Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dirty South

Lately my blog has been travel, travel, travel- but hey, it is titled, LA Abroad- so deal. :)  We narrowly escaped the depths of Hurricane Irene on our recent vacation down south to Beautiful Emerald Isle, NC.  Emerald Isle was truly the most incredible east coast beach that I have visited- very cinematic and movie-like.  The beach was not crowded and the water was super warm- perfect for a relaxing, lovely vacation.  Ever played ladder ball?  It will change your life.  We rented a beach house with some friends, and had a blast playing in the waves, reading on the beach, cooking and eating some down south delicacies.  Also, I played Settlers of Catan for the first time- uh-mazing, the board-game nerd in me loved it.  If you ever want to play...holla!

The beach house- and Van with Kindle of course.

Moi, chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool- being mindful of the sun of course.  No premature wrinkles for me. ;).  PS The book that I finished on vacation and is pictured below, Super Sad True Love Story is really good.  Buy it/Borrow it and read it.

As I mentioned- we tried some Southern delicacies.  Our first dinner out was at Riverside Steak and Seafood in Swansboro, NC.  The food was good, and the portions were HUGE.  Literally enough for 3 meals.  I tried the Shrimp and Grits, and Van had the soft shell crab.

We obviously couldn't leave North Carolina without trying some authentic NC bbq.  This bbq style is known for the slow-cooked pork and the vinegar based sauce.  Really tasty.  We stumbled into this little joint called the Bogue House. Definitely not a fancy restaurant, but some great bbq, and I tried my first hush puppy- didn't do much for me.  I tried the shrimp and pork with collards and yams.  Also, VERY generous portions- and in case you don't know, (because I didn't) the fried tubes on top are hush puppies.

The outside of the restaurant...Ha! And the hot sauce and bbq sauce.

Finally- I had to add this whimsical photo.  My friend took it, and I think my camera was reacting to the humidity...but I still think it's such a cool shot.

All and all our beach vacation was perfect- relaxing, beautiful, and the indulgence in fried food was fun.  And, we didn't even have to be evacuated.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goodbye my Coney Island Baby

I just got home from my last weekend Summer trip to NYC.  Had so much fun of course- and we checked out Brooklyn/Coney Island/Brighton Beach for the first time.

Coney Island was pretty close to what I had imagined- kind-of a mix between Venice/Santa Monica- with a lot of east coast flavor mixed it.  We walked along the board walk and took in a lot of the sites.

The carnival was very old-school, and we of course had to go on the "Wonder Wheel"- with a swinging seat of course.

Further down the boardwalk we walked out onto the pier- and there were a lot of people crabbing and fishing- catching them too!

We decided to omit the hot dogs and ice cream for some Russian/Ukrainian food towards the other end of the boardwalk in Brighton Beach.  We ended up at this Pirate themed restaurant, Gambrinus.  I think that we were the only ones not drinking beer AND vodka.  Ha. Amazing.
We ended the excursion with reading on the beach, that was covered in glass- may I add.  How does that even happen?! Honestly- it must take a lot of strength and effort to break that many bottles on the beach.  Reading on the beach, minus the broken glass everywhere, was fun until the wind and rain picked up. 
Till next time NY, maybe a Dec. birthday trip is in the cards?! (Fingers crossed)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To the left, to the left

I've been wanting to discuss this interesting Pittsburgh concept for awhile because it is just so intriguing and polite and beneficial to humanity...the Pittsburgh Left.  Yes, I learned that it has a name thanks to my friend Ellen

OK- I will do my best to describe this action; it is a traffic description of when (on a 2 or more lane street) the red light turns to green and the stopped cars in the right lanes stay stopped in order to let (typically) either the first or second cars from the opposite lanes turn left.  (I wish you could see me talking with my hands right now.)  I apologize if my description is less than eloquent.  But it is basically when- even though a light turns green- cars will stay stopped until the first one or two cars can turn left, just to be nice.  Isn't that amazing?!  And no one behind the first row of stopped cars gets mad that they are waiting for the cars turning left.  Van and I could not believe our eyes.  We were probably the assholes who honked at the people stopped (the first time around) until we learned about the Pittsburgh Left.  I have also noticed that people in Pittsburgh compared to LA are so much more willing to let you merge and enter traffic from a side street or wherever...

This is not to say that there aren't bad drivers here- because believe me there are- they are everywhere.  However I think it is really cool how this traffic norm has developed- it just makes me feel better about humanity and not have as much road rage. 

Also, pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way matter what.  Crazy.

Thought I would share one of the traffic norms from this city.  Headed to NYC again this weekend, (my last time this Summer.)  Not sure what we're going to do there this time, maybe Coney Island? I'll take pix.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mid-Summer Book Review- Pittsburgh Today Live.  So, I was on a short segment on Pittsburgh Today Live (CBS Pittsburgh) this morning 08/01/11.  Very cool, fun, interesting experience- my first time as an adult on live TV.  Live TV is a strange beast, let me tell you.  My experience was a bit surreal, particularly sitting in the green room next to the Fonz.  No, seriously...Henry Winkler was sitting next to me.  Crazy.  Lol. He was also featured on the show this morning.  Also, the anchor Kristine Sorenson was very lovely and easy to work with on the segment.

Anyways, I was asked to do a segment to review 5 of my favorite mid-Summer books, I chose to do them for different personalities.  The book choices were:
1. For the funny girl, Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
2. For the adventurous girl, Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.
3. For the green girl, The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz
4. For the child at heart, Here We Go! Around the World Family Adventure by Walter Sorrells and Victor Tavares
5. For the eternal romantic, French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

You can see the segment here.

Thanks to everyone who gave me positive vibes and support and the outpouring of LOVE today! Truly appreciated- and I'm so happy that I was able to participate in this opportunity.  Feeling very blessed.  Viva La Pittsburgh. Cheers!