Girls Trip 2019

What’s happening everyone!

I just returned home from our Florida vacation and what a blast it was. Myself and three of my girl friends took a trip to Disney to celebrate our birthdays (and one half birthday 😁). The idea was planted way back in the spring and it’s hard to believe that it has come and gone already. So let’s relive the adventure.

Thursday October 24th 4:00AM

I thankfully got a good night’s sleep the night before, so my 4AM wake up call wasn’t as brutal as it could have been. Bags were packed and I was out the door. My mom drove myself and my friend to the airport for our departure. Bye Mom, thank you, you’re the best. We checked our big suitcases and stood in line for dreaded security. It was not bad though. We were on our way as the sun was rising.

The flight took a little more than three hours and I was happy when we finally touched down. The air was warm and humid compared to the crisp air of fall here in New England. Our luggage was thankfully taken care of , so we could head straight to the resort.We hopped on Disney’s Magical Express, and soon we were there. The bus driver’s name was “Mickey,” which I thought was fitting.

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We arrived on property t around 11AM, our room wasn’t ready yet, so we took off to Hollywood Studios first to visit Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars themed area. Before that, we had a Fastpass+ to Toy Story Mania, super fun shooting game. The objective is to hit as many targets as you can and earn the highest score. The inside where you wait in line was awesome, everything was made to look bigger so that you would feel like a toy.

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To infinity and beyond! Off to Galaxies Edge.

While I have never seen Star Wars (I know, I can hear you all gasping), the park was beautiful. I didn’t know what I was looking at, but I can appreciate the recreation of it.

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If you’re planning a trip to Disney anytime soon and love Star Wars, this is must for you. We did several activities here. First up was Oga’s Cantina where a mix of intergalactic drinks and some small eats are available.

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Here is the Cliff Dweller, a tasty beverage served in a Perf cup. A reservation is highly recommend and you can only reserve a 40 minute window to leave room for other travelers who did not make one. From there we went on the Millennium Falcon ride. Everyone is assigned a position, we got the engineers. Our function was to repair the ship from damage from enemies. This consisted of pushing flashing buttons and switches. An interactive 4D ride.

We then headed to Droid Depot to build our droids. Again, it is highly recommended you reserve a time slot. We were somehow able to get in early for ours though. Very grateful to the cast members who let us do that!

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You grab you pieces off a conveyer belt, either your BB type or R2 type. I selected BB-8, original colors. There are other colors like black and blue and purple to choose from as well. The assembly is relatively simple, then they activate your droid companion and send you on your way. A fun little experience.

Star Tours was up next, which is another 4D ride with C3PO. A “fugitive” is discovered aboard our ship and we have to escape to safety. The ride shifts and shakes to make you feel like you are actually flying through space. And for someone who doesn’t care for real rollercoasters, these rides are great. I was then able to witness my friend assemble a lightsaber. Without knowing any of the lore of the franchise, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Again, reserve a time slot. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan. By this time our other friends should be arriving, so we head back to the hotel to relax for a bit, then it was off to Disney Springs!

We ate at one of our favorite spots from the previous trip, The Polite Pig. A delicious array of smoked meat. I had the cheddar filled sausage and brisket. The best part was leftovers for the next day.

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Time to head back to the resort. Four more fun-filled days were ahead of us.

Friday October 25th, 7:00AM

My internal clock prevents me from sleeping in. But that’s okay. I was super excited for day two. We were hitting up Animal Kingdom.

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The Tree of Life was blocked off a bit by some construction that was going on, but it is still pretty wild looking. There are various animals carved in to it. What can you spot?

We ventured to Pandora the world of Avatar. It was awesome! The structures were amazing. A truly wonderful recreation.

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I stopped for a drink, the Night Blossom.

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It was a fruity drink with a light up flower floating on top and fruity mango boba.

We were then off to Navi’s River Journey. You’re taken into the water and journey down the river. There are an array of characters from the world of Avatar. Below is a short clip from outside in the park.

We then were lucky enough to score a Fastpass+ for Flight of Passage. That was one of the best rides. You’re paired with an avatar who is taking their Rite of Passage and bonding with a Banshee. You mount a “Banshee” with your 3D glasses and are flown around the beautiful world of Pandora. One of the small details I enjoyed was the mimic of the Banshee breathing as your were flying.

It was time to depart… for some lunch! Because we were all celebrating our Birthday’s we were wearing Birthday pins. I was lucky enough to score a free little cake!

From there, two of us went off to Mt Everest, and then myself and one off the girls went off to Up! A Great Bird Adventure. This was pretty cool. There were a bunch of exotic birds that were brought out. Here were two of my favorites. An owl and a Bald Eagle. Doug and Russel from Up! made an appearance as well, and will certainly make one later…

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Next on our list was the Safari. It is still one of the best experiences in Animal Kingdom. There are tons of animals that are hanging around in the vast fields.

Back behind the dinoland for kids, there is one of the BEST rides in Animal Kingdom. It may seem silly to some, but was one of our favorites that we rode twice. The ride is dinosaur themed and you are put on a time machine and sent back in time. Our objective is to bring back one of the dinos. It’s not quite a rollercoaster but is definitely fun. A T-Rex is ‘chasing’ you throughout the ride, and they snap your photo as it almost snaps up the cart that you’re riding in. If a T-Rex chasing you isn’t enough, the meteor shower that wiped out the dinos is about to hit as well. But, well all make it back to our own time period before it strikes.

In between all of this chaos, I met one of my favorite characters. Kevin from UP!

I’m not sure how the actor was able to see where I was taking a selfie, but this is damn near perfection.

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Okay, after my little freakout session, we head over to It’s Tough to be a Bug starring favorites from a timeless classic, A Bug’s Life. This is a 3D show, where you are taught how all of the strange little insects help out our environment. Hopper makes an appearance as well to try and scare us off. In the end, he gets scared off by a chameleon. The seats poke at you as the bugs are “leaving the theatre.” We then ended the day with meeting Doug and Russel from UP!

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It was back to the hotel room for some rest now. We had reservations for Morimoto in Disney Springs that night.

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A gorgeous restaurant with a delicious array of food to choose from. I got wings and shrimp tempura. Sooo good! A highly recommended spot, and not too pricey if you don’t want it to be. We also visited Sprinkles’ Cupcake ATM, open 24/7 for your sweet tooth.

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Saturday October 26th 8:00AM

Wakey wakey! On today’s adventure, Magic Kingdom.

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This is the biggest all the parks and definitely the most exhausting. It is a good idea to plan your day accordingly. Or if you like to live on the edge, wing it. That’s what we did on our first trip.

In the morning we had a reservation at Be Our Guest which took place at the Beast’s castle.

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Very pretty on the inside. And also very pricey! You order your own food from a kiosk and then the servers bring it out to the table of your choosing. An experience for sure, but likely not one I would do again. If this is one of your favorite movies though, definitely go for it.

After dining in the West Wing, we had a Fastpass+ for Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain back to back. Oh joy… Thunder Mountain isn’t that bad, kind of fun actually. But the big drop on Splash Mountain is just terrifying.. to me anyways. Comical to others. But hey, I faced my fears and put my hands up. #proudfriendmoment

After that we went on a hunt for the Arandelle Aqua ears. Spoiler alert, they eluded us the whole trip, but that’s okay. I got a picture with a bunch of balloons, so it’s all good to me.

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We were lucky enough to score a Fastpass+ for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. This one is relatively new still, and had a ridiculous wait time. Totally worth it though. SO much fun. It’s a relatively faster rollercoaster, but the bits in the mines with the seven dwarfs were really fun and adorable. Here is the Seven Dwarf’s house from the line!

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Next up was another favorite (YEAH RIGHT) of mine, Space Mountain. We had a good hour wait for this one since there were no more Fastpasses available. So we passed the time with the Heads Up app. A super fun game that definitely passes the time. I recommend it if you find yourself waiting in long lines with funny friends. The ride was a lot faster than I remember it being last year, and there was a lot of yelling and laughter going on. There was laughing and even some crying.

In that same area we did the Carousel of Progress. This one is really cool. You sit in a rotating theater and go through the decades. Our progress is shown and our roots and where we came from is appreciated. Since the ride is continuous, the ride never has a long line, and its a nice way to cool off for a little bit. Our next stop was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Another shooting game where you have to hit the targets and earn as many points as possible to defeat Zurg. For whatever reason, theses games are ones I excel at. Soo, I guess you’ll want me around when the Zombie Apocalypse happens ;).

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Giant view master from the ride, and Buzz Lightyear!

Nigh started to settle in, but there was one more ride we had to do before the fireworks show on the castle started. Here is the village square from Tangled below, one my all time favorites.

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We hit up the Haunted Mansion Ride before the show. This is slow ride. Sit back, relax and enjoy all the ghosts… wait what? Yea, you read that right. It’s a little spooky. And we got stuck on the ride, AGAIN, in the exact same spot as we did last year! Talk about creepy.

After our encounter with the spirits, we found a spot to park our butts for the Show on the Castle. We waited a little bit before it started, but it was completely worth the wait. For whatever reason, I was really emotional. I was here, I was alive. I was finding myself more and more everyday. I was in a position to make this happen for myself. Magical did not even begin to describe the display of lights and fireworks that they put on. A truly great ending to the day.

Sunday October 27th, 8:30AM

It became increasingly more difficult to wake up each day. We stayed out later and later. But hey, it was a Girls Trip! Today’s schedule included Epcot! My personal favorite park, and not only because the Food and Wine festival was going on, but because of Test Track. Yet Track is my absolute favorite ride ever! But we had a stop to make before we hit up that.

First on our Fastpass+ list was Frozen Ever After. I missed this one last time I was here and only remembered when I was back home. It was well worth the wait. You are taken in yet another boat to see Olaf, Sven, Anna, Kristoff and finally Elsa. As you work your way around, you see her magic castle come to life. It was truly magical.

We circled back around towards the front of the park to go to Test Track! Why is the ride so expertly fantastic you might ask? Well, first you get to build your own car. There are four categories in which you are tested. Responsiveness, Efficiency, Capability and finally Power. On our first visit to the park, we didn’t really know what we were doing. But what we realized this time around was that the overall speed of the ride was based on how powerful you could get your car..

So off we went. It takes you through various courses for the response, efficiency and capability portions, and then finally, you test your power… I think we reached a speed of about 67 MPH outside, or at least that’s what the overheard monitor said as we rode past it. Here’s a fun little collection of Test Track.

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(It may not be pretty, but it was fast.)

From there we were going to head back to the food… but I got distracted because we were going to have a chance to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out and Baymax from Big Hero Six. The Experience was just as great as it sounds…

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As I captioned this photo on social media, I’ll caption it here. “Find someone who looks at you the way I look at Baymax.”

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The whole gang!

The rest of day consisted of visiting the countries and eating food. Like this giant donut!

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“No donuts were eaten in the making of this photo”

When we circled back around to Norway, we got to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

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Our last ride of the day was the Gran Fiesta Tour. You are taken on a leisurely boat ride through Mexico. It was a nice ending to Epcot.

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It was our last day and our last park. It was time to say goodbye. A bittersweet feeling.

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After we had our fill of food we head back to the hotel to relax on our last day. We took our final shuttle ride over to Disney Springs for dinner. One more final walk around. One more time to soak in the sites, until next time.

Being able to go on these adventures makes me incredibly grateful to be here. I have great friends I can take them with, and great friends and family to return home to.

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Until the next adventure… Motor on.

 

The 24th Year

Afternoon everyone!

This post will be brief, but full of love.

Two days ago, (October 8th) was my birthday! Hooray!

This year, I could not be any more grateful for the family and friends that are in my life. I had been down for most of this past year, but with some changes and a different outlook, I feel like I have reached my best self that I can so far. I celebrated my birthday this year like I have every year, with the people who mean the most to me.

The day started with a delicious breakfast made by my boyfriend, steak and eggs. Followed by a half day at work, because my work ethic is strong. The rest of the day was filled with heartfelt wishes from friends and time spent with my family. We ventured to the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA. I had been going to this fair since I was in a baby carriage. Here are some photos!

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A carousel full of lights and wonder

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Bacon on a stick!

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And the big pumpkin! Weighing 2,294lbs!

The smells and sites are all very familiar. Everything is always in he same place, and although only seen once a year, is like a second home. Traditions like this are built from a place of love and celebration. A celebration of the day someone important to us was brought in to this world. For my family, this celebration was about me. I won’t go in to details, but I brought them a lot of joy.

I’ve been a bit materialistic, but that has gone away over time. I now know the value of time well spent with people that matter, than an object that will be forgotten about in years to come. Memories are much more important. No matter what happens, I know my family will be by my side, and I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

As I travel in to this next chapter of my life I look forward to the adventures and memories I will make a long the way.

Until next time.

Motor on.

Horsepower Farm

Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog. Today we are going to do something a little different. I’d like to start interviewing people that I know and that I come across along the way and share their stories. I will be sharing what they do, how they got in to cars, where it all started and what exciting things they are working on now and will be in the future.

For my first one, I interviewed my friend Rick Serino. Rick has been a car enthusiast since he was a child. For him, it started with Matchbox Cars. He had “all” of them, and they were all categorized. I asked if he had any pictures, but cameras were a luxury when he was a kid.

We moved on to his first car, which was a 1976 Mercury Capri. For those who are unfamiliar, like I was, it was basically Mercury’s version of Ford’s Mustang. This was when Rick first started messing with Stereo Systems. His dad was an electronics teacher, so he got him into electronics at a very young age. He had access to tons of electronics that were broken when he was growing up, which allowed him to mess around a lot. He would take things apart and put them back together. “Like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.” He would mess around with everything from speakers to lights. Hang them on his wall and wire them all together. Every ‘toy’ he had was taken apart and made his own. He attributes his talents and knowledge of how things work to his father. Without him, he wouldn’t know how to make the art he does today.

We chatted about Cruising Downtown 2019. For those unfamiliar with that event, just over a thousand car owners and a couple thousand car enthusiasts gather on Elm St. in Downtown Manchester, NH for one of the biggest car shows in the state. Rick set up shop with his welded art and collection of cars for the show.

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Mostly everything sold, except for just a few larger items. He went on to explain that the dismantling of electronics transferred to the dismantling of the electronics in cars. He always had an appreciation for the mechanics of them, but never quite knew what to do until his late twenties. At that point, he had the money to start buying stuff and messing around with them. After his first Mercury Capri, he owned a Subaru, and from there he got a Capri 5.0. This was his first muscle car, which he changed the exhaust, corroborator, wheels tires, and put his own big stereo in it. “Shit you can afford when you’re in your twenties. Rick then joined the military, sold the Capri 5.0 and bought a 1977 Camaro when he was out in Indiana. He pulled the motor, transmission, added nitrous, a new exhaust, wheels and tires, took out the back seats and put in a stereo. It had about 26 speakers from what he remembers.

One of the cars that Rick had bought was a Red and Black Chrysler 300

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The stereo was built by Traffic Jams, had Air ride and everything else. The car was unfortunately totaled when someone pulled out in front him while driving. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could have been done. One of his cars that I best remember him for is an old Ford Truck. He originally picked it up in 2001 and it was black with yellow and orange flames. It is now white with black and tan flames and looks bad. He built the transmission, drive train and rearend of that car, gutted the interior. Recently he blew the motor and put a whole new transmission and motor in, among a long list of other things. “Built from the ground up.”

He most recent project is his 1930 Ford

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Rick has about 6 spaces at his house for cars and then a few more at a shop up the road where someone helps him with his projects. I moved on to his MINI, as he did own one. Which was the reason that I had originally met him. I asked what made him get a MINI. His response was that he always wanted one, “car guy stuff.” He went on to say that every car guy wants one, and he doesn’t care who they are or what they say. In Rick’s opinion, the little compact British car is just missing 150HP, which is easily attained. From there, the little machines are unstoppable. His MINI had nothing too crazy done to it, exhaust, cold air intake, wheels, tires and of course, an updated stereo.

I asked Rick what was the most fun car he owned, and his response was the MINI Cooper. He raced it, met a bunch of people and went all kinds of places. The MINI community really is a force to be reckoned with. However, he followed with it’s not the most powerful or the most exhilarating, but definitely the most fun he’s had. The most powerful car he’s owned is his truck.

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I then asked what was the worst car he owned, and his response was his Subaru. They are fun, but the particular one he owned was nothing special.

He’s done a lot of car projects over the years, and the one that he has( and is) enjoying the most is his 1930 Ford. He just bought the body of that car and has been building it from the ground up. A “tin can.” He took the engine, transmission, tires and rims, brake system, and electronics from the Chrysler 300 (shown above) that he crashed and dropped the shell of the Ford right over it all. The challenges with this project now is just finding the time to work on it and the man power to help.

Rick has a full time job, along with the building of other people’s car that he does, and all the welding work that he does on the side.Welding art has always been something that he’s done, but he never really sold it. After his accident, he messed around with it and was posting stuff on Facebook. People were always asking how much his pieces were and they eventually grew in to people asking for custom orders. Before the Christmas of 2018, he had about 20 orders stacked up. It’s worked out though, and he has continued to create things. Here”s a few things that he has created.

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I asked him where he gets all the stuff for his creations and he said he’s been collecting stuff for 20 years. People drop off things here and there, but mostly it’s been collecting. Rick keeps himself busy, although sometimes he wants a break. Money is money, and you can’t say no to thousands of dollars. Plus, its still a lot of fun.

In the future, Rick would like to host an event at his place, which really would be attainable. He wants to be able to never leave his house and make money, which in a way, he’s already half way there. He’s living the dream.

So follow him on Instagram, @horsepower_n_goats and on Facebook, Horsepower Farm. And he also loves Tool, which was playing in the background of our interview.

Thanks Rick!

Flip Flops and Big Blocks

It’s been a while blog world. I have had a busy summer filled with car shows, events, new friends, new jobs just life in general. Since I was last here, I have continued to conquer autocross and Louisa won a few car shows. But perhaps the biggest adventure of all was a trip to Pontiac, Michigan this past weekend.

Some of you may have heard of Woodward Ave, some may not. I was one of the people who had not. For those who don’t know, Woodward Avenue is the heart of Pontiac Michigan. It is said that this was where the first ticket for street racing. This happened in March of 1895. The road first saw big spoked wheels and wagons. But in the 50s cars changed into something more reliable and became something we used to get from point A to point B. This 13 mile stretch naturally attracted a lot of people. Drive in diners started to pop up all along the road. Unlike today, a lot of these places were family owned. Coupled with the long wide stretch of road and automotive lovers in the surrounding area, it has taken its place in car history.

When spending some time with my boyfriend at the shop where he works he mentioned the event ‘Roadkill Nights’ that was happening the coming weekend (August 9th and 10th) in Pontiac, Michigan. He said he wanted to road trip out there. Famous last words of mine, I said, ‘let’s do it’. The following week consisted of getting his Caprice road ready and a little more safe for us to travel in. We looked at the route, 11 hours, 685 miles, not too bad! Then we realized that was going through Canada which we couldn’t do. So instead it was 13 hours and 764 miles. Meh, still not bad.

Monday August 5th

I was sitting at work dying for it to be the weekend so we could head out. We decided it would be best to leave Thursday night in the early morning so we could get there Friday evening and have a little time to explore.

Thursday August 8th, 12:45AM

My alarm went off after only getting 3 hours of sleep. I was still pumped though and ready to go. We packed up really quick, loaded the car and were ready to go. I was in charge of the route. It was dark, quiet. It was 1AM. No one was around. We headed out towards Keene and hit a long stretch of road in Vermont, Route 9 (more to come on this road later). We stopped at some rest stops along the way, I slept through a lot of the morning driving. We stopped for breakfast in Weedsport, New York at a place called Cook’s Village Diner. Small, a lot of locals.

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It was good! Bacon makes any day better. We continued on in to Pennsylvania Welcome Center, took a quick break and hung out in the grass. You could see out into the distance forever. The day was beautiful.

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We stopped again in Erie, Pennsylvania at a place called Tasty Bowl for lunch. I had broccoli, rice  and chicken and tried sushi for the first time. (Yes, it was indeed, Tasty.)

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Driving definitely takes a lot out of you, or in my case, being a passenger takes a lot out of you. We stopped again in Avon Ohio for some nuggies at Wendy’s and a trip to Goodwill. Thrift shopping is fun, don’t knock it til you try it! By he time we left it was about 3:30PM. We had a little less than 4 hours to go until we would reach the hotel.

At 7:00 PM we finally reached destination number one Courtyard by Marriott. We checked in and it was definitely time for a shower and a nap. The schedule events for Friday were done, but we went cruising around anyways. There were some cool cars still out and about rolling through the streets of Pontiac. We went to a place called Moose Preserve Bar & Grill for some dinner and drinks. It had been a long 20 hours. But we made it. The fun begins tomorrow.

Saturday August 10th 7:00 AM

For someone who was only able to sleep for like 5 hours in the past 30, I was feeling pretty good. It was likely because I was just so excited to get started on the day. We had picked out breakfast the night before so we could just get up and go. We decided on a place called Kerby’s Koney Island. It was ironically right across the street from the place we went to the night before. The inside was cute, it looked it had been there for a while. We sat at the little counter across from the open kitchen. Staff was friendly, and you could tell that they had worked together for a long time. Requests were met with curiosity for their own personal cooking and carried out wonderfully. I’d come back again.

Next it was off to Woodward Ave for the main event. There were several lots off site that we needed to be shuttled to the event from. The shuttles were old schoolhouses, and I emphasize the word old. I’m more of a nervous person than not, I freak out on the T in Boston when it goes over a bump, this was something else. ANYWAYS when we arrived and got off the bus (and even little before that) we could hear the screeching of tires burning rubber. My boyfriend turned to me and asked if those were tires, I laughed and said “hell yea, I think so.”

First up, we needed to check in with MotorTrend, a subscription service to various car videos, builds, drag racing, you name it. Being a subscriber gave you access to the MotorTrend Lounge which was out of the sun, had free snacks and drinks and gave you one free beer (to start at noon). There were also a number of people who would be there throughout the day that you could meet and have sign stuff and chat with. The out of the sun part was the best to me. They also gave you a fastpass to the Dodge Thrill Rides, which was where all the tire screeching was coming from. In one section there were Dodge Chargers and Challengers drifting around course taking people for thrill rides. Our fastpass was for 2:30-3:00, so we had to wait a little bit.

First up was the concourse, the section set aside for people who registered and wanted to show their car. Most of them were Dodges, and rightfully so I suppose, but there was a lot of other cool stuff to see as well.

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Like this Prowler and Viper sitting pretty side by side

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77ish Trans Am

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72 Camaro

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70s Challenger

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Early 70s Corvette

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05 Charger

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67-68 Ford Mustang

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A mixture of things

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CJ 7

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My boyfriend and a sexy cop lady

We attempted to watch some drag racing, but unless you were in the VIP section or managed to score a seat high up in the bleachers you didn’t have much luck seeing anything. We wanted to get a glimpse of the starting line, but that turned out to be pretty difficult. So we checked out some merch, I bought a t-shirt and some stickers (of course). The day was winding down. It was just about 2:30 and time for the thrill rides. When we walked to that area, the line was so long we didn’t see the end. Someone in passing said that the wait was three hours long. Hundreds of people wee standing there. But only a handful were in the fastpass line. Thank goodness. The speaker keeping the crowd entertained had a great voice. He was talking to a kid who was in line, telling him about how they burn through thousands of tires a year, just regular tires too. They are allowed to come, make a mess of wherever they’re at and then go, no clean up required. I would guess there is someone else to do that? But who knows.

It was finally our turn to go. I started to get really nervous. Uncontrollable  laughter ensued. Queue ridiculous high pitched screeching as the Charger we where in took off and whipped around the cones. Here’s a video inside the car, and some photos I took outside.

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This was the ending of a ridiculously fun time. Here is the video of our time at the event.

We had seen all that we could and it was time to start the long journey back home. We took the famous 8 mile road back out. But there was one place I needed to stop before I left…

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Years ago I used to watch a show called Hardcore Pawn. One of those cheesy pawn shop reality shows. I hadn’t thought about the show in years, but when I was wondering what else we could do or see while we were in Detroit, this place popped in to my head. And you can bet your ass we visited.

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Maybe this isn’t cool to some people, but it was wicked cool to see. I had never been someplace that I had watched on TV. Inside was smaller than what TV made it look like, but still cool to see none the less. The owner, Les Gold, was even in the back behind the counter and I got to catch a glimpse. I was trying not to freak out, as this was just an everyday pawn shop for everyone else there. I had my fill and we left. A quick trip to Starbucks and we were back on the road.

Man, that 13 hour car ride did not seem so exciting since now we were leaving instead of going. But I was happy that we would be returning back home to the familiars of New Hampshire. It’s cool to watch how highways and scenes change from one state to the next, until you’re back where you know.

8 hours in to our excursion home, we stopped at Niagra Falls, the New York side. I know, I know, “its better on the canadian side,” but again, we couldn’t go through Canada. It was just about 6:30AM when we got there, so it was quiet, not many people were around It was the perfect opportunity to get some videos and some photos before the crowd rush came in. By the time that we reached the actual scenic view, the crowds were already starting to roll in. I did manage to grab few pictures before that though.

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Breathtaking is the only way I can describe it really. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. The view of the Canadian side was nice, and I will definitely be back again to see the opposite view. Heres a quick video of us walking around, there really arent words to describe it, so I’ll show you instead.

We stopped for some yummy breakfast,

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and we were back on our way home. We still had 7 hours to go.

When we finally hit Vermont, we were feeling good. Roads looked more familiar. The air was fresh. Route 9 awaited us again, and this time, not in the dark. This last video is of Route 9 through Vermont, our last stretch to home.

The experience was amazing. A last minute road trip I would not have wanted to take with anyone else. More adventures await us in the future.

Motor on.

Conquering Autocross and the Kanc

What’s up everyone? It’s been a while since I posted last. It’s been a hectic couple months and I have a feeling that things may finally be turning around. Anyways, this past weekend was long and busy and so much fun. Two events, two days and loads of memories to share.

Saturday May 18th, 5:30AM

There is, of course, only one reason why I would be up so early and that is for something car related. Well, this would be my very FIRST Autocross event! I went along with the BMW Car Club of America, and they put on a fantastic event! Everyone is super helpful and friendly. The days leading up consisted of me getting things together that I thought I would need. Snacks, water, chair, helmet, and a variety of other stuff. EVERYTHING, needs to be taken our of your car that is loose, that includes the floor mats (which I did forget, but was reminded thanks to my friend Kathy!). So, the best way that everyone does this is to get a bin, a tote bin. I took to Amazon and found one that I thought was going to fit in the trunk… but it did not. So in to the front seat it went. 60611949_2320341514654384_7733489762098479104_n.jpg

I was excited for the day I was about to have. I had gone to one last year to be an observer and a passenger, and that was awesome too. My friend had told me that its much more stressful to be a passenger than a driver, and she was correct!

This past sessions started with tech inspect and helmet inspection. Your car is checked to make sure that everything is up to par, and helmets are checked to make sure they are within regulations. After that there is a drivers meeting and the Novices get a special walkthrough the course. Seeing it ahead of time and keeping in mind a few tips, I felt ready. I was in Run Group 2, which meant I worked the course first and then ran second. We then broke for lunch and did it all again in the afternoon! I was out on corner 5, and I will admit, that was not my favorite thing. Nothing hard, cone falls down, go and pick it up. Now… I’m not a very active person, so if three cones fall down in a row, its not a fun time. But whatever, its all part of the day. I will focus on the fun stuff.

When I was lined up for my run, it all kind of hit me at once. I was here, I was doing this. CRAP, I WAS DOING THIS. I considered backing out, I really did. I was unsure if I could actually do it. All novices are required to go with an instructor, which is super helpful. My first run was focused on the course, getting around and making sure that I stayed on it. I lucked out, the times were messed up and I got a rerun. So that first one really was a practice run. I’ll shut up now, and show you what I was up to.

What I gathered from this day, is that I need to keep my lines tighter and find the fastest way around, and pay attention to where I’m going next as to not overshoot a turn. There were several runs I did NOT film, where I almost spun out and was slightly off course. All in all, it was a super fun day. Tell me what you think! and if you have any questions, feel free to leave comments! Even though I had such a great day, I was super happy to get back home, take a shower and go to sleep. The next day was going to be just as long!

Sunday May 19, 6:30 AM
Not early, but still early. That extra hour of sleep and copious amounts of sleep the night before definitely helped though. Today was the NEMS Biannual Kanc Cruise to benefit Make a Wish. I had gone on it in October of lat year, which was also a lot of fun. If you are from the New England area, I recommend checking it out and coming along in October. Proceeds go to Make a Wish and it a fun day of driving and friends. Shenanigans, driving, lunch, more shenanigans, more driving, snacks. We all met in the morning and cruised to NHTI in Concord together. Once parked, it’s a waiting game. It’s nice to hang out and catch up with people I don’t see too often though. After that, everyone drives the planned route, or their own, to the lunch spot. After lunch, it’s a free for all up north, where the roads are twisty, and the sky was clear. Here is a short video from the day!

The weekend was long and fun. I would do all again and not change a thing. Until the next adventure, whatever you drive and whatever you do, Motor On!

Universal Studios Orlando 2019

Hello everyone!

I’m back from my tip from Universal Studios Orlando, and boy what a trip it was!

A few things to start off with, yes, I went alone. Yes, I chose to go alone. Yes, I had a fantastic time, and yes, I would go alone again. I’m a very social person, but I need my alone time. It was great taking this vacation by myself, and there was nothing weird about it, at all! If you’re considering going somewhere alone, and are unsure about it, don’t be! Sometimes taking a solo trip is just what you need. Also while leaving for my trip I was emotional. It’s funny to think how things change, and to see how far you’ve come. I’m so grateful for all the chances I have been given thus far that allowed me to take this trip. Shit sucks, but this trip showed me everything isn’t always bad, and there’s bright days right around the corner, or in this case, just a plane ride away.

So let’s start from the beginning!

Friday February 1, 2019 10:30AM

I got ready and was all packed for my trip. My mom, sis and I all made our way down to Boston Logan International Airport. I drove down because I know my way around better and LuLu had to be taken in for some work while I was away (She’s all better now!). I got to the airport and got through security wayyyyy to early, and ended up having to wait around at my gate for over an hour! When boarding finally began, I got really anxious. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. I flew JetBlue, so I got to pick my seat ahead of time. I picked a window seat, of course, and got to board the plan first thankfully. I put my luggage overhead and settled in. Headphones in, volume up. Didn’t want to talk to random plane people haha.

A quick three hours with some catch up on Hulu made the plan ride a breeze. When I landed in MCO I did NOT get lost and found my way to the Universal check in point. I got a little zipper pouch with my tickets and some coupons! Sweet! From there I waited for the shuttle to pick me up to bring me to my hotel. I was so tired and hungry, I just wanted to chill out. The shuttle ride took a  little longer than expected, as it stopped at almost EVERY resort on the property to drop off the other passengers, it’s okay. This helped me out on the other end.

ANYWAYS. I checked in, changed and then grabbed some food at the hotel. It was called Urban Pantry, and was like a glorified cafeteria. I greasy burger and some fries was just the thing I needed before I turned in for the night.

Saturday February 2, 2019 8:00AM

GOOD MORNING ORLANDO!

I was never so excited to be up so early. I got ready and then head downstairs to grab some breakfast. To my delight, they had Eggs Benedict. My breakfast of choice. It was decent. I then went outside to wait for the shuttle. When I got there I was so excited, I could hardly wait to start my adventure. When we arrived, I was simply amazed.

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This is what first greeted me (besides the hoards of strollers and more security to go through) when I finally got in to the resort. Universal City Walk, as it is lovingly referred to, was filled with restaurants, movie theaters, clubs, shops, bars and carts to buy all the stuff you don’t need. I didn’t take many pictures when I was first walking through because I was taking it all in.20190202_094903-16193090320998902810.jpg

I took this one photo because, Hard Rock Cafe, a favorite chain spot of mine, and the Toothsoome Chocolate Factory, which will be discussed in depth later on. I decided to go to Island of Adventure first. OH BOY. Again, just breathtaking when walking in. There’s just nothing quite like an amusement park that isn’t built in 20 minutes the night before.

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This little alley of shops, including a Christmas store, a Cinnabon, and a boutique with tacky resort clothing.

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There was the Hulk roller coaster (no, I didn’t go on it), 3D Spiderman ride, Dr Doom drop ride, another big nope on the scale, arcades and more. This was a little kid’s, physical or at heart’s, superhero dream come true. The first day consisted of a lot of walkthroughs. I didn’t know where I was going, and was pretty much just taking it all in. I did a lot of shopping this day too. But I did go on a few rides. The first one I stumbled across was Skull Island: King Kong. I was only a 10 minute wait, so I said, what the hell. I’ll go in it.

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A 3D thrill ride exploring the island of Kong. You get on a little bus that takes you around the island. Combating giant Worms and other various creatures. The line itself was cool too, because there was lot of creatures in cages, and boxes making growling and hissing noises as you walked by. There were pitch black coves with people hiding in them, reaching their hands out to grab helpless line waiters. It was fun. I’m a fan for the 3D rides for a few different reasons. 1, I hate roller coasters. They are not fund, they are train tracks of fear and dismay. 3D rides allow you to be somewhere else, and even though you know you aren’t really there, its still fun. So after I fell off a rope bridge and almost got eaten by a T-Rex I continued my wandering.

Jurassic World is what I  came across next, I was going to wait in live to meet a Velociraptor, but I felt that WAS something better experienced with other people. Guess I will just have to come back!

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RAWR

Anyways… continue on I did into Hogsmeade. *tacky Universal music ensues*

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Wooo! I made it! Words do not really describe the pure enjoyment of this place. The attention to detail was incredible. And I got to buy an overpriced cup of Cream Soda with whipped cream. It was a great time. I have to admit, I didn’t take half as many pictures as I should have, but my phone was away for most of this trip. I wanted to enjoy myself.20190202_105122-18948971334510650771.jpg20190202_105928-16473260414696767267.jpg

I spent a little time in and out of the shops. I went in to HoneyDukes, because I don’t know, I had to?? Instead of me buying a chocolate frog in a cardboard box that I was never going to eat, I decided to spend an extra $8 and buy a glass jewelry box instead. This way, I have something that I WOULD use and can keep as a memory forever, and not a giant chocolate frog that would turn that weird white color that chocolate does.

My next stop on my list today was to take the Hogwarts Express in between parks.

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They had this one all set up and stationary for all your selfie needs.

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Here is a crappy video of the train because I was not prepared. The train ride to the other park was short, but not short of entertainment. The ‘windows’ had screens in them that opened up the woods and mysterious of the Harry Potter world. The sliding doors of the carts had screens as well, and you could see students walking around out in the halls of the train. Diagon Alley was just right around the corner.

I got off the train and was thankful that I was not waiting in the line that was on this end of the tracks. Here’s a few more sights that greeted me on the other end.

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Just a few more beautiful sights to be had.

I then ventured into the main attraction..

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Again, no words for seeing this for the first time.

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This guy, in the smaller bank. who ACTUALLY responded to questions.

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RAWR

Of course, one of the things that I needed to do was go to Olivander’s and buy a wand. The one that I chose was called Hawthorne. The description is:

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I didn’t get the chance to get on any rides this day, but not to worry! We are still only on day 1. The reason I did not is because I tried to go on the Escape from Gringots ride, but was told I could not bring my backpack, and I understood why when I finally did get to go on it (more to come on that). I went to wait in line to use the free lockers and promptly noped my way out of that situation. I decided that today would just be a day for exploring and shopping, and maybe a ride here or there if I could.

After watching a brief street show about the three brothers and spending much more money than I was anticipating to spend, I decided to venture around to the rest of the park.

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The Back to the Future train20190202_120901-13480359832594936634

No caption needed for this one.

I went on one more ride before calling it a day. FAST AND FURIOUS SUPERCHARGED. Hell yea.20190202_122604-16300801082835129628.jpg

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This is a car blog after all, so here are the cars ;).

Once again, another 3D thrill ride down the streets fighting Shaw and avoiding pieces of flying scrap metal and bullets. A high speed pursuit without actually moving in the ‘party bus,’ exactly my kind of ride. Here’s a few more looks for good measure.

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It was peaking in to late afternoon, and I had been up wandering around since early that morning. I had bought everything I could get my hands on, so I was time for me to venture back to the hotel for a little bit. I walked through City Walk to see what there as for food and such.

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The Globe!

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This photo does not do this place justice. The largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world. It was a goddamn Colosseum, LITERALLY!

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This was some neat stuff too.

I walked around and back to the shuttles and went back to the hotel for a couple hours to decompress, process everything I had seen for the day and get ready for dinner. I was not sure where I was planning on going, but ended up deciding on Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.  20190202_191615-25018941983966174264.jpg

Nice view of the entrance at night.

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The size of this place was nuts. It was awesome. The steampunk theme inside the restaurant was awesome. I don’t have many photos of the inside because I didn’t want to disturb anyone’s dinner. I took a few at the bar though. 20190202_192434-21442086249521551905.jpg

So pretty, so much chocolate alcohol.

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CHOCOLATE CHERRY MULE. Not to sound like an alcoholic, but I’ve had my fair share of mixed drinks in my short time since I turned 21. This drink was, BY FAR,the BEST drink I have ever had. So far. I have plenty of time for more adventures after all. I ordered myself a Filet Mignon, which was the best meal I’ve had so far too. For dessert, I ordered the Chocolate Mousse, I dark rich plate of deliciousness. I would fly back to Orlando just to eat here, if you get to go, or go back to universal, this place is a must.

After dinner, it was a late night walk back to the shuttles and a short ride back to the hotel. I turned in for the night, ready for another full day.

Sunday February 3, 2019 7:30AM

Good morning again!

I was up even earlier this day because I knew I had a lot of ground to cover in such a short amount of time. It’s funny though, time. I sit here and think to myself, wow, last week I was so excited to go, and now it’s all over and is just a memory. A great one, and one that I will no doubt experience again.

Day 2 was going to be ride day. I didn’t take my backpack this day so that I could get on and off the rides as I pleased. To my delight, a few of the rides had single rider lines, lucky me! The first ride that I was heading to was Escape from Gringots, since that was the first one I sent away from the day before. On the way there though, I stopped at the Transformers ride, the wait was short.

Walking through the bank was super cool, and again wicked detailed. However, while stationary waiting in a section of the line, you can see how the line winds through the back of the building, so far out, I couldn’t see the end. I CAN’T imagine how busy and how long this line gets during busy season. As it was, the ride broke down while I was standing in line, and had about a 75 minute wait.

Once I was in there though, more 3D action ensued. Except, this time the ride had some drops.. Let me tell you, when Bellatrix smashed our tracks and I was teetering off the edge, I was screaming. The older couple next to me did not make a sound the entire time, and I was yelling my head off. Ah, a good time. Worth it though. Super fun. Here’s a few pictures from inside, and the dragon again. Rawr.

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I ventured out of Diagon Alley and walked around to the Men in Black:Alien Attack. This was a shooter game as you go through a course with a laser gun. I will say this, Universal made the waiting in lines bearable. There is a lot of cool stuff that they have set up to look at, take pictures of. I wasn’t able to take too many pictures because it was not that busy for the most part. The line was always moving. I did snap one blurry pic from inside the line though.20190203_115358-17752202431022408211.jpg

I walked around a bit more and caught a glimpse of the Despicable Me characters. Minions!

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In this same area, there was a diner with a bunch of old cars outside it.

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Naturally, this was a cool spot for several different reasons. Cars, of course. And they actually run! The day before when I walked by these were not outside. The place was also my favorite color. 20190203_095026-15601775673989769687.jpg20190203_095038-17880006924249613787.jpg

I was done with Universal Studios for the morning and walked around to the other park, Islands of Adventure. I didn’t realize that the day before I had not walked around a whole different side of the park. There was a Dr. Seuss section!

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Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, books of my childhood, movies I loved, and still do. For nostalgia purposes, I did go on the Cat in the Hat ride through, which primarily little kids went on, but I don’t care, it was awesome.

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The next section was of the Lost Continent. It was filled with large rock statues and old temples. Again, the attention to detail on some of theses structures was just incredible. I ate at Mythos for lunch, which was supposedly the best amusement park restaurant two years in a row. But. in all honesty, it could have been better.

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That fancy butter though…

Beforehand while I was waiting, I went into a little shop across the way that had the pick a pearl gig and pick your setting. Me, being the sucker I am for jewelry went and got one, and I’m glad that I did. 20190211_1326362158914600137308142.jpg

Buying junk and props are great and all. I”m a bit of a collector of all sorts of stuff myself. But having something that can commemorate an experience that can remind you of it everyday is cool too. This was my gift to myself.

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The rest of that afternoon was filled with sights like these and people watching. An even more interesting pass time in an amusement park. I played in an arcade for a little while. Because how can I resist that??

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And naturally, I won this guy out of a claw machine game. The master, even in Florida.

Ah, the walks back are always nice.

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After a long day of my endless roaming around, it was time to head back to the hotel. It was Super Bowl Sunday after all. I had some homework I needed to get done and I wanted to watch the game. What better way to enjoy homework AND the Super Bowl all at once? I will give you the answer…

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A rooftop bar. Drinks. Wings. Giant TVs. I don’t think anything could have been better. OH WAIT. The Pats won their 6th Superbowl. That definitely made it better. WOO! GO PATS! Time for bed, and time for my last day here.

Monday February 4th, 2019 8:00AM

TEARS. I was sad that it was my last day, but I had my fun and was glad that I went. Breakfast consisted of leftover wings and fries, which surprisingly tasted better cold than it did warm the night before. Oh well! There were still a few things that I wanted to do that I had not done the last few days. Today was going to be a shorter day.

I wanted to go on the Forbidden Journey ride in Hogsmeade, so I head straight there. The previous two days the line was more than an hour and I just was not about that. The line today was only about 20 minutes. Soooo, I was not overly prepared for that ride. It was not a roller coaster and was not scary. But all the omni theater stuff and flying around made me a little dizzy. It also did not go upside down, but it tipped you pretty far back when flying around the spider cavern. It was awesome 10/10 would do it again. That was the last ride I did at Universal Studios. But I did a bit more exploring.20190204_105743-26242097629492998868.jpg20190204_105758-22886786007667788408.jpg20190204_105801-2302471294845924096.jpg

I circled around to the Jurassic World exhibit, where I got to watch a dinosaur hatch. There was a group of friends, probably around my age, and one of them was absolutely freaking out about this. Once it hatched, she got to name it. It was great.

After some more people watching I stopped in for lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp before continuing on to the last few rides. 10/10 would eat there again. SO good.

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Literally some of the BEST shrimp I have ever eaten in my life. Highly recommend.

I got to keep that glass too, another cool token of my journey. After Bubba Gump, I ventured over to Island of Adventure again for the last few rides of the day. The first one I went on was not something I was planning on originally, but decided to give it a shot, Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon. As one of my favorite late night hosts and cities combined into one, why not? It was another 3D adventure through Times Square. Again, although you aren’t really moving, it definitely feels like you are. We ended up on the moon and rode a roller coaster back to earth. Fantastic.

Revenge of the Mummy. I had seen the ride on the map the two days prior, but like some of the other ones, it had a long wait time. Today, it only had like 15 minute wait. Now, I thought this was another 3D ride, or just a ride through with scary mummys and stuff. And I was right… about half of that. The first 10 seconds you ride through and mummys jump out at you and then. you go up a hill, and theres only one way back down.. backwards. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for that indoor, dark ass roller coaster, that was NOT 3D. The lack of 3D glasses while waiting in line should have been a hint, but it was too late when I realized it…

WELL, I was done for rides for the day anyways. That was enough screaming and heart attack for a lifetime. The rest of the day was lowkey, taking in the sights of the park before I left.

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My mom told me she had come to this place when she was on her honeymoon. Ironic timing.

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I bought an overpriced slushie for my walk back to the shuttle too!

It was bittersweet for sure. I hung out in my hotel room, packing up my stuff for the flight home the next morning. I swear my suitcase weighed twice as much as it did while I was packing than when I had arrived.

I went back up to the rooftop bar to take in some of the sights I did not get a chance to the night before. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but being able to see everything from high up never gets old for me.

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It was quiet up here. Even with all the rush of cars and people below. I was sad to leave. I could’ve hung out up there all night.

There were not many places I was interested in for dinner. So I decided to go back to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium for my last meal in Orlando. The Cherry Chocolate Mule did not disappoint again, not one bit. For dinner, another Filet Mignon, why not.

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Again, some of the best food I had ever eaten. I bought one more item to commemorate my journey, and of course a chocolate bar.

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One last view of the two places that were perfectly set next to each other if you ask me. A little contrast is sometimes a good thing. *Sigh* Goodbye Universal City Walk, Hard Rock Cafe, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and the rest of it all. It was fun. Until next time.

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The lights of the night life faded in the distance and I ventured back to the hotel with a weekend full of memories. Time for an early flight the next morning.

Tuesday February 5th, 2018 6:00AM

Ugh… waking up early, and not for fun reasons. I was thankfully the last pick up before heading to the airport, so I didnt have to have a tour of the whole property like when I had arrived.

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Pusheen and I are heading home!

The plane ride felt like 5 minutes, unlike the one there.

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Unlimited snack on JetBlue!

I had a great time. I was so glad I went, and happy I went solo. Trips alone are fun and sometimes needed. It was nice to be able to do my own thing at my own pace without having to worry about other people. Goodbye is just a see you later, I’m sure I’ll be back again to make even more memories.

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Hear Me Out

Picture this.

Imagine something you love. Or someone you love. Imagine that thing that makes your heart sing. Imagine that thing that you would give anything for, your time, your energy, your everything. Imagine that thing there with you, and imagine how happy it makes you.

Now imagine that same thing in a different way. Imagine that thing or that person that you love is not good for you. Imagine that object is toxic to your overall wellbeing. Imagine that although it makes you happy, it is ultimately not worth your time, your energy, you everything. Imagine that thing is right in front of you, so close, but yet, you are not able to reach it.

Would you walk away? Some things in our life are very hard. And sometimes not everything is in our control. It is hard to imagine something that we love so dearly ultimately not being good for us or hurting us. It is these hard decisions that we need to make everyday. We must decide what is worth fighting for, what is worth our blood, sweat and tears, and what is not.

On the flip side of things, sometimes a risk is what we need in our lives. Playing it safe all the time never got anyone anywhere. Sometimes we are unsure of what we love and what we want, so we don’t bother to pursue it. A few years ago when I attended my first car show, I hated it. I was so bored, and did not want anything to do with it again. I gave it another chance though. I took a chance, a small one, but it was still a chance. It opened my life to a world I could’ve never imagined. But every year something changes, I find new things that pique my interest and new risks that I want to take. I take on too much sometimes, which is not always a bad thing. But ultimately, there are other things in my life than just car show which require my energy as well.

My personal life is in shambles. There are only so many thing we are able to control as I mentioned earlier. A lot of what is going on is out of my control. I need to make some hard decisions. I need to see what is worth my time, what is worth my energy. I need to put myself on a good track for what and who I want in my life. What was once making me very happy is draining me. I have unrealistic expectations sometimes, and it is not fair to anyone.

I am a firm believer in the ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ cliche. I also understand that sometimes we do need to walk away. It is not always easy, but sometimes it needs to be done. People and things come and go, but it is ultimately our decision what we put an effort towards to keep in our life. Maybe that thing or person you love is not worth it. Maybe it’s time to walk away.