Friday, November 20, 2009

Dr. Oz- Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite

We all want to bring home cool souvenirs from travel but one thing we DON'T want to bring back is bugs!

I just saw on Dr. Oz how to avoid and prevent bringing home these nasty stowaways and wanted to share here.

1. I have a bad habit of breaking rule NUMBER ONE. Keep luggage near the door NOT on the bed. Make sure that your luggage is as far away from the bed and bedding as possible.

2. Have a general inspection for obvious signs (which doesn't mean they aren't there). Look for dark spots on the base of bedding and around the bed (headboard, under drawers in nightstands, behind pictures near the bed). I'm curious how I would handle finding the evidence. Would you really want a new room at this hotel? what if you are in a foreign city and don't know if you can FIND another room!!! Note to self...plan back up hotels!

3. When you get home take everything and HOT WASH IT or directly dry it. This will kill bugs as well as eggs. Place not launderable in closed bags for a few days to kill the bugs as well.

Ech I think I need to go shower. And burn my bed. And my clothes. A new reason to get a new wardrobe, eh?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So it works like this: In the last year I have travelled to
Washington DC
Las Vegas
New York
Las Vegas (you may notice a trend)
Nassau, Bahamas (and Orlando as it was a cruise)
Las Vegas
San Francisco
and then next month Las Vegas

I'm not sure how that happened. I certainly didn't intend for every other trip to be Vegas, but as that is where Craig ALWAYS defaults in wanting to vacation we end up there. A few short distance trips within Texas aren't included but the purpose of this list is because I watched two movies. And if you can possible follow the crazy workings of my mind I would like to share the freakiness of these movies:

State of Play with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck

Duplicity with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts

Let me back up a bit and talk about my trip to DC (Where State of Play was filmed) I had asked my friend to take me to Ben's Chili Bowl because I had seen it on Samantha Brown (see I do love her!) and when we were there Ben himself was sitting upstairs and he signed a book for me about the restaurant. It was pretty serendiptous. I had travelled to DC for a conference with my friend's work and I had spent a little time at her office. So imagine my laugh as we watch the movie and I turn to my husband and say...oh I love Ben's Chili Bowl I made K take me there.

At which point I know he thinks I am showing off (which I tend to do in movies that show European locations). So I KNOW he thought I was full of crap when they show the outside of russell crowe's work and I'm saying OH MY GOSH. That is K's office! I was there too. I actually called up her address on goggle maps and used street view to show him it was the same place. FREAKING CRAZY HUH!

So then I'm watching Duplicity and i'm shocked that the movie plays like a WHERE ANDREA HAS TRAVELLED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS travellogue. (Minus dubai because frankly I have zero interest in being there anyway) I totally caught the Pantheon in Rome. It completely took me back to our trip there. Then New York and then ATLANTIS in Nassau where my friend K (the work place in DC person) and I snuck in with the help of our Cabbie Nigel who was an ex-cop and knew the guards at the hotel.

So it works like this
State of Play>
K's Work>

So I watched two movies from completely different locations that linked together for me through my travels. Wonder what other movies I can do that to!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking for me, I'm Underground

Yet another magazine I read is Budget Travel. I wish they were a bit bigger but their premise is that EVERYONE should travel and because of their open audience you find fewer ads for Hermes and Cartier. Both brands I will likely never own in my life. I can barely afford knockoffs.

Their December/January issue had a notice about a list on their website that finds the best Underground Tours in the World.

A Nazi hideout
An ordinary door in Berlin's Gesundbrunnen train station leads to an abandoned air raid shelter that reveals Berlin's dark underbelly: an array of secret bunkers, escape tunnels—even an aircraft factory—built by the Nazi regime during WWII and expanded during the Cold War. Berlin Underworlds' Association, 011-49/30-4991-0517,, 90-minute tour $13.

My son would LOVE this so it's definitely making the list of things to do. They offer several options and I'll let him decide which one we will do.

Craig and I went on an Underground tour of Rome with Context Travel (have I praised them enough because I LURV them)

I was sure to vote for them when they were a finalist for NATGEO's awards.

Context was also kind enough to recommend a person to contact in Germany who might be able to create a private tour for my son and me. I'll post if anything turns up with that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Andrea Uncertainty Principle

The amount of importance a purchase has on my life is inversely proportional to the stress I make over the decision.

Buying a house = no stress
Buying a car = little stress
Buying a lawnmower = moderate stress
Buying a mini notebook for travel = high, anxiety inducing stress.

I had less stress paying for an purchasing the $2000 laptop I use for work!

As soon as I got the great idea that I would purchase a laptop and add skype so that I didn't have to worry about phone cards etc during my trip to Europe I set out to buy a net book, ARGH the choices and ARGH the possibilities.

I was really stressing over this until the past two months a couple travel magazines ran choices on netbooks. See there is a reason I have subscriptions to THREE travel magazines (and it's more than the fluffy, screeching toys my kids won because I signed up for eleventy billion magazines) (all of which are now in the trash).

BOTH magazines recommend the HP MINI 110 and the TOSHIBA NB 205-325. So right now my debate is if 5 hours of my life is worth $70. Because while the HP 110 is $330, it only lasts 4 hours. Which is barely a plane ride to Atlanta. I'm debating the Toshiba simply because 9 hours is a freaking long time and I really think it would be worth it!

Will post later my choice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hamburgler has been alerted...

Ever wonder about the marketing genius who came up with the felon character for children? The Hamburgler? Really? Whatever their purpose I have to say if they wanted me to think of him and his black and white stripes every time I see a burger it worked!

After perusing the Travel and Leisure Best Hamburgers in America slideshow my first thought was "Hamburgler has a lot of travelling to do!"

Not sure WHY I spent 5 minutes looking at 10 pictures of a food I'm not terribly fond of, but I figured i'd share...and if I make it up to Austin I shall sample and lend my 2 cents :)

Monday, November 9, 2009


When I was nine years old we travelled to West Germany and I enjoyed the time. My grandmother was German and she and her mother had travelled to visit my aunt (whose husband was stationed in northern Italy) and I can remember Granny telling me that great-grandma was said that they couldn't see her family (who was all in East Germany).

Additionally my father was Czech and I never as a child thought I would be able to travel to the land of my ancestors. East Germany and Czechoslovakia were firmly rooted behind the iron curtain.

Today, on the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down my heart beats heavier. I can remember walking down the hallway my freshman year in high school and Lydia Radnik coming up to me telling me that the Berlin Wall had come down. I didn't even know what to say it was so unreal to me.

And now I am planning a trip to take my son to Berlin and Prague and the meaning is so much more than new places and new experiences. It is my homeland. The place where my ancestors decided that they wanted something else for their families. Something better than what they could see was happening to their countries over a 100 years ago. I wonder if I would have the strength and the conviction to make such life-altering decisions. I wonder what I will feel when I stand on the soil of my ancestors and thank them and their memory for all they gave up so that I may have more. More freedom. More wealth. More ideas. More happiness.

They did with less so that I would have more.



Thank you.

Denver 2010 here I come...

A paper I submitted to a research organization was accepted for presentation so I will be adding that to my 2010 trip roster. I'm not terribly thrilled about this because frankly Denver hasn't really been on my list of places I'm dying to see.

Good Hostess Janet has come up with a brilliant idea to meet me in Denver for a couple days (before or after my presentation) to see some of Denver and meet up for a girls' weekend. On our list is theTattered Cover because we are book freaks. We actually went to book stores in Las Vegas. Blackjack, booze and books my favorite type of weekend.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

posting this made me hungry....

What with me travelling to SF for the purpsoe of a race, I decided I had to eat as much italian Food as possible to carbo load. This is of course hilarious as my training was spotty and really acting like I'm a training athlete is just funny to me. Because I'm so not.

L'Osteria Del Forno

Their website can explain it the best:

Tucked away in San Francisco's North Beach, L'Osteria del Forno emits an old world charm that is as authentic as our traditional menu. We pride ourselves on serving Northern Italian cuisine with only an oven to cook our dishes with. Our goal is to bring the flavors of Italy with original imported products (like Reggiano Parmesan or pure extra virgin olive oil) mixed with the quality and freshness from local providers.

The secret to our success is fresh daily ingredients. We deliver hearty, authentic and skillfully prepared dishes from Northern Italy. L'Osteria del Forno is inspired by the everyday food culture of our childhood. Dinnertime was a family shared moment and is one of our most precious memories of our life.

With a limited number of tables, the restaurant appeals to intimate gatherings of faithful locals and visitors. Many guides, papers and reviewers have considered our place as a true local gem. We prefer the small coziness of our space and have avoided the pressure to expand even though the demand for tables is constant. The inconvenience of a short wait is always outweighed by the tasty food and special attention that we give to each patron.


Small and Cozy is NO JOKE. They have 15 tables (only 3 of which sit more than 2-3) and the waiting area is the street outside the restaurant. If you are a couple then you may not wait as long. Janet and I were able to get right in the last table left, but there were 3 groups of 4 waiting for a table (and the wait was up to an hour...but people weren't budging). This was an obvious sign that the food would be fantastic. I had a daily special of filet mignon (which as Janet so aptly put it, you could cut with a TOOTHPICK!) and polenta and OMG it was FANTASTIC. Janet had a pumpkin ravioli that was just as good.

The kitchen is open so you can see them preparing your dishes and for an hour or so I felt like I was back in Rome. Overall I would say expect to pay about $25 per person for a meal and wines are not overly expensive. It it ridiculously cheap for any SF restaurant!

The waiters are kind and helpful and the busboy looks like he stepped off the runway in Milan.


I can't recommend this place more!

Monday, November 2, 2009

count to 10 before you rant...

so the latest Pioneer Woman post about hotels made me eat my words. Dammit.

But I'm willing to give her credit!

I wanted to believe she wouldn't do what I accused her of in my other email so I gave her one more chance and read her post about The Hotel Skirvin in Oklahoma City. I wanted to see if these also pushed the $200/night mark but I was pleasantly surprised that with advanced planning you could get a King standard room for less than $150/night!

The hotel is supposedly haunted and this nifty youtube has some "before" pics from when the hotel was abandoned (1988-2005) The skeevy scary music was amusing.

So my formal apologies to PW :) I should have known she wouldn't fail me LOL!
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