Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What’s something people might ask you for help with?
Travel planning or book recommendations.

2. What’s something you might ask someone else for help with?
French braiding my hair… LOL.

3. Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child? If so, where did you go? If you’re a parent, did/do you plan summer vacations with your own family? Did/do they resemble those you took as a child?
Yes, to Edisto Island in SC. I am not a parent but if I ever have kids they will definitely travel.

I'm pretty sure this was taken in Miami but... It's a picture of me on a beach as a kid! :)

I’m pretty sure this was taken in Miami but… It’s a picture of me on a beach as a kid! 🙂

4. Pool, lake, ocean… Which one is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?
Pool for sure. But I don’t mind swimming in lakes, oceans, rivers, whatever!

Swimming in a lake on July 4th!

Swimming in a lake on July 4th!

5. Have you ever justified using the expression, “you gotta be cruel to be kind”? Was it really necessary or were you rationalizing?
I haven’t used the expression but I can see when someone would… In a romantic situation.

6. The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as: liver, lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin. Of those foods, how many do you actually hate? Anything you’d add to the list?
The only one I really like on that list is okra. Fried okra is delicious!! I definitely do not like liver, mushrooms, eggs, beets, or tuna. The others are OK.

7. What’s your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town?
This is a hard one… Off the top of my head I would pick the movie The Beach! (And I’ve been to Ko Phi Phi, where it was filmed, which is totally crowded and trashy… Literally!)



8. Insert your own random thought here.
Wish the rain would go away! See how flooded my normal swimming hole is…



Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Have you learned more from success or failure? Explain.
I think from success. I have been pretty successful as of late (getting my master’s degree and my dream job). Failure pisses me off but not in a good, motivational way.

2. What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up?
Mimi and Papaw; Grandma and Grandpa.

3. You’re invited to a luau. In keeping with that theme, what dish will you bring to share?
I would do some research first so I don’t know but offhand I’d say… Pineapple and ham kabobs.

4. What one person’s life story do you think everyone should know about?
This is a hard question because I’m not too into history myself… Gandhi? Martin Luther King Jr.?

5. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Agree or Disagree? Why?
Agree… It’s not worth it. But then again when all the small stuff you don’t sweat adds up, it might turn into big stuff. So I guess I dunno!

6. June is National Rivers Month. When were you last on a river? What’s the prettiest river you’ve ever seen? What’s a river you’d like to see?
I just went to a river last weekend to go swimming. The prettiest river I have seen was the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. And I would love to see the Amazon and the Nile!


If you ever go to Thailand, stay here!!

If you ever go to Thailand, stay here!!

7. Speaking of rivers… Paddling, fishing, swimming, or bird watching safely from the shore? Which activity would you choose?
Swimming! I love swimming in the summer.


8. Insert your own random thought here.
Aren’t my babies the cutest?



Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Everyday Ruralty

1. What kinds of seafood have you tried and liked? What is the most unique seafood you’ve eaten?
I don’t like seafood and I haven’t tried many… Some fish, lobster, crab cakes, crab dip, popcorn shrimp. My favorite is popcorn shrimp but I still never eat it.


2. An unforgettable vacation moment is _____________________.
Sea kayaking in Thailand. It was amazing! Read more about that here.


3. When was the last time you tried something new?
Hmmm I dunno. I started a new job recently.


4. Who or what inspires you?
My determination to get my dream job and my passion for travel.

5. How did you chose the names of your children. If you don’t have kids, how do you choose pet names?
I don’t have kids but I have names picked out: Emerson Harper for a girl (Emmie) and Finnegan for a boy (Finn but I need a middle name!). My cats’ names are Diesel Gambrinus and Riley Moonshine. I love the name Riley for a girl but I have a friend who used it already so I feel like I shouldn’t! Except for a cat. 🙂 I always joked if I had kids I would give them redneck names of Diesel and Baby Jane. So I was going to name my cats that but I had a cat named Janie growing up so Baby Jane seemed too similar. I thought Moonshine was pretty redneck too, and a cat name I always liked, so I went with that. Then I figured Diesel needed an alcoholic middle name as well… Gambrinus was my favorite Czech beer when I lived in Prague. Diesel ended up being a girl and not a boy as I thought but she already had the boy name so…



Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When you’ve eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts?
If a comment card is left on a table then I will fill it out. I only do the Old Navy surveys to get a discount. Any other surveys where I could get a chance to win a bunch of money or something I don’t bother with… Because chances are it’s a waste of time!

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women. Your thoughts?
I think it’s a good thing. If women want to have front line positions then let them. But I won’t be one of them!

3. In looking back at all the blog posts you’ve written, what’s your favorite post title?
I don’t usually come up with very creative titles. The one that popped into my head was You Down Wit’ Ko Phi Phi? (Yeah, You Know Me!).


4. What’s worse… Overly permissive parents or overly protective parents? Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category? If you’re a parent where do you fall?
Overly protective parents are worse in my opinion. I don’t believe in sheltering your children from everything. My mom was more permissive and I turned out just fine. 🙂

5. Candlelight, moonlight, firelight, bright lights in the big city… Which one’s your favorite?
I’m gonna go with firelight when on a camping trip.


6. Dr. Seuss’s birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What’s a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood? Did books play an important role in your growing up years?
I loved to read as a kid and still do. I loved The Baby-sitters Club and Fear Street series.



7. To quote Dr. Seuss… “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere” from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Share something funny you’ve recently read, seen or heard.
I laughed out loud while reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid the other day (for a class assignment). Pretty funny book!


8. Insert your own random thought here.
My cat Diesel has been bringing me some nice presents. For awhile it was just mice but in the past week I’ve gotten a crawfish, baby chipmunk, and enormous frog!! Luckily they were all still alive and well and I was able to rescue them.



My Favorite Places in Southeast Asia

If you haven’t yet, check out my guest post on Lesley’s blog By the Porchlight for all the reasons you should visit Southeast Asia! Now that I’ve convinced you to travel to the region, where exactly should you go? Here are a few of my favorite places:

• The River Kwai Jungle Rafts in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. This floating hotel is only accessible by boat and has no electricity! But it was amazing. You can jump off the front deck and float down the river or watch elephants bathe from the hammock on your balcony.

River Kwai Jungle Rafts

• The Puerto Princesa Underground River on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Named one of the new wonders of nature in 2012, you can take a boat ride on the river into an enormous cave. On land, you’ll see giant monitor lizards and monkeys hanging out together and the most gorgeous green water you could imagine.

Underground River

• Street food stands in Hanoi, Vietnam. I don’t even care for Vietnamese food, but the pho I ate at one of the many tiny tables set up along the sidewalks of this charming city was so delicious. Chances are there won’t be any English spoken here but a little pantomime can go a long way. After dinner grab a beer at a roadside bia hơi joint.


• Kuang Si Falls near Luang Prabang, Laos. Best swimming holes in the world! But please be respectful of the local culture and wear a t-shirt over your bathing suit. There are tons of signs posted yet I saw so many foreigners in bikinis. Also be sure to visit the Bear Rescue Center at the entrance to the park!

Kuang Si Falls

• Beng Mealea near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat gets all the hype but I preferred this remote temple that can be reached by tuk-tuk in two hours. Prepare for a dusty, bumpy ride… But it’s worth it! Beng Mealea has been consumed by the jungle and left to ruin, which to me only adds to its beauty. You can climb up and over fallen rocks and rubble. Since there are many trees, it is also much shadier than other temples.

Beng Mealea

• Phang Nga Bay Sea Kayaking near Phuket, Thailand. Definitely do the Hong by Starlight tour with John Gray’s Sea Canoe. Expensive but so worth it! Amazing guides, great food, beautiful scenery, monkeys, swimming… I also loved making krathongs out of banana leaves and flowers and making a wish as we watched them float away in the candlelit lagoon. Magical!

Phang Nga Bay Sea Kayaking

Nipah Guesthouse in Pulau Pangkor, Malaysia. This is the best hotel I have ever stayed at because of its owners. Nicest, friendliest people you will ever meet! Alicia and Anuar really went above and beyond to make our stay exceptional. This is a great place to visit if you want to relax for a few days… Read in a hammock, take a leisurely stroll to the beach, munch on banana fritters, and feed the hornbills. Walking to Coral Island during low tide is fun too!

Pulau Pangkor

• Buddha Park near Vientiane, Laos. There isn’t much else to do near this city so if you’re in the area, definitely check out this sculpture park! So many bizarre Hindu and Buddhist statues. There’s also a giant pumpkin with three levels (hell, earth, and heaven) that you can go inside. From the top there’s a great view of the entire park.

Buddha Park

• Bali, Indonesia. This island is my favorite place in the world (so far). I love the offerings that are EVERYWHERE. Balinese people are very spiritual. They believe that Bali is populated with gods, ancestors, spirits, and demons and the offerings are meant to show respect and gratitude. I saw many items presented in the offerings, such as fruit, candy, cigarettes, money, crackers, and incense.



Single Ladies Link Up

Chasing Birdies

10 Things I Love About Myself

1. I am a good friend. I am thoughtful, I remember things, I make an effort, I don’t back out when I say I’m going to do something.

me and my friend Cindy

me and my friend Cindy (skiing on Tuesday)

2. I am well-traveled.

Mongolia, June 2012

Mongolia, June 2012

3. I am intelligent and doing well in grad school.


4. I can cook and bake some delicious dishes (most of the time).


5. I like to do things by myself (going to the movies, traveling, etc.).

but when you travel by yourself, you tend to take photos like this all the time (Laos, 2012)

but when you travel by yourself, you tend to take photos like this all the time (Laos, June 2012)

6. I love my two cats like they’re my children.


7. I have cute toes. And a cute nose.


8. I have an exciting life and am always trying new things.

riding an elephant was scary! (Thailand, July 2011)

riding an elephant was scary! (Thailand, July 2011)

9. I throw great parties.

Santa's Mustache Bash, December 2012

Santa’s Mustache Bash, December 2012

10. I’m fun! I will sing karaoke or be the first one on the dance floor.

Carnival Cruise, September 2012

Carnival Cruise, September 2012


Sunday Stealing

1: Would you swear in front of your parents?
My mom yes, dad no.

2: Which continents have you been on?
North America, Europe, and Asia.

3: Do you get motion sickness? Any horror stories?
Not usually but I did get seasick on a boat from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi in Thailand. I didn’t puke but I came close. It was awful!

see those choppy waves?

see those choppy waves?

4: Why did you name your blog whatever you named your blog?
If was after this song, which I listened to when I was homesick while living in Korea.

5: Would you wear a rainbow jacket? A neon yellow sweater? Checkered pants?
I’d probably wear the yellow sweater.

6: What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Post a picture if you can.


7: In a past life I must have been a…
Cat. I like to sleep, eat, and be grumpy.

8: If you had to look at one city skyline for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Out of all the cities I’ve been to, I think I liked Hong Kong the best. It would be a cool place to live.


9: Longest plane ride you’ve ever been on?
14 hours from Washington DC to Seoul.

10: The longest you’ve ever slept?
I dunno… All day when I’m hungover.

11: Would you buy a sweater covered in kitten pictures? Would you wear it if someone gave it you for free?
I might buy it at a thrift store and wear it just because it’s funny and tacky.

12: Do you pluck your eyebrows?

13: Favorite kind of bean? Kidney? Black? Pinto?
Black beans.

14: How far can you throw a baseball?
Not far at all…

15: If you had to move to another country, where would you move?
Indonesia, Bali specifically. Most amazing place I’ve ever visited, and cheap!

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

16: Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? Vietnamese? Korean? Nepalese? How was it?
Not Ethiopian but I have had the other three. Nepalese is similar to Indian, so it’s delicious! Vietnamese is OK (although the pho they sell on the streets of Hanoi is amazing) and Korean is my least favorite (except for bulgogi).