made it to Deutschland!

I made it into Germany yesterday!
A little bit of difficulty in the airport finding Elizabeth but it worked out eventually haha. I was so exciiiiited to finally see them! Just driving back from the airport everything was beautiful.

Trips are booked. Hotels booked and we start the travel tomorrow!

Hope all is well back in the US!


road trip necessities

Recently I went on a mini road trip to North Carolina to visit my best friend. We had a celebration for future Sofia Marie with neighbors and friends. North Carolina is not in close proximity to my house, nor is driving down the turnpike on a Friday in the summer a good idea. Actually, it's a terrible idea. This drive isn't new to me, I have visited many places in North Carolina; mostly 8-10 hour drives, but this one kicked my butt. As I was driving down I-95, I realized there are some road trip necessities, especially when you drive alone.

Snacks. Snacks Snacks. 
Healthy and unhealthy. Water or some Gatorade. I always hate stopping when I'm not ready for a meal but I'm hungry for a snack. I make sure to pack some snacks for long car rides. Kind bars, Twizzlers, BBQ chips, trail mix.

GPS and using hands free to talk to anyone who will put up with you for however long you may be driving. Good friends, I have good friends. Plus, music and podcasts are on here!

Chargers for said smartphone.
If you use your phone on a consistent basis throughout your trip, you will definitely need to keep it on a constant charge. I will let mine die just a bit and recharge it fully. There's a myth about letting the battery die fully, then recharge - it saves for longer use. Myth or fact? I shall never know.

Good music and/or podcasts.
Yes to satellite radio and yes to podcasts. Some of my favorite podcasts are: 1, 2, 3. Thank you Pandora and Spotify for existing in the world. I love you.

Hand sanitizers and face wipes.
Being from Jersey, we don't pump our gas. So when I finally have to, I need hand sanitizer to make sure my hands are clean and ready for snacks! Face wipes can be good when you start to get drowsy, it's a little refresher.

Do I need to explain?!

I have a sneezing problem. More like, my nose hates me and I constantly need to blow it. So, a huge essential to my daily driving life is having a travel pack of tissues in my glove box or center console. Don't judge me.

Comfy clothes.
Long car rides and tight jeans? Let's face it, NOT FUN. A nice pair of sweat pants, comfortable leggings, or a good pair of shorts.. a win.

This may not be a necessity for short trips, but when I took a road trip across the country it saved us from spending a ton on towing. It was also a cross-country road trip so it depends on what your travel distance is. For us, it was a life saver. I like the comfort of knowing if I need help, I can call AAA without a problem.

GPS, not from smartphones.
Again, another tip from my cross-country road trip. Your phone will not always have enough reception to have a workable GPS and it will crap out on you. In our case, AT&T failed us on being connected in the West. Luckily, we brought a GPS with us and it allowed us to have directions without freaking out. Yay older technology to save the day!

It may not work for everyone, but this is what has worked for me in my 3-5-7-12 hour road trips. Another tip, driving manual in heavy traffic is a horrible idea, but I love my stick shift, except at that moment. These few items have made driving long distances much easier and more fun!

Do you guys have any must-haves when taking road trips?


what i'm reading

Reading for enjoyment while working full-time and taking graduate classes is not an easy task. Every time I happen to pick up a book for pleasure, I think, I should be reading the next chapter so I don't fall behind, it would be more productive. So for the next six four weeks, I get to read for the enjoyment of reading a good book. Because really, I love it. Baby shower planning has gotten in the way a bit but so so worth it.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach | Recently finished this book and I was a bit angry at the end of it. I love the characters and very well written. In high school, all of my friends played baseball so I know a lot about the ins and outs about the stats and how passionate people can be able this. I always knew the short-stop had a heavy job, always had to be a great player. It sucked me in, by the end I was getting frustrated at the characters decisions, but it made the book enjoyable. I was vested in the decisions they were making, as if they were my own friends. Enjoyable read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling | This was a Summer 2013 read but I never posted anything about it. I can still remember how much I loved it and how it had my laughing out loud on the plane ride home from Seattle. Thinking, I hope these people don't think I'm crazy because this book is AMMAAZZINNNGGG. I could relate to the book, it was pursuing dreams and awkward moments of life growing up culturally different. It had me sending pictures to my best friend saying THAT'S US! I read this in two days; I would read it over and over, and over again.

Bossypants by Tina Fey | Because I loved Mindy Kaling's book so much I hoped this would be as good. It took me a long time to read. I started in December and only just recently finished it. Not nearly as funny and engaging as I was expecting. When I put it down I would forget about it and not look at it for weeks, it just did not have me hooked on it. I enjoyed some parts of it and learning about SNL and how 30 Rock was created, but not the same entertainment for me.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | Young adult novels get me every time. Again, this was from the Fall when I was in Seattle, but it was on a best-sellers list before the movie came out. No, I didn't see it. I wasn't interested in seeing it. The book had me teary at the end, not as tear jerker as the movie may have portrayed. I find I never enjoy the movies after reading the books so I would read it afterwards. It was an easy read and only took a few days to complete. It hooked me and I was interested in the story line, but at the same time I was annoyed at the characters.



Brian stayed with me two weeks ago, an entire week together! Unfortunately, I still had to go to work those days, but it was a nice surprise every time I got home and he was there to greet me. One day I had come home and he surprised me with flowers. I love the smell of fresh flowers in my house. It's truly wonderful. We were so busy every night, even when it was just relaxing on a Friday night I was drained. An eventful week(end).

We decided to visit Baltimore again to see his friends from college.
We picked a good weekend to go since it was the biggest art festival in Baltimore. #artscape2014
His friends also got a new puppy three days before we came so they were still crate training and getting used to having to take care of a puppy. So friggin' cute. He was precious, so tiny! Italian greyhound, 12 weeks, Sam. Yes, we shared a name. Lots of jokes that weekend.

I was extremely excited to finally take out my camera and snap a few pictures. It has been so long since I've been able to really take photos. I switched out my lens and put my 50mm f1.8 back on, my tried and true. Seriously, I love that lens. I know it crops close and you have to walk farther out to take portraits but it is such a good lens. The bokeh is amazing, the low light capabilities are great too. Overall, my fave. I am renting a lens for my Europe trip with the future possibility of buying it, way too much for me to spend right now.

Okay, back to the story.
I go off a tangent sometimes, my bad!
Anyways, we walked around Artscape for a few hours and I snapped away at pictures of them. I really didn't get any photos of us except on my phone. The trusty iPhone 5! It was hot, but not humid; easy summer weather with tons of people walking around and artsy things going on. Spent most of the time browsing but nothing to really buy.

Played some nerd games, Settlers of Catan, I'm actually amused at how much I enjoy that game. Competitive, too. I came in second. So close!! Most of the weekend Jesse and Brian played Mario Kart and Magic. Yes, Magic: the Gathering. A true nerd. He's so cute.

Now this week, I am planning baby shower games and things.
Brian and I are on hiatus, I know it's confusing because he spent the week with me, but my life is complicated. Or, I just make them complicated, who knows. I need to figure it out and right now being alone is what is best for me. I enjoy his company, his conversation, him. Right now, I'm just not ready. Not for serious long distance commitment. I want to focus on me. Me, for once. We remain friends and talk, we're definitely more than friends with those feelings, but we'll see.