When in Pennsylvania

Have you been waiting in anticipation to figure out WHERE I could have possibly gone after being in Hershey all week? No, I didn’t think so, either, so we’ll just let it out.

Obviously I had to go back to the ‘burgh!

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As soon as I found out I was going to be a mere 4-hour drive from my first home-away-from-home, I told everyone I could think of to make sure that they’d be around. I even convinced Erin to fly in from chilly New Hampshire!

We were really happy to be together again.

We were really happy to be reunited.

After finding her roaming around on campus and completely freaking out about being back, we remembered that we had a last-minute Friday Night Dinner to throw together. Off to Giant Eagle!

Erin works for Lindt at the moment, so we joke about our career rivalry sometimes, but I think I still got her trained…

Hershey love in Giant Eagle

Hershey love in Giant Eagle

Our next stop was to our friend Wes’s new place to 1. see what the hell everyone has been up to, and 2. make some delicious things! Apparently, Texas has worn off on me more than I thought it would because we chose to make my new favorite: fried pickles.

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And, I mean, if you have a bunch of pickle juice left over, might as well do some pickle juice shots, right? The Midwest boys were troopers and humored my request for something Southern.

Look at that concentration.

Look at that concentration.

We went bar hopping in the neighborhood of Bloomfield for the rest of the night, which was a first for me. With so many nooks and crannies, Pittsburgh neighborhoods leave a lot to be explored! I think I could have lived there for 8 years and still had things left to discover. (There’s my aside for why everyone should visit Pittsburgh at least once.)

The rest of the weekend was spent strolling through campus, eating our way through Pittsburgh’s quirky food offerings, and catching up with whoever we could find.

Pittsburgh popcorn: MUST have

Pittsburgh popcorn: MUST have

My go-to for anything Mediterranean. The place I got both of my tattoos is just left of this picture's frame!

My go-to for anything Mediterranean. The place I got both of my tattoos is just left of this picture’s frame!

Rain in Shadyside calls for a stop at Iron Cactus for happy hour.

Rain in Shadyside calls for a stop at Steel Cactus for happy hour.

Unsurprisingly, our happy "hour" turned into a happy marathon.

Unsurprisingly, our happy “hour” turned into a happy marathon.

I found an Abi!

I found an Abi!

It was strange enjoying the city from such a different perspective. Erin and I stayed with our friend, Nick, in South Side, so we didn’t have our own cozy apartment to go back to whenever we wanted. It was nice that we didn’t have to worry about classes or homework, but that meant that we also didn’t really have any purpose to be in Oakland, which was the center of our Universe for 4 years. That pushed us to try a lot of new places, which I hadn’t expected! It’s just an odd sensation feeling slightly out of place in a city where you belonged and called home.

The last activity before having to fly back to San Antone was to meet up with my friend, Alexis, to plan our trip to Peru and Chile!

Trip planning over coffee and baked goods has to be one of life's greatest pleasures.

Trip planning over coffee and baked goods has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Bold coffee fuels bold ideas.

Bold coffee fuels bold ideas.

We hit a point in our brainstorming when we kind of decided we would just wing it and do what we felt like once we got there, which is RIGHT when a girl sitting at a table behind us turned around to ask, “are you planning a trip to Peru? I travelled through there for 6 weeks. Do you want some suggestions?” LIFE SAVER! I love when strangers come out of nowhere and are awesome people.

After all that excitement, I had to grab Erin and head back to the airport. It felt like the weekend had flown by and we didn’t get everywhere we wanted to, but I was so appreciative of being able to get a different view on “my city” and spending time with some of my favorite people without any distractions. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my short time as an “adult”, it’s that mini trips will save your sanity!

Speaking of, next on the blog brag list is quite a bit more than just a mini trip. Back to South America we go!

– Alexa

If you actually listen to me, and go to Pittsburgh, here’s where I ate and drank my face off on this last trip that I’d definitely recommend:

Pittsburgh Popcorn
Steel Cactus
Franktuary
Espresso a Mano
Big Dog Coffee

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SIBlings in… Texas!

I haven’t had a full weekend in San Antonio since Abi and Lisa left, so here I am catching up on adventure documentation just one month later! Woo, let’s go.

If you recall, we’re pretty big fans of abbrevs. “SIBlings” came from the brain of Robby one fine day back at Pitt since we were all in the Society for International Business and hung out like sistas from anotha mista/brothas from anotha motha. Get it? Wanted to expel any confusion there right away.

The first SIBling reunion since we’ve all graduated and scattered about the country was held in lovely San Antonio, TX! How did I get so lucky, right? Abi, Lisa, and I skipped out on our corporate responsibilities for a few extra days and did things like…

pool chilling - because it is ALWAYS summer in San Antonio

chill by the pool – because it is ALWAYS summer in San Antonio

... synchronized swimm ?

… synchronized swim ?

blow Abi & Lisa's minds at the biggest gas station in the history of Earth: Buc-ee's

blow Abi & Lisa’s minds at the biggest gas station in the history of Earth: Buc-ee’s

make a necessary Whataburger run

make a necessary Whataburger run

die, briefly, after all the FUN!!

die, briefly, after all the FUN!!

joke about going to IHOP... then actually go to IHOP

joke about going to IHOP… then actually go to IHOP

find the Alamo!

find the Alamo!

discover rare street art downtown

discover rare street art downtown

and prove, once again, that everything is bigger in Texas.

and prove, once again, that everything is bigger in Texas.

Fun fact: Adam from Man v Food did an episode at this restaurant, Lulu’s Bakery and Café, where he had their biggest chicken fried steak and the cinnamon roll that Lisa and I failed to devour because it’s basketball-sized.

So, that basically makes it look like we just ran around and ate everything. That’s partially true, but we were too excited to take pictures of any of the extra fun things we did, like get lost and wander all over downtown San Antonio (yes, it was my fault), float on the river, make friends with the Domino’s pizza guy, and have a lovely dinner on the Riverwalk with friends at Iron Cactus. Pittsburghers: it didn’t hold a candle to Steel Cactus, so know that you have the superior metal desert plant.

Unexpected negative side effects to this trip were severe sunburn, memory loss, dehydration, and allergic reactions to Texas. Even so, Abi Downing was quoted as saying, “this was totally worth the plane ticket.” We all needed the mental break, and it kept me sane being able to hang out with people I don’t feel like I need to impress (HAHA YOU’RE STUCK AS MY FRIENDS FOR LIFE). They left me way too fast, but we have another SIBling reunion coming up in November – this time in Seattle to see Robby!

Any suggestions as to what we should do and see?

– Alexa