Monday, July 20, 2015

PhD Celebration Trip

This past weekend, Matt took me on a trip to celebrate my graduation. He had asked me several months prior if I would rather have a physical gift or an experience as my gift and I'm so glad I chose the latter! He planned this getaway for us and it was absolutely perfect. At first, all I knew going into it was this:

Then a few weeks ago, he let me know the first night was at the Fort Worth Omni, a hotel we had been to a couple of years ago. It was awesome to have one concrete thing to look forward to, given the rest of the trip was a complete surprise. My husband clearly knows me well as he planned the perfect trip for me. It pretty much consisted of amazing food, physical activities (to work off all the food), relaxation, and fun adventures. It is hard to believe it is already over and I'm so grateful to him for the time and effort he spent planning it for us.

The trip began Friday after lunch when we drove to downtown Fort Worth and checked into the Omni.

View from our room
Fort Worth Water Gardens
After checking out our amazing view, we went up to the rooftop pool area to enjoy the view and some tasty snacks. We hung out there for a few hours (got to see 4 F-16's take off), and then left to continue the rest of the evening. Dinner was at a local burger restaurant called Rodeo Goat, known for its deliciously unique burgers. 

At the roof top grill
Such good burgers!
My burger- the Chaca Oaxaca: beef & chorizo, avocado, pico de gallo,
fried egg, queso fresco, & tabasco mayo
Matt's choice, the Cowboy Murrin: applewood smoked bacon, tomato, jalapenos,
fried onion, cheddar, pickle chutney, housemade BBQ sauce
After dinner, we wandered around the downtown area some more, before coming across some fun arcade games. Along with playing the largest version of Jenga I've ever seen, we also played a few rounds of skee ball and air hockey! Made for a fun end to our evening.

It eventually came crashing down...
The next day we worked out at the Omni's fitness center (yes, Matt knows I need some form of physical activity every day), had a quick breakfast, and then went to spend the rest of the morning poolside. The water was a bit too cold to get in, but we were very happy to lay out and read our books. It was so relaxing and peaceful out there so I'm glad we took the time to just be quiet and enjoy the sunshine. 

We eventually had to check out, so after leaving the hotel and grabbing lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (all of the salad!), we hit the road for destination #2! I was driving and Matt was navigating, since he knew where we were going and I still didn't. However, after a little bit on the road my suspicions were confirmed-- we were going to College Station! We had a great drive back to the area we met and then did a driving tour of the area. We checked into our hotel and then got ready for our fine dining experience of the trip. 

That evening, Matt took me to Christopher's, an amazing restaurant that is perfect for celebrating special occasions! We had been a few times before but it was so nice to be back, especially to celebrate me earning my PhD. Texas A&M is where I first learned about criminology so being back in the area carried with it a nice symbolism. Plus, the food is absolutely delicious!! 
Our appetizer: almond baked brie.
Why don't food pictures ever look as good as it does in real life? This
was my dish, the Italian Braised Beef Ribs. The boneless ribs were
melt-in-your-mouth tender and the polenta hiding underneath was
SO good. Easily one of my favorite dishes ever.
Matt's equally awesome dish: South American Marinated Beef.
Our dessert- chocolate & peanut butter cake

The next morning we took a 2-hour walk around campus. Even though it has only been 4 years since we graduated, a decent amount has changed both on and around campus. Yet it was still nice to be back and very much made us feel at home. Until we saw the new Kyle Field! My goodness is that place huge! 

Matt in front of Bright, his AERO building
The Administration Building in the early morning
Only we would take a picture of the library :)
Inside the Flag Room-- figure it's rare to see it with NO ONE ELSE
Kyle Field!

About 6.5 miles later, we eventually wandered our way back to the hotel, got cleaned up, and headed out for lunch. We went to Fuego's, enjoyed some delicious tacos, then headed home. It was very bittersweet leaving, knowing we were headed back to real life after such an amazing trip. Throughout the weekend, Matt made a point to make sure I felt celebrated and that was certainly fulfilled! Guess it makes it really official now, right?