Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Boston Proper and Adventures on Jumbotrons

Boston, Day Two
September 26, 2014

On this fine New England day, we created a (flexible) game plan. Our first stop of the morning was a breakfast place we knew and loved: the Paramount at Beacon Hill.



This particular restaurant, as small as it is, is one of my favorite places to eat for both its atmosphere and their really, really great breakfast food. 

 Because of how small the restaurant is, they don't allow anyone to save tables. They expect that as soon as you stand in line, order, receive your food, and order your coffee, you'll have an empty seat waiting.

Also, they have the best home fries ever. Fact. :)


After breakfast - and an amazing caramel latte - we decided to wander the streets of Boston and shop some. While we were walking, our Apple Maps-determined route had us walking past the Boston Public Library.

This place was absolutely gorgeous!


My favorite part was the reading room. :)

After we'd shopped, we decided to grab a quick lunch at Legal Seafood (take a wild guess what it could be...hint: see image below), then rest up until our upcoming Red Sox game.


And so to the game we went, expecting more of the same excitement that we saw the night before. 



We came expecting to see Derek Jeter (since the Yankees were playing and that it was one of his last games), but instead, we wound up on the Jumbotron. THREE TIMES.

The first time, Mom and Dad and my right hand popped up on the screen, then we all did, and then we were behind another couple.

To say that was an awesome thing was an absolute understatement. :)


(Hi, Boston! :) Just a few Tennesseans passing through.)

Tomorrow's Post: We venture into Cambridge!
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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Adventures Begin at Fenway Park



Boston, Day One
September 25, 2014

Last Thursday, my family and I hopped on a plane and headed off to Boston, Massachusetts. This city is near and dear to our hearts for many reasons: we love going to baseball games, we love the New England area, we love Legal Seafood (which has the BEST clam chowder), and there's so much more of it that we wanted to see.

I absolutely love this city. :) There's so much history to it, and there's also so much fun there.

As soon as we got to the city itself, we were only in our hotel for a few moments before we turned right around and walked over to Fenway Park to see a Red Sox game.

Now, I'll admit that I'm not the biggest sports person. However, there's something about actually being in the ballpark and experiencing the sights and sounds of a baseball game that's just so fun. Everyone gets into it, and it's awesome.

Also, the fact that they serve clam chowder from the concession stand AND from the guys that walk around the stadium doesn't hurt, either. ;)
(Seriously, Legal Seafood has the best clam chowder EVER. So much so that it's worth a second mention in this post. :) Just make sure that you buy it while it's hot.)




Tomorrow's post: More Boston adventures, and a Red Sox vs. Yankees game!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What to Wear on Planes

It's no secret that I love to travel, especially by plane. It blows my mind that I can fly to a country across the Atlantic Ocean in the time that it takes to drive across two states. Also, being able to fly across the country - North or South - in a matter of a few hours is pretty awesome.

I'm packing for a trip I'm leaving on very, very soon, and one of the things I'm planning is what I'm wearing onto the plane. I think I have the airplane outfit down to a science, so I thought I'd share what I like to wear on planes with you. :)


Mainly, I focus on two things when planning what to wear on the plane: comfort and where I'm landing.

Comfort is important because of the fact that not only will you be sitting on a plane from anywhere between half an hour to a few hours (or possibly a whole day), you'll be walking to and from cars, airport security, terminals, gates, and then to your transportation when you arrive at your destination. Wearing something uncomfortable only hinders you from focusing on getting from point A to point B. Keep in mind that some of these places I mentioned may or may not be cooler than others.

Then, where I'm landing is important because I have to keep in mind that the weather where I'm going might be colder or warmer than what I'm used to (same goes for humidity). Plus, what I'm doing as soon as I land factors into this; for example, I may go sightseeing as soon as I drop my things off at the hotel.

So, based on these two factors, here's an outfit I came up with:

What to Wear on Planes



Let's break this down:

  • Graphic t-shirts are a favorite of mine because of how comfortable and versatile they are. They're great to travel in for those reasons, they can be dressed up or down, and they often go with a lot of things.
  • When I'm travelling, especially in the Fall, I wind up wearing jeans or thicker leggings. This usually helps the transition to cooler weather be as easy as possible, and pants are comfy when I'm on a plane or sitting at the gate for awhile.
  • Because planes and airports can be cooler, cardigans and layers are a good idea. Even in warmer weather, I'll still carry a cardigan in my carry-on bag just in case I get cold. Plus, it helps to have more layers if you're traveling further north.
  • Flats are a great solution for plane travel not only because of their ease and comfort, but also because of airport security. A lot of this has to do with personal taste, but I don't like to deal with shoelaces when I'm shuffling through the security line. (I will note that if you're planning to pack heavier shoes or boots, wearing them will help you have more room in your suitcase.)
  • Scarves help with the whole layering thing, of course, but they can be really cute and versatile, too. Not only can they keep you warm on cold planes and in chilly airport gates, but if you unfold or roll them, they can make great blankets or pillows if you want to catch some shut-eye once the plane takes off.
  • Fun jewelry adds interest to an outfit, travel or not. Keep it simple for a long day of travel, and it should take you from day to night, too.
  • Last, but not least, bring along a great bag for your essentials. Also, bring your carry-on luggage if you're not checking any of your bags.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Put a Needle on the Record


...and dance. :)

Yesterday, Mom and I were spending time together, and she showed me some of her old records. We flipped through albums, 8-track tapes, and 45s together, and then we got the record player to actually play some 45s.

It was really special, because Mom got to reminisce her own childhood, and I got to share in that reminiscence with her and make memories of my own.

Plus, music is always so much fun, no matter how you listen to it. :)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

An Instagram Roundup of Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Purple Hair


1. When a group of my best friends from college came over a few weekends ago, we decided to chalk our hair on a whim. I chose purple, and I wound up really, really loving it.

2. One of my family's favorite Sunday lunch spots is Noshville Delicatessen in Nashville. If you're a fan of New York-style deli food, I highly recommend it. There's two locations right in Nashville, and there's one in the airport.

3. This candle is named after the city of Franklin. It smells like sandalwood, and it's been one of the best scents for Fall. I've found that I go for either really woodsy scents or candles that smell like cider or baked goods once Fall comes.

4. Once upon a time, I went to the Starbucks at my local Target. When it came time to order, I was torn between a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Cotton Candy Frappuchino. When I told the barista this, he suggested a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino. I ordered this one without any coffee (I could have gotten it with decaf espresso, but I'd already had two cups of coffee that day, and I wanted a break), and it wound up being DELICIOUS. I highly recommend it. (Thanks to that barista for the suggestion!)

5. This necklace has a dinosaur on it. I can't tell if it's a velociraptor or a T-Rex, but this little trinket that one of my best friends gave me is absolutely adorable and I love it.

6. Speaking of great jewelry, I love this necklace from Baublebar.

7. Puckett's Grocery has the best breakfast. Fact. If you're in Tennessee and you've never been to a Puckett's, you seriously need to go. All of my friends from out of state - and out of country! - are huge fans, and their coffee is the stuff dreams are made of.

8. I'm a big fan of this nail polish. This little bottle of sky blue joy is "Dilly Dally" by TopShop, and it's a part of their Matte Nails line. These polishes are the best if I'm painting my nails in a hurry, as I don't need a topcoat, and they usually turn out awesome.

9. I was pet-sitting my dogs Azalea and Harvey the other day, and they were being adorable, so I had to take this snap of them. I love them to pieces! :)

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hebrews 10:23


Happy Sunday! :) I hope you all are having a wonderful day! I've had a great day myself.

We talked about encouragement this morning at church, and this verse was one of the ones we covered in today's sermon. I absolutely love it, and it's among my favorites now. I hope it brings some encouragement to your day and week. :)

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Favorite Places for Phone Cases

I love phone cases for two reasons: they protect your phone and they can have some really fun designs.

Not only have I been able to find cases in various stores, but I've also been able to find some really great cases online. In fact, I'm pretty sure the majority of the phone cases I've had over the years have been from online shops.

So, I thought it'd be fun to share my favorite places to find great phone cases. :) (I'm a poet and didn't know it...lol!)

Society6
society6.com

This site is actually very similar to Etsy in that they feature artists, but you can actually purchase the same print in many different forms. For example, if you find a case you love, you may be able to find an art print or t-shirt that matches, and vice versa. Their selection of models to choose from isn't quite as big as, say, Etsy, but they have a huge selection of products to decorate your tech and home with. One of my all-time favorite phone cases I've ever had (a TARDIS case...shocking, right? ;]) came from this shop.

Casetify
casetify.com
In the mood to customize your case? This site - formerly known as Casetagram - would be a great fit for you. Casetify not only has artist-contributed cases, but they also allow you to import your own photos from social media or your hard drive to create fun, one-of-a-kind cases. I really like their custom case that looks like the LOVE sculpture in NYC. Also, I love the collection of cases by Wonder Forest

I have my mom to thank for showing me these wonderfully designed cases (and products in general...I love Anna Rifle Bond's designs!). The case I currently have on my phone right now is a Rifle Paper Co. case, actually, and it's one of my all-time favorites. :) They're very well made, and many of their cases have an Inlay design that has rubber lining to protect your phone. You can also find Rifle Paper Co. cases at Sonix, too (another great site I just discovered!).

Minnie & Emma

These are some of the prettiest monogrammed phone cases I've seen in awhile. They have a huge variety of designs and quite a few case options. I really like these cases that show the full name, too. :)

So what are your favorite places to find phone cases?
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Friday, September 19, 2014

What to Pack for Quick Getaways (Fall Weather)

In less than a week, I'm going on a trip into the city, and I'm so excited about it! Plus, where I'm going should be slightly cooler since it's finally Fall.

I really love traveling in the Fall because of the change of season. Colors change, temperatures drop, and it's just fun to see towns and cities when they aren't so crowded during the summer. Plus, this trip is technically my birthday trip, which I'm really excited about. :)

In anticipation of this upcoming trip, I thought I'd write up a Fall version of a post I did last month. So, without further ado, here's what I like to pack for quick getaways in slightly cooler weather!

(Quick disclaimer: The clothes I'm showing here as examples reflect my personal style. Feel free to change, add, and subtract items to fit your style or destination. Also, guys can use some of these tips too! [Well, except for the super girly makeup/beauty stuff, but hey, we all need chapstick, right?])

Packing for Quick Getaways: Fall Weather



Clothing Items/Accessories:

  • Button-up shirts - I'm excited to wear some button-up shirts on this trip, just because of the fact that they're so comfortable when the weather gets cooler. I highly recommend packing button-ups for how warm they can be, especially during the Fall when weather can be kind of unpredictable depending on your destination. They come in so many fun colors these days, and they're wonderful and versatile to travel in.
  • Graphic tees - Because the weather can still be a little warm, I like packing and wearing fun graphic tees. Again, they're super versatile and comfortable, especially on the plane and during big driving/train days. (Also, if you're going to any sporting events, have fun with team shirts!)
  • Jeans & Leggings - Jeans and thicker leggings are a great idea to pack for Fall trips because of the fact that they can take you from day to night, even when it gets cooler as the sun goes down. This is really handy when you're out sightseeing all day and want to see some locations lit up at night.
  • Layers - With the coming of Fall comes the need for layers like cardigans. I like to pack at least a couple of layers just so I can mix and match with whatever outfits I plan out. Jacket-wise, I like cardigans and utility jackets. As for layerable accessories, I like to pack a scarf, too, just in case the weather gets colder than expected (and because they look really cute, not gonna lie!).
  • Shoes - I'm honestly torn on what shoes I'm going to pack for this particular trip, but whatever I do decide on will be shoes that I know are comfortable for walking around a city all day.
  • Fun Jewelry - On quick getaways, I love bringing bright and fun jewelry to wear. Jewelry adds instant interest to an outfit, even with just one piece like a statement necklace.
Stuff for the Carry-On Bag
  • Backpack - I'm still a firm believer in the backpack. I love having easy access to everything I need and being able to carry it easily when I have to lug it from the car to the airport to the hotel and back again.
  • Makeup bag - Load this with all of your makeup goodies and essentials. Don't forget cleansing wipes and hair ties!
  • Lip Balm/Chapstick - Bring your trusty lip balm and/or chapstick to prevent chapped lips, especially if you're going someplace drier. Also, it's important to bring a brand you trust, because the last thing you want is to have an allergic reaction to it.
  • Nail Polish - I always like to bring the polish I'm wearing while I travel, just so I can touch it up if need be. I'm planning on wearing something sparkly in commemoration of turning 23 next month. :)
  • Headphones - I mentioned this in the last packing post, but quality headphones are one of the best investments you'll ever make when buying travel gear. Find a great pair that works for you. :)
  • Phone - For calling, texting, taking travel pictures, and Instagram. ;)
  • iPad - I have an episode of Doctor Who on it, ready to go for this trip! (I'll either read books on my iPad or take a physical novel, depending on what I'm reading)
  • Small crossbody bag or clutch - I always like to take a small bag to carry with me during the day, and I keep my essentials inside it. If you're traveling by plane, make sure that you put this inside your personal item (such as your backpack) if you're carrying on all your luggage (something I highly recommend).
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thoughts on Pages #07: Deep Blue

photo credit

I love mermaid stories. Maybe it's because I've spent a whole lot of my childhood near the beach, but I love the fantasy and magic that surrounds mermaid lore.

While browsing through Target's book section one day, I happened upon Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly. The cover was gorgeous, yes, but what drew me in was the premise. When I did pick it up, part of it was hard to plow through detail-wise, but once the story picked up, it was a fun ride.

Storyline

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.


This is marketed as Young Adult, but based on reviews I saw, I was expecting this to be a middle-grade fantasy. I didn't mean to pick up something that young, but resolved to read it anyway.

I was actually surprised by the fact that this story is very, very involved. There are many characters to get to know, there's a setting that's rich with lore, and there's a whole lot that goes on event-wise. After the main protagonists escaped one sticky situation, there always seemed to be some new antagonist for them to face. This kept the pacing pretty fast, which I liked.

Characters

There are SO many characters in this book. So much so that I either forgot about them or never heard from them again.

However, all you need to really know is that there are six mermaid heroines who are destined to fight against this dark force that threatens the seas: Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid. The story focuses the most on Serafina and Neela, who are best friends. You don't meet Ling until halfway through the novel, and you don't meet the rest until three-quarters of the way through, possibly closer to the end of the book.

Where it got confusing for me were all of the side characters. Some were important - as they were mentioned at least a second or third time - but others had only one scene in the novel. Once I was able to figure out which characters were important, I was able to pay the most attention to their character development.

Speaking of character development...for the protagonists, especially Sera, it's BRILLIANT. The most important thing about this story is actually the friendship that these girls have, not the romance that's only briefly mentioned in the first half.
There's a makeover scene - in which the protagonists have to disguise themselves, and Sera actually goes from having long hair to having a sleek pixie haircut - and that scene was the turning point at which I became invested in the story as a whole. The characters became a little edgier in appearance, but they were bracing themselves for their adventures ahead, as dark as they were. It sounds silly to become interested in a story because of a haircut, but it was a physical manifestation of Sera's growth as a person...or, mermaid.

Setting

Now, this is where it gets even more involved.
I'm glad I picked up a physical copy of this book, because there are two important things that I would have had a harder time referencing in an e-book: a map and a glossary.

The first third or so of the story takes place near Italy, in an underwater kingdom called Miromara. In fact, the characters from that region have distinct Italian names, and Sera even understands a little Italian herself. A scene also takes place in Venice, which I was super happy to see.

Then, the story ventures North towards Romania. Characters are from various oceans/rivers from real-life locations, including the Mississippi river, the Amazon river, and the Arctic ocean. The map helped me visualize where everything was and where certain characters were from.

Then, there was the terminology. I loved the backstories and lore of this story, but there was a time or two when I thought the names and titles felt very random, and they weren't fully explained. That's where the glossary came in. If they explained that an obârsie was a leader and that an ochi was a spying spell a lot more thoroughly, I would have been able to remember what those things were. Now, I will say that some things were explained better than others, but due to the fast pacing of the novel, and due to how involved the plot was, it was more difficult than it should have been to keep things straight. But, hey, it brought back memories of reading Eragon by Chrisopher Paolini.

My Thoughts

I'll be honest, I had a hard time getting through the first half because of the sheer amount of characters, terminology, and the vast lore. But then, after the second half, several things happened:

  • A scene that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland
  • A crazy cat lady mermaid
  • Zombies
  • Magic by singing that got pretty Harry Potter-esque at times (one mermaid is able to fling balls of light by summoning it to her hands via song)
Those were just a few of the things that were in the novel that really, really made this a fun read. I was able to get a good grasp of the story in the second half, too. (Also, zombies in a mermaid story? What?) These original elements made this story unique in comparison to other mermaid stories I'd read before.

Because of the way the story is going, and especially how it ended, I am actually really excited to read this series. The second novel, Rogue Wave, will come out next year.

Before I close, I want to show y'all this video I found while scouring the internet for goodies related to this book. This is actually a song that was written and performed for the book trailer, and it includes lyrics of the song prophecy that drives the plot. There's a full version, too, complete with a music video that serves as an extended trailer for the book. I'm impressed that they went to such lengths just to promote an upcoming YA novel, but I'm not surprised; the book is published by Disney Hyperion, and the song was released through Hollywood Records.

I liked the extended music video best (as the trailer doesn't even feature the main protagonist Sera), so I thought I'd show it to y'all here:



Overall, I give Deep Blue four fishes out of five. I think the series is only going to improve, now that the characters and setting in this story are established. I'm curious to see where this series is going to go over three more books.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading and what I'm into, and don't hesitate to suggest books for me to check out! :)
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Hometown LUSH Adventures!

I'll cut to the chase: Nashville has a LUSH store now, and I couldn't be more excited.

LUSH is a fabulous store filled with nearly all things bath and beauty, from bath melts to shampoo to conditioner to soap to masks. (To my male readers: they have plenty of things for you, too. Also, hi there!)

My first adventure in a LUSH was actually in Glasgow, Scotland. After that, I've loved trying the soaps, bath bombs, and shower gels over the years and visiting Lush stores whenever I've traveled. Now that Lush is finally in Nashville (the closest one to me was Atlanta before this new one opened), I am so excited that I'll be able to try new products, especially their seasonal goodies! (The Snow Fairy shower gel is my favorite, and it's only available around Christmas.)

But what I really wanted to talk about was their face masks. Since I'd only been to Lush stores out of town, buying masks was kind of out of the question due to the fact that they had to be refrigerated. Needless to say, that was a product I knew I had to look at, and I'm SO glad that I did.


The mask I decided to try was the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask.

Prevent disasters by taking regular care of your skin with our deep-cleansing, nutrient-rich blueberry mask. The little blue bulbs are packed with vitamins, and blended into calamine, rose absolute and chamomile blue oil to soothe redness, irritation and cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. This one is wonderfully soothing on sensitive skin. Treat your face to Catastrophe Cosmetic as often as you can to keep your skin looking its best.

When I tried it for the first time, I wound up really loving it. It's just like any mask - wear for 5 to ten minutes, then rinse. It wasn't too harsh on my skin at all, and even though it had me looking like a smurf for a little while - thanks to the blueberries - it turned out to be a moisturizing and overall great mask. I have to say that this is a new favorite product. :)

I'm looking forward to visiting LUSH in the future, especially now that it's so close!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Philippians 2:15


Happy Sunday! :)

I've had a wonderful day with my family in Nashville. It's always great to have a day where I can spend quality time with my family, but it's the greatest when I have the opportunity to worship my Lord and Savior.

I really like Philippians 2:15, just because of the fact that we're all called to shine in our own way for Christ, using the talents that He gave us to help others and be a positive influence on them.

I hope you all have had a wonderful Sunday too! :)
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

ODESZA


I'm always looking for music to work to, and this week, I happened upon ODESZA on iTunes, and then Spotify.

This Seattle-based duo's album "Return" is a lot more chill and lounge-y than what I normally listen to, but it's fabulous background music to really get stuff done. I'd say that their sound would be a mix between Coldplay and Daft Punk.

Favorite tracks: Say My Name (the most danceable track and my #1 favorite on the album), Always This Late, For Us

To have a listen for yourself, check them out here:

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