Things I Love Thursday! Travel Edition

Within the last two months I went on two trips. One was a flight to Oregon to see the very bestie and the second was a roadtrip with the mother-in-law (not even half as bad as it sounds) to Indiana and Tennessee. So many things happened. Life was lived.

Zoos

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I can’t say that the Cleveland Zoo thrilled me inside and out. Many of the animals there seemed lethargic and kind of sad. It made my heart kind of want to break. On our way back to the great NY, we stopped at the Erie PA Zoo and my mind was changed. The animals there were moving, interacting. They seemed to have life.

I saw a tiger in the flesh!

Aquariums

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While we lived in Monterey, CA, hubs and I went to the aquarium at least twice. I remember being mesmerized by the jellyfish and, of course, the penguins. Our trip to Tennessee also meant going to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg. They had penguins, too, but it was the underwater walkway that did it for me. It was tranquil and awe inspiring.

Then there were sea dragons and armored catfish. And I got to touch a jellyfish. (Turns out, they feel like wet mushrooms).

Getting Lost

So many freaking times on our road trip we found ourselves not where we planned. It was errors in communication. It was jumping exits. It was good laughs and a bit of extra sight seeing.

A lot of the time, I panic when I realize I’m lost. This trip kind of taught me that there isn’t much reason for that kind of behavior. Not when we have good company and google maps. When we found ourselves in downtown Indianapolis at 10:30 at night, I whipped out my phone and punched an address into google maps. Soon enough, we were on our way.

Trying New Things

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I had never been on a ski lift or a roller coaster before Gatlinburg, but I did both there. The mountain side roller coaster was nothing more than a go-kart sized seat that took you up the side of the mountain and dropped you down some scary round abouts. I loved every second of that thrilling ride.

The Sky Lift (a ski lift that brought you up the side of the mountain in town) seemed like nothing in comparison. It gently moseyed it’s way up the mountain, never more than twenty feet from the ground. It was the ride back that was worth it. You faced all of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains from way up high. It was breath taking in every direction.

This summer, I’m hoping I can save enough money for my very own kayak. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and I’m just so excited to try it out on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Food Finds

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My trip to Portland, as any trip with the bestie, was a lot about food. We went to Salt & Straw for ice-cream and City State for brunch and mimosas and Voodoo Donuts for on the go breakfast. We stopped at a chocolatier and picked up macarons. Finding the best local restaurants and cafes in a town is one of my favorite things to do, even in my own area.

We have a bit more planned for this summer, including taking my parents to their first Renaissance Faire and going to Massachusetts to visit our online friends IRL. Hubs said it yesterday, we are in the prime of our life at this moment. We shouldn’t be wasting it on the couch.

Keep Portland Weird! And Me, Too.

As you’ve all seen, I shared a rather long weekend with an old friend in Portland, Oregon. She left our quaint hometown region for the oddball excitement that is the quintessential Hipster City and I hadn’t seen her in the flesh in almost two years.

It was a long overdue vacation that we both needed.

I arrived super late at night. It was the equivalent of 3 AM East Coast time when I finally arrived, after hours of struggling to sleep and white knuckled turbulence. The BFF picked me up and had to roll out of bed only a few hours later to get herself into work on time. I felt awful making her stay up so late and I was sure that on my own I’d get lost INSIDE her apartment building. There were just too many staircases.

Yet, I did venture out on my own and took in the few blocks around her apartment. The best find was Cafehouse Northwest, where I snagged a Carmelized Onion and Cheddar Scone. Happiest breakfast until I tried their Vanilla Latte and some wonderfully crisp pastry that resembled a flattened cinnamon bun that had been sauteed in caramel. Freaking yum.

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But the yum didn’t end there. The entire trip was nearly centered around food, as I think all good trips are. We found ourselves in the shortest line the girls had ever seen at Salt and Straw, a very popular ice-cream shop with some deliciously oddball flavors. The smell permeated the entire street. My friend’s roommate elbowed me and just said “Homemade Waffle Cones.”

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I ordered the Salted Caramel Cupcake by accident, but I didn’t regret it one bit. There was so much salt, but it just felt so right among the caramel and sweet waffle cone. I wanted to go back the night before I left, for just one more cone, but my waistline didn’t agree with me.

Our next culinary adventure brought us to City State Diner. Brunch was where it was at in Portland, or so I was told. We signed in on a college ruled notebook and grabbed complimentary coffee before going outside to sit in the sunshine. Portland has some great coffee and I was more than happy to enjoy our fifteen minute wait for the mimosas that we got with our brunch.

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On my last full day in Portland we decided to pick up another one of her friends and make the trek to the coast, but not before donuts. I truly wish that I had thought of this place first because being inside made me so freaking happy. Voodoo Donuts is what I’m talking about. The small shop was painted bubblegum pink and there was a slightly rusted vintage gas pump outside.

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Inside, there was more pink, a velvet Elvis painting, and rotating display cases of some pretty wack-o donuts. There was the Homer, a classic cake donut with pink icing and sprinkles. There was a grape soda flavored donut, a Mexican hot chocolate donut, and even a voodoo doll donut. Of course, I picked the voodoo doll just to say I did.  My favorite was definitely the spicy Mexican hot chocolate donut.

I loved Portland so freaking much. There was something to do around every corner. People were actually kind of nice. Powell’s Books has the potential to own me heart and soul, especially for giving me Howl’s Moving Castle and the second volume of Rat Queens. And don’t even get me started on the food. I’d move just for the food. Hubs and I aren’t city people, so we aren’t moving any time soon. Still, I’m definitely putting it on the list for future vacations.

 

Ups and Downs

I’ve been practically dreaming about this library job that I applied to. I imagine myself wearing cute Disney tops and dresses with cardigans while I carefully pick books for reading time with kids. I was all for this foot in the door kind of job that would get me the experience I needed to work at other libraries.

But I didn’t get it. Someone with more experience that wasn’t moving in less than a year got it. Damn myself for letting that little bit slip. But I won’t let this stop me from moving on to other opportunities. If this is what I really want to do, I just have to keep trying, keep looking.

I’m keeping my head up because other great things are happening in my life. Hubs and I have been working out a lot. Three days a week doesn’t seem like much, but it is kicking out asses. The results have been really nice (despite all the sweat and tears, yes, I cry every time). I no longer feel like a flabby mess. Things are pulling back together like they were when I initially lost all that weight.

Also, the tickets are booked! I’m going to Portland, Oregon this year! I am so excited to see my friend in person. It’s been almost two years since we’ve last seen each other in person, a time that is just way too long. Remembering the adventures we had in Monterey makes me so excited to see what we will do in Portland.

All I have to do is survive the flight on my own for the first time and remember to bring my freaking camera for once. I never use that thing and I paid so much for it.

Valentines Day is around the corner and I hope that you are all remembering to treat yourself and your partner this year. Hubs paid for my plane tickets, so I’m determined to take him to see Deadpool and I’m making him a killer homemade tiramisu this year. I’m totally winning on this, too.

 

Getting my Geeky Friday On

5 Ways I’m Going to Take Chances in 2016?

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The first seemed to have just popped up yesterday. My hubs grandmother is a newspaper clipper and the kind of woman who seems to have anything you’re looking for. She was the one who scored us a free wedding cake and secured our apartment once we moved back to New York.

Yesterday hubs came home from a visit with her and handed me a newspaper clipping. On it was an ad for help wanted at the library HALF A MILE down our road. It’s not even twenty hours a week, but it’s more than I’m making now, plus this could show me if I really want to become a librarian!

I’m scared and excited all at once.

The second way I’m taking a chance in 2016 is with my blog. I’m doing a whole revamp to focus it more around geek themed foods, baking to be exact. I love to bake. It’s my zen space. But sharing that on the internet is kind of scary. Baking is a science with so many places for error that most likely I’ll have more mistakes than successes.

The hope is to have a polished blog, a loving following, and more successes than mistakes to show for it.

The third way I plan on taking a chance in 2016 involves hubs. Turns out the school I thought he’s go to doesn’t have his degree. I was happy with that school because I’d gone there and I knew the lay of the land. Now, he’s forced to choose a place I’ve never been to. It means once more learning a new place and a lot of getting lost.

I thought I was done with that once he was out of the military. I guess I was wrong, but perhaps I should look  at this like an adventure.

The fourth way I plan on taking a chance in 2016 involves going back to school myself. I don’t have what my hubs has from being in the military. We have to pay for my school and that makes it feel like a huge leap of faith. I really hope that I’ve chosen the right path. I love books and everything bookish. I hope that the rest of it falls into place as I’m learning and possibly working.

I just hope 2016 leads me to the person that I want to be.

The fifth way I’m taking a chance in 2016 is possibly a trip to Portland! My best friend has been living out there for quite some time now. Last August I had made plans to fly out and visit her, but hubs Military life interrupted those plans. We were forced to move back home and I immediately went into a fulltime job.

I’m unemployed right now, which means sooooo much free time. Hubs offered to foot the bill for me to fly alone to Portland. I’ve never flown alone before! I’ve never been in such a large city before. I’m so excited to finally be able to tour the city with my best friend.

Which leads me to Funko Friday.

Rumple

I promise I didn’t buy another one, although with Hot Topic HotCash live I seriously debated buying six more. No, this one came as a late Christmas present from the Bestie. She’s the one who reignited my love for Once Upon a Time. I got the Regina Funko in honor of her favorite character and my growing love for Regina.

Bestie got me Rumple.  I fucking adore Rumplestiltskin. I love the actor’s beautiful separation of Gold and Rumple and how some of their actions carry over into one another. I love his love for Belle despite his power hungry, sneaky bitch ass.