Monday, 23 March 2015

Texas Recap!

Hey y'all!

A few of you will already know this, but Mr. Faff and I spent the last couple of weeks back in Austin, visiting my family and friends.  We returned Saturday morning, retrieved Isis, and spent the rest of the weekend unpacking and catching up on sleep, and of course, I put a little time aside to write up this post for you!

Texas Trip Recap

Before we set off, I did two beauty modifications to prepare myself.  First, I got a hair cut and added a fun new color - bright red tips!

Second, I gave myself my first-ever gel polish manicure (so I wouldn't have to fuss with it while we were on holiday)!  I'm really pleased with how long it lasted - this picture was taken last night, a full 17 days after application, and I've not had any chipping or peeling or any other problems!  You'll also be able to see that I took a vacation from my moisturizing routine as well, oops!  Gotta get back on that asap!

ASP Rio Carnival gel polish manicure
Two coats of ASP Rio Carnival gel polish, one coat of OPI DS Titanium on ring finger
We spent the night in a hotel near Heathrow to avoid the 2-3 hour drive before our morning flight, thus giving us a little bit more rest before we set off.  That night we elected to dine in the hotel's restaurant, where I had a small encounter in the difference between labeling menus in the US vs. the UK.  When I ordered the langoustine and crab linguini, I expected a bowl of pasta with chunks of lobster and crab.  I did NOT expect this:

I don't like how he's looking at me!
Where I'm from, that's a crawfish.  Apparently people on this side of the ocean don't know they can get full-size lobsters out of the sea?  Also to note: there were no "chunks" of anything in that dish - the crab meat was shredded down to tiny bits and completely beyond recognition, so I still don't know exactly what I ate besides a little mudbug.  Oh well...

The next morning we took the only direct flight from London to Austin, via British Airways.  I will be really frank about this, because that's who I am.  It sucked.  We normally fly United because it's the cheapest, but we have to change planes to get to Austin.  It just worked out this trip that BA had a comparable price and we thought it would be so much better if we could cut the travel time by at least 3-4 hours, leaving us more energized on each end.  Suffice it to say, BA was a huge let-down in terms of clusterfuckery with information about which gate we using, actually getting our plane TO that gate, service/meals on the flight, and seat comfort (much narrower than United, and the lifting armrest between our seats didn't actually fully pull back to the level of the seat, meaning we had to leave it down or suffer an armrest jabbed into our armpits).  Both leaving and returning, we had to be bussed between the gate and the plane to a completely different terminal by a bus driver who thought he was auditioning for the next Speed movie.  To put it mildly, it was the most miserable set of transatlantic flights either of us have ever had to endure, and we've each done a significant amount of pond-hopping.  BA has a lot of nerve charging so much more for their flights, considering how much less you receive.

However, travel pains aside, we had an enjoyable trip.  After a day of rest, we piled back into our rental car with Mom and headed up to visit family in East Texas.  This included a day in Dallas, where Mr. Faff was able to cross a destination off his bucket list - Dealey Plaza.  We hiked around the area and got a good street-view of the crime scene, then headed up into the former school book depository, which now features a fully fledged JFK museum, but we were only able to take pics from the 7th floor, so this is one flight up from the famous window.

Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas

Also on that trip we were able to check out the Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive, a series of bronze sculptures of Longhorn cattle and a few cowboys rustling them on horseback.  It's an immense display and I couldn't get a single shot of the full piece (though I did get several piece shots).

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive sculpture Dallas Texas.

After returning from our mini-roadtrip, we caught a Sunday afternoon ballgame at Disch-Faulk Field, where the Longhorns were finally able to snag a win over the West Virginia Mountaineers.  After losing the first two games of the series that weekend, it was a highly emotionally-charged third game, so I'm glad we were there for the win rather than the losses.

Of course we also did a lot of visiting with my friends back home, did some karaoke, and even visited the Austin Aquarium (although I HIGHLY DO NOT recommend that anyone else go there - total ripoff and I just felt sad for all of the animals inside).

I was able to do two more gel manicures on a couple of girlfriends, who each, oddly, chose the same base polish of Madam Glam Vintage Pink.  I will have another post about my experience with Madam Glam, but as a heads up, it's awesome!

Madam Glam Vintage Pink gel polish manicure.

Courtney chose to have ASP Sweater Weather polka dots, and her accent nails received a second dot of Gelaze White on White over the sparkly brown.  I used the Madam Glam top and base gels for these.

Madam Glam Vintage Pink gel polish manicure.

Pam needed birthday nails, so she got her initials on each thumb with a tiny dot flower, and polka dots on her ring fingers, all using White on White.  I also used the Madam Glam top and base gels for these.  I can't wait to hear how their manicures hold up.

Madam Glam Vintage Pink gel polish manicure. Madam Glam Vintage Pink gel polish manicure.

Of course, we also did a bit of shopping, and I'll show off my full hauls in another post (maybe in lieu of the next Hey, Swatch It! Saturday), but suffice it to say I got a bit of regular polish and a bit of gel polish mostly all on sale, a few clothes, and a bit of makeup, as well as finally retrieving my Mundo De Unas stamping polishes which have been sitting at my mom's since about 3 days after we came home last October - stoopid post office!  Oh, and we also ate like stinking pigs, as we always manage to do while we're on vacation.  However... how could you turn these down?

Birthday Cake Oreos

Almost as a farewell gift, Mother Nature decided to land two beautiful birds in my mother's yard on the morning we left.  At the feeder is a gorgeous lesser goldfinch, and on the ground is a subadult cardinal.  I'm sad that I couldn't get better pics but if I'd opened the door to avoid the screen, I would have spooked them both off.  The goldfinch was a new addition to the backyard birds this year, whereas the cardinal and his parents have all been visiting daily.

Lesser Goldfinch and Cardinal at backyard Texas feeder.

I hope you've all had a wonderful couple of weeks.  I'll be playing catch-up on comments and emails over the next week or so please be patient with me.

Have a great week, and I'll see ya Wednesday!