Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm Loving...
That I got to surprise my dad for Father's Day a few weeks ago. My flight back from Minneapolis landed in Dallas at 11:45pm. I was home by 12:30am and got up about 7:30am to drive 2.5 hours to where my folks live. I walked into my dad's church about five minutes before the service started. 

For those of you who follow me on Twitter (shameless plug to follow me on Twitter here), my dad is doing okay after having a stent put in one of the arteries in his heart. They are still monitoring it, but he said he was doing better. Thank you for the prayers and well wishes!

I'm Loving...
My friends. I know I seem to mention that every What I'm Loving Wednesday, but I really don't know what I would do without them.

I'm Loving...
That my hair stylist (shout out to Afsana!) was able to get my hair curled and looking cute after my hair cut last weekend. I was going to a concert that night so she decided to style it for me. For the record, I will NEVER be able to get it looking this cute. But hey- it looked cute that night. And it even was wavy the next day. I swear hair stylist have magic curling irons, mine never works this well.

Day two of curls (well, waves)
I'm Loving...
That after being gone for two weekends, I was finally back at my church this past weekend. And we had our yearly Big Band concert that night- I LOVE Big Band music.

Ms. Dee was the first friend I made at my church. I credit her for getting me to come back after my first visit two years ago. She made me feel so welcomed.

I'm Loving...
FroYo. I've been eating a lot of frozen yogurt lately (any plans to have a summer diet are out the window). Yes, I put gummy bears as a topping on my froyo, stop judging me.

What are YOU loving today?


Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Gonna Make It After All: A Weekend Minneapolis Trip

Four days after returning from my weekend trip to D.C., I took ANOTHER very short trip the following weekend to Minneapolis, Minnesota with my friends Lisa and Michelle. For someone who hates to fly, I have flown THREE times in the last MONTH. I don't know who I am anymore. Lol.

Once again, I was on an early flight (even earlier than the previous week). My flight boarded at 4:40 a.m. so I was at the airport by 3:30 a.m. Fun fact, TSA doesn't open until 3:45 a.m. at DFW airport. Also, there are NO FOOD PLACES open that early. At least not in Terminal E. I'm so glad I always travel with snacks. 

Seriously, these early flights are for the birds (ha- no pun intended)
At least I got to see a pretty cool sunrise from the sky
We didn't have a direct flight to Minneapolis (thanks a lot United), so we had a short layover in Houston (where we found a Chick Fil-A that was open AND serving Dr Pepper). **insert Hallelujah chorus here**

Michelle took a later direct flight on another airline (because she's all fancy) so we didn't meet up with her until Minneapolis.

By the time we landed in Minnesota, I had already been up for 8 hours and had recorded like 7000 steps
Our first stop in Minneapolis was at the Visitors Center, where the Mary Tyler Moore statue is currently residing. They are doing construction on the sidewalk where she normally is located, so they moved her inside until that is completed. From the looks of the construction, it might be a while before she's back outside. But regardless, I HAD to get a picture by her. We miss you Mary!

Yes, I brought this hat for the sole purpose of using it for the picture. Don't make fun of my nerdiness
Mary Tyler Moore is now a converted Rangers fan
Sadly they don't sell any Mary Tyler Moore memorabilia (something about TV Land not giving them the rights to do that). Hmph! Oh well. Everyone in the center was super nice, I highly recommend going by if you are in Minneapolis. They told us all these great places to visit and restaurants to eat at, but they didn't realize we would only be in Minneapolis about 30 hours, so we didn't have the time. Maybe I can take another trip some time.

After getting checked in at our hotel (shout out to Lisa for using her hotel reward points to pay for our room), we headed to Target Field for an afternoon tour before the game that night. Our tour guides were John and Lisa and they did a fantastic job. I have to say that Target Field might be number one on my ballparks visited list- at least for the time being. It is BEAUTIFUL. I love how you can still see the field even when you are on the concourse getting food or drinks. The behind the scenes tour was great too- if you are ever there and have time, I highly recommend it. Even though I'm not a Twins fan, I loved hearing about the history of the team. It's interesting that under the field they have a special heating system for when it snows (that way it helps the snow melt faster). On the "Roof Deck" they have a fire pit for those nights where it's too cold to be outside watching baseball. We don't have that problem in Texas. Also, what we consider "cold nights" in Texas is probably a spring afternoon to people up north. Lol.

The 11th ballpark I've seen a game at (I've been to 14 ballparks, but I'm only counting the ones I've actually seen a game at)
We looked at the World Series trophy and were like- what's that? Sadly as Ranger fans, we don't know what that looks like (whomp whomp)
Fun fact- the seats right behind home plate cost $24,000 a season. We were told that food and drinks are brought to your seat, and if it's raining, they bring you an umbrella, and if it's cold, they bring you a heated blanket. Talk about pinkies out...
Sitting in the press box. If you are going to a Twins game this season, you are welcome for the password to the wifi. Lol
Sometimes a friend takes a picture of you taking a selfie. Lol
Charles Schulz was from Minnesota, hence all the Peanuts statues
I recognize that logo!
I loved this quote about Harmon Killebrew
We took this picture AFTER the game because that glove was about 1000 degrees when the sun was out- we waited for it to cool off
After the tour ended, we got in line at one of the gates. The gates wouldn't open for two hours, but the MAIN reason we were at that game was so that Lisa could get a Prince umbrella. The Twins were honoring Prince that night and the first 10,000 fans got a Purple Rain umbrella. We didn't want to risk flying 1,000 miles for an umbrella and then NOT get it. Standing in line wasn't too bad, we talked to some other fans and made a new Twitter friend named Mike (because I seem to make friends wherever I go. Lol.). 

I'm happy to report that we ALL got an umbrella. I originally thought I would just give it away, but it is kinda cool looking, so I'm going to keep it. They are selling for like $400 on eBay so if I ever do decide to part with it, I might just sell it. Lol. Fun fact- I didn't know much about Prince before this trip. I mean, I knew some of this songs (okay, like six of them), but that was about it. Once we were inside, we changed into our Prince shirts (well, Lisa had actually bought me a Prince shirt because I didn't own one and couldn't find a purple shirt to wear). My friends are so cool.

What's funny is that it actually started raining a little bit once we got inside. At least we had umbrellas!
We were sitting next to Jesus, but we had a great view of the field!
My beautiful baseball home girls!
Outside Target Field that have an area where people can sit and watch the game on a big screen. This is free to the public. HELLO RANGERS- YOU NEED THIS!

I have to say, I LOVED having a city skyline behind the ballpark. Sadly Arlington doesn't have anything like that (don't get me wrong, I love my Rangers, but man, that view in Minneapolis was something else)
Not only did they give out Prince umbrellas, but they had purple lights around the field, and they used Prince's logo on the jumbo tron throughout the game. They also had post game fireworks set to Prince songs

The Twins didn't win, but it was still a fun game and a great fireworks show. The next day we had some time to see a few things before going to the airport to head home.
When your friend is trying to get a picture of her Prince umbrella in front of the Minneapolis skyline and it keeps falling off the railing, you do what you can to help her out
We made a stop at First Avenue, which was used in the movie Purple Rain. I possibly forgot that Prince made that movie because I've never seen it (no judging). BUT, we got some great photos while we were there. There were other Prince fans there who were super jealous of our umbrellas. We let them use one for a few pictures (they were so excited). 
The piano actually works. I played as much of Fur Elise that I could remember from my piano playing days (those ended 21 years ago). I wasn't that good then or now. Lol
Outside the Schmitt Music Company. Prince used this mural for one of his publicity photos
We also made a quick stop at US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. Evidently the Super Bowl next year will be played there. We didn't go inside, but the outside design was pretty cool. They even had a Viking ship in front. Fun fact, the largest crowd at US Bank Stadium was December 1, 2016 when the Vikings were playing the Dallas Cowboys. :)

Our last stop was at Mall of America, because it seems you HAVE to go by there if you are in Minneapolis. Don't get me wrong, it's a big mall, and it's nice and all, but, eh, it's just a mall with Six Flags in the middle of it. I was kinda over it after about 15 minutes. Lol. The mall is built on the location where the Metrodome used to be (that was the Twins old stadium). That was actually the coolest part to me. Lol.

Because I'm that girl who goes to a mall looking for baseball landmarks
That red chair is said to be mounted in the exact spot that Harmon Killebrew's 522-foot home run landed in 1967 
More mall photos
We stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe in the mall to see one last Prince memorabilia- the jacket he wore in Purple Rain
Almost 30 hours exactly after landing in Minneapolis, we were on our way back to the airport to head home. I love my life. Who else will make a quick trip out of state just to see a baseball game and get an umbrella? I love that I have friends who are also crazy like me! :)

When you think your friend is taking a selfie but she's really taking a picture of you. Lol
I have no clue where my next travel adventures will take me, but I promise to let you know when I go!

40 by 40 Update:
-See a game at four different ballparks on my MLB Ballparks to Visit list (2)
-Visit three states on my States to Visit list (2)


Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Washington D.C. Trip!

I know I haven't updated in a while, but that is mainly because I've been busy traveling. :)

In early June I traveled with a group of friends to Washington, D.C.-I had never been there before so I was excited to finally go. We left EARLY on that Friday morning (our flight was at 6 a.m.). A friend picked me up so we stopped for breakfast on our way to the airport. Three guesses where we had breakfast at 3:30 a.m.

I know, I look a mess. Again, it was 3:30am. Lol.
Most of us had the same early flight (a few members of the group were flying in later that day). We were mainly going to D.C. that specific weekend because the Rangers were playing the Nationals. Our plane had a lot of Rangers fans on it.

So, I won't go into the gory details, but I found out after landing in D.C. that my flight back to Dallas was somehow booked for THAT day, and not that Sunday. After going round and round with Hotwire and American Airlines, I was finally able to book a flight for that Sunday on Virgin America (because by then I was done with American Airlines). I'm also done using Hotwire. I'll stick to Orbitz and Expedia from now on. Virgin America was great- best flight ever. I am specifically looking to take vacations wherever they fly just so I can use them.

Anyway, so after the whole airline debacle, we made our way to our Airbnb/hotel. My friends Michelle, Ashley, and I were staying at an Airbnb while the rest of our group had reserved rooms at a nearby hotel. After dropping off our luggage, we had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery and then walked around for a few hours trying to hit the "main tourist spots". I quickly learned that I'm going to have to go back and spend about two weeks in D.C. just to see half of what I want to see. BUT we did the best we could with the little amount of time we had available.

The Airbnb was cute. I thought it was funny how the owner arranged her books by color. I'm lucky if my books make it to a bookshelf (because I have so many, some are stacked on the floor). :)

For those of you who remember the show Schoolhouse Rock, we felt we needed to do our best "I'm Just a Bill" impression on Capitol Hill. Yes we are nerds, we are aware. Lol.

I feel I need to share the video for those of you who have never seen it. It's greatness. Lol.

We were fortunate enough to all get tours of the White House that Saturday morning. If you are going to D.C. and want a White House tour, you need to go to your congressperson's website and find a link for White House tours. I recommend doing this a few months before your trip. We submitted our requests in March for our June trip.

I was kind of excited because the White House is a place I've always wanted to visit. In fact, it was one of the TWO places I just HAD to see while I was there (well, besides the ballpark). The other place was the Lincoln Memorial (spoiler alert- I saw that too).

Our tour was at 8:30 a.m. so we had to get there about 15 minutes early to get in line. There is some tight security there (obviously), we went through about five security checkpoints. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes because not only are you walking, you are also standing for a good while. Oh, and you can't take a purse or handbag. It's a self guided tour, you just walk through the East Wing at your own pace and see different rooms. One of my friends had a list of questions to ask in each room (her friend used to work at the White House and knew fun little trivia facts). That caused us to take longer, but the rest of our group went ahead and were done in about 45 minutes. She and I took a little over an hour.

According to the security guard, the painting of George Washington (center photo) is the only item that was in the original White House that survived the fire of 1814

Two of my friends were there on vacation with their kids- they are crazy but wonderful kiddos! I loved spending time with them during the tour!
We had tickets to the Rangers/Nationals game that Friday night and a few of us had tickets to the Saturday afternoon game (so these photos are a mix of both days). I can cross another ballpark off my list with this trip! We got there early on Friday, so we were able to see warm-ups and batting practice. I went on this trip with a group of friends that I originally met on Twitter (we started following each other because we all loved the Rangers) but I don't call them Twitter friends anymore because we are "real life" friends now. :)

I loved Nationals Park- it was beautiful. I loved that they had a special line at the concession stands for season ticket holders (Rangers- take note). Also their souvenir soda cups were $9 and evidently you get FREE refills ALL SEASON with it (Rangers- again, take note). Everyone who worked there was super friendly and kind to fans of the opposing team (well, except the stupid bald eagle mascot that stomped on one of our homemade Rangers fan- jerk). We sat down the third baseline on Friday night and on Saturday we were on the row behind the Rangers dugout, so we had great views for both games. I would say Nationals Park is in my top three ballparks that I've been to.
Screech- the jerk mascot that stomped on Beltre's face (on a fan, not his ACTUAL face)

Getting a photo with one of the presidents from the Presidents Race

My friend Lisa made us all fans with photos of the players on either side. I had Matt Bush on one side and Adrian Beltre on the other. Actually, I think we all had Beltre on at least one side
On Friday night I sat in front of this nice man named Dave. He was a Washington Senators fan back in the day and when the Senators moved to Texas and became the Rangers, he continued being a fan of them. He was so nice, we talked on and off throughout the game. He was impressed with my baseball knowledge. :)

Saturday's game was awesome. We were right behind the dugout, a place I had never sat at ANY ballpark. Pitcher Matt Bush came out of the dugout before the game to walk to the bullpen and saw my fan with his picture on it. He smiled, pointed at me, and threw me a ball from batting practice.

Photo of me and Matt Bush from a Rangers game earlier this season
Saturday's game was QUITE WARM- and we were very thankful for Lisa and her fans. They came in handy. I used mine for the whole 4.5 hours we were there (thanks to extra innings, the game took longer than we had planned).

The Rangers were down 3-1 in the top of the ninth, so I did what any fan would do (well, any fan except the fans sitting around me), I put on my rally cap. I'm pretty sure I got laughed at, but you know what, it worked, the Rangers came back to tie it and sent the game into extra innings. They eventually won the game after 11 innings (you are WELCOME Rangers for helping with that come back win). Lol.

That Saturday night a group of us took a Monuments by Moonlight tour. I highly recommend it, especially if you are short on time, like we were. It takes you by a lot of the monuments/memorials, and they make stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, FDR Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. Our tour guide was name Adam and was amazing. He was funny and knew so many interesting facts.

We were lucky and had a beautiful night for a trolley tour. I love this photo of the sunset
I had waited my whole life to go here, I was not disappointed at all
The tour took just over three hours (insert Gilligan's Island joke here). We didn't have time to eat before the tour, so we stopped at an Irish pub afterward. Mainly because it was the only place still open. Lol.

The Fab Five (as we called ourselves)
Three of us had flights on Sunday evening, so we were able to go to Ford's Theater before we headed home later that day.

So the guy in the top right was part of the assassination plot. The whole time I kept thinking he looked like a male model or something. The pillow pictured above is the pillow that was on the bed when Lincoln died. Yes, that's his blood. Yes, I'm morbid and took a picture of a bloody pillow 
Across the street from Ford's Theater is the Peterson House. You got to go in the room where he died. I saw the bed he died in last summer when I was in Chicago (I don't know why it's not at the house, I meant to ask someone and forgot). Update: I Googled it and found out this about the bed.

After a late lunch, we went back to the Airbnb to pack and head to the airport. It was a quick weekend trip but so much fun! And even though I was only there three days (well, two and a half), I feel I saw a lot. I'm good at cramming a lot of sightseeing into a short amount of time. I can't wait to go back to D.C. and see so much more (including the Smithsonian). I think I'll need two weeks alone just for that!

I went to Minneapolis last weekend so I'll post my recap of that trip soon! :)

40 by 40 update:
-See a game at four different ballparks on my MLB Ballparks To Visit list (1)
-Visit three states on my States To Visit list- (1) The Iwo Jima Memorial is in Virginia. We also landed at Reagan Airport, which is in Virginia as well.
-Visit Washington D.C.