Monday, July 16, 2012

Texas Part I

Y’all want to hear about my trip to Texas?!

I’d never been before, besides a layover or two in Houston, but that doesn’t count.  I posted a few times in the planning phase of the trip that I went down for a wedding I stood up in.  Prior to the trip, Ben and I debated about him coming because flights were $400+, he’d have to either take vacation time or pay $400 to be there for less than 48 hours, the bride’s fiancĂ© didn’t make it to our wedding, etc.  The final decision for Ben not to come was when the husband of the other couple we were going to travel with was asked to be in a different wedding. This officially made it a girls trip.
(Also, I should note that some of these pics were taken by my friend. Remember how I couldn't find my camera battery charger?  Last minute I couldn't find one at Target or Best Buy, so I ended up ordering one off Amazon and having it shipped to the bride's house.  Thus, easrly in the week I didn't have a camera)

Tuesday, July 3rd
After leaving work an hour early, I met one of my friends at the Blue Line El stop to take the train to O’Hare.  We got there, got checked, blah blah blah.  A third friend was flying into O’Hare from the Quad Cities and then the three of us had seats together on our United O’Hare to Houston flight.  Our friend had about 15 minutes to get from Concourse F to Concourse C and was close to dripping sweat by the time she arrived. She arrived just in time for us to learn that our flight was pushed back from two hours.

Bummer, but it happens, right?  We called the bride to break the bad news and then headed to Chili’s for much needed drinks and some food.
Chili's Pomengrate Margarita
*pic taken by friend
We get back around boarding time and our flight is pushed back another 20 minutes and then another 5 minutes since we’re waiting for a new plane to arrive from Minneapolis as the first plane had “mechanical issues”.  Finally, around 9pm we board the plane.  Once settled, the doors are locked, we watch the safety video etc, the caption comes on to say that the backup generator for engine #2 is down.  In order for maintenance to fix it, the plane needs to be depowered and we need to get off.

This is seriously a drag, right?  So, we get off and as we get back to the waiting area, the clerk starts collecting boarding passes and an announcement that the flight is cancelled comes on.  We run (with our suitcases and totes) to Customer Service.  While in line, we also call customer service.  We’re in the middle of rebooking a noon flight for the following day when we hear the announcement: “Flight to Houston boarding in 15 minutes”.  Ugh!  So, we departed at 10:30 instead of 6:00; meaning we missed the Josh Abbott concert we were supposed to be going to; but thankfully we made all there in once piece.

The matching boots n bags wasn't intentional,
 but I did get a few comments about what a coordinated travel I was

The night day I got an email from United apologizing for the inconvenience and offering my choice of 3,000 rewards miles or $75 credit.  I’m thinking I’m going to take the $75 credit because if we combined my miles and Ben’s miles from our Europe trip, we have enough for one free ticket and then we could get $75 off our second ticket, but I still have three weeks to decide.

We arrived around 1am and were greeted at the airport by the bride and fiancĂ©.  We got fast food for a snack, Whattaburger (delicious grilled cheese), before heading to their house.

Wednesday, July 4th:
Due to our late arrival we ended up sleeping in until 11am, whoops!
The bride works for one of the park districts in the area (The Woodlands, about 30 minutes north of Houston); so we went to one of the community pools for a while before getting lunch at Black Walnut Cafe.  This place was amazing, like an upscale Panera.  You order and pay at the counter, but the food is all made fresh and way bigger and better than Panera.
We showered and hung out before going to Market Street Area in the Woodlands for dinner before fireworks.  We ended up at Barry Hill, which is another order at the counter type place, except that it’s Mexican food.  It was delicious!!  The margaritas were strong, but between those, the chips, salsa and dill ranch sauce, we had plenty to snack on before our food came, which took a while.  So long in fact that as we were eating we could hear the fireworks starting at TheWaterway.  We left dinner and got to a viewing spot pretty much just as the grand finale started.  Oh well, that’s the best part of the show anyways!

Thursday, July 5th:

Thursday morning we went back to the Woodlands to go kayaking.  We took out four boats and had a blast.  We kayaked on a man-made lake that was surrounded by some gorgeous houses.

For lunch we decided we wanted some good ole southern BBQ so we went to Spring Creek, which was a cafeteria style set up.  You choose your meet and then helped yourself to sides.  The brisket was delicious!
The rest of the afternoon we hung out and then got ready for the bachelorette.  We had a room at the new Hyatt at Market Street and it was gorgeous!

The hotel has a bar and pool on the second floor, which is nice, but the way the building is, the pool didn’t seem like it’d get much sun.
For dinner we talked over to Waterway.  We didn’t have reservations or much of a plan, so we ended up having dinner at Stir Crazy.  The strawberry mojitos there were delicious.  From there we went to Crush Club, which is a rooftop bar.  Thursday night was Salsa Night, so there was a couple who owned a dance studio giving lessons. A few of us tried it out, but didn’t last long, although it was fun!

(Of course the bride's little niece didn't go out with us)
From there we stopped at the fountain fixture to take some pictures.  The bride told us that the fountain cost something crazy like $8 million.  It had lights and the heights of the water and lights were choreographed to music.  It reminded me a lot of Magic Fountain in Barcelona (which is my next Europe trip city to blog about).

The next bar we hit up was Goose's Acres, which was huge.  It’s an Irish bar and was supposedly moved from Ireland to the Woodlands.  It was bingo night, so we had fun attempting to play, until it got to be too confusing with having had drinks :O)  After Goose’s, we went to our last bar of the night, which was also the most fun (probably because it was the end of the night), Baker’s Street.  There we found the significant others of two of the bachelorette party as well as the bride’s stepdad.  There was also a band, so we got in some quality dancing.

(Note: the bathrooms at Baker’s Street are hidden behind a faux bookcase.  Unless you know where it’s at, don’t wait until the last minute to go to the bathroom or you’re walking a fine line :O)

Friday, July 6th:
Needless to say, Friday morning was all sorts of struggles.  Myself and another friend got dropped off at the Hilton Garden Inn where some of our friends were staying and we pretty much laid lifelessly by the pool all day, until we walked over to Chick-fil-a for lunch.

Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, but it wasn’t your traditional rehearsal, in that we didn’t practice at all.  Instead, we had pizza and beer and mingled among friends and family until our party bus came to pick us up for the Astros vs. Brewers game.  The Astros got killed, but the game was still fun. All of the bridesmaids were given jerseys to wear for the game!
Enjoying an Astros crazy straw

Texas - Part II Post

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