Friday, December 17, 2010

Four States in 24 Hours

Two weeks ago, Boyfriend and I spent a Saturday driving all over creation.

Leg 1: New York to New Jersey. We drove to my uncle's house to pick up my TV from college. I've been storing it in his attic for the past 2.5 years. I promised the TV to my brother but have been too...I'm not sure if the right word is 'busy' or 'lazy'. Regardless, we decided to finally get it done and I got to see spend a little time with my cousins.

Leg 2: New Jersey to Delaware. Boyfriend's grandmother lives in Delaware. We have be meaning to visit her forever. Since we were already gonna be driving around this seemed like the perfect time to take her to lunch. It was actually a lovely visit and made us both wonder why we don't do it more often.

Leg 3: Delaware to Pennsylvania. We dropped the TV off with my brother in Philly. I got to see how truly disgusting the living quarters of college boys are. My mother would faint if not for the fear of what is festering in that carpet. Then we went to visit Boyfriend's friends that just had a baby. She was like a cute little ball.

Leg 4: Pennsylvania to New Jersey. We visited Boyfriend's sister this time. She and her husband made us a delicious dinner. We spent the night because we had enough driving for the day. Actually, Boyfriend had enough driving and I had enough sitting and playing DJ with my ipod.

We headed back to New York the next day. We were exhausted and Boyfriend was strung out on caffeine but this was probably our most productive weekend in months. I think it was definitely better to bang it all out in one day instead of dragging this out over multiple weekends.

Next drive on our list is Rhode Island for Christmas. While we are in that neck of the woods we'll visit my grandfather in Hartford and my friend in Boston. We're just checking things off the list all over the place.

My Ring
O, and the main reason we were destroyed after our tour of the least exciting states in the Northeast was because we got engaged the night before! We were up late celebrating. This is why even though we spent most of it running big errands we had been putting off, it was still an amazing weekend :)

Have you seen a ring nicer than mine? I haven't.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lemme Smang It

This ridiculousness became the anthem of my Thanksgiving.  I love my crazy family.

How Murder and Nudity Ended My Thanksgiving

I'm on the flight back to New York from Atlanta (thanks for the free internet Airtran) and I am shocked and appalled!

A guy sitting across the aisle and one row in front of me is watching a movie on his laptop.  I don't know what movie it is but there has been a fully naked woman on the screen for the past 15 minutes.  First she was having sex, then she was chasing after her partner and trying to shoot him, then she was running from some masked man who actually killed her partner, and finally she got killed.  All naked.

Honestly, I'm not sure if it was the nakedness or all the killing that disturbed me more.  It's not like I'm against movies with nudity and murder.  That isn't the point.  The point is that we are on a plane.

What if a child were in my seat!?  The poor thing would be traumatized or worse yet not care at all.  Kids these days are growing up too fast.

Either way there should be a thing called plane etiquette.  Not watching inappropriate movies should be right after keeping your hands to yourself.  Did I mention the woman I sat next to on the plane to Atlanta grabbed my thigh when the plane landing startled her?

What is wrong with people?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

London Calling!

I'm going to London in a month!  Boyfriend has to go for work and he is bringing me.  Yup, he's a keeper.  I haven't been back to London since I left after studying abroad there in 2007.

Because I can't contain my excitement, the other night while I was dreaming I made a list of everything I need to fit in the week that I'm there.

Here they are in no particular order:
  1. Ben's Cookies
  2. Trafalgar Square
  3. National Gallery
  4. National Portrait Gallery
  5. Tate Modern
  6. UCL
  7. British Museum
  8. Oxford Street
  9. My British Friends
  10. My British Family
  11. Nando's
  12. Boots (to buy tons of their perfectly sized vaseline tins)
  13. Wagamama
  14. Brick Lane
  15. Ben and Jerry's/Belgian Waffle stand by Bond Street Station
  16. Fruit corner yogurts
Trust me.  All these things, places, and people are awesome.  Some mainly hold sentimental value for me.  But the others have concrete reasons for being great.  The restaurants are delicious and affordable.  The desserts are the ONLY desserts in England worth contemplating.  The museums were the first I never got bored in.

I never made it to the British Museum - which I why it's on my list.  Fruit corners are soooo delicious.  The milk tasted better in England too.  I'm not sure what the good dairy is about but I sure did miss my favorite yogurt.  They were my breakfasts since I reject beans on toast and all other horrible brit excuses for my favorite meal.  I think the beauty of the perfect travel-size vaseline tins speak for themselves.

I'm sure the list will expand.  Any suggestions?

Update:  I forgot to put Strongbow on the list!!!  Pubs and Strongbow!

Update:  We didn't go to London.  Boyfriend didn't have to go for work anymore.  I'm kind of glad it worked out this way.  Now we can go next year when there isn't a blizzard going on over there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Fail

This fall I had aspirations to take weekend trips to Boston and Philly (obviously not on the same weekend).  This was a totally reasonable and easily executable goal.

So why didn't it happen?  PURE LAZINESS

I really really really wanted, and fully intended, to go both places.  I want to see my brother in Philly and give him my old TV (which I promised him a year ago).  Also, a group of my favorite people are living in Boston now (a place I have never been). 

True, none of those people are going anywhere so the timeliness of my trips wasn't important.  I'm sure that was a blow to the motivation voice that whispers in my ear.

I think what really propelled me into failure was Australia.  Australia was an amazing trip but it was so much traveling.  When we got home, all I wanted to do was be at home.  The best time each week to enjoy being at home is on the weekend.  I just wasn't ready to give them up.

Of course now it is too late to make this fall a weekend trip success.  I'll be traveling for the holidays so it seems like my best bet for Philly and Boston is January or February.

This is exactly what I wanted to avoid because Boston in the middle of winter sounds horribly cold.  O well.  I did it to myself.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wanted: New Friend (Must work for airline)

I feel like plane ticket prices keep going up and you get less and less for your money. 

On American Airlines to and from LAX in economy you don't even get peanuts!  That is bullshit.  That flight isn't short.  Plus, I refuse to spend $10 to get 3 Pringles.  To add insult to injury I could smell them baking cookies for the people in first class.  I nearly lost my mind.  Boyfriend witnessed me take a very big step towards madness.  I thought I was going to turn into the Hulk, bust into first class, backhand the flight attendant, then stuff every single cookie into my mouth. 

With this experience fresh in my mind I wondered how much more it would cost to fly at least business class when we go to Scotland next year.  It costs 3 times as much! There is no way I'm paying that much extra money.  They would have to do a lot more than bake cookies for that to be worth it.

My new solution is making best friends with someone that works for an airline.  Then they can give me the hook-up and I can fly in freshly baked cookie bliss.  No shirt ripping or backhanding necessary.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lucky Bastards

I'm convinced Australian school children are the luckiest kids around.  Besides getting to live in a beautiful place they are never in the classroom! 

Everywhere we went in Sydney there were kids on field trips running around.  I'm not exaggerating at all.  EVERY SINGLE PLACE!  They just muck about in their matching hats.  Tons of them all over. 

When I was in school fields trip were a rare thing, not the norm.  Lucky lucky bastards. 

Best Sydney Activities

Besides just walking around and getting a feel for the city (which is a must wherever you go) there are a few activities that I was really happy I got a chance to do.

We took a day trip to the Blue Mountains. You can go on your own but we took a tour with Boutique Tours.  I'm glad we did that.  I think we learned a lot more having an experienced guide.  Plus we saw all the best things.  If you like nature, hiking (but not serious hiking), bird watching (Boyfriend's favorite), sweeping views, and just being outside you'll like it.

I loved the Taronga Zoo.  You can walk around with Kangaroos!  Boyfriend was happy because he got to see a platypus.  It seemed like it would be easy for some animals to escape.  They weren't as caged in as other zoos I've been to. I guess that made for a better viewing experience.  I was chased by an emu which was traumatic but getting to see all the cute, lazy, fat koalas made up for that.

We went to the Hunter Valley which is 2 hours outside of Sydney to go wine tasting.  I think it's hard to not have fun drinking wine all day.  I mean, I bet tastings in France would be way better but whatever.  I'll save that for another trip.  Boyfriend is more of a wine snob than I am but he ended up having fun too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sydney Observations

I've been in Sydney for 2.5 days and I've noticed a few things. 

Sydney is amazingly beautiful.  Every harbour offers great views.  Also, the water looks clean and blue.  Definitely not like Hudson or East river make you puke water.  I would consider eating a fish from that water if I were the fish eating type.

We're staying in The Rocks neighborhood and I would recommend it.  It is right by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.  Also there are tons of cafes, bars, and easy access to anywhere you would want to go. 

I've seen 3 black people.  It seems like Sydney is 50-50 white and asian.  To be fair I have seen a couple Indians (and I really mean 2 max).  I haven't gotten any stares though so a black person must not be that much of a novelty.  There were aboriginals at the aboriginal cultural center we went to but that is it.  Boyfriend asked me if it felt weird to be the only black person everywhere we went.  Pssh that stopped phasing me in preschool. 

The shops close around 5:30pm and restaurants around 9:30pm.  That feels really early to me.  Thankfully bars are open later.

Everyone in Australia has at least 4 weeks of vacation!  O and since they aren't taking all their vacation days the government has a campaign going to encourage everyone to use them.  Give them to me!

Boyfriend loves wine so we've been to a few wine bars and stores.  Every single one only has wines from Australia and New Zealand.  I understand having hometown pride but this seems weird to me.  I have no idea where you would go to buy wines from any other country.  We are going on a Hunter Valley wine tour tomorrow so after this trip I may be maxed out on this wine region.

Kangaroo tastes like beef. 

That is all for now.  All the running around we've been doing is making me need a nap.  At some point I'll let you know about all the activites we're doing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Survive Traveling Across the World

Traveling to Sydney, Australia meant 2 very long plane rides and 3 very different time zones.  Somehow I made it here in one fully awake piece.  Here is how:

1.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  This is the advice Boyfriend gave me that I didn't really listen to at first.  Our first flight left JFK for LAX at 6:30am.  We got to the airport in enough time which is really important to me because I hate rushing.  We were flying Qantas so naturally we head to that terminal.  Turns out that the Qantas staff doesn't show up at the airport that early.  WTF?!  I immediately go into panic mode.  We find out that we have to go to the American Airlines terminal.  That would have been nice to know.  It all worked out and we checked our bags, got through security, and to the gate in enough time.  The 30 minutes until it worked out were filled with me cursing all airport staff under my breath.  All that stress for nothing.

2.  You must sleep!  On both flights we slept a good portion of the time.  It is so key.  If we hadn't of slept on the first flight we would have been zombies all day in L.A.  If we hadn't slept on the second flight we would have been bored for one thing, and fucking comatose our first day in Sydney.  Because we slept we were able to have a great time hanging out in Manhattan Beach in L.A. and we had enough energy to spend our first day in Sydney exploring - not sleeping. 

3.  Pack a light carry-on.  I knew this would be important because I had to lug that thing around L.A. all day.  Also, we got to Sydney a few hours before our hotel room was ready so I had to carry it around when we first started checking out the sites.  It was still heavier than I would have liked but considering I usually treat my purse like it was a Mary Poppins hand-me-down I think I did ok.

4.  Fly Qantas.  I started out hating them because they weren't at the stupid terminal when we started out trip but I got over that.  The plane, the crew, everything is awesome.  Trust me.  On a flight that long in economy it makes a big difference.  If I were on American Airlines I probably would have shot myself.

All-in-all the trip to Sydney was a lot better than I thought it would be.  The hardiest thing was figuring out what time I should be taking my birth control since the time zones were all over the place.  Getting accidently pregnant is not something I want to happen on this trip.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hell has frozen over!

In 12 hours I'll start my trip to Sydney, Australia.  Boyfriend and I are flying from JFK to LAX, spending the day in L.A., then flying to Sydney.  Basically our travels start ass early on Saturday morning and we don't reach our destination till Monday morning.

To prepare for THE LONGEST FLIGHT EVER, I bought 2 seasons of Mad Men.  When else am I going to have time to catch up on that show?  Other than that I hadn't really done anything prepared...i.e. packing.

All week I've been dreading packing for this trip.  I just knew it would be a disaster.  Ughhhh where do I even start?!  The weather is spring-like over there.  I don't even remember how to dress for spring.  That was months ago.  I don't want to be too hot or too cold.  So, I've been procrastinating...till right now.

I decided to just bring jeans and t-shirts, a blazer, a few dresses (for the wedding we are going to and if we go out to dinner), some clothes to work-out in (wishful thinking), and tons of underwear.  Worst comes to worst at least I will have clean underwear.  Also, I'm only bring 3 pairs of shoes: pumas, heels, and my work-out shoes.  I still haven't gotten together any toiletries or carry-on stuff but already this is my most successful packing experience to date (knock on wood).

If I end up with not enough or totally inappropriate clothes then I'll just have to go shopping.  This could work out in my favor....

Update: You need a visa to go to Australia.  You can get it online and it takes 30 seconds but don't wait till the very last minute to do it.  Kinda stressful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sippin' on Gin and Juice

Last weekend we went to Boyfriend's summer house in Rhode Island, again.  I had a list short list of things I wanted to do: read, eat cupcakes, drink, and sleep.  All my favorite things.  I thought it would be easy to accomplish all of this.

I was on target with my goals till my arch nemesis reared her ugly head.  Allergies.  I've been battling that bitch my entire life.  I'm sorry to say she has won quite a few battles.  This was not going to be one of them.

It was going to be tricky because for the past year I haven't taken allergy medicine and I didn't want to start again.  Sometimes the allergy medicine turns out to be worse than the allergies!  I got addicted to Zyrtec (don't ask), Claritin stopped working, Claritin-D made be feel super depressed, the list goes on.  So, for the past year I've pretty much only used a neti pot (pouring warm salt water through one nostril and out the other...youtube it) and prayed.  Luckily I haven't had any serious allergic episodes - till now.

There I was sitting at the summer house sneezing up a storm, acting like it wasn't that serious but silently praying that all the mold and dust in that old house would just show itself so we could have it out once and for all.  Enough with the sneak attacks!  Then Boyfriend's sister decided it was time to start drinking...hard.  No one else wanted to join so I stepped up to the plate.  This might be just what I needed.  I learned a long time ago that when I'm drunk my allergies don't bother me.  Hooray to numbing the senses!

Boyfriend's sister wants to drink gin and tonic but I don't like tonic water.  It tastes bad and somehow it ended up being one of my nicknames and no matter how much I reject it I can't shake it.  I go with gin and juice instead.  Deee-li-cious!

After about 4 drinks I'm frustrated.  It isn't working!  I'm still sneezey.  I neti pot.  Even more sneezy!  Then I decide to take Sudafed.  That technically isn't allergy medicine, right?  I also use my inhaler for good measure.  Obviously through all of this I keep drinking.  Then, Bingo.  I knocked that Bitch out.  Not Boyfriend's sister, Allergies.

No more sneezing, itchiness, everything gone.  Hallelujah, my crazy concoction worked!  Weekend saved.  Now back to being a big blob.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What I Love About Rhode Island

If you meet anyone from Providence, Rhode Island you will hear a million reasons why they think their teeny tiny state is the best in the Union.  I swear they think the world starts and ends there.  To be fair, little Rhody is a very old state so it makes sense that it was the scene of a lot of  U.S. firsts.  The first circus, polo match, discount department store - I could go on and on.  The fact that its offspring (my boyfriend) loves to talk about these little facts makes me think that the state might have a Napoleon complex going on.

Although I usually don't admit it, I really do love Rhode Island.  Here are a few of my favorite things.
A Del's Truck
  •   Spike's Junkyard Dogs.  I love this place.  If you like hot dogs you will love it too.  Lunch here is a must when you are in Providence.  They have things besides hot dogs on the menu but I have stayed true to my favorite - the Texas Ranger.  It's a hot dog with BBQ sauce, bacon and cheddar.  Also, the buns they use are amazing.
  • Del's.  Who doesn't love frozen lemonade?  Del's is a Rhode Island tradition that I can get behind.
  • The Providence Mall Movie Theater.  The theater has IMAX, it doesn't have crazy stupid NYC ticket prices, and I'll save the best thing for last.  It has a bar!  Have you ever seen a movie theater with a bar in it?  I haven't.  I was shocked and amazed (in a good way).  I love how Providence shows its true colors.  Way to keep it classy.
  • The state is the size of my big toenail.  As much as tease Rhode Islanders for living in the smallest state it is really a great thing.  You can easily do anything the state has to offer (which is a lot) because at most it takes 40 minutes to get anywhere.  It takes me longer than 40 minutes to get to Brooklyn.  A perfect example of this is Jamestown.  We ate clam cakes (another Rhode Island tradition), walked on the beach, and saw people surfing and fishing.  You can completely get away from the city without having to go far.
There are a couple places in Rhode Island that I haven't been yet but am really excited to go to.
  • Newport Home of some really old money.  From what I hear it puts the Hamptons to shame. 
  • Block Island.  There are beaches, bike riding, boating, bird watching, fresh pasta.  The list goes on.  The only bad thing is that you have to take a ferry to get there.  I will have my non-drowsy Dramamine ready.
Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You ready to get beat?

My boyfriend and I brought my little brother with us to Rhode Island this weekend (my boyfriend grew up in Rhode Island).  We spent the first night and day in Burrillville, which is a little hick town where his family has a summer house.  I was very excited to play tennis, go swimming, and to just be out of the NYC. 

First, let me explain something about my little brother...he is no longer little.  He is bigger, stronger, and faster than me (don't tell him I said this).  He is a 20 year old man.  Actually, my even littler brother that is 13 is already taller than me and probably faster than me.  I'm in a tough predicament.  As an older sibling you need to keep showing the younger siblings that you are the dominant one.  Even though I'm a girl and they are boys this is still my duty as the older sibling.  I just have to get more creative with how I slap them into submission.  With the 13 year old (who is getting a big head because he now towers over me) I beat him in cards, arm wrestling, and I can hold my breath much longer than him.  He has been officially put back in his place.  Now for the 20 year old....

Tennis.  Tennis was going to be my way to make him never forget that he will always be the little brother, I don't care how big he is.  I haven't played tennis in years (and was never a superstar) but I have played more tennis than him.  We start by hitting balls back and forth.  Actually we tried hitting balls back and forth but he kept either missing the return or sending the balls rocketing out of the court and into the woods.  Perfect. 

We decide to play one set.  I destroy him 6-0.  Yes!  This is what I'm talkin' bout.  Of course I gloat but I'm not too mean about it.  That is the difference between an older sister and an older brother.  He has his tail between his legs (mission accomplished) but he wants to play another set.  We are both having fun.  The next set starts and I easily win the first two games.  Then, something happens.  It is like something clicked and he stopped being horribly terrible.  He continued to double fault 90% more than me but when he didn't make a mistake he was really good.  The times he got his serve in it was practically un-returnable, he was just that much better at chasing balls down.  Plus, I was tired, my hand hurt, I have asthma (all very valid excuses!).  But really it just comes down to the fact that he is an athlete and I'm a couch potato.  Second set 2-6.  Fuckkkkkk!  I should have stopped after one set.

Last set.  My chance to redeem myself.  For most of it we are pretty even, both winning the same number of games.  I think I can still pull this one out but I'm worried.  His trash talking is increasing by the second.  The need to show him who's boss has never been more crucial.  Then I fail.  He wins the set. 5-7.  Crap.  I go on and on about how I destroyed him in the beginning but it doesn't matter.  He wins. 

Right now my body is aching and he is sleeping like a baby with a smug grin on his face.  Should I give up and admit he is better?  Stronger?  Hell no!  I just need to get more creative, prove that I am smarter, and then trick him into thinking I'm stronger.

An older sister's work is never done.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Learn Something New Every Summer

I've been visiting my family in Anguilla (heaven in island form) every summer my entire life.  The island doesn't change much but I learned a few new things when I was there a few weeks ago.

1. I'm an over-packer for life.  I have a tendency to over-pack.  I know this about myself.  Every time I pack I try and combat this....and fail.  Packing for Anguilla was no different.  I labored over every article of clothing.  I thought really hard about whether I needed 15 tank tops for a 10 day trip.  I even put some things back in the drawer (a big step for me).  I asked my boyfriend for advice about how many dresses I should bring.  He said yes to a couple (not knowing I had already said yes to 5 more I wasn't showing him).  I just can't shut up the voice in my head that whispers, "Just in case you spill on your shirt, fall in the ocean, trip, and get dirty hand prints (little brother) on you all in one day, you'll need a ridiculous number of outfits."  That sounds logical.  Well, I guess it's good to be prepared.

2. Non-drowsy Dramamine is truly God's gift to earth.  My older sister has given me many things.  Clothes, advice, the list goes on.  I'm not sure if anything can stand up to the greatness of her gift of non-drowsy Dramamine.  To get to Anguilla I fly in and out from St. Maarten.  There is a ferry that goes between Anguilla and St. Maarten.  The ferry is only a 20min ride....from hell.  It didn't always bother me but, in the past few years, it has made me feel like I'm going to throw up all over myself then slowly die.  I tried Dramamine and I didn't feel nauseous...I felt unconscious!  That stuff totally knocks you out.  Not good when you are traveling.  Hence, my new found love for non-drowsy Dramamine.

3. I'm a horrible bartender.  Good thing is I always test drinks out on myself.  Bad thing is that I am myself!  What kind of person keeps accidentally getting themselves obliterated.  Ridiculous.  Island living means drinking basically all day (at least it does for me).  That combined with my heavy handed pouring is trouble.  Lets just say that after this summer's trip to Anguilla I have enforced a two drink maximum for myself - neither drink to me made by me.

The best things about Anguilla I already knew: it has the best beaches in the world, it is the perfect place to relax/do absolutely nothing, and sibling time = awesome time.