This was my first time experiencing the wonder that is the annual Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival in the great New York City. It was a wonderful evening of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbeque eatin’. With my admission ticket, it bought me a magical sampling glass so I could enjoy an ALL-YOU-CARE –TO-TASTE sampling of beer and bourbon. I, of course, focused on bourbon as I’m really not a beer man. Not to mention various nibbles, such as maple bacon, along the way. continue reading »
Ah, the joy that is Cleveland. Couple that with intensive training for 5 consecutive days was a recipe for madness. But, the one redeeming factor was the fact that I would be experiencing all of this with some close colleagues and friends. Let’s be honest, there’s really nothing terribly exciting about Cleveland, especially in the winter. I’ve been there a few times now, and each time it’s felt as though there was a persistent overcast of depression. But…I’m happy to report that despite all of that, I enjoyed my time. Professionally, I learned a lot and personally I had a great time with some good people.
If you can believe it, as an evening “team building” event I was roped into some world class beer pong and Jenga competition. Absolutely outstanding. Below are just a few photos that were snapped to capture some of my experience. continue reading »
As thanksgiving began to draw closer, my creative juices really began to flow. You see, I had come up with a concept, just a month prior, for one of my bucket list challenges. More specifically, #25: Draw a large mural. I could have gone many different ways with this project, but I decided to do something bold and different. The concept at it’s simplest form would be to create a large mix-media collage, with a grungy aesthetic, and have it represent three aspects of my life in some meaningful way. I was pretty psyched about the idea, but I must admit that I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to pull off my vision. To make it real, I added some pressure to myself by essentially picking out the exact wall space (in my office) where the piece would be placed. I can’t tell you how many times I told myself the following words as my artistic adventure progressed: “I really hope this thing doesn’t suck when I’m done. Last thing I want is to look up at garbage whenever I’m in my home office”. Welcome to my journey! continue reading »
Back in 2008, I was fortunate enough to obtain some extraordinary international experience in Germany. Professionally, it was an amazing time. Personally, it was pretty fantastic, too. I managed to visit 14 countries in a single year. I essentially traveled to a new country every other weekend, and had a great time. But…it was also a very lonely time. You see, it’s great to travel but traveling by oneself has it’s limitations. Don’t get me wrong, I very much made the most of my time. But at times it did feel a bit empty. I find it far more enjoyable to experience a new place with a friend or loved one. Not to mention, it was very tough being away from my wife, then girlfriend. I told myself if a similar opportunity were to arise again in the future I would only take it if she could come along for the journey. continue reading »
After over twenty years, I reconnected with an old child-hood friend over Facebook. His name is Patrick. We chatted for a while, and it turns out he’s blossomed into a seasoned artist. This really didn’t come as a surprise to me as he had a very creative side growing up. In fact, the first piece of art work I ever collected was from his father, who was an artist himself. He gave me this incredible mountain landscape that I still have to this day. So it’s safe to say that art is in his blood. Now, Patrick’s style is vast departure from his father’s and is, shall we say, a bit on the “dark” side. That didn’t detract me one bit though from immediately recognizing his tremendous talent. Turns out he’s also had a pretty harrowing journey to get to where he is. A journey which has undoubtedly fed into the inspiration of the master pieces he produces today. To learn more about Patrick (STAR 27) Deignan: Click here
Around the same time of our chance encounter, I was starting to move into my new home. Little by little, my wife and I added our decorative touches. My plan was to introduce some sort of new art, especially in my office, but I had no idea what. So I reached out to Patrick to let him know I wanted to do something, and would get back to him when my own creative juices started flowing. continue reading »
Let me just come right out and say it. I love Malta! It is easily the most exotic place I’ve ever been to. But boy was it hot! I mean, it’s dangerous not to keep hydrated every 10 minutes kinda hot. But that was a small price to pay for what was certainly an experience of a life time.
The Blue Lagoon and Azure Window were just breath-taking. Words can’t do justice for such a special place. Kathleen loved every second of the experience as well. continue reading »
After receiving a few rave reviews about Bratislava, my interest was piqued. When I was told it was possible to visit both Bratislava and Vienna in one weekend, I was totally sold. To be honest, I’ve never considered visiting Slovakia at any point in my travels. It also didn’t help when I find out that a sick horror movie called Hostel took place in Bratislava. I figured, worst case scenario Bratislava would not be all that great. But…Vienna would most certainly make up for it.
We were pleasantly surprised as Bratislava was fantastic! It’s a small city, but the night life is outstanding. Vienna put the cherry on top. It was by far the most architecturally beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life. The style, spacing and scale is just stunning.
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When I asked a few of my London friends if Cardiff was worth visiting, I received nothing but luke-warm responses. I just chalked it up to some good old fashioned anti-welsch rhetoric. Why not Wales, I thought? Another country to check off the box is really all I had on my mind. Plus, it was an easy trip last minute trip to do that wouldn’t require booking a flight.
After doing some research, it seemed at the very least worth an over night trip to see what it was all about. I conferred with my travel partner and sweet princess, Kathleen, and off we went. I’m glad we did as we had a rockin’ good time.
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Back in 2008, Kathleen and I experienced a lovely long weekend in Paris. It was pretty much perfect if you ask me. But, if you ask Kathleen, she’d tell you it was great, but she wishes she had more time in the Louvre. As we had so many things we wanted to see, we had to keep our time there short. I’ll be honest, once I saw the Mona Lisa, I was good to go as I was totally over stimulated by the seemingly endless halls of art. She’s never let me forget about my short-changing of the Louvre. In fact, whenever the topic came up, she’d constantly take unsolicited jabs my way. So when the opportunity came up to head back to Paris, I saw it as a chance to make things right. Long story short, our first day there went something like this: I quite literally left in her in the Louvre for a full day while I checked out the catacombs. I’m not kidding, she was there for EIGHT STRAIGHT HOURS! I’ve not taken a jab since then, so the trip was well worth it in my eyes.
Oh yeah, we saw other stuff as well. By far my favorite part of the trip was our voyage to the Loire Valley, where we spent the day hopping between Chateaus. It was incredible. The natural beauty and architectural brilliance of these buildings left me speechless.
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It’s been over 20 years since my last visit to Faro. When the opportunity presented itself, Kathleen was all for visiting family. I was a little nervous as my Portuguese is very much out of practice, but the excitement of seeing family and spending time at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world was all I needed to move forward with booking our flight.
What can I say, the experience was phenomenal. Freshly prepared meals every day, memorable anecdotes of child hood mayhem, laughing, eating, drinking, etc. Everything felt like, well…being home. The generosity of aunt and uncle, not to mention my cousins was absolutely incredible.
Hopefully it’s not another 2o years before I make my return. The following “family edition” video to captures the essence of our trip. Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed experiencing it. continue reading »