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Her Universe Panel at WonderCon 2015

Fashionably Nerdy

We are back from WonderCon, and ready to release a bunch of new videos. Our first video from Wondercon is a clip from the Her Universe Panel at Wonder Con 2015, featuring Ashley Eckstein and Andrew McClaine, one of the winners of the first annual Her Universe Comic-Con Geek Couture Fashion Show.

Special Thanks To:

Her Universe
@HerUniverse

Hot Topic
@HotTopic

http://www.fashionablynerdy.com

Samanatha Rininger @SamanthaMason
Stephanie Pressman @StephPressman
Xander Jeanneret @Xanderrific
Anastasia Washington @Anastasiaw
Bonnie Gordon @BonnieBellG

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Keeping Very Busy!

Wow! Over two weeks have passed since Gasparilla and I still have not posted a recap.

Whoops!

Things are still insane at my new apartment right now, and I’m still trying to get my life set up. Aside from that, I blog frequently from my phone and my iPhone suffered a tragedy last week.

While walking in a hurry in the rain last weekend, my mom slipped (she’s okay) and dropped my phone (the phone did not survive)! My blog notes were all in my phone and though I did back up the phone before handing it over, I can’t figure out how to restore that back up. So, that’s why no Gasparilla post.😦

I will make it a point to post a brief recap with photos this week.

In other news, thanks to the magic of insurance, I am now the proud owner of an iPhone 6! Still figuring out the newer OS, since I never upgraded on my older phone, but I’m getting there. I’m not loving blogging on the phone thus far. I’m having some issues and had to go to a real computer to finish this post.

On Friday I got to see a show and meet up with a friend from high school! He is one of the best friends I have ever had and was more like a brother to me in high school. I have lived here for well over a month now, and it was high time to meet up. I’m so glad I did. I saw “Orlando” at the Straz in Tampa (based on the book by Virginia Woolf) and it was very good. I highly recommend it.

Sorry I keep vanishing! I am dedicated to more regular posting, I just need to get my life organized out here!🙂

On that note, I did finally do some meal prep last week and made some great, healthy items that got me through the weekend.

We made cast iron skillet chicken legs (brown all sides on the stove and then finish in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes for the best chicken you have ever had)!

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I also made cast iron skillet chicken breast tenders, mushroom risotto, and an entire roasting pan of veggies.

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I have another hectic week. Between work, planning a few different events, being Matron of Honor in an upcoming wedding, planning my birthday, and settling in to a new town, life has been crazy.

Thanks for sticking by me.

 

Checking In After Gasparilla

I did it!

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I ran for the booty (hehe) and I finished my first ever 8K! This was also my first Florida race (actually, my first race out of California) and my first race of 2015.

Big day!

I owe you a proper recap of the race, which I promise I have already started working on, but tonight I have to keep it short. After the race, I only had enough time to shower before heading into a meeting, and then an eight hour shift at work. It’s after midnight, I just got home, I’m exhausted, and I’m so sore!

For now, I’ll just share my official race results!

Finish 1:02:27

A little more than what I had hoped, but not too darn bad for not running in almost a year!

Goodnight for now all! Hope you had a great weekend!

ARGHHH…YOU READY TO RUN?

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

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I am running the Gasparilla Distance Classic, 8K this weekend and I am actually really freaking excited. Despite the fact that I have probably not even run a total of 5 miles collectively over the past 10 months, I cannot wait to go tackle this race!

As I wrote last month, I really really burnt myself out training for the LA Marathon last spring. I battled illnesses while training, and suffered from multiple sprains as well as a very painful ingrown toenail during the recovery from the race.

I still have problems with my feet and since healing took so long, I took a massive step back from running and never managed to start back up again.

That all ends on Sunday.

No, I have not trained. I really have not run at all. I have a very physical job that helps keep me in shape and I am hopeful that baseline will push me through to the finish. I mean, I ran a freaking marathon last year! I can do this for sure. I have no time goals. This is a first for me (an 8K) and my only goal is to have a blast and explore my new city in a fun way. I have heard this course is absolutely spectacular!

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I’m not going to push myself or do anything I’m not comfortable with. I know I have a long way to go to get back to my peak running shape, but I’m in a new state and a new apartment and I am hoping this will be a fresh start for my running. I have already planned a pretty extensive running bucket list for this year, and I am happy to be getting back out there and starting again!

Yesterday, after working an almost nine hour day, I drove over to the Tampa convention center for the Gasparilla race expo and packet pick up. This seems to be a very important local race so I was expecting a type of chaos similar to what I experienced at the LA Marathon Expo.

Yeah, not so much. Though I did arrive at around 3:15, so I assume a lot of people had not left work yet. I probably made a good call coming when I did. People work, for the most part, normal hours in Florida. I think I’m still used to the absurd hours people keep in Los Angeles.🙂

As soon as I entered the convention hall, I zipped over to packet pick up to grab my race bib and program. I was number 32334.

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I actually had to do a double take. I think I initially read this number as 3234.

32334?! Okay, this is a big local race.

My line was short and I grabbed my bib and headed to the other side for my t-shirt and bag.

I’m going to go on record and say that this may be one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) race shirts I have ever received.

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Besides it being one of my favorite colors, and featuring a kick ass pirate parrot (because that obviously makes it awesome), I really found that I love the material. I don’t normally run in my race shirts in the actual races, but I might make an exception. I’m really itching to try this baby out.

Also, the bag is a reusable Publix shopping bag and awesome.🙂

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I didn’t want to waste a ton of time in the expo. I still had a lot to do and didn’t want to get stuck in traffic getting out of Tampa (even though I did anyway and got lost to boot!)…

So, I planned to do a quick lap and see what vendors had come. I also want to find a few more races to tackle this year, and I’m always down for a free sample or two.😉

The highlight was definitely the Publix booth.

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Aside from giving out some absolute essentials (Gold Bond, portable hand sanitizer and antacids) they also gave runners this awesome towel.

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I used to work for a company that sold these and I have to say, they are pretty cool! You can add water to the towels and put them on your neck or head to help keep you stay cool for a pretty long time. They are also extremely absorbent and again…Pirate Parrot. I’m a sucker for him.

I also checked out the USAA booth (my husband is a vet and we were already planning to switch insurance and banks to them in the future) and got some information for various things.

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I saw Meghann (From Meals and Miles) at the Iron Girl booth (hi Meghann) and decided that if I am in town (I may have a work thing) I want to do this race for sure!

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I also took silly pirate photos at the Florida Blue Cross photo booth;

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(I was clearly not ready for that first shot)

tried power ice pops; and got a baked fish sample. That was an expo first, for sure! Oh, it was good!

I found a triathlon I’m interested in! I have been considering trying a triathlon for years! This one is very beginner friendly and my mountain bike is allowed, which is exciting. I don’t have the money for a road bike just yet, though I have been eying a beach cruiser.

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Right now, my goal is to add that race to my tentative 2015 race calendar.

I found the coolest thing on my way out of the expo. When I first passed the giant Gasparilla banner at the front of the expo hall, I just thought it was a cool place to take photos, sort of in the style of a red carpet step and repeat. On my way out, however, I noticed that people were looking REALLY closely at the banner and taking super close up photos of nothing in particular. As it turns out, every runner’s name was printed on the banner in alphabetical order. So cool. It took a sec, but I found mine!

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All in all, I thought this was a pretty neat race expo and I am super pumped up to run on Sunday! I can’t wait to hit the streets, and run along the water and just meet some cool Tampa locals.

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Are you running a race this weekend? Gasparilla? Disney Princess Half?

Exploring The Bay: Trip’s Diner – St. Petersburg

Since I have moved to a new town for the first time in nearly a decade, I thought it would be appropriate to start a blog series about discovering the surrounding areas, restaurants and businesses. Because I live and work in two very different areas, I’m going to keep this category broad and talk about all my finds in Tampa, St. Pete and the surrounding Bay Area.

To start this series off, I want to talk about one of the very first restaurants my husband and I discovered in our new town.

Even before actually walking inside the restaurant, I could tell that Trip’s Diner was going to be something special. It was a rather chilly morning, especially by Florida standards, and the crowd of people waiting for a table could be seen from the curb. People huddled by the door, standing just inside to stay warm, while they waited for their names to be called.

One customer ate at the outside patio, with her adorable pup in tow! It was a definite plus for us to see that the diner had outside seating that was accommodating to our furry family members. I made a mental note to return in the future with our own fluffy boy, if we enjoyed our experience.

Despite the crowd, we were seated at the bar rather quickly. When the hostess had asked us our seating preference we had told her that anywhere inside was fine, and I think the bar provided our fastest access to food. Fine with us. We were starving!

We were greeted almost immediately by a friendly and knowledgeable waitress. After we informed her that this was our first visit to Trip’s, she walked us through the menu, recommending some of her favorite items and giving us a general overview.

My husband ordered a pretty standard meal of pancakes, bacon, eggs and a side. He chose the recommended cheese grits. I opted for the Mr. Crabs (a crab and cheese omelet) with biscuits and gravy and cheese grits. It is important to note that I do not normally care for grits, but they came so highly recommended, I figured I should just go for it!

Am I glad I did! The cheese grits are absolutely amazing! Decadent, creamy, and full of flavor; the grits are cooked to perfection and well seasoned. I basically licked the bowl.

The biscuit was soft, fluffy and piping hot, while the gravy was incredibly flavorful with just the right amount of pepper.

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The omelet was also good, but was my least favorite item of the day. It was light and cheesy and the crab really added something unique.

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The biggest problem with the dish was merely that it was upstaged by the other two things on my plate. I also would have liked some type of sauce, maybe a remoulade or something similar.

My husband’s plate consisted of a pancake the size of a hubcap (no, seriously, they call them hub cakes) which was wonderful; massive slabs of some of the best bacon I have ever tasted; two over easy eggs that were the perfect amount of runny yolks and firm whites; and cheese grits, which he also inhaled. Did I mention that the food came out of the kitchen in record time, as well? I didn’t even have time to get halfway through my coffee before our meals arrived!

All around great service, amazing food, low wait time to be seated and dishes that were out of the kitchen in under five minutes made dining at Trip’s a perfect experience!

We were back less than a week later, and this time I just ordered the biscuits and gravy with bacon and eggs and a side of cheese grits.

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The food came out just as fast, tasted just as good, and we had another awesome waitress! This place is my first favorite in our new town!

CA to FL: Day VI – The Longest Day (Part Two)

To read the whole cross country road trip story, check out the other posts:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

It has been an incredibly long week, working full time hours and assisting in the opening of the St. Petersburg Trader Joe’s. I don’t work at that store, but since I helped out on opening day I also was given the awesome Trader Joe’s tie dye opening day shirt!

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After the hectic week, today I go into work late.

I did sleep in, way in, which was nice. I know I still have a long way to go in setting up the apartment (my office is still just the place where the boxes live) but, for right now, I want to eat a bagel, and have coffee with this cute little face…

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…while I finally finish the story of our cross country adventure.

We crossed into Florida shortly after lunchtime. It was so nice to see the Florida sign and to know that after four hard days of driving, we would soon be reaching our final destination. I sort of couldn’t believe we had made it. I knew we would, of course, but after months of waiting to find out if Florida was going to happen, and then a few weeks if planning, it just seemed sort of surreal.

As I mentioned in Part one, at this point, we had not planned on driving all night to reach Tampa. Our goal after setting out in Louisiana had just been to put a good distance in today, and hold off stopping until Gainesville or possibly Ocala.

There is a lot of wide open space right when you cross into Florida. I’m not sure if I had ever realized that before.

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I got the obligatory open road Instagram photo!

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After a few hours in Florida I started making phone calls to various La Quinta hotels trying to secure a reservation for that evening that would have enough parking for our 16 ft truck towing my car, a handicap accessible bathroom and a room either on the ground floor or accessible by elevator.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much luck. Gainesville didn’t have any rooms and Ocala couldn’t accommodate the truck. We could still stick with the original plan to stay in Tallahassee, but it was Friday night in a college town and we knew the parking lot situation would be no better.

That was when we made the decision to drive all night and just get to Tampa!

I was very grateful that Gimli was feeling better. He had been so sick during parts of try trip, and had he been unwell, we never would have been able to make the choice we did.

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It was a long night.

I did what I could to keep my father entertained, frequently checking on how Dad was doing.

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I bought us coffee, but we really tried to keep stops to a minimum and literally started bolting to the bathroom at truck stops as quickly as we could to avoid unneeded delays.

Gimli napped, which was nice.

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He had been such a good boy the whole trip, but I really couldn’t deal with him climbing on me or anything else in that moment. It gave us all a break!

We had booked a hotel for a few nights a couple of miles away from my new apartment. We would have to stop by the apartment for a minute, just to see the space and find the breakers. We had turned to power on, but it wasn’t working when my mother came by the apartment to check things out.

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Obligatory nighttime open road Instagram photo.😉

I started counting down the miles when we were about 100 miles from Tampa! I was so thrilled! The road trip had been fun and stressful, with many ups and downs, but I was done!

Crossing the Howard Franklin bridge felt like the final few steps of an incredible journey!

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We had arrived.

We were home.

I’m Still Here

I am excited to say that I am writing this blog from an actual computer! Yay!

After traversing the country, while blogging daily from my smartphone, I am happy to say that I am now typing away at a computer, in my new home! We arrived safety in Florida Friday (January 30th)  night, so why the delay in another post? The answer is simple: No Internet.

We were unable to install our high-speed internet ourselves, so we had to wait until this past Friday (February 6th) to have the Verizon technician install it for us. Without internet in the house, I couldn’t even post from my phone. Our hotels had each come with free Wifi, but our new home doesn’t even have great cell reception (one bar, maybe two if we sit in the window), so updates were not possible and with more than a few piles of boxes to unpack, a trip to the library was out of the question.

I just got home from work and am extremely tired from my hectic schedule of unpacking, organizing and working followed immediately by sleep, waking up, and doing it all again. I know I still owe you part II of the blog post on the final leg of our journey, and I promise it is a priority. For now, I’m going to sip on a glass of wine before passing out for at least 6 hours.

I’m still here, and I can’t wait to finish sharing the story of our journey.

Thanks for reading.🙂

CA to FL: Day V – The Longest Day (Part One)

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

When I woke up this morning, I was in Louisiana. I was in Mississippi before most people finish breakfast and was almost out of Alabama by the time we had lunch. We were in Florida by noon and as I type this we are at a hotel in my new city. To say today was eventful would be beyond an understatement!

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Gimli was feeling better today and greeted the day with an adorable little puppy smile.

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Good thing, too. Little did we know, it would be a long day for the little man.

When we set out this morning, our goal was to reach Tallahassee, Florida at worst and Gainesville, Florida at best before stopping for the night. After getting on the road, we found that Tallahassee was pretty close for the energy we had. Neither my father nor I saw the point of getting to our next destination before 5pm so that meant pushing through to Gainesville, even if it was dark by the time we got there.

Of course, various stops put us behind schedule, especially since I was searching for some specific collectables along the way (more on that in a later post)!

We started calling a few hotels to inquire about reservations for the night. We have a few important requirements:

Ground level on any hotel that didn’t have an elevator, pet friendly (obviously), handicap accessible bathroom, and enough parking room for a 16 ft truck towing a car (meaning we also can’t reverse at all because we are towing so must be able to pull forward out of a parking spot).

Thus far on the trip we have managed very well, staying exclusively at the La Quinta Inn hotel chain.

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Due to this success, we only wanted to stay at La Quintas for the remainder of the trip. They have no fees for pets, are extremely accommodating to needs and are just, in general, staffed by very nice people.

I called the location in Gainesville first, but they were booked for the night. Next, we tried the location a little further south in Ocala. They could meet all of our requirements except the need to park the truck.😦

We talked about reverting to our original plan and staying in Tallahassee after all, but on a Friday night we didn’t think we would have better luck.

That left finding another hotel chain who took pets (but would probably charge) or just driving through and making a very long day of just arriving at our destination. Turns out, that was the option my amazing father preferred.

He really is a champ. Despite my offering a multitude of times to help drive, after he actually got behind the wheel, he didn’t feel comfortable with me driving. He used to drive a tractor trailer but said that towing my car was even a challenge for him.

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So, I bought the coffee!

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I also talked his ear off and sang loudly and off key to music trying to keep him awake while the pup slept between us. Too cute!

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We started the morning with our free breakfast and coffee and the hotel, and a quick fill up on fuel at the gas station that was adjacent to our room. After that we jumped on I-12, getting off I-10 for the first time in pretty much the whole trip.

We cruised from Louisiana to Mississippi, accidentally missing the stop I wanted for the Louisiana collectable I wanted. Darn it!

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The next stop was at a Pilot in Mississippi for more gas and my Mississippi collectable. Mississippi was a very short section of the drive. Though I didn’t time it, I would guess it took us less than an hour to come across the bottom of the state.

We stopped at a truck stop immediately after crossing into Alabama.

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They didn’t sell Alabama themed items, so I missed my chance in Alabama as well. Crap.😦

I don’t know why I had envisioned Mobile Alabama as a small town in my head, but I think I was mistaken.

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I enjoyed the towering skyline of the city. It was really the only largish city we saw in Alabama, though to be fair, we were not really in the state for long. We cut across only the bottom (and smallest part) of the state.

After Mobile we went under a tunnel and then over a bridge to cross the Mobile bay.

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More gorgeous views, and a historic battle shop lay in the distance.

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A Spanish fort was about a mile away as well, but we didn’t have time for a detour. After crossing the bay, we stopped off for lunch.

A sit down lunch at Cracker Barrel provided some fuel for ourselves and gave my dad’s hands a break from the rattling vehicle. It was crazy windy all day, and we always had either an annoying headwind or a cross wind. The break was nice, though we did eat fast.

After getting back on the road, it wasn’t long until we crossed into Florida.

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I couldn’t believe it. We were almost there. The last leg of our journey had begun!

To be continued!

CA to FL: Part IV – On the Bayou

Missed the rest of my journey? Catch up now:
Part I
Part II
Part III

We had a bit of a struggle getting out of San Antonio today. The puppy got sick last night/this morning and it was a mess. The poor guy was cowering, thinking we were going to punish him, which we obviously were not.😦

He didn’t eat anything and just seemed to feel bad all day. My poor guy!

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We had to stop for gas almost immediately after leaving our hotel. We had pushed through the day before for almost 200 miles in the final stretch and really needed to fuel up again before Texas, once again, became a wasteland.

We got cowboy hats at the truck stop, because, well, we were in Texas.

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Isn’t that what you are supposed to do?

Houston was big! Way bigger than I thought it would be. After so many sweeping miles of nothing, I was surprised to see such a large city in Texas.

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We stopped again right outside Houston for another fill up and a rest break, and I searched the truck stop for plain baby food. The dog was still sick, and in the past my vet always recommended plain baby food for his belly. We couldn’t find any, and so we had to stop again almost right away in Baytown, Texas at a large Walmart.

As an aside, Baytown was pretty cool! I loved seeing all that water after so much time in the desert! image

After picking up chicken baby food and a few other supplies it was back on the road where we powered through without stopping all the way to Baton Rouge.

I was so excited to be in Louisiana. Texas seemed to go on forever, and literally went on for two days. I was done.

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Louisiana almost immediately began delivering the views!

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So awesome!

We also came upon a massive bridge with about 17 miles of bayou under it.

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It was really cool to see, and I especially enjoyed that part of the drive in.

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I waved hi to my friend Bonnie’s hometown of Lafayette (the actual town was a bit off of the exit) before getting stuck in traffic in the final few miles to Baton Rouge.

The bridge over the Mississippi was especially painful. Cool views of a massive river, but it was about 4:45 and traffic was the absolute worst. It took almost an hour to go 4 miles. Am I still in Los Angeles?

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Dinner was great! I’m super tired right now, but I promise a full review of TJ Ribs in Baton Rouge later this week!

When we came back from dinner, our pup was trembling from the top of the desk in our room.

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He got up and apparently couldn’t figure out how to get back down. He seemed to be considering jumping down when we walked in. I know we shouldn’t have but my father and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so funny.

I got to have a Quick FaceTime with my husband before bed and I was one happy lady.

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Ready for sleep! Until tomorrow!

🙂

CA to FL: Part III – Don’t Mess With Texas

Or, you know, go ahead and mess with Texas because there probably isn’t anybody around who will retaliate on the state’s behalf.

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At least, not between El Paso and San Antonio. My dad and I were both pretty excited to drive through Texas and see some farms and ranches and cattle, but we didn’t really even see live animals until we were within 100 miles of San Antonio. Yaaaaawn! Today was not very interesting.

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I think the most exciting thing that happened today was at the first rest stop. Right as we were pulling into a gas station, I accidentally kicked something under the dashboard near the floor of the truck and it came loose. I instinctively leaned over to see what I had done right as my father started to hit the brakes turning into the station. He didn’t hit them hard, but since I was already in a downward trajectory my face hit the dash with a thud and my bottom lip instantly burst open.

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The dryness of my lips probably made the bleeding worse, and I was a mess. Blood on my lip, hands and face. I washed up in the truck stop bathroom and grabbed some ice from the soda machine to keep swelling down. It still hurts a bit.😦

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We also drove past a small fire on the side of the highway. No fire trucks had arrived on the scene yet when we drove by, but there were two SUV emergency vehicles. We assume the fire had just started a few minutes prior.

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I will say Texas was a lot more hilly than I had originally expected. Many times we were going up and then immediately back down hills at such steep inclines that we felt we were on a roller coaster. A lot of the roads were in pretty bad disrepair as well, which made for a bumpy ride.

Cell reception was also pretty non-exsistant, so that was fun!

I feel like I’m picking on Texas a bit right now, but we really just didn’t see all that much today. Busted lip, forest fire. That was it for thrills.😉

I was a big fan of the Texas shaped waffle maker at my hotel’s free breakfast this morning.

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I legitimately did not want waffles today, but when I saw them I couldn’t resist. Too cute!

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Lunch was leftover prime rib cheesesteaks from our dinner last night, and 100 or so miles from San Antonio we snacked on some meat, cheese, carrots, and crackers. We wanted to keep stops to a minimum since mileage wise, today was our longest day: 540.4 miles, to be exact.

After today, every day we cover fewer miles than the day before. As a bonus, we are also now halfway between California and our final destination in Florida!

Dad and I went out to dinner tonight in San Antonio. It was the first time we have had a sit down meal since getting on the road and it was a very nice change. We ate at Taqueria Jimador, a little Mexican restaurant on the outskirts on San Antonio.

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We started with drinks and a basket of chips and salsa. I ordered the chicken fajita salad and dad got the steak fajita salad.

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Both dishes were good. The steak was well seasoned, but a little tough and the spring lettuce was a bit brown and wilted. The chicken on my salad was perfectly cooked, juicy, and very tender. Unfortunately, my spring lettuce was also a bit wilted and the majority of the lettuce was iceberg, which I do not prefer.

I think had we ordered any of the more traditional Mexican dishes, we would have adored them. The beans and rice especially looked fantastic, as did the tacos. We were just concerned that with another day on the road ahead of us, if we ate heavy Mexican food (and beans) the drive would be harder!

Obligatory puppy selfie!

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Well, I’m off to bed to rest up for another long day on the road tomorrow. I’m hopeful I can convince my dad to let us drive by the Alamo on our way out of town. I just want to see it.

If you wanna follow my journey from California to Florida, check out Part I and Part II now.

Goodnight!