2/28/09

One Day in Salt Lake City


Off again to the wild blue yonder. Salt Lake City looks to be pretty out-doorsy as far as attractions go and I get enough of that wonderful fresh air, snow and mountains home in Alaska so I won't feel the need to snowboard, snowshoe or hike in the icy hinterlands. When I looked at TripAdvisor.com the Hard Rock Cafe made the top 10 sites to see so I didn't have a lot of hope for seeing something unique, but I have dug up a few possibilities. I only really have one early-afternoon and evening to spend, which usually means a simple walk-through downtown followed by research into the local cuisine. It can't be all that bad, it is the land of Dooce after all. I may add one of the following options:

The Tracy Aviary
  • http://www.tracyaviary.org
  • info@tracyaviary.org
  • Address: 589 East 1300 South Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • Tel: 801-596-8500
  • Winter Hours - October 20th - April 9th 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
  • Summer Hours - April 10th - October 19th 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Clark Planetarium
  • http://www.clarkplanetarium.org
  • info@clarkplanetarium.org
  • Address: 110 South 400 West Street Salt Lake City, UT 84101
  • Tel: (801) 456-7827
  • Opens at 10:30 AM, 7 days a week;
  • Closes following the beginning of the last show of the day.
  • In general, closed Sunday at 6:00 PM, Mon - Wed at 8:00, Thurs at 9:00 PM, Fri & Sat at 11:00 PM. Click here for daily schedule of shows.
Salt Lake Temple
  • Address: 50 W. North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84150
  • Tel: 801-240-4872
  • only exterior publicly viewable
Salt Lake City Library
  • Address: 209 East 500 South Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • Tel: 801 524 8200
I won't be here on Thursday, but if I was I might stop by and watch the Mormon tabernacle choir rehearsal. Location: Tabernacle on Temple Square (occasionally the Conference Center), Duration: 1 ½ hours, but you may come and go as necessary, Hours: Most Thursday evenings from approximately 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM, Tickets: Visitors are welcome. There is no charge.

Here is a Walking Tour I found. I'll probably create my own when I get back.

2/27/09

Have a Cup of Tea


It's Friday afternoon and I am sipping my tea. Have a cup. It revives you. I am longing for the days when I can take my afternoon tea outside. A day at The Agrarian Kitchen sounds like heaven to me.

2/24/09

If Your Plans Call for Travel, Don't Forget Your Hotel

Even veteran travelers make really stupid mistakes. For example, I was looking at my conference registration for this weekend and realized that I registered for both Friday and Saturday even though I was attending only on Saturday. After fixing the problem I called up the hotel to make the change there and they couldn't find my registration. Apparently um, I didn't book a room! Wow, that would have been the worst travel mistake I've made in awhile. I guess I probably would have discovered the problem when I printed all of my confirmation sheets on Friday before boarding, but I'm glad I took care of it now. It would have been all too easy to not print the hotel confirmation and instead just show up and check-in only to find I had no room.

Bonus, I discovered that Marriott is having a MegaBonus promotion where you receive 2,500 points for every paid stay you make, starting with the second stay. With two upcoming trips, which both happen to be at Marriotts, I'll actually get to take advantage of this offer. I put info on how to take advantage of this offer below in case anybody has some upcoming travel which could be at a Marriott.

Keep in mind that a stay is defined as non-consecutive night's stays so can't just check-in/check-out each day like I've been done in the past to maximize points/stays. A good tip for travel newbies, although slightly inconvenient sometimes would be to switch between two next-door hotels with stacking bonuses. I've been known to stagger between two hotels at a week long conference and get 3 stays at one and 4 stays at another racking up per stay mile rewards and per night hotel points. So instead of getting 500 miles and 20,000 points/night I would get 3,500 miles 20,000 points/night + 2,500 points/stay after the 1st one. Yeah, it can be a pain, but when I spend a week in Hawaii for free at the Marriott on Waikiki beach it will be so worth all the hassle.

  • Follow These 3 Steps To Get MegaBonus

    Register: Go to Marriott.com and login to Marriott Rewards, go to the promotions page and select the red "Register" button to the right, or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468).

    Stay: At any of more than 2,900 participating Marriott brand hotels between February 1 and April 30, 2009.

    Earn: 2,500 Marriott Rewards bonus points for every paid stay, starting with your second stay. You can earn a total of up to 25,000 points.

2/20/09

Have a Cup of Tea

Now here is a sentiment after my own heart. Tea Revives you. So have a sip this afternoon and give thanks that its Friday. 

This photo is from Selina Lake book -  Bazaar Style: Decorating With Market and Vintage Finds. I totally love the poster.

2/19/09

Thinking

You know you've been watching too much BBC America when you have a slight British accent when you're tired instead of your usually increasingly Southern accent as bed time approaches.

2/18/09

"Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries"

Unnecessary necessaries in writing annoy me. Having a job which involves contract documents written by non-lawyers means I'm exposed to this writing flaw more frequently than most. I am often guilty of this cluttered writing style, its something I'm working on. There is a way to construct a phrase without needless adjectives, adverbs, or extra verbiage. I'd like to point out a good article which the blogger/author Timothy Ferriss recently recommended to improve writing style. So feel free to nitpick my blog posts. I'll try to proof-read better before hitting "publish" in future.

2/17/09

2/16/09

“It’s never just a game when you’re winning.”

The above explains why we don't have a Wii yet. The idea of having Wii bowling only a remote control away would just put too much competitive stress on our little family. I want Wii fit though...

2/15/09

Building a Professional Travel Wardrobe

Work Travel Essentials
Work Travel Essentials

If you've watched the show Tim Gunn's Guide to Style then you'll know that he believes that ten properly constructed pieces which fit properly will bring out your best features and form the core of any woman's wardrobe. The following is my shopping list for a dream travel wardrobe based on these 10 essential items. I went on Jcrew.com to create my list, but these pieces are standard classics that you can accumulate over time when things are on sale at a variety of places.

Things to keep in mind are choosing mostly neutral colors and accenting with accessories as well as making everything as layerable and mix-and-machable as possible. This means you can go longer with less items. I actually really like this list, enough that several of these items which I don't already own might be making their way to my closet very soon.

I also added two pairs of shoes, both quite small when packed. The flats can go with the jeans or the suit and slip on and off making them airport friendly. The kitten-heels are the perfect height to be fancy and dainty, but not kill your feet, which will probably be swollen anyway. These heels go with all the skirts and dresses I have chosen, but are perfectly sleek enough to wear with jeans.

1. Basic Black Dress - The basic black dress has been around for a long time. It is often called the "Little Black Dress", and it's true that shorter skirts on the basic black dress, when they hit you in the right place, can be more flattering than a long black dress.
-This black dress is elegent enough to wear to an awards dinner or out with an important client, but can also have a cardigan belted over it for a less formal occasion. "Elegant in crisp cotton cady with a subtle sheen. Sleeveless silhouette. Fitted bodice, slight A-line skirt with front and back pleats. Scoopneck at front and back. Inset waistband. Side-seam pockets. Back zip. Fully lined. Falls above knee; 21" from natural waist."

2. Trench Coat - The trench coat is one of the pieces that is both classic and currently a hot fashion item. Most any store sells this piece now. It is great for fall and you can pick it up in a wide range of lengths. "
-I actually have two of these, one designed for actual rain in black and a softer almost snuggly cotton one in beige. I like this one for its simplicity and classic fit. "Straight shape. Rounded collar with topstitching. Double-breasted. Long sleeves. Self-belt with adjustable closure. Vertical flap pockets. Back vent with functional tab closure. Back flange. Interior piping and welt pocket with contrast triangle. Fully lined. Falls to thigh."

3. Classic Dress Pants - Although it doesn't say black, this is probably what you want to look for. Black is flattering on all figures and goes with everything.
-I chose charcoal as it is a more forgiving color to travel with and a crepe wool which relaxes its wrinkles much faster. "This light, lovely wool crepe has a soft matte texture and a very fluid drape. In the office or out on the town, it's easy to wear and keeps wrinkles at bay. Zip fly. Slant pockets."

4. White Shirt - The white shirt is a definite classic. But it can also come in many different styles to make it look trendy and not dated or like a man's piece of clothing. Find one that accentuates your best attributes and minimizes trouble spots. For example, if you have wide shoulders, stay away from large collars.
-I interpreted this one to allow off-white as I find white gets pit stains too easily so white shirts don't stay in my travel wardrobe long. I like this shirt under a blazer with a suit or over jeans and unlike the standard button down its flowy shape makes it more forgiving after a big business dinner. "Sumptuous silk georgette with a carefully pleated ruffle neckline—perfect for layering or wearing alone. Classic fit at bust, with a flowy bodice. Standing collar. Pleating at center front."

5. Jeans - Everyone has a pair of jeans, but does everyone have a pair of jeans that make them look great? The wider leg, low-rise jean style has been popular (and still is) but a narrower leg is coming back along with a higher waist, which eliminates the unflattering "muffin top" look. -These were chosen specifically for your off hours as jeans still aren't universally accepted work wear. I did choose a dark wash so that they can be dressed up more easily. Pair these with the jacket and white shirt, or polo and trench, or polo with the sweater belted over it, or...you get the idea. "Square through the hips for a boyish slouch, with a straight leg. Japanese cotton denim. Sits lower on waist. Eased through hip and thigh, with an easy, straight leg. Belt loops. Button fly."

6. Cashmere Sweater - This is one item probably not many people own. But including it forces people to buy a piece of clothing that is high quality and that is also a luxury item. Having a cashmere sweater in your closet is like giving a gift to yourself. And aren't you worth it? "
-Cashmere when traveling isn't the most forgiving fabric so I chose a merino wool instead. The perfect finishing touch to any outfit—layer it on. "We love it ladylike and belted, or casual and comfortable over jeans and shorts. Merino wool in a 14-gauge knit. Enamel buttons. Fitted. V-neck. Rib trim at neck, cuffs and hem. Long sleeves."

7. Skirt - If you need dress pants then you also need a skirt. A skirt is womanly and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men. See number 8.
-Modal is one of the best travel fabrics out there. I chose a shape which can be dressed up or down. "The perfect skirt for sunny stroll in a comfy cotton/ Modal® rayon/spandex blend. We love it just as much with strappy sandals as we do with sneakers. Swing skirt. Elastic at waist. Welt pockets. Hits above knee."

8. Day Dress - Women also are not wearing as many dresses anymore. It was certainly liberating to go from the '50s when women wore dresses every day to wearing more practical pants for gardening, exercising, and so forth. But the dress does not have to be abandoned altogether. They can be very flattering, and there is nothing wrong with "dressing up" for daytime.
-I almost never fly in a suit as its just a disastor waiting to happen and I know I'll need it on the other end of my travels. Even with a tight schedule I'll still probably favor throwing on a dress, leggings and pashmina and changing in the airport bathroom over flying in jeans or a suit. "We love this more refined, sophisticated jersey viscose so much we called it "dressy". We're wearing this dress all season long, from the beach to brunch. Jersey viscose/spandex. Fitted bodice; fuller, flowy skirt. V-neck with ruched pleats at the center for a flattering silhouette. Short sleeves. Straight, flowy hem. Falls above knee; 21" from natural waist."

9. Blazer - The blazer sounds very masculine, but when you get the right one with a proper shape it is not. Women's blazers should follow the silhouette of a woman's body and accent the hourglass curve at her waist. It is also a perfect piece to put with the skirt or dress pants, and white shirt. Or make it casual with a pair of jeans.
-Again, wool crepe is wrinkle friendly.

10. Sweat Suit Alternative - As mentioned before, women wear fewer skirts and dresses these days. But some women have taken casual to the extreme and spend days on end in sweat suits. It is possible to be casual and comfortable without looking like a slob. Find a comfortable material (that's why this doesn't say jeans again – denim is not as comfortable as a nice soft cotton) that you would want to wear every day. It could be khakis, cords, a cotton dress, or much more.
-I thought about selecting khakis here, because really, who doesn't love a pair of khakis? But since I already have jeans in my theoretical travel wardrobe and would never carry both in my carry-on I chose this cute dress instead. It can be worn as a skirt or a dress making it truly travel friendly. Cotton/spandex. Strapless.

11. Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item
I went for a bag fancy enough to carry as a purse, big enough to be an overnight bag or a laptop bag and made of a nice leather.

(In the second season, the Jacket replaces the Blazer on Tim's list, and the Any Occasion Top replaces the Cashmere Sweater.)

12. Jacket: -"Flounced and feminine in midweight Scottish lambswool herringbone with soft ruffles and just a bit of swing. Ruffle at collar and down center front. Updated for fall with long sleeves. Patch pockets. Interior piping. Fully lined."

13. Any occasion top: Here I chose a Parisian polo with a longer placket so it can be layered. Layers are the key to comfort when traveling and this gives you more options. "Ooh-la-la: it's a flattering, fitted take on a classic, in lightweight cotton piqué with an extra-long placket. Rib trim at collar and cuffs. Short sleeves. Tennis tail (slightly longer in back). Hits at hip."

It all adds up to hefty chunk of change, but think of it as an investment. Also, I have equivalents to almost all of these pieces that I have accumulated over the last 7 years. I fly roughly 150k miles a year to a wide variety of events and know that having a good go-to set of travel clothes is invaluable. I shop with coupon codes which give me on average 25% off, so this can be done without spending a ton, you just have to collect and curate. For those of you who have read my other travel wardrobe posts and worry about my selections, this was written from the perspective of someone with access to hotel laundry if necessary, traveling with only carry-on bags for less than two weeks in the US. (So any OBOW readers still out there, yes I know that this isn't the most practical handwash list). If I was going international or for longer periods and needed to hand-wash then I would have different selections. There is no way I would lug a trench coat, a blazer and a jacket to Paris. Also, I would never bring all of these items on one trip. This would be my core wardrobe that I mix less quality, more transient items in with.

Please comment with any of your favorite pieces that I forgot, stores, coupon codes, or other wisdom.

2/14/09

Thinking

Who needs a winter wardrobe when the world has warm husbands? Happy Valentines everybody.

2/13/09

Have a Cup of Tea

Have a cup of tea. It relaxes you. Plot how to do something nice for your sweetheart this weekend without making it seem like you're doing it just because it's Valentines.

This set of heart-shaped tea set items is from Wagokoro-Ya and is available at Generate Design, where all shipping is free to US and Canada.

2/9/09

Theme of the Week

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday"

2/8/09

Hunt Gather

I've been known on more than one occasion to turn to the man in my life with a pitiful face and say: "You, go, hunt, gather." This is his cue that I'm too tired, absorbed in my TV show, or otherwise disinclined to cook and that he should either cook himself or pick up the phone. Today my stomach has been giving me fits and I've spent the better part of the day curled up in a ball in the bathroom or snuggling the remote and nursing a cup of tea. Finally, after a day of moaning and groaning, I turned to him and said: "Hunt, gather." which surprised him as he was expecting me not to want to eat until Monday at the earliest. Sweet man that he is, he masked his surprise and simply asked what I wanted. Upon divining that the mashed potatoes I was craving were not a practical possibility as there were no potatoes in the house, he went and procured some from the grocery store. Sweet, sweet man. If I'm ever pregnant, he'll be great. He has already mastered holding my hair reassuringly while I'm sick and satisfying irrational cravings when I'm not feeling well. Side note, must remember mashed potatoes are awesome on an upset stomach.

2/7/09

Measuring Success Without a Scale


I, like many people trying to get in shape and lose weight, am not the best of friends with the scale. On some of my best weeks of eating well and working out it won't budge and sometimes the scale goes down inexplicably after I had a Carl's Jr. Guacamole burger (yum). So, in order to stay on track, I need both motivation (our upcoming trip to Hawaii) and a means of measuring success without a scale. Although a generally downward trend on the scale is still important. To date I have found the following to be successful alternates to the scale.

1. Measure with a tape measure instead of a scale

2. Hold onto your skinny jeans and try them on occasionally.

3. Listen to yourself. The more successful I am and the more I have changed the more I hear myself say "no thanks," bring me the doggy-bag with my meal, grill my fish don't fry them, give me my salad dressing on the side. I'll actually see myself stopping when full and pushing the rest away, whereas I used to belong to the clean plate school.

4. I have learned to trim down food associated occasions to be healthy. It's amazing that I totally switched out all of our Super Bowl snacks for healthy ones and the guys didn't notice. I thought that the switch from cheesy pizza and nachos to healthy veggies and salsa would throw them for a loop, but instead they chowed down, wooped and hollered and went home happy.

5. I have learned to reward myself without food. Instead of eating out with appetizers, dinner, and dessert I just splurged on a pair of Lucky jeans. After my first 5 pounds I got a nice new set of pilates gear. When I'm down 5%, I will be going to the spa.


6. When I exercise now I'm not dying after only 5 minutes. I am exercising without exhaustion and can concentrate on form.

7. The last and most completely satisfying way of measuring my success without a scale has been the complements that I've been getting. I don't know if its because of the weight I have lost or the energy I have showing through with my self-confidence, but I have worked hard and my efforts are paying off.

2/6/09

Have a Cup of Tea

Ah tea, my mid-afternoon delight. Have a cup, it recharges you.

Kristybee is a Boston local with an awesome Flickr account. This photo is one of hers.

2/5/09

Hawaii Wishlist


Hubby has an upcoming trip to Hawaii in May for an Army meeting. He'll be busy 3 days and they will pay his airfare, but we are planning on extending the trip a few days on either end and spending a week there total. It is providing just the necessary motivation to stick with the Weight Watchers meetings and complete food journaling. I call this image my Hawaii wish list. If my wishes are full filled I'll be wearing the two-piece bathing suit, but I would be content rocking the coral colored one piece as well. I could totally go a full week packing only the items above. Two dresses and two pairs of shoes and a cardigan to throw over-top in the evening. One of the dresses is nice enough to go to dinner in at night. All I would add is some toiletries, a pair of jammies and maybe my new Macbook for blogging. A girl can dream anyway, especially in this weather. So that's my wish list.

Thinking

Facebook 25 things meme=bout of viral narcissism.

2/3/09

Addicted to TV I Can Pause


No, I didn't get a TiVo, that would just be a recipe for disastor to my career, but I am watching TV on DVD. I don't know if I have an addictive personality or what, but whenever I watch TV shows on DVD I find it difficult to stop. I watch "24" for 24 hours solid if I can. Thankfully each season of "24" is nice and self-contained. When we watched Alias, we watched all 5 seasons solid, pausing only to sleep and go to class (since we were students at the time). Now, an evil friend has loaned us the complete series of Stargate. Ten 22 episode seasons. Now this wouldn't be too bad if we were still students, but as working professionals it is a bit harder. We are now two walking zombies who eat, sleep, watch Stargate and go to work. It isn't that great of a show, but we're still addicted. As engineers we are constantly attacking their science, and hubby laughs at their getting the military parts wrong (he teases that its because they are all Air Force), and don't get me started on exposition or plot continuity, but hey there must be some reason we are still watching, must be the characters *laugh*. Heaven help us if we ever get a Tivo and can play, pause, rewind and record live TV.

2/2/09

Thinking

Nothing like night classes to get you caught up on blog reading, e-mail sorting, etc. Man, I've missed being a student. Death by Power Point, so slow, so painful