Tag Archives: downton abbey

Next Week: I is for International Escape

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Hello everyone!!!

What a great weekend it’s been after a frightfully ghastly week at Initech!  My mom came out to Pittsburgh to visit for the weekend, and we had a ton of fun shopping, seeing all the great sites downtown, eating way too much food, and watching awful Food Network shows.  It was a much needed respite after the week from hell I had at Initech.  Nothing quite like logging 65+ hours in one work week to make you realize how much you honestly hate your job.  For 5 days the only things I saw were my office, my bed, and the shower.  That’s it!!  Now I’ve had a fabulous weekend and an extra Monday off to sit in front of my TV and watch Game of Thrones.  Or maybe Downton Abbey, I haven’t decided yet! 😛

Toronto_Skyline_from_Wards_IslandSo it’s been awhile, but I cannot WAIT to tell you about the adventures I have planned for next weekend.  This is the big kahuna, the one we’ve all been waiting for, the creme de la creme, we’re all in.  Next weekend, I’m going international!

I love international travel, but can rarely afford it.  I’ve been to Canada with my family in an always-interesting Day Family Vacation.  In college, I studied abroad in Italy and got to see all sorts of wonderful things.  And I went to the Bahamas last year with my favorite (and only) sister.  Sadly, though, that’s all my passport has been used for.

Next weekend, though, I’m heading abroad again, and joining the ranks of international travelers.  I’m heading up north, way north, to the wonderful lands of Canada, and more specifically Toronto!

Don’t laugh, if you remember from my very first post, this entire blog is operating on a shoestring budget.  The total weekend trip will probably be priced at less than $200 (US).  For an international trip with my college roommate, I consider that a steal of a deal!!  I’m not sure I could spend a weekend in Philly for $200.  I’m not sure I’d want to either. 🙂

TorontoSo here’s what we’ll be doing: on Friday morning, after a late night sleepover filled with Friends episodes, ice cream, and probably a glass of wine on my part, my college roommate and I will embark on the 3 1/2 hour drive up to the Canadian border.  I can’t believe it’s that close to Pittsburgh!  We will have my old, dear car Wilson stock piled with snacks, suitcases, and enough 90s boy bands to make anyone jealous (we might rock some old Nsync concert tour tshirts too.  This has yet to be determined)  Our hotel is actually in Niagara Canada, right over the border, and it is preeeeeeettttttttyyyyy sketchy.  As in, we’re bringing sleeping bags just in case sketchy.  But what’s an out-of-country adventure without a good old-fashioned sketchy hotel?!?

We’ll see the Falls, because you can’t go to Canada without seeing the falls, win thousands at the casino, spend too much money on good food and drinks, and try out our awesome Canadian pick up lines. as well as maybe visit this site a time or two, for all you How I Met Your Mother fans!!!  Old King Clancy ftw!!!

Saturday we’re booking it to Toronto, for some touristy awesomeness.  We’ll be visiting the CN Tower, and maybe the hockey HOF.  I have heard the Toronto Chinatown is a must-see (Canadian Asians, what a novelty!!), and also have a bucket list of restaurants I need to try while I’m in town.  I’m not sure my waistline can support this trip.  I might be walking home!!

I’m excited to leave for this trip, mainly because it is just so incredibly random!! 🙂  Aren’t random trips the best?  We don’t have a real serious itinerary, so we’ll just see what we wanna see, do what we wanna do, and then head back to the best city in the world!

Let me know if there are any must-see places in Toronto we need to visit.  The crazier the better, this trip is already halfway into the loony bin!  And make sure you stop back next week to hear all about our International Adventures!!!

Go Alan Thicke!! 😀

E

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N is for Niceties

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Hello my wonderful readers, how are you today?  I hope you’re enjoy the snow, and the fact that February is slowly coming to an end.  Come on March!!!! 🙂

It’s been a good weekend.  A Die Hard marathon, Penguins hockey, and the season finale of Downton Abbey tonight (although I don’t want to watch it because I know what happens and I’m super mad!!)  If Initech wasn’t driving me so crazy during the work week, I’d say I would be having a blast!! 😀

So if you’ve been waiting all week to find out what I’ve been up to with my alphabet weekends, I’m happy to tell you I can finally let you in on my closely-guarded secret.  Not too closely guarded, mind you, but close enough!

When I decided to start this year-long adventure, there were a lot of weekend activities I chose that were different, outside the normal realm of my average weekend.  I chose things I had never done before, things I was afraid to try, things I hated doing, things I knew would be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.  If I was going to invest an entire year to blogging, I wanted to make sure at the end of the year I could look back and say, wow, I did a lot of stuff!! So far about 6 months into this, that has definitely been true.

A few things on the list were added simply because I wanted to be goofy, and have fun, and have funny stories someday when people asked, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done when _______?”  And this weekend was no different.  I wanted to do something wacky, something crazy, and I decided to do it at the library.

I love surprises.  I love giving surprises, and I love receiving surprises.  To me, surprising someone is the ultimate way of showing them you care, you love them, you were simply thinking about them.  And in a way, I think it’s a super humbling experience.  I honestly can’t get enough of them.

What I love more than surprises, though, are random acts of kindness.  I love when you find a stranger has done something wonderful for you simply because.  At Christmas I paid for the car behind me in the drive-thru.  A few weeks ago someone left an extra quarter at the soda machine that I desperately needed.  Those experiences are the most humbling of all, because it shows that you want to do something nice, but expect no recognition in return.  They help me believe that even in a world that is full of wars, crimes, violence, and drug problems, there is still a small part of human nature that wants to do good in this world.

So I decided to do a few random acts of kindness this weekend, but venture a little more to the crazy side of it.  I couldn’t go pay for everyone’s meal at Eat N’Park, nor could I really afford to go and play the lottery for everyone (I wish).  But in my opinion, sometimes the biggest acts of kindness come from a small inspiration, and that’s what I tried to do this weekend.

20130217_125337To set up my sting (as I called it), I headed out to the Hampton library.  It’s a wonderful library, nice and big, and deserted (damn you, Kindle!) the perfect place to get lost and set up shop.  I headed in, found a back corner where I couldn’t be disturbed, and dug the supplies out of my over-sized purse.

The idea was simple: I was going to write out inspiring thoughts, compliments, and quotes on index cards, and hide them in books all over the library.  Completely harmless, absolutely anonymous (unless some crazy goes dusting for finger prints), and best of all, hopefully positive and/or uplifting to the people who eventually find them.  On the back of each card I simply put the URL for this blog post, in case they wondered why in the heck some random card was stashed in their book.  And then I went to work.

Half of the fun was choosing which books to place the cards in.  On one card I simply  wrote “You are beautiful”.  I found a well-worn copy of a popular diet book on one shelf and hid the card within the pages of it for someone to find.  Hopefully it will remind them that no matter what they think about themselves, they are still beautiful. 20130217_125408 One quote about the power we find within ourselves I hid in a book about 20th century dictators (see the irony there!)  Some cards were hidden in best sellers, others in books I’m not sure had been removed from the shelf in over 20 years.  Some were left in books I love, like on the right, a card left in the book Unbroken, while I purposefully also stuck a card in Dante’s Inferno, one of my least-favorite books. 🙂  I figured if some poor soul was stuck reading Dante, they might need a little motivation to not gouge their eyeballs out.

In the end, some nosy librarian might have stalked me around the building, documented every book I touched, and then removed all the cards after I left the building, and no one will be able to see everything I hid.  But maybe, just maybe, a few will be discovered by random people throughout Allegheny County, people who need a good reason to laugh, or a smile, or a kind word.  They might throw it out, they might think it’s creepy, they might even ignore it.  But that’s the wonderful thing about random acts of kindness: you never know where they might lead, or who they might help, or how they might change the world. 🙂

Be inspired, and find a random act of kindness to do sometimes this week.  Maybe we can start a new trend, blowing up libraries around the world with index cards.  If you leave index card compliments in any books, leave me a comment and let me know so we can see if anything comes of it.  Maybe some how we’ll be the voice of good in 2013. 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful week, wherever you may be in life.  Stay warm, and stay tuned, because we have a super exciting announcement coming up next week!!! 🙂

E