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Archive for "Travel"

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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#ZINCON – The Final, Final Installment

Posted on August 31, 2018 by under Food and Drink, Travel, Zumba.    

I thought I was done posting about #ZINCON but I keep finding more pictures. LOL. I’m going to try to wrap things up in this post. After all, it’s almost September and it’s time to move on.

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Brian and I tried to get some pool time in on Sunday but it was sweltering. The resort pool would have been better because it offers more shade but it was packed so Brian and I went to the terrace pool. There is no shade and it was hot and it was also packed. The look on my face pretty much says it all. We were miserable.

I think we only stayed for an hour (at most) before calling it quits. Back to the room we went to cool off. Speaking of our room, this is pretty much what my side of the bed looked like the entire time.

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After showering and cleaning up, we decided to walk over to the Pub (located at Pointe Orlando). There are lots of places to eat but this is Brian’s absolute favorite.

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He actually didn’t walk over there while I was in my sessions this year. I’m glad he decided to share his annual Pub experience with me.

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Here’s what the interior looks like. Not sure if I have posted pics of the inside before or just food. Okay, I guess there are interior pics from back in 2013 when Brian discovered the place the first time. Follow the link to see Brian’s old blog post.

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In the meantime, here are some circa 2018 pics…

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We ran into Jane and her friend from Michigan, Lisa. I found it amusing that we started the trip with Jane (when we met her in line at the Kansas City airport) and ended the trip with her also. I think we were on the same flight home.

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Here’s Brian posing with his favorite beer at the Pub.

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Yes, we are that nerdy couple that likes to wear matching shirts. We specially love our Wichita Wicked Brew Tour shirts.

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I took a picture of this page because I thought it was helpful.

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I’d eaten at the Pub a few times but this was the first time I’d tried the fish and chips. Clearly, I’d been missing out. This was the best fish and chips I’d ever eaten. Although, I couldn’t decide if I was just hungry for real food and that’s why this tasted so delicious. I think it was really good, though. I may have to pop in to the Pub when we first arrive next time so that I can make a real, untainted assessment.

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As per usual, Brian got the ham and cheese on a pretzel roll. It is his absolute favorite thing to get there.

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Pointe Orlando is not that far from our hotel. We usually just walk over and walk back. You can see our hotel in this picture.

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Once at the hotel, we decided to stop at B-Line for dessert. Brian had a chocolate milkshake. I had the most delicious chocolate cake and cheesecake combo.

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Then we walked off the calories from dinner and dessert by doing some exploring.

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We’d been here several times since 2013 (I even came for a work conference one year) but I’d never been this way before.

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This was my first time seeing this part of the convention center.

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There are a few more pics on Flickr. Just click on one of the photos above to check them all out. We had a very nice walk. Then it was time to go back to the hotel.

We skipped the after party at Cuba Libre this time because it was rough coming home last year. This year we were flying into Kansas City and still had a three-hour drive back. We chose to go to bed at a decent time instead of staying out late partying on our final night.

Although last year, we were also responsible. We went to the after party but didn’t stay out too late in anticipation of our early flight home.

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Here’s Brian completing the hotel checkout on the TV as we were leaving the next day. And that’s it. This pretty much wraps up our #ZINCON 2018 adventure. I hope you enjoyed reading the trip recap as much as I did recalling it.

Until next year!

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