sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Monday, April 18, 2016

More US Updates

So spring is actually here now.  Philly is warming up, and the start of summer visitors has already begun.  I am loving the sun being out longer, not wearing my winter coat and just being outside more.

But before I get into the Philly updates, I should let tell you about my stop in Houston.  I was there for a job, but managed to stay a few extra days to spend some time with Sara VanAernum.  It was her birthday weekend, and we crammed a lot of fun things in.  Friday we went to the Houston Rodeo.  It is kind of like the state fair, but with a huge arena that actually has Rodeo events and a big concert at the end.  After a bottle of rose wine and lots of chips, salsa & guac, along with a bit of shopping, we managed to get inside the arena just before the downpour hit.  The rodeo was a bit more full on than I expected.  But it was definitely worth experiencing.  We wore our cowboy boots proudly, but really probably looked a bit out of place compared to quite a few of the uber-serious cowboys.
The view from my downtown Houston hotel
The Rodeo Photos

Remember how much I wanted to buy these for onsite travel in Baku?  I could have at the Houston adult size
We got up Saturday for a big day at the spa and brunch at The Houstonian.  The Houstonian is a bit of an institution, and we definitely witnessed that based on how many women were there ready to spa at 8am on Saturday morning!  We had lovely massages, and enjoyed the facilities before heading over to brunch.  The brunch was amazing.  But we were really full.  One of Sara's colleagues used to work there and had organised a dessert for her birthday which we completely forgot about!  We had a few bites, but we couldn't finish it sadly.  Then we just headed back to Sara's place to sit by the pool before our nail appointments.  The evening closed with sangria and hot tub time.  Another great day in Houston.  Unfortunately it wasn't really warm enough for proper pool time, but the hot tub was perfect.
Sara's Pool/Hot Tub
Sara's Tres Leches Cake
So my final day in Houston, we just planned to have brunch as I was flying out that afternoon.  We were going to meet another friend of ours from high school who also lives in Houston, but unfortunately he was flying in from the Philippines that day and was unable to join us.  We did go to amazing Mexican brunch at Caracol.  It was crazy good.  Definitely worth going if ever in Houston.  I particularly loved the Chilaquiles and the Bloody Mary.  
My first plate
So after heading back to Philly, I had some visitors of my own.  Mom and Dad came over to spend a few days around Easter time.  I took them to several of my favourite places in West Chester, my boss had us over to dinner at his house, we went shopping at Wegman's, saw a few potential houses to buy and managed to have brunch with my Mom's cousin Kathleen at Longwood Gardens.  This is the place I joined last December when I went to their Christmas display.  Recently voted Best Botanical Gardens in America by USA Today readers, it was the Orchid show and brunch on Easter Sunday.  We had a lovely time.  
Here are some photos of our time at Longwood
I got to have a Pimms Cup.  I was stoked.

Mom and Dad also managed to get to Winterthur - the DuPont mansion I also visited at Christmas time.  They had a bit different tour than I did, but also got to spend far more time in their gardens.  I am going there in a few weeks for a big horse race.  I got a car spot so the picnicking should be great fun.  
Mom and Dad at Winterthur

Of course, with the weather being nicer I have managed to get into Philly a bit more.  I have been to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, seen a concert at World Cafe Live, been to The City Tavern where Thomas Jefferson used to hang, had a cheesesteak and a few other things.  Visitors welcome to see the City of Brotherly Love any time.  
History Tour in Philly

Yards beer at the City Tavern
The Lovely 30th St Station at night
World Cafe Live Upstairs
I also got to spend some time with Gabriel who was travelling through Philly for a job interview.  He got to spend a fair bit of time in West Chester living like a local.  He even found a bar I hadn't been to.  We had cheesesteaks, which weren't the best by any means unfortunately, had lunch at Taco Bell (his request) and drank a few good local beers.  
Me and Gabriel pre-Cheesesteaking
Here we are on a hike!
And in other big news, I actually bought a house!  They accepted my offer, the inspection went well.  The house was basically entirely renovated.  It is over 100 years old, but has a new roof, electrical, plumbing, windows, kitchen, bathrooms, refinished original floors etc.  I am very excited about it.  I close on the 13 May.  It is getting more real everyday.  There are definitely room for visitors, and it is a bit more convenient to Philly, so if you are anywhere on the East Coast let me know.  I already will have a few visitors this summer which I am very much looking forward to.  Here are some of the photos.
A couple of close by options to the new house.  The cookies were amazing!

So that about brings you up to date.  With the visitors this summer, I am hoping to get out and about a bit more.  I am sure there will be plenty more photos of the new house after I move in.  I am also planning a trip down to our house in Pawleys Island to see Mom, Dad, Brock, Amber and Nora for Nora's 2nd Birthday.  I can't believe how fast she is growing up!  It's crazy.  So looking forward to building sandcastles with her.  Here is just one little photo montage of her.  She is doing her yoga.  
Anyway, lots of love to all of you.  Drop me a line when you can and definitely if you plan on being in the East Coast of the US any time soon.


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