Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beach Tunes

Beach Goofs

As much as I love to travel, I'm not a huge beach person, or at least a Florida beach person that is. So while I'm lounging around with a book later today and pretending I'm back in California with those lovely goobers (and Vicki!) above, I'll have some good beach-y jams to aid in the fantasy!

Beach by Kristin A on Grooveshark

Monday, July 30, 2012

#30Lists Warm-up

Please forgive this post's lack of snazziness, but I couldn't contain my excitement even while on vacation!

30 Days of Lists registration starts on August 1st and I thought it would be fun to do a mini-list as a warm up for September's main event!

I may be lounging at the beach at Ft. Lauderdale, but it's not my ideal vacation spot. You see, I'm not a huge tropical-destination/Florida-person; I take much better to places that don't leave me with traces of sand weeks later. My dream vacation spots?

• a winery in California
• the lavender fields of Furano
• Cinque Terre
• Budapest
• NYC (at Christmastime especially!)
• a yacht off the European coast
• exploring the architecture of Spain

So, where do you dream of vacationing?

And don't forget to sign up for the 30 Days of Lists newsletter! They've got some awesome giveaways, but if you want a chance to win one of the ohDEER me kits you definitely want to be ready for pre-registration!

http://lemonandraspberry.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4595dbf81c3ad63321ea898f0&id=b6f6ee7e12 )

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.11

Breakfast is sliced
( source )

acerbic adj. [ə-ˈsər-bik]: sour or bitter tasting; sharp or biting in tone, character, or expression (via)

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Tips for Packing Your Suitcase


I will be the first to admit that I over-pack to the point of having extra pairs of socks when I'm not even taking shoes that require socks in the first place (go figure). Now, that's not to say I don't like having all of my bases covered - take Hakodate for example, had I not prepared for both "summer" weather as well as the "cool" weather I was told they have, I wouldn't have survived the freak 90+ degree summer I spent there without dropping loads of money on cooler clothing - but there's no reason to bring a winter coat to Florida in July. 

Packing is part puzzle game, part packing smartly. Earlier this month, I won this tricky game of packing a carry-on bag and I'm quite proud of what is probably my best pack-job to date (the rolling your clothes trick really works!). These tips are mostly geared towards packing for a carry-on bag but can easily be applied to a suitcase, weekend bag, or most travel situations to make your trip more hassel free (and give you more room to bring back Mickey ears from Disney!)

Note: I try to avoid checked baggage unless I have no other option. There's just too much room for error, plus, who wants to lug a suitcase plus a carry-on plus a purse around the airport? Not me. Of course, this makes bringing things like scissors for the Boy's unruly beard and a razor impossible. Thanks TSA. 

  1. Use what you have. Rather than hit up the travel-size toiletries, however cute that mini-deodorant may be, put over-limit liquids in a TSA approved container. That whole bottle of sunscreen that is 8oz? Don't waste it, just downsize. Target has some great travel-size containers that let you use what you already own, and I've even used Tupperware-esque salad-dressing containers to transport just a tiny dab of hair gel before!
  2. Wear your heavier items on the plane and don't forget to layer! Maybe it's just me, but airplanes get cold! Not only may you be pining for a sweater while you're up in the clouds, but wearing your heavier clothing on the plane will free up some room in your suitcase. Rather than wear my flip flops for instance, I'll wear my more substantial shoes on the plane (if it's comfortable, of course!) and instead slide my thin sandals along the sides of my bag.
  3. Keep your travel documents in reach. While this may be more beneficial for an international flight, even a quick plane ride calls for boarding passes, IDs, and various other paperwork. I have a travel clutch from Owl Say that I keep my travel documents in for easy access when going through airport security. 
  4. Decorate the outside of your luggage. Having your address somewhere on your bag is a good tip to help others to identify your suitcase, but it usually doesn't help you find your own bag in the sea of identical black suitcases on the luggage carousel. If you don't have a distinct looking suitcase, tie a brightly colored ribbon around your bag's handle or decorate a small tag with an illustration of your trip (a Harry Potter-themed tag, anyone?) to make for easy finding.
  5. Empty your purse/wallet/personal item of the non-essentials. I probably don't need my USB-drive with me while we'll be at the theme park for most of our short trip. And as much as it pains me, the Starbuck's Gold card can probably stay home too. Leaving things you won't need on your trip at home will free up room for more trip-related items, such as your DS or an extra book for the plane ride. 
Aside from toiletries and various things like my eyeglass case, underwear, and a swimsuit this is what's all in my bag:

1. Two tops and a cardigan for the plane ride, worn with my bulkier jeans (and the gold sandals) 2. Light PJs plus a sweatshirt if the room is cold 3. An extra shirt, just in case 4. Striped tee and comfy shoes for the park 5. My necklace and rope bracelet - all the accessories I'll need! 6. Shorts for the park, and again, a spare pair in case I get stuck in a downpour again...7. A nice dress and cardigan if we end up going out to dinner when we land

And it all fits with room to spare! Voila!


And this is how it looked all rolled up! This is what ended up actually going in the bag, minus the belt (while I'll be wearing with my jeans on the plane!) Super efficient, and super tidy! Plus, my sanity is still intact. Awesome.

(This post looks awesomely long, ne?)

Do you have any packing tips to share? Are you a suitcase packing extraordinaire or does your bag barely zip? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Things I Like Thursday

( source )

The Boy is home again and I couldn't be more thankful. I'm thankful we went to the ER Friday night, I'm thankful we didn't wait, I'm thankful the surgery went okay, and I'm thankful he's home, recovering, and doing just fine. I know it could've been a lot worse and I'm just glad that it went without a hitch
♥ I live for fresh peaches and while it's such a shame that peach season only lasts for a few short weeks each summer, we got our first batch from Trax Farms this past week and they are the juiciest, most divine tasting fruits in the world. I even ventured to make a peach vanilla bundt cake and oh my, is it good. Peaches can do no wrong.

little loves
♥ polka dots ♥ poppy-colored lipgloss ♥ vanilla beans, which are so much better than extract! ♥ On that note, I'm eager to try the vanilla-infused sugar that's now sitting on the countertop ♥ such compassionate and understanding co-workers ♥ the lanter scene from Tangled. There's a lovely fanart of it that's currently my desktop wallpaper Festo engineers all of these really awesome bionic developments on the side and their projects are absolutely incredible. The Smart Bird, Aqua Raw, and Air Penguin are all equally awesome to watch, though I do love the Air Jelly

What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Liebster Award!

Darth Vader Apron
I feel like this picture should explain a lot about me...

My day is seriously made. Actually, the past few days have left me feeling ridiculously thankful and appreciative of the awesome blogging community (note: I feel like I say awesome every other sentence. Will I get over it? I'm sure I will). Kayla from over at KaylaNut nominated me for the Liebster Award, which, if you're unfamiliar, goes a little something like this:

The Liebster award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. 

Now, there are rules attached with this...

Rules for receiving this award:
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.
  3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
  4. Go to their page and tell them.
  5. No tag backs.

...but we all know that I don't like to listen to the rules (actually, this is a complete lie. I freak out if I don't follow the rules. But in this case, I think I'll be daring and let myself slide). Since I've already bored you all with not 11, but 17 facts about myself - my favorite being my book battle scar, #9 - I'll just let you revisit those :)

I will, however, answer Kayla's 11 questions!

  1. Why do you blog? It started as an outlet and writing exercise without turning LiveJournal diary-esque, as well as using Things I Like Thursday as a way to remind myself of the positive around me. Once I got a whiff of the wonderful community out there, blogging completely sucked me in and I love it! In the simplest of forms, it makes me happy to write and share my words and pictures and just have a little catalog of my life to look back on!
  2. What would your ideal, perfect day consist of? Slinking into my houndstooth rain boots and walking to the Carnegie Library to curl up with a stack of books, coffee, and read on a rainy day. 
  3. What was/would have been your "Most Likely To" superlative in high school? I was actually voted "most artistic". Ironically, I don't think I've picked up my sketchbook or paintbrush since senior year, but I lived in the art room in high school, and even spent most of senior year there with a pass to, er...paint the prom backdrop (and by paint, I mean hang out with my other artistically-inclined friends).
  4. What is your favorite game (board, video, car, whatever kind)? Uno! It definitely holds a special place in my heart, though Phase 10 is an equally great game, especially with a large group of friends. Favorite video game is another story. Final Fantasy VII takes the cake, though I think Portal is coming up a close second. 
  5. What makes your best friend the best? As great as it is to know that we'll always be there if the other needs it or is in a bind, there's no ego or hard feelings when we need our separate alone time. If one of us isn't feeling up to this or that, no big deal, we understand that we're both human and don't need to be attached at the hip. The best thing is coming back from any absence - be it a week vacation or a hectic month - and jumping right back in where we left off.
  6. What do you consider to be the "shining" moment in your life so far? I try not to be that person who constantly talks about "Japan, this", "Japan, that", but honestly, it was such a huge part of my life that it really shaped who I am. Not only is a sense of adventure and independence attached, it was such an accomplishment for me, both in the personal-dream sense and the I-learned-a-foreign-language-and-writing-system-and-didn't-get-lost sense.
  7. If you could tell your 16-year-old self anything today, what would it be? Stop caring about what people think and do what makes you happy. You're wasting time not being the best you can be.
  8. What is your favorite word? Oh man. 'Johdpurs' sticks out, but not as a favorite. Rather, the spelling-bee word-that-I-missed away from being 1st place. But I'm quite fond of 'ephemeral'. It looks pretty and I'm pretty sure I've retained it from listening to a ton of AFI in middle school.
  9. It's 2:00 am. You can't sleep, and you're alone.  What do you do? Honestly, I'm probably up of my own accord thanks to Pinterest or Dragon Age with a cup of mint tea in my hand. 
  10. What song never ceases to put a big ol' smile on your face whenever you hear it? In the cheesy sense, "Fireworks" by Animal Collective. Also, the Penguins Boys of Winter theme always means a hockey game is coming, which means smiles all around!
  11. What do you live for? I live for the little bits of inspiration and kindness that I find each day that bring a smile to my face. From kind strangers to cupcakes. 

I tag everyone! I'd love to hear about you, so even if you want to share your answers in the comments or post them on your own blog, please let me know!

Thanks again for the award, Kayla!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"It's Paper, Dear" Box Review

It's Paper Dear

When Zie Darling revealed her "It's Paper, Dear" subscription box, I knew I had to have one! All the talk of Birchbox and other similar subscription services has intrigued me, but the contents just didn't interest me; I'm not a huge makeup person to receive that much new product a month. But stationary? That's something I can get behind!

First of all, I give Zie all the kudos in the world for putting something this grand together. To orchestrate the contents of the boxes, vendor participation, and physically getting the goodie boxes out to subscribers seems like a mad feat, and somehow she still had the time and sanity to have everything adorably packaged and even included a hand-written note! What a dear :)

I don't even know where or how to start telling you about what's all in this lovely box, so it seems like a proper time to bust out the "picture's worth a thousand words" spiel, or in this case, a thousand lovely paper goods, tapes, and buttons (it sure seems like there's that much in the It's Paper, Dear box!). From recipe cards, notecards, twine, tape, buttons, books, pens, and wrapping supplies, I was blown away as I kept unwrapping and unpacking this endless little guy! So without further ado:

It's Paper Dear Box

It's Paper Dear Box

I seriously can't wait to get started on my next few weeks of Project Life (okay, okay, I'm a little more than a tad behind compiling everything...) and use all of these wonderful supplies!

It's Paper Dear Box

Have you signed up for "It's Paper, Dear" or another subscription-like box? What do you think? Any grand projects you've got planned with your "It's Paper, Dear" goodies?

Monday, July 23, 2012

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.10

Adelie Penguins: Right men, form an echelon
( source )

echelon n. [ˈe-shə-ˌlän]: an arrangement or formation of individuals with each unit somewhat to the left or right of one another, like a series or steps (via)

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hospital Trip

Running on two hours of sleep isn't conducive to much of anything other than staring at people like an awkward zombie. And while I've finally caught up a bit on my sleep with a decent night's rest, the past few days have been a blur - the kind of blur where 'tonight' and 'this morning' are interchangeable, days blend together, and you really couldn't say where all you've been or what you've done. All is well now, but trips in and out, back and forth to the hospital and everywhere in between are incredibly draining.

Dan had to be taken to the hospital Friday after work with bad right abdomen pain. He had been suffering from some stomach pain for a few weeks prior, but nothing so severe. When it migrated to his right side that day, we both had a feeling - which the all-lovely internet seemed to confirm - that it was appendicitis and took no chances in getting him to the hospital.

That's the problem with the internet though; as helpful as it is, you tend to self-diagnose and the last thing we wanted was a trip to the ER with nothing more than "you ate too much pizza". But better safe than sorry.

And so med student after nurse after doctor and tests, they were able to eliminate the problem down to a kidney stone or appendix and the CT scan came back with a definite answer - his appendix needed to go. Finally, by 3 am (a whole whopping 5 hours after getting to the ER) Dan was checked into a hospital room waiting for the surgeon to come in for the operation in the morning.

Everything went just fine and Dan is doing well - he actually should be able to come home this afternoon! Now it's just getting him back on his feet, keeping an eye on his recovery, and getting him reaccustomed to a non-broth diet. I know he's just anxious to be free of all of the IV hookups and back to normal again, but thank god we caught it when we did. It's so hard to tell what's what - it was his call on whether the pain was severe or abnormal but I'm just relieved they got everything they needed to in time without any complications. That's scary stuff. But he's been so well taken care of and doing great and I can't wait to haul his butt home (which should be in just a few hours!)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

link love

( source )

I have a page in Evernote that is forever open and houses the myriad of links I find in any given day. I won't lie, sometimes I get carried away and have a list of exciting things that seems to reach to the Earth's core and back, but I try to trim it down to my favorites, I really do! Here's some of my favorites as of late...

♥ These amateur Edwardian street style shots of London and Paris are fantastic!
♥ I just heard about Humans of New York, which is a photographic census of the city and it's positively amazing!
The Avengers get Dungeons & Dragons-ified.
♥ A really interesting article on the presence of Male Gaze in video games.
♥ A timeline of the events of Middle Earth
♥ Flavorwire lists 10 of the greatest YA series of all time (aside from the staples of Harry Potter, Narnia, etc.)
 ♥ 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People
Disney princesses, ranked from least to most feminist. What do you think of this ranking?
Judging a book by its cover: a 6-year old guesses what classics are all about had me rolling. So true though! Who would think a book cover like Animal Farm could be so misleading (and yet, still get the point across, haha! I wish it were a kids book. Maybe I'd hate it less)
♥ Sarah and Vicki have provided an adorable illustrated guide to creating and writing believable characters
♥ Twinkie talks about the neutering of her blog. Really thoughtful article on blogging content. I remember the days of uncensored glory on my LiveJournal, but with a teaching career on the horizon, I don't think I can just run free :)
How the college essay is ruining our economy. I don't agree completely, but I do think there's a lot to be said for writing concisely.
Orla Kiely Fall '12/'13 line is gorgeous as always. I'd gladly fill my closet with her designs!
♥ How awesome is it that these gloves can translate sign language into speech?
♥ I'm sure you've heard, but Browncoats Unite and the Firefly reunion panel will be airing in November. I'm exceptionally geeked! Also, more Firefly Comic-Con coverage - I can't resist!

And finally, Rurouni Kenshin is getting a live action movie!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Brushing up on my Japanese, or, My Excuse to Watch J-Dorama

I was told by a host of 13-year old Japanese girls that I look like Naka Risa...my Japanese knowledge didn't prepare me for how to handle that.

I'm not gonna lie here, my Japanese is a little rusty. And by a little rusty I mean that last time I Skyped with my host family my token phrase became chotto matte as I looked up numerous words on denshi jisho every other minute. I was hoping to take the next level of the JLPTs this coming December before all of my language knowledge disappears into a black hole of doom completely, but I've definitely got some brushing up to do before I pay money and trek all the way (read: 4 hours away, which isn't that all the way) out to Philly to take the test.

The logical test-preparation solution?

Watch lots of dorama!

I have this terrible habit of plowing into a new series headfirst for the first 10-or-so episodes, and then I usually taper off and forget about it. Putting my powers of concentration to work here though, I'm going to try really hard to watch at least two episodes a week (it is studying, after all!). The pickings?

♥ Sunao ni Narenakute - I'm about halfway through this series and it's first and foremost absolutely adorable, but I love the way it incorporates the popularity and culture of Twitter in Japan into a dorama.
♥ IRIS - There might be a slight problem here as this is technically a Korean drama, but I remember it airing on Japanese television while I was in Japan two years ago and my host mother watching it religiously. I've surprisingly never watched a more serious, Asian cop drama and tried watching it with my host mom (but Korean with Japanese subtitles didn't work out so well!). Also, T.O.P. is in it, so I may or may not be biased.
♥ Yankee-kun to Megane-chan - My host sister burst into the room one day exclaiming that her and her friends thought I looked EXACTLY like the girl in their new favorite drama and I honestly didn't know what to do. My Japanese had failed me at that point xD I guess I should probably watch it to see who I'm being compared to? I don't know - do you see a resemblance?
♥ You're Beautiful - I'm pretty sure I only have 2 or 3 episodes of this one left. Also, I just realized that this one is a K-dorama also. Whoops. Not helping me with my studying there (but I'm still gonna watch it!)
♥ Hana Yori Dango - I've seen the Korean version of this (don't ask me why I watched that Korean version of a Japanese manga first...) rather than the Japanese version, and even then I don't think I saw the last few episodes, which is apparently a running trend with me. But I'm a sucker for the ordinary girl-turned Cinderella story when she gets accepted to a prestigious school on a scholarship. And the resident gang of popular guys take her under their wing. Shush.
♥ Akai Ito - I love the idea of the "red thread of fate" connecting two people and really hope this is good!
♥ Nobuta wa Produce  - The Cinderella story strikes again!
♥ Atsuhime - Again, I've not really seen this kind of historical drama and I've been dying to find one I like. I really don't have any basis for this one other than it sounded interesting (and educational, in an entertainment kind of way!)
♥ Smile - The issue of foreigners and foreign heritage in Japan has always been intriguing to me. "Visiting" for a few months is not the same as living there indefinitely as a foreigner, and I'm curious to see the dorama take on this issue
♥ Sailor Moon - Okay, this technically isn't a drama, but I can't resist.

Somehow though, whenever I try this method of brushing up on my language skills, I end up download lots of Korean dramas, which frankly, don't help me in my quest to study my Japanese. Let's see if I can stick to the right country this time.

Are you addicted to any dorama? I always feel like it's such a guilty pleasure, it's so sugary sweet!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

( JoyHey )

What a week! Though I love travelling, it feels so good to be home again. But of course, that means there's unpacking to do and regular life to get back to (boo -- I still want to live at Hogwarts), which I'm not a super fan of. I'll get over it though - I now have a magic wand :D

♥ If I didn't have our vacation to Islands of Adventure on this list, I'd be crazy! I'm sure you're all Harry Potter-ed out by now, but it was so nice to have a chill, stress free escape, not to mention that said escape was to a place that was so much fun and so magical. From the awesome coasters to the shows and rides (and Butterbeer!) I couldn't have asked for a better trip!

♥ I don't know about you, but I love airports. Aside from having to take off my belt and shoes and that being a general pain, I love people watching and just wandering around the airport. 

♥ Waiting for me when we got home on Monday was my It's Paper, Dear box from Zie Darling! I'm in love with everything in it and so taken away with how amazing it is! I'll be sure to share the goodies as soon as I get back on track, but I can safely say that you should sign up for next month if you haven't already! (Or, a full three-month subscription! I know I'll be doing just that!)

little loves
my wand - it's awesome, and will one day be sitting on my desk, so I had to pick a good one! ♥ lots of pillows ♥ onion volcanoes ♥ LUSH clerks are always so nice, and stumbling on a LUSH store in the airport made my day! ♥ Brandon, the ride attendant who got us into another express line during the thunderstorm ♥ thunderstorms (when not in line for a coaster!) ♥ giant mugs of coffee ♥ donuts with sprinkles on them ♥ chocolate frogs ♥ pretty stationary and cute gift bags! 

I'm also kind of a smidge behind with SYTYCD since I'm DVR-ing the episodes, but I had to include my favorite routines from this past (last week?) week!

Amelia and Will's Nappytabs routine to A CURE SONG was incredible. Other faves? Cyrus and Eliana's broadway routine, the gorgeous Titanic-inspired piece from Travis Wall, and Cole's impressive Pasodoble

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Very Harry Potter Vacation

Hogwarts Castle

Guys, you don't even know how magical our vacation to Universal's Islands of Adventure the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was. I'm pretty sure my look of wonder rivaled the looks of several dozen small children combined. But here, I'll let my pictures do the talking:

But first, let me tell you about Everett. He was the driver who picked us up from the airport, and not only did he have a sign with my name on it, he tracked the flight to know that ours had gotten in a half hour early. Go Everett. Then, when confirming the spelling of my name to his boss to get the ok to be our driver back to the airport, he spelled it "o-S for sugar-Z as in zebra". S for sugar. I died, it was awesome.

But now, to Hogwarts!


Dan had too much fun playing with the hotel pillows as soon as we checked in! We had a late flight in and had hibachi (the Boy's first time!) where fun and good food was had by all.

Our map...
The map my coworker made me (and the nicely illustrated shortcut past the salt & pepper shakers...)

And finally, dun da-da daaaa! Hogsmeade!


We popped into Honeyduke's

...and Ollivander's


As well as some shops...

Hog's Head
The Three Broomsticks

We even stopped by the Three Broomsticks...

...and enjoyed some Butterbeer!

Hogwarts Express

We saw the Hogwarts Express...

Hogwarts Express

And Hogwarts! The ride inside was amazing! The entire queue was set up to look like areas of the castle, from the Herbology greenhouses to the inside of the castle itself, and extremely well done too.

Ford Anglia
Hagrid's Hut

While we were waiting in line for the Hippogriff ride it started to pour. And while I'm usually prepared for a quick 15-minute Floridian shower, this was a 40 minute long thunderstorm that happened to start while we were literally the NEXT people in line to ride. Luckily, some friendly banter and an optimistic and non-whiny attitude won over Brandon the ride-operator and he phoned over to the Spiderman ride (indoors!) to get us on and bypass the crazy long wait. Made our trip!

We even found a conveniently located People Dryer on our way through Toon Town that let us dry off after getting caught in the downpour! Score!

1. the Triwizard Cup 2. Hogwarts 3. Ollivander's 4. waiting at the airport 5. hibachi for dinner (the Boy's first time!) 6. first time flying out of our itty bitty local airport 7. the Sorting Hat 8. counting House points 9. a conveniently located People Dryer

We eventually made our way to Jurassic Park
  Jurassic Park
Where I evidently tried to punch a T-Rex in the face. I'm alive and well, thank you very much.

Jurassic Park Visitor's Center

The Boy wasn't too happy to leave though (neither was I, but alas)


Though he did enjoy taking pictures of me while I nommed on a cookie. A very good cookie.

But it was honestly such an amazing little vacation. We had a BLAST! And I may or may not be sitting at home now with my time turner, pointing my wand at everything and hoping that it levitates to me >.>

Godric Gryffindor 
And to take home as a token? My very own chocolate frog that, needless to say, did NOT jump out of my window, but was eaten in a hurry :D 

Chocolate Frog
Chocolate Frog
Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What did you think!? (and I will totally go again - all of us fantabulous wizards and witches can hang!)