Monthly Archives: August 2016

Where I Went on my Summer Vacation… (Part 1: Germany)

Oh, wait. I don’t have summer vacations anymore! Well, I at least went on two wild adventures to new places and I thought I would do a fun little blog on my trips this year. I hope you enjoy! I’ll have a book blog up next week, I promise! I just really wanted to post about these trips.

My first trip led me to Germany, it was a spur of the moment trip (thanks to my wonderful in-laws), one of those living-in-the-moment times. I managed to get out of work for 11 days (unpaid, boooo) and hop on a plane to venture out of the US for the first time ever. My husband was over there for a week prior to this with some of his students and he had no clue that I was coming over. We discussed me ditching work though, and how much fun it would be for him to show me the country but never thought it would actually happen. My in-laws were already planning on going over and offered to bring me with them, so I packed my bags and joined them.

We flew out over night and I didn’t sleep at all on the plane (not even after I took a sleeping pill) because I was too excited. I’m also not a great flyer unless I have a window seat, and lucky me got stuck in the very center of the plane, so I couldn’t even get up to use the restroom because I didn’t want to wake up the people next to me.

When we landed in Frankfurt at 9AM their time, and it was already overwhelming. We had to go buy a train ticket (I actually saved some money by being under the age of 26) and then hop on the train to the town of Hannover where my husband was staying with some of the in-laws friends, at this point he still didn’t know I was coming. I sent him a few texts talking about how I really wanted to come over there and he was so bummed that I wasn’t.

I loved passing through all the small little towns while on the train. It was about a three hour ride and I still hadn’t slept because of all the adrenaline. I also had it in my head that I would never see those sights again, so I wanted to spend the least amount of time sleeping.

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As our train pulled into the station, I thought I was going to get sick from excitement. You know how dogs work themselves up after missing their human for a long time and then proceed to vomit? Yeah, I’m the dog in that situation. I could see Stu waiting on the platform, but he couldn’t see me. My in-laws got off first, and then me, I’m pretty sure my husband still didn’t believe it was me when I got off the train. We hugged and he kept asking how I managed to get there, and so on.

Hannover was beautiful! The food was amazing too (this was one thing I was worried about because I’m a picky eater). I even found a beer that I liked, sadly, I never got the name of it. If I had to pick a city to live in over there, it would be Hannover. Though everyone having security shutters was a bit unsettling. While in Hannover, we went to a few cool places just outside the city. We visited a castle (not old, it was built for show) and went to the town of Hamel where one of the German fairy tales originated (boom, tying this post into my book blogging), and saw some really cool churches. This town tied for my favorite city we visited there.

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Free Libraries all over Hannover.
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Lutheran church where we attended a service.
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Stu with his idol (Martin Luther)
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One of my favorite churches we visited. Windows and roof were blown off in the war. The town didn’t fix it because they want to remember what happened in hopes that it never happens again.

 

After we left Hannover, we jumped on a train to Berlin. I had huge expectations for Berlin! I ended up not liking this town that much because it didn’t really feel safe, but I’m used to living in a country where most people have concealed carry and know how to protect. If you go to Berlin, two days is plenty if you don’t like cities. Go see the Brandenburg Gate (it will only take five minutes, not as cool as you think), go to the Wall and take a boat tour.

 

After a few days in Berlin, we headed to Erfert (I thought it was called the airport and didn’t know why we were going back to the airport). This was another one of my favorite cities and I wish we had explored here longer. We had a great view from our room, food was fantastic and the city was amazing. We took a Luther tour where the guide wore a monk outfit and told us Luther facts from the town and showed us key places in his life. We had a fantastic dinner at a outdoor cafe and almost saw Flogging Molly!

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We then went to visit Wittenberg where Martin Luther preached and lived. We managed to tour his house and see the main church. You can say we spent 90% of the trip checking out churches, but of course being Lutherans we had to spend a day or two in his town. This was something I was really excited about seeing. If you plan on going, be sure to check what time the main church is open to the public and be sure not to carry your suitcases with you. They’re currently redoing the train stop for next years anniversary so we had to drag out bags about a mile and rent a locker at the Luther House.

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Katherine statue, Luther’s Wife
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99 Thesis door (not the real door, just where it happened)

 

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Spaghetti Ice! (Ice creme made to look like spaghetti.)

The final leg of our trip led to a smaller town where we met up with some more family friends. Here, we pretty much relaxed and hung out. We did tour the Rothenburg ob der Tauber which was a old walled city that had tons of shops and yes, more churches. I can’t even tell you the names of some of the other places we checked out. We just hopped in the car and visited a ton of places that looked cool, this was one of my favorite pictures from that portion of the trip. Below us, is our group and a small farmers market.

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If you ever get the chance to see another country, do it! Don’t let nerves or anything get in the way! I knew I would regret letting this opportunity pass me by and I’m so glad I went!

Next up: Alaska.

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Maria Brink & the Blood Girls

Is the title of this post a bit harsh? Maybe just a little. For a few years now, I’ve loved a band called In This Moment, I loved them mainly because their lead singer is a kickass female. I’ve looked up to Maria Brink because of her kindness, beauty and thick-skin when it comes to the backlash she gets from other metal heads regarding her femininity. She’s even wrote a few songs about it (Sex Metal Barbie, sticks out the most).in-this-moment-80

I’ve seen them live twice now though, and I’m not impressed. Many complained about Maria Brink’s stage presence from the beginning. I thought it was a bunch of talk, so I had to see for myself. The first time I was supposed to see her, she had to cancel her performance because of illness (no biggie, everyone gets sick). She rescheduled and when she came back I was so excited!

The excitement went away after 3 or 4 songs.

Why you ask? Costumes changes, back up dancers, and pushing the band behind curtains pretty much. Maria Brink has an amazing voice, whether on album or live but things need to change. She did a costume change after every song, which was cool because the outfits were amazing and matched the music videos, but that took away from the concert vibe. Instead of changing every time, we could have had about three more songs. Her back up dancers, aka, the blood girls, also had to change after every song and it can’t be easy getting in and out of those tight costumes. I don’t even understand why she has the blood girls outside of her music videos, they aren’t in the band! They literally take up space that can be used for the rest of the band. My first time seeing ITM, I couldn’t even see the band because they were hidden behind props.

I thought for sure that Maria Brink would redeem herself the second time around during the Rob Zombie ‘Return of the Dreads’ Tour. Everyone around me was excited, and walking about how this was their first time seeing her, not the band, her… Maria Brink.

Still, she still changed after every song, she still had the blood girls. The only thing that changed was the band was able to actually move around and rock out. I only give the venue credit for that because it was a larger stage.ITM%20SMB%20Band%20Approved

I hate that Maria Brink thinks she needs to oversexualize herself with the blood girls and her costumes. She’s a badass metal babe, we get it. I hate that any girl in a metal band has to dress skimpy in order to be accepted (ex. Butcher Babies, I love them though. They got so much bigger, they don’t need to go topless to get a crowd now).

I’m just so tired of everyone literally putting Brink on a pedestal and not realizing the talent of the rest of the band. You know things aren’t going well with a band when a member leaves due to “creative and artistic unhappiness.”

I honestly don’t see this band as a whole existing for too much longer, not because they aren’t good, but because the band as a whole seems to not be important. I’m waiting to hear that Brink is finally ready to go solo with the blood girls.

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Walking Dead Day 8.6.16

Cynthiana, KY–

In the quiet, small town of Cynthiana, populated by less than 7000 people, you wouldn’t imagine much coming out of this little Kentucky town. On August 6th though, something changed. Over 10,000 people took to the small town, closing down streets, waiting in long lines, and lingering around. But why? Walking Dead Day of course!

I live a decent bit close to where Tony Moore and Robert Kirkman (creators of Walking Dead) grew up and where the comics actually begin before Rick heads to Atlanta. I’m actually from another small town that is shortly mentioned on page one of the very first 13902610_1066931810010076_4902721888302963701_nWalking Dead comic. Walking Dead day was a one day, free event and it had such a good response that they printed out 10,000 special Cynthiana editions of the first comic to give out for free. The event included a sign presentation for Kirkman and Moore, tours of the town, the free comic giveway, tons of vendors, signings and photo ops with Moore and Kirkman, a haunted house, costume contest,  tons of vendors and more.

It was pretty much like a comic con strictly for Walking Dead fans or even just Halloween a few months early, which is perfect! My husband and I got there super early (or so we thought), it was pretty much a ghost town. It even looked like a zombie horde had walked through the night before.

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The volunteers did a great job of making the town look post-apocalyptic. However, I think it was a bit cheesy naming the roads after places in the comic/show, and that also made it hard to get around using the map.

Remember when I told you we thought we got there early? We arrived about 8, ready to geIMG_5030t in line for the comic to be handed out at 10am. Since we didn’t see anyone when we first stepped foot in the event area, we assumed the line hadn’t began. We were wrong, there were already people lined up for about two miles. We did get the limited edition comic though! Sadly, we didn’t stay to get it signed because that line was even longer and we had somewhere to be that night.

All in all, it was a really cool event that could only get bigger if they continue doing it every year. My only big complaint was I think the signings should have either started earlier or should have been done by ticket, not first come first serve. It caused a ton of confusion on who was lined up for what.

I did end up coming home with a really cool shirt though!

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Book Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine

Title: The Season of You and MeSeasonYou&Me_final+comp.jpg

Author: Robin Constantine

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Overall emotions: Annoyed, flustered

 



 

Cassidy Emmerich is reeling from a sudden, humiliating breakup. The last thing she wants to do is stick around and be reminded of her ex everywhere she goes. On impulse, she decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. A different scene and a new job working as a camp counselor seem like the perfect recipe for forgetting Gavin as quickly as possible—not to mention for avoiding him until he leaves for college. 

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with a girl and have her put her head on your shoulder. Last year he made one false move—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. But this summer, he’s back at his camp job and is determined to reclaim his independence—and his confidence.

Cass is expecting two months of healing her broken heart.

Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.

Neither is expecting to fall in love.



 

Review

Sometimes, covers definitely  pull me in and this book is totally a cover purchase. I was looking for something to read in the YA genre that was a summer read because the last two books that I read and reviewed were a bit too much of a downer with the teacher/student relations. If you’re a fan of Jenny Han or Sarah Dessen and are still new to the YA genre, I would totally recommend this book. If your a bit older, I don’t think you would really enjoy this book. It has a really great plot, but I feel like the characters were lacking in their emotions. It was a book based mostly on telling and not showing us how they felt.

I believe we were supposed to feel bad for Bryan’s character since he was paralyzed in the legs but I didn’t really feel bad for him at all. Had the author given us a flashback of when he hurt himself and what he was like before the accident, I think that would have helped a bit more. This whole novel could have started about a week before it did, that way we could see what Cass was ‘running away’ from and see how Bryan’s life was before she showed up.

By the end of the book I felt like Bryan was a little possessive and he didn’t really have the right to be. We kept hearing both characters have inner monologue about having a random hook-up over the summer with the other, but then it never actually happens. Bryan is constantly wondering if he’ll ever be able to be intimate with a girl ever again, so we’re set up to believe we’ll find out with Cass… we never do.

I felt like Tori, Hunter and Wade were the only loveable characters in this story because they seemed genuine and real. Wade was probably my favorite! I was rooting for him to have a happy ending the whole time, even if it wasn’t with Tori.

Overall, this book left a ton of questions unanswered for me. Was Bryan ever able to have sex? How? What happened to Cass’s ex after he left? What happened with Em and her boyfriend? Why was Tori always so mean to Wade? How did Bryan actually get hurt, details?

I did breeze through this book, I always kept wanting to pick it up even though I wasn’t really enjoying it. I just wanted to hear the rest of the story. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t the best either. Best possible way for me to describe it would be a Sarah Dessen plot with not enough character development.