Top-5 Christmas Movies Lists

17 Dec

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Compiling a massive list of Christmas movies we recommend has been a pet project for a couple years now. Over the years, Caitlin and I have developed a list of must watches every year (It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph), some we mix in when we’re in the mood (One Magic Christmas, Die Hard, Home Alone) and then a few new ones we try out to see if they stick. Our collection of favorites grows and grows, but we still didn’t come close to covering the wide swath of Christmas movies of all genres, so we invited a few friends to help us cover all that Christmas has to offer.

We’ll go through top-5s from each of the following along with a bunch of our author’s over-all top-5s:

  • Animated and Under-Appreciated by Caitlin
  • Comedies by Brian
  • Dark Comedies and Action by Alec
  • Not Christmas Movies by Monte
  • Lifetime by Emily
  • Horror by Chris
  • Sitcoms by Rob

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Celebrating 30 at Disney World

6 Mar

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When I’d made up my mind that I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth, I was so relieved that Zack was on board. It’s an expensive way to turn the proverbial calendar to a new decade, but Zack respected that this was my wish* — and in the end, I think he had as much of a blast** as I did. We camped out at Coronado Springs from Monday to Saturday, giving us four full days to explore the parks. We did one park per day, and ended up with amazing memories and a solid ranking of our favorite rides and parks.

*Caitlin had been talking about a Disney World trip for years and after we went to Disney Land last year it only fueled the fire more. I had to help make her birthday wish come true.

**I really loved it too. I hadn’t been since I was 16 either so I loved going back and riding some old favorites with Caitlin and making new favorites together.

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Scooby DNA Revealed

5 Feb

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We’d always wondered what breed Scooby was. The day we adopted him at Austin Pets Alive, in April 2012, he was listed as an Australian Shepherd, but that didn’t seem right. We could clearly identify the German Shepherd marking on his forehead. He was certainly a mutt of some kind, but what else? Maybe a Basenji? Shiba Inu? We’d get different guesses from everyone who’d meet him at the dog park, but we wanted to know for sure. Still, it’s rare to feel like you have an extra $80 to spend on a dog DNA test. That is until Scooby started pulling his own weight around here. He got a small gig in an IAMS Facebook ad*, making us $150 which we figured we could blow half of on the test.

*I was in it, too, but I was definitely not the star of the show. Continue reading

Rock Love New York City

14 Nov

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Back on October 5, Zack and I took a trip to my favorite city to see my favorite band perform* in a world-class venue. This was about as far as our planning took us — we had a couple more activities on our must-do list, but this was probably the least-planned trip we’d ever taken**. From my perspective, this was by design. I wanted us to be able to wander new corners of NYC I’d never seen before. I’d come up with this plan to have us spend a day closing our eyes and selecting random stops on the subway map so we could really get a sense of the giant, bustling city that never sleeps. This ended up being a better plan in theory than in practice, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

*I should explain that we were here to settle our LCD Soundsystem bet. Since LCD played a show less than five years after “retiring,” she had to pay for a concert of my choosing. When Sigur Ros announced their tour and had no Texas dates, I suggested the idea to Caitlin. She happily bought our tickets and I cashed in free miles and we were headed back to NY.

**It’s true. Typically we over-plan our trips and try to pack in three days worth of activities per day. We had nothing more than the concerts, a late night comedy show at the Cellar and an afternoon matinee of “Oh Hello” planned.

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Rock Love Wyoming

25 Sep

img_0033We stepped off the plane directly onto the runway in the tiny, adorable Jackson airport just after 10 p.m. Friday night. Our bags had been waiting for us for hours so we scooped them up, hugged Suzy and Sky and headed to their condo, but not before making an important stop. We pulled over in a clearing on a dark road so we could look up and see the best sky full of stars Caitlin and I had ever seen. It was incredible being able to see the Milky Way and endless constellations lighting up the dark Wyoming night*. We enjoyed the view in the chilly 40 degree Jackson air and headed home to sleep and get ready for a busy day in Jackson.

*Right away, I turned to Zack and asked, “Is there some job we can do here so we never have to leave?” That’s how incredible it was. Continue reading

The Terminals

17 Sep

IMG_2166I’ve wanted to do it every time it’s been offered to me. Free travel. And all you have to do is hang out for a bit. There was always a reason not to do it. Work the next morning. A wedding we couldn’t miss. But there we were, having coasted through the Austin airport with TSA pre-check, ready for our flight to Wyoming. We’d enjoyed the quick flight to Dallas, grabbed Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, split a pretzel and were at our gate when the offer came over the intercom: “We’re looking for two passengers who would be willing to give up their seat for a later flight in exchange for a $500 voucher.” We thought about it, but didn’t pull the trigger. Then they upped it to $700 each, more than the cost of our trip. We consulted with Suzy, she suggested hanging with her one afternoon wasn’t worth $1400* so we should make a day of it at the airport. And like our boy Viktor Navorski before us, we made the most of our time in “The Terminal.” Technically, The Terminals. We were free to bounce around from one to another based on who had the best spa or ice cream options. Here’s how we killed 7 9 hours in the Dallas airport.

*I definitely disagree with this sentiment, but I also sincerely appreciate her flexibility so we could get some flight monies! Continue reading

Travaasa 2.0, or: How we learned that chickens can fly.

14 Aug

travaasamainWell hello, dear readers! It’s been a while since Zack and I took the time to update you on our lives — I like to think this is because we’ve been out there living them, enjoying the summer sun, swimming and playing cards* and drinking rum drinks to our heart’s content. It’s probably also in small part due to laziness**, but let’s not dwell on all of that. We’re here today to talk about our return to Travaasa, our favorite hill country resort & spa. Zack treated me to a trip there last year for our 5 year meeting anniversary, and we completely fell in love with the gorgeous scenery and mellow vibes. So, when Zack spotted a coupon for 50% off our stay with vouchers towards meals and spa included, we jumped at the chance to return to our staycation oasis.

*Our friends Lisa and Eric got us into Monopoly Deal and we’re addicted. We’ve loved playing while having a rum drink and listening to African Jazz or while watching the Olympics and American Ninja Warrior.

**I’ve been lazier. Caitlin got super into boxing this summer while I got into poker and less triathlon training in the 100 degree heat. It’s been a relaxing summer, but an enjoyable one.

In order to use our discounted stay, we had to book a night at Travaasa during the week. I took the opportunity to take Friday off of work, and so Thursday evening Zack and I trekked to Whole Foods to gather a smorgasbord of cheeses, breads*, sparkling red wine** and fruit that we munched on throughout the evening in bed while watching the Olympics. It was paradise, heaven, nirvana – perfection. We had ambitions to go swimming on that first night***, but once I had half a bottle of wine in me, I was glued to the comfy bed and drifted to sleep quickly.

*Caitlin picked out this melt-in-your-mouth brioche that was so tasty it didn’t even need cheese.

**We’re forever chasing the sparkling red wine we had in Venice and we were pretty close on this one.

***We’d also hoped to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower, but even out of downtown, we couldn’t see much and were content from our picnic and bed and a night full of watching U.S.A. take gold after gold in swimming and gymnastics.

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