Wednesday, October 31, 2012

tips for vacation planning

happy halloween!  i will be sharing more about my halloween tomorrow [since it hasn't happened yet!].

i am so excited to be going on vacation with mike a month from tomorrow.  i have been a traveler my whole life.  i am an only child and my parents were both teachers so we shared vacations.  i was incredibly lucky that my parents would take me on trips every year during february and april vacations as well as in the summer.  they taught me how to be a prepared, quick, economical, and fun traveler.

here are some of the most important tips i have learned over the years:

1. booking your airfare: don't book on the first day you're planning your trip.  [if you can,] spend a week or two looking at prices to find the best one.  expedia, orbitz, and kayak are great and definitely use all of them.  however, they don't necessarily have every airline.  for example, always check southwest separately because they do not appear on any of those other websites.  

2. if you are taking time off from work or don't have to travel around school vacations, fly on weekdays.  it is usually much cheaper to come and go during the week.  

3. rental cars, on the other hand, can be booked up to the day you leave.  usually there isn't a fee to reserve a rental car, unlike airfare, and they can be easily cancelled. if you think you find a good rate, book it!  then keep looking for better rates.  you can never have too many reservations!

4. if you're traveling in the winter and need to make a connection, avoid changing planes in a cold place.  for example, from new england, i never fly to chicago or detriot for a layover.  i look for a southern hub like atlanta.  i don't want to worry about snow in more than one place.

5. use tripadvisor - with a grain of salt.  it can be a great resource to find reviews and average prices for hotels, but think about it: would you ever really write a review if you had a great experience at a hotel? probably not.  sometimes you will find more negative than positive reviews.  look at what the complaints are before you judge based solely on the 1-5 rating.  if i have no idea where i'm going, i usually like to go with a hotel referred by a friend or family member or a well-known chain like a hampton inn, courtyard, or ritz-carlton.  

6. think about using priceline to combine airfare and hotel.  a couple summers ago, mike and i stayed 7 nights at a beautiful hotel and flew across the country for $700 a person.  

7. in your checked baggage bring: toiletries to save money [but bring half-used toothpaste, small bottles of shampoo, and things you can throw away at the end of the trip to make room for the trip back], plastic bags for dirty clothes, and a separate beach bag for day trips.  lay out clothes in outfits by day so you don't bring way too many clothes.

8. pack an outfit or two for the climate you're traveling to in your carry-on bag.  in case you happen to lose your bag in transition, you won't have to spend tons of money on all new clothes.

9. buy a baggage scale for checked baggage.  $5 or $10 will save you a whole bunch of worry on the way to the airport. bring it with you, too, so you can make sure not to pack too many souvenirs!

10. search groupon and living social starting a couple months in advance for the city/area you're traveling to.  if you've been there before, look for restaurants and activities you might already be planning to go to, and if you have not, go to tripadvisor [idea #4] and check out some places you see groupons for.  it can definitely save you some money you were already planning to spend.

11. call and see if there is a refrigerator in your hotel.  if there is, think about making breakfast in your room or stocking lunch meats to make sandwiches for lunch.  that way you'll save a little money or be able to spend more money on dinners.  [i, personally, enjoy dinners out the most.] 

12. planning ahead vs over-booking: it's a good idea to have ideas for adventures, activities, and dinners, but it is a vacation so rigid schedules are unnecessary.  

if you notice, there aren't many tips for while you're there.  if you follow all of these suggestions, you will simply be able to enjoy your vacation while you're there.  

some of my favorite vacation moments with mike... 
san francisco
new york and disney world

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

instaTuesday: hurricane style

well, it looks like we survived hurricane sandy!  mike and i had the day off yesterday, and the rest of our roommates were back home by 1:00 because the state closed all highways.

we played some outdoor [yes, i know it sounds crazy, but we started this tradition last year during irene] games, card games, and watched as the power went in and out throughout the night.

hope everyone else on the east coast has stayed safe.  i've seen some crazy photos and heard some horrific stories from my shoreline hometown in rhode island and from nyc.

here's a recap of my week [mostly hurricane-ish things] via instagram:
mike and i have been playing a lot of cribbage lately...

saturday we did lots of "fall things" including going to a cider mill for pumpkins, apple fritters, and the petting zoo

hurricane day-off baking and arts and crafts

lots of hurricane day-off things: 
tailgate toss, ice wine, 
yummy breakfast, post office run [including mailing packages to a couple of blogger friends: amanda for her "pumpkin swap" gifts and adria for a VERY belated birthday present for herself and iris], and cards by candle light

sooooo soaked

linking up with jane!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

helloooo, sandy

well, here we go again.  almost to the day, the halloween snow storm hit last year.  we lost power for a week and missed halloween.  

now here comes hurricane sandy: 
the "super storm" or "frankenstorm."  

here it is right now on sunday afternoon:
screenshot via
obviously, we aren't quite sure what's going to happen.  all we know is that school is cancelled in almost all of CT and RI for tomorrow and tuesday, and the NYC subway system is shutting down in a couple hours for an indefinite amount of time.  last year i made all my roommates sleep in the basement with me because we had a three trees hit the house, that very well could happen again. 

hopefully everything will be back to normal by halloween, but no one can be sure.  please pray for everyone in sandy's path!

now for something different: some lame "sandy" humor mike is thoroughly enjoying:  
"did you hear sandy swept a laptop into the ocean?" ... "now a dell is rolling in the deep."


Friday, October 26, 2012


a few of you yesterday asked about my love for tattoos and what i'll be getting next.

ever since the beginning of college, they have fascinated me,  however, while in college i never thought that i had anything with "enough meaning" to get tattooed on my body permanently.  i've now learned that a tattoo can stand for anything - or even nothing at all.  both of the tattoos i have/will be getting soon mean something to me, but that definitely wouldn't stop me from getting something as a purely beautiful work of art in the future.

my first tattoo: i love rhode island - more than anything.  i love my hometown, my parents, my friends, and i had one of the best childhoods any girl could ask for.  however, i know that i will probably never live in rhode island again [at least while i'm in my working years].  unfortunately, there really aren't any places for me to work in the industry i'm in now, so in the coming years, moving south [potentially to florida] will almost definitely be in the cards.

well, when i saw this on my cousin's pinterest, i knew it was perfect.  it's small, artsy, and perfect for rhode island.  i got this tattoo in april and absolutely love it.
this was the day after i got it

you know i love it when i'm buying new sandals [in new england] in october to show it off.  i've never had crocs before but these are SO COMFORTABLE.

this was today at my desk.  like my halloween-y nails?

alright, my next tattoo:  the photo below shows the overall idea, but the word "LOVE" will be in my dad's handwriting and the heart will be in my mom's.  

i really am a daddy's girl.  he took me everywhere as a kid: golfing, biking, to the beach, to school... when i went away to college, i taught him how to text.  in every text conversation we have, he ends his last text with "LOVE."  not "i love you," not "goodnight;" just "LOVE" in all caps. 

the heart underneath is how my mom signs every card or note she has ever sent me and how she used to sign notes for my dad when she and i would go out somewhere [remember the days before cell phones??].  when i was away at school, my mom literally sent me a handwritten note EVERY single day.  i loved going to my mailbox on a daily basis and hearing what was going on at home.  i will probably also fill the heart in with an emerald green since that is her absolute favorite color.
so there it is!  i'm thinking it will be somewhere on my back and about the size of a post-it note [or a little bigger].

here are a few other tattoos i've found that i love.  feel free to follow me on pinterest!

i know some of you have tattoos.  i'd love to see what you have/where so share a photo or post!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

it's okay thursday

never linked up with neely before, but why not start now! :)

Its Ok Thursdays

it's okay that i bought a box of honey bunches of oats with strawberries... and only ate the dried strawberries and oat clusters

it's okay that i bought the red sox mint chocolate chip flavor because it looked like the best one because it had chocolate chunks AND swirls... even though i HATE the red sox.

it's okay that i'm always cold... like always.

it's okay that i look cookie/brownie dough/ cake batter more than the actual baked dessert.

it's okay that i am obsessing over my next tattoo. i want one like now.

alright, that's all i got!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


haven't linked up in a couple of weeks, so i have a few photos to share!

my birthday ended with these beautiful alex&ani bracelets from my roommate and his girlfriend.  golf [obviously] and an anchor [for RI and to match my tattoo]!

so, i always drove by this beautiful tree on my way to work and always want to take a picture.  one day, i finally did and was sad because i got a telephone pole RIGHT in the middle.  the next day i drove by to try again and it was gone - crazy!

delicious drinks at our grand opening

how adorable are baby golf bags??

i told you i do awful stuff when i'm alone.  i especially can't wait to make these muffins for mike before he gets home!

2:45 pm update: i've done so much cleaning today on my day off that had another empty wipes container so i could make another one of these! now that i've worked so hard today, i'm going to reward myself with a manicure :)

follow me on instagram: megatronnn27

linking up with jane:

Monday, October 22, 2012

oh how i've missed you, pinterest!

so, like i said yesterday, i'm home alone for a few days.  so obviously i am monopolizing large spaces in the house at a time, wearing oversized sweats, and turning the tv up so loud that i can hear it in any room of the house.  you know, the normal stuff.

in all of this, i decided to reinvigorate my love for pinterest.  i haven't been pinning a lot lately, but there are a lot of pins stored up since i finished my pinterest april.  and for some reason, last night, i had a lot of ambition to finish some of these projects.  it's probably because i know i can clean up after myself as slowly as i want, and [like i said before] spread out across the house.

so, here are a few of the creations i made last night:

first i made some homemade cheese-its.  they didn't quite look like the photo but were pretty good!  they were also really easy.
i finally found the mystery mint chocolate chip cookies recipe! and i'm so glad i did!  the only thing i changed was adding a bag of andes baking bits instead of crushing my own mints.
i finished folding the bags for my plastic bag holder.  i also bought extra fabric so i can make more as we use more containers!
now i can get rid of some of the many plastic bags stuffed into the cracks in our kitchen island! weird storage system, right?

alright, so maybe i didn't make these - but i did eat like 3 oatmeal cream pies last night!

i also found this HYSTERICAL blog pinstrosity.  i definitely have a few of the "pinstrosities" shown in my own pin collection, so i might not being doing those anytime soon haha!  you HAVE to take a look!

one more thing: music monday. loving this maroon 5 song right now.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

parties, parties, parties

wow it's been a busy few days.  we had the official grand opening "jamboree" of our learning center this weekend.  we moved in about 6 weeks ago, and the whole celebration came together really fast.  we actually had three parties: one for our new neighbors at the golf club, one for all of our builders, and one for every participant and family.  now i'm exhausted.  my last day of weekend golf lessons is also today, so it'll be nice going back to full weekends soon.

now mike is off on a business trip to memphis for the next few days, so it'll be a bit lonely around the house.  i decided that i didn't feel like sitting around the house until 11:30 when i had to leave for work, so i went out to brunch like we normally would do.  i decided on panera so that i could at least catch up on some blogging.

not gonna lie, i feel a lot like this right now.  but then again, creepily people watching by myself at a table is probably equally as weird haha.  i'm currently enjoying my favorite "you pick 2:" macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup with an iced green tea.  i imagine that the next few days will be filled with a lot of take-out and meals like this since i've never exactly mastered cooking for one.

i'm also going to catch up on a few mini projects i have been neglecting. [sidenote: accidentally just typed meglecting instead - and that's definitely what i've been doing haha.]  i'm thinking i'll finally try a recipe i thought of for mint chocolate chip cookies to go along with my ice cream cookie theme here & here, make some homemade cheese its, and finish the plastic bag holder i started a week or so back.

for now, here are some photos i took of our wonderful grand opening celebration:
 downstairs of the learning center

the "first tini" was delicious!

we were given a ford explorer!!!

during one of the parties

so many activities for kids and families

only some of the 400 or so people there

my coworkers

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

renovation: basement and bar

it's been a while since we technically finished the first half of our basement and bar (take a look at that renovation progress here).  we decided not to do anything crazy with the second half of basement.  it's become a dart/chill/watch tv/play games kind of area.  

just an fyi, this is a very photo heavy post: i had a lot i wanted to share!!

we've primed, painted, stained and put up moulding.  we added a futon and dart cabinet to the newly finished side as well as a tv to the bar.  all we need is an end table that i plan to make out of collected bottle caps.

progress and working:

we had my birthday party in our basement [because it was 30 degrees outside], and about 15-20 of us enjoyed the space very comfortably!

so, here are our before and after photos!  the before photos were taken in february of 2010 and the afters were taken a couple days ago [so, october 2012].

now here's the last real reno to do in the house - the basement kitchen and laundry area.

view from the main basement area

and here's what will make my new beautiful table.  now i just need to find a table on craigslist!
Design Poppiness Designs