A Day at the Farm

Boggy Creek Farm

Today we took a trip to Boggy Creek Farm where they were hosting the Green Corn Project’s “Grow Locally, Cook Globally” annual fall festival. The Green Corn Project is a volunteer-run organization that helps Central Texans grow their own organic vegetables by installing gardens for elderly, low-income and disabled community members, as well as elementary schools, community centers and shelters in underserved areas of Austin.

Today’s festival featured some of our favorite Austin eateries, including Olamaie and Odd Duck, plus some new must-try spots like Vox Table and Delicious. Olamaie served up blue corn cornbread topped with creamed collards — yum! And Vox Table had me with their chickpea fritters topped with pickled pumpkin, which I was told takes days to pickle. My libation of choice was a honeysuckle lemonade which went down way too easily.

Nora, of course, was partial to Dolce Neve’s gelato. She was told she had to finish her slice from Bola Pizza first. Such a rough life this girl leads; you have to eat your pizza before you get gelato.

Ice-cream eatin'

After she got her fill of pizza and gelato, she wanted to see the animals. I think she had pigs and cows in mind, since I was really talking up our visit to the farm, but luckily they had some chickens.

Chickens

It was a good day. A little hot for almost Halloween, but the sun was shining so I can’t complain. Our bellies were full and satisfied and we got to help a good cause, to boot!

Bike at Boggy Creek Farm

 

The Week That Was: October 9, 2015

I am really missing fall weather these days. It’s still in the high 80s and 90s although dare I say chilly some mornings? I’m forcing myself to wear jeans; it’s my version of a rain dance, I guess. It hasn’t worked so far…

I’m so looking forward to the weekend. We’re hosting my mom, sisters and brother-in-law for our informal patio christening party. And, when I realized the dates, I decided that we’d also celebrate what would be my grandma’s 100th birthday tomorrow. I can always find an excuse to have a party (especially one that involves cake and ice-cream).

Enjoy your weekend!

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Here’s what we’re cooking up this weekend, in honor of what would be my grandma’s 100th birthday. She was the queen of chicken and dumplings.

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These little First Thanksgiving candles remind me of the ones my mom had on our Thanksgiving table when we were kids. Nostalgia is nudging me to buy them.

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31 Bits necklaces are my new favorite thing that Stitch Fix sells.

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I dare you not to laugh when reading this open letter from the Everywhereist to her lady bits. She hilariously captures what I think most women feel.

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Yes, my views of babies on planes were quite different — until I had one of my own. Here’s hoping Nora’s a champ on our eastbound flight next week!

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Have a lovely weekend.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I’ve taken a little time off — partly intentional, partly just being too damn busy moving into our new house and partly wanting and needing to make some changes to The Globetrotting Gal.

Shortly after my last post, we closed on our house (hooray!) and immediately thereafter I had a girls’ weekend in Los Angeles with some of the loveliest gals I know (more on that soon — I hope!) and then shortly after I returned, we moved into our new home. Things were a bit hectic. It’s amazing the number of things you have to have fixed and/or redone in a brand new never-before-lived-in house… Isn’t that supposed to be the beauty of buying brand spankin’ new? Guess not.

Being busy doesn’t typically stop me from keeping up with the blog, but I’ve been in an uncertain place with it for a while. What’s the point? Why am I doing this? The focus of the blog doesn’t really fit my life anymore. Maybe I’ll start all over. And so on, and so on… When I started this blog three years ago, my intent was to chronicle my travels for my family and friends. (I can’t believe I’ve been writing this for three years, by the way.) At the time, KP and I did our fair bit of traveling. I worked in travel and it was my biggest passion. Less than six months into the blog, I got pregnant and that really impacted our travels, both while I was pregnant and pretty significantly thereafter. I commend all the parents who keep on keepin’ on with their travels after the baby arrives. And we did it, too, taking Nora on her first flight around three months old. But our travels have changed drastically; they’re not nearly as frequent and they’re different in terms of where we go, what we do, our style and our needs. Someday we’ll be globetrotters again, but that’s just not what our life is right now.

And as such, it became hard to write a travel blog when there wasn’t a whole lot of traveling going on anymore. We travel at times, and I’ll continue to write about that, but I’m going to make some changes to the blog, primarily by shifting focus from travel-centric to lifestyle (no, I am not dreaming of becoming the next Gwynnie, Blake, Reese or “lifestyle maven” du jour, but it’s the term that best fits what the blog will be). The Globetrotting Gal will be my day-to-day — mom stuff, family stuff, recipes, food and wine, musings and yes, travel. I might complain about my super sleeper who now cries any time she’s put in her crib, or the sauvignon blanc I’m loving at the moment (still trying to find one I like more than Kim Crawford), or a weekend getaway with one of my girlfriends (two planned for the summer — yippee!). The Globetrotting Gal name will stay the same and so will the address, but I’m also hoping to revamp the style of the blog in the near future.

So hang with me if you’d like. Things might look a little messy while I figure it all out. And don’t be surprised when you come back and see something not at all related to travel. I hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come.

It’s TX to NJ Day

TX to NJ

October 28: the 11 year anniversary of my move from Texas to New Jersey. Feels so very incredibly long ago. And I wouldn’t have even remembered today as the exact anniversary, but luckily my dad maintains this super detailed calendar at home, complete with world and family events and milestones. And, apparently I share the anniversary of my move with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which was completed 49 years ago today!

I moved to Houston right out of college, ironically, because I didn’t want to follow suit along with the rest of my graduating class and move to Chicago. It’s just what Illini do, it seems. (And it just took me nine years to later join them.) So I chose Houston. It probably wouldn’t be some people’s first choices, but aside from my pipe dream of moving to New York City, there wasn’t anyplace else in particular that I had much desire to be. So I bunked with my sister and her husband and their growing family for a bit, and then I moved into my own place. It was my first time being out on my own. And in hindsight, Houston was probably a fine choice. Life there was easy. And easy was good, considering it was the first real “city” I ever lived in.

After spending three years in Texas, I thought I was getting settled there. I had a solid group of friends. I generally liked my job. I bought a condo. But then I got a job offer in New Jersey. The stars somehow aligned because the job sort of found me; it wasn’t something that I had applied for. And all I heard was, “20 miles from Manhattan.” I didn’t really think twice. I just thought I’d be going from one big hair state to another. More importantly, I knew that if I didn’t take the opportunity that presented itself, I’d always wonder, what if? Fortunately, I haven’t found myself ever wondering,  what if I’d stayed in Texas?

Illinois to Texas was culture shock. But Texas to New Jersey was even more culture shock. While both states may like their big hair (and fake nails), there’s not much more that they have in common. My early days in Jersey were not easy. And they were not fun. And I had never heard so many people — well-educated, intelligent people — drop F bombs in the workplace. So much of what I thought I’d like about Jersey — the fast pace, the no-nonsense attitude, the big city life — was so intimidating in those early days. I remember crying, wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into and why it had to be so hard. I was a wee 20-something from southern Illinois, after all.

My first apartment in New Jersey was in a high-rise just across the Hudson from Manhattan. Being a somewhat naive 20-something, I was focused on being as close to Manhattan as possible without being in Manhattan, and a modern building with amenities that I was accustomed to in Houston. In addition to culture shock, I suffered from sticker shock. Apartments with swimming pools and gyms cost a lot more in New Jersey than they do in Texas! But the most devastating blow I was dealt in my new home was my first electricity bill of the winter… I was certain there was a mistake when I read my bill, which said that my electricity for one month cost $600. Nope, no error. Apparently living along the Hudson River and having lots of windows in your apartment can be a bit pricy to keep warm in those cold winter months.

But in time, things got better. I ditched my fancy apartment and moved into a really sad — but vintage! — apartment in Hoboken, a town so much more my speed. I think the word my dad used to describe my apartment was “sketchy.” The word I’d use to describe it is “affordable.” I spent my weekends and then some in Manhattan. I made friends. I partook in bagel Fridays at work. I spent summer days down the shore. I may have joined in the F bomb dropping in the office a time or two. (I still blame Jersey for the foul mouth I have to this day.) I grew to really love Jersey and defend it with pride whenever someone would knock it (I still do). And for a long time after I left New Jersey to move further up the East Coast, I felt like I was going home every time I drove back to New Jersey, oddly.

It’s funny how life has a way of working out the way it’s supposed to. When I was nearing college graduation and firing off cover letter after cover letter to companies in New York and New Jersey and hearing rejection or worse — nothing at all — I got discouraged. I truly thought the East Coast wasn’t meant to be for me, so I moved on. And then just when I got comfortable — maybe too comfortable — New Jersey came knocking.

I’ve written this much about New Jersey without a single Bon Jovi reference, but I’m not quite finished. Jon Bon Jovi once said, “New Jersey shaped who and what I am. Growing up in New Jersey gave you all the advantages of New York, but you were in its shadow. Anyone who’s come from here will tell you that same story.” I concur.

The Week That Was: June 27, 2014

Lake Ozark
Lake Ozark

Vacation starts today! We’re trekking to Missouri and this will be our gorgeous view for the next week. Hoping to return refreshed and recharged.

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I love France, and I’ll continue to visit regardless of how rude the natives are. But what do you think? Are the Frenchies as rude as everyone says, oui or no?

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Visiting a landmark on your summer vacation? Here are some tips on how to do it best, and I second the “go at night” recommendation — best time to visit the Willis (Sears) Tower here in Chicago, in my opinion.

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The 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest submissions are due on the 30th, and there are already some incredible entries.

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I’ve cut back on coffee significantly and drink more tea. But now that summer’s here, I need my iced coffee. Rather than shell out more dinero to my friends at Starbucks, I’ve decided that I’m going to give the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a whirl when we return from vaca.

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Don’t let anyone else tell you how to travel. Period.

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Nora is an okay car traveler, but gets restless. Well, used to get restless. We recently bought this iPad holder which was a real game-changer for our road trips. KP just downloaded some baby-friendly videos from the app store and she’s all set. And even though the pics show it on the back of the front seat, we managed to attach it to the front of the backseat (since she’s still rear-facing).

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Love this sweet piece on marriage.

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All for this week! Enjoy your weekend.

Wanderlust Wednesday: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago lakefront 2010
Chicago lakefront
2010

This winter in Chicago has been miserable. Brutal. Frustrating. (I could think of another F word, too.) You get the point. I know we’re not alone, and I feel equally badly for… pretty much the rest of the country, too.

At times like these, I need to frequently remind myself of the best time of year in our fine city — summertime! Just four months and two days to go… but who’s counting.

Friday Faves: February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I find that most people either love or hate Valentine’s Day. You’re either in the, “it’s a stupid Hallmark holiday” camp or you’re not. I’m not. I probably felt differently when I was single, but I’ll admit it: I like flowers and chocolates and gifts. That said, my husband and I agreed to forego gifts this year since we’re going away for the weekend with Nora. That’s right, it’s time to escape Antarctica Chicago for a wee bit and mosey on down to Texas, ya’ll.

While I’m away, enjoy these Valentine links!

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Red velvet cheesecake brownies

I love baking for Valentine’s Day. A few years ago, I made these decadent red velvet cheesecake brownies for my husband. The recipe has been repeated several times since!

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Drew Barrymore’s Find It in Everything is perfect for today.

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I wish you none of these things this Valentine’s Day!

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Paper Source has the most adorable Valentine’s and gifts for the holiday.

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I would wear this coat not just for Valentine’s Day, but all throughout winter to add a perfect pop of color to the otherwise dreariness.

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Tips on choosing men’s cologne for your Valentine.

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XOXO!

Where Has the Globetrotting Gal Been?

Sadly, nowhere terribly exciting as of late. The holidays came and went and per usual, it was a busy time. A fun time, but a busy time. And now life is back to normal. Well, normal for now. That will all soon change later this month when we have a new normal in our household.

After months of internal (and a little bit of external) debate and attempting to ignore the voice in my head, I finally decided to resign from my job on Monday. Funny thing is, I got about the 900th sign that I was making the right decision when I saw a post on my friend Mark’s Facebook — quotes from comedians when your job makes you want to cry. This Kristen Wiig quote was especially fitting that day:

"Don't become something..."

My job is easy. Frustrating, but generally easy. But she nailed it — it doesn’t make me happy. And admittedly, being a stay-at-home mom does scare the shit out of me.

I removed the line, “after careful consideration” from my resignation letter because I thought it sounded cliché, but really, it was just a huge understatement. I’ve thought about it off and on since I had Nora, and then thought about it daily since being back at work full-time in the new year.

I made the right decision. Will I miss it? I will. Sure, it drove me 100% crazy most of the time, but there are still things I will miss. Still, I already know from experience that I miss Nora more, and while I can go find another job someday down the road, I can never spend time with Nora again when she’s a wee eight months, nine months, crawling, teething (eek!) and so on.

It will be an adventure, no doubt! But I look forward to it, and more importantly am incredibly thankful for the opportunity and the luxury of being able to do it. Maybe I’ll even have more time to devote to my blogs…

Friday Faves: November 22, 2013

Tomorrow marks Nora’s sixth month, which is just mind boggling to me. Cliche to say, but it really does go so fast. So today one of our favorite photographers is coming over to capture a few moments of her at this stage. I’m already anxious to see the results.

This weekend we prep for next week’s travels to Scranton, Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. That means getting the car serviced (because we’re driving!) and last minute shopping for random odds and ends. Oh yeah, and celebrating Kalyana’s birthday on Saturday night at the always delicious Piccolo Sogno.

While I peruse that mouthwatering menu and think about what to order, you enjoy these links.

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What historical events would’ve looked like if there were Instagram at the time.

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Kudos, Chicago! Both airports make the worst delays list.

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Did you know you can get free airport parking by renting out your car? Me, neither. Not sure I’d ever do this; would you?

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I can’t seem to go a full day without my iPhone needing to be charged. I must need to adjust some settings. Or I could just get this.

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Illinois was hit with some disastrous weather this past Sunday. But I love these sweet stories of dogs being reunited with their owners in the aftermath.