Category Archives: Travel

Mother’s Day Date/Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird Review

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Mother’s Day Date/Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird Review

Hello! This past Saturday, I took my darling mom, JANE, out for a night on the town to celebrate Mother’s Day. We enjoyed a delicious meal at my favorite restaurant, Pepper’s, and then we saw Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird at Playhouse Square. Our dinner was divine, the play was spectacular, but the company was even better!

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^^^ How cute is she?!

Pepper’s is an amazing Italian restaurant that’s about fifteen minutes away from Playhouse Square. We wined and dined with a glass of Reisling for mom and Prosecco for me and ate like the queens we are. I opted for my favorite of gnocchi but instead of my usual of Alfredo sauce, I decided to live a little and try the pesto. JANE went for the Penne with the house sauce and we savored every single bite. The salad, bread, pasta, and drinks were made to perfection and we pretty much talked about it until we got to the theater!!

After our dinner, which we are still daydreaming about, we made the short drive to Playhouse Square to park, grab a drink, and take our seats. And, of course, lots of pictures were called for:

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Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is, easily, one of the most important pieces of literature, film, and theater that there is. If you are unfamiliar with the plot, it is set in 1934 Maycomb, Alabama and tells the tale of Atticus Finch defending an innocent black man named Tom Robinson for the rape of a white teenager. It is just as relevant today as it was when the book was first published and it is truly a masterpiece.

My mom and I treasure this work of art so deeply and have been looking forward to seeing this play for months with our Playhouse Square season tickets. Atticus was played by the incomparable Richard Thomas and he was sublime. Mary Badham who played Scout in the film also was featured in a small role as Mrs. Henry Dubose. To be able to see this play performed with such seasoned actors was a gift.

We were so incredibly impressed by Richard Thomas and his portrayal of Atticus Finch was masterful. My mom and I also enjoyed the actors who played Jem Finch and Dill Harris. While Thomas was, obviously, the star of the show, I daresay that the supporting cast shined even brighter.

Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia was simply gorgeous and Yaegel T. Welch’s heart wrenching portrayal of Tom Robinson, a man automatically guilty because of the color of his skin was STUNNING. And, we can’t forget Anthony Natale who played Link Deas. Natale is hearing impaired and he signed a majority of his lines while Scout or Jem translated, which was very cool to see.

Now, you might be surprised that I didn’t give a shout out to Melanie Moore, the actress who played Scout. She was, however, our only qualm with the show. In the book and film, Scout is a young girl. Melanie is a grown woman and, to be honest, she was quite annoying. I am not saying this to be mean, but the voice she used to sound childlike sounded exactly like Forrest Gump and it was kind of distracting. I understand that it had to be an adult actress who played Scout but there had to have been a better way to portray her and this was not it.

Seeing the play of To Kill A Mockingbird moved my mom and I so very much. There were parts that were physically painful to watch and our hearts ached as we left the theater. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world, though. The pain that we felt both physical and emotional is nothing in comparison to those who deal with injustice on a daily basis and I believe that Harper Lee’s work is a necessity in this world.

The play lasted roughly three hours and there were times when it felt slow moving but each scene was so crucial and there for a reason. By the time the show was over and we had time to digest it and decompress as we got onto the highway, we were ready to begin singing its praises. Just like the book and film, there were moments in that play that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I was moved to tears during several parts in the play. One of the most powerful scenes that I keep coming back to is when Tom Robinson was on the stand and being questioned by the prosecutor. He kept referring to Tom as “boy” while Atticus is screaming to call him by his name. It was chilling and I kid you not that my eyes have tears in them right now just writing about it. It was haunting and I can’t tell you how much Yaegel T. Welch’s performance as Tom meant to me.

I could go on for hours telling all of you about the experience of seeing Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in play form. Rather, I will end it on: SPRINT, don’t run to see this show if you have the opportunity. I am so thankful to have been able to see it on a wonderful Mother’s Day date with my mom and it is something that I will never forget.

Have you seen any plays recently? What does To Kill A Mockingbird mean to you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Akron Zoo Get Closer Experience

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Akron Zoo Get Closer Experience

Hello!!! This past Friday was basically the coolest ever because my brother, Andrew, and I went to the Akron Zoo for a Get Closer Experience. This was a gift to him from my other brother and it allowed us to get up close and personal with the zoo’s two Galapagos Tortoises. It was AMAZING and I wish it could have lasted forever! Check it out:

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During our Get Closer Experience, we were able to feed and love on Pecos and Boxy who are my new best friends. They very much enjoyed their treats of bell pepper and collard greens and the neck and haunch rubs!! What was supposed to be a twenty or so minute time slot for TURTLE TIME ended up being the better part of an hour and Andrew and I loved every second of it.

It was a rainy day on Friday, which was fine because the “Galaps” (as their handler called them) have an indoor and outdoor exhibit. The inclement weather actually ended up working in our favor because the zoo was essentially empty so we had the whole area to ourselves. Had the weather been better, we would have been able to assist with Pecos and Boxy’s bath time. Andrew and I both agreed that what we got to do was even better, though, because we got to spend so much time with them just hanging out.

Boxy is a spring chicken at thirty-one years old and she was a feisty thing! She definitely had a bigger personality than Pecos and warmed up to Andrew and I instantly. Seventy year old Pecos was a bit shy but she came around after lots of hand fed veggies, which are apparently like eating dessert for a Galap. Both were absolute angels and I miss them terribly already!

The Akron Zoo offers other Get Closer Experiences but the Galapagos Tortoise one was, easily, the best because you could interact with them. That isn’t the case for the Red Panda and Grizzly Bear Experience for obvious reasons! If your zoo has something similar to the programs that Akron’s does, I can’t recommend treating yourself to one enough. It will make for an unforgettable time!!

What is your favorite animal? Have you ever done anything similar to this experience at your zoo? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Moving Abroad? Make Sure To Do The Following!

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Moving Abroad? Make Sure To Do The Following!

Moving abroad can be an exciting new adventure that you are ready to embark on. When you are there, it will be worth it and you will have an amazing time. However, to ensure you enjoy your time abroad, whether you are looking to move away for a few months or permanently, there are several important things that you need to have in place because the process can get pretty complicated. If you can get organized and sort these documents in advance, you can relax knowing that you have a smooth journey ahead.

To help you get started, here are some vital things that you need in place before your move:

Research the country:

You should always start by researching the country that you are moving to. This is because rules and regulations can be very different so you should never assume that you know everything. The best and most reliable source of information can be found at the embassy or consulate. They will be able to advise on the rules in the country, the documentation you need to complete before traveling, the documentation you need on you to travel, and much more.

Important documentation:

You will need a range of documents to be able to travel and live abroad. You should have these ready to go in a folder for protection before you intend to travel. You should also make copies of all of your documents and take a picture on your phone, in case you lose them. Some official documents can take a few weeks to arrive if you have to request them, so make sure you do this step well in advance to avoid disappointment. Some of these documents include:

  • Passport
  • Driving license
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Insurance policies
  • Proof of residence
  • Vaccination record
  • Medical record

Finances:

Of course, your finances will need to be in order before your move. The best way to do this is to research the cost of living in the country that you are moving to. For example, if you live in New York and are moving to Dubai, you may find that living is much cheaper. Not only do you need money for living expenses, such as food and commuting, but you will also need to consider your accommodation and utilities. If you are moving to Dubai, there are plenty of apartments for rent in Palm Jumeirah that are affordable and located in a great spot. You will need to research the prices for apartments before you travel.

You should also consider insurance policies that will protect your money if you lose it, as well as your belongings. The last thing you want is to pay to replace your items if the worst happens!

Make sure you consider everything you need before you move abroad and do it with enough time to spare. You may wish to use this information and create a checklist so that you don’t miss anything important!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Travel Essentials To Secure Before Your Vacation

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Travel Essentials To Secure Before Your Vacation

When it comes to a big vacation, every detail is important. You want to relax while away, not stress about items forgotten or if you failed to turn the kitchen light off! Every travel detail will start with research before you leave for your trip. Your findings will reveal plenty of travel essentials, but some of them are optional. However, these items will be valuable and irreplaceable parts of your travel bag, making it necessary to focus on getting them:

Flight Details and Travel Requirements:

Every person will start their travel adventures with one task: getting to the destination. However, most national governments won’t let you inside their countries that easily. There will be plenty of travel requirements such as visas, passports, personal identification cards, and legal documents. For example, if you have an itinerary for your Jiufen day tour, you can print it or have it ready on your mobile phone.

You must identify all the legal travel requirements you need months before your target date if you plan to visit a country for vacation. Fortunately, the internet provides travel guides to boost tourism in many locations. Identifying those travel essentials allows you to secure them ahead of your target date. Without them, traveling will not be possible. Try to place them in your carry-on bag for easy access whenever you have to present them in international customs.

Cash & Then Some:

There are two ways to approach your travel budget. The first option involves dedicating funds for travel, even if you don’t have a plan yet. This financial strategy will allow you to identify a closer travel date when you start planning. Even if it’s just fifty bucks per paycheck, adding to a travel fund for a year can give you a nice vacation.

Your second option will require you to adjust your monthly budget for travel expenses, which means reducing other essentials like shopping, groceries, and food allocations. Your local bank account might carry huge fees when you withdraw funds in international locations. You wouldn’t want that unnecessary expense and don’t forget to notify your credit card company that you’re traveling.

Clothing and Toiletries:

Most people travel to another country to experience different things. Other cultures and tourist sites are on top of the list, but the weather might also be a factor in your decision. People living in tropical countries might want to experience winter, summer, spring, and autumn. It can also happen vice versa for people used to living in temperate climates. As a result, the clothing style might have to adjust. Travelers must never underestimate extreme cold or heat so do be sure to pack accordingly.

Toiletries also play a significant role in keeping the weather from becoming intolerable. Sunscreen, moisturizer, and lotion prevent harsh environments from ruining your skin. Don’t forget that travel sizes are required for boarding a plane. If these mini sizes won’t sustain you for your trip, hit up a store at your location to buy the products you need – this will also save you space in your travel bag.

There are countless more travel essentials, but it depends on every traveler’s needs or preferences. If you have allergies or medical issues, carrying your medicine with you will be necessary. Electronic devices can help you navigate through unfamiliar lands, as long as you are okay with purchasing roaming data. The keys are to plan, budget, and plan some more for your big trip!

If You Were To Visit Me…

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If You Were To Visit Me…

Hello! When I was younger, I used to consider where I lived in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio to be somewhat boring. However, my opinion has changed with age and, while it isn’t the best, it’s definitely not the worst, either! There are many staples in the greater Akron area that I just love and if you were to visit me, we would most certainly be hitting up the following:

Elysian Nails:

Elysian Nails has been my preferred salon for several years now and it would be a must to go get some pampering there if you came to my neck of the woods. The salon is absolutely beautiful and the work there speaks for itself. At Elysian, you will enjoy the best company with their wonderful staff, a huge selection of treatments, and a wide variety of polish and gel colors. It is the perfect place to unwind after a long day!

The Shear Shop:

The Shear Shop is the hair salon that I have been going to for forever because the only person who I trust with my hair works there. A pampering day isn’t complete without a fresh cut and color, after all. The staff at The Shear Shop are insanely talented and I love the boutique feel of the salon, making the time spent there even more luxurious. As soon as my appointment is over, I am always already counting down the days until I head back. However, fair warning that you will fall in love with this place too and will need to come to Ohio every time your hair needs done. 😀

TJMaxx:

Okay, so everywhere has a TJMaxx but my local TJs holds a very special place in my heart. My dream day would be visiting every single TJMaxx in my area but the one in Cuyahoga Falls will do just fine. It is where I find shelter from the storm and the only place where the world makes sense lol. And, of course, a brand new outfit is a must after new hair and nails!

Lemongrass Grill & The Saffron Patch:

My two favorite restaurants in my neck of the woods has to be the Lemongrass Grill and The Saffron Patch. I love ethnic cuisine and, as a vegetarian, you can’t beat the variety of choices that Thai and Indian food offers. It’s nice to be the majority shareholder on the menu for once! I actually just had Thai food at the Lemongrass Grill with my sister and her family a few days ago and it was divine, as always. My only regret is that I didn’t order an extra helping to eat at home. 😀

Taco Bell:

The piece de resistance of visiting Lil Red would, obviously, be fine dining at the local Taco Bell. I honestly could eat there every day of my life and still not grow tired of it. TBell would be the ideal way to end a day of tomfoolery in the 330 and, while each one in my area has its own unique qualities, the one in Cuyahoga Falls just hits different. 20/10 would recommend. ❤

Are these the most exciting places to go to if you visited me in Ohio? Not necessarily. But, they are a major reason of why I love my stomping grounds. Wish you were here!

Where would you take someone if they visited you? What do you love about where you live? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Oh Deer!

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Oh Deer!

Hi! During our family holiday weekend at Oglebay, we jam packed a ton of activities into a short period of time. The property was beautiful with fun events happening everywhere you looked as well as what seemed like a never ending amount of deer roaming about. One particular family of deer seemed to take a liking to hanging around our lodge and were so tame that we were able to feed them peanuts right out of the palm of our hands. It. Was. Awesome! Check it out:

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When my deer friends first started congregating in the front of our lodge, I thought it was lucky to be able to see them so closely. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that they would come right up to my sister and I for a snack but I have photographic proof of that! At first, we just threw some peanuts in their general direction to see what happened. They must have really liked them because, shortly after, they just started coming directly to the source for more. 😀

Throughout our stay, we must have seen close to fifty deer and many of them were enjoying treats from other families too. I would have been completely satisfied just feeding the deer our entire weekend stay and was so sad when my friends eventually had their fill and headed back into the woods. However, something tells me that they will have no problem finding another family to score some snacks with upon our return home!

What an amazing experience this was because hand feeding the deer in my neck of the woods would never happen. This was one of the many highlights of my holiday weekend at Oglebay! ❤

What kind of wildlife resides in your area? What is your favorite animal? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Tips To Prepare For Your First Glamping Trip

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3 Tips To Prepare For Your First Glamping Trip

Some people detest the idea of camping. They worry about the work it will take to pitch a tent, the bug that will crawl into their sleeping bag, and having to sleep on the hard ground. It’s understandable to see why camping can have its downsides. Why would you sleep in a cold tent in the rain when you can be in a soft warm bed at home? Camping also tends to make people feel drained. It really is difficult to have a peaceful sleep in a tent.

Thankfully, glamping is around and it’s bringing new meaning to being in the great outdoors. So what exactly is “glamping”? It’s short for “Glamorous Camping”. This means that it’s a luxurious way to be within nature, but with all of the frills that a hotel offers. No pitching tents, mosquitos, or outdoor toilets, just simple luxury. These are some helpful tips for preparing for a glamping trip:

Look into your options:

Glamping is highly recognized today and many national parks offer glamping accommodations. Glamping comes in an array of forms such as trailers, cabins, tents, and tree houses. Many accommodation sites will even reuse vehicles such as train carts or old jets and flip them into a luxurious paradise for campers.

Just keep in mind what you’re wanting, your price range, and what activities you’re expecting to do. You’ll want to make sure that the place is going to be comfortable and that you can have a good night’s sleep. Not sleeping enough is going to affect your health and it’s also going to make you enjoy your trip far less.

Know what to pack:

Each glamping accommodation is going to offer different amenities. You can expect there to be a bed and pillows. You can most likely expect there to be running water and toilet paper, as well. Just be sure to read through their listing and to reach out and ask questions about it. If your glamping trip is going to entail that you do a lot of hiking and other activities within nature, then you’re far better off purchasing some gear from EcoGearFX to help you survive the trip.

Look into what activities you’d like to do:

Some glamping resorts will provide activities for their guests. This can include tours, rides, workshops, and crafting. More and more glamping accommodations are offering things such as hot tubs, spas, saunas, and playgrounds to ensure that guests enjoy their stay.

You should also look into what is offered around the area. This can include seeing if there are hiking trails close by or any nice towns that are close. Sometimes even a short drive away there could be something fun for you and your party to do. You just want to make sure that if you’re having to drive during your glamping trip, that you’re not going too far. Just ask around about what is offered.

If you like to enjoy Mother Nature from afar, then a glamping trip could be the perfect thing for your next getaway – no tent required!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Vacation Souvenirs

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Vacation Souvenirs

Hello!! My family vacation in the Poconos was the absolute best and I am definitely ready for another one lol. It is so hard to go back to work after all of the fun, family time, amazing food, and relaxation! No vacation is complete without plenty of souvenirs and Johnny and I got several to enjoy in our kitchen and on our knick knack shelf. Check it out:

The favorite vacation purchase for me and Johnny is, easily, our Frankenstein and Skeleton Man plushies from the small store at Heckman Orchards. They are SO cute and we love snuggling up with them while we watch ten episodes of Criminal Minds in a row. 😀

The earrings (Which I’m obsessed with!) and the Grow Your Own Bigfoot were bought at a couple of shops in Jim Thorpe. The rest of our souvenirs came from Country Junction, which is the world’s largest general store. And, let me tell you, if you are ever in the area you just have to check it out.

Country Junction was a mishmash of a billion different things and it was like being in a carnival fun house. The actual general store was HUGE and it was the size of at least three Walmarts all put together. There was a section for everything from children’s toys to grilling supplies, pet care, and old fashioned candy. In almost every corner, there were gigantic statues that could move and talk including scenes from the Wizard Of Oz and a Jurassic Park-esque velociraptor. Oh, and did I mention that there was a full arcade with bumper cars too?! 😮

The madness wasn’t limited to the inside, no siree bob. Outdoors, there was a petting zoo, hay rides, playgrounds, and a small carnival complete with old school rides, fun houses, and food vendors. It was absolutely nuts lol. I so wish that I took pictures of this madness but the weather was rainy and Johnny and I were carrying all of our shopping bags by the time we caught up with the rest of the family.

Our purchases were pretty heavy because we bought a ton! I did some early Christmas shopping, got prezzies for my niece, nephew, and sister, as well as lots of treats for me and Johnny. I am particularly fond of the items that I bought by Our Own Candle Company. The Hot Chocolate candle smells delicious and I can’t wait to use the bar soap – the Peach scent is to die for!

If you have the time, definitely check out Country Junction online because you will be just as blown away/dumbfounded as I think everyone is that steps foot on the property!

Do you have anything like Country Junction in your area? What is your favorite one stop shop? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Old Jail Tour Pt. 2

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The Old Jail Tour Pt. 2

Hello everyone and welcome to the second part of my experience at a tour of The Old Jail in Jim Thorpe, PA! To kick things off, check out some pictures and then we will discuss more:

To start our tour of The Old Jail, we watched a fifteen or so minute video which taught us about the plight of the Irish people during the Potato Famine and how they got to America. Despite being out of the country, Irish people still had a rough time because no one wanted to hire them for work. Other than the coal mines, that is. And it was a dangerous job, indeed.

Cue, the Molly Maguires. The Molly Maguires were a secret society who basically tried to improve everything about the coal mining industry for its workers. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, The Old Jail was where four accused Molly Maguires were hung at the gallows after multiple violent conflicts. After learning this, the tour of the jail itself began.

The tour of The Old Jail was really cool because after our guide gave us some history, we were allowed to move about freely to explore more. We began on the first floor, which is where the gallows were as well as some other unique features. If you look at the ninth picture down, the pictures on the floor were from magazine cutouts that one of the prisoners stuck to the ground with sugar water.

Of course, the most famous feature of The Old Jail is the hand print of one of the Molly Maguires. Before his hanging, he dirtied his hand and placed it on the wall of his cell declaring that it was the hand print of an innocent man. His hand print was attempted to be removed via scrubbing, chiseling, and painting but it still remains, clear as day, to this day. (To preserve the print, we were not allowed to take pictures of it.)

Once we were done on the first floor, we descended down the stairs into the dungeons where people in solitary confinement were kept. Back in the day, those in solitary were in shackles and in the pitch black twenty-four hours a day with nothing but a bucket and a sleeping mat in their cell. All of this is crazy uncomfortable, but add the three coal burning stoves that are located in the dungeons and it was pure misery.

After we saw the dungeons, the tour was pretty much over and we were able to poke around for a bit more before exiting the building. I don’t think any of us could shake the creeped out feeling the entire drive back to our lodging. Speaking of creeped out…

Later that evening, I began the process of going through the pictures that I took and emailing them to myself. I got to the halfway point where I was sending pictures of the dungeons and, all of a sudden, my phone screen went completely frozen and white. I closed out of my email and tried again but it was the same thing every time.

Finally, I decided to restart my phone and it worked perfectly. Was it nothing? Maybe. Or was it the fact that I had just spent time in a haunted location and was working on pictures where people were kept in solitary confinement? Maybe. I know how I feel about it but I’ll let you make your own conclusions!

The tour of The Old Jail was one of the neatest outings both Johnny and I have ever been on. We can’t wait to explore more places like it! 😀

Are there any haunted locations in your area? What are you afraid of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Old Jail Tour Pt. 1

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The Old Jail Tour Pt. 1

Hi! Hands down, mine and Johnny’s favorite part of the vacation in the Poconos was the tour we did of The Old Jail in Jim Thorpe. We had both never done anything like it and have always wanted to as we love all things horror and the macabre. Our time spent in the jail also inspired us to have a “Ghoul Tour” when we go on a trip to visit more jails, asylums, and other haunted locations.

I took so many pictures in The Old Jail that this post will be broken up into two parts. Today, we are going to look at some shots taken prior to our tour. Then, tune in tomorrow to explore the dungeon, jail cells, and much more! Let’s get to it:

Our tour of The Old Jail was absolutely wonderful and you could feel the haunted history of it before you even entered the building. The jail stuck out like an ominous sore thumb amongst the quaint town of Jim Thorpe and we couldn’t wait for our adventure to begin. We were eager to learn and check out everything that the jail had to offer, including the recreated gallows where four accused Molly Maguires were hung and, yes, the hand print. 😮

Tomorrow, we are going to delve deeper into the history of The Old Jail, the story of the hand print, lots more pictures, and my own weird experience when trying to email the pics I took to myself. You don’t want to miss it!

Have you ever visited a haunted location? Which jails or asylums have you visited before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah