Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Los Angeles, California (July 16-19)

At the game

Me and my girls (minus Amy Claire… we missed her tons) headed to Los Angeles, Cali to see our best friend Sara. As I have said before, we always do a girls’ trip at least once a year, so since Sara was living in LA, we decided to make this trip our trip of the year. Sara’s husband plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Several months ago when she called us all with the news that he had gotten “moved up” from double-A to the majors, we were ecstatic!!! This was great news for Sara and Brent, and we immediately started looking for dates to visit. When a date was picked and set, Ginger, Tracy, and I got ready to go see our friend in one of the best cities in the country!

Kodak Theatre

Ginger and Tracy flew together, but since I have a job and they don’t, I flew by myself (Haha… just kidding about the job thing. I like to joke with them about this because Tracy is a teacher, which means summers off, and Ginger is a nurse, which means she works like 3 days a week, and I on the other hand work a full 5 days a week year round… Hoochies!!!) As I started down the escalator to baggage claim I saw six feet – all wearing fabulous shoes, and I knew those were the feet of my girls! As soon as I got down far enough to see their faces, I screamed and started waving. I scared everyone on the escalator, but could not help myself. We were reunited once again! It always felt like this… it was the best feeling to see the people who were practically my family for four solid years.

Brent pitching!!!

We were only staying three nights, so we had a lot to see and do in that time. Right after leaving the airport, we headed straight to Dodger Stadium, bought us some cute Dodger gear, stocked up on stadium food and cold beer, and headed to our awesome seats. There are a lot of perks Sara and Brent get for being Dodgers, and good seats are just one of them! This was a great game for us to attend because it was Manny Ramirez’s first home game back from his suspension, but the best part of this game was we actually got to see Brent pitch! He came in for an inning, and we screamed and cheered until he was finished. We must have been good luck because he did great! After the game, we waited outside where the players come out – Joe Torre past right by us, and then we saw Manny come out with his entourage (now you know why I felt the need to write my last blog about the show). We also talked with this “ultimate Dodger fan,” who apparently gets to do whatever the hell he wants at Dodger Stadium because he has so much money. He found out we had reservations at Katana, and proceeded to get on the phone and call the owner so we could “get the best seats in the house.” Humm… just another one of those many “money=power” show-offs in LA. Whatever, we got completely hooked up when we went to that restaurant, so I ate it right up. That night we stayed up late catching up with Brent and Sara and got ready for a fun-filled Friday.

The Ivy

We had lunch reservations at The Ivy on Friday– as I have said before, I am not really a celebrity person so I had no idea what this was, but Tracy and Sara (People and US Weekly freaks) knew exactly what it was. Apparently it’s a big celeb spot and the paparazzi are always outside. We had reservations and still had to wait over an hour (hum… maybe THIS is why we saw no celebrities there when we went. If I was a celebrity going to a restaurant where crazy-fans hang out just to try and spot me, it would be the last place I would eat). The food was great though, and we had a patio seat so we got to sink in the perfect-LA weather. Our cocktails cost about $20 a piece, but after drinking it, I knew why… I was near being lit on a Friday afternoon. After that, we walked around Hollywood Blvd touching handprints and looking at the famous sidewalk stars.
Doin' It and Doin' It and Doin' it well!

Friday night was a blast. We got all dressed up for the game because the wives had a suite just for them this night and we had dinner reservations at Katana afterward. The view from the suite was spectacular, and what do you know… LL Cool J was in the suite next to ours! We had a girl who works for the Dodgers go over and ask him if we could come meet him in his suite. He was overly gracious, and invited us right in. We introduced ourselves, shaking his soft hands (which by the way, made mine feel like sandpaper) and chatted with him for a quick minute. He acted like he wouldn’t have cared if we posted ourselves up there for the night, but we didn’t overstay our welcome! Katana was a whole other experience. It’s a very swanky restaurant with long-legged model looking hostesses who are very quick to tell you shoo you away with a “sorry, we are full for the next week” response. But, the owner treated us like we were Vince, Turtle, Drama, and E coming to eat his sushi for the first time. We got a great patio seat and he insisted on giving us complimentary appetizers and a desert. The food was great, and if I am ever in LA I would love to go back. Although, I’m not so sure I would be remembered enough by the owner to even get a seat in that place, and I’m sure Gisele at the reservation table would love to tell me I wasn’t good enough to eat there.
In "The Hills"

Saturday was our last full day in Tinsletown. We really just relaxed and took it easy this day, eating well and being tourists. We headed back to Hollywood Blvd. and ate at one of my favorites for lunch, Shabu Shabu. This was only my third time in LA, but since I was introduced to this place the first time I was in LA, I have always gone back! After lunch, we did what we do best and continued to eat. If you pass a Cold Stone Creamery, you have to go in there, so as full as we were, we made it a point to get some ice cream. We did some more walking around Hollywood Blvd and Kodak Theatre. Then we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Guinness Book of World Records museum – very touristy of us. That night, we had dinner at a great Italian restaurant and went to a trendy bar down the street. When we realized the tables were all reserved, and we would have nowhere to sit, we left. Three minutes later, the manager was chasing us down the street and tells us he would give us one of those tables. We were confused – wondering why this guy cared if we went into his bar in the first place, but took him up on his offer. The quote of the night: “Wow, we didn’t even have to pull the Dodger card on this one!” haha! We got in, bought a bottle of champagne and enjoyed our last night together. With a 6 a.m. flight ahead of us, we took it in pretty early!

The last night when we weren't "pulling the Dodger Card!"


One of my favorite shows these days is “Entourage”… I absolutely love it! It’s funny because it’s one of those shows that you completely convince yourself that those people actually exist, and then when you see a movie come out with one of the actors from that show in it, it kind of bothers you. It’s like the latest movie with Jeremy Piven in it that I keep seeing commercials of. I always think, “WTF… that guy is ARI GOLD, not some used car liquidator!!!”

I have also decided the guys in that show are probably not even close to being as cool as their characters in real life, so it’s good to think they actually are those people. I even have done the whole “Sex and the City” girl thing we have all done where we try and figure out which character we are. Well, since I am a GIRL and can’t be one of the super-awesome guys, I have totally picked out which of the guys my boyfriend is. Eric Murphy… Hands down. It almost makes me laugh when I watch the show because that character is very similar to Tres. Funny too because he’s my favorite character on the show!!!

With all of that said, I will go into my LA blog. I recently took a trip there with my best friends and had an absolute blast there. The difference in that trip and the other ones I have taken to LA is I was actually around people this time with the kind of dough those people have on that show. People who drive Maseratis, people who can get into certain bars because of who they are, people who throw around “names” as if they are the most important person in the city. It was quite an interesting experience, and a frustrating one. The money in that city is serious enough to piss any normal person off… there is so much of it, it’s sick. So, the point of this “Entourage” opening is that I watched the show before I left for LA, and I got there and saw exactly what I see on TV every Sunday night… minus the five coolest men on television.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Washington DC (May 28-31)

The beautiful Capitol
Tres and I in front of our favorite President's home... grrr!

After weeks that consisted of Ginger’s wedding, Memphis in May festivities with friends in town, and a trip to Knoxville, it had been a month since we had been anywhere unfamiliar, so Tres and I were ready for a family vacation! Tres had been to DC before for work but never experienced the city as a tourist, and I had never been there, so we were both in for a treat! We were meeting my family there (Mom, my brother, my Nenne, and her husband Jesse). We got on a plane after work on Thursday and they headed up by car Thursday morning. Once we all made it to the hotel that night, Tres and I took my brother out on the town. We hung out at the hotel bar for drinks and appetizers and then walked to a little pub down the street. It was kind of a late night that night - especially to have my brother out and about!
My family is so much fun!
Mom and Me in front of Hernando DeSoto painting in the Capitol

The next day, mom (Miss Organizer), had an excursion itinerary ready for us. We started the day by taking a tour of The Capitol – what a phenomenal, significant building… to think that something that beautiful has been standing for hundreds of years with the biggest decisions of our country being made inside – there are no words for that! We then headed to Arlington Cemetery. There, we saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the JFK grave site - the Eternal Flame, and Robert E. Lee’s house! After that, we went to the famous, Ben’s Chili Bowl for lunch – it was everything I ever heard it was… yummy! Our third venture was the Washington Monument where we took an elevator to the top for the complete Washington DC view. Again, my height issue did not permit me to completely take in the city, but I saw enough to make me happy! Our final destination was a nighttime tour. This was one of the best parts of the trip because we got to see all of DC lit up at night! My favorite part was the Lincoln Memorial – what a sight to see… he was such an influential person on our country and the memorial shows him as this gigantic figure because that’s exactly what he was to the United States!
Day two was a trip to Mount Vernon aka the home for George Washington. I fell in love with this place, and it’s now my official favorite of DC. It was a palace… a palace for the very first famous, significant person in our country! The house and land of George Washington was so beautiful, it was hard to believe he actually lived there in the late 1700’s! We toured the interior of the house, and when we got to George’s room and saw the bed that he died in, Tres and I just stood there and stared in amazement - GEORGE WASHINGTON REALLY DIED ON THAT BED we were looking at. We held up the line long enough, but I could have stood and stared at the bed all day… it was just so bizarre! Seeing him and Martha’s grave site was also hard to take in… to think the bones of the REAL George Washington and his wife were in those caskets was insane! I mean, you learn about George Washington your entire life, you hold him in your hand at least once a day when you pay for something, but all the while, it’s hard to believe he was actually a REAL person. It’s almost like he was a fictional character from a book, but after seeing his house and his grave, you realize he was a living, breathing person, just like the rest of us, and if it wasn’t for him, our country would not even exist! He is simply astonishing!
After Mount Vernon, and getting lost on the way home from Mt. V, me, Tres, and Brother headed to the Smithsonian’s to take in as much as we could in the two hours we had left until they closed. We went in the American History one first – I only cared to see the beloved Dorothy Gale original Ruby Red Slippers, so that’s why I agreed to American History. Seeing these shoes was a dream come true for a girl who once THOUGHT she was Dorothy. Yes when I was a young girl, I had a blue dress, basket, and used my Pound Puppies as “Toto” while I skipped around my house singing all the songs. My Nenne told me she looked everywhere for me Rudy slippers but could never find any, so I had to settle for black ones. Not to mention, I watched this movie at least twice a day and even wore out a VHS tape to where my parents had to buy a new one… that’s what I hear anyways! No wonder I have an obsession with shoes to this day! I blame The Wizard of Oz for every woman out there with a shoe obsession!

The home of the famous George and Martha Washington
Me and Nenne at our favorite place!

That night, we had a great dinner, saw the back-end of the White House, and went home and went to bed. I woke up with tired, sore feet, wondering how I could make it another day. The family headed home, and Tres and I headed out for another journey of DC. Our first stop was the White House where we got exceptional views. Despite of who lives there at this moment in time, I still think this is the most beautiful building in DC! Smithsonian’s were our focus, since we saw little of them the day before. We briefly went through the Natural Science and the Air and Space museums and even took a little tour of the Botanical Gardens. We had a flight to catch late that afternoon, so we finished up our DC experience quickly. I learned a lot of history on this trip that I never knew before, and because of that, I hope to come back soon! We enjoyed the time spent with my family – they are always a hoot to be around! Next time we head to DC, we plan to see what we missed on this last trip: Ford’s Theater and the Holocaust Museum are at the top of the list!

Destin, Florida (a week and a half later; April 16-19)

The entire Bacheloretter Party!

Yes, I went BACK to Destin! I just couldn’t get enough! No really, we decided months before my first trip to Destin that this weekend was going to be Ginger’s Bachelorette weekend in Destin… Going to the beach twice in two weeks never hurt anyone! This weekend was going to be different though… I was going to be with ALL MY GIRLS!

I love this one of me and Sara!

Maid of Honor and Bride
We drove (ugh… not a fan of driving this far), and when we got there we were pleasantly surprised at the condo we were staying in! We lucked up because this friend of mine, Scott, has a condo in Destin, and he totally let us borrow it FOR FREE for the weekend! It was so nice – with just enough room for us nine gals staying there. Day one was the highlight of the trip. We got up early to shop for booze and some snacks before heading to the beach. Amy Claire and I got in a fight (as usual), but got over it 30 minutes later (as usual). Haha. We loaded up on drinks and then headed to the beach! Our day was spent drink Bud Light Limes, Coronas, and Sweet Tarts, and scorching in the sun, talking and gossiping about anything and everything we could think of. That night, we had a Fiesta-Lingerie party for Ginger where she got her necessary honeymoon gear and we drank margaritas and had Mexican bites. We ate dinner at AJ’s and had the typical bachelorette night (minus the penises and condoms… why? Please tell me why girls feel it’s necessary to get decked out in disgusting plastic forms of the male genitalia?). Typical bachelorette night meaning all acting like crazed-college kids and getting home at 5 in the morning with a few lost items and vomit victims… I will leave it at that!

Bridesmaids with the Hot Mama Bride!

Out at AJ's!

The next day was Hell on earth for everyone. Everyone was tired, to-the-max hung over, and had no intentions of getting out of bed unless it meant running to the toilet. I actually felt fine and was getting pissed off that no one wanted to join me on the beach for an icy cold beverage! Luckily, a few girls perked up by noon and we were back at it again. The second day was not a pretty as the first and eventually, we all went in after about four hours. We (slowly) got ready to go out that night with a few girls still struggling (and surprisingly still vomiting… I don’t understand these day long hang overs but whatever – I love them no less). We headed to The Red Bar, which is actually like a 35 minute drive but totally worth it for the food and music. We had a fantastic meal, and afterward, four out of the nine gave going out a try while the others headed home. We didn’t last long – imagining the eight-hour drive we had ahead of us the next day. All in all – the trip was a great one… thanks to the first night, but everything after that was just downright downhill!

Destin, Florida (April 2-5)

The weekend after Palm Springs, I decided at the last minute to go with Tres on another one of his work trips, but this time, Athletic Championships put me to work too! Tres and I headed to the airport for Destin and hoped for beautiful weather in the ever-rainy days we had been having in the Southeast. When we got to the airport, the sky turned black and rain hot our car like a tsunami. We gave each other a “this can’t be good look,” and crossed our fingers. When we got inside, people were everywhere, and though I fly a lot it, had been awhile since I had seen this much commotion in an airport. The verdict: NO PLANES WERE LEAVING THR AIRPORT THAT NIGHT! It was terrible, because we had JUST missed the cut-off time. We did everything we could to try and find something, and even considered renting a car and driving, but the weather made it useless. We got moved to a new flight – not for the next morning, but for the next AFTERNOON! I was so frustrated. It was hard to understand why they couldn’t immediately get us on a plane the next day. Tres explained that since so many planes were backed up, they had to deal with all those people too, and we had to wait our turn (I hate waiting my turn). Finally after about 3-4 hours at the airport talking to incompetent NWA staff, we headed home. We decided that since we should be in Destin at that moment having a pina colada at a beach-side restaurant instead of on our way back home to Downtown Memphis, that we were going to stop at the Happy Mexican and wash back as many margaritas as possible. We did just that, got tired, and went home to sleep.

The next day, the sun was shining and we were getting on a plane to Destin. We finally made it, and for two free vouchers from Northwest Air out of the deal. We decided two free plane tickets were worth the hell we went through the night before. While in Destin, we both worked but we also spent a lot of time having fun with friends. The weather wasn’t great, but we really only had one day on the beach anyway, so it didn’t really matter! We were just happy to be in the company of great friends, eat great seafood, and have that pina colada we had been talking about from day one!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Palm Springs, California (March 26-29)

I was so excited about this trip, and I still look back at it and am so glad I decided to go with Tres on it! Palm Springs was a work trip for Tres and one of those that I tagged along on. It was an Athletic Championships event, which is the company Tres used to work for with some of his closest friends. Since they were all there, I knew it would be a blast! We got in late on Thursday just in time for dinner with the crew and a walk around the ever-interesting Palm Springs. This small city is something else. If I had to sum it up in words, those words would be: gorgeous, hot, money, and gay. The city is tiny but the sight of it will knock you off your feet – it’s beautiful, and could best be described as a “beach-looking town in the middle of the desert.” Only… there is no beach, but there are lots of Palm trees and more sun than any one person could ever take in – it hardly EVER rains there! A lot of older-aged movie stars vacationed and had homes here – Elvis and Pricilla and Frank Sinatra – just to name a few.

Tres and me mid-air!


Tres had to work all weekend, so we set aside Friday for a day of fun and an experience I had wanted to have my whole life – a hot air balloon ride! To take the balloon ride, we had to drive an hour out of the way to Temecula (Wine Valley) California, but every minute of our early-morning was worth it! We had to wake up at like 6:30 to make sure we were in Temecula before 8:00, which is when they start balloon rides. They prefer to do them early in the morning when the wind is just right, and I was not going to argue with what kept our balloon in the air! We got lucky and only had to ride with two people, who both ended up being really cool. They were a couple from California, and what do you know?! The guy ended up prosing to his girlfriend in the air with Tres and I to witness. Poor Tres… as Queen once said, “Pressure pushing down on me… no man asked for.” Haha… just kidding, but the funny thing is when we got back to Palm Springs, all of our friends claimed they had bets we would get engaged on the balloon ride. We were like, “Nope, but the couple with us sure did!”… AWKWARD!

At the Winery!

Back to the balloon ride… it was truly one great experience of a lifetime. I had always wanted to go on one, and I am not really sure why because I am terrified of heights. My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz though, and if Dorothy got to ride on one, then so was I! Seeing it be blown up was a show in itself… we could not get over how big it was, but actually going on it was even more amazing! We saw miles of beautiful scenery. When we got to the highest point though, I lost it. I didn’t want anyone to know how scared I was, so I kept quiet and closed by eyes, but I was shaking uncontrollably and Tres eventually noticed. So did our balloon pilot, so he made me put my back up against the basket, saying that having something touch you when you are high usually makes you feel more safe. It helped, but the fact that we started getting lower helped a lot more! Once we came down, we toasted our air-journey with champagne and congratulated the newly engaged couple! Tres and I spent the day in the wine country, what our pilot called a “little Napa Valley.” We spent most of the day at Wilson Creek Winery where we did a wine tasting and had lunch. We also discovered the best tasting champagne ever, Almond Champagne. We bought five bottles of it along with some wine and headed back to Palm Springs!

Hanging with friends

The rest of the trip consisted of Tres working all day and me laying out at the pool and taking in the unique city. I went for a few jogs, ate breakfast and lunch by myself, and waited on Tres to get done working. Then at night, we would hang out with all of our friends who were also there for work. I fell in complete love with this area of California. Sun to me equals happiness, so I can’t imagine a depressed person living here! I told Tres it had been awhile since I had completely fell in love with a city I visited, but I honestly think I could live in Palm Springs (well, maybe if it were located in the South :)

Dallas, Texas (February 26-March 2)

Tres’ and Andrea’s first work trip of the year together! Tres and I both travel a lot for work, but we rarely get to do it together. On occasion, if Tres has a work trip planned and I have nothing to do that weekend, we will usually just buy me a flight and I will tag along and lay out by the pool or something while he works, but most of the time we are both gone on the same weekends in different cities (Did I mention that this year, we did not spend one weekend together in Memphis from the end of December until MAY!!! When summer finally got here, we were more excited about having a weekend in OUR CITY together than the gorgeous weather!)

This case was a different one though… we both had to be in Dallas for the largest all star cheerleading competition in the nation – NCA All Star Nationals, and this turned out to be one of my most memorial and fun times with Tres! Remember how I said Tres and I always end up going out like rockstars BY OURSELVES… well that pretty much sums up this trip. We both decided on this trip we love Dallas. We called it the Southwestern Atlanta, and everyone knows Atlanta is both Tres and my favorite city!

So the first night we hung out with some friends, went to dinner at a great sushi restaurant down from our hotel (which was downtown and across from where JFK got shot), and ended up at this random bar where we indeed stayed until about 3 a.m. when we both had to be up at 7 the next morning. Needless to say, the work day was long, and once it was over, I thought we would both put on our pa-jammies and order room service, but something came over us, and we decided we wanted a nice dinner. The concierge suggested a seafood/steak place, and boy was she dead-on! If I ever go back to Dallas, this will be the first restaurant I visit… I wish I could remember the name, but I am blank (I later remembered... it's called Trulucks... AWESOME)! Dinner and drinks at dinner turned into an exhaustion makeover and by the time we ate our last bite, we were ready for another night of fun. We ended up at Ghost Bar in the W hotel, and I would suggest it to anyone. It’s on the 33rd floor of the skyscraper hotel, where there is a glass floor balcony with gorgeous views of the city… kind of scary for a gal who is terrified of heights, but totally worth checking out! The club is very “Vegas-like” for Dallas with velvet ropes and long lines to get in, a large cover charge, and VIP Bottle service. It’s very stylish and contemporary, which is always what I immediately look for in a place I go to when I am out of town – being from Memphis, we have NOTHING like that, so I am always happy to visit a place like this when in another city. The next day of work was a lot more difficult than the first, so the jammies and room service was a given on the last night. Dallas was a BLAST!