SFMOMA: Modern Art in a New Setting

After closing for three years for renovation, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopened to the public in 2016.  The expansion included 170,000 square feet of gallery space including the outdoor SFMOMA sculpture garden. I was excited to see what all the fuss was about, so Russell and I visited the museum in November 2016.  I wanted to share with you my favorite parts and also some tips to help you make the most of your visit.

We were lucky SFMOMA wasn't too crowded when we went - - "SFMOMA: Modern Art in a New Setting" - Two Traveling Texans!
We were lucky SFMOMA wasn’t too crowded when we went!

My Favorite Artwork at SFMOMA

As with all modern art museums, there will be some pieces that you love and some pieces that you just don’t quite get.  At SFMOMA, there were definitely far more pieces that I loved and I even really enjoyed some of the ones I didn’t quite get.  I was happy to see pieces from many of my favorite artists – Picasso, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and more – on display.  It’s actually not easy narrowing the list down to a few favorite pieces of art.

“Lilith” by Kiki Smith

"Lilith" by Kiki Smith - "SFMOMA: Modern Art in a New Setting" - Two Traveling Texans
“Lilith” by Kiki Smith

The scultpure of “Lilith” really caught my attention and then when I read the background I was drawn to it even more. The character of Lilith appears in many different theological backgrounds, including, according to Jewish folklore, the first wife of Adam.  She refused to be her husband’s subordinate and as punishment she was expelled from Eden and Eve took her place.  I love that the sculpture really captures her rebelliousness and strength. (more…)

How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets

Some people dream of being on television.  For me, I think it’s fun when you can say, “Did you see me on tv?” Plus, it’s neat to see celebrities in person.  I have been lucky enough to see several different tv shows taped in New York.  Just last week, I got Live with Kelly tickets and the week before I saw a Late Show taping.  1iota tickets make it easy to see tv tapings in NYC.  

Watching the set while waiting for Live to start taping. - - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Watching the set while waiting for Live to start taping.

What is 1iota?

1iota is a website where you can request tickets to see tapings of shows in NYC (and other cities).  You can also sometimes find tickets to special events with celebrities and movie screenings.   It is totally free, you just sign up, complete your profile, and request tickets.  It almost sounds like a scam but I have used it several times and can confirm it is the real deal.

You are probably wondering – “What is the catch?” Well, yes there is a minor catch.  You will have to wait.  Shows do not want to be waiting for the audience so they ask you to arrive before the taping actually begins.  The waiting time varies for each show.  Even though you know that the time you have to get there is way before the time of the taping, you still need to get there on time.  They always give out more tickets than needed so if you arrive late, you risk not getting in.

How to Use 1iota

The first step to getting 1iota tickets to tv shows taped in NY is setting up your profile.  Once you have set up a 1i0ta profile you can request tickets.  Requesting tickets is easy, you can search by the tv show you want to see.  Alternatively, you can check the calendar of the day you want to attend the tv show filming.   (more…)

8 Ways to Maximize Amazon Prime Benefits for Travelers

I have been an Amazon Prime Member for pretty much as long as I can remember.  I joined mainly because I do a lot of online shopping and hate to pay for shipping.  It’s a pet peeve, just like all those fees you run into while traveling. I have realized that being a Prime Member is not just about saving on shipping, there are a lot of Amazon Prime benefits that come in handy for travelers.  Even if you are already a Prime Member you may be surprised to learn about all the benefits.

Anisa at the Hoxton Hotel in London - 8 Ways to Maximize Amazon Prime Benefits for Travelers - Two Traveling Texans
Anisa at the Hoxton Hotel in London

What is Amazon Prime?

If you’re not familiar with Amazon Prime, it’s a membership program with Amazon that gets you access to a number of benefits – not just free shipping.  In this post, I will explain how some of these benefits can be useful when traveling. (more…)

Hornblower Niagara Cruises Vs Maid of the Mist

Before I even started planning my time in Niagara Falls, I knew I wanted to do the Maid of the Mist boat ride.  It’s the iconic thing to do, right? Well, once I started doing my research, I learned there is also the option of doing Hornblower Niagara Cruises.  I wasn’t sure which one was better or if we should try to do both?   I wanted to share my personal experience and research with you to help make the Hornblower Niagara Cruises vs Maid of the Mist decision easier for you.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure below for more information.

You feel a little mist from the American and Bridal Veil Falls. - "Hornblower Niagara Cruises Vs Maid of the Mist" - Two Traveling Texans
You feel a little mist from the American and Bridal Veil Falls.

Hornblower vs Maid of the Mist: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between Hornblower Niagara Cruises and the Maid of the Mist is the history.  You may remember the Hornblower cruise we did to Alcatraz Island last year.  While Hornblower has been around over 35 years, they have only been offering cruises on the Niagara River since 2014.  The Maid of the Mist first carried passengers across the river in 1846! In 1848, when the bridge across the river opened, demand for the Maid of the Mist fell.  They rebranded the Maid of the Mist as a tourist boat and it has been taking passengers ever since.  

Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference between the two tours.  Both boats take basically the same route on the 20 minutes cruise and go close to all three waterfalls (the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls) that make up Niagara Falls.  The Hornblower Cruise Niagara Falls docks on the Canada side and the Maid of the Mist docks on the American side, literally across the river from each other.   (more…)

Fort Worth Stockyards: Learn About the Old West

The Old West is not just something that Hollywood created, it really existed.  The cowboy lifestyle helps give Texas a bit of mystique and is a big part of the state’s culture.  I recently visited the Fort Worth Stockyards with my mom so we could learn more about what that way of life was really like.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure below for more details.

Historical Tour of the Fort Worth Stockyards

To learn about the history of the area, you should take the 90 minute guided walking tour of the Stockyards. Tours leave from the Visitors Center at 130 East Exchange Avenue three times a day.  Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for children.  Before leaving on our tour, we watched the “Spirit of The West” video to get a little historical background.

Historical Background

At the end of the American Civil War, cattle were everywhere in Texas and no one had money to pay for them.  People realized they could get a lot of money for the cattle if they could just get them up north.  Moving cattle 800 miles was not easy then.  The Fort Worth Stockyards developed as the place to rest before heading north.

Years later businessmen realized that it would be more efficient if the meat packing plants came to Fort Worth instead of transporting the cattle up North.  So in 1903, two large meat processing plants, Swift and Armour opened.  The Stockyards were thriving.

Anisa is ready for her walking tour of the Stockyards. - "Fort Worth Stockyards: Learn About the Old West" - Two Traveling Texans
Anisa is ready for her walking tour of the Stockyards.

After World War II, the trucking industry developed. Transporting livestock by road quickly became more flexible and cost-efficient than the railroad. This meant the market favored the shipper, not the meat packer, and smaller operations were taking business away from central locations like the Stockyards. (more…)