Saturday, December 5, 2015

Extra Pages In My Passport

I've been unfortunate enough to begin to run out of pages in my passport. I only had 3 or 4 free pages left, but my passport doesn't expire until 2021! Even more unfortunately, they've been phasing out extra pages in passports and after December 31 that will no longer be an option. Since I needed to send my passport off to get the EEA Family Permit for the UK I went and got my extra pages yesterday. 

Although it cost a lot, it was still a better idea than getting a new passport, so now mine is very fat. The price was the same for 24 extra pages or 48, so I just got the 48 and I'm pretty sure this will keep me going until it expires in 2021. 

I'm glad I was able to get this before it's gone, and I have to say it's fun having a passport with so many pages! 

I have training tomorrow for Macy's between 10 and 2 and then we're going to chop down a Christmas tree! It should be quite fun since we haven't cut down a Christmas tree in literally I don't know how long. Come tomorrow I should also know my roster for Macy's so that'll be good. 

Last night we all watched Elf, since no one but Michael and I had seen it before. Everyone loved it because it's a hilarious movie and I was reminded just how much I love it. I think I'll be watching it many more times before Christmas! 

I think that's about all for now. I'll post tomorrow with photos of our tree! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Updates and Plans

I know I was really bad about keeping up with this, but I've been working a lot on my other blog (Universal Jetsetters), trying to up my page views and actually get to a point where I can start monetizing it. So unfortunately, this has fallen behind, but now that I've got a bit of a plan for the other one I should be able to divide my time more evenly.

Thanksgiving was great and it was so nice to see extended family who I haven't seen in a while. And I love to eat, which isn't news, so stuffing my face with all that delicious, yummy food (and wine) was wonderful.

The weather was unusually warm the past couple of weeks, but so far the past couple of days have been a typical winter. Cold, grey, and rainy. It's nice though because I don't like how the past couple of weeks have been so warm (it doesn't feel like it's almost Christmastime!).

We finally have a somewhat plan for what we're doing in the coming months so I'm pretty excited for that. We're going to be here until the 23rd, but then we're going to go back to the UK for Christmas, but then are coming back again for our family friends' wedding party on New Years' Eve. Then we'll be in the US until the 7th and will then head back to the UK. Through a combination of miles, points and good deals we really haven't paid much at all for all of the flights (thanks also to a generous Christmas gift from my parents). I also got a part time job working in the shoe department at Macy's for the holiday season, so while we're just here hanging out at least I'll be doing something productive with my time. It'll be good though because I love shoes and I get a 20% staff discount, and that's pretty cool.

Unfortunately, I got very wrapped up in the sales this weekend and bought a coat and 2 pairs of pants. The coat was a Christmas gift from my parents, but we didn't know what size I was so we ordered 2 in a different color each, but then this morning we woke up to find a bunch of fashion bloggers had reviewed it and it's now sold out of every size in every color. Glad I ordered when I did! Hopefully one of them fits though since I most likely won't be able to order another. I will let you know when they arrive!

Other than that I haven't got a whole lot to report on, so I'll have an update on things later this week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Other Things We've Done

Since we got the US we've done a lot considering the time we've been here. In between our trips though we took one day to do something a little crazy but I was so excited by it. I've had silver (the lowest tier) on Delta Air Lines for a while now, but I was so so close to gold we chose to spend a whole day flying around the US so I could finally get gold. Michael has gold, which is why we've had access to lounges and such in the past year, but I was much closer to qualifying for this year than he is so we both thought it would be good for me to get it for this next year.

We had a crazy early start of 3 a.m. and flew from DC to New York, then to Toronto. I'd never been to Toronto, or Canada for that matter, but this trip was purely to get the miles for my status and not visiting so hopefully I'll be able to make it there eventually! We could see the city from the air though and I got a Canadian stamp in my passport so... that counts, right? In Toronto we went outside and breathed some Canadian air and I had a Canadian Tim Hortons (super exciting) so we kiiiind of were there. From there we flew to Cincinnati, then we were going to Atlanta and back to DC, but due to a slight delay we managed to snag more miles by routing ourselves to Memphis, then Atlanta and then to DC.

We got in just after midnight but I got all my miles, got my gold status and it was super exciting. I know you're all thinking I'm a bit crazy, but hey, that's alright. Because now I have access to lounges, priority boarding, priority bag drop and check in, etc. on my own accord and that's pretty cool.

Other than that, I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie novels through my Australian library book app. I asked the library before we left Melbourne if I needed to renew my subscription each year but it's every two so I get one more year out of free books before I lose it even though I no longer live there. I'm totally loving Christie's Hercule Poirot books. In the past I hadn't read much of them but after a couple I totally fell in love with the character because he's peculiar and hilarious and brilliant, and I'm in awe of Christie's ability to craft these stories with such crazy endings that I would never suspect.

In other news I've had an annoying cold that seems to be taking its sweet time going away. First I had a sore throat, then I was congested and now I have a cough. Here's to hoping it's gone by the end of this weekend! 

I realized I wrote this whole post yesterday but completely forgot to publish it. Oops! Sorry about that! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ohio And Shenandoah

I know I said I was going to do a post yesterday about Ohio but I ended up not doing it because we took an impromptu trip to Shenandoah in Virginia! Not the best weather but it was super fun so I'll do a post now on Ohio and that to make up for it.

Ohio was great and I got to see a lot of people so that was super nice. We flew in and out of Columbus and the first night we stayed on the outskirts in a town/city called Dublin. We did mean to do stuff in Columbus but instead we ended up driving all the way out to see the Longaberger basket building, which sounds crazy but I heard about it a long time ago and we thought it would be awesome to see in person. Although a bit nuts, I'm glad we went because I got a really good kick out of it.

Longaberger basket building

On the drive back we passed a town called Newark and we stopped to look at the court house, but then ended up thinking the whole town was pretty cool and old fashioned so we parked up and walked around for a while.

Up close at the courthouse as the sunset

Former prison and now Sheriffs HQ

The courthouse

Also the courthouse

Old Midland Theater

We had a great time there, but by the time we were done we were quite tired and hungry so we just went back to our hotel, had some beer and (unfortunately) watched the news about the Paris attacks (which had just happened). We went out for some delicious Indian food and went to bed.

The next morning we drove to Cincinnati and met up with my friend Stacey from Miami, who lives there, at her apartment. We got our stuff together and headed into the city to do some fun stuff. Although Miami was only 45 minutes from Cincinnati I've only ever been in the city twice and I haven't seen a whole lot of it so Stacey showed us some of the highlights. We went to Findlay Market first and walked around (and I almost bought popcorn in every shade and taste known to man), then to Washington Park, walked that area a bit, went to Fountain Square and finished off by these swings on the waterfront that Michael and I had discovered a couple of years ago.

Fountain at Fountain Sqaure

The fountain and the ice rink

On the swings

Washington Park

After all of that fun stuff we headed back to Stacey's apartment and made a delicious dinner and had wine and chatted. It was a super fun night and we were so sad to say goodbye we invited her to come spend the next night with us in Oxford!

The next day we drove to Oxford and we met up with my friend and former housemate Krista, who came to visit me in Australia. We had a yummy lunch at Wild Bistro, our favorite (and one of the only) Chinese restaurant in Oxford. We walked all around campus and I finally stepped on the seal! It is a BIG no no to step on the seal when you go there; it brings you bad luck and it's said if you step on it you'll fail your next exam. I'm not superstitious, but it seemed silly to risk it. This time though I finally got to do it with NO fear because that diploma is mine so HA. We also bought some stuff from the bookstore (not books! I bought some Miami socks and a t-shirt), got a coffee and hung out uptown. It was super sad to say goodbye, but Krista had to drive back to Dayton and had work the next morning.

Me and Krista

Upham Arch! The best part of campus

We met up with Stacey about an hour later and had some drinks in the hotel room before heading out to dinner. We had a great night just hanging out and it was nice to get in some extra time since we haven't seen each other in over a year and Skype just isn't the same.

It was really nice to be back in Oxford again and see everything again, although the changes they're making to campus is really not cool. Stop painting the beautiful red bricks white!

The next morning we got up early and then drove back to Columbus for our flight. Even though we were only there for a few days I feel like we did a lot and it was so great to see friends again I haven't seen in a while so I'm super glad we got to go.

As for Shenandoah, it's a valley in Virginia with a national park that my family and I used to go camping and hiking at all the time when I was younger. I hadn't been in a while and Michael had never been so we decided to make a trip there. We'd talked about going for a while but hadn't really committed to a time and as we looked at the calendar we realized we had awkward commitments in the way to give us a clear two days in the future so we just decided to go yesterday and stay the night and come back today.

We stayed at a hotel about an hour from the park and by the time we got to the park it was beginning to get very foggy and grey, so doing an actual hike wasn't really a very good idea. Instead we did a few short hikes and drove around looking at the various overlooks. We saw a bunch of deer, but no bears, which was sad but we weren't there long enough to increase our chances. Eventually the fog was beginning to get so thick we couldn't see anything so we headed back to the hotel.

Unfortunately today the weather was pretty gross today, only not just fog but lots of rain so even if we wanted to do anything in the morning we really couldn't. We hit a ton of traffic on the way home due to the rain and the fact it was rush hour so that was bad timing. Overall it was a really nice trip though and it was nice to go to the Shenandoah again after so long.

We've been doing some really fun stuff while here in the US and I've really enjoyed it, but I'm sorry I've been so bad about blogging about it. Tomorrow I'll write a post about all the stuff we've been doing in between these trips, so look for it!