#take12trips: Complete!

Back in January, I set the audacious goal of taking 12 trips in 2016 (an idea I borrowed from Clare over at Need Another Holiday). It felt absurd for a number of reasons, including the fact that I have a full-time job with limited vacation time, and the memory of only leaving New York City four times in all of 2015. But I set the goal anyway. The guidelines I set for myself were pretty simple – if I left New York’s five boroughs, it counted – and that certainly made it easier to accomplish. As of the end of last month, I’ve taken 12 trips – and there are more to come! Here’s a look back…

The Washington Monument on a foggy day, Washington DC
1. Washington, D.C.

I started the year by jumping on a bus to visit my friend Courtney in her new home, and we had a great weekend hanging out, eating and sightseeing – despite the rainy weather and the fact that we both had horrible colds.

Sunset in Allen, Texas
2. Dallas

Trip number 2 came somewhat unexpectedly when I found dirt-cheap flights to Dallas on my mom’s birthday weekend. It was my first trip to see them in about a year and a half, so we had a great time shopping, visiting museums and just hanging out!

Marina Green, San Francisco
3. San Francisco

My best friend and I decided to meet up in her favorite city for once – bonus that I had never been and had always wanted to go. It definitely lived up to the hype!

Sunrise on the beach in Nassau, Bahamas

4. The Bahamas

Another spontaneous long weekend away because of a cheap flight, this one motivated by the miserable New York winter.

View of downtown Phoenix, Arizona
5. Phoenix

I re-ignited an age-old tradition this year by spending a week in Arizona for MLB spring training! Bonus that I have a ton of friends and family there, and my parents joined me as well.

Breakneck Ridge, New York
6. Breakneck Ridge

My friends somehow tricked me into climbing a mountain upstate, but I was well rewarded with ALL THE FOOD in Cold Spring after.

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia
7. Philadelphia

I didn’t love Philadelphia, true, but I was thrilled to take advantage of a transitional period and squeeze in an adventure!

Long Beach, New York
8, 11. Long Beach

I have, as you know, become quite the professional beach bum this summer. It’s just too easy to take advantage of!

Mural in Jersey City
 9, 12. Jersey City

I haven’t written about Jersey City at all, because I’ve just been hanging out at my friend Ashley’s apartment, but hey – the walk through Little India is cultural and the street art is on point.

Jones Beach
10. Jones Beach

Not my favorite beach, if only because it’s so hard to get to, but hey – can’t beat a day trip.

I’m excited to see just how many trips I can cram into 12 months – I’m off to Texas again on Wednesday, and I’m thinking at least one more beach trip before summer ends. But as I’ve learned – some of the best vacations are spontaneous!

A visit to the Perot Museum

Perot Museum Dallas

In the category “things I love to do but don’t do nearly enough:” visit museums! The history buff in me adores winding through exhibits, learning about anything and everything, and museum-hopping is usually a highlight wherever I travel. My parents also love a good museum, and so on my recent trip to Dallas we decided to check out the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Perot Museum Dallas architecture

Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the museum building itself is not only gorgeous but sustainable.

Perot Museum Dallas

I personally enjoyed the mini-exhibit on animal poo, located just outside the restrooms.

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While I was never the kid into dinosaurs, I did enjoy exploring the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall. Did you know there’s a dino called the Dallasaurus? Me neither, but it’s now officially my favorite.

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While I’m not a science person in general, there are two specific types that get me excited. I’ve always loved meteorology and the weather – my kindergarten teacher got more than she bargained for when she asked if it was sunny or cloudy and got a five-minute lesson on the day’s barometric pressure. And I’ve also loved astronomy since our second-grade unit. As an adult, I’ve carried that over into writing about the space-shuttle program and exploring the Air and Space Museum in DC when we only had time for one museum. I was really excited to see exhibits on both meteorology and astronomy at the Perot Museum! And of course I had to pose in front of the green screen weather studio.

If you want to visit the Perot Museum (and I highly recommend you do, although maybe not on a Saturday – tiny humans everywhere!), it’s $19 for adults and you can get tickets here, although the line in person moved quickly. Info on parking is here, although we found a public lot just past Lot B on the map that was cheaper than museum parking. 

A(nother) weekend in Dallas

By now you all know the little secret I was keeping: I spent last weekend in Dallas, surprising my mom for her birthday! Ever since I left home at 18, I’ve dreamed of someday returning and surprising a family member. I kind of always figured it’d be my sister, but the stars aligned and I was able to go for my mom’s birthday weekend without taking any vacation time and using points to pay for the flight.  And so that’s how I ended up back Allen, Texas, for three days!

Tacos in Dallas at the Company Cafe

The first order of business, as always,  was a stop for tacos: specifically, breakfast tacos at Company Cafe. Tacos are my favorite food, and it’s a bit of a game for me to see how many I can eat in any given weekend down south.

The Perot Museum in Dallas

On Saturday we played tourists (I suppose I technically was a tourist!) and ventured to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science where I channeled my inner child. More to come on this soon!

Sunset in Allen, TexasDallas, Texas skyline

Though I spent my six years living in Dallas whining about how boring it was, the more time I spend away the more impressed I become each time I visit for a weekend. You can’t argue with that stunning suburban sunset in Allen or the Dallas skyline on a cloudy day.

Another successful weekend trip in the books.

Keep up with me in real time on Instagram here!

A weekend in Dallas

I’m always surprised how, after six years of living in Dallas and another six of frequent (and, I’ll admit, infrequent) visits, I still come up with new things to do every time I’m in town. Last month’s trip in particular was one big adventure! Here’s a peek at what I got up to:

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My parents bought a new house in March and this was my first chance to see it! I tried to get a picture here, but as you can see, Mom thwarted those plans. She doesn’t get to complain about my publishing this, either, since it was a photobomb. Nice try, Mom!

Food truck tacosAs most of you know by now, I love tacos, but I can’t find authentic ones in the Northeast! I ate two entire meals consisting solely of tacos while in Texas (mind you, this trip was only two and a half days long). The above were from a weekend food truck downtown.

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Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas opened in the last couple years, and this was my first chance to visit! It stretches over a busy highway, literally, and hosts tons of cool activities every day! The views of the city were spectacular.

Dallas Art Museum

Sprinkles cupcakes

After lunch, we cooled off in the Dallas Museum of Art and then picked up Sprinkles cupcakes on the way home!

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Here’s some photographic evidence that my dad was around, too! He and I went out for breakfast-for-dinner and then wandered around a local mall – more for the company and conversation than the shopping, though he does love his tools!

All in all, it was a fantastic visit. I didn’t love Dallas when I lived there, but now I love exploring it and finding its hidden gems!

Thanks again for having me, Mom and Dad!

On going ‘home’

This post brought to you by the common cold which has left me unable to do anything but work and sleep for the past four days.

A few weeks ago, I boarded a plane to Dallas – something I’d done dozens of times in the past. This time felt different.

I'm the furthest thing from a dog person, but I do love Lexi.

I’m the furthest thing from a dog person, but I do love Lexi.

I lived in the suburbs of Dallas from the ages of 12 to 18, and dropped in for extended stays until I graduated from college at 21. Since then, as I’ve taken on full-time jobs and my friends and siblings have moved on, the visits have become shorter, with more time between them. At some point, I stopped referring to these visits as going home and started saying I was going to visit my parents. All of this was natural, and the city felt less and less like home every time a new shopping center was erected or a new highway opened.

This visit, though – this one was distinctly different. For the first time, I was flying out to stay in a house I had never lived in. My parents downsized to a one-story house in the next neighborhood over back in the spring (around the same time I was frantically organizing a cross-country move myself!) I don’t have my own bedroom in this house (though I didn’t in the old house either – by the time they moved, it had long been converted to a home office!) I didn’t know where they kept the spoons for my breakfast cereal or where to find a top sheet for my sister’s bed. I certainly didn’t know the neighbor’s crazy dogs, who don’t seem to sleep.

This was also the first time I’d visited since my parents became empty-nesters! My sister-slash-best friend left for college in August and now my parents only have each other (and Ally’s Doberman-Beagle mix – yes, it’s a real thing). JUST KIDDING. They are living the dream and have booked up every weekend between now and Christmas with vacations and visits from us kids! It was wonderful to spend three days with just the two of them, something that likely hadn’t happened since I was an only child – a stint that ended when I was two-and-a-half. There were no arguments over where to go to dinner (tacos, every night), what to watch on TV (Modern Family marathon) or where to hang out one-on-one (shopping for me and Mom, breakfast-for-dinner at Cracker Barrel for me and Dad).

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Truly the biggest difference between this visit and the previous ones? It was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in a long time. I wasn’t visiting for a holiday or event, so there was no stress there. I got more sleep than I normally do. And really, although it was an unfamiliar house in a neighborhood I’d only visited once or twice for baby-sitting gigs – it felt like home.

I’ll be back soon with a full photo post from this trip! Hope you’re all having a wonderful week.