Tag Archives: travel

NOLA

I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in New Orleans for two weeks for work and I am slowly coming up on my second trip to NOLA (New Orleans, LA). NOLA is what they refer to the city as if you are a local. I was actually staying just outside of the city in Convington. It’s a cute little town across the massive 27 mile long bridge.

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For the majority of the time, we were just heading to work, then grabbing some dinner and going back to the hotel to either study some more, or just have some wine and try to relax just to do it all over again. I did my best to wake up in the morning and get a quick workout in and I have to say…I loved it. I was waking up at 5 to 530 in the AM and heading downstairs for a 45 minute workout. And I was meeting everyone at 730 to get to the office. It didn’t hurt that NOLA is an hour behind Boston, meaning I was really waking up at 630 in my time 🙂

We each had our own little apartment for the two weeks. It was so comfortable and some people were joking that it was bigger than their own apartments in NYC.

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Who can argue?! The rooms were cleaned daily and we even had a grocery service. All you had to do was leave a list at the desk in the morning and groceries would be sitting in your refrigerator when you got back in the evening. AMAZING. For those two reasons, we didn’t really want to leave.

We had gym memberships at Franco’s, which is honestly the most amazing gym that I have ever been to. It is several floors of just about everything you could possibly think of. If I lived in the area, I would ABSOLUTELY be a member. Everything was so clean and modern. You could spend the whole day there. I also worked out with one of my new coworkers, and she showed me a few new exercises that will definitely be making it’s way up here.

We were also lucky enough to be there for the first weekend of Mardi Gras! A few of us headed in town on Sunday afternoon just to walk around, see some parades and just get a sense of New Orleans. We saw what was described as a LITTLE parade. I strongly disagree, because this was a MASSIVE parade in my experience. And they had the craziest costumes!

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So each parade is actually called a Clan, and each clan has a court, queen, etc. This was the queen.

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Tons, and tons of floats and people dressed up in these crazy costumes. There were also tons of schools with their dance groups, bands and anything else you can think of that’s fun to watch. Our favorite by far were these guys:

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A whole bunch of Napoleon Dynamites! They were hilarious!

 

This other little kid was cracking us up too. He was so little and was really rocking out. The little kid had some serious moves. I tried so hard to get a picture but this was the best I got:

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Even in that you can see how cute he was!!

We did get TONS of beads too. They just chuck them off the floats and you really need to watch because I swear they try to hit you in the face with them. And they whip they at you HARD!

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It was so much fun. They were starting to set up for the Superbowl too, so the streets even on a Sunday were madness.

We obviously walked down Bourbon Street as well. It’s definitely not was I was picturing. For a Sunday afternoon, it was NUTS. I couldn’t imagine being there on a weekend night, of even Mardi Gras itself.

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For food, we stopped at Cafe Beignet. I was told by so many people that we needed to try an Beignet, so that’s what we did! The cafe is at the music legends park on Bourbon Street.

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We all had beignets, and they were delicious!! They are light and fully pastries covered in sugar. I can’t say they were anything good for you, but you just have to try them.

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YUMMY. Really sugary though.

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The signature drink on Bourbon Street is called a grenade. I can’t say that I tried it but they are apparently really good, and kind of fun looking.

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We ended up going to a ton of different restaurants and in the interest of not boring you guys and just getting to the point, I’ll give you a quick 1 sentence review of the favorites.

  • Chimes: It is a seafood restaurant that is delicious. The seafood lasagna was the biggest hit but you can grab some other local specialties while enjoying live music. They also have goats in back that you can feed. I went 4 or 5 times to this place and loved it.
  • Don’s Seafood: Also a seafood restaurant that was delicious. It is casual and low key. Although I didn’t enjoy my meal because I wasn’t expecting fried foods, everyone else had good things to say. It is definitely a New Orleans original seafood place. I would compare the atmosphere to a nicer chilis.
  • Osaka: It is a Hibachi grill that was a lot of fun. The chef really knew how to entertain and has some tricks up his sleeve. The majority of us had hibachi, but the seaweed salad as an appetizer was also amazing. It was the first time I had tried anything like that. The hibachi was a bit salty, but if you ask them to tone down the salt, it’s amazing.
  • Copeland’s: Delicious Buffalo Chicken Dippers. We had them as an appetizer and they were amazing. Of all of the places, we were happiest with Copeland’s. We went several times and I we all loved the food. They had a mix of seafood and red meat foods. It still has a New Orlean’s take on it.
  • Trey Yuen: The best chinese food I have ever had. Hands down. They don’t over load the food with salt and they really have a unique flavor. I loved ever single bite of my meal there. It was delicious and I highly recommend it.

Those are the guys that I can think of right now, but I am heading back in just about a week for some more fun! This time we will be in the city the majority of the time so I will report back with what it is like when Mardi Gras isn’t in full swing!

Happy Friday!!!

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A Tummy Twister

Yesterday, for lunch I had brought some pea soup to work thinking it would be a really easy thing to just heat up and munch on while I was shuffling through paperwork. It actually turned out really well because it was so easy to heat up and was absolutely delicious.

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I spent the day running around as usual and left around 5 to speed back to Orlando to pick up my race bib and packet. EXCITING! When you walk into Track Shack, they have a large board set up with all of the bib numbers. You find your number, and tell the ladies in back so they can grab everything for you. When I looked up Brent and my numbers, I realized we had the SAME EXACT NUMBERS from Autumn Rock N Run. 1286 and 1287.

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I asked the ladies if that was normal, because they obviously didn’t select number based upon alphabetical order. They said it’s random number generated and that is actually EXTREMELY weird. I don’t know if this is a good omen or a bad one, but all I know is that every time I think about the race…my stomach twists up in knots.

 

So nervous for this run. It will honestly be the first time that I have intentionally ran 13 miles and in training, they don’t have to get up to that milage.

 

I also picked up some of the energy chews that I’m planning on munching on before and after the race. I have been trying out a few different chews and energy supplements for during the run and have found these to be the best. The energy gels just don’t sit well in my stomach.

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I got the Shot Bloks for a pre-race energy boost because they tend to make your mouth water a bit, which isn’t exactly what you want while running. The GU Chomps are definitely best for energy along the way. They are easy to carry around, don’t make you thirsty and don’t make me nauseous.

And lastly, I picked up 2 of the 13.1 magnets for my car and Brent’s car. As soon as this run is over, I am crawling over to me car and slapping that 13.1 magnet on my car in celebration. This is going to be my little badge of achievement. BOOM.

I’m nervous and excited at the same time. But I figure that is the best mindset to be in when you are challenging yourself.

Any quick Pre-race tips?! 

 

 

NASA Kennedy Space Center

This morning I woke up and had the worst headache in the world. I chugged a whole bunch of water and took some advil and am finally feeling a bit better. I did end up getting up at 6 to go work out, but that plan was foiled.

So, in the hopes of just entertaining a few people and keeping the morning light, I wanted to share a fun little trip that is something that you should consider if you plan on visiting the area. OR even if you are from the area and are just looking for something to do on the weekend. NASA.

NASA has been all over the news lately and ever since I moved down here I have wanted to check out the space center. I finally got the chance to this weekend and it was incredible.

 

 

The Rocket Garden is the first thing that you see when you walk into the visitors center and it shows replicas of rockets that were sent out for missions. In front of each of them it tells you what they were used for and what mission. The sheer size of them is incredible.

We walked around building that went over the different capsules, how it all works and the space suits through the ages. There were two things that REALLY surprised me. The early space suits and the size of the capsules they were sitting in for days.

 

Seriously?? It looks like someone took a sweat suit, wrapped some duct tape around and called it a space suit. There is no way I would have gone out into space for the first time wearing that. They didn’t even know what was going to happen to the human body in space yet. There was even talk about your eye balls coming out of your head! SAY WHAT?! There better be some bubble wrap or something else to that thing!

The first space suit that they went outside of the craft in looked a bit like a Janitors uniform:

 

Let’s get serious….would you feel safe floating outside a space craft in that suit?? I wouldn’t.

So the second most surprising thing…the size of the capsules. This is just a look at the inside of the Gemini Capsule. Two people were actually shot into space inside of this and circled the earth in it.

 

Picture two guys sitting inside of that, not moving, just floating in space for days. They couldn’t even stretch their legs. Absurd.

So after walking around that for a while, we headed on a bus tour to check out the launching pads and everything else. One of the doors to the building where they work on the shuttles was open and we snuck a little peak of the Atlantis. Really cool.

 

You can see the tail end of it here. They are building a new building to house the Atlantis in at the Visitors Center now. In about a week they are moving the shuttle to the half built, building and finishing it around the shuttle. Just for scale, look at the porta-potties on the side of the door. Crazy. Those doors are so heavy that they take 45 minutes to open or close.

The last thing I wanted to show you, so I don’t ruin everything! Was the replica of a rocket. The size of the rocket is amazing in itself, but then to put two people at the top of it, you have to be slightly nuts to climb in there.

This is the back part of it. These are the initial thrusters that go off while it is on the ground.

 

 

That breaks off after lift off. Then, where there is another break in the shutter, in the middle of the picture is where the next tank starts. This, is also fuel.

 

This is just a look back at the two fuel tanks, just for size. This second fuel tank also falls off after it exits the atmosphere.

Then you have another section that houses the Lunar Module. The top section breaks off in space, bangs a U-Turn and pick up the lunar module. This is a picture of the top section:

 

Now don’t be fooled, that whole thing is NOT what the astronauts are in. They are in the tiny silver cap at the top. Strapped in. The larger section is fuel and all of the machinery to keep this guy going. It is also the fuel that helps them land back on earth. That breaks away upon entry and they land in the top silver capsule.

 

This is THE Apollo 14 capsule. Picture two guys crammed into that?! It’s TINY!

There are a bunch of other tours, movies and such that you can go on as well. These were photos from just two locations, and not nearly everything. You can even TOUCH a moon rock. Did that. Yup. The whole thing was mind boggling.

I do have to mention. For lunch we went to the cafe and I was crazy surprised at their food quality. I had a Veggie Frittata and Brent had a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread. You had to see the salads that were coming out.

 

 

I DEFINITELY recommend going. It is located on Merritt Island, which is just a 45 minute drive from Orlando. It is worth it. I know I wouldn’t have the courage to get into one of those capsules at the top of a Rocket that large and hope I make it home. MADNESS.

 

Have you ever been to the Kennedy Space Center?? Would you ever get into a capsule attached to a ROCKET?!

Probably not for me. I would give a shuttle a try I think. I think.

 

The Happiest Place on Earth

To kick off everyone’s Wednesday, the dreaded hump day, I’m bring the happiest place on earth to you 🙂 I’ve been wanting to post a little break down of the disney parks for people traveling here on vacation simply because there are so many of them and lot of the time you can’t really seem to get to them all. So choices unfortunately need to be made.

My first stop on a day of disney is Animal Kingdom, always. It is the first park to close at night so you really need to make sure that you get this in during the day. It is more of a relaxing park than the others and it is so cool. The three main attractions (I would say) is the Safari Ride, the Bird Show and Mt Everest.

On the Safari Ride you ride on a small truck, with no sides or barriers to the animals through a Safari. Imagine that. You end up getting unbelievably close to the animals. And wild animals a that. Lions, giraffes, antelope, rhinos, flamingos, ostrich and tons more. Every time you ride it, it’s something a bit different because you can’t really predict the animals’ behavior. Here are just a few pictures that I have snapped on that ride 🙂

 

 

 

 

Baby Elephant 🙂

 

How cool?! And just so I don’t spoil it…I won’t post anymore but there are TONS more. It’s about a 20 minute ride. If you look at the picture of Brent and I you can see how open the truck really is.

 

So fun! This is definitely the highlight, I think of Animal Kingdom. Around the safari ride, there is also the exploration forest where you can just walk around and check out some more animals, the majority behind think glass…but still really cool. My favorite is the Okapi. I didn’t even know this animal existed until I saw it here. It looks like a zebra horse mix, but they assure you it’s not…

 

OKay…terrible picture…but check him out.

Some other guys you might see on this walk:

 

 

 

 

And then you have Mt Everest! I LOVE this ride. The first time I rode it I nearly peed myself. It is actually scary. The last time I went on this we actually rode it twice in a row and didn’t tell the people that were waiting for us…I know…mean…but it’s that good.

 

Give it a go if you like roller coasters. It’s fantastic.

Lastly, on my list of favs is the Birds of Flight. This is a bird show that is actually very impressive. The birds are trained to respond to the host of the show and makes jokes, dances and talks to the host. It’s really an impressive show. They have birds that come out and grab money from audience members too…naughty birds.

 

 

 

 

You don’t really realize how pretty and majestic the bald eagle is until you see it up close. It is crazy.

So I’ll leave you with just the little photo tour of Animal Kingdom 🙂 It’s one of my favorite parks simply because you can get so close to the animals. They are really cool up close.

 

 

 

Have you ever been to the disney parks? Are you more of a Safari ride kind of person or a Mt Everest??

 

When it comes down to it, roller coasters are my calling. After I go on one, I spend the rest of the time searching for the next big thrill!

 

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays and a twist on a Grilled Cheese

I’m not really a fan of this back dating posting, but I have been running around each night, which is making it hard to get something up. BUT, today I have a valid excuse…or at least  I think so.

Yesterday morning, I got up and putzed around for a little while before Brent got here to go for a run. He wasn’t too excited, but we really needed to go for a short one. This run, Brent decided to take the lead and we just started running into the sunrise. We were goofing off a bit at the beginning of the run and then Brent just took off. I went off chasing him and at the end of the block he just abruptly stopped. When I asked him what we were doing, he said, “This is what I call INTENSE CONFUSION.” And yea, that’s exactly what it was, until he got us lost.

For lunch today, I wanted to give a grilled cheese a shot. But, I felt like a good source of protein was desperately needed after “Intense Confusion”. So this is what happened:

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Slice Honey Wheat Swirl Bread 1 Tablespoon Chives
1 Slice American Cheese 1 Tablespoon Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Over Hard Egg

 

It’s pretty self explanatory on how to put this together, but I did grill the bread with some Vegan butter to toast it up like all o four favorite grilled cheeses. If you make it on a skillet, that’s where I think you get the best results.

After work, Brent and I went to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays game! I had never been to Tropicana field and was so excited to go! It had been on our bucket list for the summer, and we just squeaked in a game. The last one of the regular season. It is completely different than any other field in the majors. For one, it is covered. There are a few other covered fields, but they have the ability to open up. Tropicana does not.

 

Here’s a picture of the inside of the dome. It’s definitely a different game here. The players are playing balls off of the ceiling and the distance to the wall is a bit shorter, or at least it seems to be.

 

The stadium is smaller than anything that I have ever been to before. Even as far as seating. Brent and I had some pretty fantastic seats just behind the Orioles dugout. TWO ROWS BEHIND THEM! You could see the frustration in their faces as they ducked off into the dugout. It was crazy, because up close they really look like just your regular person but in your mind you know they aren’t. I mean they are professional baseball players that make millions.

 

 

 

 

I absolutely love going to baseball games in general. It’s just the whole atmosphere. The franks, the beers that go warm after five minutes, the crackerjack, the whole crowd getting into the game and just about everything about the game. I love it.

For a little snack, I ended up getting some crackerjacks. I don’t remember the last time that I had them! What happened to the fun box of crackerjacks?! Why is it just a normal bag?? Not so fun.

But they still had a prize 🙂 I’ll share with you the jokes in the box because I thought they were little goodies:

  • Why do sharks only swim in salt water??

 

Because pepper water would make them sneeze!

  • Why was the frog happy??

 

Because he ate everything that bugged him!

Hahaha!

Brent, is a hot dog kind of guy. I HAD to get a picture of this sucker. It looked like a freaking rainbow on a footlong.

When it comes to snacks, I know there are the staples that parks need to have. But I have always thought that they should have a veggie option. Picture it, sticks of carrots, peppers, and celery sticking out of the french fry container with ranch as a dipping sauce! I can totally see it! Ball Parks, if you are reading this….get on it!

The little kid next to us actually got picked to play one of the games between innings. He lost, but they closed his eyes, everybody cheered and we made him think he won. CUTIEEEEE.

Look at the nugget!

The game overall was a goodie. The Rays ended up winning, pretty much because Longoria had 3 homers. Other than that there really wasn’t any offense by both teams.

There really aren’t any bad seats in the arena because it is such a small place. I really can’t argue with sitting behind the dugout though. I can see how the field wouldn’t be the players favorite. But, not having to worry about the rain and all of the crazy weather of Tampa is a serious plus. Fun Fact: Florida is the lightning capital of the country and Tampa seems to be the hub of that. There were over 1500 deaths due to lightning strikes in Florida. The number two…Michigan at around 700.

In case you were wondering, Africa has the highest in the world. I’m sure you weren’t but I figured I would throw it out there 🙂

 What are your favorite baseball fields?? My favorite just may be Fenway, even though I am a Yankees fan 🙂