Chicago or Bust: Baseball, Pizza and Beer

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Vacation is finally here, and my buddy Tony and I are heading to Chicago for the week to stalk the San Francisco Giants while they’re on the road playing the Loveable Losers, the Cubs. This is our fourth year going on a road trip with the Giants. In years past we’ve gone to Miami, St. Louis and last year Denver and Cincinnati. These trips have always been super fun, but this year is different. We’re going to Wrigley Freaking Field the second oldest park currently being used for Major League Baseball and it’s their 100th anniversary.

Wrigley Field is just one of those very very special places in baseball history. The Cubs sadly have the moniker as the “loveable losers”, a team everyone loves even though they just stink most years. They have not won the World Series since 1908 and have not even been to the Fall Classic since 1945 although have made seven trips since 1908. Beyond all of this futility, it was not till 1984 that they even made the playoffs again. Since 1984 they have been to the playoffs six times and have only won one series back in 2003. Needless to say their habit of not winning can’t be matched by any other baseball team, there are a few that have never been or won a world series but we’re talking 40 years or less not 106. Ouch.

So besides heading to Chicago to catch three Cubs games, we’re also going to a White Sox game as well. That being said we’ll also get a chance to sample some deep dish pizza, beer and get in a few sights too. I’ve only been to Downtown Chicago once and it was back in 1998. I was there for work, so I didn’t get much else in besides that, so to be able to get a week to see the city, eat food from some amazing places and check out the ivy in the outfield is just phenomenal. I’m so excited.

Stay tuned for future posts on our flights out to Chicago, the amazing food, the hotel we’re staying at and of course on the games. Did I mention we’re sitting in a Luxury Suite one of the games? What what.

If you’re into instant gratification, I’d recommend following me on Twitter or Instagram for up to the minute postings, or of course you can just wait till you see my ramblings

Categories: Baseball, Food, Sports, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Raku Time

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The Raku Kiln approximatley 1800 degrees F

As some of you know I have a side hobby, sure travel is my favorite thing to do, but man can’t live on airplanes alone. I also love to make pottery. I do all of my work on an electric kiln at a city run art studio, and have taken classes off and on since 2006. I really focus on function pieces, bowls, mugs, plates and the like. I have lots of other things in my head that I’d like to make, but between other time commitments and the sheer difficulty of learning and making new things I have not come close to becoming half way decent at making much else. Continue reading

Categories: Art, Photography, Pottery | Tags: | Leave a comment

Salt & Straw Seriously Great Ice Cream

Honest, simple and local ingredients. It’s really not that difficult, but for a restaurant to get that right, seems almost impossible. Thankfully for Salt & Straw in Portland Oregon, they not only get it right they get it. This place is a foodie mecca for great imaginative ice cream with honest flavors, fresh ingredients and just dam good ice cream. I have only had the pleasure of visiting this fine establishment four times, but I have never gone away disappointed. They have wildly creative flavors and they just make them work. How does bone marrow and bourbon smoked cherries work? Well it just does? I expected it to be nasty and just not taste good, and after my little sample I had to get a scoopful, it was just perfect. The extra fat just added to the richness of the ice cream and the cherries, I’m just a sucker for cherries in ice cream.

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Bone marrow and bourbon smoked cherry ice cream and strawberry, honey balsamic vinegar and black pepper

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Categories: Americana, Food, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Southwest: The Airline I LUV To Hate

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The vaunted group A, what a lucky duck I was.

Southwest Airlines is a carrier I LUV to hate. They are the nation’s largest airline by passenger volume and have a huge route network throughout the United States and earlier this year Mexico and the Caribbean. They serve 96 cities in 41 states and have over 3,600 departures per day. Overall this is just incredible, but the Greyhound of the skies is just not my carrier of choice, but when push comes to shove I have to suck it up and get in line like all the other cattle.

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Categories: Airlines, Review, Southwest, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Persistence, the name of the game

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Yes, booking an airline award reservation is a game. There are so many hoops to have to jump through, but I find that if I stick with it, have all my ducks in a row and do all the research up front, I’m usually successful.

In this particular case I was booking a very special trip, aren’t they all special? No really this one was and is. Later this year it’ll be my 10th wedding anniversary, and I wanted to plan something unique for the two of us. We’ve been very very lucky over the years to have done some amazing things, and I’m very thankful for that, but since our child was born three years ago, going on vacation without her has not happened. In fact I think only twice have we both been away from home together without our little munchkin. Now don’t get me wrong, we love love love traveling with her, and as she gets older it keeps getting better and better. Plus as a tiny world traveler she’s already seen more and been to more places than some will in a lifetime. If nothing else, I want to make sure that our daughter gets the amazing opportunities my wife and I had as children to travel the world with our parents. I firmly believe that those experiences made us who we are today. But I digress, I’ll save that for another post. This trip was about the two of us having an extended amount of alone time. Continue reading

Categories: Around the world, Family, Travel, Travel Blog, United Airlines | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Loving Life

I love to travel, but I also love to spend time with my family too whether it’s at home or out of town. Frankly it doesn’t matter where we are it just matters that we are together. So to have a stretch of eight weeks where I’m only out of town three times for work is just great. In fact in my world it’s almost unheard of especially in the summer. Most of the time I’m gone part of the week for six of eight weeks of even under extreme circumstances 10 straight weeks.

Getting time at home lets me settle into a routine I don’t get this often. I get to see my daughter in the morning when she wakes up, say goodbye when she goes to daycare, and then walk or drive to daycare to pick her up at the end of the day. Plus I get to make or source dinner (in other words get take-out) water the vegetables with the kiddo and even pick them together too. Not bad for a day’s work. It’s the little things like this that you miss when you’re not at home every day or night. Plus I get to participate in the bedtime routine which at times is stressful, but still as a parent I relish getting to participate.

The other great part of being home is spending time with my better half.  Again getting to spend anytime let alone quality time together is just precious. Sometimes unfortunately I’ve taken for granted that we’ve been together for almost 15 years. And getting extended time at home reminds me how important it is to be here, whether that mean physically here or mentally here when gone.

All I can say is I’m loving life and loving being with the family. We’ve had a good summer so far. A week Disney World, a weekend at the lake, a cup of coffee in Hawaii and a camping trip this weekend.

Categories: Family, Life, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on The Hilton Hawaiian Village – Waikiki Beach

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The fountain view from 35 stories up

The family and I recently spent a cup of coffee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately I didn’t get a single picture of our 1 Bedroom Suite in the Diamond Head tower. I usually try to do this but with five of us staying here and with so much excitement to get to the beach as soon as we walked into the room our bags exploded and the room was a mess. That being said I can at least provide you with some insight into the property and my thoughts about staying here.

First off let me tell you that this property is HUGE. It’s the largest Hilton property with almost 4000 rooms on 22 acres of beachfront property. I’m not sure how many high-rise buildings are on the property, but I’d say it’s close to 10. Additionally there are over 22 restaurants on site, tons of stores to shop in, two ABC Stores, Three Starbucks and a pear tree. Continue reading

Categories: Hawaii, Hilton Hotels, Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Tasting Hawaii

After a fun weekend in Hawaii mostly on Waikiki Beach there was still a little time to get my foodie on. Here are some photos of my favorite spots and the food I ate.

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Yes the best Malasada on the planet. Thank you Leonard’s.

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Number two of the day.

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Categories: Food, Hawaii, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the Week: July 19

 

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View of the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach during the Friday Night Fireworks!!

 

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Review: Sheraton Crescent Hotel Phoenix

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Hotel main entrance

This week I visited scorching Phoenix Arizona again. This is my fourth trip here since May. On each trip I’ve stayed at a different Starwood property. This time it was the Sheraton Crescent Hotel.

Unfortunately, this was not the hotel I was thinking I was staying at. Apparently I neglected to map it out from my clients office and accidentally picked the one that was 17 miles not 3 from the office I was working in this week. I had the hotel names mixed up, and since I’d never stayed at either before I thought I was going to the “right” place until my GPS told me otherwise. Oops. Rookie mistake, you think after over 1000 nights in hotels in the past 12 years I’d know better. Continue reading

Categories: Hotels, Review, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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