Saturday, 26 March 2011

America pros and cons

There are many things I love about America. I love the wide variety, so many differnt scenery backdrops, weathers, cultures and ways of living. From big cities to tiny little towns consisiting of 3 houses and a store there's almost every way of living you could imagine.

I love the food, everything really is bigger in America (and I can hear you making crude comments already) so I love being able to eat my fill and still have enough to take home! Theres so many different cuisines both with actual resturants and take away places. Not to mention its reasonably priced. Comparing Fort Collins prices to London probably isnt too comparable but I do enjoy knowing I dont have to take out a loan to eat out! :D

I love the people. Again this may not be comparable to London, and it may be because I'm not a native but I have (on the whole) found everyone to be extremely helpful and friendly. Especially in Fort Collins where you can easily start up a conversation with someone on the street and not be thought a crazy.

I love how there are drive through everything! Restuarants, coffee shops, postboxes, BANKS! (Thats gotta be my favorite)

However there are many things that are driving me a tad crazy and I just needed a little rant about them.

Healthcare system...ugh! If you dont have insurance (which is terribly expensive to start off with) you dont want to go to the hospital or doctors unless your actually missing an appendage or something! So if you've got a lump or bump your common sense tells you you should get checked out (this is just for instance - no one panic please) you dont because it might be nothing and your $1000 out of pocket. Not to mention the price of prescriptions, even things like birth control. The amount of women who dont use it because its too expensive.

I will never complain about the NHS again!

I hate that you have to have a car to get anywhere and public transportation is just not even a consideration. Not to mention the fact that because of that almost anyone can get a license. Yeeeaaah lets give kids age 15 and old ladies age 89 the ability to drive a 2 ton machine capable of killing people.

Again as much as having to take umpteen lessons and a rigorous test, give me UK driving tests anytime!

I hate that the passport office has NO IDEA what ID you need to apply for a passport and is messing with Codaniel's application. In fact how most people in positions of authority generally have very little idea of whats going on and seem to just want to mess with you all the time.

I'm deeply concerned about immigration when I come back over here to get married as apparently the only reason you would want to get married in America is to live here illegally (eyeroll - get over yourselves!)

Ok, so you can probably guess that I'm a little frustrated with many institutions in America at the moment.  Apologies for any offence caused to my lovely American friends and American readers. Its just a rant...promise, I'll be fine later!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The joys of Wedding planning

So I just found an awesome show called "Whose Wedding is it Anyway" Goodness me there are some fights going on! The first episode was a double wedding for two sisters who had completely opposite views for the wedding, fought over everything, jealousy, cat fights - jeesh! I have to say I love my sister to PIECES but I would never have a shared wedding with her. Your wedding is about your day, and sharing it with the person you've probably fought more with in your life than anyone else is just a recipe for disaster.

Although I have to say when you say them all dancing together at the end it was very cute. My personal hats off goes to the Wedding Planner though. One bride wanted purples the other wanted hot pink and the wedding planner pulled it all together and it looked REALLY good! I was trying to find a picture of the wedding party but I coudlnt. I did however find this, one bride wanted the cake, the other cupcakes so they did both in their respective wedding colours.

Theres another show called "Say Yes to the Dress" and I have to say I feel so sorry for some of these brides who are clearly regretting the entourage they brought with them to try on the most expensive outfit they'll ever wear. ( will be for me anyway!)

Like the girl who couldnt decide what she wanted and when she finally fell in love with a dress was met with a "meh" response. Or the girl who wanted a modest, A-line dress with a slightly higher neckline that would cover a scar but whose younger twin brothers wanted her to wear something "low cut, figure hugging and sexy" that she was clearly uncomfortable in because of her scar.

So this leads me to my biggest piece of wedding planning advice. Know when to ask for advice, and who to ask it from 

For example Dont ask someone who has only ever eaten beans on toast to help choose the menu. Dont ask someone who hands you clothes that you know will look awful on you to come with you to try on your dress. However DO ask that relative that spent 3 years working in a florists to help choose the flowers and do ask that person that dishes up the most mouthwatering desserts to  choose (or even make) the cake.

Of course some things there should be no arguing with, like mum and maid of honour coming with you to get the dress. Luckily my best girls know exactly what looks good on me so there are no worries there and I cant WAIT to try on dresses!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Red Cross emergency appeal for Japan

I'm sure many of you have seen or read in the news, on Friday 11th March, a massive earthquake - the seventh largest recorded in history, struck the east coast of Japan. It measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and that then trigged a tsunami which hit Japan with 7meter high waves.

The death count is as yet unknown and there are many many people missing. I'm sure I dont need to tell you this is a horrifying experience for all those caught up in the disaster, and those with friends and family they have not yet heard from.

In addition countries with coastlines on the Pacific have been issued with tsunami warnings. This includes the PhilippinesAustralia and even the West Coast of America. 

The fundraiser in me is compelled to ask anyone who can or is in a position to do so, to make a donation to the Red Cross's appeal. 

For my friends and (soon to be!) family in America you can make a donation via the American Red Cross by visiting their website here or you can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999More info about text donations

For my friends and family in the UK you can make a donation via the British Red Cross by visiting their website here

Or you can make a donation over the phone by calling 08450 53 53 53

Even if you feel you can only make a small donation, you will be making a difference. Whether it be $2 or $200 (or pounds) you will be helping those affected by this disaster. 

Thanking you in advance. 

Disclaimer: This blog is not written or approved by any Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. This is merely my personal appeal to readers to help those in need in Japan.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day 6: Five Things You Can Eat Everyday

Mmmm going to talk about food...dangerous. Nomnomnom

1) Fresh bread (or at least warm) with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar dip
I LOVE vinegar. My dips are generally one part oil with about 5 parts vinegar! The warmer and fresher the bread the better. Mmmm I really could live on this forever!

2) Chocolate
To be fair, since I've been in America I've not eaten as much as I normally do. A few reasons: American chocolate sucks (sorry America - its true!) so I'm savouring my UK chocolate I brought with me. Some US chocolate is ok, but its the expensive stuff (naturally) There are a couple of stores here in FoCo that have British Chocolate but because of import fees etc they're horrendously overpriced in my opinion and I cant bring myself to do it!

3) Fish and Chips
Nomnomnom! Best take away food EVER. Again, with the chips practically swimming in vinegar. And a saveloy on the side. Mmmm! I'm so glad theres a "British" Fish and Chip shop here in FoCo. Its not quite the same, but still really good. Not to mention the fact that my baby makes damn good Fish and Chips!

4) Nice cuppa' tea
Everything can be solved with a nice cup a tea. Tea wake you up in the morning, gets you through the work  day, comforts you when your ill and de-stresses you in horrible situations. It can even revive the Doctor and the TARDIS. Magical stuff!

5) Biscuits/cookies
I felt the need to clarify with cookies as I am talking about sweet, normally chocolate covered biscuits that are to be dunked in the aforementioned Nice cuppa tea! This is as opposed to the bread like fluffy biscuit that comes coated in sausage gravy.

Hehe, whilst looking for this picture of David Tennant I found this excellent one too. We'd have such a great first date...sorry Codaniel, I'm kidding I promise! (He is on my list though...)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Day 5: Six of Your Favorite Books

1) The Princess Bride
I cant quite remember if I read the book or saw the movie first but the book is amazing. And the movie is one of the few AMAZING, perfect adaptations of a book.

True fairy tale - should be read and watched by all!

2) The Harry Potter saga
I was 11 when the first Harry Potter book came out - same as Harry, and I grew up with these books. I wasnt too sure at first, I had to try reading it a few times before I got past the second chapter then as soon as I did I was hooked. I started re-reading the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the night before The Deathly Hallows came out. I'd finished both books by Sunday early evening- 2 days flat! And I had to work, eat and sleep that weekend too.

3) 1984
Such an amazing story, so terrifying that it COULD happen. Eery that Orwell had such accurate predictions of the future. For me what I love most though is the love story. Or rather, the doomed love story. ***SPOILER ALERT*** It breaks my heart when he denys her. Although he is in the most awful of situations, I feel I would have rather died and said "F you Big Brother" than deny my love.

4) Everything by Roald Dahl
My favorite childhood author, and I could still re-read every story over and over again. They're so brilliantly written for children. Children they can relate to, horrible situations not sugarcoated but at the same time with amazing humour and excellent words that children adore. Snozcumbers! My children will be hearing a lot of Roald Dahl when they're growing up!

5) Of Mice and Men
We read this in English at school and I fell in love with the story. It broke my heart though. The movie with John Malchovich and Gary Sinise really sold it for me. Mr Sinise is GORGEOUS in that movie! I have excellent memories of spending Media Studies with my friend Nicky, just Googling pictures...ah the exciting lives of 15 year old hormonal girls! hehe

6) The Twilight Saga
Despite being a 20-something I love these books. When I started reading them through for the 3rd time I really realised that they actually arn't brilliantly written. But I don't care, this escapist romantic love story got me through a tough time and also brought me to some amazing people. I'm glad I've read them as an adult though. I can see how the relationships are not healthy. I really worry about those teenage girls who swoon "Edward is such a perfect man" you sleep before your even dating, desperately trying to find out everything about you, forbidding you from seeing friends and taking you away from your family...hes a creepy creeper!

PS: This was my 100th post! Woop woop!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Day 4: Seven People Who Inspire You, and Why?


I've always had trouble with this "inspiration" thing. Inspire me how? In what way? Sometimes the smallest little things inspire me, inspire me to write, spend time with those I love, generally be a better human being. But a whole person to inspire me? Maybe I'll just think about the things I've seen people do that have inspired me. (In no particular order)

1) Couples on Loving from a distance.
So far Codaniel and I have been long distance for 14 months, and are likely to continue being so for the next 10-12. To anyone in a close distance relationship that must seem like torture. However in the grand scheme of LD relationships it really is nothing. Especially when we'e had two 3 month visits in that time period. I read stories of couple that have been together for 2, 4, 8, sometimes more years, with precious few visits in between. Some don't even know when there next visit will be. For some its literally a year or more away.

I find that incredible. I love Codaniel with everything I have and would wait for him, I just dont know how I would do it with the positivity and light that these couples do. They are amazing!

2) People who give there lives to save others
Police officers, firefighters, the armed forces. Ok its their job and they  get paid for doing it. But think long and hard. For a nominal salary would you be willing to risk your life, leave your mother without a child, wife without a husband, daughter without a mother to save someone you dont know? Now what about all the people who do it voluntarily.Think about it...

3)  Kirsty
My friend Kirsty is one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met. She'll stop and talk to everyone she meets, she would give her last £1 and the shirt off her back to someone who needed it, and even more so if they didnt ask. And the most inspiring thing? She doesnt even realise how amazing and unique she is for how much she cares.

4) My Mum
Mums should be inspiring. To be honest, every mother is. When you have a child, they become your life. Your first thought will always be of them before yourself. My mum in particular is inspiring because she is mum and dad to me and my sister. She can cook and clean, but she works, fixes the car and does all the DIY. Shes not a "girly girl" mum, but she cant wait to come with me to choose my Wedding Dress. And then  guess who'll be walking me down the aisle? :)

5) My "online" friends who took the chance to meet me
You never know who people are online. You'd like to think you get to know them pretty well and can trust them, but theres always that small part of you that says "What if?" Yet Becca, Ally, Megs, Jen, Codaniel and Sami all  took the chance to not only meet me, but invite me into their homes, meet their friends and family and help me have some of the most amazing memories of a lifetime. Having faith in people gives me inspiration!

6) Children
All children. They are innocent, they have the most amazing imaginations, yet they see things with such clarity. They are very sound judges of character, yet have this amazing ability to love. Plus when you see what they are capable of its pretty darn amazing. Just last night Izzy's baby, barely 3 months old was literally headbanging and dancing to metal music and Codaniels guitar playing! Brought huge smiles to all of our faces!

7) Having the ability to keep loving, even after being burned. 
Love hurts. It shouldnt, but when we open ourselves up so completely to someone else, all of our fears, joys and insecurities, only to have it thrown back in our faces is one of the most horrendous things anyone will ever have to face. I'm hugely inspired by the people, (my Codaniel especially) who are able to say "Ok..that hurt more than I can ever imagine. But I believe that I can love and be loved again, with time" Never give up on love.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Day 3 - Eight Places You Want To Visit

1) All 50 States
Even before coming here for the first time, I've always wanted to visit all 50 States of the USA. As in literally touch the soil and do something there (I clarify that because I traveled through many on the train but didn't visit them!) So far I've already visited:

New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
Washington State

8 out of 50 in a year (actually - a month!) aint bad!

2) Northern Europe

I havnt decided exactly where exactly. Basically somewhere with snow and the Northern Lights. I really cant wait to see the Northern Lights one day

3) Disney World
I've been to Disney Land in Paris but I would love to go to one of the ones in America. Where Disney started! What can I say, I'm a child born and bred on Disney films, I cant help it, its true love. :)

4) Australia
I think...I'd like to see the uniqueness of the Outback, Ayers rock etc. I'm not too keen on the 24hour flight, overbearing heat or *shudder* bugs that could kill me. However as my friend Jess will potentially be moving out there, I guess I'll be visiting it at least once in my life!

5) Niagara Falls
Not technically the same as number 1 as its 1/2 in Canada, and its also something specific :-P Its so magnificent, so terrifying, so awe-striking. Would love to see the falls. Might give the going over it in a barrel a pass though! hehe

6) The middle of the Atlantic
Ideally, the point where the Titanic sank. OK, that sounds kinda weird, granted. But I've always had a bit of an obsession with Titanic. Long before the movie came out. It was such a tragedy, I choke up every time just thinking about it, everything that went wrong, the amount of women that lost their husbands, children growing up without their fathers that they had to say goodbye to right there. How maybe just one small thing could have had it averted. And how we should never mess with nature, and declare we are better than forces bigger than us. "God himself could not sink this ship" wrong they were.

7) Scotland
I've been to Scotland, many times. But its so beautiful and theres so much of it I havnt seen yet. And I look forward to discovering it with Codaniel.

8) The Caribbean
Just to say I have!

An amazing weekend

So before I return to my blogging challenge I need to share my amazing weekend with you lovely people!

Friday we planned to go and view a couple of potential wedding venues, including the one we've been in love wit and had our heart set on since we saw the website and package offered alone.

Of course Friday is the day of the worst snowstorm I've seen since I've been here, during the mildest winter FoCo has seen in years....typical. Not only that, we're driving up the canyon, into the mountains to Estes Park where the snow is (of course) a million times worse.

Thank you SO much future mum-in-law Pam for battling that canyon 3 times for us in the snow to allow us to see our venue and get back in time for the evenings shenanigans.

So we get up to the venue and we cant even drive up the driveway to the actual place because it was SO icy. The car gets stuck and we struggle up the driveway. Then Pam nearly fell in the ice (I thought she was going to go down the hill!), Codaniel runs to chivarously save his mum - HE falls over, I struggle over carefully to see if hes ok ( rescue my Wedding binder that was laying face down in the snow, but that doesnt make me sound too good huh?) and then of course I end up on my butt too. Smooth first impressions...

So after this adventure in the snow we get inside and it is every bit as beautiful and a million times more than we imagined it would be! We braved the snow and walked down to the ceremony site (which is outside). We're talking at least a foot and a half of untouched, powdery, crunchy snow. The ceremony site was also untouched and it looked like Narnia. If it wasnt for the logistical nightmare it would cause, I almost wish it would snow on the day!

The guy showing us round bugged me slightly because he wouldn't let the 'Event planner' part of me ask the questions I wanted to or write them down. He was also telling me how I "should" do certain things because most people do. In particular I explained that we probably wouldn't do cocktail hour as we dont drink so it would be "coffee and cake hour" instead. He said "Well y'know most people hold off on the coffee until later when the Wedding cake is served" Apparently my face was one of thunder and to be honest it took a lot of self control to not say anything! Oops....again Sarah - VERY smooth!

(This is what Estes Park looks like in the snow. I promise, there are mountains tucked behind those low lieing clouds!)

So we're settled on our venue, we just need to get the deposit and get it booked ASAP!

So then we battled back down the mountain to be able to get to see Rocky Horror Picture Show! We'd been looking forward to this for close to a month, spent a small fortune on our costumes and practiced what lines to yell and when to throw our props.

The first night we got there a little bit late and were worried we'd be the only ones dressed up. Luckily quite a few people were, in varying degrees, including one guy who was equally as "Frank n Furter-ed" as Codaniel was! We didnt quite know when all the lines were but there was one guy who knew them all and had everyone in fits of giggles pretty much everytime.

The second night we got there early to be able to mingle with everyone. Of course what we forgot was that the cinema was still playing other shows. Needless to say we got a few weird looks, but also quite a few "You look awesome!"'s. The guys at the desk cracked us up. Me: "I'll let you guess what we want tickets for" Clerk: "You guys are here to see Tangled right?" Lol, that was really funny!

There were reporters and a photographer from the local college newspaper there too, As two of the most "in character people" (though certainly not the only ones who were dressed up!) they took quite a few photos of us, and we're hoping we'll end up in the local paper!

And to top it off, WE were the ones that knew the lines! From practicing, and also from hearing them all the night before. I cant tell you how satisfying it is to be a heckler that is not only listened to but laughed with! :D

"The man you are about to see has no neck"

"Ding dong, assholes calling, sluts for sale, going cheap" "How cheap?" "So cheap shes got a condom in her hair!" Hehe - excellent times!

Oh, and I almost forgot. The second night we stayed in a hotel, to make a real weekend of it and to be closer to get to and from the cinema. You would expect the Hilton to be a pretty good establishment huh? Not charge an extra $10 for wifi, wake you up at stupid o clock with "housekeeping" when you requested a late check out and breakfast isnt even done serving or a sororuty convention so loud you feel like the drunk 18yr olds are in the room with you? Not at ALL what I expect when I pay that much a night for a room in an 'expensive' hotel; I complained, we got the room for free - we were VERY happy! Moral of this story...its ALWAYS worth complaining if theres something your unhappy with.

So yup, overal one of the most amazing weekend ever! I love Wedding Planning and the Rocky Horror Picture Show!