Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. Louis: PR Event

We had a PR event in St. Louis, so we also spent our days off there. It was seriously an AWESOME 2.5 days!
My friend Libby made the drive from Decatur, IL to visit me. About 5 years ago Lib and I were on a year long tour together. We created many lasting memories on the road together and became good friends throughout that year. I was so excited for a girls night -- We went on a shopping spree and then had dinner at CPK - YUMZ!
Thanks for visiting me Libster!
Oh, and if you're wondering.... Bryan went to Dave and Busters to watch Monday night football with the guys. He was in all his glory.. as was I! The next day Bryan and I slept in and relaxed at our hotel and then went for a walk along the Missouri River in St. Charles. St. Charles is really the most perfectly quaint and historic small town with a charming Main St. and a picturesque waterfront. Louis and Clark put it on the map back in the early 1800s when they were mapping out routes to the west. Bryan and I have both been to St. Charles several times and have adored it each time we're there.
We truly feel blessed to experience this country together, and places like this -- the heart and soul of America -- remind us of our continued blessings.

It's fall, ya'll!
The next day we headed into St. Louis for a Cardinals vs Pirates game. Bryan, who was drafted by the Cubs out of high school, is in all his glory when at a baseball game.
I love the atmosphere of America's passtime, but honestly... I think baseball's pretty boring.
It's Bryan's first love.
He gets giddy when at a new park.
This was his 16th ballpark out of all 30 throughout the country.
I love going with him and seeing his face light up with each pitch!

Kiener Plaza in the heart St. Louis
Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This is where our PR event was located
We just can't get enough of Historic St. Charles, so we went back one last time.
We ate on Main St. at Little Hills Restaurant.
This cute cute cute restaurant is also a winery, which is right up my alley!
They have a peaceful water feature and 2 large fire pits that you can dine around. We opted to dine right near the sidewalk. I had a yummy glass of CATAWBA Blush (that's my shout out home... to Lake Norman) and a tuna salad. Bryan had the meal of his life - the BEST Lobster Ravioli he's ever had EVER! And let me tell you, he's eaten a lot of Lobster Ravioli... if it's on the menu, he orders it.
This was the best and I agree. Gourmet.
This might have been the best, unplanned day we've had in a very long time.
Bryan and I couldn't stop talking about what a memorable day it was.
The only thing to make it truly perfect was to cap it off with an Oreo McFlurry.
Which we did.
I love my hottie hubby's pearly white smile!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Memphis: Mid-South Fair

Memphis was an interesting stop. I don't even really know how to describe it, but I know that we did our best to stay in the "good" parts of town.

For dinner one night we went to Gus's for some of their famous fried chicken. Bryan and I had to order the fried green tomotoes and fried pickles too. Obviously! The chicken was AMAZING *seriously the best fried chicken I've ever had the pleasure of eating* and the down home, no frills restaurant deserves to be famous!

Check out how happy the guy behind us is! "Mmmmm... me fried chicken SO good"
After our zero calorie meal at Gus's we headed off to Beale St, which was only a few streets away. I must admit that having never had been to Memphis and having heard some pretty scary stuff about this "tough" city, I was stunned by how completely awesome Beale St was! It felt like a mini Bourbon St in that you could walk on the streets with your drinks, purchase drinks from street vendors and walk into bars with a drink from a different bar. It was all lit up like Bourbon St and Broadway (in Nashville), was extremely crowded with people of all ages and had live blues coming out from most bar doors and windows.

My boys - 3 months with these fella's was so much fun!
Steelers bike!
Okay, so although we do our best to enjoy our days off in each city, we're really there to work. The Mid-South Fair takes place in Mississippi so we hopped the Tennessee border and spent 11 hours daily attempting to understand English through the thick deep-south accent and explain the Explorer's features to people who were mainly toothless and spending their life's savings on Carnival rides such as Bear Afair, Fried Twinkies and Krazy Taters.

The person who stands out most in my mind was a wrinkley 65ish year old woman who was at the fair with her adult children and her grandchildren. She had on short jean shorts and her fried bottled blonde hair had about 4 inches of grey roots. As she spoke to me her lime green tongue ring would poke out of the empty holes in her mouth where her front teeth should have been, but clearly were not.... I know this because I was in conversation with her for the longest 3 minutes of my life. It might have been the grossest thing I've seen. And I think I might have lime green nightmares. Anyhow, I'm really not quite sure how I kept my composure with her and didn't vomit everywhere because TRUST ME... it made me nauseous.

But oh wait, I didn't have to throw up because someone else did --- RIGHT NEXT TO OUR EVENT SET UP.... not once but TWICE!

If that doesn't paint the picture for "ya'll," I don't know what could!

Moving onto more important things, Bryan and I FINALLY tried Fried Oreos. Not great, but not bad by any means. If you've never had them, I'd say to give 'em a whirl but take off half of the breading otherwise you won't taste the yummy Oreo at all.

I think I gained 5 lbs this weekend.

What can I say... we're practically Carni's!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Night In Louisville

Being that Bryan and I were about to begin our drive from Cincinnati to Memphis, we decided to make a quick stop along the way to meet up with my dad, who was in Louisville on business. Him and his buddy took us out to dinner at Maker's Mark Boubon House & Lounge in downtown Louisville. We sat on the front patio, ordered massive amounts of appetizers, drank some good wine/whiskey and enjoyed the awesome atmosphere that Fourth Street provides.
Not suprisingly, my dads meal wasn't up to par. He requested to speak with a manager who in return gave us each a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant. YAY!!! My dad and his friend gave Bryan and I their gift certificates, so now we have $100 to this rad restaurant. One problem -- who knows when we'll be back in Louisville???
Afterwards we went back to my dad's hotel and watched the rest of the Monday Night Football game in the bar. My brother returned from his event at Churchill Downs and joined us for a quick drink and some overly yummy popcorn before he headed off to bed.
The next day we had lunch with my dad before we hopped in our truck and continued our drive to Memphis.

Cincinnati: Zinzinnati Oktoberfest

This Oktoberfest is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the country and the 2nd largest in the world. Known as America's Oktoberfest, the event gathers together people from all over the country to join in on the festivities.
Try explaining the 2011 Explorer to a bunch of drunks. Needless to say it was an eventful and memorable weekend in Cincinnati. Most of my favorite memories revolve around the flag pole!

Indianapolis: PR

We did absolutely nothing in Indianapolis outside of PR events.
Our first stop was at the local FOX News station in the weeeeeeee hours of the morning.As the afternoon approched we headed downtown for an unveiling of the Explorer to media.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nashville, TN: Tennessee State Fair

We are just wrapping up our time here in Nashville and have loved EVERY second of it!
For those of you who know me well, you know what a special place Nashville has in my heart.
I have been to 48 states and have been to every big city in this country, not to mention most of the small cities too. I have travelled my little heart out and have found Nashville to be my favorite small city in the US.
Country music moves me to my core.
I listen to every word and feel each lyric in my soul.
An overwhelming sense of peace comes across me when I am in Nashville and on Broadway. So much so that the last time Bryan and I were in town I began crying...... on the street... for no reason.... and no alcohol was involved. Okay, there was a reason. We were walking on the "other" side of Broadway past a large bar with all of its windows open. Not even 1 person was in this bar, but still, a soloist was playing and sing an accoustic version of my favorite country song, which is somewhat obscure and was never played on the radio. I was overcome by the pure joy I felt in my heart and instantly began crying.
Happy tears.
Content tears.
This town understands me tears.
I am at home tears.
Bryan ran in and tipped the guy. :)
It's bizarre -- I'm just so moved and "at home" when here. Like I said, it's an overwhelming sense of peace and calm, of which I don't feel anywhere else but in Nashville.
With that being said, we have had a memorable and magical several days in this great southern city filled with beer, whiskey, fried pickles, BBQ and of course The State Fair!
Bryan, Colin and I started our crawl off at Tootsies

The Stage

Wildhorse Saloon
Wildhorse Saloon
Doc Hollidays
Cadillac Ranch
The Stage
Colin (right) joined us for our day long pub crawl and Dave (left) joined us that night
The Stage
This guy went up to Bryan and said "I am with the Independent Negro Association for Fried Chicken, not to be confused with the United Negro Association for Fried Chicken. I accept donations of any kind. Remember we are independent."
LP Stadium aka where the Titans play
Now we are off to Indianapolis for a PR day...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Suprise Visit Back Home to Orange County, CA

My mom's 60th birthday party was vastly approaching and I still didn't know if I'd be able to get the time off of work to fly home to Orange County, CA and enoy the festivities with my family. Then... I got an e-mail from my boss that said that family is our companies number 1 priority... so off I flew.
From Detroit to Orange County.
I was going home to suprise my mom for her 60th birthday party.
I flew home on Friday and back to Detroit on Sunday, and with the little time that I had back home, I used up every second of it.
My mom was in pure shock when she saw me at the door -- instant tears ran down her stunned face.
It was an incredible 48 hours and only could I say it was perfect had Bryan been there with me.
My cousin, Alicia, and I at Lake Mission Viejo. The neighborhood in the bacground is the neighborhood I grew up in and where my parents still live.
Having my favorite morning coffee from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with my Cali in Laguna Beach
Alicia and I just relaxing in my parents backyard
Cali and Abby caught taking a nap together
It's the day of my mom's party!!!
The birthday girl with family
My father-in-law drinking a beer (which he NEVER does... must have been having fun!) with Lenny
My awesome in-laws
Birthday Girl!
My oh-so amazing parents
My sister-in-law with her family
My brother with my neice and nephew
My mom with Bryan's Mom
Oh brother.... the wooden spoons are out... as microphones!
Our original family of 4
My mom and I with her sister and my cousin who flew in from PA
Nanny and with her grand daughterBirthday GirlWith my most-favorite little girl