to New Orleans?!  Everyone in the boarding area was just as confused as we were, but then the announcer came over the loudspeaker and cleared everything up… Flight 4099 has been canceled.  CANCELED, Y’ALL. Not delayed, but full-on canceled at the exact moment we were supposed to be boarding.  

Kevin and I looked at each other and I started laughing so hard I teared up.  WHAT.  After waiting in line, getting out of line, and waiting in line again, we finally talked to a representative who gave us a couple of options.  The best one was (not to take a plane back to Ohio but rather) to stay in Atlanta for eight hours and then catch the 6pm flight to Dallas.  The flight itself was going to take longer than usual due to weather and needing to be rerouted.  We were just hoping it wasn’t going to get canceled altogether…again. We snacked on the veggies I’d brought from home as we took the metro into the heart of Georgia. We interacted with a lovely metro-station attendant who helped us buy our tickets. So far this trip was so fun (!) and had us on a plane, surfing on the airplane train, and now on an actual train.

And thus, our weekend in Dallas began in Atlanta.  What are you supposed to do in Hotlanta (but actually Coldlanta at the early hour we got there) in the morning after a canceled flight? We choose the traditional route… an Israeli breakfast.

41B97CD4-B138-4A83-8E38-A6619D3F179C

Shakshuka– traditional Atlanta cuisine?

 

After our shakshuka that left me #shook because it was amazing, we left to do some more exploring and stumbled into Piedmont Park and Atlanta’s gay pride festival.  Now normally, in Pittsburgh, we don’t stumble upon Pride; we joyfully anticipate Pride; we prepare for Pride.  And not knowing about Pride in Atlanta, as Kevin simply put it, we showed up “looking like squares.”  No sequins, no bright colors, no tutus, no rainbows all over our bodies….it was a shame.  We did our best to make ourselves as visually PRIDEFUL as possible (although, to be clear, we wear Pride in our hearts ALL THE TIME) and picked up some sweet, sweet swag.

79EEB060-004A-405D-93B0-64B6779460E5

Stickers and beads — quick! Blend in!

 

We continued to walk around Piedmont Park in our make-shift Pride gear, but, as the day wore on it became clear that not being covered in sparkles and colorful garb wasn’t our only fashion faux pas. Turns out that Coldlanta really does turn into Hotlanta in the afternoon. IT WAS SO HOT, and Kevin really regretted not bringing a pair of shorts — but hey, in his defense, we most definitely thought we’d be in Dallas at that very moment where the temperature was much lower.  

We stumbled upon these hot clear balls full of, what turned out to be, good exercise and great fun. We signed up, got a running start, rolled around, built up more of a sweat, and emerged laughing and giggly.   I mean….Do I use this as an accessory for the furries next year? 

FB67274F-8ADA-4FF5-BA88-DA2062042418

Human hamster balls.

 

After ditching our balls, we left the park and settled on a new pair of wheels…one we’d seen all around town. Scooters!

429398A2-259D-4558-8FD2-1A90A8B4DE86

We’ll just leave these here for the professionals.

 

….We totally underestimated this thing. Honestly, Lime scooters are a great idea, but neither of us possessed the talent to do the “full” (er…1/12) Atlanta city tour that we had dreamed.  We weren’t skilled enough to turn our heads when we were in the wrong lane. Cost wise, it was efficient but for us but that’s where the efficiency ended.  Wanna know how far we shakily got? See below.

F32DEB3D-CF28-41F6-9F7E-3A870266E9EC

The Lime scooter challenge: Last longer than 11 minutes. 

 

So instead of scootering, we decided to walk around the city. We saw some sights (including a web MD office) and took the long way (not the pretty way) to the puppet museum. You know, for variety’s sake. 

Once our 8 hours in Atlanta were over, we headed back to the airport, gave our extra metro passes away, caught our flight, and had some snacks: we split a sample-size Laura bar, a nectarine, and a tiny bag of pretzels. Not a Texas sized meal, but then again, we weren’t in Texas yet.  We still felt hungry and had enough time to RUN into the Atlanta lounge where we picked up some much needed fuel.  

Kevin kept reminding me that our vacaion hadn’t started yet. “Vacation doesn’t start until we get to Dallas.” Great news!

And we finally did it, we made it to Texas 🙂 All smooth sailing from there, right? Oops.  I booked the rental car from the wrong airport.   Sigh.  What a novice mistake and meant even more time between us and downtown Fort Worth.  We sleepily brainstormed, problem solved, and eventually figured it out.  We headed out on the town and saw some of Fort Worth… at least the part that we likened to Pittsburgh’s Southside.  Here it is:

0540E760-6D2E-4D3F-9950-5A40776F7AFC

So different at night and during the day.

 

We couldn’t bring ourselves to party in Fort Worth.  We’d given Atlanta our all and…well, we had seen Fort Worth at night.  That was all we could muster until the next morning when it felt like we’d hit a RESET button.  A new day that I got to start with a Texas steak.

897146F6-C100-47BA-9737-1C961617303B

Chom chomp chomp.

 

After we were finished breakfast, we decided to hang around a bit and see what this place had to offer.

We found a great cattle drive — which is most definitely not a cattle parade, mind you. After watching the cattle parade down the street during the cattle drive, we headed towards Billy Bob’s (a bar) that you had to pay to enter.  Once paying, finding no one inside (including a bartender who would serve us), we decided to just head out and go to Dallas.  Or, more specifically, the Texas State Fair (in Dallas). But not before we rode a mechanical bull, walked all around town, played ski-ball at the White Elephant, and got a life-saving coffee at one of the places I had marked on the map.

82412DE3-8FB2-410C-AEEF-184565C9AC39

Not a cattle parade

 

Ok…so, The Texas State Fair is, by far, the best state fair that I’ve ever been to.  To be honest, I haven’t been to many but, THIS ONE WAS SO GOOD!  If I ever make a Superlatives blog, this State Fair will be featured.  It started off extra promising when we found FREE street parking.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we were stoked!

The way this fair worked was that we bought a certain amount of tickets, and then we paid for everything in the fair with the tickets. Each ticket cost $.50 and there were SO MANY GOOD DEALS. Everything was reasonably priced — for example, water was two tickets ($1) and beer cost six tickets ($3).

 

0190046A-1501-443A-A5D0-99585B9286F2

Giant Cowboy (that moved!)

 

So I promise that  the fair wasn’t only cool because it was economical (although, again, IT WAS!). It also had soooo many games, a sky tram, talks about milking and farming AND AN ODDITIES TENT (so cool) where we saw a LIVE TWO-HEADED SNAKE. I repeat. A LIVE  two-headed snake!! (I added the repetition there for 1. Each head and 2. Dramatic effect).

We also saw a two-headed stuffed piglet and conjoined turtles with many legs, but the snake was by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  I’d never seen anything like it before. A LIVE TWO HEADED RATTLE SNAKE!  Both heads had tongues that flickered out to ‘smell’ the air.  It was alive for sure! We kept going back to look at it; there were no pictures allowed inside the tent. 

 

360EC614-5FE8-4AB6-9F8C-B33C11C8FDE6

4 coupons is $2.  And this is the only photo of the two headed snake I could get.

 

They also had regular, one-headed animals, which were fun to check out. Including piglets and snakes.  Not kept in the same tent.  We went to the snake area (of the one-headed variety), and Kevin let me gush about my old pet snake, Namastay (RIP).  It was so thoughtful and nice of him to inquire about her so sincerely. 

F1C7AE9A-F411-42A8-B80D-450B4928A8EA

Remembering Namaste.

 

Other one headed animals included dogs and cats and birds doing amazing tricks like making doors open and flags fly and a separate petting area where we got to pet and feed this zebra…

0F8BDDDD-CC6A-443F-8031-D07D6A15725C

Kevin, aware of the top AND bottom teeth.

 

The atmosphere was just so lively and fun. It was a completely different vibe from Fort Worth, and we were both so glad to be there.  Not only did we indulge in the animal oddities, but we also indulged in food and beer. We were really surprised that in the land of food-with-lots-of-butter and oversized portions that we found HEALTHY food sans butter (but still in oversized portions) like this mango:

1E461053-1573-427E-81E5-F8A41D8E24A8

Mango as tall as that guy in the background.

 

The mango above was SO juicy and SO good. It might be the best mango that I’ve ever had and I’ve lived in the Caribbean #credentials  The best mango I’ve ever had was on a stick, at a fair, in Texas.  This fairs fare was more than fair…it was remarkable!

Don’t worry, it wasn’t all vegan and all natural, they also had healthy (?) fried food, like the fried avocado (still dairy free). The beer choices were also super unique like this corndog beer (pictured below) and the cotton candy beer (not pictured and also not very good):

C5963CA6-8822-4147-814C-BFD6A9F73E77

Side of mustard.

 

After all of the mishaps we’d had earlier on in the trip, everything went according to plan. Even the weather behaved for us!! It was supposed to rain all weekend, and during our day at the fair the weather was great! It did start raining at night — actually pouring — but not before we were able to ride the huge Ferris Wheel.  We ran back to the car soaking wet (which somehow made running more bearable and fun).  It was a super successful day. 

IMG_6003.jpg

Not mad about it!

Happily, our artistic Airbnb was close by and we went to dry off.

The next day, the weather took a turn for the worse and added cold-wind to the rainy mix.  So, we decided to do a self-guided driving tour around the city.  We drove around downtown, saw sculpture gardens and parks (just from a distance, no need to get out in that really cold rain…brrr!), cool buildings, graffiti, Dealey Plaza where JFK was assassinated, and a suspension bridge that we circled and ultimatly crossed.  

396D1766-E0B9-41F9-86A4-8171ACA0BC25

Chasing bridges.

 

For lunch, we had been planning to check out this raw restaurant that I’d been eager to go to. It was near the airport, perfect location for our final meal; but when we pulled up, all the lights were off, and it looked very, very closed. I was short of devastated, but Kevin, the hero, decided to go outside in the freezing rain and check the doors to see if he could get inside.  AND IT WAS OPEN!!!! So glad he checked (thanks, Kevin!). It turns out the lights were off because the power had gone out — but luckily we had picked a raw restaurant and they don’t need to cook anything so it didn’t really matter.  YAY!!!

I WAS ECSTATIC!!!!!!! And may have over ordered although I loved it all and don’t regret a single dish.

567F2B80-0D32-4592-9A8F-90C48A026A54

Raw sushi… but like, not the regular raw kind.

 

5B7946BC-47EA-4C34-8798-A7D011E22B25

Delicious food you don’t even need to cook.  These two dishes were the best; raw enchiladas and avocado “toast”.  

 

So after eating this healthy, invigorating meal, and taking some to go, we headed back to the airport. We had what we thought would be a cushy two hours once we landed before Kevin had to be at Arcade for the Improv 101 Class Show that he taught but, in fashion with the earlier parts of this trip, our flight kept getting delayed.  We looked at the weather.  It was warmer and drier in Pittsburgh than it was in Dallas and we held out hope that we were going to make it to the theatre on time.  And we did!  With 15 minutes to spare, Kevin showed up at Arcade before his class successfully took the stage to preform.

So, not only did I get to begin my Dallas vacation in Atlanta, but I got to end it cracking up to comedy in Pittsburgh.

IMG_5929.jpg
Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

 

A Texas-sized smile,
‘mi