Monday, October 11, 2010

London: Day 3

We discovered Harrods and their AMAZING bakery on day 3 and we went back every morning after that to get breakfast. My favorite pastry was the bacon and cheese baguette. If you go to London, definitely check out the bakery here - you will not regret it.

After walking around the food hall at Harrods, we took a short walk through Knightsbridge and headed into Hyde Park. Since we'd had a few busy days, we decided we wanted to have more of a low key, relaxing day. We explored the park a bit - walked around the pond and watched the people in the paddle boats. It reminded me a little of Central Park. We walked across the street to Kensington Garden and found a nice bench in the shade and read for a while.

pond in hyde park

I was excited to see Kensington Palace until we got there, that is. Many places in London are under construction right now in an effort to have everything looking amazing in time for the 2012 Olympics. Kensington Palace is the worst of it. The whole thing was blocked off by fencing and what little we could see was just a huge bunch of dirt. I managed to get an okay looking photo of the side - and a few great shots of the gorgeous gardens and the Orangery.


kensington palace

We were pretty hungry at this point and M could not resist when we came across The Honest Sausage. Bring on the bacon roll (gross!).

I'm not sure if I mentioned this yet, but literally everything in London has bacon on it. But, it's not real's Canadian bacon. I'm not a fan. But, I felt like I had to at least try it out. For those of you who think this sounds amazing, here's a closeup for you :)

Also in Hyde Park, we got our first taste of squirrel/human interaction. We ran into a couple who were feeding them and got this photo. But, there will be a better squirrel photo in a future post.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

London: Days 1 and 2

M & I traveled to Europe earlier this month for the very first time.

We spent five nights at the Le Meridien Piccadilly in London. We were able to get the Starwood employee discount for a classic room for $89 USD per night, which is a completely amazing price.

The hotel itself was nice and the staff seemed nice enough. They let us check in early at 10:00 am, which was wonderful since we'd been up all night and just wanted to take a quick nap and shower. The room was small, but had enough space for the two of us. I forgot to take a photo of it, of course.

The concierge wasn't entirely helpful. He gave a us a great map that we used our entire stay. But, gave us wrong information twice. The first time was no big deal and easy to square away. The second time had me fuming mad.

While the location of this hotel is technically perfect because it is close to everything. It also was the worst part of the hotel for us. Huge crowds gather in Piccadilly Circus each night and many stay all was loud at times but not unbearable. What was unbearable was the recycling center next door. At all hours of the night there were trucks unloading glass and we got to listen to it shatter for hours on end. We didn't sleep very well at all. The hotel was sold out, otherwise, we would have asked to be moved. If I were to travel to London again, I'd probably try to stay in the West End. We used the restroom a few times at the Strand Palace Hotel, which seemed really nice.

We took the tube from Heathrow to Piccadilly Circus, which was super easy. We traveled by tube a lot during our stay as it was super easy. But, because the months leading up to the trip were insanely busy for me I didn't do a ton of planning beforehand. So, when we were finally in London we were like - so, now what? After taking a two hour nap on our first day, we decided to do a hop-on hop-off bus to get us acquainted with the city and figure out what we wanted to see and do.

After the tour with a little help from our Top 10 tour book, we made a list of what we wanted to do for the rest of the trip. We're both big fans of architecture and were excited to get some great photos while in London. We also just wanted to walk around and explore the different areas.

Our second day, we started out with a cruise on the River Thames. It was included with the price of our bus ticket from the previous day. It was such a nice day to be out on the river and we got some really great views of the city and the Tower Bridge. To the left is a shot of the bridge as we were cruising under it.
After the cruise, we were let out near the Tower of London. There happened to be NO LINE at all at 2:30 pm on a Friday, so we decided to check it out.

I had no idea when looking at it from the outside just how large of a space there was in there. There was a small line to see the Crown Jewels, but it went quickly. To be honest, I was more impressed with the architecture of the buildings that I was the jewels. But, it was neat to see them. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the Tower.

Tower of London photo


After a few hours at the Tower, we decided to walk over to St. Paul's Cathedral. We made it inside just before mass ended. It was absolutely beautiful inside, but we weren't allowed to take photos. M wasn't very happy about this. Here is one of the outside for you, though. Right after we walked outside they closed the entrance since mass was over. We definitely lucked out. I would have been bummed if we didn't get to see inside.

After St. Paul's, we went across the street and had dinner at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. M had the Jamaican burger (mango and ginger sauce, salad, mayonnaise & relish) and I made my own with cheddar cheese and pineapple. They were both delicious and I highly recommend visiting GBK if you're in London. It is a chain and there are a few locations around the city.

After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and crashed early since we were exhausted from our busy day. But, we saw some really cool buildings and theaters along the way and scoped out some restaurants for upcoming meals.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baking Gals

I signed up to be a Team Leader at Baking Gals and will be baking cookies to send over to a great group of soldiers in Afghanistan. Want to help too? Head over to and sign up to be on my team, Treats for Troops. I'm able to have up to 20 members on my team. As of today, there are 9 people on my team. I'd love to have a full group by mailing time.
You'll have to register on the site first (and wait for confirmation of your registration), since the information on the site is confidential. But, once you are registered, you'll be able to sign in, join my team, then you'll be given the information about the solider we're baking for on 10/3. Baked goods will need to be mailed between 10/4 - 10/13. You can bake as little or as much as you want, there are no specific requirements.
About Baking Gals:
Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers from around the country who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic military men and women who are currently deployed in a war zone. Our goal is to show our support and send a little bit of home to remind them that we appreciate all that they do for our freedom.

Clarisonic Mia

A few months back, the girls over at introduced me to Clarisonic. Everyone was talking about how amazing it was (whatever it was) and how their faces have never felt so clean. I read Clarisonic reviews on every website I could find and 99% of them were insanely positive - which never happens. So, I decided I'd try out the Mia model, which is the least expensive one at $150. I found a 15% off coupon for sephora and free shipping on purchases over $50. SCORE!

After using it every single day for about 4 months, I am in love with it. It really is awesome - my skin has NEVER felt this soft and clean. The tiny little pimply things I had all over my forehead are completely gone and I have not had one single pimple anywhere else on my face since I started using it. I even brought it with me on our recent trip to Europe.

I was really hesitant to spend the $125, but I'm so glad I did because it's really worth every single penny. Also, one of the best parts is that you can use it with any cleanser.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Epiphanie Bags - CONTEST

A friend from told me about Epiphanie camera bags and I think I just fell in love with Ginger. Ginger is a super cute brown bag with aqua interior, a removable body strap, plenty of room for camera and lenses and a few pockets too. See above photos...

You can purchase Ginger and her friends here: While you're at it, can you get me one too? Just had to get a new water heater and put new tires on my car and cannot afford this beauty right now.

Epiphanie is also holding a great contest right now on their blog now through March 31. You can find the contest here:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Love: 2009

I've posted before about my love for books (mostly chick lit) and my sidebar is getting a little crowded. So, I figured I'd just create a post with the books I read in 2009 here. There are a few more from the beginning of the year that I didn't keep track of and cannot think of to save my life. If you'd like to see my ratings/reviews of these, check out my Good Reads.
But, in a nutshell, the only one I didn't completely enjoy was Vanishing Acts.

  • Baby Proof - Emily Giffin
  • Babyville - Jane Green
  • Chasing Harry Winston - Lauren Weisberger
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
  • Dedication - Emma McLaughlin
  • Dune Road - Jane Green
  • Little Earthquakes - Jennifer Weiner
  • Love the One Your With - Emily Giffin
  • My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
  • Queen of Babble - Meg Cabot
  • Queen of Babble Gets Hitched - Meg Cabot
  • Queen of Babble in the Big City - Meg Cabot
  • Shopaholic & Baby - Sophie Kinsella
  • Shopaholic & Sister - Sophie Kinsella
  • Shopaholic Takes Manhattan - Sophie Kinsella
  • Shopaholic Ties the Knot - Sophie Kinsella
  • Swapping Lives - Jane Green
  • The Beach House - Jane Green
  • The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
  • The Pact - Jodi Picoult
  • The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  • Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
  • Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
  • Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult
  • Watermelon - Marian Keyes

Friday, February 19, 2010

Where has this been all my life?

I feel like my entire life I have been in pursuit of the perfect makeup. I'm sure there are millions of girls out there who would say the same thing. I go through phases where I feel like it's acceptable to spend $30 for good quality makeup, since in my world, makeup lasts a long time. But, then there are times where I just go to Target and buy my favorite Maybelline and Cover Girl standbys and even think twice about spending $8 a pop on those.

The one thing I have constantly struggled with is mascara. I have allergies and my eyes water quite a bit, so I always go for the waterproof stuff, which limits the selection. But, my biggest problems with mascara are the huge clumps and the fact that no matter how much eye makeup remover I use, I always seem to have black under my eyes in the morning. I even wipe the brush on a tissue to remove the excess goop before applying to my lashes. So, it boggles my mind.

Enter mascara perfection. My friend Laura over on introduced me to Blinc Kiss Me mascara. It is not super clumpy, which I love. It somehow creates these little tubes over my lashes and once they dry they stay put until you use warm water and a little bit of pressure to remove the tubes. Best part is no black in the morning!

If you are someone who needs a ton of volume, this mascara probably isn't for you. But, it does lengthen like crazy. I'm a fan for life.