Straight Trippin’ in 2017

I can totally see why the whole world seems to be itching for 2016 to end and to turn over a new leaf in a brand new year (we might even attend a “fuck 2016” themed New Year’s Eve party this year), but I have sworn to never let the serial optimist who pilots my entire life ever die. I am fully aware of the terrible shit that went down this last year, but I try my damnedest not to dwell. Instead, I will remember 2016 as not only The Year We Got Married, but as The Year We REALLY Traveled too.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a desire to travel. When I was 12, I painstakingly realized that I had never left the state of Texas, so I said “YES YES YES” to an epic, cross-country road trip with my godmother and 2 out of 3 sisters without even a smidgen of a second thought. I find immense amounts of pleasure when I get to add another state, country, or continent to my list of places I’ve visited.

Although we are saving another big Eurotrip for the year after next, Joel and I still plan on taking advantage of any/all vacation time we get for mini trips in 2017. Here are some of our travel goals for the upcoming year. As always, recommendations are welcome for them all!

Nashville, TN. In March, my sister-in-law’s BFF is throwing her a baby shower in Nashville (where they’ve lived for the last year and a half), to which Joel and I will be in attendance. Although we will probably only be there for a quick weekend and we’ll be really busy, I have a few places in mind that I’d love to see around the city (like the place with the insane bloody marys). Mostly, though, I’m so excited to see what @gummergal has created as far as a nursery goes. Her creativity (and uniqueness) when it comes to home decor is #GOALZ!

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Reykjavik, Iceland. With a discount airline adding Pittsburgh to one of its list of hubs next Summer, Europe will be more accessible than ever before. Though we are a tad wary of flying the “cheapskate” route (especially after reading online horror stories via the airline’s reviews), we’re excited by the possibility of exploring this ridiculously beautiful city! My Instagram gal pal, Courtney, wrote this post about Iceland’s geothermal pools and it makes me want to dive right in.

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Miami, Fl. Some of my dearest friends are moving down to Florida early next Spring and I’ve already let them know they’ll be hosting us as house guests at some point. MIAMI SEEMS SO FREAKING COOL! Wynwood Walls, Versace Mansion, South Beach, Art Deco Tours, Little Havana- I know we’ll love it here!

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LET’S GO ALREADY!

Here are some of the places we went to in 2016 if you’re feeling nostalgic:

 

A Blu(mer) Christmas

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And just like that, Christmas is in two days… This time of year is known for its ability to fly by, but it seemed to go by even faster this time around. Maybe it’s because we never drank hot toddies and listened to holiday music or decorated the house while the Netflix Fireplace burned in the background. We kept the decor to a minimum this year because a) we somehow misplaced the bin containing most of the ornaments, stockings, etc. and b) our cats decided they like to mess everything up anyway. This is our first Christmas as a married couple! It may be a milestone, but the only thing that’ll really be different is we’ll get to sleep in the same bed at Joel’s parent’s house on Christmas Eve… IT’S A BIG DEAL FOR US.

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One pretty cool thing that we (98% Joel) made this year was a gingerbread house version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. His family used to enter (and win!) gingerbread house making contests all the time and they’ve got some pretty mad skills (shameless family brag)! As I watched him build the model first out of cardboard and duct tape (the graham cracker was adhered to the cardboard because we don’t play by any of society’s rules in this house, damn it) I kept telling him that maybe he should have been an architect, he coulda been a contender. His talents know no bounds. He’s kind of the best.

A great, new tradition of ours is to go to the cute, tiny theatre down the street that plays Christmas movies and watch our favorite one, Die Hard. They serve beer there so everyone gets good and rowdy. We went on Saturday night and I wore the big faux fur coat I’m wearing in the pictures above and when Joel came downstairs, he asked me why I was dressed like Martha Wayne aka Batman’s dead mom.

We’re kicking Christmas weekend off by heading to Emo Karaoke tonight! It really is the most wonderful time of the year and I hope you all have the happiest of holidays! BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

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A tree destroyed by kittens

 

Woman Of The Hour Vol 2

Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself that, come hell or high water, you will make that person your friend? Anne of Green Gables describes these people as “kindred spirits” more than just plain old “friends”. That’s how I felt when I met my next Woman Of The Hour, Jess.

Jess, or Jessica (but never Jessie), and I met when she started working where I worked a little over 2 years ago. She is a fellow native of Texas transplanted to PA, and when my boss was interviewing her, she called me over to chit chat. When our boss asked us if we knew each other because we were both from Texas, Jess and I rolled our eyes and shared the same thought bubble “Texas is kind of a big state, ya dummy”…. We’ve been friends ever since. We made a suicide pact and quit that job on the same day. We’ve cried together, laughed together, but mostly cried so hard from laughing together. I was so excited when she agreed to answer my “burning questions”, as I want to give the world a chance to get to know one of the coolest women I know.

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Describe your style in 1-5 words.

Is preppy edge a thing?

Who is your style icon?

Good question, I wouldn’t consider myself to be on the up and up when it comes to fashion, so I don’t really have someone I idolize, but I think Alexa Chung always kills it. If I could be similarly bold as her, I’d die fashionably happy.

What is your best feature? (Smile? Hair? Boobs? Idk)

All of my features are my best, just kidding… kind of. I would say my hair, which I think most of my friends would agree with. If you are asking based on the compliments I receive from strangers online dating, the common consensus is my smile. (Thanks for the braces Mom and Dad)

What song would you want to play when you walk into a room to make you feel like a bad ass?

Deceptacon- Le Tigre (I have so much love for songs with great clapping) OR Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes

What beauty product can you not live without? 

This is a cruel question… if we are only talking about face, then a brow product of some sort (pencil or powder) and bronzer.

What was your first AOL screen name?

Nothing cool that’s for sure. I think it was jezzikahnickol or something of that sort.

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Are you currently binge watching anything, Netflix or otherwise? 

I just finished The Night of on HBO. I highly recommend lying in your home for a weekend, and binging the hell out of it.

What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever had?

My favorite Halloween costume would have to be when I was a cool cat. Not to be confused with actually being a cat; that’s not my thing. (Buh-Bye Furries)

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If you could go anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go and why?

Ireland. I once had a roommate who was from Ireland; she was hilarious, wild, warm, and kind. She put the idea in my head. Also have you Googled Ireland? Do your eyeballs a favor, go Google! It is so green, gray, and mountainous. It looks like a complete dream.

What are your most and least favorite parts about online dating?

My least favorite would have to be people falsely representing their intentions. (If you only want to “hook up” just be honest, so I don’t have to waste my time.)

My favorite thing about online dating is that it is entertainment when you are bored. Kidding, it does make you examine what you want in a partner, what you think of yourself, it’s interesting to see how people sell themselves.  I appreciate the self-reflection. So basically I like that it makes me think about myself more than I already do.

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Most embarrassing dating moment? 

Oh, I’ve had so many. I think it comes with the territory. Once I was going on a second date with a guy that I had gone on 2 first dates with, just 1 year apart. Dating is real weird y’all. Anyway he had given me his number, and I texted him asking if he wanted to grab drinks at a bar nearby. We agree to meet up and he seemed excited. He texted an hour before to double check that we were still on. So I walk over to the bar, and he is standing outside. I apologized and asked if he had been waiting long (even though I was on time) and he looked so confused. I start the awkward beginning small talk asking how he had been. Then he said, “Fine I’m just waiting for my friend Jessica to meet me for drinks.” Then I had an AHA moment of “Oh he didn’t realize he was even going out with me, he thought I was a completely different person who texted him.” My heart sank. He apologized for his confusion, we did end up getting drinks, and he walked me home. We haven’t talked since. I cringe still thinking about that moment of realization. I’m interested to know what you (Sarah) think is my most embarrassing dating moment.

[one of my favorites of Jessica’s dating moments was when she went out with a Paul Giamati looking guy who was kind of the worst. He didn’t like Harry Potter and he wasn’t funny. She brought him over to our house to meet Joel and I and to prove to us how annoying he was after I kept telling her to give him a chance. He talked through all of Wet Hot American Summer, so Jess ditched him by using the classic fake frantic phone call and the old excuse “you have to drop me off at home, my best friend just found out she’s pregnant and doesn’t know what to do”. Months after she broke it off with him, we saw him at the karaoke bar we frequent and he did a very passionate rendition of You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette, dedicated to Jess.]

What is your drink of choice? 

I’m a beer gal; I love an ice cold Murphy’s Irish Stout. I will drink a strong stout before cursing my mouth with an IPA. I’m not adult enough to confidently walk up to a bar and order cocktail. That is one of those random things that gives me great anxiety.

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Give me an example of your biggest fashion win and your biggest fashion mistake.

My biggest fashion mistake includes anything I bought at Hot Topic. Oh the horror. My biggest fashion win I would say is my bridesmaid dress for your wedding. The dress was simple, really simple. I think it is my biggest fashion win because I felt confident, sexy, and like my best self.

What are your favorite and least favorite current fashion trends? 

Oh whatever you call those baggy long shorts. Can we just not? I love a good stripe; it is a classic trend. A little birdy from Vogue says stripes are making a their way back around. Were they ever out though? I wouldn’t know.

Best advice you’ve ever been given and would like to pass on.

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered. 

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Bonus Question: What is your go-to karaoke song?

Say It Ain’t So by Weezer. If the audience is patient, the song really builds.

There you have it. A little insight to a very complicated girl. For more Jezzikahnikol, follow her on Instagram. Or see her frequently featured on my Snapchat stories.

#IHaveThisThingWith PINK

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Everyone has a thing with something, right? I think that my obsession with the girliest of all colors stems from the fact that I was such a tomboy growing up- I’m making up for lost time. When I was looking into hotels for New Orleans, I saw this one and booked it immediately. It could have been the site of a mass murder (it wasn’t) or run by a creepy cult (no), but it wouldn’t have mattered because IT’S PINK! I highly recommend staying at the New Orleans Guest House if you’re in Nawlins. It’s charming AF and you get free waffles in the morning. Our room opened up right to the courtyard, complete with pretty plants, flowers, and 2 cute cats running around.

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The pink passion runs deep. I even have an entire pinterest board dedicated to it. Cool story bro.

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Pink phone case Ban.do
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Pink wall in Pittsburgh, PA. If this gets painted over, I’ll die.
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PINK HAIR
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Pink in Amsterdam at Kitsch Kitchen
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Clearly, I favored the pink walls in Burano over the orange/violet

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Pink in Toledo, OH

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My knowledge of the pops of pink out in the world might be the only thing that gets me through the dreary, gross winter. It’s 11 degrees outside.

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NOLA

Nothing makes me feel more Hashtag Blessed than my ability to travel. 2016 was a pretty amazing travel year for this girl. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend my 27th birthday in one of my all time favorite cities, New Orleans, with one of my oldest friends, Liz. Talk about the cherry on top of an entire year’s worth of metaphorical exploration cake!

When it comes to exploring The Big Easy, this was not our first rodeo (it was actually my 5th time in NOLA and Liz’s second!). Because my dad spent a chunk of his youth in this city and it’s an easy 8 hour drive from my hometown of San Antonio, we went four years in a row from the time I was 20. I have thoroughly enjoyed wandering around and eating our way through New Orleans with my dad and sisters, but I had never really witnessed or experienced the whole “drink-hand-grenades-and-let-your-freak-flag-fly-on-Bourbon-Street” to its full potential. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I have to say I’m a big fan…

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To say we front loaded our trip would be an understatement. Liz and I met at the airport, took a 25 minute Uber to our hotel in the French Quarter, checked in, freshened up, then headed out. Our first stop after a full day of traveling and fasting, was to get Po’Boys. The sweetheart concierge, Will, recommended NOLA Po’Boys, which was a quick walk from us. Since this particular place didn’t serve alcohol, we crossed the street to a bar and got our hurricanes to-go. Open Container Laws, schmopen Smoshainer Laws; THIS IS NEW ORLEANS, YO! After lining our stomachs with onion rings and bacon grease, it was time to brave the infamous Bourbon Street Bars.

As we walked down the street trying to be picky about where to go first, we were beckoned into a bar almost immediately. “Come here and we’ll let you ride the bull for free!!!” Crazy Joe, long time patron and mc of The Swamp, yelled at us from inside. We sat down and chatted with our bartender, Megan, while enjoying the 3 for 1 beer special and getting up the guts to actually ride the mechanical bull. Steve, the bassist for the cover band hitting the stage that night, bought us birthday shots and 5 minutes later, invited me onstage to play tambourine with the band. I wasn’t even shy about it, but that’s probably because Liz and Crazy Joe were the only people in the audience (it was 7 p.m. on a Wednesday after all). We may be from Texas, but neither Liz or myself have ever been on a bull, mechanical or otherwise. It was definitely a bucket list item for me, but I made Liz go first (I’m v bossy on my birthday). I just about died laughing watching her teeny tiny body flip over the bull with little to no effort from the bull operator! During my turn, my insanely powerful thigh muscles finally showed their worth as it was a cinch for me to grip the bull using just my legs. True story, I had to make an effort to fall off!

Even though this place was such a blast, we didn’t want to put all of our Bourbon Street eggs in one basket and skedaddle’d out of there. The progression of the rest of the night was as follows: bar with Wall Street looking douchebags who will probably buy us drinks, being ignored by Wall Street looking douchebags and buying our own gosh darn drinks, meeting some nice fellow Texans who want to buy us drinks, flashing my wedding ring but letting everyone know Liz is single, me becoming bff with fellow married person wearing a Stetson and the two of us attempting to wingman Liz and a Turtle From Entourage lookalike, Titos and Tonic, Titos and Soda, Fireball shots, sneakily pouring Fireball shot onto the ground while everyone else took theirs, leaving bar with Texans to go to The Cat’s Meow Karaoke Bar, Liz falls in the street, Liz uses Sean Paul’s hoodie to clean her wet butt, beer, drop iPhone from balcony without cracking it, snapchats, beers, my Stetson wearing BFF sings Dave Mathews Band karaoke and I question our friendship, bead throwing, balloon stealing, balloon popping, shots, dancing, goodbyes to our new friends, convenience store for gatorade and ibuprofen, oh shit they have egg rolls here, let’s get some egg rolls, we get egg rolls and fries, make our way back to our hotel, wolf down egg rolls while watching HGTV and pass out. It may not sound like much, but it was a very fun way to start my 27th year of life.

The cloudy, cold weather the next day really reflected our moods. We were hungover AF, but in desperate need of Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets and chicory coffee. We spent our day walking around and eating and napping. Come nighttime, we slapped on some false lashes and went to a fancy birthday dinner at Cochon/Butcher in the Arts District then back to Frenchman Street for cheaper drinks and jazz music. The night ended at Dat Dog on Frenchman with a stranger coming up to tell us how pretty he thinks we are. Ego = fluffed.

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On our last full day in town, we walked around and I took most of the pictures in this post. We went to Hotel Monteleone to pay tribute to their beautiful carousel bar and to see if we could sneak up to their rooftop pool like my dad did in the 60s (we got so close, but were thwarted by the locked doors). We spent most of the day in the beautiful Garden District, eating (duh) and window shopping at the amazing boutiques, furniture shops, and vintage stores.

My love for this city knows no bounds. The citizens of New Orleans have been through hell and back, but are still the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you ever get the chance to go to this marvelous city, take me with you… or at least tag me in all of your photos so I can live vicariously through you.

p.s. It’s been a week and I’m JUST NOW regaining feeling in my legs after riding that damn bull.

N^N (N=3)

If you did the math, you probably figured out that today is my 27th birthday (I stole the equation from Joel who used it for his 27th b-day who stole it from our friend, Ben, who used it for his 27th b-day too). Although I do love the fact that with every year of my life I continue to grow (mostly mentally and emotionally, but I also think I’m getting taller!), I’ll probably spend most of this year being extra careful about not breaking mirrors and not opening umbrellas indoors… you know, because of the whole “27 club” thing.

And now here are 27 things I’ve learned in my 27 years…..

  1. wearing Spanx is always a good idea
  2. it’s hard to pay attention when you’re trying to type a blog post and binge watch Community with your husband at the same time.
  3. I think I might have A.D.D….

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View From The Top

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There are times and places where it is perfectly okay to be a tourist. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar city, you probably want to do the things all of the other visitors are doing, right? That’s fine! Just please don’t go around wearing a fanny pack (stop wearing fanny packs ironically, hipsters!) and put the camera down for at least a few minutes to enjoy your surroundings. Touristy things are touristy for a reason, the reason being they’re good. The Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberty, The Golden Gate Bridge, The Great Wall, and The Big Boots outside of North Star Mall in San Antonio are all tourist attractions and they’re all freaking cool.

The super touristy thing we did on our recent trip to NYC was go to the Top of The Rock (top of 30 Rockefeller Center) and it was amazing! We’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, but this view had that one beat. It’s great to have a 360 degree view of all of the skyscrapers and parks and bridges that make up New York City. We wholeheartedly recommend this over the top of any other big ass building.

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Oh, great. I said the word “tourist” so many times that now this song will be stuck in my head all day…

“And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then, it’s time to go
And you find your destination with so many different places to call home”