UT vs A&M Chili Cook-Off

After working the night before at the hospital, Lauren and I stayed up to attend the UT vs A&M Chili Cook-Off. Of course Taya and I are Longhorns; we converted Lauren to a Longhorn for the day. We taught her how to hook'em too! The cook-off was held at a roof top bar. Lots of Longhorns present and very few Aggies. We know how to represent!
We sampled all different kinds of chili. Some were spicy, some were sweet and some were burned. We all had a different favorite and voted accordingly for the People's Choice Award.
It was a beautiful day (one of the first since we've been in New York); the beer was cold and they even raffled off cases of Big Red. Lauren had her first tasting. I think it might have been a little too sweet for the Blue Hen.
After the Cook-Off, we headed to Hill Country BBQ with a lot of other Longhorns. Brisket and Blue Bell were flowing. I made lots of new friends by carrying my 12 pack of Big Red around.
After being a sleep deprived the whole day, we headed home to clean-up for Kim's Birthday/Finishing Finals Party. We had been awake for 24 hours by this picture. The evening continues on in the next post.

Fun in Brooklyn

We planned a great afternoon in Brooklyn, NY. We were headed for some "Best Of" Pizza and The New York Transit Museum. I had been looking forward to the Transit Museum since my first day in the Big Apple. I decided to start our photo journal off with a picture of Lauren on the working subway for our trek to Brooklyn. If you didn't know, I do love to ride the train and I got a nice long ride this day. First stop was for pizza at Di Fara. This little 73 year old pop pop is from Italy and immigrated when he was around 17. He is the only one that makes the pizza. His sons help at the counter, but only pop pop makes the pizza. He does it because he enjoys it.
It was the quietest place I've been to in New York and the most patient I have seen people. This pizza is totally worth the wait. He grows his basil in a window box at the shop and imports his tomatoes and cheese. It was SO good!
Next stop was the New York Transit Museum.
The museum is located in a real subway station that is no longer in use.
They had all the turnstiles they have ever used at the subway terminals.
The one Lauren is standing at is from the early 30s and mine is from the late 30s. Wish it still cost 5 cents to ride the subway.
Can I help you? Would you like to buy a ticket? Do you need directions?
We didn't learn just about the subway, there was also history on the bus system and the bridges of New York. That's me adjusting the mirror of my bus!
Went a little further back in time for this one. Don't I strike you as your friendly neighborhood bus driver.
A level below the museum was where they kept all the old subway cars. They were all open and you could walk through. Which of course created great photo opportunities for Lauren and I. The track is still live, so mind the gap!
We think they should bring back the wild colors!
All aboard! These train cars had ceiling fans. I can only imagine how hot it much have been back in the day.
This is the money train. It used to ride along the track and stop at the subway stations and collect the money. 'Kinda like an armoured car for the subway. They are painted bright yellow.
Dollar dollar bills y'all! Lauren counting some money on the money train.
And to top it all off I had a ball in the gift shop. My two favorite purchases were my apron above with the city subway map on it and a set of playing cards (one deck looks like a metro card and the other a subway map). This was one of my favorite New York activity days!


Coco Bongo: Ellyn's Birthday Trip to Mexico

Seeing as the 30th Birthday is such an exciting event. I decided to continue the celebration south of the border with a couple of my girlfriends. Headed to a resort in Playa del Carmen with Lauren and Valerie. This picture above is the view from our hotel room. That's just the small pool. Once we found Valerie, we threw on some swim wear and headed to the bar for Margaritas (I mean, we were in Mexico).
We immediately met a group of friendly Canadians at the big pool. Once they heard it was my birthday, they promptly made me take tequila shots from the bottle.
Seeing as they won this bottle of tequila playing a pool game. I venture to say it was not of the highest quality seeing as it tasted like beef jerky.
Spreading the party around!
Dos pina coladas por favor!
Waiting for our pina coladas at the pool bar on swings. The weather was very warm and humid.
We encountered funny animals walking back to our hotel room. I have NO idea what these things are. We felt there should have been some sort of animal education at the resort.
Did I mention we were in Mexico...
It's my birthday! First dinner we had was at the Asian restaurant. I wasn't sure if the appropriate term was Mexasian or Asican?
The Mexican service people really liked our board. They are extremely fluent in speaking English, but MUCH slower at writing it. Don't worry, we were patient and even helped with some spellings!
This is what took him forever to write. Did I also mention how flirty those Mexican men were.
Our waiter was named Edmundo, but we preferred to call him E-D Mundo. He was very generous with the free birthday tequila...oh wait, all our drinks were included.
They brought my dessert out with a candle and singing. After which they made me stand and all the wait staff were standing in a line, they quickly ran through the line giving me a hug and then running to the back of the line to repeat with the birthday hugs. Very entertaining for those at the tables around us.
After our dinner, we headed over to the night club. Please note the sombrero and tiny Mexican blanket on the white board. Thanks go to Valerie!
Day 2
First full day at the big pool. Our only mistake was to take chairs near the activities area. Had to say no to lots of things like dance lessons, yoga on the beach, games, etc. The only thing on our agenda was drinks poolside and reading our books.
Second dinner was at the Seafood restaurant. We were already feeling the effects of the sun that evening at dinner. We all vowed to do better on the sunscreen the next day. You have to watch out for those wrinkles when you're in your 30's.
Day 3
We decided to change it up and stay at the smaller pool for our second full day. We were excited to hear pop music that we knew over the load speaker at this pool, but by the time we heard Katy Perry three times before lunch...it was getting old. Please note the sun hats as we were on our do better plan with sun exposure.
Continuing on our different food restaurants every night, it was time for Italian. Of note, our favorite salad bar at the resort. It started raining after dinner, so we were lucky enough to hop on the multi-seat golf cart for a ride over to the club.
We ordered some after dinner beverages and whipped out our on-going Uno game. Larry King decided to come out with the ladies this night.
Did I mention the rain turned into a down pour?
Day 4
We went back to the big pool for our final full day in Mexico. We got some prime seating away from the activities area, but of course that didn't stop them from trying to get us to do dance lessons or archery. But we did partake in water aerobic. Had to work off all those pina coladas some how.
It's me and my little Mexican sweetheart.
Three ladies in Mexico posing outside the Mexican restaurant. The only place we didn't eat at the resort.
Cocktail hour in a snazzy outdoor lounge.
Last dinner was at the French restaurant. My favorite of the whole trip! They change their menu every night. After four days of eating non-stop, I was finally full.
Our very friendly waiter at the French restaurant. We left him a $20 tip and he was ecstatic.
This trip was SO much fun. I can't wait for more of my young friends to turn 30 so I can help them celebrate in the same fashion.