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Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 9:26pm in ,

Mom and Dad came to visit Dallas last week. It’s been nearly a year since they last visited Dallas (but not quite), and I’ve since moved from Las Colinas to my new home in Uptown. The last time they came they said it was way too hot so they wanted to come a bit earlier this year at the end of spring. Unfortunately, they came during the rainy season. Last year’s rainy season was really dry so I didn’t really think much of it, but I guess this year’s rainy season was in full effect. We didn’t really get any super great sunny days, there was always overcast for at least a bit of the day (and usually rain, too). The weather definitely could have been worse though, and at least it wasn’t 90+ degrees every day!

They arrived on Wednesday and stayed until Sunday, so I took Wednesday through Sunday off. It was a fun vacation and a lot of family time. I went and picked them up Wednesday morning and brought them back to my new place to give them a tour. They liked the place about as much as I do (which is a lot). Mostly, they liked the free Starbucks machine in the cafe.

After a tour of the building and my unit, we went to lunch at Uncle Uber’s in Deep Ellum. It’s a sandwich shop. Highly recommended if you’re in Dallas.

Wednesday is popsicle day, so we went to meet my coworkers for some dessert popsicles at Steel City Pops.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015I get a new popsicle flavor every week. This week was Blackberry. Delish!

It started raining right when we got there, so we had to eat them inside, unfortunately.

We went to Northpark Mall because I wanted to show them Uptown Popcorn (one of my most favorite shops ever). We bought 4 different kinds of popcorn for later and the went and did a little bit of shopping. My birthday is coming up this Saturday so they said I could get some stuff on them! I picked out a mat for the bathroom and some new casual outfits at H&M.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Best shop ever

In the evening we went and saw Furious 7 at Studio Movie Grill. I had already seen it and loved it, but my parents wanted to go to a Studio Movie Grill again and had yet to see it. They also liked it, it seemed. By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, Furious 7 is basically 2 hours of perfect entertainment. It’s really good, you should go watch it right now.

We called it a night pretty early because Mom and Dad hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. We picked it up early in the morning the next day by heading to West Village and taking the old trolley around. It was also my first time on the trolley.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Riding the trolley in West Village

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mom and Dad

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mission control

It was a nice little ride, and it took us all the way downtown. I looked out the window and saw that Chase Tower was right down the street and the trolley was coming to a stop. I had read the previous day in the Dallas Observer that it’s free for the public to go up to the 40th floor of the Chase Tower and it’s a great view. So, we decided to get off the trolley and go check it out.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Chase Tower

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Going up

It was easy to get in, and not crowded at all. I suppose it was a Thursday afternoon, after all. We got visitor passes and went right up to the top.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Four corners

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015View from the top

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015All three of us

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Selfies at the top of Dallas

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015This panorama facing West side didn’t really turn out so well because of the reflection on the glass, but it’s still pretty cool

We took our time taking in the view because we were the only ones up there. We took a lot of pictures, too. When we finally went down we walked around for a bit and grabbed an Uber back to West Village.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 20152000 block of Ross Ave downtown

We saw that the Texas Rangers were playing at 1:05 so we drove over to Arlington to catch the game. We ended up with some pretty great seats considering it was a weekday afternoon. It wasn’t that crowded and the sun even came out! That wasn’t necessarily a great thing though, because we didn’t bring sunscreen and we got a bit sunburned.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Globe Life Park aka Ranger Stadium

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015They were playing Kansas City

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015We got some beer and ballpark food

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Family Day!

We had some great unobstructed seats, but unfortunately the Rangers lost pretty badly 6-3. It’s okay, it was still fun!

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mom and me outside the stadium

After getting all that sun though, I was super sleepy. I went home and took a power nap before picking up my parents at their hotel to go out for dinner. We went to dinner at Brain Dead Brewing Co. in Deep Ellum. We managed to snag a patio table and got some food. The food was GREAT. Another recommendation if you live in Dallas.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Brain Dead!!

We had some great local beers at Brain Dead. Once we started drinking we decided to just keep drinking so we hit up some other bars in Deep Ellum like The Green Room and Red Light Tavern. We also got donuts at Glazed, which is how you know you’ve had a good night.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Deep Ellum

On Friday, it was raining. We had a bit of a late lunch and started off at Maple & Motor for the best burger in Dallas (in my opinion).

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mmmm Maple & Motor Burger

The burgers were so good. I got mine pink in the middle with swiss cheese, grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, fried egg, and crispy bacon. If you know of a better burger in Dallas, I wanna hear about it.

Since it was raining we decided to go check out The Perot Museum of Science and Nature.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015The Perot

It’s a uniquely shaped building with a lot of modern architectural elements.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015The coolest part is this slanted hallway

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Looking up inside from the 1st floor

The museum itself is pretty popular in Dallas and I’ve heard so many times that I need to go. It’s been a year and a half and this was just now my first time going. It’s funny, I’ve been doing a lot of things for the first time since my parents showed up. You live in the city, but never do things like that until you get visitors. I think I picked out some really fun things for us to do.

For dinner we went to Grimaldi’s pizza in West Village (also delicious). We were planning to go to the spa, but after we had some wine we decided to just keep drinking and go to Ten Bells Tavern in Bishop Arts District.

On Saturday morning we had brunch at Henderson Taphouse with my coworker Cody and his girlfriend, Grace.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mimosas and Brunch

I also gave them a tour of the office and we hit up Klyde Warren Park to check out the food trucks. We were lucky enough to have some nice weather again.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Beautiful day in the park

We had just had brunch, so we just checked out the dessert trucks. I got a small ice cream sandwich from Cool Haus.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Sea-salt caramel ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Dad and me

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015Mom and me

On the way home we picked up some champagne at the Kroger and spent the rest of the day at the pool. We didn’t really have any plans that day other than relaxing and taking it easy.

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015At my pool

Mom & Dad Visit Dallas 2015A beautiful last day in Dallas

I hope that my parents had a great vacation! I know I did!

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Posted on Sunday May 10, 2015 at 10:19pm in ,

The weekend of April 25th was my second conference with rewardStyle. They bumped up security a bit this year and we were all given badges.

rStheCon 2015We had to check everyone’s badges at the event if we were on security duty

There was a volunteer schedule we could sign up for during the week to go to The Joule downtown to help set up. I signed up all of the days just to get out of the office a bit and to get away from my desk for a bit. JT, Nathan, Blake, and I went to help out on Thursday afternoon, mostly lifting things. It was a still a nice day away from the office, and we got some exercise, too.

rStheCon 2015Outside The Joule. You can see its iconic infinity pool stretching out over Main Street

rStheCon 2015Dallas was really foggy on Thursday

In between lifting stuff, we got some coffee at the Weekend Coffee shop and took the rS bikes for a test-drive around the city.

rStheCon 2015It was nice and cool for a quick bike ride

We also managed to get a peek at the pool:

rStheCon 2015Joule Pool

rStheCon 2015You can see the eye from the edge of the pool if you stand on the side

The next day was Friday, the official start of the conference. Although we were volunteering, there was significantly less to do that day other than security. The conference seems to go smoother and smoother each year, with all of the aces in their places at the right time and not a lot of hustling around. There was some downtime from 4 until 6 when the cocktail party was supposed to begin so we went up to the pool for some drinks with the California team.

rStheCon 2015Got a nice shot of the succulents by the pool

At 6:00 the cocktail happy hour hosted by River Island started on the eyeball lawn. We had a giant tent set up in case of rain (we weren’t blessed with the beautiful sunshine we had for last year’s cocktail party). It did start raining though, and we had to ferry all of the publishers to the tent with umbrellas. When we finally had everyone across, we got to relax and have a few drinks.

rStheCon 2015Time for some champagne

rStheCon 2015River Island did a great job with the set up

rStheCon 2015Mustache props

Unfortunately, the weather did get severe enough where the party had to be moved inside to the Midnight Rambler. We had to ferry everyone back across the street yet again, and we all ended up getting soaked despite having umbrellas. Oh well. We lifted some more boxes, had some more drinks, and then I went to Deep Ellum with Cody, Tim, and Taline from the London team. It ended up being a really fun night.

The next day was the main day of the conference with the main stage sessions featuring Amber and Baxter. I showed up a little bit later in the morning, after Cody took me to get my car. I took a stroll around downtown and waited while the sessions were going on.

rStheCon 2015A beautiful day in Dallas

rStheCon 2015A quick peak at the main stage

rStheCon 2015Amazing chandeliers inside

After a bit, Forrest, Gary, and I went to find a room key to get up to the pool. We sat poolside and had some drinks until the Londoners came up and joined us. Alex and I sat, drank, and chatted poolside for a while and enjoyed the sun. Soon, more Londoners came up to also enjoy the weather. Pretty soon we had a nice pool party going on.

rStheCon 2015Poolside

rStheCon 2015Anna and me

rStheCon 2015Alex and me

rStheCon 2015Me with the rest of the Londoners (most of them)

In the evening, we had a big finale party planned on the Margaret Hunt Hill pedestrian bridge. We started to get prepped for that, then I went home to change for the party. I was on bus duty, making sure everyone got to the shuttles. I was a bit late to the party because of the bus job, but it was pretty lively by the time I showed up.

rStheCon 2015Panorama of the bridge party

There was a band, a dance floor, and an open bar. Pretty much the recipe for a great party.

rStheCon 2015Oh, and fireworks

Dallas approved our fireworks for the first time since the opening of the bridge and…

rStheCon 2015They were beautiful

rStheCon 2015LIKEtoKNOW.it napkins at the bar.

And after the party, it’s the … after party!

rStheCon 2015Woo woo!

The next day was a pretty chill day, everyone mostly was recovering from the night before. I went back to the Joule in the afternoon and went for a swim in the pool. Some of the Londoners wanted me to take them to an In-N-Out because none of them had been to one before. Of course!

rStheCon 2015Their first In-N-Out. Team rS!

rStheCon 2015Taline and me outside

We went back to the pool to finish out the day. The Londoners went to a mav game, but I went back home shortly after that because I could feel that my apartment was starting to miss me. I will leave you with this one last cool photo that Alex took with my camera by the pool:

rStheCon 2015Helloooo Dallas

This was definitely the best conference yet. Everything went super smoothly, everyone had a great time, and the whole week leading up to it as well as the weekend itself was a ton of fun. I didn’t even feel like I was working most of the time. I already am excited for next year!

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Posted on Saturday April 04, 2015 at 5:30pm in ,

Last weekend, on the same day as Foam Wonderland, I also moved out of my first apartment in Texas. I packed up all my stuff throughout the week, reminisced a bit, and said goodbye to Las Colinas. I didn’t think I would miss Las Colinas much, but actually I do miss it a lot. It is out of the way, and I never did anything there but go home. But now, there’s a nostalgic feeling of “home” somewhere over in Las Colinas that I can’t go back to anymore. Now, I live in uptown. Much closer to work and much closer to everything else I do in Dallas. It’s definitely bittersweet. It’s so much more convenient to live in uptown, but I definitely miss the beauty and nostalgia of Las Colinas. It’s funny timing, just around this time last year I was re-decorating my last apartment. I kept a lot of the same design ideas when moving into my new place.

The complex I moved into is called Echo. I love my new place. It’s bigger, beautiful, a brand new complex, and just a few minutes from work (exactly 2 miles away!)

Here are some pictures of my new place. Note, it’s still a work in progress and I’m still getting set up. I am for the most part unpacked, though.

Moving to UptownPanoramic view from my new balcony

Moving to UptownPanoramic view from my new balcony looking in

Moving to UptownKitchen

Moving to UptownKeeping it simple

That’s the dining room / living room. I think I will leave the dining room empty to give it that more minimalistic feel. I put up two bar stools at the counter so there is space for eating, as well as space on the couch. I may get a bigger table, although I’m not yet for sure on that. I did get rid of the trash can there (my complex gave me a new one that I am required to use for the valet trash, so I didn’t know what to do with my old one in the meantime. It looks a bit awkward by the sofa). I also now have my Tokyo, Japan print hanging above the couch as well.

Moving to UptownEntryway looking right, towards the bathroom

Moving to UptownBedroom / Office

Moving to UptownI love the huge window

Moving to UptownHome office. Where all the fun happens.

Moving to UptownTwo doors into the bathroom now. Cool floating vanity.

Moving to UptownThe floating vanity has underlighting

Moving to Uptownsup

My new place is amazing. It’s more expensive than my Las Colinas apartment for sure, but I do save money on the washer/dryer I was renting because that comes included in my unit now as well as the TV and internet service which I was paying a separate fee for before. It’s a bit roomier, but no storage unit. Luckily, I don’t have anything to store anymore, as most of what was in storage was Jenny’s. The pool area is fantastic. I can see a lot of great summer pool days coming up in the near future. Also, can’t beat the location!

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Posted on Tuesday December 09, 2014 at 6:00pm in ,

This Thanksgiving was my first in Texas. It was also the first Thanksgiving I didn’t go home for. With plans to go home for Christmas, and Christmas only being one month away, I decided to stay here and have a Friendsgiving for everyone else that wasn’t celebrating with family.

Jenny and Drew’s Friendsgiving Extravaganza only got a few responses as most people were going home to celebrate, but JT and Abel showed up. Jenny did all of the cooking and meal planning. She made an amazing feast, but definitely overkill for only four people.

It was Jenny’s first time cooking a Thanksgiving meal by herself. She did a great job.

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaMr. Turkey getting ready for his day at the sauna

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaBacon mashed potatoes. She put bacon in everything

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaBacon deviled eggs

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaHam covered in bacon and pineapple. Yes, there was a ham and a turkey

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaFinished turkey

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaTasty turkey

The food was all great, and there was way too much of it. There was also gravy, rolls, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and oreo pudding dessert. JT and Abel each took a bunch of leftovers with them.

The Friendsgiving wasn’t all just food, though. JT also helped us mount our living room TV.

Friendsgiving ExtravaganzaPow! Much nicer

This frees up some space on the shelf below. Maybe I’ll put a sound bar there or something.

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Posted on Sunday November 30, 2014 at 10:45pm in ,

Ever since Larry moved out to LA to work at Space X, Bryan had been saying that we should make a trip over there to hang out. I really liked LA the first time I went. Bryan had never been to California, Larry knew the area well after living there for over a year, and I missed California, so it was the perfect place to visit!

We planned to fly in to LAX and meet there, since we all lived in different cities now. Jenny also wanted to go to LA, so she came with, too. We booked our tickets in October and flew out on Friday, November 7th. We had a super early morning flight (6:30am). We didn’t want to pay for parking so we planned to take the DART train to the airport around 4:30am. We packed at night after work, took a two hour power nap, then were very quickly woken up by our noisy alarms to get on the train. We actually were a few minutes late getting out the door so we had to sprint to the platform to get there on time. But, we made it just in the nick of time, heavy backpacks and all.

On the train we could relax a bit. It was only the second train of the morning, and the whole train was empty except for one or two other people. It took about 20 minutes to get to the airport. We went through security at terminal A because it was way less busy than our terminal, then took the skylink to terminal E. We got some Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and then waited for boarding.

Our flight was pretty cramped, but that’s how it is when you fly Spirit. Oh well, it’s super cheap.

Los Angeles WeekendLanding in LA

Our flight landed a bit early, and Larry was already at the airport. He picked us up and drove us to his place. He gave us his car to use for the day, and then he went to work on his motorcycle.

Los Angeles WeekendLarry’s street

Los Angeles WeekendStepping out, going exploring

The first thing we did was go to a CVS to get some supplies we forgot. Then, we went to the beach. Larry lived 2 blocks away from the beach, literally just down the street. Such a convenient location! We ended up spending most of our trip on the beach.

Los Angeles WeekendHermosa Beach

Los Angeles WeekendThe Pacific Ocean

Los Angeles Weekend

Los Angeles Weekend11.7.14

Los Angeles WeekendWriting stuff in the sand

Los Angeles WeekendMe on the beach

Los Angeles WeekendI tried to write “Drew ❤‘s LA” but the ocean erased it before I could finish

We had lunch at Brother’s Burritos, a mexican restaurant on the beach. It was set up similar to Chipotle, but it took a while to prepare your food and it was much higher quality. We did a bit of shopping and then we still had quite a bit of time before we had to pick Bryan up from the airport, so we decided to head down to Venice Beach in Larry’s car.

Los Angeles WeekendVenice Beach

Los Angeles Weekend

We saw a skate park while walking down Venice Beach, it seems like skateboarding is pretty popular in LA. Dallas only has one skate park left, and it’s not very good.

Los Angeles WeekendSkate Park on Venice Beach

Los Angeles Weekend

Los Angeles Weekend

Los Angeles WeekendJenny snapping some pictures of the skateboarders

Los Angeles WeekendWalking down the boardwalk

Los Angeles WeekendSunset on Sunset Av

The sun started to go down, and we started to walk back to the car, catching the beautiful beach sunset. We checked out a candy shop that Jenny wanted to go into, and she ended up buying a ton of stuff. “We can share it with the guys later!” She exclaimed, picking up handfuls and handfuls of assorted sweets.

We went and picked up Bryan from LAX and brought him back to Larry’s place to drop off some of his things. It was great to see Bryan again, for the first time since April. I actually don’t remember the last time I had seen Larry, but it must have been almost a year. After Bryan dropped off his things at Larry’s, we went to Space X to see Larry get off with work around 7:30.

We got a great tour of Space X by Larry. Although we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, I feel like I’ll remember the tour for a long time. It was a very impressive building, even bigger than I expected it to be. But, I suppose when you’re housing rockets the building needs to be pretty big.

When we finished the tour (it took about 45 minutes), we went to a delicious Hakata Ramen shop and had dinner. The food was amazing. We ate until we were so full we couldn’t move, then we went back to Larry’s place to chill for a bit before heading out to a nearby bar within walking distance. All of the bars were packed because it was Friday night. We were all pretty tired after getting a bunch of sun that day and waking up early, so we headed home early to get some rest.

The next day we had brunch at a restaurant Larry recommended called Sunny Spot. The food was great there, as well. Also, bottomless mimosas.

When we were so full we couldn’t move, we went back to Venice Beach, this time with Bryan and Larry. We stopped and got some iced coffee on the way, and checked out some local shops. We also stopped at a food truck for second brunch. When we got to the beach, we headed for Santa Monica Pier.

Los Angeles WeekendSandy beach

Los Angeles WeekendView from the pier

Los Angeles WeekendSanta Monica panorama 1

Los Angeles WeekendSanta Monica panorama 2

Los Angeles WeekendCool bird, checking out my camera

Los Angeles WeekendJenny and I

Los Angeles WeekendThe three amigos: Larry, Bryan and I on Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles WeekendJenny standing in line for ice cream

We decided to ride the Ferris Wheel so we could get the best view. We bought our tickets and got in line. The sun was just starting to go down as we got into the cart, perfect timing!

Los Angeles WeekendView from the top

I also took a short video on the ferris wheel.

Los Angeles WeekendJenny and Bryan

Los Angeles WeekendAnother view of the top

Los Angeles WeekendJust Bryan

Los Angeles WeekendJust Larry

Los Angeles WeekendJenny and I on the Ferris Wheel

Los Angeles WeekendThis is the wheel we rode on

Los Angeles WeekendOne last view of Santa Monica

Later in the evening we planned to go to Avalon, a fancy Hollywood EDM night club. First, we needed to take a break, though. We went back to Larry’s place and took naps and showers. Around 10, we left the apartment, got some energy drinks at the nearby and CVS and then drove downtown. We got to Avalon, and we beat the crowd. We got some drinks, found seating upstairs and chilled there for a bit. Bryan wasn’t feeling well though, and Jenny didn’t want to be there, so we ended up heading home early. Larry and I danced for a bit, but we felt bad leaving Jenny and Bryan up in the seats by themselves so we came back and we all left early together.

Los Angeles WeekendAvalon

Avalon was a really neat club, definitely the classiest club I’ve ever been to. The drinks were expensive though, about $14/drink on the low end. That’s about twice the price of Dallas and four times the price of Eau Claire. It was worth it though, as Bryan enjoyed his first time at a club.

The next day, we spent the whole time on Hermosa Beach together. It started off cloudy and chilly, but it warmed up and cleared up really quick around 11am. We put on our swimming suits, grabbed our towels, and hit the ocean. After a day full of swimming and sun bathing, we hit up In-N-Out by LAX for our last LA meal. It was also Bryan’s first In-N-Out.

It was another awesome trip to LA. I love California, I hope I can go back again soon!

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