Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pic of the Day: President Obama On Healthcare

This is a picture of a teacher and his students. I don't know anyone more passionate about the well being of a stranger than this guy here. I took this picture today a Broughton Highschool, conveniently located across the street from my house in lovely Raleigh, North Carolina. President Obama was introduced by Sara Coleman, owner of The Cupcake Shoppe - a small startup business in Raleigh. Obama commented that Coleman brought him a nice tee-shirt from the store - but no cupcakes!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NY Times: 36 Hours in Aix-En-Provence

It could be that I'm seeing the name Aix-En-Provence ("Aix" pronounced like the letter X) everywhere because I'm looking for it...but it keeps popping up whether it be through Tour de France commentary, in a Travel+Leisure magazine, or right here in the NY Times Sunday paper.

If you haven't already done so, check out the article to get a better feel of where I'll be living in France and start planning your visit - hint hint!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Send me your address

so I can send you a postcard!

Ready? Get set - GO!

It’s a clear sign that when a blog writer is MIA for a lengthy period of entry writing time, they are probably very busy and indeed I am. Admittedly, I started this blog a few months ago when I had plenty of time and was generally bored out of my mind! Now-a-days I'm preparing to fulfill the original intent of my travelstring by packing up everything I own in one way or another, and embarking on a new path in a different country with new people to meet and new experiences to gain!

Which leads me to the question I hear almost everyday now: are you packed? People started asking me if I was packed about a month ago - to which I thought "am I supposed to be packed a month in advance?" and "when are people supposed to start packing when they're leaving the country for 5 months?"

Today, my answer is YES - I have officially started packing and it is in fact a process worth writing about!

Tips for big moves & lengthy departures:

1. 20 Gallon Tupperware Bins & 1 Gallon Glad Storage Bags are awesome!

2. Dictating help is the way to go - I learned that the hard way the last time I moved.

3. Take advantage of your time by starting early.

4. Get rid of anything you can live without for 6 months.

5. Pack smartly & stick to your to-do list!

At the end of this process I will be 40lbs lighter on the ‘stuff scale’, and ready to live freely on as little as possible…we’ll see how long I can keep this up!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tomato Confetti Spaghetti

Oh my word this sauce is so delicious and I want to share it with you!!

What you'll need:
  • 2 Large Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Jar of Left Over Tomato Vodka Sauce
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 to 1 whole Onion
  • 1 Yellow Squash
  • Fresh Basil
  • 2 Stalks of Yellow or White Corn
  • 1 Box of Spaghetti Noodles
  • Feta Crumbles
So yummy & easy, here's what you do: start with two pots (one for spaghetti noodles, one for sauce). Bring spaghetti to a boil and let cook. In a your other pot, bring 1/2 jar of left over tomato sauce (makes for a good base) and 3/4 cup water to a boil. Take all of your veggies and dice 'em up. Slice uncooked corn off the husk. Let your onions brown before you mix them in. Add diced veggies, diced & browned onions, and corn to the sauce. Boil together until most of the water evaporates and sauce with veggies becomes condenced. Chop fresh basil and add it to the pot.

Bing Bang, You're Done! Put that yummy spaghetti in a bowl, pile your veggie sauce on top and sprinkle some chunky feta crubles on top - Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pic of the Day: San Francisco

Today's Pic of the Day comes from fellow contributor and family member: Trina Carman - Thanks for your contribution!

Q. What's the story behind the pic?

A: If you ever go back to San Francisco, you should take a walking tour of the Mission District...there are murals on almost every corner...wonderfully colorful! Then, there's one small street: Balmy Street, that has a mural on every fence, every garage door, every surface imaginable. I guess they don't have to worry about the weather fading the colors. And then you can end your tour with an authentic Mexican meal and ride the cable car back to your hotel!

<good idea! I will keep that in mind for my next visit!>

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Atlanta, Ga On a Time & Dime Budget!

30 Hours + 900 Miles + $___.00 = one successfully completed trip to Atlanta for Heather & Krissy (commentary included).

The Breakdown:

> MAP OF ATL - $4.95 plus tax

> FOOD + COFFEE - $61.01 (4 meals for 2.5 people)

> PARKING - $17.00, thanks Atlanta

> OVERNIGHT - 1 bottle of wine & some apple butter for friend's parents

> GAS - $45.27, thank you Prius


> CONSULATE VISIT - Priceless...just kidding, $70.00

> TOTAL - 198.23, HOLY COW! But we were still under our budget of $200 (ie $100 each).

As we approached the city we were amazed at the number of uniquely designed glass buildings that spread out over a huge expanse. For some reason I thought Atlanta would be smaller, or that the buildings would be more centrally condensed.

H: "We're in! Awesome! This place looks so cool!"

K: "I think you're a little too excited about this..."

After a quick drive through memorable Centennial Olympic Park we found "cheap" parking advertised at $4.00.

H: "I can afford this!"

As soon as we got out of the parked car, the parking lot attendant said "$20.00!"

K: "What the heck? That's a scam."

H: "Yeah, that's a scam if I ever heard one - the sign says $4.00, ha! We're outta here."

And so we moved on to a deck that ended up being $10. That gave us time to walk around. We headed past a park filled with naked children running through sprinklers and people laying out on blankets to enjoy the summer heat and live music.

Our first stop was the CNN building. We were impressed by this humongous building displaying flags from every nation and a faux CNN recording studio for tourist's pictures!

From the CNN building we headed through the Underground Shopping District to the golden domed State Capital Building where we snapped a few pictures.

On our way back to the parking garage through a maze of one way streets, we stopped at Smoothy King to recharge and talk to some locals. We talked to a guy working there:

H: "Are you from Atlanta?"

G: "Nope, moved here 4 months ago from Myrtle Beach."

H: "Oh yeah? How do you like it here so far?"

G: "Eh..."

H: "...gotcha"

By then it was time to drive North to find our sleeping arrangements with my college suite-mate Quinn who was a wonderful host on short notice. Our 20 minute drive from downtown to Sandy Springs brought a few impressions on the economic front of the city. There is a clear line of division between the culture we encountered in the city and the neighborhoods only 20 minutes away. If you've been, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Quinn and her family were awesomely accommodating. We went out to eat at Tacoria de Sol which Krissy describes as "designer Mexican" as the line was out the door long after we left.

The next day went smoothly and after a successful visit to the Consulate we were back on the road towards familiar grounds! Home sweet home. The END!