Crowdsourcing a Travel Itinerary

Do you ask questions? All the time? Like a 4-year-old riding a Skittles’ high? It’s a habit I developed at a young age, along with a rather unfortunate character descriptor: “Cathy? She’s like a dog with a bone.” However, this inquisitive tendency serves me well on the road. People respond to questions with generous amounts of information. Who doesn’t want to tell you where to go? Occasionally you feel like the locals are trying to take you for a ride, as if you’re a city slicker in an episode of “Green Acres“, but generally you’ll garner priceless insider tips.
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My Kingdom for a Sharpie

Favorite commercial of all time?  Probably the Staples one with the dad dancing through the aisles with his depressed children as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background.


Back to school season. New notebooks. Shiny binders. Push pins.

In packing for our beach house family reunion, the thought of office supplies did not occur to me. I was too busy loading boxes full of coffee, salt and pepper shakers, band aids and aloe. My sister-in-law arrived with forest-killing amounts of paper provisions. With 18 people using the bathrooms, you simply can’t have enough toilet paper. At one point, I considered giving everyone a lanyard so they could wear a personal roll around their necks. Continue reading

Goodbye, Hilton. Hello, Couch?

During my semester abroad I was shocked when the doorbell rang. It was early afternoon and the flat was quiet. The only visitors we had received were the neighbors complaining when there was a noisy, late-night party. I opened the door tentatively and was surprised to find one of my roommate’s fraternity brothers standing in the hallway.  He explained that he was awarded a Watson fellowship to study the dinosaur exhibits in European natural history museums. To extend his meager budget, he asked if he could crash with us and save his hostel money. Nuestra casa es su casa; I ushered him in. We enjoyed his company and he enjoyed our sofa and shower for a couple of weeks.

Would you consider staying on a friend’s couch while vacationing?

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It’s Restaurant Week!

The Hudson Valley’s annual prix-fixe promotion for lunch and dinner at some of the area’s finest restaurants runs November 4-17.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

If you live somewhat proximate to any U.S. city, I bet you can find a similar celebration some time during the year.  Denver does theirs February 22-28; North Carolina’s Triangle Area celebrates January 20-26; Boston’s is March 16-28.  It’s a great way to sample a new restaurant, experiment with different cuisine, or just a terrific excuse to get together with friends. Continue reading

Secrets of the Sweet 16 Revealed!

Plan on watching the games at your local bar? Bring along one or two of these “did you know” facts about the Sweet 16 to cheer up your buddies as their brackets implode.

By Sanjay Acharya via Wikimedia Commons

By Sanjay Acharya via Wikimedia Commons

Wichita State – The original Pizza Hut was opened in Wichita in 1958 by two enterprising students. The name? They were told the restaurant looked like…well, you can guess the rest. The building was relocated to the campus from its downtown location and serves as an inspiration to undergrads:  “if you build it, they will eat it.” Continue reading