Archive for the 'Traveling' Category

Tera & Co: My visit to Alaska

I just spent a week in Alaska visiting my sis and nieces, Isabella and Olivia.  I did also see Brian for one day – but he had to leave for work.

Micah couldn’t come with me this time, but I have the time to take off – and boy did I need it!!

It was less a vacation, and more about just spending some time with my nieces and helping Tera out since she was playing single mom for a week.  I definitely got to experience first hand all the joys, smiles, laughter, and fun of those two little girls.  I also got to experience all the crying, whining, feedings, changings, and disciplining too.  Whoa…not an easy job!! (And to clarify, I’ve NEVER thought it was!!)

Fortunately, it never snowed while I was there.  It was a little cold, but nothing too bad that kept us holed inside for too long. 

Isabella showing off her new outfit from Costco aka home away from home.

We also did some exercising.  I taught Isabella how to do pushups and jumping jacks (sort of). 

I picked up some new PJs for Isabella – and Olivia already had the same ones!

We went on some walks…

…and did some shopping (which isn’t easy when you’ve got two kids in tow).

Olivia was crawling like crazy.  She’s going to be walking soon…or perhaps running.  Smile

We rode bikes…

…we practiced eating all our dinner before getting any dessert…on our faces.

And since I was using a cheat Sweet Day – we made some delicious and easy pumpkin whoopie pies!

Isabella LOVED helping out.  She still remembers (a week later), that “you frost, and I put it into a sandwich”

jump zone

We had TONS of fun sliding down the long inflatable slide.  And Olivia loved crawling around the colorful carpet.

We ended our time at the most wonderful place…a HUGE chocolate fountain!

In addition to all this, there was lots of singing, watching Dora and YouTube kid’s videos, eating delicious crab dinner, and nightly dancing/jumping/wheelbarrow.  We even got a chance to Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Rooney.

Taxi drivers need to get with the times

With all my work travel, I take a lot of taxis.  And given that I’m traveling on company time and on the company dime – I have to use my corporate card for all my travel expenses…including taxi trips.

Maybe it’s just my experience, but I am constantly getting taxi drivers who are so rude when I tell them I’ll be paying with a credit card.  YES, I get it.  It’s way better for them when their riders use cash.  It’s faster, it’s under the radar, and they get their tips right away.  But sorry folks – credit/debit cards are not going away.  I often don’t even carry any cash, let alone enough for a $50+ taxi ride.

My past work trip – to Chicago and to LA – I encountered each time seriously rude taxi drivers.  The one driver in Chicago was basically refusing to accept a credit card as payment, giving me a bunch of bullshit excuses as to why he couldn’t.  All I said was “Sorry man, this is my company policy.”  After major grumbling and almost starting a fight with me, he begrudgingly accepted my card for the $14 ride.  I even said, “If this was a $60 ride, you’d have NO problem taking my company card.” 

taxi

Don’t ride in this taxi!!!

And in LA, I had a similar experience – but he was not so brazenly rude.  But when he said he only wanted cash, I said “Well, you better let me out right now because I’m only paying with a card.”  Of course, he didn’t – but I was close to getting out myself. 

Granted, there are PLENTY of drivers that I’ve had who have not giving me any troubles when I pay with a card.  And some taxis make it VERY easy for riders to do this (where you can swipe your own credit card from the backseat and input tip using a computer touch screen).   But there are enough drivers who are still thinking we should only pay with cash – and that’s just not where the financial world is trending. 

Singapore, no passport required

It’s no secret…I love Singapore.  It was Micah and my favorite place we traveled to during our year abroad.  A main driver of that love for this country/state/republic was the absolutely AMAZING food!  And as you well know, one thing we love…is AMAZING food!  Ah…a match made in Southeast Asian heaven.

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a Singapore food night.  The premise was quite easy.  Make or buy food that you’d find in Singapore – and we eat it!  Our friends Jodie and Kai (who we stayed with when we visited Singapore but also now live in Seattle), had the knowledge since they had lived there for a year.  But while there are some distinct Singapore dishes, anything Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian (sorry if I left someone out), qualifies as Singaporean. 

I decided to tackle what might be considered the dish of Singapore.  Chicken rice.  In Singapore, this seemingly blah-looking dish was the epitome of unpretentious awesomeness.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach that same level of flavor – but I certainly tried.

Meet my organic chicken.  The first organic meat I’ve ever bought.  Apparently it’s CRITICAL for the dish to get a very good, fresh-tasting chicken.

I took this pricey little chicken and followed this recipe as closely as I could.

http://steamykitchen.com/5068-hainanese-chicken-rice.html

The end result:

food4

The cooked chicken with homemade chili dipping sauce.

And the aromatic flavorful jasmine rice.  And there you go…chicken rice.

Micah made pork and chicken satay.  You can’t go to SE Asia and not eat satay, as well as not get constantly asked “satay, boss?” 

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Micah grilling it up.  The satay was super tasty!

Jodie and Kai made chili prawns – which were awesome.  In Singapore we ate chili crab…and it was such an incredible dish…and messy too.

food5

Eat the prawns, and then use the steamed buns to wipe up the spicy sauce. Yum!

Our other friends opted for the less mess version of cooking…that is, buying from a restaurant. But we weren’t complaining.  Our kitchen counters were overflowing with thai basil salad, noodles, fried pork – all delicious!

Lastly, can’t have a Singapore food night without a dessert! We opted for a classic dessert found in street carts all over Singapore.

ice cream sand

An ice cream sandwich…literally.  In Singapore they use a rainbow-colored sweet bread, but we looked all over and couldn’t find anything like it.  But white bread worked just fine. 

group pic

Kai, Rory, Jessica, Mike, me, Micah, Jodie (L to R)

We had such a fun time eating and reliving/sharing some Singapore memories.  We even got Tiger and Chang beer!

catan

And no group outing to our house is complete without some Catan action!

Now…which country should we do next?

Chicago-lovin’

This past week I spent a few days in Chicago for work.  I actually enjoy going to Chicago because I think it’s a fantastic city – and if you get to explore the town on the company-dime…even better!

Unfortunately, this recent trip I was riddled with the cough of death – which led to absolute sleep deprivation.  So even though outside was a good 80+ degrees and amazing sunny weather, I was in my hotel room either working or trying to sleep and eventually giving up and doing more work.

But…this trip was still a success!  Here are three awesome things from my Chicago trip:

1. Stumbling upon Coconut Twix at the nearby drugstore

IMAG0092

Hello lover!  Yeah, Twix is my FAVORITE candy bar and this just happens to be a new flavor.  It’s really tasty.  And, it’s not available everywhere yet (I’ve looked).  Booooo!

2. A super awesome M&M wall dispenser

IMAG0094

This thing is so cool (it happened to be hanging on the wall at the focus group facility I happened to be doing work at).  It lays flat against the wall, but turn the crank and pull the lid open a little bit, and plop, plop, plop – out come the goodies!  I was very entertained by this – and in sugar shock by the end of the night Smile

3. Delectable lunch at Wow Bao

wowbao

Wow Bao is an AWESOME chain (only found in Chicago) that has these AMAZING (and super cute) steamed bao aka bun that comes with delicious meat filling.  They are soft and pillowy, and…yum, yum, yum.  A location just happened to be right across from my hotel.  It was meant to be. (This is my second time to Wow Bao as my first time was with a trip with Micah and Tera – we were on a mission to find this place!!)

If it weren’t for the blistering cold, bitterly awful winters – I’d totally want to move to Chicago.  Who wouldn’t with all this awesome stuff they have there!!?

We’re talkin’ DAYS people!!

Hello!  Yes, finally – an update.  As you might assume from the lack of blog activity – I (Micah included) have been a busy busy bee.

With a destination wedding – there’s an endless amount to do.  And then layer on a new job – and watch out! 

But we are here in Hawaii and having a good time.  We are trying to do a mix of both relax and hang out with friends AND get wedding stuff checked off. 

Friends and family are starting to trickle in now – which is very exciting! They are here for us…and the fact that it is Hawaii Smile

Only 4 more days to go!!!  Hard to believe, but we are excited for it to finally come!!!!!!!!!!!!

A very important piece of paper.  We’ll be signing you soon!

Off to Hawaii we go…

…and then it’s straight to TMo!

This is my last week of relative “freedom” before I re-enter the full-time working world again (as opposed to the quite flexible and nice working-from-home schedule I’ve been doing).

On Wednesday we head to Honolulu for one day.  Then Thursday, it’s off to the Big Island.  Saturday it’s wedding time for our friend (Micah’s a groomsman).  Sunday is the Seahawks vs the Bears (early morning for us)!!!  And we head back to Honolulu in the afternoon.  Monday we fly back to Seattle and arrive late at night.  And finally, Tuesday morning – day 1 at TMobile!  It’s quite the whirlwind. 

During our very little time in Honolulu, we’ll be doing wedding-related tasks, including meeting with vendors and my wedding hair and makeup trial! 

I’m excited to start my new job, but it’s bittersweet too.  I’m back to early mornings, driving in terrible Seattle traffic, and well…working full-time.  That’s in addition to continuing my independent consulting (I promised my clients I’d stay on to completion for a long-term project), and wedding stuff.  I’m wondering how I’m going to balance it all. 

At least in the last couple of weeks, Micah and I have kicked it into high gear and have completed a number of wedding projects!  5 weeks to go!

Cool things of 2010 – No. 20

Alright…I’m definitely winding down on my list, partly because I need to get myself ready for our little NYE shin dig we are hosting…but also because this is #20!

We ate “the most delicious fruit in the world”

Really, we did.  Well, that’s according to the National Museum of Singapore – Food Gallery (what a bold statement, right?) 

This thing right here.

Do you know what this is?

It’s called a mangosteen.  You bust open the rind to reveal these white fleshy segments.  That’s the part you eat.  We HAD no choice but to try one while on our visit in Singapore.

What’s the verdict? 

Well, it is pretty damn good (hence Micah’s expression).  It’s incredibly sweet and delicious.  Is it the “most delicious?”  Hmmm.  Go try for yourself. 


Where in the world…

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