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Beach Themed Wish List

June 30, 2015
Until this year, going to the beach was something that I could not do very often due to my geographical location. Now that I moved closer to the coast, I've been able to take advantage of my proximity to the beach and have spent some relaxing days at the shore. Since I've been going to the beach more often, I'd like to start investing in some items that will make my frequent trips to Hilton Head even better!

1) Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit in Emerald from ModCloth-

Bathing Beauty One-piece Swimsuit in Emerald

Truthfully, for the amount of time I spend at the beach and going to swimming pools, it's kind of embarrassing to admit that I only have ONE bathing suit. I can't say that I enjoy shopping for bathing suits at all, and being tall and busty has always given me issues when I try to find a flattering swimsuit. Also, I don't feel comfortable in a two piece, so that automatically narrows down what is available even further. Last year, I searched online for a bathing suit and found that ModCloth had a decent selection of one-piece swimsuits that were actually pretty adorable. After reading the positive reviews from others that said things like, "I haven't felt this good in a bathing suit in years," I decided to go ahead and order the Fruity Suity One-Piece Swimsuit and hope for the best even though I thought I might end up returning it. Once I tried it on, I knew it was a keeper! It was the most flattering swimsuit I had bought in ages and it definitely gave me enough coverage in all areas. I've worn that swimsuit so many times now and want to add another piece by the same designer to my summer wardrobe.

Fruity Suity One-Piece
2) Straw Beach Bag-

Lauren Ralph Lauren Portland Beach Tote
I have been using my teaching tote bag to carry all of my beach stuff in, and it's not really ideal to have to keep dumping one out for the other when school is in session.  Plus, some of the kids' papers got a little sandy, ha ha. I would like to have a bag that I only use for the beach. That way, if there is an impromptu meeting at the beach, I can just grab my bag and go because everything will be ready. The straw beach bag I really want is this Lauren Ralph Lauren Portland Beach Tote from Macy's. It looks roomy and gives off that summer/beachy vibe, but unfortunately at the current price of $147.99, it is a bit over my budget right now.  I will probably end up going for this INC International Concepts Beach Tote instead.  It's still cute and made of straw and is way cheaper at $34.99.

INC International Concepts Beach Tote

3) Face Sunscreen-

Currently, I just have a bottle of Water Babies sunscreen that I use on my whole body and face. I want to switch to a different brand because for me it does not rub in easily and which leaves my face looking as white as a ghost. I also can't stand that greasy feeling, so buying some sunscreen made specifically for faces is going to save me a lot of grief. The one I'm the most interested in right now is Clinique's Sun SPF 50 Face Cream because I trust the brand and other reviewers said that it felt "lightweight" and that it did not clog their pores.

Clinique Sun SPF 50 Face Cream
4) Deluxe 4 Position Aluminum Canopy Beach Chair from Beachmall.com

4 Position Canopy Beach Chair

I am not someone who can lay out on the beach in direct sunlight all day. I get way too burnt and one day last year, I was not careful and got sun poisoning. After that, my friends bought a beach umbrella (they also suffered), but I'd rather have this chair! It still offers shade, and I don't have to set it up or anything. Also, I love that it has a towel rack on the back, a cup holder, AND a pouch to store books.

5) Tinny Retro Cooler

Tinny Retro Cooler
I don't own a cooler of my own and each time I go to the beach, I just ask my friends if I can cram stuff into their coolers. Since I'm sure that they are getting sick of me doing that, it's about time to get a cooler of my own. Plus, this way I can have something to use if I make a solo trip to the beach. This cooler appeals to me because of its fun design! 

6) Martha Stewart Collection Beach Blanket

Martha Stewart Collection Beach Blanket
I prefer laying out on a beach blanket as opposed to a towel because I like to sprawl out.  This Martha Stewart one is one sale right now for $19.99 and can easily fold up into a square so that it's easy to carry.  The bright colors just scream summer to me.

What items do you need to pick up for the beach?
*This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive a small amount of compensation if you click on the link at no extra cost to you.  All opinions are my own.

Weekending: A Visit With My Sister

June 29, 2015
As soon as school ended, I knew right away that one of the first things I wanted to do was to drive up to North Carolina to see my sister Denise and my baby niece, Sophia. Since the drive to Denise's place is a little over 6 hours from where I'm at, I only was able to see her one time while school was in. If I had a normal 9-5 job, it would have been feasible to drive to see them over the weekend, but the reality of it was that I spent a great portion of every Sunday lesson planning so it probably wouldn't have been ideal to visit them on a regular weekend.  Denise and I counted down the days until my teaching year wrapped up and then finally I got to see her again last week! 

Already Sophia has grown so much! When I first met her, she was just a newborn, but now she is more mobile and really loves to bounce. She's so funny--she loves wiggle or move her arms constantly. She does like to be held, but there's a catch.  You have to be moving, too or she will get upset. My sis has her work cut out for her because Sophia likes to be on the go.  Sophia also LOVES my sister's dog, Maddie. If she starts to get fussy or cry and Maddie appears, Sophia immediately will start smiling and laughing.  Also, when Denise's husband gets home from work, it's heart-warming to see how much Sophia lights up.  Denise called her a "Daddy's girl." 

Mostly, Denise and I just talked and hung out in her house, but we did go out a little if we could schedule it according to Sophia's nap schedule. Something I had been wanting to try out for awhile was this cake shop in Greenville, North Carolina called Your Perfect Cake. I have a weakness for cake and baked goods, so when I saw that Your Perfect Cake allows you to customize your slice of cake, I knew that I had to try it out! I had actually been bugging Denise about going years ago. First you select the kind of cake you want, and then you can choose the type of filling, icing, and topping you want! I ended up with almond cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese icing with a toffee topping. It was pretty good and the slice of cake was huge! Denise got a peanut butter cupcake, but hers was dry and both of us were not impressed, but we both liked what I got.

Then the two of us went shopping at Ulta, and I asked one of the workers to do my foundation for me because I was looking for something with more coverage than just the L'Oreal BB Cream I usually wear. She recommended bareMinerals Complexion Rescue. I don't think it has super heavy coverage, but it did work better than just the regular BB Cream I usually use and hid more of my flaws. I'm quite pleased with it! Of course, I also splurged on a few more items like this awesome hand cream from Eau des Minimes. Thank goodness there isn't an Ulta super close to me right now or I'd be in big trouble.

After my mini-makeover at Ulta with the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue on
Denise and I also worked out at her gym while her husband babysat. It was cool because there was a women's only workout room, so that's what we used. The main part of the gym was kind of intimidating because almost everyone there was super fit and buff. Good for them, but I would have stuck out like a sore thumb! The fewer people that can see me sweat like a pig, the better thank you very much. 

Oh, and to balance out that cake we ate a really healthy dinner full of shrimp and veggies, prepared by Denise's husband on the grill. 

One day we went walking out on Emerald Isle, but we had to stop because of the heat index being over 100 degrees. Although we wanted to get our exercise in, it just wasn't worth it because it was smoldering and Sophia wasn't exactly loving it either.  We stopped at The Sweet Spot to get some raspberry chocolate chip ice cream, though.  That put us (and Sophia) in a better mood!

Ha ha, it was hard to get a good picture with her because she loves to squirm. :)

The next day, we learned our lesson about trying to do things mid-day in the NC heat and woke up early so that we could go to the blueberry patch and pick some blueberries before it got in the 90's. It was a good decision, and Sophia was pretty relaxed and content! In fact, she fell asleep for part of it. Denise made some delicious Nutella and blueberry crepes for us later. 

We also played badminton, watched The Bachelorette, and one night I baby-sat for Denise so that she could enjoy a much needed date-night out with her husband.  It was the easiest baby-sitting job I ever did because Sophia slept the whole time!

Do you like U-Pick places for fresh fruit in the summer?

How to be an Annoying Blogger

June 19, 2015

An annoying blogger:

* Leaves lame comments on others' blogs.  I'm talking about comments that do not make sense or ones that just say, "Great post."  I mean, really why bother?  Other types of comments that bother me are the ones where people shamelessly promote themselves by letting you know about their online shop when it's not exactly related to what you've posted about.  I try to delete these types of comments.

* Doesn't turn the Captcha off for commenting.  I'm sorry, but the Captcha just sucks.  Sometimes I'm just guessing on which letters I'm supposed to be typing in and end up getting it wrong so I end up just leaving no comment at all. Bloggers who want comments should make commenting as easy as possible for their readers.

* Adds you to a mailing list you didn't sign up for and keeps e-mailing you.  Just because I joined a link up one time a year ago does NOT mean I want to be sent weekly e-mails reminding me about said link up.

* Doesn't follow the rules in a blog group or "cheats." I get that many of us are busy and sometimes people may honestly forget to complete their portion of the daily threads. However, there are totally some people out there that only leave their links for others to comment on, and they do not fulfill the basic requirements of the thread. There are also some bloggers that "like" others' links like they've actually commented/shared posts, when they haven't.  

* Posts exactly the same stuff on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (and so on) over and over. Okay, this one can be tricky because we all want to promote our posts, but when I see your link three times on my Twitter feed and then see the same pic/link show up multiple times on my Instagram/Facebook feed, it's just too much!

* Doesn't live up to their sponsorship promises. This one is pretty crappy, especially because so many bloggers offer ads and many of them do a great job of promoting others' content.  Wasted money is never good!

* Steals content from other bloggers and acts like it was their own. Thankfully, I have not seen this too much, but to not give credit where it's due is just shady. 

* Is insensitive about touchy subjects like religion, politics, gay rights, etc. I already get overloaded with this from Facebook, thank you very much!  

* Says that their opinions are their own on a sponsored post, but it just feels fake. We've all read some sponsored posts where we think, "Yeah right!!" Readers can tell when bloggers are being disingenuous, and I think that that lowers your credibility overall. I only try to collaborate with companies when it feels right/when I think I will truly like their product.

* Follows you via one form of social media, then you follow them back, only to have them unfollow you within a day. I've experienced this the most on Instagram, honestly. To be fair, it isn't always just other bloggers that do this, but I still feel like saying, "If you don't like my pictures, then don't follow me in the first place!" It's sad that some people just follow a ton of accounts in hopes of getting their own numbers up.  I downloaded Crowdfire to help better manage my Instagram and Twitter accounts, and like it because it lets you know who your new followers/unfollowers are.  I've discovered great new people to follow through this app!

* Constantly brags about their stats.  Everyone knows that putting information out there about your stats is fine on your sponsor page--that makes sense.  When bloggers have to mention over and over how they have SO many views/new followers, well, that just gets real old real fast.

* Bashes other bloggers openly on their blog.  That will make me stop reading a blog pretty quickly!

* Does not have a link to their blog in their Disqus profiles. Sometimes bloggers have left me nice comments, and I want to head over to their blogs and interact with them. I look for the links in their Disqus profiles, but if they are missing them, then I'm unable to return the love!

* Is a no-reply blogger.  I'm sure many of us (myself included) were once guilty of this because we just didn't know any better. This isn't as big of a deal for me now that I use Disqus, but see how it could be frustrating to those who use other commenting systems.

* Has a ridiculous amount of co-hosts or rules to follow just to be able to join a link up.  When I have to follow 3 hosts and 5 co-hosts just to add my post to the link up, eh, I'd rather pass. My favorite link ups are ones that are very simple and straightforward rules or the ones with no rules at all.

* Never responds to comments. I certainly don't expect for everyone to respond to all of my comments all the time, but if I leave several comments and never get a reply back then it kind of bothers me! For me, blogging is a lot about interactions and if it's one-sided, then it is my personal preference to no longer comment on that blog.

* Whines about not getting a lot of comments, pageviews, etc.  Instead of complaining about no one commenting, why not create a reader survey to try to improve your blog?

* Is extremely negative all the time. Yes, as a lifestyle blogger, I totally get wanting to sometimes vent about an issue on here, but when I'm constantly brought down by what a blogger is posting about, it's time to move on!

Are you with me on any of these? What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to blogging?

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Book Review

June 17, 2015

It's hard to visit Savannah, Georgia without ever hearing any reference to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. There are plenty of copies for sale in the souvenir shops along River Street, tour guides mention it left and right, and even locals say that it is worth reading. Of course, this book became even more popular due to the movie version of the tale being released in 1997.  Did you know it was directed by Clint Eastwood?  

Although this book is considered "non-fiction," it certainly reads like a fiction. Some of the stories and larger-than-life characters are so outrageous that while I was reading the book I had to stop and remind myself that these events actually took place and that the people featured in the story were real, even though their names may have been altered to protect their identities.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is the story of a journalist named John Berendt who comes down from New York City to visit Savannah.  Once he gets a taste of Savannah, he gets sucked into this eccentric city full of both darkness and beauty. Much of the story focuses on the mystery surrounding the events that took place at the Mercer House in 1981. Jim Williams, a self-made and antiques dealer, shot a young man by the name of Danny Hansford. Whether it was cold-blooded murder of self defense is questionable. Berendt not only presents the side of the prosecution and the defense, but also ties in the "two-cents" of other Savannahians. 

Besides the main event of the Jim Williams trial, here is just a slight preview of what you'll experience in this novel...You'll travel to Bonaventure Cemetery for a picnic or perhaps a voodoo ritual.  You'll also attend a drag show performed by the raunchy yet entertaining Lady Chablis. Fancy an invite to the exclusive Married Women's Card Club?  You'll go there, too.  You can also have brunch at Clary's with Luther Driggers, who may or may not decide to dump his deadly poison into Savannah's water supply.  The quirky characters and their shenanigans captured my interest and makes this book a lighter true-crime novel, although some now even use the book as a travelogue when visiting Savannah. 

I truly enjoyed the book and know that I am not alone, as it holds the record for being on the New York Times Bestseller List for the most consecutive weeks. I particularly recommend it for those who wish to deepen their understanding of Savannah. While the details of the Williams trial were intriguing, I did learn fascinating tidbits about Savannah's history and culture as well. The personalities and events in the book are memorable--pair that with some excellent storytelling, and you've got yourself a good read! 

What have you been reading lately?

The Collegiate Standard: Fleur-de-Lis Necklace Review

June 14, 2015
Through blogging, I heard of The Collegiate Standard because I had seen reviews of their Greek jewelry. I never bothered to head over to their site before because I didn't think that they would have anything for gals like myself who did not opt to join a sorority in college. When the marketing intern for the company contacted me about a collaboration, she informed me that there are some some non-Greek pieces for sale on their site as well. As I was browsing the fashion jewelry section, a beautiful fleur-de-lis sterling silver pendant caught my eye. In the same way that those who joined sororities will be reminded of their college experiences by wearing The Collegiate Standard's jewelry, the fleur-de-lis pendant I chose actually is representative of my own time in college! Hear me out... Did you know that the fleur-de-lis is a symbol of French royalty? I saw this stylized flower for the first time on a trip to France because it was in some of the chateaux our group visited.  This necklace ended up being the perfect piece for a French major like myself, although it would look fabulous on just about anyone. 

The description: "A beautiful and classy sterling sliver Fleur de Lis Key pendant set with brilliant lab-created diamonds, designed exclusively by our company. The fleur-de-lis key pendant is hand-crafted and polished to a dazzling shine."

Even though I do own many statement necklaces, I always get more wear out of simpler, more delicately designed pieces like my new fleur-de-lis pendant. I'm thrilled to have this lovely piece in my collection and have been wearing it all week. Since it's made with sterling silver, I know it's high-quality, and I don't have to worry about it looking tarnished or discolored over time. 

Regardless of whether or not you decided to partake in Greek life, the Collegiate Standard has some great jewelry, and everything comes with a life-time warranty! 

Here is some more information about the company:

"Who we are: Created by Greeks, for Greeks! The Collegiate Standard caters to Fraternity and Sorority organizations. We commit to customer satisfaction with excellent service and a life-time warranty for all of our products. All of our online transactions are 100% secure, and we will never use your information for any kind of solicitation. 

As an official Green Licensed Jewelry company, we give a portion of all our sales to the designated sorority or fraternity. The advancement of your Greek organization is our priority, and we are always glad to assist in any way that we can--from fundraisers to group discounts and sponsorships. The Collegiate Standard is there for your organization's needs.

Our mission, as fellow Greeks, is to raise pride and unity by providing the highest quality jewelry and accessories at a reasonable price to the Greek community."

If you do go over to see what the company has to offer, then have fun shopping! Were you in a sorority in college?
 ** I was given this product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Iceland Itinerary

June 11, 2015
Our Iceland trip is right around the corner! Rachael and I have planned out most of our trip and want to share our itinerary.

Day 1: Arrive in Iceland at 4:05 AM.  (Eek!) Take FlyBus to AirBnb accommodation and check in, get settled, and take a nap.  Meet Rachael's friend Nate and his friend so that the four of us can go on a road trip.  We will drive along the southeast coast and stop along the way to admire the scenery and then stay at a cabin near Skogar.

Day 2: Go hiking in Skogar.  Try and see both Skogafoss waterfall as well as Seljalandsfoss waterfall. After the hike, leave for Skaftafell National Park.

Day 3: Explore Skaftafell.

Day 4: Head back to Reykjavik, stopping at Gjain along the way.

Day 5: Visit the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. I can't wait to soak in this geothermal pool and try the steam room.  

Day 6: Go to Snaefellsness.  We have booked a tour through Reykjavik Excursions, and here's the description from their site: "Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland is almost like a miniature version of the whole country. In addition to its characteristic Snæfellsjökull glacier, you will find white and black sandy beaches, bird cliffs, spectacular mountains and volcanic craters, incredibly rich trout lakes and salmon rivers, lush valleys, and unique harbours in charming fishing villages."

Day 7: Spend a day in Reykjavik and go on a free walking tour and visit Harpa Concert Hall. We'll also be staying right by Hallgrimskirkja Church, so that's a must-see.  

Day 8: Rachael has her scuba diving certification, so she will spend a day doing that in Silfra, and I'll be going on the Lanmannalaugar and Saga Valley tour which I'm sure will be stunning.  There will be colorful mountains, hot springs, and lava fields to see.  

Day 9: If all works out well, this day we will get to meet Kaelene of Unlocking Kiki!

Day 10: Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon I feel like we have to see ice in Iceland! :)  I think we might add on the boat ride to get a closer look at some of the icebergs.

Day 11: Golden Circle Tour

Day 12: One last day in Reykjavik. Maybe we could go shopping for Icelandic souvenirs at Kraum or search for a good deal at Kolaportio, a flea market. We might also go to Solfar and head back to Old Reykjavik to wander around.

Day 13: Our flight to Boston leaves in the afternoon, so maybe we can have a nice brunch and reminisce about our trip.

All year I promised myself this as a reward for getting through working grueling hours, and I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we are beyond excited!

Where are you going on your summer vacation?

photo credit: Icelandic horse via photopin (license)

Savannah Favorites

June 9, 2015

Restaurant: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and Green Truck Pub

It's a tie between Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and Green Truck Pub.  Mrs. Wilkes has all of the delicious Southern fare you could imagine, and it's great for trying a little bit of everything.  It's a must-do for anyone interested in experience home-style Southern cooking.  I'd go back for the macaroni and cheese alone!

I couldn't not put Green Truck Pub as one of my favorites because although I love Mrs. Wilkes, it's not exactly a restaurant you can dine in on a whim.  There is practically always a long wait (I waited an hour) and it has limited hours of operation, as in it's not open for dinner.  I included Green Truck Pub because I go there more often than Mrs. Wilkes since it's just more convenient. Green Truck Pub is always winning all sorts of awards such as "Best Gourmet Burger" or "Best Restaurant" in Savannah. After trying out a few kinds of their burgers, it's not hard to see why! They offer beef, chicken, or veggie burgers, but salads and sandwiches are also on the menu in case burgers are not your thing.

Historic Home: Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

I've toured a few of the historic homes in Savannah, but the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace was my favorite.  The inside is beautifully maintained.  Learning about Juliette Gordon Low's life and how she started the Girl Scouts left me feeling inspired!  I suggest going around Christmas time if you can because they do decorate it.

Bar: Lulu's Chocolate Bar

Lulu's is my #1 pick in Savannah so far for bars because I'm a big dessert lover.  Relaxing with a drink is fine, but getting a drink AND a delicious dessert is even better.  There's a full bar, but I always get a martini, as there is an extensive list to choose from.  Just a few of the many types of martinis they have on the menu are: Pineapple Upside Down, White Chocolate Pomegranate, Raspberry Truffle, Chocolate Covered Orange, and Key Lime Pie.  Every dessert I've gotten from Lulu's has tasted just as good as it looks.  I recommend their chocolate covered strawberries!

Square: Chippewa Square

There are so many great squares in Savannah, but Chippewa Square is quite beautiful.  If you've seen Forrest Gump, then you've seen the square because that's where Forrest sits to tell his story.  (That bench was just a prop, but you can see it at Savannah History Museum.) The square is close to the Savannah Theater and the First Baptist Church. The square contains a statue of James Oglethorpe, who was the founder of Savannah.

Tour: Blue Orb Ghost Tour

I thoroughly enjoyed taking the Uncensored Zombies Tour through Blue Orb. We stopped at the Sorrel-Weed house, Dr. Corson's house, the Mercer House, 432 Abercorn, the Espy house, and Colonial Cemetery.  The tour mixes historical fact with anecdotes from those who say they encountered ghosts.  Although no one on the tour saw anything supernatural, 432 Abercorn really creeped me out.  Our guide told us that Calhoun Square (which is located right in front of the house) is actually an unmarked mass grave for slaves that were buried there without coffins.  There is nothing in the square that acknowledges the slaves who were buried there which is another form of disrespect of the dead.  He said that many people reported feeling suddenly ill or weak when visiting the square.  432 Abercorn scared us just because there were curtains in the windows that were moving back and forth slightly.  Of course it was probably the wind, but it was still spooky nonetheless!

Street: Broughton Street and Jones Street

Broughton Street has many restaurants and shops, so it is naturally one of my favorite places in Savannah.  It's a great place to walk around and get a bite to eat.

Jones Street is mostly just full of privately owned homes, but the houses on the street have so much character!  

Sight in the Historic District: Forsyth Park, River Street, and The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

It was really hard for me to narrow it down to just one spot.  All three of these places are iconic spots in Savannah and are special for different reasons.  

Forsyth Park is a nice place to sit and relax on a bench and enjoy being outdoors.  As with most parks, sitting in the grass and people-watching or reading a book is also an option.  There are lots of joggers and it's a good place to get in some exercise.  The best thing about the park is Forsyth Park fountain just because it's gorgeous!

River Street is another fun place to go to.  Having the Savannah river right there makes the area more scenic.  From River Street, one can enjoy views of the Tallmadge Bridge as well as the Westin. River Street does attract a lot of tourists and it can get quite busy on the weekends.  There are speciality shops, an open-air market called River Street Market Place, bars, restaurants, and plenty of festivals take place here.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is also impressive.  Don't just admire this structure from the outside--actually going in and looking around is well worth it.  It's free but donations are accepted.  Inside there are colorful stained glass windows as well as a large pipe organ.  

Sights outside of the Historic District: Bonaventure Cemetery and Tybee Island

Is it weird to describe visiting Bonaventure Cemetery as an enjoyable experience?  Just so you know, I don't typically hang out in cemeteries, but this one is quite picturesque.  A lot of the gravestones and statues are really beautiful, and it makes for a peaceful retreat. 

Tybee Island is another great attraction in the area.  You can enjoy a beach day here, go up and tour the lighthouse, do some water sports, or rent a bike and explore the island.  

Shop: The Paris Market

This shop has jewlery, home decor items, perfume, books, and there is a little cafe inside.  I think it's a bit expensive, but there are some really creative displays.  If you go, don't skip the downstairs section!

Coffee shop: The Coffee Fox

The Coffee Fox is locally owned and I often find myself taking a break in here after walking around Savannah for awhile.  In the summer, it's a great place to stop and cool off.  I usually just get an iced mocha, but I've heard good things about the horchata latte and will have to try one next time.

Dessert Place: Leopold's Ice Cream

If you like ice cream, then going to Leopold's is a must while in Savannah.  It has quite the reputation and plenty of good flavors to choose from.  Leopold's is the most famous for its Tutti Frutti ice cream which is said by some to have been born there, although there is some debate about that.  Their sundaes are to die for.

If you've gone to Savannah, what are some of your favorite things about the city?  If you haven't been, does anything on this list interest you?

Summer Plans

June 8, 2015
A question that I've been getting asked a lot lately is, "What are your plans for the summer?" Since I had my last day with the kids this past Friday, it now is officially summer for me--I don't care what the calendar says.  And yes, I DO have some good summer plans.

Here's what's on my my list!

1) Eat at The Pirates House.  This restaurant is one of the most famous in all of Savannah.  It was built in 1753 and started as an inn and restaurant/bar that attracted sailors and pirates alike. Rumor has it that guests of the inn would go in for a drink, end up drugged, and would wake up on a ship headed off to some faraway destination.  Captains had trouble finding enough crew members, so this was one story of how they solved that problem.  I heard this restaurant has a really good lunch buffet, so I think I'll be going earlier in the day instead of making dinner reservations.

2) Read!  Some books on my summer reading list are: FanGirl, Landline, The Smell of Apples, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and Night Circus.

3) Try out some new bars in Savannah.  I love my guy friends here, but they want to go to the same two bars over and over.  The ones they go to are okay, but they are not really my scene.  I'd like to branch out and find some new bars that are more "me."

4) Visit my baby niece.  I've only seen her when she was a newborn, but now she is 5 months old...Gosh, she has probably already changed SO MUCH.  I've got to get to North Carolina ASAP.

5) Return to Ohio for a week or two.  It has been about a year since I've been back in Ohio.  My parents and little brother still live there, so I'd like to see them as well as catch up with some of my old friends.

6) Show my parents around Savannah.  My parents are coming to Savannah for three days and want me to plan their trip and show them around.  My dad even bought me my own room at the hotel that they'll be staying at in the historic district so that I don't have to drive back and forth.  I'm excited for this, and know that it will be fun, but at the same time, I hope that my mom isn't embarrassing.

7) Fly to NYC for the BlogHer conference!  Rachael really wanted to go and asked me if I'd be interested.  At first I felt like I couldn't go because I'm not a part of BlogHer--I haven't applied since I had trouble posting multiple times a week as a first year teacher.  After I looked into it, I saw that it's really just for anyone who wants to grow their blog.  I think it will be a blast to meet other bloggers and learn some blogging tips.  Plus, the keynote speaker is Gwyneth Paltrow!  (Sliding Doors has got to be up there on my list of favorite movies.)

8) Get caught up on my Netflix DVD queue.  I just finished up Season 4 of Game of Thrones, but have True Blood Season 5 on my list (even though I heard not-so-good things about it.) Also on my list would be: Incendies, The Giver, Girls, and Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom.

9) Go kayaking on Tybee Island.  Here in the Low Country, kayaking is pretty big.  The lady that I rent from actually has kayaks that she says I can use in her backyard out on the marsh.  I'm scared to go alone just because I don't have much experience kayaking and because of the alligators.  I think I want to book a tour or would go if someone else went with me because I'd just feel safer that way.

10) Take a Gullah Geechee tour.  I'm all about regional tours that can help me discover more about the people who live around here.  Gullah refers to the descendants of African American slaves who were brought to the Low Country area of South Carolina and Georgia to work in rice fields.  The language spoken by these people is also called Gullah.

11) ICELAND with Rachael!  I think I'll post a more detailed itinerary of what our plans are on here in the future.

12) Tour Boston.  I've never been before and always wanted to go.  Since our flight home from Iceland is through Boston, Rachael and I decided to stay for a few more days and explore the city.

13) Meet other bloggers! This is something I'm really looking forward to!  Rachael and I already have plans to meet Kaelene and Kate in Iceland and Boston, respectively.  The BlogHer conference will undoubtedly provide us with many more opportunities to meet other bloggers.

14) Go to the beach at least 10 times.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, the cost of living where I'm at is so high.  It's because there are great beaches nearby, including the ones at Hilton Head.  I've never had the luxury of living by the beach when it was warm enough to actually go on it, so I'd be crazy not to take advantage of going as much as possible.  In a way, I'm sort of paying for it so I need to get out there and enjoy it!

15) Go on an New England Coastal Tour.  The tour we were thinking of doing leaves from Boston but would take us up to Maine and New Hampshire.  We would see some lighthouses and stop in some quaint towns for a bit.

16) Prepare a Summer Fun Box for my partner Chelsie.  Both of us have been swamped with work, but now that has died down for both of us, we have more time to get to know each other.

17) See a Broadway show.  My friend who frequents NYC recommended Finding Neverland, so that's what Rachael and I will be seeing!

18) Go to the Birchbox store in NYC!  You have the option to build your own Birchbox and to book an appointment at their braid bar.  Yes, please.

19) Go to Middleton Place in Charleston.  The official website says that Middleton Place is "home to America's oldest landscaped gardens."

20) Take a drive out to Hunting Island State Park.  All of the pictures I've seen of it look beautiful. Also, there's a lighthouse, beaches, and nature trails.

I'd say I have a pretty good summer itinerary lined up!  I cannot wait to enjoy some time off--I've worked so hard all year and now it's time to finally relax.  What are your summer plans?