Monday, July 18, 2016

warm winters in sabino canyon

virginia is cold in the winter. not new york or chicago cold, but cold. there are sweaters and heavy jackets, gloves, scarves, and hats. and that exists in arizona, but only at night, up mt. lemmon, or in flagstaff. in tucson, the winter is gorgeous. it's blue skies, 70 degrees, and sunshine. and it's the perfect time to visit one of our favorite spots: sabino canyon. the 8-mile (round trip) walk is a delight: it's less crowded, the weather is amazing, and the pools are filled.  

parking is $5 and the tram is $10, if you don't want to walk. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

mt lemmon in winter

despite living only an hour away from the beautiful santa catalinas, we don't explore it enough. we're busy and tired, and life gets in the way. but we decided to make time over winter break to drive up and play in the snow. we parked near mt lemmon ski valley and followed the road to the top of the mountain. once we left the parking area, it was deserted and serene, and the silence of the mountain was disrupted only by the van going to and from the observatory at the top. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

degrazia gallery in the sun

we decided to stay in tucson for christmas, something almost totally unheard of for us, but it turned out to be a great opportunity to explore new places, revisit old favorites, and relax after a tough semester back in the classroom. one of our favorite new discoveries was the degrazia gallery in the sun, with it's eclectic art gallery and beautiful outdoor chapel. and the price can't be beat; it's free! 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

portrait of a border town: piedras negras

americans know this river, the border between mexico and texas, as the rio grande, but in mexco it has another name: rio bravo. we stood on la frontera, overlooking the river, watching the border patrol agents watch us. from where we stood we could see ten or more trucks parked in the golf course that borders the river. i asked how anyone could play golf while a hundred yards away people were swimming for their lives, for their future, and being hunted down like, and with, dogs. our tour guide, rcg's tia, answered: those people, the golfers, have papers; they know the border patrol agents. in other words, they don't care.

Monday, June 27, 2016

the artwork of austin

i've been hearing about austin for years. especially since living in tucson, as tucson has often been compared to a young austin. but austin is it's own flavor. it's a university town, it's the capitol of texas, and it's a music haven. my favorite part though was the street art; it's everywhere!

a quick guide to austin --

eat:  you know we can't resist a good ramen place, and ramen tatsu-ya is good. another great dinner spot is launderette, a cute little spot in east austin, known for their cocktails and small plates, but if you're looking for a more relaxed eating experience though, check out east side pies. and for breakfast, don't miss biscuits + groovy, a permanent food truck located a couple miles north of UT.   

see: the bats under the congress avenue bridge! there are approximately 1.5 million bats living under the congress avenue bridge, and each night they come out a sunset to devour thousands of pounds of bugs. it's amazing! it takes about an hour for all of them to exit the bridge, and they won't return til dawn, eating their way across austin. and during the day you can hear them if you're kayaking around lady bird lake. 

do: austin is a very bike friendly town; take advantage by renting a bike from austin bcycle ($8/day). austin is also known for its pools and springs, so definitely use your trip there as an opportunity to soak up the sun and get a bit of exercise by kayaking around lady bird lake with congress avenue kayaks. if you head towards barton springs, you can still swim in the cool water without paying the entrance fee. 

sleep: via airbnb at a cute birdhouse; it's very small, but it's in a great location. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

state fair of texas

i ooze tribe pride, anyone who knows me, knows that i bleed green and gold. but the pride i have in my alma mater is nothing compared to the pride texans have for texas. they celebrate texas independence day, root for texas sports teams, know strange facts about texas, and get very offended when people bad mouth it. i know this because i married a texan.

but you can never truly understand texas until you've visited the state fair. located in the heart of dallas, it's 3 weeks of fried food, concerts, and carnival rides. and big tex is perhaps the most iconically texan thing besides the lone star. 

if you decide to visit the state fair of texas, which you most definitely should, be sure to find out what the best fried foods for the year are. there are some classics, we liked the thanksgiving dinner and the peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwich, but each year booths compete to have the best new fried creation, and they are delicious.