Tag Archives: friends

Searsucker in Austin

Searsucker in Austin

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

It’s so cool when online friendships become offline meet-ups, particularly when they happen in fabulous new places. Our Twitter pilot friend PJ just happened to be flying from his home town of Houston to Austin to see Alton Brown when we were in the area. PJ suggested we have dinner at Searsucker.

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

Searsucker is one of the newer eateries in the Warehouse District, and the 7,000-square-foot space fits in beautifully with the other eclectic offerings.  The decor is vintage Americana meets Anthropologie, and I just wanted to move right in. I’m already figuring out how I can translate the style to our RV!

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

Our small plate selections included Lobster Mac & Cheese and Spicy Shrimp & Cheddar Bacon Grits.

Chef Brian Malarkey is a “Top Chef “finalist and is currently a judge/mentor on ABC’s new cooking competition show “The Taste” along with Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre. His New American menu at Searsucker is innovative and interesting. The “small” plates are actually full-size meals, something PJ and I wished we realized before we ordered four of them! (Mike, a less adventurous eater, stuck with steak and potatoes.) Everything was delicious, and the service was attentive and friendly.

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

Dessert was the King Sundae. We skipped the caramelized bacon but thoroughly enjoyed the PB Cup ice cream, bruleed bananas, whipped cream, and Cracker Jack bits.

Austin, Chef Brian Malarkey, friends, New American, photography, restaurants, Searsucker, small plates, Texas, The Taste, Top Chef, travel, Warehouse District

PJ was super excited when Chef Malarkey strolled by our table. He’s apparently not always in the house. We asked our waitress if we could meet Chef, and he came out soon after our request, shaking hands and posing graciously for pictures. PJ was thrilled! Between meeting Chef Malarkey and seeing Alton Brown later in the evening, it was quite a night for him! We were glad to part of the whole thing, especially getting to know PJ in person and enjoying an amazing dinner in an amazing city.

Dinner with Bobby & Sue from Living the RV Life

Dinner with Bobby & Sue from Living the RV Life

 friends, Los Cabos restaurant, meet-up, meeting new friends, meeting online friends, Mexican food, motorhome life, Oklahoma, Owasso, photography, podcast, RV life, travel, Tulsa, tweet-up

Well before we hit the road, we found the RV community so helpful and welcoming.  Mike and I joined forums like iRV2 and listened to podcasts like Living the RV Dream with John and Kathy and RV Navigator with Ken and Martha.  These communities have provided invaluable information and resources.  But, more important, they give the RVing life personality and a feeling of camaraderie.  Meeting those we’ve chatted with online or heard over the stereo is like reconnecting with long-lost friends.

That’s why we were so excited that our stop in Tulsa was just 45 minutes away from where Bobby and Sue, from the Living the RV Life podcast, currently live.  Bobby and Sue haven’t moved into an RV yet, but they started the podcast to chronicle their journey toward living a simpler, mobile life.  Aside  from sharing their story, they do terrific interviews with other RVers and noamdic entrepreneurs.  They interviewed us in November of 2013 for episode 16, and we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.

 friends, Los Cabos restaurant, meet-up, meeting new friends, meeting online friends, Mexican food, motorhome life, Oklahoma, Owasso, photography, podcast, RV life, travel, Tulsa, tweet-up

As we motored toward Tulsa from Waco, Texas, we emailed Bobby and Sue to see if they could get together.  Lucky for us, they had time for dinner.  We met at Los Cabos restaurant in Owasso, a nice halfway point between our two locations.

Bobby and Sue are even more delightful in person.  Over chips and salsa, we chatted up a storm about our first six months on the road and where they’re at with selling their home, buying a rig and Bobby’s new job.  There was lots of laughter interspersed with serious moments when we candidly shared worries and down times.  For us, it was terrific to talk with people who get it, even though they haven’t started motorhoming yet.  I hope it was great for them, too, despite the fact that they couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

If you have a chance to meet up with your fellow full-timers, don’t hesitate to see if they’re free.  Part of the joy of this lifestyle is making new, wonderful friends, especially those who celebrate the vagabond vibe like you do.

Life is beautiful

Life is beautiful

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

A few years ago, Downtown Las Vegas was so rundown and scary that people wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, never mind wander around down there.  But with the Downtown Project and other revitalization efforts, the area has been transformed into a quirky, happening destination for couples, kids, art lovers, and hip bar hoppers.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

Jenn and I doing our best cranky model impersonations under the “Life is Beautiful” mural on the wall of the El Cortez hotel

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

The inaugural two-day “Life is Beautiful” festival took place in late October, drawing celebrity chefs and popular bands, the likes of which you’d normally only find at the mega casino-resorts of the Strip.  The event brought 40,000 tourists and locals to experience the new “neighborhoody” feel of Downtown.  Designed to reflect the festival’s inspirational message, giant murals were painted on a dozen walls, mostly abandoned motels and hotels, the Container Park and a few businesses like the El Cortez.  These shots represent just a few of the fantastic several-story-high works of art.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

Even though the festival is long over, most the murals remain, which was the hope of festival organizers.  Their goal was to foster pride in the community, beginning with what we see as we walk by.  Although Mike and I no longer live in Vegas, I was delighted to see these enhancements.  I’ve always had great affection for Downtown.  I worked in the area for a number of years.  I met Mike at a Downtown bar, and I lots of great meetings at restaurants and coffee shops there.  These gorgeous, colorful murals made me want to move back all the more.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

What are you making?

What are you making?

MakingALife

After adding a new gig to my freelance repertoire, I sent a text to my girlfriend Christie.

I’m slowly cobbling things together for new my career.  It’s funny to me to think of what I was making before… and now.

Her response made me pause.

What you are making is memories that you otherwise couldn’t have – and been stuck behind a desk.

Old habits – and thought patterns – really do die hard.  They’re much more ingrained than we ever realize – until they’re challenged.

As much as I’ve considered myself an “outside the box”, “live your dreams” kinda gal, my career has been somewhat traditional.  I’ve worked for someone else with a full roster of benefits, and I’ve worked my way up the ladder wherever I’ve been.  I’ve been proud of that: proud of my success and accomplishments, proud that I could support myself entirely if necessary, proud to do something that seemed important.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about all that, but there are other paths to follow.  So many of us say we want to go down that other road – making a life doing something we’re passionate about as opposed to just making a living.  But, when it comes right down to it, we don’t usually do it.  We don’t want to deal with the discomfort of the unfamiliar, the loss of financial security, the isolation of being different, the risk of failure or looking like a fool.  I have an adventurous spirit and lots of support for my new career from Mike, my family and my friends.  Heck, it’s one of the reasons Mike and I decided to do this RV thing: to give me time and opportunity to create a fab and funky livelihood.  And yet, I still have doubts about this new direction sometimes.

Christie is right.  I’m making memories that I otherwise wouldn’t have.  I’m making a choice to get unstuck from the desk and see what kind of vibrant vocation I can whip up for myself.

What I’m making is worth way more than any salary I had previously.  What I’m making is priceless.

Are you happy with what you’re making?  If not, figure out what you want to make… and then go for it, doubts and all.

DIY: A hostess gift on the fly

DIY: A hostess gift on the fly

HostessGift1

We hadn’t planned to see Lori and Julian and meet their little girl Shayla, but suddenly, we were having dinner with them the next day.  It was wonderful that we happened to be in the area when she and her family happened to be free.

I was super excited to reconnect with my friend of 22 years and for Mike to meet her.  I just wasn’t as prepared as I would usually be for such a get-together.  Back in Vegas, in our stick house, I had a craft room with a corner devoted to gifts: trinkets, baubles and edibles, containers, wrapping, embellishments.  The whole shebang!

HostessGift3

In the RV, we just can’t afford to waste space on that kind of stuff.  I now have a craft box, and it has to meet all my DIY needs, including gift-giving.  I also need to be more mindful of expenses now that Mike’s the only one with a big income.  I thought fast and created a hostess gift on the fly: four chocolate-covered pretzels accompanied by a small bottle of red wine.

I simply stacked the pretzels in the tissue paper (securing the edge with clear tape), tied the ends with raffia, and added the label.  It was a an easy but appealing way to thank Lori for sharing her home with us – without breaking our budget.  And we could focus having  a great time at our reunion!

LoriAndMeNovember2013

Getting our sea legs

Getting our sea legs

Sailing5

Our last day with Grant, Barbie and Catie was spent on the water.  We motored down to Fort Monroe, about 40 minutes from our campground in Williamsburg, and boarded Grant’s boat, “Hedonist”.  After lunch, we headed out.  The weather was lovely.  We had fair winds and following seas, making for a relaxed, smooth ride, ideal for Mike’s first time on a sailboat.  Catie and Barbie whipped up magical Painkillers in the galley, and we sipped and chatted while cruising by one of the largest naval shipyards in the world.  Returning to the slip was rougher.  Even having taken my travel sickness pill, I was queasy, so I was relieved when we docked.  After some more conversation and lots of hugs all around, we bid a bittersweet goodbye.  Our visit had been more wonderful than we ever anticipated.  We were looking forward to moving on to D.C., but we were sad to leave our newly rediscovered family.

Sailing1

Sailing2

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SailingMikeAndElisabeth