Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seize The Day

Once upon a time (July 6th to be exact) I woke up and was checking Facebook while eating breakfast. I saw a post from Greg Laswell stating that he, Cary Brothers and Harper Blynn were kicking off their tour that evening in Hoboken, NJ. Out of curiosity I google mapped how far away that was. The answer: 4 hours and 31 minutes.

The wheels in my brain started turning.

Hmm . . . If I want to see these guys, it makes more sense do it when I have the time off, rather than taking more time off to see them in Baltimore next week.

Hmm . . . I wonder how much a hotel would cost?

Hmm . . . I really love Cary Brothers and I haven't seen him live in 2+ years. I really, REALLY love Greg Laswell and I haven't seen him live in 6+ weeks. I've heard of Harper Blynn, it'd be cool to see them live.

Hmm . . . If I leave by noon I could make it in plenty of time.

Hmm . . . Where's my wallet? I'm doing this!

And thus it began - The Solo Summer Road Trip of 2010, or SSRT as I like to call it. Kidding, I've never called it that.

I decided to enter "avoid toll roads" on the GPS since I had the time and it would save me some money. In the end it didn't save me any time, but it was worth it do drive on roads like this:

Eventually I made my way to New Jersey. I felt very welcome.

After driving down one of the most confusing/annoying roads I've ever been on I made it to my hotel. I checked in, got ready for the show, and was on the road again.

Lucky me, I got to drive down that same confusing road nearly the entire way to Hoboken. As I got closer I became more nervous. It looked like I was going to drive right into New York City (yikers!) up until the last possible moment when I turned left and saw this:

The street I drove down to get to the venue looked like an awesome place to explore. Had the temperature been under 100 degrees I may have considered it. Instead I found a parking garage near the venue and walked around Frank Sinatra Park for a few minutes.
And I talked to Sara on the phone. :)

I can't even tell you how tempting it was to stick around an extra day and go on another NYC adventure.

The show was at a place called Maxwell's. What a great little venue! Don't worry, I was the first person in the room. It was kind of awkward, but I just went with it. They have some steps to sit on along the wall, so at least I didn't have to stand the entire time. There weren't near as many people at the show as I would have expected. Either they didn't know about it or they're just plain crazy, because the show was a-ma-zing!

The evening started off with a little Harper Blynn.
They're awesome. Check out their music video that's totally kicking Katy Perry and Justin Bieber's trash on MTV.

Next up: Greg Laswell - take 9.
And it never gets old!

Yep, that's Harper Blynn again. They are the band for both Greg and Cary this tour.
This was the first show they played together and they hadn't even had time to do rehearse. You never would have known.

Cary Brothers. I love this man.
So glad he's finally touring in the US again!

Cary and I attempted 2 pics. Neither one was that great.
I stand by the first impression I had of him 2+ years ago: Nicest. Musician. Ever.

"Get me back, get me back to New York!" I thought the red, white, and blue was fun. And patriotic.

The next day on my way home I stopped by Princeton. Beautiful. I can only imagine what it looks like in the Fall.

Proof that I didn't just steal these pics off the internet . . .

I figured since I was at Princeton I should do something smart. So I played Scrabble.

There was a bit of construction on my way back to the highway and I was stuck behind this car:
I couldn't help but laugh (and snap a pic) when I saw this. I'm all for loving animals, but this is a bit much for me. But hey, it did entertain me.

Philly . . . I love how many awesome places are within a few hours of DC.

This is when I knew I was almost home! Man I love that place . . .

It was a long day and a half, but totally worth it!

I read this in an article recently and in it the guy said, "One can never feel bad knowing that they carpe'd the hell out of that diem." I whole-heartedly agree.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mother Freedom

Ever wonder what the 4th of July in DC is like? Crowded, hot, and awesome! I was excited to be in DC (last year I was out of town) and celebrating America with good friends!

My friend Kendra was able to get us spots on the rooftop of her office building to watch the fireworks. We had a little picnic, chatted, and enjoyed one another's company as we waited for the show to start.

The view as the sun was going down . . . finally! :)

Let the magic begin!

Seriously, so amazing.

Thanks to Kendra for inviting me!

Kendra, Don, Natalie, and Me after the fireworks, but before we braved the crowded metro.

The great thing about a holiday landing on a Sunday is the extra day you have to celebrate. Monday night for FHE a bunch of us went and visited the Lincoln and FDR memorials. Monuments at night are one of my favorite things to do in DC . . . smaller crowds and cooler temperatures just make for a better experience all around. Cooler is what we live for these days since it's so hot and humid here that when you walk out the door you feel an immediately need to shower. :/

Friends at the Lincoln . . . not that you can tell that's where we are, but my arms weren't long enough to get Abe in the shot.

Okay, really people, tell me this isn't a gift? EIGHT people (okay, seven and an FDR statue) in one shot. On the first try. I don't know why I'm so blessed, but I am. ;)

I love this quote . . .

The FDR memorial is a favorite. So peaceful and beautiful. I had only ever been here in the daylight, so it was cool to experience it at night.

This summer has been packed full of so many fun adventures and there's still more to come! Life is pretty dang good . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brooklyn Blurs

I recently had a good chunk of time off from work and was able to go on 3 mini vacations, spend quality time in DC, and do a little relaxing. Don't worry, I'll break the craziness up into several posts so as not to overwhelm you. Or me.

As you may recall, my friend Sara and I have a goal to visit NYC every season this year and then at Christmas time. Summer schedules are a bit crazy and 4th of July weekend was the only time both of us could do it, but we didn't want to miss the 4th in DC, so we decided to just do a day trip. I tell you what, there are very few things that could have happened in those 12 hours to make the day any more incredible than it already was.

We got on a bus around 6:30 and got to New York just before 11. We jumped on the subway and headed to heaven. I mean Brooklyn.

Yep, that's right, we made it to Brooklyn. On the subway. By ourselves. I'm kinda proud seeing as the other times we've been to New York we've had someone else navigate our usage of public transportation.

We decided to document our feet everywhere we went, so here they are at the subway station.

Our first stop in in Brooklyn was Tom's Restaurant, a diner recommended to us by a friend, located just down the street from the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Gardens.

They bring you cold orange slices and cookies while you wait to be seated.

Our feet at Tom's.

Cherry Lime Ricky. Mmm.

Sara's Mango Walnut pancakes and my Lemon Ricotta pancakes. They give you strawberry, cinnamon, and citrus butters to top off the delicious food too.

Next up the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. With temperatures in the mid-80's and very little humidity, this was the perfect day to wander around outside. Seriously, if you spent the day in the shade you never would have broken a sweat. Must have been the calm before the major heat wave. :/

Our feet at the Botanic Gardens.

After taking in the beauties of nature we decided to head over to Park Slope, my first choice of places to live in NYC. As we approached Grand Army Plaza, we came upon a woman who had given blood a few hours earlier and was about to pass out. Along with 3 other strangers we shaded her, got her water, and called 911. It was one of those experiences where you can't help but have a feeling of love for people, which, let's be honest, is hard for me sometimes.

After the ambulance got there and the woman was being taken care of we continued up Union St. Sara remembered there being a bunch of shops on 5th Ave. so that's where we decided to go. Several of our favorite musicians live in Park Slope and we kept joking about running into one of them. We'd point out places and say "oh, that must be where so-and-so lives!" It was a funny little game for us as we made our way to 5th Ave. We looked in a few shops and took in the scenery, including several good looking men. ;) As we crossed the street I looked into the window of a corner restaurant. I thought to myself, wow, that looks like Greg Holden. Oh wait! That is Greg Holden because there's Katie Costello! Sara thought I was joking until she saw the shocked look on my face. As luck would have it, they were getting up to leave so we pretended to be looking at a store window until they walked out. Greg recognized us and asked what we were doing there as he hugged us. We chatted for a few minutes and got their advice on where to go in the area. After taking a few pictures we told them we'd see them again next Friday at their show in Easton, MD.

Our feet + Greg and Katie's feet on the streets of Park Slope.

We were getting pretty hungry and happened upon this delicious little Italian restaurant called Peperoncino. We ate bruschetta, eggplant something-er-other, fish, and smoked mozzarella ravioli with artichokes. Oh yeah, then there was some of the most delicious coconut sorbet one could ever imagine. So good in fact, that Sara shared it with the people sitting next to us. :)

Our shadows as we walked back to the subway. I love New York.

We went and saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park at sunset and almost walked smack dab in to the middle of a movie shoot. You know, they really should make it a little more obvious that they're filming something . . .

Have I mentioned how much I love New York?

We had time to kill before heading to our 11:00 bus back to DC, so we headed up to Time Square. After an awesome shoe purchase (Sara's, not mine. I know you're shocked) we got an awesome deal to go to the Aveda Salon next time we're in town. Which is kind of funny because we'd talked about getting our haircut all day long. The super awesome thing about the deal is that it includes the haircut as well as 10 other salon services! Good times are ahead, that's for sure!

Tired and happy we got ourselves back to Penn Station with time to spare. The bus we took stops in Baltimore before going on to DC and I woke up as we were approaching Charm City. Sara had discovered the one thing that could have made our trip better. Being there to witness parts of this being filmed. I try not to think of the irony too much and stay grateful for a perfect day in what may very well be my favorite place on earth. I learned my lesson though. I need to upgrade my phone to a smarter one so I can read tweets that say things like, "Playing street pianos all over NYC today. First stops: Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center #playmeimyours" or "Next stop...times sq and Bryant park #playmeimyours."