“Growing up, I would watch a movie on video and would go to the back of the VHS and locate the address for Universal Pictures or MGM or whatever. I’d write to the studios asking them if I could be in a movie. They never wrote me back.” -Garrett Hedlund

From now on, my monthly updates on Universal Studios Hollywood will be a little different. I got a job there so I can tell you first hand about crowds, since I will be dealing with them. However, I will not see the crowds for rides or food, as I am in retail, but I can let you know how crowded each month is and what I hear about the lines from guests.

First of all, I want to let you know that if you are riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and it stops, it could very well be because someone in a wheelchair is getting on. It doesn’t mean that it broke down, even though the announcement says there may be a difficulty. I have guests getting upset about it quite often and I just wanted to clear the air. Even if you don’t personally see the person in the wheelchair, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They don’t always use the same line as you, as there is an elevator for them.

Now, the crowds in May were certainly picking up but we, thankfully, not too bad. I was able to attend the park as a guest a couple of times in the month and experience new things, of which I will be reporting on in this post. The longest line in the park was for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which was a little over an hour-long. FYI, the easiest way to see wait times is to download the mobile app, it gives you wait times for every attraction.

20138026_1703909299917461_186553849_oOne new thing that I did was the Walking Dead attraction. For me, it was a lot less scary than I was expecting. It was still really well done and fun, though. I actually ended up going through it twice in one day, with different people. I love how everything is set up in the line queue, it really sucks you into the actual world.

20148857_1703909546584103_819448963_oNext, we road on the Tram, which is always fun. They had new surprises waiting for us, which is always a great way to keep season pass holder interested. I won’t spoil the fun for you so I didn’t take any pictures of it. But, I can tell you that the other stuff, like King Kong and Fast and Furious are still there and still the main thing that attracts people to it.

20138003_1703909533250771_1951695529_oThis month I finally had the opportunity to eat at the Three Broomsticks. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. I got the rib plate with a salad and it was so good. It makes my mouth water just looking at the picture. The sides were corn on the cob and potatoes, both of which were excellent. I honestly can’t wait to go again.

If you were there in May and have any extra tips in information, please leave a comment below. I hope you had a fun time reading my post this month and hope that you will come again next month.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.” -Doug Larson

Lately I have been very nostalgic so I just wanted to share a few YouTube Videos from my childhood. Click each video below to play and comment below on which one you miss most or if one wasn’t included.

Again, thanks for stopping by. Comment below with your favorite cartoon from your childhood. Include any videos in the comments as well. We love hearing from you!

“You must be Caroline. You look just like the girls Max used to give wedgies to in the cafeteria” -Mr. Huck

This week I had to opportunity to partake in very exciting activities. What were those activities? Well, I was able to go meet Ian Harding and Lucy Hale on Tuesday evening for Ian Harding’s book signing and photo-op. He recently released his first book, “Odd Birds” and is on a book tour right now. I was then able to meet Beth Behrs last night at her Q&A/talk/book signing for her newly released book “The Total ME-Tox.”

First off, I will talk about how I found out about these events and how you, too, can find something near you. Living in the L.A. area for about a year and I had absolutely no idea these things happened. I would have been there for so many other people had I known. I was actually on Facebook last week just looking at events happening in the area when I saw it, “Ian Harding celebrates Odd Birds with Photo Op & pre-signed book.” Of course, seeing Ian Harding’s name got me excited all at once so I clicked. And that introduced me to other goings on in the area.

So how do you go to one of these events? You get yourself down to the Barnes & Noble store before it opens, stand in line to buy the book (the day of) in order to get your wristband, then go home and do what you need to do until it’s time to get back. They don’t start lining up until about 6:00pm so there’s no use in staying the entire day. Plus, whatever band you have is where you will be at in line. Because I have plans to see more people, I became a B&N member so I get to be up at the front of the line. A membership is $25 per year and gets you great perks.

ian          So what was it like meeting Ian and Lucy? Well, very short to tell you the truth. It was a pre-signed book so there is no personalization. BUT, getting a picture with the two of them was wonderful. I told them my name and we got a few pictures and hugs. They are very nice people. There was even a girl who traveled from Mexico to see them.

beth          What was it like meeting Beth Behrs? It was definitely different from the night before. First of all, the crowd was much smaller so that was a plus. It was also a Q&A rather than just a photo-op. She talked to us, which you can see in the video below. She is a very funny and wonderful person. My photo with her was also just as wonderful. I am very thankful I got to meet such an inspiring woman. I have also had the opportunity to see her perform on 2 Broke Girls (tvticket.com has free tickets to tv shows like her’s).

Will I do this again? YES! We actually have plans for a few other ones soon so keep an eye out for that. If you’ve ever been to one, please comment below with your thoughts. And if you were at either one of these, let me know. As always, thank you for reading! I hope you have a great day.

“When I have time off, my friends and I will go to Universal Studios, the movies, out to eat, and shopping. I’m happiest when I’m just hanging out with my friends… it really doesn’t matter what we do.” -Kirsten Dunst

April’s update on Universal Studios!

The lines were generally not very long, and the weather was pretty good. I can say that it is more crowded than the past couple of months but still not bad.

20196404_1703903976584660_1327773539_oWe went on the Simpson’s ride, which is one of my favorites because it’s fun. The first time I ever went on it, I didn’t realize we weren’t actually going anywhere. I know, “how could you not know?” Well, It was my very first time on any rides since a couple years before my mission, everything was weird.

20133717_1703903963251328_330520501_oWe had the opportunity to eat at the taco truck. Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck is great. The tacos were delicious! I hadn’t eaten them before so it was something new for me.

20180342_1703903959917995_745539320_oAnother thing that I had, that I hadn’t ever eaten before, are Dippin Dots. They’ve been around for quite some time but I’ve never had them before. They were so good. I got vanilla and I loved it.

20180242_1703903529918038_718772752_o

Of course, we just had to go watch Waterworld. Who wouldn’t want to watch the amazing show? It’s a little different from the movie, since there is no kid, but it’s still a fantastic show. It was actually just revamped a little.

20148810_1703903536584704_830810435_o

Lastly, while we were heading out we saw Vin Diesel. How cool right? Check out the awesome picture we got with him! Ok, so it wasn’t really him but still. A figure of him is still pretty awesome, right?

20133589_1703903973251327_600789575_o.jpgOn our way back to the car, we were graced with music on Citywalk, as usual. I think it’s a really cool thing that Citywalk allows musicians to come and show their work to the general public and get recognised. I don’t think I have heard a bad musician on Citywalk yet. They definitely draw crowds.

If you have any guidance for Universal Studios Hollywood in April, please leave a comment below. I hope you are having, or had, a great day today and I hope to see you here again.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

“Have no fear These are nowhere near The best years of your life” -Brad Paisley

Dear 16-year-old Carra,

16          Your life will change in the next year and I know it will be hard. Just remember that there are people who love you and are here for you. You will be able to grow and learn so much because you will be getting out of your comfort zone. You’ll lose people you love, you’ll move twice in one year, and you’ll grow closer to Heavenly Father.
When given the opportunity to go see Mountain Grove High School, you’ll do it, you’ll meet the counselor and come out of the meeting ready to move. Actually ask questions this time, don’t be afraid. It’ll be exciting but sad. Leaving your friends will be hard, it is worth it.
See your mom before you move. It’ll eat at you if you don’t. She wanted to say 16 3goodbye but you left before she could. Also, spend more time packing and less time playing. You’ll have a week to pack all of your stuff. Make sure you put Whoonu in a safe spot so you don’t lose it because if you don’t you’ll find out it’s $60 when you’re looking into buying it again.
There will be many boys interested in you, say no to all of them. I mean it, all of them. Don’t even text Casey after Christmas, you’ll thank me later. Boys are no good and you deserve better than all of them. Having Dakota as a friend is enough, he’s a nice guy. But seriously, do not date any of them.
16 1          Don’t give your friend Megan money because you’ll never get it back. Also, don’t spend your first week not eating and hiding in the bathroom at lunchtime. Make friends.You will become really good friends with the girl who you have almost every class with, her name is Shelby. She’ll introduce you to people and you’ll become “popular” because everyone in your grade knows you.
When your English class gets into a discussion about Mormons, don’t be afraid to turn it into a teaching moment. Straightening out the lies will help them in the long run. Tell Derek that chocolate doesn’t destroy your soul, tell Rachel that we are Christian, stun everyone because they had no idea there was a Mormon in the class. You can do it, don’t be shy.
Another thing to consider is your career project in Personal Finance. You’re 16 2thinking about doing it on OB GYN. Don’t. That’s not really what you want to be, you want to be a teacher or a writer. Don’t pick OB GYN just because it makes more money and it goes with what your classmates are doing. Be yourself Carra, it’s ok.
Finally, don’t yell at your grandparents. You’re going to miss them one day and all of those times you screamed and fought will flood your mind for a time. Try to see it from their point of view. Also, learn all you can from grandma, make it a point to cook with her. Ask her about her life. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later in life.
You are a very smart, beautiful, and caring young woman. Don’t let anyone change that or tell you different. Stay close to your family, spend time with them. Garden with grandma, play pool with grandpa. You’ll miss out on all of that if you don’t. They love you and I love you. Stay strong.

Sincerely,
25-year-old Carra

“There are only two choices: keep it or chuck it. And if you’re going to keep it, make sure to take care of it.” ―Marie Kondō

tidy          I recently finished the book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. It has truly inspired me. If you haven’t read it, you should! You can find the book here. It is an easy read and very detailed. I even began reading her second book “Spark Joy.” Which you can purchase here. I’ve also seen it at stores such as The Container Store, Michael’s, and Barnes & Noble. I checked the book out at my local library via Amazon so if you don’t want to purchase looking at your library would be a great option.

The thing that sticks out about these books is that we not only clean up and get rid of stuff but the whole thing is about WE KEEP WHAT MAKES US HAPPY. Let me repeat that, we only keep what “sparks Joy” in our lives. Sometimes that means that we have to get rid of something we were gifted many years ago and have held onto it for one reason or another even though we never use it and we barely even enjoy looking at tidy2it.

Another thing that sticks out in this process is to go at it by category rather than by room. This is contrary to most of what we’ve heard which is why it sticks out to me. Marie Kondo maps out 5 categories: clothing, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental. First you gather every clothing item and place them on the floor (or the bed, as I did) and physically touch each item one by one to see if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Then you do the same with the rest of the categories. There is a great printable here. Another blog to reference can also be found here.

Here are a few comments from others I spoke with who have done this method:

“It has been great for my mental health. Less anxiety triggering crap. Something I’d mention is that KM is very much a middle class privilege. To be able to throw out perfectly good clothes just because they’d don’t spark joy is something I am very grateful for.” -Nicholas

life’s too short to be surrounded by items you don’t love.” -Robin

“Drastically reduces your interest in shopping when you only buy things you really like and know you need a place to store it.” -Blair

“Definitely brought a sense of calm and tranquillity to my home.
Feels so peaceful in the bedroom especially” -Victoria

“Getting rid of books was/is the hardest part for me until I realized that this was a metaphor for my life. Holding on to stories that in many ways defined me felt safe. Making space for new books also meant making space for new ideas, new line of work, new friends. I see now that not only do you need to make time for new things to come into your life, you also need to make space.” -Maria

“I found the ‘wasted money’ hard to get over. At first I wanted to sell everything as I spent good money on items. I bagged up 8 bags in my first clothes KM but don’t have time to photograph and list items. I took the plunge and donated and chucked them and the relief of things being gone was instant and made me feel lighter. 28 bin bags later and I’ve not regretted not selling anything. I’m always interested to read how people overcome the ‘wasted money’ thoughts.” -Kerrie

I encourage everyone to give Marie Kondo’s method a shot. It may just change your life. If you have done this before, comment below with how it has helped you. I love hearing personal stories. I just started the method so I’m not done yet but it has really helped me enjoy living in our little studio.

As always, thank you for stopping to read my blog. I hope to hear from you in the comments. I enjoy your feedback. If there’s something specific you want to hear about, let me know.

“Oh, so you GOOGLED him Oh, well, that changes everything then, doesn’t it? What could I possibly worry about now that I know you’ve conducted such a thorough Internet search?” ―Alyson Noel, Fated

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.05.27 PM          Google is a crazy invention. You can get answers to so many difficult questions, find perfect images to show exactly what a certain creature looks like, and shop for all of your needs. One thing I believe everyone has done at least once is Google themselves. Come on, I know you’ve done it. No need to be embarrassed.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.04.21 PM

I decided to Google myself and see what would come up. It was actually really interesting. I looked myself up with my maiden name as well as my married name. I want to share with you my results. At the top of this page is the image results for my maiden name while the second one is with my married name. Below I have included images of the first pages with both names.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.52.39 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.52.53 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.53.11 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.53.30 PM

Why did I share this with you? Because I really wanted to see what would come up when I Google myself. It was an interesting find! And as you can tell, there are a lot of images that really are me as well as a few from Redheaded Owl. I want to see what your results are so post them below! Share what the craziest thing you found on your name was. And I know that everyone won’t have as much fun as I did nor as positive of an experience as I had but I think it’s still a good idea.

As always, thank you for visiting. Don’t forget to follow my blog for more from me! I hope to hear from you in the comments. Have a great day.

“Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding.” -Jurassic Park

Since I wasn’t able to write anything on Tuesday, I had to push my Mexico trip post to yesterday and the post I was going to write yesterday was cast away. That post is important, though.

Since it is already April, I needed to write about Universal Studios in March. Sadly, I was not able to go Universal very much throughout the month but I made sure to go a couple times and keep up with all of the events going on.

Overall, the crowds were still light though one of the times that we went to CityWalk, there were a lot of students from local high schools everywhere. The weather was nice, also, so that’s always a plus. They were also still working on the globe so visitors were unable to get good pictures with the iconic piece.

The only event, either through Universal or from a third-party, is the following:

Sadly I was unable to keep up with the Universal Studios calendar but I hope to do better this month.
17838524_1660824457559279_806213365_o          I also wanted to include a review from a restaurant each month (hopefully). For the month of March, we ate at Krusty Burger. If you didn’t know, there is a section in the park devoted to The Simpsons. This is includes a ride, areas for meet and greets with The Simpsons characters, a couple of restaurants, and a fair games. The Krusty Burger had televisions that played parts of episodes and kept you entertained while waiting in line. Thankfully the line wasn’t long, though. The menu was easy to read and had a great selection. We both chose the Legendary Krusty Burger, shown in the picture. This meal included the burger (with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle), fries, cole slaw (that I didn’t particularly enjoy) and a drink. The only issue I have seen is with the cups. There is a sensor on the bottom and the machine knows if you’ve already had soda and while we were there it didn’t work for one of the customers at all. She had paid before us and they had to give her a new cup.

The rides that we went on were Jurassic Park and The Mummy. It is said that the Jurassic Park ride is a whole foot taller (for the big drop) in Orlando but I can’t tell the difference. Both were fun and we really enjoyed our time. The lines weren’t terrible for either ride, though we did ride The Mummy shortly before the park was due to close.

I hope that you found this helpful. Please feel free to comment with your March experiences for Universal Hollywood. What did you do? Where did you eat? If you’d like to see more content, please subscribe. As always, thank you for reading!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties.” -Enrique Pena Nieto

17836970_1660350574273334_712357375_o          I first want to say I apologize for not posting on Tuesday. I got home later than planned. This post will actually be the one that should have been posted on Tuesday, so nothing will be missed.

On Saturday morning I left with my husband and my in-laws to go to Mexico. Not the Mexico that tourists flock to but the Mexico where my husband’s family resides. His grandma and many of his aunts, uncles, and cousins all still live in Mexico so his parents visit at least once a year. This is my second time visiting them so they all knew who I was. The first time I went was a couple of months before we got married so we were able to take them invitations.17837709_1660350420940016_1661096531_o

This time wasn’t much different from the last. We visited family, I understood very little because they all speak spanish (though a couple of them do speak English), we ate a ton of wonderful food, and walked around looking at all of the shops. We bought candy, Hector bought some shoes, I found a pair of boots that I love but they didn’t have my size, and we had so much food. So much so that I gained a few pounds that I now have to add that to my goal that I already had.

17820387_1660350500940008_176045479_o          One thing different from last time is the amount of spanish I learned. Last time I was too shy to actually ask about any spanish words but this time I was very into learning. I hope that I will one day be able to actually speak with Hector’s family but for now, I am a beginner. I will be the first to say that some of the words I learned won’t help me much but it was still fun to learn. I think the thing I loved the most was learning how to say baby animals. Hector’s grandma had little chicks in her backyard (pollitos) as well as one of her cats had 3 little kittens (gatitos).17820043_1660350464273345_735349511_o So, of course I learned how to say what they were. I also learned to say a couple of food things so that I could order for myself sometimes. For example, I was able to tell the person that I wanted a Strawberry Fanta at one of the places we went to eat tortas. If you have never had tortas, I highly recommend them because they are great.

 

As I mentioned previously, we ate A LOT. We probably ate too much, to be honest. But we don’t get good Mexican food here in the states very often so we took what we could get. A few things that we ate includes the following:

  • Tortas17837708_1660350517606673_878834059_o
  • Tacos
  • Mariscos
  • Churros
  • Mangoneadas
  • More tortas
  • More tacos
  • A stew with cactus in it (I have no idea what it was called, Hector’s grandma made it)

I absolutely loved the food and can’t wait to have it again. The picture to the right is actually one way that they made taco meat. I have to say that the place we ate this at makes the best tacos ever. Absolutely delicious. We hope to go again in October, when his parents are going to help Hector’s grandma fix up her house, but there is no guarantee. If not, at least I have pictures to drool over this time.

Anyway, as always please comment below. I’d like to hear your experiences in Mexico. If you’d like to see more of my content, please subscribe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.” ―Tennessee Williams

Hello everyone. I know there have been many new subscribers here and I want to thank you. I am doing today’s post so late (it’s about 10pm) is because I attended my third REI class earlier this evening and I wanted to report on both of my classes from this week. One of which pertains to only women, and will be at the bottom to spare your eyes if you don’t want to see it.

For those who are new here, I am planning a trip to go backpacking and I’m currently taking as many REI classes as possible. Thankfully they offer so many for free but I hope to attend a couple that aren’t free, simply because I need the info. I will, once again, be sharing my notes with you because I want to share what I am learning for those who may not have access to a nearby REI.

First off, on Tuesday evening, I attended the “Overnight Backpacking Basics” class. The instructor had set out materials so he could point them out to us, which is something the previous class did not have. Some of the slides in the Powerpoint were the same so I simply put “same as before” and moved on.

  • What is backpacking? Going out for more than a few days
  • Trip Plan
    • The 4 W’s and How
      • Who will be going? Who will be the leader? Who has more knowledge?
      • What are you doing? What is your objective?
      • Where will you be going?
      • When will you be heading out and coming back? This has to do a lot with weather and the season you go
      • How will you get there? How will you supply yourself? How will you do it?
  • General Guidelines17670609_1656635491311509_1305134530_o
    • Rules and regulations of public lands, wilderness areas
    • Backcountry travel considerations
    • Pass on your knowledge, respect, and passion (which is what I am doing)
  • Outdoor Ethics
    • Leave No Trace
    • Plan ahead and prepare
    • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
    • Dispose of waste properly
    • Leave what you find
    • Minimize camp impacts
    • respect wildlife
    • Be considerate of other visitors
  • 10 Essentials Plus
    • Same as before
  • Dressing
    • Same as before
    • Mid weight would be best (for your base layer)
    • Zip off pants are highly recommended
    • Long sleeve summer shirts are good
    • Synthetic vs. down jackets
    • Fleece dries faster than most synthetic
    • How does your outer layer fit?
    • Picking your shell is important
    • 2 pairs of gloves: base layer and outer layer
    • Having ankle support boots is important
    • SmartWool socks or Darn Tough
    • Liner socks help with blisters
    • Take your shoes off each time you take a break
    • Gaiters are for protection
    • Take care of your feet
    • Look into inserts if you can
    • Have a good sleeping socks and leave them in your sleeping bag
    • Keep your feet dry, warm, and happy
    • Some hikers put Gold Bond in their socks and claim that helps
  • Shelter
    • Same as before
    • Average 2 person tent is about 2 pounds
    • Backpacking tent peak height is 2-4 feet, typically
  • Sleep system
    • Comfort, lower limit, extreme limit
    • R value: thickness and heating of insulation (sleeping pad)
    • sleeping bag liners (usually about $40-$80)
    • Yoga mats DO NOT work for sleeping pads
    • Try out a pad at REI before you buy one (you don’t have to buy it there but do try it out)
  • Camp kitchen
  • Pack types
    • Internal vs. external
    • Mesh helps with sweat
    • There is no one backpack to rule them all

The class went by pretty fast and, as you can see, there was new information on some of the same topics. I highly suggest this class because you can learn so much of the basic stuff. I loved it and the teachers are always so upbeat and lively.

Now, the next part of this post pertains to women so if you don’t want to read on, I understand. But women, I highly suggest you at least skim this part. This class is called “Women’s Backpacking Basics” and you can look for it using the same link above.

17668844_1656635501311508_1308518268_o

  • Guidelines
    • Leave no Trace
    • Backcountry Knowledge
  • Getting Started
    • Same as before
  • Trip plan
    • Same as before
    • Trip plan should always be left with someone at home
  • Websites to visit and other resources
    • recreation.gov (you can find permit information)
    • nps.gov (you can get park information
    • summitpost.org (personal reviews from other hikers/backpackers)
    • REI Hiking Project App
    • Call the nearest ranger station
  • Rethinking the 10 essentials
    • Same as before
  • Dress
    • Same as before
    • Keep clean clothes back at your car if you are returning to the same spot after backpacking
  • Choosing your gear
    • Women’s specific gear (THERE IS A DIFFERENCE)
      • Packs
      • Sleeping bags
      • Trekking poles
    • other gear
      • Tents
      • Stoves
      • Filters
    • Sleeping with a bottle of warm water will help when you are cold
    • Trekking poles can help take some pressure off of your knees and back
    • Know the food before you go, try it before hand because you don’t want to take food hate.
    • Try to get water from the middle of a stream not on th edges
  • Carrying the load
    • Adjust weight to account for women’s center of gravity
    • Gage the water you are using, have a bladder as well as water bottles on each side of your pack (make sure it is even)
  • Women in the woods: Hygiene
    • Try using a Diva Cup, practice with it at home first.
      • Clean it with wipes every day (multiple times a day)
      • You can boil them (in its own pot, not the one used for food)
    • Using a GoGirl is so helpful!
    • Take a bathroom bag
    • Keep your feet out of the way when you pee
  • Safety
    • Recognize the sounds of nature
    • Know about wildlife in your area and how to react in an encounter
    • Engage the hiker community
  • Women in the woods: Preparation
    • Exercise and nutrition
      • Muscular strength and endurance
      • Flexibility and stretching
      • Training hikes
    • Hydrate before you get to higher elevation
  • Extra
    • Try to stay below 30 pounds in your pack
    • You can’t light fires at 10,000 feet
    • Don’t be afraid to go to an REI and ask questions, even if you don’t buy your equipment there.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope my notes prove helpful to y’all! I am including a couple links below if you would like to help Redheaded Owl and I prepare for our long hike in 2019. Feel free to look at them! As always, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enter the weekend on a high note!

https://www.gofundme.com/pctwomanhikers

https://www.amazon.com/wedding/share/wishlistforPCT