Monday, August 29, 2011

B is for Bobbin

Bobbin: a cylinder or spindle on which yarn or thread is wound
(as in a sewing machine).
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

I first learned to sew in the seventh or eighth grade in our Homec classes. I really found it fascinating how many creative things you can make from fabric and how easy it really is. Since my mom had a sewing machine at home, I always used to mess around on it and make little pillows and stuff. But actually, since I’ll be soon living on my own, I guess my mom decided that I need my own - or she was just tired of me using hers all the time. Anyways I got my own sewing machine this past Christmas and my mom couldn’t have picked a better gift.
I love picking out cute ribbons and fabrics and making different things out of them for my room and decorations. Just recently I’ve been finding quite a few DIY projects on StumbleUpon that I adored and obviously had to try my hand at. Some of my sewing creations include: curtains for my room/closet/shower curtains, a lamp shade cover, curtain valances, various mendings on different articles of clothing, a couch cover, a pin cushion, coasters, seat covers for my dad’s fishing boat, new straps on a dress, and a bunch of cute little bags for makeup and whatnot. I also made these little clothes hamper things from old pillowcases - I love them, though no sewing was required. I’m not sure why, but I love decorating and doing all kinds of crafty little things. 
Some of my favorite things I've made are the makeup and jewelry boards I found on StumbleUpon. My necklaces and earrings hang on framed wire fencing with little S hooks while my makeup sticks up there with magnets. I also love pictures and having them all over my room too. I printed out a bunch of cute pictures and quotes to decorate my room with this year. I plan to hang up ribbons and hang the pictures on them with clothespins that I painted and decorated. They're not up yet, but I've been pretty busy getting back into the school routine (why this is my first post in a while.) So go check out some of the Things I Make and let me know what you think! =)

-~- B.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

B is for Baggage (Pt. 2)

B is for Baggage - Part 2
Baggage: suitcases, trunks and personal belongings of travelers.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

Well this post ends my series from the adventure to Boston. I had to be at the train station before 11 AM in time to wait and board the train at South Station. Unlike my first trip on the train, I wouldn’t have to get off or switch to anything else, it was just going to be a straight ride from Boston to Toledo. So I boarded at about noon and was estimated to arrive at about 5:55 AM on Monday morning. That’s like 18 hours… and also a funny joke because the train somehow got behind schedule somehow - like by a lot. The train didn’t arrive in Toledo until 7:30 AM! So that was fun. It was pretty nice though because I had both seats to myself for probably 75% of the trip. I was able to spread out and lie down and get a bit of sleep.  Other things I did to keep myself busy:
  • Finished reading the last 3/4th of a book (The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks)
  • Ate snacks
  • Watched a movie (Morning Glory)
  • Ate more snacks
  • Listened to music
  • Tried to sleep
  • Played a bit of solitaire
  • Went to the cafe car to get some “real” food
  • Watched another movie (A Lot Like Love)
  • Listened to some more music while trying to sleep
Good Times! So yeah, it was a super long ride, but at least the train seats were comfortable. It trip would have been better if it wouldn't have been so long, though. Plus this train was rocking all over the tracks kind of a lot and it was sort of like feeling sea-sick .. not okay. I wouldn't be against traveling by train again, but I'm not about to go again real soon. But at least I can say I've done it!
After I arrived in Toledo, Brentlee was there waiting and picked me up. We got some real "real" food for breakfast at Bob Evans - I love Bob Evans. Then we stopped back at his house so I could get my car and drive the final two hours of the trip back home to get some quality sleep in my own bed. There's nothing like laying down in your bed after you've been away. So nice!

-~- B.

Monday, August 15, 2011

B is for Boston

Boston: a city and port in Massachusetts.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

So this post is sort of long, but thats because it's basically a day-by-day of my time in Boston. I'd like to say up front that the reason for my trip was to A. travel alone and have an adventure and to B. spend some time hanging out with one of my best friends from high school, who I rarely get to see and to C. see how she spends a typical day/ what it would be like to live there. This trip was not about going to all the bars and getting drunk and partying, so if thats what you expected to read about then you'll be pretty disappointed. Honestly with being in a new city and knowing maybe 3 people that I could for sure trust, I was not about to put myself in a compromising situation. And, because this is actually my second trip to Boston, I got most of the real touristy things out of the way the first time. So here we go:

Monday - Basically we just slept in because after two long days before, I was pretty exhausted. When we got up and about, Alycia and I made our way to the grocery store to pick up some things for the week so we wouldn't be spending mass amounts of money eating out everyday, plus it's healthier. After walking back from the store, we headed out to the New England Institute of Art, where Aly takes classes. While she was in class for a few hours, I was able to use the internet, get some things done, check some things out. Then back to the house. We got to relax and catch up on everything and then watched the movie, Limitless, which I would recommend. It was really interesting.
Tuesday - Newbury Street, known for its was next on the agenda. They've got boutiques to bohemian and everything between. The street is known for its historic brownstone buildings filled with hundreds of shops and restaurants on all levels. Obviously we went for the shopping and it was great because since Aly's majoring in fashion marketing, she knew all the places that had good pieces and because she's in college like me, she knew exactly where to find all the best deals.  Our favorite place on Newbury didn't sell clothes though, it sold the BEST frozen yogurt ever, and if you ever find a BerryLine, do yourself a favor and get some! Amazing. I ordered the Oreo kind topped with bananas and raspberries. So Good! Anyways so after shopping for a good part of the day, we hopped back on the crowded T (not a fan) and headed back to Commonwealth Ave. The next activity for us was hitting the gym. We went to Commonwealth Sports Club (CSC) and I got a free week trial thing and worked out, which was perfect, then we walked next door to the grocery store to pick up a few more things.
Wednesday - So Aly had class for a few hours and I was really hoping to go back to Newbury Street for a bit to walk around some more, but it wasn't looking too likely with the time frames we had. She suggested though, that I just take the T and go there by myself and insisted that it wasn't that hard. I figured you know if I really did live here, I would have to get around on my own anyways plus it was broad daylight so I did, and it really was super easy to get to. Take the green T from Long Ave. to Copley St., get off and cross the street. Yep. Super simple. So I went and I'm so glad I did. I loved just walking around the street myself and looking at everything. There's something about shopping by yourself and taking all the time you want and not worrying about the other people waiting on you or going into places they don't want to. It's just nice to so sometimes. Anyways I got to shop and got BerryLine again (how could I not, I was already there .. ) and made my way back to the house just in time as Alycia got home from class. We headed to CSC for a yoga class and then hit up WonderBar to experience Dubstep music for the first time in a place like this. I don't know what to say about it except I didn't really know what to do. Completely different type of music than I've ever been around. 
Thursday - We start off with a pilates class at CSC and walk around a bit after. We make our way to a frozen yogurt place nearby called Mixx, which was also amazing, and then to a little park close by to swing at. Later we adventured to Quincy Market in Nathaniel Hall, and even though most of the shops were closing, it was really neat to see. Aly and I ate at Dick's Last Resort, where the waiters are kind of rude and they give you these paper hats with crude sayings on them. Yeah, but it was fun and a different kind of atmosphere and experience than any other restaurant. Back in Alston we met up with a few of Alycia's friends and hung out with them. Nothing too crazy.
Friday - We made our way to the Boston Commons, which reminded me of a much smaller scale Central Park in NYC. It was really cute and a great place to walk around and hang out at. Aly and I layed out in the grass for awhile on a hill and chatted about life and whatnot. After a while we got up and walked around a bit, coming across a new little shopping square near Park St. We got Mixx again and went to a party at one of Aly's friend's house to have a good time and meet a bunch of new people.
Saturday - We started off our day with a yoga class at CSC and then back home for a nap. For lunch we got Mixx again (I'm telling you this place was amazing!) and then walked down to the grocery store for a few things for the day and for snacks on the train back home. Just hanging out for the rest of the day, I packed all my bags and we watched The Roommate and Drive Angry on their projector screen. Not really ready to end the trip, we headed out one last time to hang out with her friends for a bit until we had to get back and get some rest before my long day of traveling ahead of me.

So that was pretty much my time in Boston. I had a great time there and spending time with Alycia. My favorite part was probably just walking around in the city, and we literally walked miles everyday to get around. I loved not having to have a car but still just be able to get anywhere or anything you want. Not so fond of the T though, and I'd rather walk in fair weather, because it was just so crowded and if you don't have a seat or a thing to hold onto, then you're just falling all over the place when it stops and goes and it's just awfully embarrassing and difficult. But on a final note, I enjoyed the experience and could see myself living in a city after school. Guess we'll see what happens! && if you stuck around until the end, Thanks for reading! =) Oh and you can check out some of my pictures from Boston on Facebook, too.

-~- B.

Friday, August 12, 2011

B is for Bus

Bus: a large motor vehicle designed to carry passengers usually 
along a fixed route according to a schedule.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

Ok so a few days before I was supposed to board the train, Amtrak called me and told me that there was scheduled track work and for part or all of my trip I would have to take alternate transportation. I minorly freaked out, being completely confused my the message, but I called the number back and basically they said that everything was taken care of and all I would have to do was take the train from Toledo, Ohio to Albany, New York, get off the train and board a bus in Albany which would take me the rest of the way to Boston. I guess I did want an adventure right? Well that’s how I looked at the situation anyways - as just another part of the adventure. So here we go exiting the train and being herded into the Albany station. I hear an older man ask a worker what travelers heading to Boston were supposed to do, so naturally I went up to this man and asked if he was taking the bus to Boston too. He said yes and told me to stick with him and two other younger people around my age. He said, "Well, if we miss the bus then we'll all miss it together." I was fine with that. At least I wasn’t completely alone. So we wait over an hour for this bus to pick us up and it finally comes and we get split up a bit. There were two buses and each was stopping at certain stops but leaving out others to shorten the trip. Another bus was coming along about an hour later to be a straight shot to Boston, but I wasn't really in the mood to be waiting a whole additional hour. Anyways I get put on the red bus to Boston, and luckily I’m put on the same bus as Matt, an accounting grad about to get his Masters from the University of Tennessee, returning home to Boston after a family wedding in Rochester, New York. Matt was another stranger made friend during my traveling adventures and we talked about anything and everything during the bus trip. The trip lasted a good 5 hours but when you're occupied that doesn't seem so long and can go by pretty quickly. I was pretty thankful to have had Matt there to keep me company. Unlike the train, the bus had much less room to spread out but fortunately when they filled the buses, this one only had so many people that everyone has two seats to themselves. I couldn’t complain. The trip could have been pretty miserable if everyone had been partnered up, but I was able to spread out a bit and not have all by bags smashed up on my lap. Nearing the end of the ride I got a bit nervous, not familiar with the area I was being dropped off at to wait nor knowing exactly where my friend was going to pick me up at, but Matt knew the area so he showed me where to wait safely and was really helpful. All-in-all the entire trip to Boston was a success and quite the adventure. =)

-~- B.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

B is for Baggage

Baggage: suitcases, trunks and personal belongings of travelers.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

Take a long-distance train ride and travel alone. Check and check. On Sunday, July 31st, I boarded an Amtrak train as a single rider at 3:30 am heading to Boston, Massachusetts. The trip was scheduled to last a good, long 17 hours, and though there were some complications, (which are further detailed in B is for Bus) I must say that I was not disappointed with the train. First off, so I board at 3:30 in the morning and I’m already pretty wore out from the day’s activities, so I’m ready to just get on and sleep. Of course I got paired with a random rider since I was traveling alone, but the man in the window seat was crashed out. At least he was in his own seat and not sprawled out into mine as well. It was a bit awkward though because he had a jacket over his head and upper-half so I couldn’t tell a thing about this guy. That’s fine though. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I realized why Mystery Man had his coat on his head - the emergency overhead lights kept the cabin pretty lit up. No matter - I fell asleep in an instant once I was all covered up too.
So next thing I know I’m awake, it’s about 6 AM and the sun is rising. It was pretty sweet to see that from the train but I was still pretty tired and tried to go back to sleep - and by that I mean pretty much just laying there with my eyes closed. I have to compliment this train though, because seriously, these seats were pretty amazing. They were probably better than first class plane seats because they were so cushiony and give you so much leg-room! There was even this little leg rest thing that propped up like a recliner would and the seats leaned back pretty far too. So nice! Anyways Mystery Man wakes up and moves around a little. I think he got off at the next stop and no one filled his spot so I had probably an hour or so to sleep laying down in both seats. It was glorious. Both seats combined with the leg rests out was like the size of a small bed - enough for me to curl up comfortably anyways. Just what I needed to get some rest from the day before. It didn’t last too long though, because the spot was filled at the next stop.
Now if you read B is for Brave, you’ll know that one of my goals was to have a nice friendly chat on the train with a stranger. Enter Gloria, a cute grandma traveling home to New York after her granddaughter’s bridal shower. Gloria and I chatted for a good couple of hours or so about everything from family to politics and from the job markets to our life adventures. Then I had to go check out the dining car and grab some 'real' food for lunch. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the food options and all that, I wasn’t disappointed either. The vegan burger I ordered filled me up and tasted pretty good too. I mean as good as you can get from a microwavable bag on a train. The most interesting thing I found to be, though, were the bathrooms. I can’t tell you how awkward it was to be in there with the train rocking around on the tracks all over the place - definitely easier on an airplane, though the train's was more spacious. Anyways that about sums up my first train riding adventure. Be sure to check back for the next part of my trip!

-~- B.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

B is for Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant: the calf of a thickset, tall, large-eared and herbivorous mammal of tropical Africa with elongated snouts into a muscular trunk and large ivory tusks.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

Because my train to Boston was departing from Toledo, Ohio, I decided to make plans with my long-time friend, Brentlee, who lives in Toledo and make a day of it. But because the train didn’t leave until 3 AM, we were making a very long day of it. The first thing on the agenda was to visit the Toledo Zoo. I love zoos. I love seeing all the animals and even seeing all the little kids react to seeing the animals too. We started off with the polar bears. There were two in the exhibit and they were fascinating. I told Brentlee straight off that I was going to take a bunch of pictures while we were there, so he’d have to put up with it.  We watched the Polar bears for a good 20 minutes and of course I took plenty of pictures of them. Our next stop was in the African Safari part of the zoo. We took this shaky little metal train ride around the area and saw ostriches, giraffes, wildebeests, gazelles and other things like that. I liked the giraffes the most and there was a baby too - they said that when it was born, it was six feet tall - way taller than I am. The safari thing was a bit disappointing, and because it was still sort of early in the morning and over 90 degrees outside, a bunch of the animals were just sleeping in the shade and not really doing too much. So Brentlee and I kept making our way through the zoo and we saw a few penguins and meerkats, two rhinos and sleeping lions and hippos and otter. When we first checked out the elephant exhibit, the mother and newly born calf were huddled in the far corner and hardly visible, but the second time we passed it, they were both out and about and eating some food, so of course we had to stop by and watch them again. They were so cute! The baby’s name was Lucas and he was so funny following his mom around and standing under and around her.
Next we made our way through the Reptile House and checked out the snakes and lizards. The chameleons were pretty sweet, I thought. But then we went and saw the monkeys and honestly we could have stayed there all day to watch them. By far the most active animals we saw the whole day, they were just swinging everywhere and running and playing and it was so entertaining. The orangutans were pretty sweet too and this  one was really moving around and he was playing in their tub of water and everything. The gorillas were cool and it was crazy though because the one huge man gorilla was sitting just right up against the glass, face-to-face with everyone who came to see them. After the monkeys, we hit up the aquarium and saw so many pretty fishies and creepy, gross ones too. Then after touring the whole place and with still time to kill, we went to check out some of the animals that had been boring the first time we saw them. Actually we got to see some of the animals up and about a little bit more, like the hippos, tigers and there were a few more penguins out too.
All in all I ended up taking 202 pictures/videos. Don’t judge me. I would have taken more too, but my camera battery died =( Not okay. You can check out most of the pictures and video that I did take, here at Zoo Pictures and Zoo Videos. Hope you like ‘em!

-~- B.