Monday, July 21, 2014

Overrated Travel Destinations

I found this article that was posted to Yahoo! Travel about overrated, boring top travel destinations. These are "Siena" and these are all her opinions

Bora Bora
More than one friend of mine calls this island “boring boring.” The reefs and water are absolutely spectacular, but how long can you stare at fish? There’s nothing else to do. The resorts are on their own private motus (islets), so there’s no nightlife, and guests aren't looking to socialize at all as they’re all on their honeymoons. I just felt sorry for the guys who had to paddle me around on a canoe for breakfast . And it’s expensive. If you want Polynesia, just go to Hawaii. If you want exotic, go all the way to Asia, where your money will go a whole lot further. Even though I have never been, I feel like we would be VERY bored if we went here. Like she said, what else is there to do but lay on a beach?!? Not my style. 

{Source: Thinkstock}
“The Las Vegas of the Middle East,” as Dubai is often called, is really a half-finished monument to wretched excess. Also, it’s hot. When I recently visited, there were also grim reminders everywhere of the economic crash in 2009: abandoned skyscraper skeletons with idle cranes on top, billboards advertising the Ferrari that would be thrown in along with the purchase of a luxury condo. Still, shopping remains the most popular sport (and international draw) here, but that’s another non-selling point for me. Yes, you can ski at the Mall of the Emirates. Know where else you can ski? Mountains. Enough said, I don't like Vegas so why would I want to go here?

Abu Dhabi
Billed as the cultural emirate, Abu Dhabi is supposed to offer a more enlightened alternative to glitzy Dubai. At least there’s no over-consumption hangover here, as the city is still filthy rich even after bailing out its flashy neighbor. And so the government has invested in the very best culture money can buy, shelling out for museum outposts and starchitect-designed buildings — the Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid, the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry. But for all of that, there’s no “there” there.  Cities like New York and London are great because of their genuine culture, not the store-bought variety that seems to run rampant in Abu Dhabi. Eh, sounds like I would rather visit London...

I’ll probably get hate mail for this, but there’s something I find entirely too precious about the Emerald Isle. Castles and Guinness and fiddles are completely lost on me, and I don’t care about that mythical fun factor they call “craic,” however you pronounce that. I dislike Irish pubs in the U.S. Why would I want to go to the motherland? Disagree with her here, I think I would love Ireland and I think my husband would also like it. I'm not saying its a place we would visit multiple times but a good 5-7 days here would make a great vacation!

{Source: Thinkstock}
Roatán Island, Honduras
Yes, the diving is great. But it’s also great in nearby Belize and the largely undiscovered San Andres Islands off the coast of Nicaragua. And those places aren't crowded with cookie-cutter condo developments, mass-market resorts, drunken beach parties, and booze cruises. And while Roatán isn't the only place in the world with “dolphin experiences,” it’s the place where I got talked into doing one. I cringed through every awkward minute of my hour spent holding onto to the swimming animals’ fins and surfing on their snouts, but I got through it by reminding myself that it could have been worse — I could have been the dolphin. If thre is one thing we hate its booze cruises and cookie-cutter resorts that specialize is parties...Belize is on our list though.

TooDamnOrderly. Luxembourg is the most sensible place I've ever been. I hated it. I would like to visit every country in Europe, so maybe just drive through Luxembourg?

Have you ever been to any of these places? Do you agree with her?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Movies that Inspire Travel

My Life In Ruins came out in 2009 and its about an American woman who moved to Greece to change her life but she became a tour director for a company like Trafalgar. Her boss always gives her the shitty bus and crazy tourist. This movie is funny and SO true if you have ever been on a tour.

 The Way is about a father that heads to Europe to recover the body of his son that died walking the "El comino de Santiago". After arriving he decides to finish the walk his son started.


Le Week-End is a drama/comedy about a married British couple that travels back to Paris after visiting there many years ago for the honeymoon. The movie is funny sometimes and then very serious and a little sad at other times.

A Long Way Down is another drama/comedy about four people that find themselves on the same London rooftop on New Year's Eve ready to jump. They decide to make a pact not to jump until at least Valentine's Day. To help them relax and get away they head to the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca!

Welcome to Sweden is about an American who moves to Sweden after falling in love with a Swedish woman. This show has only aired two episodes in the US and I need to catch up on them!

See past posts on movies that inspire travel

Have you seen any of these? Did you like them?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekly Travel Pic

When I was in Norway our professor invited a few of us to go golfing with him. Now, I don't golf but I knew the scenery would be beautiful so I went. I am glad I did, check out this picture I got of a storm coming in. 

{Tyrifjord Golfklubb, Norway, 2008}

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thats What I Like About Texas

I got the idea for this post because Shannon at Beginningsin Beyern found out her and her military husband will be moving to El Paso, TX. Since I’m from Texas and have lived here my whole life I thought I would post some things to do if you are visiting the state.

{A Texas Sunset}
Check out Texas state parks and national parks.

Things to Do in Austin
Six Street bar hop/people watch
Watch the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge
Visit the Capital
Zilker Park
Live Music
Mt. Bonnell
Austin City Limits

Things to Do in San Antonio
The Alamo
River Walk
Amusement Park (Six Flags or Sea World)
Fiesta (Easter time)

{San Antonio Missions}
Check out my post about a stay-cation in San Antonio

Things to Do on the Gulf Coast
South Padre Island
Space Center Houston/Johnson Space Center
Sporting Event (Rockets, Astros, Texans, Dynamo)
Houston Rodeo (February)
Bluebell Ice Cream Creamery
Corpus Christi (USS Lexington, Texas Aquarium)

Check out my post about things to do in Houston.

Things to Do in Dallas (North Texas)
Texas State Fair (late September, early October)
Texas Rose Festival, Tyler (visit in October)
Sporting Event (Mavericks, Rangers, Cowboys)
Bluebonnet Trails, Ennis (visit in April)

{Texas wildflowers}
Things to Do in the Panhandle/West Texas
Palo Duro Canyon, Amarillo
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo
Marfa Lights, Marfa
Buddy Holly Museum, Lubbock
Big Bend National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park

{Cadillac Ranch, source}
Texas Hill Country/Central Texas (perfect for spring time flowers)
Fredericksburg (you have to have some of their peaches)
Gruene (home of the oldest dance hall in Texas)
Johnson City
New Braunfels (float the Comal River, visit Schlitterbahn and stop at Landa Park)
Painted Churches of Central Texas (Fayette County) 

{Painted Churches}

{Painted Churches Interiors}
Things you HAVE to Try
Buc-ee's, best road stop EVER
Texas BBQ
Bluebell Ice Cream
Whataburger (original in Corpus Christi)
{The Texas Longhorn}
Remember, Texas is a state of mind. What do you like about Texas?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekend in Chicago; Part 2

On Saturday we woke up early and headed to the Sears Tower to avoid the long wait. We were able to walk right in and make our way up to the 103 floor to the sky deck.

{view from the Sky Deck}

After the Sky Deck we walked to the theater district to take a picture of the Chicago Theater sign. And we had some breakfast at a cute little French cafe.

We didn't really know what to do with the rest of our time so we decided to take a cab to the Shedd Aquarium. It was about a $12 cab ride including tip and it was about an hour wait to get into the place! If we hadn't paid for the cab we probably would not have gone on it. I love seeing the whales and marine life but it is SO cruel to keep them locked up like this.

Our evening was pretty uneventful. Since we don't get cable at home, like I mentioned in my How to Save Money post, I spent my evening watching HGTV and only got about 3 hours of sleep before we needed to be up for the shuttle to the airport :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weekend in Chicago; Part 1

How was everyone’s 4th of July weekend? Ours was busy yet full of naps and we had GREAT weather! We started the weekend with a 7am flight to Chicago; once we landed we took a shuttle to our hotel, checked in, and then headed out into the city. We walked to the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) but the wait for the sky deck was 2 hours! We said, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” So we walked to Buckingham Fountain. This whole area was blocked off in preparation for the Taste of Chicago (July 9 – 13) and reminded us of I am Legend … kind of creepy.

{Buckingham Fountain}

{are we on the set for I am Legend?}
 After the fountain we meandered through Millennium Park and took pictures with The Bean and then we made our way to Navy Pier. The pier was pretty packed, I’m sure in preparation for the nights festivities. So we walked along and stopped at a few places for food and drinks.

{The Bean}

{view from Navy Pier}
Once we were done at the pier we made our way back to the hotel and took a little nap. In the evening we headed out for some famous deep dish pizza at Gino’s East! It was delicious! I was even licking up the sauce off the plate!

{Gino's East deep dish pizza}
We headed back to Buckingham Fountain to watch the fireworks display and I have to say we were both majorly bummed by the show. There wasn’t any music, there wasn’t any HUGE display. It honestly looked like something someone would put on in their backyard (for us Texans at least). Way to keep the nickname Second City Chicago. 

{Chicago Fireworks}

{Houston Fireworks, source}

{Houston Fireworks, source}

{NYC Macy's Fireworks show, source}

{NYC Macy's Fireworks show, source}
What are some things that you have done when you've been to Chicago? 

Monday, July 7, 2014


It has been a while since I have done anything crafty. I have been wanting to make some cute labels for the baskets we have in the laundry room. Here is what I did:

1 - Bought wood plaques
2 - Drilled holes in plaques for ribbon
3 - Painted the plaques with chalkboard paint
4 - Used a smaller drill bit to push ribbon through the holes
5 - Found a font that I liked and copied it with chalk on the plaques

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