2013 Reading Wrap Up

One of my New Years goals was to read 100 books in 2013. Although I didn’t make it to 100, I have read some heartwarming and moving books this past year. Here’s a list of what I read!

1. Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts
2. Hopeless, Colleen Hoover
3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
4. Defending Jacob, William Landay
5. High Heel Series: Fearless in High Heels #6, Gemma Halliday
6. High Heel Series: Danger in High Heels #7, Gemma Halliday
7. Hush, Hush Saga, Hush Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick
8. Hush, Hush Saga, Crescendo, Becca Fitzpatrick
9. Hush, Hush Saga, Silence, Becca Fitzpatrick
10. Hush, Hush Saga, Finale, Becca Fitzpatrick
11. Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia
12. Beautiful Darkness (#2), Kami Garcia
13. Beautiful Chaos (#3), Kami Garcia
14. Beautiful Redemption (#4), Kami Garcia
15. Touch & Go, Lisa Gardner
16. The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick
17. Burned (Pretty Little Liars #12), Sara Shepard
18. Into The Darkest Corner, Elizabeth Haynes
19. Caught Up In Us, Lauren Blakely
20. Edge of Never, J.A. Redmerski
21. The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
22. Pretending He’s Mine, Lauren Blakely
23. If You Stay, Courtney Cole
24. The Season of Passage, Christopher Pike
25. Wicked Appetite, Janet Evanovich
26. Wicked Business, Janet Evanovich
27. Naked In Death, J.D. Robb
28. Glory In Death, J.D. Robb
29. Immortal In Death, J.D. Robb
30. Rapture In Death, J.D. Robb
31. Ceremony In Death, J.D. Robb
32. Vengeance In Death, J.D. Robb
33. Holiday In Death, J.D. Robb
34. Midnight In Dead, J.D Robb
35. Conspiracy In Dead, J.D. Robb
36. Loyalty In Dead, J.D. Robb
37. Witness In Death, J.D. Robb
38. Judgement In Death, J.D. Robb
39. Betrayal In Death, J.D. Robb
40. Seduction In Death, J.D. Robb
41. Reunion In Death, J.D. Robb
42. Tell The Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt
43. The Last Letter From You Lover, JoJo Moyes
44. A Hundred Summers, Beatriz William
45. Jane’s Melody, Ryan Winfield
46. Crossfire Series: Entwined With You, Sylvia Day
47. The Last Vampire: The Sacred Veil, Christopher Pike
48. The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith
49. The First Affair, Emma McLaughlin/Nicola Kraus
50. Forever, Interrupted, Taylor Jenkins Reid
51. Women’s Murder Club: 12th of Day, James Patterson
52. Me Before You, JoJo Moyes
53. The Comfort of Lies, Randy Susan Meyers
54. Purity In Death, J.D. Robb
55. Portrait In Death, J.D. Robb
56. The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty
57. Sundays at Tiffany’s, James Patterson
58. The Beginning of Everything, Robyn Schneider
59. The Longest Ride, Nicholas Sparks
60. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, James Patterson
61. Sam’s Letters to Jennifer, James Patterson
62. Allegiant, Veronica Roth
63. Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close
64. All The Way Home, Wendy Corsi Staub
65. Imitation In Death, J.D. Robb
66. The Proposal, Katie Ashley
67. The Boy On The Bridge, Natalie Standiford
68. Divided In Death, J.D. Robb
69. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
70. The Silent Wife, Gillian Flynn
71. Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight
72. The Spectacular Now, Tim Tharp

Cheers to 72 out of 100. Hey, there’s always next year 😉

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London Part 3: King’s Cross and Notting Hill

Apart from Doctor Who, Natalie and I are both massive Harry Potter fans. Since we were in London, it was only natural that we had to stop at King’s Cross and visit Platform 9 3/4. Sorry to disappoint all the HP fans out there but IT. DOESN’T. EXIST. Seriously, look.

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9 3/4

This was extremely devastating to me so I decided to do some research on what the !#^% JK Rowling was thinking fooling me like that. Back during an interview in 2001, she revealed that she misremembered the numbering of the platforms at King’s Cross Station. When the movie was filmed, they actually renamed platforms 4 and 5 to create the effect she was going for. Silly JK Rowling.

King’s Cross is an actual stop on the tube so it was very easy to get to. The easiest way there would be on the Victoria Line because it’s a direct stop. You’re also able to get there through the Northern, Hammersmith & City, Circle, and Metropolitan lines but have to cross over to the station from the outside.

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King’s Cross

Across from where Platform 9 3/4 should be lies a Harry Potter store with wands, clothes, and all other kinds of memorabilia. Next to that store is a fake Platform 9 3/4 where fans, like myself, are able to take pictures on our way to The Hogwarts Express.

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Just on my way

Another one of my favorite movies that takes place in London is Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Can you guess where we went next?!

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In. Love.

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Notting Hill Gate is also very easy to get to on the Circle, District, and Central lines. The minute you step off the train it is impossible to not fall in love with this little town. You almost immediately run into Portobello Road which is like three or four markets rolled into one. There are over 1,000 stands selling anything from art, silver wear, clothes, jewelry, records, fruits, and vegetables. Not only are there stands lined up all down the street but different stores exist behind them. It was truly unlike anything I’ve seen before.

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The famous travel bookshop from the movie, unfortunately, no longer exists either. About a year ago it was bought out by a shoe store and is once again up for sale. When asking around about the filming of the movie, a lot of the locals said Notting Hill used to be a really affordable place to live. Once the movie came out (and at that point was the highest grossing British film), the price of living shot up and a lot of people had to leave the area.

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We continued our last-day-extravaganza by grabbing some grub, checking out other local shops, and admiring all the Christmas decorations. We had until 7pm to make it back to our hotel room for the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. Let’s just say between Custom House for ExCel and our hotel Natalie and I sprinted to make it on time. It was well worth it because we enjoyed 90 minutes of uninterrupted Doctor Who goodness. ImageImageImage

I write this post about my final day in London while watching a Doctor Who marathon celebrating the great Matt Smith. Tomorrow is the Christmas episode and also his regeneration. You can definitely count on a post about that. 🙂

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Happy Holidays!

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Our Favorite Chili

Michael makes the most delicious chili. He will usually make some with 1-lb of meat and that only lasts a day or two (if we’re lucky). It’s so good to eat with the cold weather and topped with sour cream and cheese? Yummm.

Last night we cooked it with 2-lbs of meat so we have it throughout the week (it’s that good).

1-lb ground beef/turkey meat (we started using ground turkey for most of our meals recently)1 chili packet (we use about 1.5 for extra flavor)
dash of cayenne pepper (gives it a little kick!)
1 can of diced tomatoes (regular sized can..can’t remember the exact oz)
1 can of beans, if you like them 🙂
Sour cream, cheese, and onion for toppings, if you want!

20131219-102449.jpg20131219-102455.jpg20131219-102501.jpg20131219-102443.jpgOne thing I love about this recipe is that it’s so easy. You cook your meat, drain, and return to pan. Add all the ingredients (chili packet, diced tomatoes, beans, cayenne pepper) and mix together. Since we didn’t include beans, we added some water. There isn’t an exact science as to how much water to add; we just added enough until we were satisfied. Use your best judgement :).

20131219-102506.jpg20-25 minutes later the entire house smelt delicious and dinner was ready. Enjoy!

20131219-102515.jpgI know there are a TON of different ways to make chili. Feel free to post your favorite!

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London Part 2: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

The Doctor Who 50th anniversary convention was the reason Natalie and I went to London. Not that we wouldn’t have gone otherwise (you can read about my London obsession here), but this is something we couldn’t pass up. Ever. The convention was held at ExCel Friday-Sunday. Our tickets were for Friday, which worked out really well with the flight schedule and my days off. After taking care of our jet lag on Thursday, I was so, so ready to get this convention started.

YOU GUYS. This was my very first convention. I honestly had no idea what to expect.

We got to ExCel just before 9a and lined up with the rest in our group. The tickets sold for each day divided everyone into two groups – The Weeping Angels (us) and Ice Warriors. Both groups saw the same thing, our itineraries for the day were just flip-flopped.

Natalie and I first went to a screening of the episode Victory of the Daleks where Ian McNeice, the actor who plays Winston Churchill, gave commentary over the episode with little hints and fun facts on how they filmed the episode. It was really cool to hear him talk about some of the episode and what went on behind the scenes. For those of you who watch Doctor Who, there are people inside the Daleks and they have a code with the outside lights to let others know when they need to use the bathroom. Who would have thought?

DSCN0172DSCN0173After the screening we went to our first scheduled event. This event led us into a huge auditorium where saw past actors who played the doctors. Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy (doctors 5, 6, 7) came out to talk to the host about the history of the show and a little bit about each of their regenerations.

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Doctors 5-7-6

They. Were. HILARIOUS. It’s cool to see the three of them interacting with each other as friends outside of the show, especially because their eras all ended a while ago. The three of them weren’t included in the 50th anniversary special so when they walked out they held up signs protesting the episode. Loved them!!

There was a 20 minute break before the next event and it was being held in the same auditorium. There was NO chance I was moving out of my seat because the next event celebrated the 11th hour where Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, and Steven Moffat came out!! There was also another gentleman there but I honestly can’t remember who he was – sorry! I think the lead cameraman?! Anyway, they talked a lot about the past few seasons with with Matt Smith as the doctor and answered a lot of questions from people in the audience.

DSCN0187DSCN0190This was absolutely the best part of the day. Matt and Jenna are such a good doctor-companion duo so it was amazing to see them interact as friends. The chemistry between them and the writer/producer, Steven Moffat, is undeniably hilarious. Although I will be super sad when Matt leaves, I am so excited to see where the show goes, what he does outside of Doctor Who, and to watch Jenna’s character continue to develop with Peter Capaldi. If I wasn’t already completely in love with Matt Smith/Jenna Coleman before, I definitely am now.

DSCN0191There was a pretty big break until our last event so we went straight to the food. There was a lot of stuff to eat at ExCel but then there were smaller vendors that were a lot cheaper. I opted for a BBQ bacon hotdog and it hit the spot. I was ready for some shopping!

Natalie and I first picked up our t-shirts that we ordered with our tickets. They were only available at the convention and have all the doctors with their eras on the back. (I’m actually wearing mine as I type this 🙂 ). To avoid giant crowds, the main stores only let a certain amount of people in at a time. The line was wrapped around the place so naturally we started with the smaller vendors. I have never seem so much Doctor Who stuff in my life!! I was so happy! I ended up leaving with a Dalek sweatshirt, TARDIS themed poster, and 11th doctor sonic screwdriver pen (which I use very often). I would have bought everything if I could, but if you saw my rant about the conversion rate in the previous post you would understand :). I also only packed a carry-on bag…

Outside of the shops they had the props and costumes from the show including all 11 of the doctor’s famous outfits, the well-known companion wardrobes, and several of the monsters.

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Dalek

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Rose!
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Donna

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Amy

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Rory

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Clara
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1st Doctor – William Hartnell

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2nd Doctor – Patrick Troughton

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3rd Doctor – Jon Pertwee

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4th Doctor – Tom Baker

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5th Doctor – Peter Davison

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6th Doctor – Colin Baker

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7th Doctor – Sylvester McCoy

I guess I missed 8?! (Paul McGann) – 😦

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9th Doctor – Christopher Eccleston

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10th Doctor – David Tennant

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11th Doctor – Matt Smith

DSCN0245DSCN0235DSCN0246At this point, Natalie and I were on a whole different level of tired. Luckily our last event quickly approached so we made our way back to the auditorium. This event was all about the special effects. It started with the head special effects man blowing up a Dalek that has been used frequently in the show. It pieces back together so it is able to be blown up over and over again.

DSCN0252DSCN0249After the demonstration we headed back to the hotel (just a few steps away!) and decided on a local pub for some dinner. This time we knew how to order our food (at the bar!). 😉

During dinner we mapped out our plan for the next day. Let’s just say it entailed a lot of sightseeing. The rest of our night was spent watching Doctor Who specials in the hotel and getting some sleep for our last day in London. More to come!

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London Part 1: The Arrival

I am SO excited to write my recap of London because it was an amazing time! I have been trying to write this post all week but we’ve recently moved (more on that later!) so stuff has been everywhere while unpacking. I finally put my pictures on my computer and have the night off work to recap! We saw a ton of stuff so this recap will come in pieces. If you are just joining and haven’t read about my London obsession, you can catch up here :). This post is going to be a constant struggle between my use of American and British slang, so bear with me!

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Natalie and I caught the 5:50p flight out of Chicago that went directly to London-Heathrow. Because of the time difference, we left Wednesday night in Chicago and arrived just before 8:00a in London on Thursday. I can usually sleep like a baby on a plane but I hardly slept on the way there. I think I was a big ball of excited and nervous the entire time. This was the first time I was flying that far away from home basically on my own. When Michael and I went to Japan it was different – he’s a man and I felt protected with him in this foreign land. I trust him in the sense that if something happened, whatever it may be, he would find a way to take care of it/us/whatever it may be. Natalie and I are two woman who can definitely take care of ourselves, but I got nervous when you’re stripped of all your resources (aka cell phone). Think of how many times a day you google how to do something. See my point? In a way, I was extremely grateful for this experience because of that.

As it turns out, there is free wifi just about everywhere.

LHR (London-Heathrow airport) is really nice. It’s a lot bigger than I ever imagined – not sure why. The lines to get through immigrations moved at an impressive speed despite the number of people arriving at the same time. Props, LHR! I got my London stamp in my passport (eeee!) and was on my way in no time!

First thing we did was find a place to exchange our money. HOLY $#!T the conversion rate is a killer. I would say that was the biggest shock of the trip – I had even been watching it the few days before I left and it just so happened to be the worst on Thursday (figures)!

A co-worker of mine recommended that we buy an Oyster card to help with the train. The Oyster card is a lot like the Ventra here in Chicago. You have the option to buy a one-way pass depending on what zones you are traveling from/to or just load a bunch of money on the card at once that you can get back later if you don’t use. We ended up putting 25 gbp (not sure where my pound symbol is on this computer..) on each of our cards and that was plenty. It really all depends how much you’ll be using the trains but that was our main source of transportation and we were on it a LOT. Play with it and see if you ever find yourself in London – they have machines in all the train stations to add more if you need it. The train stations tend to get kind of crowded so I recommend telling the teller how long you will be there and he/she can do the best estimating for you to avoid any type of hold up later.

If you’re looking at a map of London, LHR is to the west of the city. The Ibis London Excel Docklands, our hotel, was on the very east side. Before we left, I looked on google maps the specific train stops we needed to make our journey. I did this before Michael and I went to Japan as well – it’s helpful anywhere you go! Things can get kind of chaotic when you first arrive in a place you know absolutely nothing about so even if you don’t use it, the comfort of having it is nice :). We used it and it was perfect! Got us right to our hotel about an hour and a half later.

It was around 10:30a when we arrived at Ibis London ExCel and since our room wasn’t ready, we dropped off our bags and went to explore. There was a little “Airline Cafe” kiddy corner to our hotel so we grabbed an early lunch. I haven’t seen Natalie since school so it was nice to stuff our faces and catch up! Our hotel still wasn’t ready after lunch (in all fairness, it was about noon at this point and check-in wasn’t until 2:00p) so we went and ventured out a bit more. We found (hard to say found, it was pretty much in our backyard) ExCel – the convention center we would be at all day Friday. It was exciting to see all the Doctor Who stuff up in preparation for the weekend. ExCel is HUGE, by the way.

During our walk, Natalie and I spotted cable cars going across the river. Turns out the air-line connects south and east London and gives you a great bird’s eye view of the city. It serves as a quick transportation method between each side of the river and is also something for out-of-towners to do. It’s a quick ride from one side to the other, but it was cool to see the city from the outside before we went into it. It was extremely windy on Thursday so our car kept rocking back and forth! Kind of freaky.

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Can you spot the Shard?

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Our hotel room was ready around 1:00p and man – we were EXHAUSTED. There was no way I would have survived the rest of the day without a nap so we snuck one in before heading back out. The train station closest to our hotel was Custom House for ExCel on the DLR. The train, excuse me – the tube, is SO easy to figure out! It reminded me of a cracked-out version of Chicago’s CTA. The lines are color coordinated on a map but all have their own names and there are about 3x more. A little overwhelming at first, but once you figure out what stop you need to transfer or get off at it becomes a lot easier. I thought the train stations themselves were helpful as well. There were signs for every which way you could possible go that made it a lot easier to navigate. It kept our noses out of a map and helped us keep up with traffic :). Also, they have several screens around the platforms with any kind of delays or updates on when the next few trains are. The trains themselves get crowded FAST but people have no problem squeezing in. It seemed like there was a train every few minutes, too. I can’t remember ever waiting very long for a train or less crowded one to come along. The thing I liked most about the train is that the fare is calculated based on where you are going and coming from. If you are going just a short distance, you will only be charged a small amount. London is divided into zones so the further you travel (the more zones you cross), the more you will be charged. Even going from west London to east London was not outrageous, so don’t worry if you plan to see a lot!

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After our nap we headed out to see Big Ben!! Just in case there are any London-enthusiasts out there, I will try and include the tube stops for any places we went. From the Custom House for ExCel on the DLR, we headed westbound toward Tower Gateway where the line terminated. In order to get to the District Line at Tower Hill, you have to actually leave the station and walk to Tower Hill. We couldn’t find it at first (which lead to our confusion on the term “subway” in London – turns out a “subway” is just an underground walkway through a busy street and not a train/tube station…) but if you leave Tower Gateway and cross the street ahead of you and head to the right you will run right  into Tower Hill. In all honesty, you can hop on the Circle or District line because they run parallel through Westminster, which is the stop you want to get off at for Big Ben. Regardless of the line you choose to get on, just make sure you are going westbound! Once you are off at Westminster, Big Ben is just outside the station (I promise you can’t miss it, just look up) :).

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I think this is when it really hit me that I was in London. Seeing Big Ben right in front of me was unbelievable. This landmark I had looked at pictures of for years was now right in front of me. How crazy!

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Behind us was the London Eye so Natalie and I decided to go there next.

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Although we didn’t actually ride it, the area surrounding the eye is pretty busy. There is so much to do around there including an aquarium, museum, and lots of food. Waterloo on the Jubilee and Embankment on the Circle/District line will also get you to the London Eye (even if you are dropped off on the other side of the river, it’s just a short walk across the bridge).

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We kept walking along the river and ran into a ton of shopping booths. They lined both sides of the walkway and was probably a mile long. They had everything you could imagine from clothes/accessories to toys for kids and house decorations. Let’s just say this is where I got a lot of gift shopping done ;). I loved that waffles and crepes were not a breakfast food, but a dessert!

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It amazed me that there were alcohol stands scattered throughout the shops. Places selling bailey’s hot chocolate (which I recommend) or jager and let people walk around freely with it. At the end there were tables and tables full of books. I was in heaven!

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The rest of the night Natalie and I spent walking around and trying to keep warm. We crossed the river again and headed back north. After a short walk down Queen Victoria St we made our way to St Paul’s Cathedral (St Paul stop on the Central line). It is BEAUTIFUL. We weren’t able to go inside but the outside structure took my breath away. In fact, that whole area is breathtaking.

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I don’t know what it is, but the whole area has an enchanted look to it, which is exactly how I pictured London!!

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Thursday night was the night Natalie and I first experience the pub scene. Sigh. Epic fail! We were starving so we decided to just find a place for some food. Even though it was close to 7:30p there were an unbelievable amount of people out after work. We walked into two places trying to find a spot to sit and get food before we were successful. Apparently at a pub you order your food at the bar with your drinks. In our experiences, there were rarely people who came around to check up on you. Mostly they cleared off tables when crowds left. Unfortunately it took us until Friday evening to figure this out, so on Thursday we found a great little Thai restaurant for dinner. Since we were both still a little jet lagged and absolutely freezing, it was time to head back to the hotel.

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It was a perfect first day in London! Friday was full of all things Doctor Who related, which might be two posts itself :D.

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Wanderlust

It is 4 days until I leave for London. Four.

20131116-092234.jpgYou know when you’re a kid & people ask you, “If you could go anywhere, where would it be?”. Well, my answer was always London. I like the sun+beach combo just as much as anyone, but I developed this odd obsession with the place when I was about 10-ish. So for those of you playing along at home I have been dreaming of this trip for more than half my life. Why, you ask? Gooood freakin’ question.

It all started when I began reading Harry Potter. Shocker.

Harry Potter is the first series I can really remember reading outside of a school assignment. This is definitely the time I fell in love with books, by the way. The story itself is phenomenal, but when you’re the same age as the characters you can’t help but imagine this whole other world the author created. I mean, I practically grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We’re basically BFF. It didn’t help when Harry Potter got the beautiful face of Daniel Radcliffe and the series was turned into movies. Let’s fast forward 12 years to when I go visit the theme park at Universal and could actually live out my weird obsession actually thinking I was a Hogwarts student. I walked around waving my wand and drinking butterbeer. I can’t be the only one like this, can I? Whatevs, we’re getting off track here. /end Harry Potter rant.

So I read HP and discovered that there was a whole different world out there. Not in the sense of wizards vs muggles, but the world was a much bigger place than Oak Lawn, Illinois. Cut me a break, ok? I was 10. This was a big moment.

I’ll be honest and tell you all that what really stood out to me were the accents (another shocker). I knew there were people who spoke spanish, french or something else I couldn’t understand but these people were speaking my language (kind of). They lived across the world and I could understand them (again, I was 10). I needed more, like right that minute. So the obsession began.

Between books, movies, and TV shows I fell in love over and over. I have absolutely no idea why. It’s not like I know much about the history or culture, I’ve just always been fascinated with the place because of how it’s portrayed. I think that’s why I have always had a strong desire to visit. I want to learn more and experience the “real life” there for myself. Maybe even find my long lost Hogwarts letter. 😉

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So, in four days that is what I will be doing.

While there, Natalie & I will be attending the Doctor Who 50th anniversary convention. I’m trying really hard not to add 100 ! points, but if I had to geek out for a minute that *should* be written like this: WE WILL BE GOING TO THE DOCTOR WHO ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND WE WILL BE IN LONDON WHEN THE EPISODE AIRS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

20131116-092555.jpgI realize I am very, very lucky to work in an industry that allows me to travel like I do. I have been to some amazing places over the past year and am thankful every day for a job like this. That’s when you really know you love your job :D. Michael bought us a good camera to use when we travel so expect a lot of pictures and full recap when I get back!

Cheers, xxx

By the way, on this day in 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first opened in the US. Thanks, TimeHop!

Check out my trips to Orlando, Hawaii, and Tokyo if you haven’t already 🙂 All of my trips are listed under the Travel section if you want to read about them all!

 

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Pizza + A Pie

Ultimate pizza sauce. Seriously, this is ultimate. And homemade. YUM.

(BTW – Michael found this online and made it. He’s an awesome cook!)

20131027-092404.jpgWhatcha need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped (we left this out, but to each their own!)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seed (no idea what this is)

In a large skillet, melt your butter with your oil. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and saute until soft.

20131027-091900.jpgAdd your tomato sauce and paste. Stir, stir, stir.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. We had to add a little water because it was really thick and burning on the bottom. Use your best judgement :).

20131027-091929.jpgLet simmer for 30-60 minutes (ours was about 35 – all depends on how you like it). Remove the bay leaf and spread the sauce on your pizza dough. We added sausage, pepperoni, and a ton of freshly shredded (by yours truly) mozzarella cheese to our pizza. Cook and ENJOY :D.

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Now let me humor you with a little story.

Once upon a time, Michael and I went to a pumpkin farm and ended up getting some apples. Since we were in the cooking/baking mood, we decided to try and make a homemade apple pie. By homemade I mean we bought the crust but made everything in the middle.

So late one night Michael and I stayed up slaving over this apple pie. He skinned the apples while I sliced and cored them. It was great team effort while we watched This Is The End (horrible, by the way).

20131027-092014.jpgHere’s what you’ll need for the filling:
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of flour1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (we used about 6 medium sized apples)

So here we are, prepping the oven according to the directions for our crust. Michael is mixing the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. The apples get added in and are covered in our amazing filling. We pour the mixture into the bottom crust and add butter to the top before placing the top crust on. Michael spends so much time trimming the ends and making the neatest design.

20131027-092028.jpg20131027-092039.jpgWe wait, patiently, for our apple pie to cook to perfection (which took about 40 minutes). By the end of this process, we are both exhausted but decide to enjoy a piece of our hard work. Let me tell you, this apple pie was delicious.

20131027-092051.jpgWell. We start the clean up process and let me just say that at 2:45a I was a little tired. Nonetheless, I picked up the pan the pie was on and it fell. Straight to the floor. We both laughed, kind of cried a little inside, and went to bed.

20131027-092101.jpgRIP Apple Pie :(.

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