Vacation – Part II

In Part I of the vacation recap, I promised you beach photos. I had so many from the entire trip that I just pulled a few of my favorites into a single post. I took a morning walk nearly every day and a sunset walk many evenings. The beauty of Isle of Palms, SC left me speechless. In fact, I’ll let the photos do the talking and I’ll be back with Part III tomorrow to share our Savannah, GA adventure and a few other things.

 

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

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Vacation – Part I

Hello All!

I’m finally done with Jury Duty (YAY!) and I recently went on vacation (DOUBLE YAY!), so I’m just now getting back into blogging again. I completely underestimated jury duty, and wasn’t able to blog as much as I was hoping (or at all!). Then I went back to work for a few weeks before taking 2 weeks off for vacation. Things have been a little crazy, the vacation was so needed…and completely incredible. I’ll be doing recaps this week, part I is below so as not to completely overwhelm you in one blog post. Warning: these will be picture heavy posts.

 

Note: I’m still trying to catch up on emails and blog comments…please forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I will be responding, it’s just taking me some time to work through them all. Sorry. 

 

First off…I received a bunch of questions from people asking about jury duty. Questions ranged from how jury duty works in California, what case was I on, why was it taking 3 months, do I get paid…and so on. I’ll try to briefly answer a few of these below.

I get a jury duty summons almost every year…they can call you once every 12 months and they get me every year (lucky me). The general rule is one day or one trial. Every other time I’ve been called, I’ve been done in just one day. This was the first time I had ever been seated on a jury trial. I’m not going to give out the defendant’s name, so you won’t be able to Google the case (sorry), but I will say that it was a Death Penalty Murder trial. I couldn’t share that before, so you can probably understand why it was so long. In fact, it took them a whole month to fully seat the jury, then it took another 2 months to complete the guilt and penalty trials. We found the defendant guilty on all counts, and sentenced him to Life without the possibility of parole. The entire experience was exhausting and emotionally draining since I was hearing and seeing things that I never wanted to see/hear. However, the penalty deliberations were by far the worst. Obviously when you’re talking about the death penalty it’s going to get personal as your dealing with people’s morals/values. I expected that; however, there were some jurors that just took it too far. They got very personal and lashed out at others. During the course of deliberations, many of us felt personally attacked and it was particularly draining for me since I hate confrontation. I’ll just say it was rough.

Given all of that, while I would prefer to not do another capitol case, I would gladly be part of a trial again. Not only was the process fascinating at times, it truly did feel like an honor to be part of the process.

Oh…regarding pay. The court pays $15 a day and some mileage; however, I’m VERY lucky that my company pays unlimited time off for jury duty, so I was paid my regularly salary while I was out.

 

Ok…moving on to a far more relaxing time…VACATION! My brother turns 40 this year so the family got together for a week to celebrate and spend some time together. We have a small family, but we don’t see each other often…so this also acted as a mini family reunion.

 

So near the end of October I hopped on a plane, along with my parents, for my first trip to the South! We flew from San Diego to North Carolina, then drove to South Carolina where we spent a week in Isle of Palms. It was heaven!

SAN to CLT - Among the Clouds

Side note: Starbucks treats are required while travelling. Have you tried the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks…amazing!! My usual Starbucks drink is a Cafe Mocha with 2 pumps Chai, but the tea version was really good. I hope it lasts longer than one season.

After I let this cup sit on the counter for a really long time, the Barista said this was mine…but, who the hell is Timmie??? I’m used to my name being misspelled, but this is the worst so far…funny, but not even close.

Who the hell is Timmie?

After spending a night in Charlotte, NC, we started our drive to Isle of Palms. We stopped in Columbia, SC on the way and toured the State House.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

 

Columbia, SC - State House

I loved the architecture of this building.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

…and saw beautiful churches along the way.

Columbia, SC

We also drove down to the Canal and walked around. It had the most beautiful running/walking trail for locals.

Columbia, SC Canal

Columbia, SC Canal

Then we arrived at the beach…cue the sound of angels singing!  The ocean is by far my happiest place.

This was the house we stayed at during our week in town. Beautiful…with a freakin’ elevator! This was the first time staying at a rented house as opposed to a hotel and I would go this route again in a heart beat (if only they all looked like this). For the large group we had, it was perfect, and everyone had their own space. I mean I love my family…but WE ALL need our own space from time to time, am I right?

[yes, I am]

Isle of Palms, SC

View from deck…but we’ll get back to the beach shots in the next post.

Isle of Palms_25

On our first full day, we did a culinary tour in downtown Charleston, SC and would highly recommend it. The guide took us to 3 restaurants around town where we ate a ton of delicious food, and gave us a tour of the area during our walk in between eats.

The Southend Brewery was my favorite and our first stop.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I had my first taste of Shrimp & Grits which was delicious, and fried green tomatoes (which I sadly did not photograph).

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

This vegetable risotto was incredible, I need to recreate this ASAP!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

The whole experience was unique and much more than I ever expected. The chef’s did an amazing job catering to us, and the presentations were deliciously beautiful. 

Seared Tuna with Lemon Pepper Beignets & lime ‘caviar’. Not my favorite dish since I don’t like tuna, but I still tried everything.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

We even cooked out own steaks on a 700 degree hot rock. Delicious and fun.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Not gonna lie…this was the best ending. Carrot Cake Donuts!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

A few more shots of our tour around town.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I’ll be back tomorrow with Part II…prepare for a barrage of beach photos.

Washington DC – December 2012

In early December I took a week long trip out to Washington DC/Virginia to visit family. My last trip to DC was in 2008, but it had been a very short trip since I had been in town for work. This time it was all vacation, and I loved every minute of it. Well maybe not the flight home (it was loooooooonnngg), but the rest was awesome!

We toured some monuments and museums, ate delicious food, decorated for the holidays, saw a really cool holiday light show in Baltimore, and spent time chatting and catching up. I won’t go into a drawn out recap of the visit (mostly because I bored you recently with the 2012 recap) but I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Captiol_Dome_1

Captiol_Dome_2

Captiol_Lincoln_1

Georgetown Home_1

Georgetown Home_2

Georgetown University_1

Georgetown University_2

Georgetown University_3

Georgetown_1

Kitty Hawk_1

Air and Space_1

LIbrary of Congress_1

National Archives_1

National Archives_2

Winter Berries_1

San Francisco – Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2012

What’s the one thing that a blogger should NEVER forget when travelling? Well, it’s the one, and ONLY thing I left at home on accident. My Aircard, meaning I had no internet in the hotel while I was in San Francisco this past weekend. Yes, I could have paid the ridiculously high fee to get internet, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

So let’s recap a great long weekend, shall we? I took Friday through Tuesday off of work to travel to San Francisco with my mom for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. On Friday I caught up on errands around the house, packed, and the headed to my parents house for dinner and to spend the night. We got up bright and early on Saturday for our flight which was relatively painless. We arrived in San Francisco around 1pm and took a shuttle to the hotel which was near Union Square. Yes, it’s far more expensive to stay in that area, but we wanted to be near the start of the race on Sunday morning.

We immediately headed to pick up our race packets, hoping it would be a quick process. So WRONG. The line looped around union square twice and took almost 2 hours. When I did this race in 2009, we picked up our packets on Friday, it took only minutes. If I have the chance to do this race again in the future, I’m coming in on Friday just to beat the last minute crowds.

After picking up the packets, we went straight to dinner, which also took a few hours. Obviously this was to be expected since there were 25,000 runners in town that night. We ate at Cheesecake Factory and it was delicious, well worth the wait.

After dinner we decided to wander around town a bit, it was  gorgeous evening.

 San Francisco_NWM2012_15

San Francisco_NWM2012_1

The weather was fantastic over the weekend, perfect for the race. In fact, I was bummed to go home since our weather is still in the 90’s. I wish the fall weather would get here already.

We called it an early night and headed back to the hotel fairly early. Turns out we were also in for a show. When we got back to the hotel, I noticed they were setting up some sort of stage on the street outside our hotel window. I thought it might be for the race, but turns out they were hosting a free street dance show.

San Francisco_NWM2012_9

The show featured all types of dancers and a live band. It was really fun to watch from the comfort of our room and went on for about 3 hours.

On Sunday morning we woke up about 5:15 am after getting pretty much NO sleep. I’m not sure if it was the nerves/excitement about the race, or the caffeinated tea we drank late that night (we thought it was decaf), but we had trouble getting much sleep. I think in all, we probably got about 3-4 broken hours.

It didn’t matter much, the excitement woke me up, and we made our way to the starting line. Whereas the packet pick up was a mess (Nike – please mail them next year!), the starting line was great. Crowded, yes…but organized and easy to navigate.

San Francisco_NWM2012_25

I love the feeling at the start of this race. There’s something really cool about dancing and cheering with 25,000 other women while we all warm up to run together. Lots of fun.

San Francisco_NWM2012_24

I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the race it’s self since I only had my phone. The weather was PERFECT, cool and even misty at times.

San Francisco_NWM2012_20

Mile 6 – (not the only) but the longest gradual uphill of the race.

My mom rocked the race and I am so incredibly proud of her. It was such an honor to be part of her first half marathon experience.

We finished around 3:30 and collected our Tiffany necklaces from the hot firemen. Which, let’s be honest, is why we do this race (oh yes, and raising money for an amazing cause). We wandered the finish line expo a bit but quickly made our way to the bus line to get back to the hotel. The bus line wait was LONG, and it felt longer because standing in line after going 13 miles is the last thing you want to do. Probably the most painful part of the journey is standing in that damn line. I found it funny that they had three food stands set up along the line which might give you an idea of how long it actually was.

We finally made our way back to the hotel and showered/ice bathed and decided a celebratory dinner was in order. (DUH!) I used Google walking directions to my favorite SF restaurant, Bistro Boudin Cafe, and we set off. I wish I had take a picture of the route I directed us to. I’m certain I found the tallest/steepest hill to walk up in San Francisco. Seriously, people were actually giving us words of encouragement as we climbed that sucker. It was worse than the race. I will NEVER live that down with my mom, I should never be allowed to direct us again after that one.

We finally made it to the restaurant and ate the BEST dinner EVER while overlooking the harbor.

We shared a shrimp cocktail (their cocktail sauce is made with horseradish and absolutely delicious) and sourdough bread. Then we split a crab Mac & Cheese, and an amazing Cobb salad.

San Francisco_NWM2012_18

And because we could no longer walk any further due to that blasted hill on the way to dinner, we took the trolley home.

San Francisco_NWM2012_17

There was a quick stop for a sweet treat on the way home, and an early evening to catch up on the sleep we missed the night before.

Monday was our last day in San Francisco and it started out with a text from Southwest telling me our flight was delayed a few hours. They later changed our flight time 4 more times, but at least we had more time to explore the city. So we took the 1 mile walk down to the wharf to check out the Ferry Building.

San Francisco_NWM2012_10

I’ve always wanted to go to the Ferry Building, but never had a chance until this trip.

 San Francisco_NWM2012_11

I loved every gourmet second. We got there just as they were opening so it wasn’t too busy. I picked up some of the coolest snacks; including Coconut Jam(!), Dark Chocolate Sauce, a Coconut Chocolate Bar, and finally had a chance to try the famed Blue Bottle Coffee.

 San Francisco_NWM2012_12

Cafe Mocha – delicious.

I also picked up some sweets to eat back at the hotel after lunch. Lunch was a chili sourdough bowl at Boudins, then we tried French macaroons that I bought that morning.

San Francisco_NWM2012_13

Oh, yeah, and a Gingerbread Cupcake. Absolutely scrumptious.

San Francisco_NWM2012_14

Shortly after we headed to the airport, while standing in another long line (a theme for the weekend) at the check in counter, Southwest moved our flight an hour earlier. They had to move us to the front of the line and push us through security just so we could make it to our gate in time to…you guessed it…stand in another line since the plane hadn’t actually boarded.

Overall it was a GREAT weekend with my mom and I can’t wait to do it all again. In fact, if we don’t get into the Nike race next October, we’re planning a girls weekend to Santa Barbara. I’m counting the days.

…and for those keeping score, this means I can cross off two items from my 30 in 30 list. I’ve done 1 of 3 half marathons (I have another schedule in January and the 3rd in April),and spent a girls weekend with my mom in San Francisco.

 

If you made it all the way to the end you get a gold star…this was a long one. Thanks!

Remembering NYC

I don’t know about you, but today has been a whirlwind! By the time I looked at the clock it was already 3pm and I hadn’t even considered lunch. Tuesday’s are by far the busiest day at work for me, so today’s post will be a little short on words.

This past June I visited NYC for the first time, and love every second of it.

We flew into Boston, then took the train into NYC for a few days. You can see a few snapshots from Boston, here. I also share how I got a roundtrip plane ticket from San Diego to Boston for $62 over Memorial Day weekend. No lie and no tricks, it really only cost me $62.

Since it was my first trip we did an all day tour that included a boat tour; and a night lights tour. It was a great way to get an overview of the city so that next time I can spend time in places that I loved most.

NYC Skyline

NYC

I absolutely loved the NY Public Library, it was architecturally stunning.

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

New York Stock Exchange

NYC

Living in California, we don’t have the historical buildings and churches like this. It was incredible to imagine attending services here or at any of the amazing churches. 

NYC

Breathtaking! I had to be literally dragged away.

NYC

NYC

The night tour guide sucked, big time. He spent a lot of time making very very bad racial jokes; but getting to drive all over the city at night was incredible.

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC 

We also visited several other New England states and fell in love with the Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frap, but those are stories for another day.

Cheers,

Addison

My First Trip to Boston

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

I’m off early this morning to pick up my Dad to go BBQ shopping in San Diego. I’ve been drooling over the Weber grill at Crate and Barrel for months and I finally found a way to make it affordable (Thanks you AMEX points turned into Gift Cards).

Swoon…

PerformerGrillGreenS11

Source: Crate and Barrel

 

While I’m gone I thought I’d share a few pictures from my recent trip to Boston. Back in March I heard about an unbelievable flight price of $62 ROUNDTRIP to fly from San Diego Boston…CRAZY!! The biggest tip I can give you is to follow @airfarewatchdog on Twitter. You can sign up for updates on their website, AirFareWatchDog but I only got the dealer by following their Twitter Feed. The deal was gone by the time I got the website email, in fact it was gone in less than 2 hours. 

So for the cost of $213 I purchased 3 Roundtrip tickets from San Diego to Boston over Memorial Day weekend. We arrived in Boston on a Saturday evening and spent the night in a cheap airport hotel. the next morning we hopped on Amtrak and travelled to New York. It was my first visit to both Boston and New York, and I’m still organizing the pictures.

During the trip we visited Boston, NYC, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Here are some of my favorites from Boston.

Boston

Boston

Boston

Boston MIT

Boston Post Office

Boston

Boston

Boston Trinity Church

Boston

Boston Fire Department - Ladder 15

Boston Fenway Park

Boston - Fenway Park

Boston

Boston

 

Boston has been on my ‘Life List’ since I was a little girl, and for good reason. I loved everything about Boston, I’m counting the days until I can visit again.

 

Addison