Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hippie Style

I've still been thinking a lot about the way I eat. In reading Marion Nestle's book "What to Eat" over the span of two weeks I've really convinced myself that I'm slowly but surely beginning to make the right choices.

Mostly this has involved cooking at home, making everything from scratch to avoid overprocessed junk, and eating in moderation. I'm still drinking coke, but I swear that is harder to quit than smoking...or heroin.

We used to eat out nearly every night of the week, but since the year began we only occasionally enjoy take out. Usually a pizza or some chinese food. But even the chinese food is better from home, and pizza is just as good on my own pizza pan.

I'm starting my seeds this weekend, tons of various fruits and vegetables will be gracing the soil of my backyard this summer. I'm determined to have a green thumb...dammit. It will happen. First obstacle is starting the seeds. And if that fails, all of the good garden centers will have them nice and mature come May. ;)

But perhaps the biggest "crazy" idea I've had yet is...wait for it...trust...it's worth it....CHICKENS. No joke. Two hens would give a family enough natural, organic eggs for a week. My Dad has piles of wood in our backyard just waiting to be used. I've been researching designs and plans. And who knows...I might just build a coop.

Fran Drescher said on Rosie's blog the other day about getting back to nature and away from chemicals that "everything old is new again". And she's right. Why should I be wasting my money on "diet foods" and all natural things like "granola bars" when the healthier option would be making my own? It's all about becoming sustainable.

It shall be an interesting summer for sure.

Look for me next year...living on the commune with the hippies. I can feel it coming.

Democratic intensity showing up at the polls

  • 22 million Democratic, 14.1 million Republican votes cast in primaries so far
  • Turnout discrepancy worries some Republicans

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/28/ohio.turnout/index.html

Going to Hell

Today I came home to homemade pulled pork barbeque. My mom cooked it all day in the crock pot so I can't even begin to tell you how delicious it tasted.



Last night I made the meatloaf I mentioned yesterday. I had said in a comment that I wasn't using bacon, but then I found some in the fridge and had to try it. They were incredible. Don't skimp on the good ground beef when making this one (or ever really) because I'd hate to see someone have a grease fire. Stick to 93/7 for sure.



And on the way home I may or may not have stopped by my favorite grocery store and bought a whole Beef Tenderloin. Words cannot properly express how excited I am about those cuts of meat sitting in my freezer right now.

Just sinful.

Quote of the Day

I don't answer those humiliating questions. But whichever one it is, I look good in 'em!
--Barack Obama on the Boxers or Briefs question

Photo of the Day

If Barack Obama wins the nomination my mother has vowed to buy 3 of these dog shirts:





Rather cute, no?

In related news, yesterday she had to explain to a young girl in her office that Barack Obama is not Muslim, because apparently people believe that. Then she had to preface it by saying, "why would it matter if he were anyway?"

She also had to explain that in the primary you only vote for what you are registered. Because some of the airheads she works with thought they had to pick between Obama-Clinton-McCain-Huckabee. Nevermind the registered independents who were all prepared to vote on election day in May.

It's true. You can't fix stupid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Perfect Day: Part 2

It was one of those thick summer nights. The kind that leave your skin sticky and your hair frizzed at the edges. We lay out under the night sky watching the stars dance. Two best friends with their toes tucked neatly into dew strewn grass. Our 18th summer together. The last one we'd ever have of our youth. The world spinning madly on. Barreling too fast for either of us to comprehend. But for one moment, just us girls as time slowed for the last time.

I told her about how he'd never grow to love me. No matter how much I wished he would. She told me of her nights, trying to find comfort in all the wrong things. We drank lemonade until our lips burned. Worried about how everything would change soon.

The whole world was moving as we stood still.

When we were little we would dance around our backyards and sing made up songs about summer. We would swim in my pool until our toes turned into raisins. Then we'd walk up to the park and sit on the bridge and talk about how amazing our lives were going to be and what we would name our children.

As teenagers we'd go for rides in my car. For ice cream cones or slushies at the gas station. We would sing stupid songs way too loud with the windows rolled down so we could feel the night breeze on our cheeks. Then we would sit on my front porch watching cars drift down our street. Never saying too much. Neither confronting how fast life was changing.

I moved away the summer before senior year. I got accepted to UK. I took care of my sick grandmother. I made friends with a group I would have never befriended before. I fell, hard, for a boy who'd never love me. I made bad decisions. Good decisions. Sometimes no decisions at all. Life changed. Our friendship changed.

And yet. On a sticky summer night at my new house, in my new backyard, away from all of the fuss I was reminded of what makes family. How certain friends are different. We laughed and cried until it hurt. And giggled. Cause that's what teenage girls do best. Lots of giggles.

I think of her. And how it's all gone. And how life is so different than I pictured it would be back then. And I remember nights like that. When you find the beauty in just getting to be yourself with your best friend.

The whole world was moving and we were standing still.

Another Day Another Drama

Okay, really...no drama. But that Britney song is catchy.

Here's what I've been up to...bullet point style because I've been trying but can't seem to frame a story this morning that doesn't involve hysterics, over excitement, or corny freakin' cheesiness.

*I've been putting together a binder for this year's vacation. Usually I take a folder, stuff it with maps and directions and brochures and menus and by the time we've arrived it's laying all over the backseat in disarray. Therefore I'm trying organization this year.

*I actually got to help someone plan a vacation! One of the girls my mom works with wanted to make her trip to Destin for a wedding into a vacation but began freaking out when all the hotels were quoting her upwards of $179 a night for the week she wanted to go. Mom called me and I talked to the girl and through our two computers we found her several condos with beautiful views for only $500 a week! It was so awesome.

*I've been trying to talk someone in my family into accompanying me on a trip to Nashville for my birthday to visit the Lebanon, TN Prime Outlet. So that said family member can purchase a Coach bag for their dear daughter.

*So far bargaining tactics are working, especially when I nonchalantly had Jon remind everyone what he received for his birthday. (Wii and accessories...hmph)

*Dooce's entries lately about her new puppy and Chuck have reminded me of all the funny stuff Molly does to annoy Jill. I forget sometimes that she is only 7 months ago and still very much a puppy. And while Jill used to hang off of Jack's neck like Coco does Chuck, Molly prefers to use her giant mouth as an advantage and wrap it entirely around Jill's snout. Don't tell her I said it, but I can tell Jill is totally happy to have Molly around. Maybe.

*I'm considering making these for dinner.

*I'll let you know how that goes.

*And if you happen to see my parents anywhere, don't hesitate to tell them they should go with me to Nashville.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shark Attack Kills Diver Off Florida Coast

Highlights include:

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 25) - An Austrian tourist died Monday after
being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been
baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial
dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort
Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami.

The company's Web site says it offers the opportunity to get "face to face"
with sharks. The site explains that its hammerhead and tiger shark expeditions
in the Bahamas are "unique shark trips ... run exclusively for shark enthusiasts
and photographers."

To ensure "the best results we will be 'chumming' the water with fish and
fish parts," the Web site explains. "Consequently, there will be food in the
water at the same time as the divers.
And nobody thought this was a bad idea before this happened?? Hmm...

A Worry a Day

Last night my Dad clutched his chest while laying on the couch with a sick stomach and an aching jaw for a good half hour. We waited and stressed until he decided it was probably nothing more than an Angina Attack, which he has long been prone to. But that doesn't mean those 30 minutes prior didn't manage to shave another 5 years off of my life.


That's what I deal with. Quite often. The first few times it happened it really freaked me out. Now we have it down to a science. I ask him if he needs to go to the hospital. Jon asks him if he'd like him to wake up Mom. I get him a huge glass of ice water while Jon gets her up. She takes his blood pressure, which has usually sky rocketed from the stress and worry of it all (130/100 last night). He pops a blood pressure pill, a few nitro and waits.

While he's suffered from Angina for quite some time, it became more frequent after his last heart cath because he has an artery that is going to have to stay 70% blocked because of the blockage's location. From what I hear, Angina is really a symptom of Coronary Artery Disease.

So while there is nothing he can do and his cardiologist maintains he's got a decently healthy heart right now, it still manages to scare me. Just in a calmer way I suppose. Last night's attack lasted longer than usual and I was fairly worried this one wasn't angina and we'd end up in the ER.

That dread is something I've come to live with everyday. Unlike someone who has just lost a parent, I face everyday with the fear it's the one and the uncertainty of not knowing. I've been to that brink, been pulled back, and now sometimes have trouble dealing with the reality that he is here, okay, and isn't leaving me yet.

This is where I admit I should probably be on some drugs for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Or something.

Nevertheless, life goes on. Last night was scary. And today is a new day. (Albeit a cold one...dammit.) I wish I could say the birds were chirping and I had a new lease on life. But I don't. I sit and wait for the next time. Hoping it's all okay. And trying to maintain my chipperness that June awaits us and I'll get to sit on the beach with my Dad and laugh as he tells some stupid joke.

I'm really looking foward to it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Overheard

Jon explaining his happiness: That's why I'm in a cheerful mood.

Me: Wait...why?

Jon: Because I feel loveable.

I put my arm around his shoulder and laugh.

Jon: Right now? Not so loveable.

Amazing Prose

I watched the Oscars last night, of course. I managed to predict, in one way or another, everything but Supporting Actress. Tilda Swinton surprised me there, but she gave a great acceptance speech and I was thrilled with her win. Jon Stewart did a good job. Although I will admit to wanting Billy Crystal back next year for some classic Oscar-ness.

That's all I have to say about that, to quote Forrest Gump. Which is a film I watched this weekend and remembered all the amazing things about it. Does anyone else love that movie?

I digress.

Okay, seriously. I must admit I've been sitting here with this browser open, those first few paragraphs written, staring at the blankness at the bottom and wondering what in the hell I could possibly write about today.

I'm not coming up with much.

The next big thing on the horizon is my birthday. I don't know what I'm getting, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it's the Flip Ultra with underwater case, or a Coach bag. I honestly don't care which one because birthday means birthday cake! Like, the best cake ever.

Which reminds me...I've got to start working out again because I'm now hearing I'll have a wedding to attend in early June. Which is totally exciting. And like...for real...why is everyone getting married? I'm going to have to get married just to see what the fuss is about.

Or not. Seriously. Me...married? Ha. I just don't see it yet.

I'm at least hoping for some good weather soon so that I can get out of the house. I've been meaning to take Jon on a trip to Frankfort forever, maybe one of these days I'll actually do it. If anything so my poor camera, which is sitting on my desk mocking me, can stop bitching because I haven't used it for anything good in way too long. I hate that. It's exactly why I always stop short of justifying an SLR purchase...I can't commit to using it often enough.

And so I really think this about wraps things up. Another magnificent prose from me, please....hold all of your applause. I get it, I have simply, the best blog you've ever read. I'm sorry I'm so amazing.

*snort*

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards begin in just a couple hours. I failed to do this sooner, but meant to. Better late than never I suppose.

My picks, if you will:

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Juno
Should Win: Juno

Actress in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Ruby Dee
Should Win: Ruby Dee

Actress in a Leading Role
Will Win: Julie Christie
Should Win: Marion Cotillard
Could Surprise: Ellen Page, the buzz is surrounding Juno going into this thing.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Javier Bardem
Should Win: Javier Bardem
Honorable Mention: Casey Affleck, I just saw The Assasination of Jesse James last week and Casey was amazing in this film.
Could Surprise: Hal Holbrook, if The Academy goes the honor route.

Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis
Should Win: Daniel Day Lewis (tremendous, can't say enough about this guy)

Directing
Will Win: No Country for Old Men
Should Win: No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers...just sayin')

Best Picture
Will Win: toughest category, I'm going to say No Country for Old Men though
Should Win: No Country for Old Men, but There Will Be Blood was good too.
Could Surprise: Juno (lot's of buzz I say...kind of like Crash that one year)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Just To Follow Up

We touched on this subject after one of the last awards shows. But here is Angelina Jolie tonight at the Independent Spirit Awards.





I would say she is definitely pregnant now. haha

Friday, February 22, 2008

Photo of the Day



I made cupcakes tonight.

Umm, what diet?

Overheard

Jon having a conversation with my mom:

Jon: Everybody hates Larry the Cable Guy, except for the lower intellectual mind.

Mom: (Laughing) Where do you come up with this stuff?

Jon: Frasier.

A Perfect Day: Part 1

Katie has started a series called, "A Pefect Day". I encourage all of you to try this on your own. It's a wonderful way to fight these winter blahs and remember a really good day in your past. Here's my first one:

The first memory that stands out in my mind is crossing the bridge over Tampa. My first real glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico. A big expansive body of water, larger than anything I'd ever laid my eyes on. The sun seemed to dance on the surface and reflect off of my surprised eyes. The real deal had far surpassed the anticipation.

The next memory is a fork in the road. Literally. Like something out of that story about Robert Johnson and the crossroads. One direction led to swampland, the other to my sweet salvation. A gas station stood on the corner with two pumps and quite abandoned. I think I'd seen it before in a bad horror film.

The signs in Fort Myers blew my mind. Beach this way and that way. Alligator crossings. Sanibel Causeway up ahead. And the beach shops, on every corner with their colorful inflatables hanging on ropes. Signs proclaiming nothing over $9.99. A bargain hunter's dream.

A tollbooth and $6 later and we were crossing. Estero Bay spread out before my eyes like a Thanksgiving Feast. Boats and fisherman dotted along the waves. The sun twinkling on the surface in a more furious fashion than Tampa. An island lay up ahead.

A vacation rental office awaited with keys. A credit card imprint, a pile of paperwork and a folder full of directions and more information than we'd ever need and finally I'd arrived. A parking lot full of sand. Sand! I'd never seen such a spectacle. Periwinkle Way laid out before me with it's shops and bait houses. And palm trees, truly tropical remnants, proof that I'd finally made it. 19 years and a dream.

The sun was setting, the sky had turned overcast as Jon sped ahead towards the surf in his red swimming trunks. I walked gingerly, taking the sights in. A long expansive beach lay before me, much more real than I'd ever imagined. Everyone said smell the salt in the air. I guess that was salt I smelled. It was the freshest air I've ever been in before, despite the heat it felt fresh and not heavy. Shells of every shape and color dotted the beach. I kept my flip flops on until I reached the surf, then delicately slipped one off, swept my foot across the surface and then dug my toes into the wet, warm sand. Perfection. I'd found another home.

One definition of home is any place of residence or refuge. That day, on the sand with my feet in the water I stared across the gulf before me and the island behind me and discovered something that I hadn't known I'd been missing. A place of refuge. Solitude. Peace.



June 4, 2005: A Perfect Day.

Free

I feel confident that the worst of winter is now behind us. Every 15 day forecast I've found on the internet is predicting 50 and 60 degree weather by the first week of March. I'm super thrilled with this. And refuse to acknowledge that it might not happen. Or that 22 years ago it was snowing the day I was born.

I heard birds outside of my window this morning. What a beautiful sound. Although the poor things must be cold. I kind of wanted to invite them in for hot chocolate or something. In addition to the little song birds there were also geese all over the field behind our house. I hated to tell them they may have returned a little too early from the deep south.

Last week my cousin Sandy called me out of the blue. Wanted the recipe for my mom's famous salsa because she was at the grocery and craving it. I thought we'd never talk again because of what happened with my dad and her mom and our grandmother situation. But there she was on the phone again like nothing had happened. My mom called her a couple of days ago to get info on how best to treat Jon's cold (she works in a family practice) and it was again...as though nothing had happened.

This has been such a weight off of my chest. I talked to my grandmother every few months, more often if I remembered but not as much as I should have. I talked to my aunt maybe once a year. But my cousin was a constant staple in my life. Her son is one of my brother's best buds, and they were always showing up at our house unannounced. And since we talked again and I have a renewed feeling about this situation I've finally stopped having those dreams about people or things that should be dead but aren't.

It's such a weight off of my mind. For the first time in a month my drives to Lexington haven't been overpowered by my brain's ability over analyze everything that went on in January. I feel at peace, and that's a good place to be.

So now that all that is over I've just been waiting on winter to be over. I'm desiring to be outdoors, to take gig after gig of pictures, or go for a drive with no intent on arriving anywhere in particular. And to finally be able to express how free I feel.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photo of the Day


fort myers 159
Originally uploaded by apsies
Last time we went to Sanibel, the island was plagued with something called "Red Tide", this kind of seaweed stuff that rolled up in a big bunch with the surf. Jon spent most of our time on that trip pulling the red tide out of the water and into a big pile on the beach.

It is now gone from the island, and while I won't miss it...Jon might.

What a Joke

Ice Storm Warning.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

I'm not even going to talk about how unhappy this weather makes me, because you know already.

So I'll leave it at that, there's an ice storm coming. *rolls eyes*

In other news I'm severely angry for no reason. I'm blaming February.

I am also bored. Would anyone like for me to plan their vacation?

My birthday is coming up. So at least there is that. But really? What's a birthday past your childhood? Boring. Kind of annoying. Am starting to feel old, or something.

I'm still sick. Not nearly as bad, but I have a cough that won't go away and I've had to use my inhaler a few times. So that sucks.

Jon still sounds horrible. Poor thing.

At least spring break is around the corner.

Hopefully it's not freezing by then...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Goin' to the Beach...Goin' to the Beach

I booked at Loggerhead Cay!!

*doing my happy dance*

Holy crap!! I'm going to the beach! For real. It's official.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yes We Can

In the summer of '04, sometime in July, I placed myself under self imposed exile. Much like Benezir Bhutto did in the 90s. I can't really remember the exact situation that led to the exile except I had been spending nearly every night of the week out with my "friends" for the first time in my life, hadn't been coming home until 1 or 2 in the morning and had missed various important family occasions like...my mom's birthday.

I had relished in freedom and in the process deeply hurt my mother's feelings. I suppose that's the root of what landed me in exile. Because my parents never grounded us, took away anything from us, placed us in time out or any other method of discipline save for a nice talking to (dad) or silent treatment (mom) and a look of disappointment, it was up to me to punish myself.

And punish I did. I told my parents I wasn't leaving the house for a week, unless they needed errands run. I grounded myself. Except, my fascination with words turned the whole thing into "Self Imposed Exile". As Candace can attest to, she brought me a bag of candy that week, I really did do this. Just so you know I'm not making this up.

During my week of exile, as other friends were calling and unable to understand why I'd punish myself, I turned my focus and attention to the Democratic National Convention. I didn't have cable or satellite then, so every evening and night I'd tune in my television to the PBS channel and watch that evening's keynote address.

There were a myriad of speakers that week, wonderful orations from the likes of Al Gore, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, Teddy Kennedy, and the ticket of both Johns: Kerry and Edwards.

But one gentleman caught my attention that evening with his inspiring speech of regaining the country as a whole, that there could no longer be red states and blue states, but a United State.

I had goosebumps on my arms, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I'm fairly certain I cried. I also proclaimed, right then and there, out loud to myself in my room of exile, that I had just watched what was sure to become the first black president of the United States of America.

Tonight I watched that same man, stand on a stage in Houston, Texas after winning yet another state (Wisconsin) in his quest for the White House. And while I am a Hillary supporter, while I'm still loving this race, I have no problems admitting that Barack Obama is a Change I Can Believe In. My mom, a very diehard Hillary supporter, even spoke up with her own, "Yes We Can".

The torch is being passed. The future is looking bright. And this country is awakening from a hard, cold 8 years. A change is on the horizon, can you see it yet?

Help! Please Give Me Feedback

It has come down to two choices for my vacation. Two very different choices. I need to pick one tonight or tomorrow and book it because things are filling up fast. But I'm at a loss with which one to pick. I need your help. If you read this I'd love to hear your opinion. My mom is asking her friends at work and hopefully one or some of you will give me enough feedback to assist in making a decision. I keep flipping back and forth between them honestly.

So without further ado:
Option #1
Loggerhead Cay




This option includes a pool, sweeping view from the 3rd floor, close proximity to the beach, more space and closer location to shopping. It is also the cheapest option and has 2 balconies, both with water views. There is also a view of the beach from the kitchen window.
Option #2
White Caps




This option has no pool, but sits 90 steps from the water and the cottage is on sand. It is also $143 more and requires a refundable $200 security deposit to book. The other option requires no security deposit.
Both have washers/dryers, 2 bathrooms, nice kitchens, internet access and will allow us to bring both small dogs.
And I have no clue on which one to pick.
Thoughts?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dancing with the Stars Season 6 Cast

-Jason Taylor
-Shannon Elizabeth
-Priscilla Presley
-Penn Jillette
-Kristi Yamaguchi
-Marisa Jaret Winokur
-Marlee Matlin
-Adam Corolla
-Cristian de la Fuente
-Steve Guttenberg
-Mario
-Monica Seles

Disjointed

My parents are out right now having the Florida talk. The one where Dad, who has stayed appropriately out of the vacation discussion, finally gets to hear all of the options and give his input on where he'd like to go. So far all I've heard is he is insisting on stopping on the way down and the way back up.

I'm looking into Savannah for the first stop and Amelia Island for the 2nd stop. Well, not on the island, but close enough to drive into it and see the Atlantic Ocean. I'm really hoping to accomplish that on this trip. So keep your fingers crossed for me! haha

In other news I made my brother sick. He's miserable right now and blaming it all on me. Not in words though, his throat hurts too much to talk so he's writing evil messages to me on his DS. Such a sweet boy that one is.

Tonight the contestants of this next season of Dancing with the Stars will be revealed at the end of the show, Dance Wars. This brings me so much joy it's ridiculous. But I really love that stupid show.

And really that is about all I have to say on this very boring Monday. All I have to give is a very disjointed post with no segues whatsoever. At least tomorrow I might finally book a vacation and move onto fun things like shopping for it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Vacation Planning Guide

There are a few things in life that I’m good at. These amazing talents include remembering useless information, popping my toes, baking incredibly fattening things, buying another dozen pair of flip flops, and staring at my workout DVDs without actually doing them.

I know, I know. Please refrain from your applause.

I also happen to be well skilled in the business of vacation planning.

Or at least a know-it-all-jackass on the subject.

In all seriousness though I figure some of you might want to know what I use in travel planning, because I talk about it so much.

So while I'm no expert on the issue of planning a vacation I'm willing to share my tips to assist anyone in thinking of things they might not have before.

Websites of Choice:

http://www.flickr.com/
*I use Flickr (no account required) as a search engine for pictures. Instead of relying on the tourist websites for pictures of a destination, which are often so photoshopped you freak when you arrive and realize it‘s nothing like your dreams. By performing a search of the destination here, you will discover actual vacationers’ and locals’ photographs to give a real sense of the spot, rather than some beefed up Chamber of Commerce version.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/
*This is a wonderful way to find reviews of the place you are thinking of booking, city you want to visit, restaurant you want to eat at or sight you want to see to find out if it’s really worth it. Another great tip for this site is to visit the FORUM of the place you want to visit so you can ask questions of local experts or other travelers. I’ve had people help me pick a condo in the past or offer a restaurant suggestion.

http://www.vrbo.com/
*Vacation Rentals By Owner. This a great site for finding condo or house rentals, and they are directly offered by the owner. Most listings have tons of photos, lists of amenities and sometimes reviews from past visitors.

I also wouldn’t hesitate to visit a destination’s Chamber of Commerce website either, they are usually filled with tons of info, links to rental companies and hotels and sometimes great deals and coupons.

Hot Tips:

*Don’t just think hotel. We love renting condos and houses, especially in Florida or on Smoky Mountain trips because they are often better deals than hotels and offer more privacy.

*If renting from a hotel, don’t hesitate to actually call on the phone and talk to a real live person. While sites like Expedia and Hotline do offer great deals on certain locations, booking agents at the hotel are authorized to offer their own deals that often rival.

*But remember, you get what you pay for. I like to do quite of bit of searching to get a feel for the average price of a weeks stay wherever I’m about to visit and often bump up or push back the week so that it falls into off seasons or shoulder seasons to save the most money. But I refuse to stay in places that look like they fell right out of 1982 which is why it’s important to….

*Gauge what is important to you as a traveler. It’s imperative to know what type of d├ęcor and amenities you require as a traveler and patron. For example, some people might only enjoy all inclusive vacations with breakfast, lunch and dinner options all on site, I enjoy visiting the local grocery store and taking that one on myself for the week. There is no right or wrong answer to this one.

*I also refuse to stay anywhere without first seeing a picture of the room. I made the mistake of booking on information from a hotel manager one time and let’s just say they lied. Because it was a dump that I checked out of early.

*If you are renting a car find rental codes online to save money. Much like finding a “free shipping” code for an online store, you can google Budget, Hertz, ect., “coupon codes” to save money on car rentals. This alone saved us $200 last year.

*Request Vacation Guides from the tourism website of the state or city you are going to visit. These are invaluable to me and I take a folder full of these guides, maps and brochures on all of my trips. This is a great way to be organized and expect the unexpected.

Most of all, remember to have fun with it. I really enjoy reading the websites or scouring through pictures. Plan early and find ways to save as much money as possible. Vacations can only be money pits if you let them. I like to make envelopes in advance and label them with various things I want to do or see while I’m on a trip. I write the price on the envelope and stick cash in them when I have extra until before I know it a meal or admission somewhere is paid for without it breaking the bank.

I’m passionate about this. I wonder if anyone can tell? ;)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Taylorsville-Savannah-Sanibel Express

Typically on a trip to Sanibel we take the Shepherdsville-Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta-Florida route to get to our destination. This is of course is the preferred route by the famous search engines like Mapquest, Yahoo, or Google.

This year I really want to try something different, even if we are going to the same place. I’ve spent the last few hours researching various routes and stopping points for the first day of the trip. So far the plan I’m liking the most involves driving 10 hours into Savannah, Georgia to stay the night there. Major points of interest include Eastern Kentucky; Knoxville, TN; Asheville, NC; Columbia, SC; and ends in Savannah.

I’m most excited at this prospect because it will allow me to see Asheville, NC which is a dream destination of mine, as well as drive the length of South Carolina. Those are two states I’ve never visited and I’ll at least get to say I’ve been in them before after this trip! I also think this way might be incredibly more scenic, given the driving through the mountains thing.

The second leg of getting there involves going through Candace’s grandparent’s “hood”; Jacksonville, Florida. Before that I’ve found a small town called Hero, FL that offers a 22 minute straight shot off of the interstate to Amelia Island, FL. This excursion would add an hour into our day but would allow for us to see and touch the real Atlantic Ocean (as opposed to the Gulf of Mexico). I’m not entirely sure this part will be feasible in terms of time yet, but I’d love to do it. I’m thinking if not on the way down, we could on the way home.

Once we get to the island I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to do there that I haven’t before. Some of these include:

*Taking a sunset or dolphin cruise.
*Actually purchase a fishing license for myself and throw in a line.
*Visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.
*Go to the beach on Captiva.
*Shell at Lighthouse Beach.
*Visit Blind Pass.
*Visit the Sanibel Marina.
*Take Dad fishing in the bay by the causeway.

I’ve still not booked the place we will be staying at but I’ll probably do this sometime around the first week of March. Once I make the final decision, which is proving to be way more involved and difficult than I once thought. It would seem when you make the decision to take 2 dogs instead of 1 the search grows infinitely more complex. And while some would say we should just leave them here and board them with Jack, it’s easier said than done once you look into their pitiful sad eyes. And besides, the $90 pet fee for the week is actually saving us money versus boarding costs.

My new front runner is a place called Signal Inn. It’s not got the views that some of the others have, but it’s smaller complex with only 18 units, all of which are built on stilts with parking underneath. It has an awesome pool, gazebo, raquetball court and despite the lack of view is actually a much closer walk to the beach on a quieter stretch than the other choices.

But remember with me, what I may be leaning towards today might be completely off the list tomorrow. The important thing I have to remember is that as long as the condo is updated, modern and gorgeous and the walk isn’t a mile to the beach it won’t matter because it’s sure to be amazing.

Now, excuse me while I go continue chanting this to myself over and over.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I think they want to be judge and jury," Barkley replied. "Like, I'm for gay marriage. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. I'm pro-choice. And I think these Christians, first of all, they're not supposed to judge other people. But they're the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they're Christians. They're not forgiving at all."

--Charles Barkley

Finally

Am now cross posting here and at my myspace blog!

Tag You're It

10 years ago: I was 12, so let's see. Awkward and highly emotional. Not much has changed honestly.

On my to-do list: take my bio exam, eat pasta tomorrow, stop being sick at some point.

What would I do if I became a billionaire: hire a money person to handle investments and such, quit school, pay off all of my loans, pay off my parent's debt and buy them a new house in florida…on the beach, buy myself one next door, see the world, get a new car, start my own charitable foundation

Places I've lived: various places in Louisville, Shepherdsville (I was 2 and consider this my dark period), Mt. Washington, Taylorsville and Lexington

Bad habits: eating too much, losing my temper easily, getting my feelings hurt over stupid things, being self conscious, am just not nice sometimes

Snacks I enjoy: chips, lemons and limes, ice cream, dry roasted sunflower seeds, olives, pickles, peanut butter

People don't know about me: I'm a pretty open book. So I can't think of what to say here. And if you don't know it about me, I'm probably not sharing for a reason.

Tween Celebrity Crushes: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, The Backstreet Boys, Shawn from Boy Meets World

TV show I wish I could live in: Gilmore Girls' "Stars Hollow" is the most awesome quirky little small town that I wish existed.

Wanting to splurge on right now: a trip somewhere warm to avoid February, iPod Touch, Olympus d-SLR camera, Flip Video Camera, really expensive makeup

Tagging all of you, seriously, if you read it...do it.