may in indiana*

I grew up 2.5 miles west of Lucas Oil Raceway and 10 miles west of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, famous for the Indy 500! I was never interested in watching cars race in circles, even on the TV. Living so close to the tracks, you knew summer had started when you can hear the race cars practicing. It was a good sound, it reminded you school was almost over and the best weather was approaching. Living in California I lived right next to Highway 5 and the noise was a comfort to me. As I drove downtown today to take my finals I was reminded how much I love Indiana. Speedway was in full bloom with spectators camping out. The weather was sunny and just the right warm in the higher 70s.

Indiana has been in the news regarding the Anti LBT Religious Freedom Act, but my friends and all of our friends are very accepting to respecting others for their choices. Our generation is full of acceptance and enjoying life! Indiana has so much to offer! My friends and I have done the Handlebar Indy a few times to get some exercise and to enjoy this great city!

Where else in the world can you find a theme park based off the major holidays in a town called Santa Claus? Indiana of course! Holiday World has my favorite water park in Indiana. Please put visiting Indiana on your bucket list. As a person who has many to a few places and lived away for 3 years. I have came back and plan on staying. Indiana is full of wholesome people and a relaxed way of living. It’s a great place to put down roots

Holiday World Theme Park

Indianapolis Skyline

*the bright side of London

Daniel and I returned yesterday evening from our six day trip to London, England. For the past 48 hours I have been racking my brain on how to describe the trip to you! I definitely know six days was not long enough in such a historic and energetic city!

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I was extremely impressed with how friendly everyone was! From the hotel staff to those who worked at the tube stations. I am most shocked about the lack of trash cans, we carried some of our donut trash a few tube stations before we could find a clear bag meant for trash! You can tell many people were frustrated and threw their trash on the floor. If you ever visit London, please be respectful and throw away your trash! Help keep the city beautiful!

After getting to our room and getting situated we headed to the Tower of London. The goal was to take the tube 99% of the time. But the St James Station next to our hotel was closed the first four days. On the bright side it made us take advantage of the red double decker bus! The bus system is a lot easier to understand than I thought it would be. It was hard to know exactly which stop to get off that would be closest to our final destination, so we relied on Tube Station stops. Getting back to the hotel was easy, we just had to find a bus heading to Westminster (our hotel was only 2 blocks away)! I definitely recommend you taking the bus more than the tube, so you have a nice view of the city!

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To save money Daniel and I split a lot of meals. Although the places we ate at were reasonably price (under 15 pounds for a plate), you have to think of the pounds to dollar conversion. It probably saved us over $200. We ordered fish & chips at The Albert (a pub very near our hotel). The fish was as large, so we cut it in half and shared the fries. At the Olde Cheshire Cheese we split the beef dish, a cheese plate, and Spotted Dick (a small cake with a glaze- it was delicious, pictured below on right).

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On our last night we did not share a meal, we ate at the Spaghetti House a block away from St. Martin’s Theater (performs the Mousetrap play). I had the Linguine Vongole in Bianco Fresh (palourdes clams, white wine, chilli, garlic & extra virgin olive oil), it was the perfect sized dish and tasted amazing with a small kick. I definitely wouldn’t call it spicy though!

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We supported a new business that I luckily had heard of online before our trip. It as wasn’t the easiest journey, but we wanted the fresh and unique experience of Cereal Killer Cafe. I rarely eat cereal, because I don’t drink milk, so this was me trying new things! I had the Frankenberry Cereal topped with freeze-dried marshmallows, while Daniel had Rice Krispie Treat Cereal with freeze-dried marshmallows!

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We definitely recommend you visit one of the many locations were they sell Crosstown Doughnuts. I’ve never been a big fan of filled doughnuts, but I had their Autumn (Apple & Pear). “Just like a crisp autumn day, this little beauty is a complimenting dose of a cool breeze, crunchy leaves and warm sunshine for the tastebuds. Sharp Bramley apple and sweet pear mixed with warming spices are encased in a ball of Crosstown sourdough topped with a sweet maple glaze and crunchy pecan crumble”(describtion found on their Our Doughnuts page). Daniel had the their Peanut Butter & Jelly Doughnut. We both loved it so much that we visited it again before we left!

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I didn’t do much shopping, mostly because of the price. I did find my nieces something for their birthday. With what I got them I took a picture of it with me in front of Big Ben, so they have the memory that it was special. I gave my niece who turned 10 on New Years Eve the two scarves I bought her today. She was so thrilled! Of course we had to find a Tardis in her honor (she’s a big Dr Who fan).

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I bought myself a tank for 3£, a sweatshirt for 10£, a backpack for my upcoming classes for 16£, and the ski hat Daniel and I wore on New Years Eve for 4£ each! Daniel got a tee shirt at the WB Harry Potter Studios and a James Bond coffee mug. We bought a few programs/guides of the places we visited.

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Daniel really enjoyed the London Film Museum where they had a special exhibit on James Bond. He was definitely in one of his childhood’s heaven!

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He was also very excited about WB Harry Potter Studios. He had read the first few books when he was in elementary school and has seen all of the movies. I have not seen the last two movies, but still enjoyed the behind the scenes! Plus the fountain Butterbeer was fantastic!

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On New Years Eve we left our hotel room just after 7pm. We were suggested to take the subway to the Westminster Tube Station, but since our hotel was so close, we should have just walked it. We were through the entrance gates shortly after 7:30pm. We were able to get in the front, with the Westminster Bridge just to our right! My feet froze, to the point of pain, for the next four and a half hours. I did have two pairs of socks on though. But I was going to suffer through the pain, definitely since the rest of my body was warm!

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The firework was show was fantastic and completely worth the wait! The BBC has already posted the firework show on YouTube!

My Favorites:

Museum: Museum of London (visit first because it walks you through the history of London)

Restaurant: Spaghetti House

Pub: The Albert

Play: The Mousetrap (yes, it was the only one I saw there but the ending was a great twist)

Check out my London Week Pictures Here & New Year Eve Firework Pictures Here!

“It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed.” ~George VI

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*i’m in london

I hope everyone had a fantastic start to the new year! I just wanted to write you quickly. I’m on the free wifi at the Museum of London! Last night I waited 4 and a half hours to see the London’s New Years Eve Firework show! It was of course worth it because I had no one blocking my view! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I got to share with my best friend! The BBC has already posted the show to YouTube, so definitely check it out!

I’ll write more soon! We have an early flight tomorrow back to the States- please pray I arrive home safely!
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*1 week until London

In 1 week I will be in London, England!

I’m trying very hard to contain my excitement! Our itinerary has gotten a little out of hand. I was only planning on doing some research of the places I wanted to check out. And we do what we feel like each day. But then I realized 6 days in London was not enough! I have our itinerary in a half inch binder full of times, places to see, tickets already purchased, and zoomed in maps of places will be visiting!

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Each day we will tear out that days itinerary, so we have our resources that will fit into my mini purse, instead of hauling around the binder! We used this method when we were in Paris, last November!

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When we arrive into Heathrow we will be having Blacklane car service pick us up. We used this company in Paris! I highly recommend them when you travel outside of the USA. The have many discounts through out the year. We are getting both of our rides to and from the airport at 30% off! You can do all your booking online, months prior. Both of our drivers in Paris were very polite and on time! I’m normally not such a high end person, I drive a cheap Fiat in my normal life. But I like have a driver in foreign countries. I don’t have to take a public transportation fussing with my bags or worried they will get stolen. Plus when I’m on vacation I want it to be better then my daily life!

Speaking of being better, the hotel we booked I can tell is going to be fabulous! We will be staying at the 4 Star St. Ermin’s, a part of the Marriott group! Check out there website to see their incredible inside!

(pictured below is St. Ermin’s entrance decked in Christmas lights for 2014,

picture found from St Ermin’s Facebook page)

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I’m excited to eat breakfast at the new Cereal Killer Cafe,  where they sale over 120 different types of cereal from around the world. To top it off, they have 30 milk choices and 20 different toppings!

“There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere.” ~ Vivienne Westwood

 

*the dream to travel

Girls my age pin (Pinterest) about babies, I pin about visiting Europe. I even want to live in Europe!

Pregnancy has always frighten me. I find the idea of something living inside me very strange. Daniel went into this relationship knowing I was strongly against having kids. He was ok with that. Sure it wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world to have a child. We love each other so much and to share our world with someone would be great. Plus I could see him being a wonderful father, playing Batman with his child. But in the meantime I will spoil my friends kids!

(below me being silly with a CPR training baby in early 2013)

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But my mind is full of daydreams of all the places I still have to go! I’ve lost count of my mental notes of all the places I’ve said I need to visit. I’ve only been out of the country three times. I still have to visit other parts of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hawaii (again), Australia, and show Daniel other parts of France; the list is endless! I would love to go live in France for a few months in my late 30s or early 40s (if we don’t end up having children).

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(pictured above is Rome taken by my friend Emily B)

Indirectly, people make me feel guilty for wanting the life of travel and not the life of babies. I know my parents don’t mind too much, they treat Bruce Wayne (my dog) like their grandson, plus they still have a chance with my sister.I’m excited for my trip to London. Yes, I’m putting some of the trip on my credit card, but I want to live life to the fullest. I wanted to do something crazy and adventurous, and I thought spending the beginning of 2015 in London watching one of the biggest firework shows in the world would be spectacular! I knew I would regret it more if I wasn’t there!

“Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love 

*packing tips

I’m one of those people who starts packing weeks prior. For my Paris trip I took photos of the outfits I was going to wear and put them in a Power Point slides for easy printing! I didn’t go that extreme this year, most of my outfits are from my trip to Paris!

My afternoon of packing started out looking very disorganized. I laid out a shirt for each day, then topped with what jewelry would best match. Then I paired socks and panties to make sure I had enough. Of course I packed a few extras.

IMG_2131For the plane ride, we are keeping it simple. We are taking one Vera Bradley carry on to have a set of PJs, outfit for Saturday, winter hat, gloves, and scarves. This way if the airlines misplaces our luggage we are set for the day! It will also have a thin blanket for me to use in the plane! Daniel will be carrying on a lap top bag with our Mac, our binder with the itinerary, important documents, my wallet and our iPods to listen to music on the plane. We’ll both be holding our travel pillows (which I still need to find)I’m having trouble deciding what to wear on the plane to London. I want it to be comfy, because I plan on sleeping the entire eight hour flight (thanks to a sleeping pill). But I also know it needs to look upscale when I arrive to the St. Ermin’s hotel!

My suit case is almost packed. It has an empty Vera Bradley carry on (to be used on the flight back if we buy too much souvenirs). It has my outfits (only thing I need to add is my coat and a few pair of pants), one pair of flats (I will be wearing my grey boots on the flight), our toiletries (I have sensitive skin so I bring my own soap and shampoo), and our electronics. This year I have added a mini can of dry shampoo (it will save me from spending time on washing my hair)

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When it comes to electronics, I have our chargers, power adapters (which I bought from Coach and can be used in multiple countries), and external charger. We bought the external charger a few years ago, it allows two usb devices to charge! We take that a lot on small day trips!

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The right of my suitcase is pictured below. Some of the electronics are inside the Vera Bradley bag, as well as my small cross body purse.

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 Some extras we bought for this trip includes hand warmers. Even though the weather hasn’t been as cold as I thought it would be, it will still be chilly at night when we are waiting for midnight on New Years Eve. Each pack was just over $1, so hopefully our hands won’t freeze!

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“Travel broadens our perspectives. Suddenly, the palette with which we paint the story of our lives has more colors.” ~Rick Steves

*paris in a cup christmas tea

If you ever decide to go to Orange County California during a weekend of December you should see if Paris in a Cup has tickets still available for their Christmas Tea. Paris in a Cup, located in Orange, California, is a little gift shop with plenty of Paris themed gifts and in the back a tea parlor. Their Christmas Tea is very popular, tickets sale out fast! Like their Facebook page to get updates!

In 2012 and 2013 I went with one of my best friends, Jill. The 2012 theme was Believe in the Magic of Christmas. We were impressed by the event as we walked in! A fun place setting with sparkling juice that had a hibiscus flower! To end the event we received a gift of a snowman necklace.

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2012 Menu

First Course: French Vanilla & Pecan Praline Scones with Cream & Marion-berry Jam

Second Course: Roasted Squash with Toasted Ginger Soup

Third Course: Fresh Garden Greens & Cornflower Garnish with Lavender Vinaigrette Dressing

Fourth Course: Chicken Salad, Goat Cheese & Fig, Garden Cucumber; Spiced Apricot with Tea Smoked Turkey; Pear & Brie in Pastry Purse

Dessert: Chocolate Mint Mousse

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2013 the colors were purple, my favorite! That years gift was a neckless of two mini ice skates. The food did not disappoint, either!

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They also have carolers since a few songs to get us in the holiday spirit! I am very bummed that I will not get to go this year. Hopefully I remember to save some money to attend next year to catch up with Jill!

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“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”  ~Peg Bracken