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Fun Evening Activities

Posted on April 7, 2019 by under Travel.    

These conferences usually have some fun evening networking events and activities after your full day of general and breakout sessions. The Oracle Customer Edge Conference and the Oracle Utilities Users Group Conference were no different.

During Customer Edge we got to enjoy a craft beer, tequila, and whiskey tasting. Not being much of a drinker, I only tasted the grapefruit cider at the beer tasting station. However, I did take a ton of pics!

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There were three local brews that we had an opportunity to sample at the craft beer station. They had a couple of beers from Independence Brewing and a grapefruit cider from Austin Eastciders.

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I don’t really like beer so the cider was the only thing I tasted and I liked it a lot. I found out from some friends that it’s actually available at some of our local liquor stores in Wichita, which is great news!

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I wish Brian could have been there that night because he would have enjoyed tasting everything. They also had a cigar station that night where they had a someone rolling fresh cigars. I did have the foresight to get one for Brian to enjoy later in the week when he arrived.

The next evening they took us to the University of Texas Club where we got to hang out with the school mascot and cheerleaders and watch them perform some cheers.

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We also got to take some photos with them at the end.

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Here’s one of Michelle, Lois, Kelley, and Chad with Bevo, their mascot.

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The next night was when we had the event at Austin’s iconic bar Maggie Mae’s. Michelle won a VIP package with a couple of band shirts, all access badge, meet and greet with the band, and a bunch of other goodies.

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Here’s a pic of Michelle and Lois while we were waiting to board the bus to Maggie Mae’s. They looked like a couple of young groupies ready to party!

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The ride to 6th Street was short and uneventful but Snowman went with us!

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Here’s our group walking up to Maggie Mae’s.

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Obligatory selfie.

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The bar has a unique vibe so I snapped a few pics.

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Everyone seemed to have a great time.

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This year was my first time attending both conferences. Because I’d been at the mercy of the tight project schedules the last few years, I really haven’t been going on any of these. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go this year. I had a blast!

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ATX Cocina

Posted on April 5, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

On Monday night we had dinner with our PWC partners at ATX Cocina, a hip, modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin.

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They had a set menu for our group and we dined family style so we got to same a little bit of everything.

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Check out some of these food pics!

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When I stepped away to use the restroom, I made the mistake of leaving my phone. Jackie and ended up taking a bunch of random pics. This is my favorite one because it’s a great pic of Lois, Susan, and Kelley.

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Food at ATX Cocina was good. The ATX margarita, their signature drink, is also not to be missed. Pic below.

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So glad I got to try this place!

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Oracle Conference Recap

Posted on April 4, 2019 by under Travel.    

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time in Austin for a work conference. These were actually two conferences scheduled back to back in the same week. It was the Oracle Customer Edge Conference for the first two days (Monday and Tuesday) and then the Oracle Utilities Users Group conference on the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday). It was both my first time in Austin and my first time attending these conferences. I really didn’t know what to expect.

However, I did know that I would be done with the conferences by Thursday so I decided to take a day of vacation on Friday. Brian had never been to Austin either so we agreed for him to meet me down there and then we would fly back home together on Sunday and just make a fun little weekend getaway out of it.

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Oh, did I mention that that I just missed SXSW by a few hours? That’s on my list of things to do in Austin. Someday I hope to able to attend. In the meantime, the stage at our hotel was still up when we got there on Sunday and didn’t get taken down until Monday. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to SXSW. LOL.

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I also took pictures of my room (because I do that sort of thing, specially if it’s my first time staying somewhere) which was nice and modern.

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The room is not that big but it is nicely furnished. I also lucked out and got a great view of the river and bat bridge. More on that later.

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The bathroom is just so-so. Not that best, largest or most luxurious bathroom I’ve ever had but it met all our needs. When I say “our” it’s mostly me because Brian actually didn’t arrive until late Wednesday (in the middle of the night on Thursday after all of the flight delays, truth be told). It worked out great because I had enough Hyatt points to cover our post-conference stay and I talked to the hotel ahead of time so they combined both of my hotel registrations (both my conference one and my personal one using points) so that we didn’t have to check out of our room and check in to a separate room for the second part of our stay.

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Conference registration/check in had already closed by the time I arrived in Austin on Sunday so I just had enough time to check in to my room and meet up with my coworkers for dinner. That was my first visit to El Alma, the Mexican restaurant that Brian and I were raving about.

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Besides the group dinners at the end of the day, food is the one thing that is in abundance at these conferences. They were pretty much feeding us all day long, starting with breakfast. The food that the hotel provided was quite delightful – better than the generic food you get at these things sometimes. We even had chocolate croissants at breakfast on Monday, which I enjoyed immensely. I had two of them. Regrettably, they never showed up again the rest of the week so I thought I should have smuggled six more in my bag to enjoy for breakfast the rest of the week. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that much foresight but I probably didn’t need to eat all those chocolate croissants calories anyway so I guess the universe was looking out for me there. LOL.

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Because I love food and collect pictures of food, here are some conference food pics for you to feast your eyes on.

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There was also always something yummy for dessert. I skipped the cookies and brownies, though I’m sure they were delicious, but I definitely tore up the flan the day they served it.

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I also enjoyed the banana pudding thing and would have had a second one if they hadn’t ran out by the time I was ready for another.

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Besides all the delicious food I got to eat, there was also a lot of learning and networking that happened. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to presentations from some of my coworkers. I work with some really smart people!

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Here’s Jeff Horn talking Analytics at Oracle Edge.

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Kelley Sanders and Chad Carsten talked about our recent MDM upgrade at Oracle Edge, which they presented a modified version of with Antony Rithin at the OUUG conference (the conference that followed Oracle Edge).

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Lois Stark and Vicki Barszczak talked about the One CIS project at OUUG.

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I learned so much and got to spend time with people I don’t normally get to work with on a daily basis (because I’m in Wichita and everyone else is either in Kansas City or Topeka). Anyway, we did some fun things too. I will post about the dinners and fun activities later but will end it here for now. GNG.

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El Alma

Posted on April 3, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

I had the opportunity to travel to Austin for a work conference a couple of weeks ago and ended up having dinner at this cute Mexican restaurant with my coworkers on Sunday night. The restaurant is called El Alma and it was just a short walk from our hotel. Here’s a picture of the menu:

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These next set of pics are of a few of the dishes we got to try.

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The restaurant doesn’t look like much on the outside but it is super cute inside.

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There’s a cool stone staircase in the corner that leads to the upstairs patio.

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Anyway, I liked it so much that I decided to take Brian there the day before we left. He actually wanted to go to Terry Black’s BBQ, which is right next to El Alma, but the line there was out the door and through the parking lot. We decided to go to El Alma instead. I didn’t mind going again because I thought it was really good.

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Here’s a picture of the stone stairs during the daytime.

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People probably thought I was weird for taking so many pics of the stairs but I didn’t care. The stairs are cool!

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We were there for a late lunch but they were still serving brunch so I got to enjoy some mimosas. These were the best ever because they’re made with delicious mango puree instead of orange juice.

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It was a little bit gloomy that day but the weather was nice overall. It was a great day for dining al fresco on the restaurant rooftop.

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Their rooftop patio offered a nice view of the downtown Austin skyline.

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Don’t mind Brian’s face. He was just a little cranky for not being able to get into Terry Black’s and not getting his Texas BBQ fix.

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We started off with some delicious queso.

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I’m not sure Brian quite knew what he was ordering but he said it had lots of great flavor and absolutely enjoyed it.

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This is by far the best tres leches cake I have ever had. It’s like a cross between a tiramisu and a tres leches which are two of my favorite desserts.

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Brian enjoyed some local beer.

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It was so great to have a nice leisurely lunch. Brian and I enjoyed our dining experience at El Alma tremendously. It actually worked out that we couldn’t go to Terry Black’s because I’m not that much of a BBQ fan anyhow. More on our Austin trip next post!

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PourHouse ICT

Posted on March 22, 2019 by under Events, Food and Drink.    

Brian and I finally got a chance to check out Walnut River Brewing’s new taproom in downtown Wichita. We were there last month for my Rotary club’s final Thursday social. It happens on the final Thursday of each month and we usually support local businesses in the Andover area. Lately we’ve been making our rounds to support all of the breweries that participated in last year’s Haus of Brews (our club’s annual fundraising event).

Here are a few pictures from that evening.

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This is a selfie of me and Alison, our current club president.

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Alison with her husband and one of her boys, Josh and his son, and Mark digging into a chicken wing.

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The socials are a great opportunity for our club members and their families to get together while supporting local businesses.

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As an added bonus, we also got to watch our local college basketball team, the Wichita State Shockers, play.

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The PourHouse took over the old space that Mumbai Rail (also known as The Rail) used to occupy. I’d never been upstairs before then but it’s really neat. They have a cool stairwell in the middle connecting the two levels.

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Not only do they serve great beer, they also have delicious cocktails.

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Walnut River makes Warbeard, Brian’s favorite beer. As you can tell, he is very happy in this photo. Cheers!

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Here’s picture with our friend Darrin Hackney, who manages PourHouse ICT for Walnut River Brewing.

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Anyway, Brian and I liked the PourHouse so much that we decided to return the following week. Here are some pictures from our follow up visit.

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I liked the Scotch Eggs but Brian didn’t like them as much. Granted, they aren’t as good as the deep-fried deviled eggs that they used to serve at BRGR in Kansas City, but I thought they were pretty good.

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Brian really liked the pretzels with the Warbeard queso. It’s interesting because he likes the pretzels at Wichita Brewing Company better but he likes the queso at the PourHouse better. Out of everything we ate on our second visit to the PourHouse, this is what he enjoyed most.

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I liked that they split our burger in half for us. Because we had a couple of starters, neither of us really wanted to eat that much. Splitting a burger was perfect.

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You can’t go to the PourHouse and not drink some drinks! So, of course, I had a couple. This one is called Jen’s 87.

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The blue one you saw pictured above that I tried on our first visit, when we were there with the Andover Rotary Club, is called Float Trip.

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They do “table sharing” at the PourHouse and it didn’t take long before we made friends with our table mates. By the way, the green shirt I’m wearing in the photo is a special St. Patrick’s Day shirt they were selling for $5 which is a pretty good deal if you ask me. They only had mediums left so Brian and I both got the same size. We only got one for me at first because I didn’t think the medium size would fit Brian. It was disappointing because the shirts were such a good deal. Anyway, he thought could manage squeezing into a medium so he tried mine on then and there just to prove me wrong. Amazingly, the shirt fit so we got him one too.

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Here’s Brian with the shirt on and a look of “I told you so” on his face. LOL.

We didn’t actually get to wear our fun Warbeard St. Patrick’s Day shirts on St. Patty’s Day together because I was flying to Austin on March 17. I made us wear them the day before when we went to see Captain Marvel, though. I think most people celebrated on Saturday anyway so it worked out.

Anyway, be sure to go check out the PourHouse! It’s a really neat place with great beer and great drinks!

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