My Airport Cheat Sheet

I have something to share with you.

I have driven to DFW airport more times than I want to admit over the past 7 years. And once I figured out the airport, I always parked in the same parking section no matter what. It was easier for me to remember and I always found a spot regardless of the time of day.

imageBut, on the off chance that I am running late OR I think American will fly in AND out of the same terminal(not usually the case), I needed to make sure I could park in a terminal with Pre-Check.

And that is why I created a cheat sheet for my car. It stays in the console with bubblegum, spare sunglasses and an extra USB cord and I can take a quick look after I hit the airport if I choose to park in a different section.

Now I can still get through security quickly as long as I can find a spot!

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My Packing Secrets

I have something to share with you.

My girlfriend said I must be an expert packer. Hmm. Frequent traveler? Definitely. Do I have some packing secrets I could share with her? Absolutely.

One night trips are easy. Fill my lingerie bag, grab PJs, the toiletry bag(always packed and ready to go), a suit, a shirt, jeans that work with the shirt I travel in and flats(ballet or oxford!). In the morning, I’m in my suit and heels, just need my makeup bag (only have one) and a small bag of cashews or a KIND bar. DFW – here I come.

imageLonger trips – different story.  I must use a list.  Yes, I write out the days I am gone, the events for each day so I can mix and match my outfits.  No, I don’t have to stick to what it says once I arrive but I will have numerous options if I plan it in advance.

First, the color choice.  Am I going with black or neutral shoes?  That determines everything.  the suit, the pants, the tops, the dresses….it all comes down to the shoes.

Next, the events.  Dinners at night or free time, tradeshow, client meetings or an internal conference?  Time to change after meetings or outfits that go from day to night?

My longest trip is our annual sales conference in California(4-5 days).  My standard outfit- black pants(Ann Taylor or Banana) or a black or gray suit, flats/heels depending if I am sitting or up and around most of the day, and on top, layers…a solid or printed blouse(Pleione is great), sleeve length dependent on location with a cardigan that I can wear on the plane so I don’t use room in my suitcase (Bobeau from Nordstom is my new favorite).  Two pairs of jeans(one denim, one black or gray) and another comfortable but business casual pair of pants(Kut from the Kloth).  And a belt, which stays in my bag since I seem to forget that the most.

The other trick – make the best use of the suitcase.  My TUMI is not perfectly flat so my flat iron goes on one side and my pajamas on the other.  Then it becomes flat and I can start folding sweaters and shirts like they do at retail stores(cross the arms and fold in half).  My toiletry case is flat and square so it fits flat or standing on its side.  Shoes always go in bags to protect my clothes. Sometimes I can get away with wearing the same suit twice in one trip if I only have one meeting on the first or third/fourth day.  And if I can, I hit the hotel first so I can change quickly and be comfortable when I travel.  Dresses are easy and don’t take up too much room in the hanging side of the suitcase.    In the winter I try to match my outfits to a tall, flat boot for both comfort and warmth so I don’t have to pack them.  In the summer, I can usually fit a pair of flat strappy sandals or flip flops in my backpack and leave my heels in the car between appointments.  I finally mastered the art to packing in one carryon for multiple day trips, regardless of weather.  The one exception – skiing.

Wait, let me correct myself. I was a frequent traveler with my old job. Now with only 1-2 trips a month, my suitcase is back in the closet where it belongs.  Jessica, hope Chicago is fantastic!  Bring me back some Garrett’s – caramel cashew please!

On the Road Review: Chicago

I have something to share with you.

I recently changed jobs so unfortunately I will not be visiting clients in Chicago every other month like before.  The positive side…I will be heading to some new cities for other events and team meetings.  So for my last trip (for a while) to Chicago, I grabbed lunch in River North(repeat visit to a great spot), had dinner with a college friend at a great Italian spot, had a solo breakfast to get me through my day and grabbed a quick bite at the restaurant in my hotel before running to O’Hare.

Siena Tavern
Love this spot.  The food is great, the service is great and it is so convenient in River North.  After my last visit for lunch I knew I wanted to come back and I was taking a client to lunch.  We started with an appetizer of octopus..and it was delicious.  She opted for a salad, my other colleague did too.  I lived on the edge…..”Carbonara in a Jar”.  Yup, the super rich, super heavy loved by me pasta dish.  They present it in a jar with the egg, shake it up and serve it table side.  I eat it on the rare occasion (well, maybe more) and after making it halfway through, I called it a day with a big smile on my face.

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Davanti Enoteca – Taylor Street
Time for some time with my college girlfriend and some good food.  She suggested a spot in Little Italy, or close by.  Lots of plates to share and great conversation.  We started with the mascarpone polenta + ragù of the day(today was a slow braised pork) and it was fantastic.  We then moved onto the prosciutto–veal meatballs and the brussel sprouts.  If only I could eat like this every day!
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Yolk
IMG_6780I had a full day ahead of me and wasn’t sure if I would have time to grab lunch.  So I walked from the Blackstone Renaissance (love this hotel) to Yolk.  I needed something to keep me going for the next 8 hours and ordered Challah french toast with berries to start the day and a cup of coffee.  Add the chill in the air and my day in Chicago was starting just right!

 

 

Mercat
The Blackstone Renaissance has a great restaurant on the first floor.  I have dined at Mercat once before and with limited time to eat and catch a flight, it was the perfect option.  With a successful seminar behind me, I started with a Mojito, and then shared two small plates with a colleague. Gambas Al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) and Costillas de Ternera – a flatbread with Beef Shortribs, Horseradish, Parmesan and Bacon Marmalade.  We ate and rushed back to O’Hare after two great dishes.  How I love this city!!!

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On the Road Review: Dallas to San Antonio Road Trip and Vacation

I have something to share with you.

Towards the end of the summer, we always have one week between the end of camp and the beginning of school.  And there are two options:  I take time off work and stay home with my daughter and plan some fun activities OR we leave town and have a short family vacation.  My vote:  family trip so we headed to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort for 5 days.

Czech Stop
imageNo drive from Dallas to Austin/San Antonio would be complete without a stop in West for kolaches. I have my one cup of coffee before we leave the house and wait patiently to arrive in West. And I splurge, just a little bit.  I order two sausage kolaches and one sausage and cheese kolache.  When I moved to Texas, I could not even pronounce the word and the only place I ever have them is when I drive from Dallas south on 35.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
We arrived early afternoon and did a mobile check in while en route.  The resort is north of the city and an easy drive from Dallas as long as you miss traffic.  There is always the option of stopping at the San Marcos outlets if you need to kill time heading to or from San Antonio but my husband said no – we are headed right to the pool.  It was packed when we arrived but keep in mind, it was the last week before school started.  Over the next few days, it cleared out and we had a great time relaxing in the lazy river, riding the slides, and spending time as a family.  They also have special kid activities(some free, others paid) that are super fun.  We did the painting activity(paid) and each took home a piece of art!

Cibolo Moon
Open for all three meals and offering buffets, we came here for three meals.  Two breakfasts and one dinner.  Dinner started with wonderful biscuits and homemade jelly, then we tried the chili and of course, shrimp and grits!  Super delicious.  Breakfast was also good but I recommend you use OpenTable to reserve a time.  It can get pretty busy!

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Crooked Branch
We were with a group of people so everyone had dinner at the sports bar but me.  I wanted to see what the options were at the lobby bar and all the moms were going to get together for a drink that night.  Flatbreads, grilled cheese, tacos…standard small plates.  
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18 Oaks
Our server was amazing for dinner so we came back for breakfast the next day.  At dinner we ordered a couple appetizers and shared a steak.  With the steak came a knife presentation.  They start the meal with homemade jerky, then my husband had the french onion soup and I had the Heirloom Tomato & Fresh Ricotta salad.  Dinner was a bone-in ribeye, creamed spinach and duck fat fries. My daughter ordered the caesar salad and loved it.

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For breakfast we had Cinnamon Sugar French Toast and Blueberry Pancakes.  Delicious.

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High Velocity
imageThe kids loved this spot.  Not because of the food but because of the tv’s.  Typical bar food, tried some nachos.  My husband had a sandwich.  It’s an easy spot to hit on the way back from the pool if the kids are hungry and you don’t want a full “dinner experience”.  And no reservations, so keep an eye on when they start getting full during busier times.

Megg’s Cafe
Last time we drove from Austin to Dallas, we stopped in Temple and ate at Wes’s Burger Shack.  This time I wanted to try something new and found Megg’s.  The menu was great – appetizers options that made it hard to choose, a variety of sandwiches and per my daughter, the best caesar salad EVER.  We started with the deviled eggs and wished we had ordered more.  We also had the brussel sprouts and they were fantastic.  The pork torta was ordered by both me and my husband and even though I cannot say it was fabulous, it was good!!  The breakfast menu looked great and they have a bakery by the front which is where we stopped to bring home some goodies for breakfast in the morning!

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