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If there is one thing that an adolescent addiction to family sitcoms had taught me (and, lets face it, it taught me many things), it is that in Hawaii they hand out leis like they're going out of style. You arrive at the airport: you get a lei. You arrive at your hotel: you get a lei. You attend a luau on some deserted potato chip of an island: you get a lei. I was pretty sure they gave you one every time you left the bathroom. You get lei'd in Hawaii. The Bradys got leis. The Seavers got leis. The...

Some months ago, my friend Jen asked me if I wanted to come to Hawaii with her for her 30th birthday. Considering the fact that my birthday just happens to be the day after hers that meant that I too would then be spending my birthday in Hawaii. How could I say no to that? We spent the day of Jen's Big Island birthday on a whale watching tour, spotting many a whale off in the distance, splashing around. We couldn't get too close, because that is illegal. And, you know, dangerous. So my pictures are pretty bad (because I still...

I'm starting to think that there are no actual beaches in Hawaii. Because we certainly didn't find any. Well, we found beaches, but not the kind you want to sit at and tan while reading Eat, Pray, Love and drinking a Mai Tai. I'm starting to think I did Hawaii wrong. We did, however, on our first full day in Hawaii, find Kealakekua Bay, Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, and the Old Kona Airport Beach State Park, which are all technically beaches, I suppose. Beautiful though, but rocky and not really places you want to swim without fear of...

Aloha from Big Island, Hawaii! I'm spending a week traveling around the Big Island and have been pretty much non-stop touristing since arriving last Wednesday. I've never been to Hawaii before, and it sure is nice to be away from the freezing cold Chicago winter. And to be on vacation again. Because, you know, after working so hard for a week and a half at my old job, it was totally time for a break. I deserved this...

I am not on vacation. It's something that is both easy to grasp and hard to understand. If I were on vacation I would need to fill all of my precious time with something new and exciting. Going to New York would mean Central Park and the Empire State Building. But I am now just living. So that means that I will have to take days to do things like laundry or going to the post office. And that means if, on my third day in Brooklyn, I don't leave the apartment because I am exhausted from the day before...

Going to Coney Island on the Fourth of July is a miserable experience. Inevitably I am standing next to a drunk guy who dances to everything and bumps into me and steps on my toes every other second. Inevitably I am next to a group of guys chanting everything from "Joey Chestnut"'s name to "ESPN" to "Mariah Carey" (at least they got wise to themselves and, at one point, started chanting "we're obnoxious"). Inevitably I am either too close or too far away to get good photos. Inevitably thunder sticks, signs, American flags, and people climbing on each other's shoulders...

When I arrived in New York on Sunday, after an hour-delayed-due-to-thunder-in-New-York flight, I had to make my first important decision: do I take a cab like I normally would do or pay much less but take an hour longer with a bus and two trains. I decided that, on my first day out, while everything was still in English, I couldn't set a bad precedent. ...

I'd never been to a conference before, but I'd been looking forward to TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) for a while. I first heard about TBEX through Twitter hashtags while it was going on in Chicago two summers ago. And then I didn't get my act together to go last year in New York. And so I decided to go this year, to Vancouver, to my first conference ever. So I booked my ticket and grabbed a flight to Seattle and a train to Vancouver because it was way cheaper. And luckily my flight out of O'Hare left only an hour...

Saturday morning I was on my own. Sadie and Jamie and Carrie were off to the Brooklyn Brewery but I a) don't like beer and b) had a ticket to Broadway. On my way out I witnessed someone almost getting mugged. It was this teenage guy standing there with one of those backpacks where the straps are just strings and an older man walked by, punched his arm through the straps and yanked really hard. When it didn't come off the man just kept walking. The kid seemed a little shocked and I am happy he still has his pack. I...

Saturday was the Fourth of July! For some that means fireworks. For others that means barbecues. For others that means marching in a band and joining the parade! But for me, the Fourth of July only means one thing: The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island!   The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island Since the eating contest started airing on ESPN in 2003, I would be glued to my television every Fourth of July. It was my favorite part of the holiday and, last year, Nadia and I went to New York to see it in...