Where’s Waldo (or, in this case, Jordan)?

The past few weeks have been chaotic. So many papers and assignments and applications and meetings. And let’s not forget that from March 21-24, Nordstrom had Triple Points. But really, what’s been keeping me from writing was the other stuff (I’m great at blogging and shopping. Can I go to grad school for that?)

Mostly, I’ve been feeling like this:

Can I just stay down here?

Can I just stay down here?

Luckily, I’ve sprinkled a few fun moments in the mix.

For instance, inspired by Lauren’s Quest, I made my my own quest on the hunt for Pliny the Younger.

FINALLY!

FINALLY!

After waiting for about an hour and a half (the things I do for love…) I finally obtained the hop bomb of my dreams.

Nice photobomb, baldy.

Nice photobomb, baldy.

Did I mention that this all happened at 11 am on a Monday? Nothing like a little day drinking to start a week off right….

I also celebrated the first day of Spring the only way I knew how.

WEEEEE!

WEEEEE!

Rita’s. I am so sorry if you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.

The day AFTER the first day of spring, it snowed. Go figure.

I’ve also been getting back on my cheese game. God bless the year of cheese.

Promise, that wasn't all for me.

Promise, that wasn’t all for me.

Evalon from LaClare is an incredible goat cheese from Wisconsin that I paired with a dessert wine with some of my buddies last night. Fairly firm, this award winning cheese is almost like a hybrid between a gouda and an Asiago cheese. I bet it would shred well, but instead, we just ate it in chunks like the animals we are. On rice crackers.

Threw in some cheddar just for a bit of variety.

Threw in some cheddar just for a bit of variety.

Other than cheese, I’ve been wolfing pizza and thai food down like a champ. Jumping from meeting to meeting doesn’t always leave the most time for cooking at home. So, this morning, in order to clear my system and start Easter weekend fresh, I hauled my sleepy butt over to Pure Fare for a Green Pineapple Ginger smoothie. And a little calm from the chaos.

Let's do this.

Let’s do this.

I’m not a very religious lady, but I can already see this is going to be a Good Friday.

 

 

 

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Dwellable: For the Wanderlust in All of Us

I’m sure it’s obvious, but I’ve got a little case of wanderlust that rears its head now and then. I don’t mind I leap at the chance to hop on a plane or bus or train and go to a new place. Or revisit an old place. Really, I just like places. And with all this bopping around, I’ve been collecting a few different apps to keep my traveling in check.

If I’m driving, it’s always Waze.

When I need to figure out public transportation, despite Google Maps being pretty solid, I am a huge fan of HopStop.

If I’m looking for last minute lodging, Hotel Tonight does the trick.

Sometimes, though, I actually make plans ahead of time. And, in that case, I’ve found a new option. Enter: Dwellable. Ideal for the lady or gentleman who is always planning the next trip. From the comfort of wherever I am (since it’s an app on my phone) I can start plotting out my next journey.

Ooooh where AM I going?!

Ooooh where AM I going?!

Dwellable, while still being relatively new, has OODLES of listings in some pretty fantastic places.

Hawaii? Yes, please.

Hawaii? Yes, please.

Unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, some areas have hardly any listings.

[I am actually ALWAYS the first one to a party.]

[I am actually ALWAYS the first one to a party. Good eye, Dwellable.]

I found this out when I started looking at places that were a little more likely to get a visit from me in the upcoming year (sorry, Hawaii, we may have to wait until next year…) But, let’s be honest, we all know that I’ll be back in Ocean City, NJ again and again. And, though I may personally have a place to stay there (thanks, Mom and Dad), if I ever want to invite say…. 7 of my closest friends… Well, we might need another home.

Beach Block. You're speaking my language...

Beach Block. You’re speaking my language…

The app has some pretty cool features and then a few aspects that I wasn’t really feeling.

The Pros:

  • The Design. Seriously, this app is beautiful. Like, remember watching the movie Avatar or Life of Pi and you couldn’t help but think “This movie could LITERALLY be about anything and I’d enjoy watching it because it’s so aesthetically appealing”? That’s how I felt about Dwellable when I first started using it. I just started looking at a bunch of pictures and then realized “wait, I should probably go in with some sort of intention…. right?” Right.
  • The Filter. You can filter by amount of beds, swimming pool, pet friendly, fireplace, and hot tub. You can also organize the listings by price if you’re looking for something cheaper or swankier. I do love to sort.
  • The Map. You can view your options on a map! So if you know you want to be near the water, just choose the ones there. If you know you want to be near a metropolitan hub, you got it.

Succinct Descriptions. These speak for themselves.

Right to the point

Right to the point

Now, onto The Cons:

  • The Pricing. This was actually an easy fix, once I looked it up. However, when there’s a pricetag on the listing, I couldn’t tell naturally whether that was per night, per week, or per hour. A Google tells me it means Per Night. Noted.
  • The Calendar. Compared to the rest of things, it just looks a little blah. And initially, it took me a bit to figure out how to utilize it by entering my desired dates. I figured out, but again, it didn’t feel as natural as other pieces.

    Oi.

    Oi.

  • The Lack of Options in Certain Places. HOWEVER, this is part of the reason I wrote the review. So that more people see it, and maybe more listings go up. And MAYBE, just maybe, there will be more than 4 listings in OCNJ come next summer.

Now I just have to find 7 friends.

What’s your favorite/most essential traveling app?

*Disclaimer: I didn’t receive any money or compensation for this post. BUT, if Dwellable decides they like it the most, I could win some swag. And I do love swag.*

SB2k13

See, the thing about stepping on a sea urchin your first day of spring break is: things can only get better, right?

Very right.

CocoNUTS!

CocoNUTS!

As coconut flavored anything’s Number One Fan, I was the happiest camper. And despite limping around the island and a dash of miserable weather [including a rainy day in paradise], Nancy and I managed to muster up one fantastic break.

We ate everything.

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Steak and blue cheese cream sauce, say WHAT?!

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Breakfast of Champions

And then we detoxed a bit with spinach-packed smoothies. We got some very confused looks from patrons as we explained why our fruit smoothies were green. Just pre-gaming for St. Patrick’s Day.

Six smoothies and some eggs. Seems about right.

Six smoothies and some eggs. Seems about right.

When the weather wasn’t cooperating, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Or rather, the skilled hands of a masseuse.

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I just want someone to rub some stuff on me.

Facials and massages do wonders for your attitude. I smelled so delicious I wanted to eat myself up. And I was much perkier than when I couldn’t stop glooming about some rain.

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Post-Spa Bliss

I even enjoyed dancing with some of the locals.

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Couldn’t stop blushing. Or laughing.

Our room neighbors also seemed to enjoy themselves.  VERY loudly.

Made for quite the interesting listening.

Made for quite the interesting listening.

It was obvious that they were enjoying 50 shades of something.

And though we took our tanning very seriously, we made sure to enjoy playing some games. Can’t take things too seriously…

photo 2-4

It was paradise. And just what the doctor ordered, escaping winter and snow for sunnier climates. We relaxed, we maxed, and even enjoyed a few adult beverages. Things certainly didn’t get too wild, at least for us.

I can’t say the same for everyone else.

She was like this all day.

She was like this all day.

I guess that’s why they suggest pacing yourself….

Spring Break 2013: You’re Doing It Wrong

Oh, Irony. I see what you did there.

This is NOT the welcome wagon I was expecting.

Welcome to the DR, JP!

Welcome to the DR, JP!

Picture this: My roomie Nancy and I spent a solid 2 hours in the sunshine. Rotating, re-applying sunscreen (talk about an exercise in futility, currently crispy and pink), gabbing the day away, reading US Weekly scholastic textbooks. All that good stuff. And, since I dream of living some sort of reverse-Little Mermaid experience, I knew I needed to get into the tepid ocean water to swim around like a fish. I collected perfect conical shells, I did handstands, I floated like a buoy, I ran out to Nancy proud of my discoveries and demanding a water-buddy. She obliged, wanting a dip herself.

Moments later, she was marveling at the brave manner in which I drag my feet around in the ocean trying to pick up any bits of coral or shell my toes can feel. I commented “Yes, obviously I’m very courageous. Not just anyone could/would do such a heroic deed.”

Cue: Sea urchin. Yup, stepped on a sea urchin within thirty minutes of diving into the deep blue.

Human crutches

Human crutches

I thought I could “walk it off” assuming the best, maybe an under the sea splinter. And then, as we went to go grab a bite, I felt a blinding searing pain best described as being stabbed with a metal rod. Only the rod is being heated at a near-melting degree from the inside and continues to radiate pain.

I need a doctor.

“Sure,” said Nancy. “We’ll find you one, just sit tight.”

What is happening?!

What is happening?!

Enter Dr. Delarosa. Exit: dozens of tiny sea urchin spines. Apparently, my body had an allergic reaction to the spines and WHAM, inflammation, a pain like a thousand tiny spiny suns, and a hazy vision.

Slightly less searing pain? Yes, please.

Slightly less searing pain? Yes, please.

I expected that, if I was going to be doing any hobbling whilst on vacay, it would be due to inebriation from the all-inclusive drink situation. I did NOT expect to receive an intramuscular injection of anti-histamine in my butt cheek. I did NOT expect to be a wobbly fool due to a spiny critter of the sea.

According to the resort, sea urchins never swim that close to the shore. Well, joke’s on me, I guess. Good one, sea urchin. Had me fooled.

Luckily, the benadryl and lotion they gave me are making a dent in the pain. And my starvation is pulling me in the direction of the dinner buffet like WHOAH. So, despite the best efforts of the ocean’s porcupine, I can’t be stopped. Nice try, little one.

I’ll make sure to eat extra Uni next time I get sushi.

(Also, big ups to Nancy for recognizing that, though this was a terrifying experience, the ONLY reasonable response was to take zillions of pictures.)

Jet Setting Fuel

If you ever wondered how fabulous the life of a jet-setter like myself is on the edible-front, this is the post for you. In the past 14 hours, I’ve run the gamut of planes, trains, and automobiles. All en route to the sunny shores of the Dominican Republic. And after a long day of classes, what’s better than a Bolt Bus trip to NYC?

First, I had to recharge. My body AND my electronics.

And so it begins

And so it begins

A new Sweetgreen just opened near campus and, courtesy of LevelUp, I had a $3 discount. The resulting Misoba Salad I purchased may easily be the most delicious salad I’ve purchased since I’ve moved to Philly. And MAYBE worth the $8.50 price tag that you’d normally pay without the LevelUp discount (though if you sign up for LevelUp using that link, you can get $5 fo’ FREE making this salad a mere $3.50!)

Before I could say “Soba Noodles”, I boarded my Bolt Bus, armed with a Nook full of books and a pack of snacks. And my most important snack: a hostess gift of Montealva, a relatively affordable semi-hard goat’s milk cheese with an excellent tangy bite that travels the 2+ hours from Philly to Brooklyn with ease.

Tiniest Cheese Plate

Tiniest Cheese Plate

My hostess, Claire, and I gossiped about boys, giggled like schoolgirls, and geeked out on cheese. It was dreamy. And, after a brief slumber snuggled like bugs in Claire’s bed, she woke up for work (ah, employment) and I (eventually) woke up to putz around before my flight to Orlando. I also rooted around in Claire’s fridge to whip up arguably the most delicious breakfast of leftovers on the planet.

Come to Mama.

Come to Mama.

Claire’s a bit of a gourmand, and she whips up Smitten Kitchen’s Butternut Squash Salad weekly. Feta, onions, squash, can’t beat it. Paired with the maple-apple-bacon cake (on the left) and topped with a dippy egg.

Get on my level.

(Seriously, though, make that salad. It’s unreal.)

I just enjoyed a breakfast of a Fiber One bar and banana, complete with a multi-vitamin. Much cheaper than airport nibbles, and likely better for me than Cini-Minis from Burger King.

I camped out here in the Orlando Airport last night (grad student life = saving $250 with a slumber party on the airport ground).

Home Base

Home Base

Luckily, I just checked in for my last leg(s) of my trip AND was upgraded to the exit row window seats for BOTH my remaining flights.

All I could think of was the following clip:

Ok, y’all. Time to fly to greener pastures. And sunnier skies. Keep your fingers crossed for no rain, and only a little sunburn.

Favorite traveling foods? Do you pre-pack or buy in the terminal?

I’ll admit, I caved and got a medium order of french fries.

Treat Yo Self 2013, whatevz.