18 November 2009

Beautifying Mi Casita

When I was visiting Sweden, I got to stay at the brand new home of my friend, P. I knew she had worked hard and done lots of research on what the latest and greatest (and prettiest) trends were in home decorating.

One thing I noticed, and loved, was her use of wallpaper. I haven't seen wallpaper in homes in quite some time, but it was used sparingly -- as an accent wall rather than the whole room -- and the paper patterns were absolutely lovely.

I was inspired.

The first room I tried was my bathroom. I found the wallpaper, and my mom was gracious enough to test out her wallpapering skills (she used to be the Queen of Wallpapering back in the day), and the result was a lovely accent wall in an otherwise sparsely decorated bathroom.

Next project: bedroom wall. This one is trickier...it's a much bigger wall, and I am pretty particular about colors and patters in there. Wish me luck!

13 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Snuffy & Friends!

This week marks the 40th birthday of Sesame Street. It is hard to imagine something that so enhanced my own childhood is still going strong, introducing kids to letters, numbers, the concept of seeing everyone as equals, and how to tolerate the grouch down the street.

We even had "people" toys (anyone remember those) of the Sesame Street cast. I remember one that was Louis, and perhaps Mr. Hooper. I loved those "people" toys! I learned Spanish from Maria while on Sesame Street, and from Snuffaluffagus I learned that imaginary friends can truly be real.

And, most importantly, I learned this:

Happy Birthday, and Thank You, Sesame Street. Here's to another forty. (perhaps without so much Elmo)

10 November 2009

Where Am I?

The other day, I got a message from a friend of mine asking where the heck I was at the moment.

At that exact moment in time, I was at home, but he had a point. Since 2 October, my life has been an insane whirlwind of travel. It has been so, so fun, but...

To recap.

irst, it was Amsterdam, where I got to see things I've never seen
(a man going into a whorehouse to actually use a prostitute...still grosses me out!), visit a place I had only read about in a very important book (the Anne Frank House), and truly, for the first time in my travels, feel like a local. I got to ride a bike all over! I got caught in the rain on said bike while trying to visit a place that would only take 15 minutes by train! And I was taken for a local over and over again, only being spoken to in English when I corrected someone. That was awesome!

Then, it was off to Copenhagen for a day. But, it was a big one - my
birthday (not telling which one). And, even better, I got to meet
up with two of my amigas muchas, who I have been lucky enough to see a frequently! We hung out in a very cold city, took a cruise tour, and went to the oldest amusement park in Denmark. We didn't eat any Danish, though, which was a little disappointing! (no worries, I got one later) And...I realized HOW EXPENSIVE this city really is. 23$ for a salad?! It was worth the visit, though!

oon enough, it was over the bridge to Sweden, where I got to visit Malmo, which is in the South, and a small town right outside of it. There was a lot of hanging out there, and just being with friends. Then it was off to Stockholm, one of my favorite cities in the world. My love for it has not waned, it is still so beautiful.
And, of course, my dear friend lives there, so it is always fun to visit (even though she owes me a visit for sure now!). Not that I'm complaining, Stockholm is lovely -- the area, the architecture, the people. No arm twisting needed.

Back to the USA and home for a few days. Then, a quick visit to see something amazing.

After communing with nature a bit, I was home for a few more days, then it was off again on an airplane. This time, to New Orleans! There were 20 of us, descending onto the French Quarter like a natural disaster. Aside from the usual NOLA mayhem, it was also Halloween, so add that to the insanity. Somehow we all made it out alive, and with no evident injuries! We also left with a bunch of new friends and a plan to this on an annual basis. My liver is already quivering in fear.

That should have been the last trip, but before I left for Europe, I was told we were having a work offsite in Minneapolis. So, two days after returning from NOLA, I was on a plane again, and off I went! I had never been there, and thankfully didn't have more time, because our hotel was in the heart of a great shopping district, and a HUGE Target. That could have been trouble!

And now I am home, hopefully for a while. It has been a wild, fun, exciting ride, this last month! Not sure I would do it this way again, but I definitely wouldn't change a thing about it.

08 November 2009

And, We Ran with a Bull

I was remiss in not mentioning our most awesome costumes.

We ran with the bulls. Well, one bull specifically. It was terrific. (and, no, I did not take off the mask)

07 November 2009

What Just Happened?!

What a wild ride it was!

As you could see from my last post, we kicked off our trip to New Orleans with an adult beverage. It seemed like the right thing... after all, it was about 10pm and we were about to haul ourselves across the country (on a flight that was surprisingly quick! We barely had time to sleep). This original group of seven was also inaugurated into a new tradition,
which involved more adult beverages and was, really, a bad
idea. It was still fun, though!

We arrived early in the morning to NOLA and went our separate ways to our homes. With a group of 20+, there was no way to contain us all in one house! We dumped our stuff, freshened up, and headed out to Cafe du Monde for some delicious beignets and hickory coffee. This was particularly exciting for me, since, while I had been to NOLA several times, had never had the coffee. It was finally my turn!

It was the first time I had been there, though, since Katrina. I looked around the French Quarter and didn't see much difference from the last time I was there, but we didn't venture much further beyond that. There were a lot of tasteless shirts referencing Katrina, which, while funny, just hints of the anger that is still there. I don't blame them!

Soon, we hit LaFitte's Bar - they claim to be the oldest continuously running bar in the USA - and waited for the rest of our group. Soon, our little group of eight (one had shown up while we were getting beignets) had grown to about 16! It was really a great place to kick off our trip.

From there, the weekend just got better and more insane. There was the food -- first stop: Coops on Decatur. This is a surprisingly divey place, right in the tourist zone, but that's what makes it great. Oh, and the southern cooking!! After a quick nap and change of clothes, it was off to Acme, a famous oyster bar that we HAD to try at least once (no, I didn't eat the oysters, I go for the hush puppies, which I douse in tabasco). Acme was probably the only time we had trouble getting the group together. It was the first night, we didn't all know each other...but we made it work. One table for 12 and another for the balance of 4 of us. So fun!!

Then, the bars...the first night we went to a piano bar, where we were the stars of the show (I
mean, how can you ignore a group of 16 loudmouths), and then to a local place to see a band one of our friends just loved. That didn't last too long, as we were hot and needed a hurricane or two (yes, we fully celebrated our tourist-ness). I am pretty sure we closed down Bourbon Street.

As we did every other night. Our favorite place -- aside from Pat O's, was the Cat's Meow (which I dubbed Cat Club because I like the sound better). It's a karaoke bar, and they could not get us off the stage for about 2 days. No, that is not a typo...I think there was someone from our group at that bar, almost continuously, for the entire weekend. If we lost someone, we'd look there first. Shockingly, we never got kicked out, even after two of the guys completely took out two of the girls, and spilled their very sticky, red drink all over the place.

There was one more meal in there, at the Court of Two Sisters. If you're looking for a HUGE brunch full of Southern goodness, this is your place. It is located right next to Pat O's in the Quarter, but shockingly, it is really, really quiet in there. It was a nice peaceful moment in an otherwise quick-paced weekend.

It's been a week, but none of us have gotten over the fun we've had. And no one can wait until next year!