My USA Bucket List

Originally today was going to be a March book recap, but I’m going to save that for Friday (aka I need to finish the book). Instead, I’m drawing inspirations from Olya and talking about 5 USA cities that I’d like to visit soon!

1. Atlanta/Savannah

atlanta

The husband has been to ATL before but I’ve never been to Georgia (other than driving through to FL). I feel like so much happens in Atlanta! I’d love to take a week and visit the city and explore the mountains and visit the Georgia coast! I know there are some fabulous islands just off the coast, too!

2. Austin

I refuse to visit Texas in the summer, but I’d be ok with venturing south any time between October and April. Maybe during SxSW? I really love the history of Texas and I’ve already been to San Antonio, so I feel like Austin a good Texan city to explore next!

3. Los Angeles

los_angeles

Honestly, I’ve never thought about traveling to LA… but Charlene’s post about Warner Bros Studio and all the fun things she and her husband did in LA peaks my interest! I think it’d be fun to spend a week in California and see all there is to see along that part of the coast.

4. Portland/Seattle

While we’re on the West Coast it only makes sense to tour the Pacific Northwest! Do Portlanders and Seattleites get upset when you combine their cities? (If so, I’m sorry!) This part of the US has been on my bucket list for a long time- hopefully we get to visit here soon!

5. Maine

maine

I don’t eat lobster, so there’s no urgency to visit during one of their festivals 😉 I think that Maine is such an interesting state with all its culture and history and nature. I’m a big fan of the cool weather + coastal town combination. Is that weird? Most people want balmy beach weather…. I think Maine would be a great place to read/write/set a novel.

I want to see Hawaii and Alaska, too, but I stuck to the lower 48 states.

Any travel advice or must-see spots in these cities/states? What US destinations are on your bucket list?

audielou.com_signature

The India Archive [2]

In 2012 I spent four weeks in Bangalore, India. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried a lot, I complained a lot, and there were at least two instances that I was positive I would die. That said, I learned a lot and went on adventures and had so much fun. On a bi-weekly-Monday basis I will share my trip here.

india_archives_travel

. . .

If you missed it, last time I talked about the 36 hours of travel to reach Bangalore, India…

When we landed at the airport & met the rest of the group we learned that we had a two hour bus ride to the hotel. It was evening in Bangalore & it made total sense to sleep on the bus. But I couldn’t sleep.. and so began my first taste of culture shock.

Just being in a moving vehicle on an Indian roadway was enough to shock my American system. On top of that, the streets and sidewalks are littered with other cars, buses, trucks,motorcycle, auto-rickshaws, cows, goats, camels, dogs, people, and carts. It’s incredible.

india_archive

. . .

india_archive

. . .

2 Post 8

I remember the first stray dog I saw. He was sitting near our bus at the airport. I saw another as we drove out of the lot. I was so shocked (and horrified). I had no idea those two would be the first of hundreds.

india_archives
He’s just sleeping, I promise.

. . .

2 Post 10

. . .

2 Post 8

We reached the National Games Village very late in the night. When the trip had been presented to us we were told we’d be staying in a gated community. Well… technically it was gated and had walls… but the gates weren’t shut and we could move in and out of the apartment complex just like everyone else could. Also, one of the biggest slums in Bangalore was adjacent to our complex. Like I said, it was an adventure…

india_archive
Alicia opening the outer gate of our apartment.

. . .

india_archive
Door to our apartment.

. . .

india_archive

(When we booked the trip we had the option to live on campus or in the NGV apartments. The campus living arrangement wasn’t any more luxurious AND they locked the gates at 10pm every night. So if we weren’t home, we were on our own for the night. That did NOT sound appealing. Every student on the trip opted for the NGV apartments. It was a 2 mile walk from campus.)

india_archive
View of apartments across the way.

. . .

india_archive

. . .

india_archive
This family lived outside the gates, below our balcony.

Our apartment was a nice size. It had three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, dining room, living room, and two balconies. Five girls lived in this apartment (4 from my university, one from TN). I’ll talk more about my travelmates next time.

The apartment didn’t have a/c (hahahaha) but it did have fans. We could leave the windows and doors open because there were bars on them. Of course, mosquitoes and malaria were real things, so we had to be wary of that. But we all had our pills and shots.

Our first night was rough. We were totally freaked out because we were expecting…. more. We didn’t sleep at all that night. We didn’t even try. We contemplated booking a hotel. We talked about going home. I cried. I don’t want to look weak or whiny, but we were very uncomfortable at first. Fortunately, it got a little better.

audielou.com_signature

ICYMI: Part 1

Mid-Week Confessions

Before I start, I need to be serious for a moment.
My thoughts go out to those in Belgium right now as well as anyone who has been targeted, attacked, or killed by terrorism anywhere in the world. Terrorism is supposed to strike fear into our hearts- it’s the whole premise behind the act- but it stirs up anger in me. I’m angry that someone (or a group of someones) intentionally hurt others. I’m angry that the media picks and chooses what and who to report about. I’m angry that terrorist attacks are “nothing new” or “surprising” to us. Keep the world in your thoughts and prayers, friends. We can’t tolerate violence.

Let’s try to focus on some happier things & spread some cheer now.

For example… today is my Friday!! I have Thurs./Fri. off and I’m so so happy about it!

Now on to some confessions & hashtags…

Did I mention today is my “Friday”? #CanYouTellImPumped #It’sTheFreakinWeekend

Parks_and_Rec_friday

K and I watched three episodes on The West Wing last night… and four on Monday. We’re on Season 5, episode 3 now. So we’ve watched 91 episodes (44 minutes each) since January 1st. That’s 67 hours or roughly 4,000 minutes this year… #GiveMeMore #Obsession #LymanSeaborn2016ForPresident #IMissSam

Also, Will Bailey Josh Malina is starting a weekly podcast about TWW. #Yaaaaas #AlreadySubscribed #BillyBailey

the_west_wing

On Sunday K’s side of the family is coming to our house for Easter dinner (minus his sister’s tribe 😦 )! I’m excited to clean and cook! #NotKidding #ILoveHosting #WeWillMissYouLori #CrazyHouse

I should probably bathe the dogs before company comes… #DirtyDogs #BathtimeIsLikeAWaterPark #TripleBath

dog_bath

Also on Sunday, Jesus has risen! (…will rise? How should I phrase that…?) And Thursday is my second favorite church service of the year! #MaundyThursday #IsThatWeird? #ChristmasEveIsMyNumber1

Guess who’s only going to have two books finished (three, if I’m lucky) for her recap next week… #PatheticOnMyPart #ThankALotWestWing #BigGoals

the_west_wing

And that’s a wrap, y’all. My life consists of The West Wing, dogs, & Easter prep… #exciting #INeedMoreFriends

So before I go, if you want to hang out all over the web follow me on these platforms:

BlogLovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | SnapChat: audie_lou| Facebook (NEW!)

#ShamelessPlus

Ok, time to link up with Lauren & Laura and Kathy & Nadine!

audielou.com_signature

 

Spring Cleaning 2.0

Roughly a year ago I made a post entitled Spring Cleaning. Then in June I followed it up with this post and admitted to accomplishing roughly 47% of my goals.  That’s a failing grade, my friends.

So let’s give this whole Spring Cleaning thing another shot.

  • Condense three closets into two and donate/store clothes
  • Finish Year 2 scrapbook
  • Order pictures for Year 3 scrapbook (to be done after April 27th)
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape front yard (har har har)
  • Wash dog harnesses, leashes, beds, and blankets*
  • Re-organize Pinterest boards
  • Figure out what to do (decor-wise) in stairwell
  • Paint the front door and replace house numbers
  • Decide what to do with finished basement area… drum room? library?

For the record, I wash the dog blankets often but I just decided to throw them in with all the other canine accessories.

I ended with an even ten this time so the math would be super easy when I only complete a handful of these tasks. Set your goals low so the disappoint is greater or something like that, right? (Kidding. I have total faith I will accomplish 80-ish%.)

Okie dokie, Smokie. Let’s see how I do…

What big (or small) tasks are you going to accomplish this spring??

audielou.com_signature

Help Wanted and Friday Favorites

Guys… We have a lot to cover today. But first and foremost: Happy Friday!!
Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day yesterday? With the exception of wearing some green, I did not. I also have no plans for my weekend. And I’m totally OK with all of that.

Before we getting into my favorites for the week, I need some help/advice from all the runners out there!
(I’m looking at you Rebecca Jo, Emily, & Karen!)

This week I started jogging/walking short distances. I’ve been very consistent since Monday. I try to stay on my toes (is that right?) and so far my muscles are aching, but I’ve managed to avoid the shin splint that always wreck my routine. Also, I usually take a dog or two on my jogs with me. I made a running resolution at the beginning of the year and I’m finally working on it- so please please throw any advice or suggestions my way! I need it!

Ok… on to my favorite things:

life_as_louise_favorites

If you’ve spent any time here in this space with me then you might know that I’m a mildly political person. (Holla’ Ohio for shutting down the hate train! #nevertrump) That said, this site is updated regularly and really helps track what’s going on! It’s not bias and it’s really informational!

This week I learned that Amy Schumer is releasing a book just in time for my birthday! Yay! You can pre-order it now!

Did you guys hear the one about the penguin that swam a few thousand miles? It sounds like a joke, but it’s definitely not ❤︎ I love this little penguin and I love this human and I don’t throw the word “love” around all that often so I really mean it. I need a fox in my life that comes back to visit me. Actually, I rescued a baby owl once (his name was Seymour); maybe he’ll return to me one day…

It wouldn’t be a favorites post without a little blogger love!

Lindsay wrote this post about smiling (it’s not what you think)… and then Kelly left this video in the comments section (warning – foul language):

And I’m just loving every bit of that 🙂

What are your weekend plans? On Monday I will be sharing my Spring Cleaning to-do list!

audielou.com_signature

Get in Formation

Yesterday I had no idea what I wanted to chat about today. I have some stuff scheduled for later this month, but I was actually a little freaked out about my lack of Wednesday content. I thought about getting all political on y’all, but I feel like we’re all “feeling the bern” and “standing with her” and comparing Republican “hand sizes” on Facebook. You don’t need that kind of migraine here. (Plus Ohio made me a happy little voter for the time being.)

So I was back to square zero. And then I watch this video:

I am not a dancer. I have never studied dance. I took lessons when I was 7 but then I broke my leg (not dancing… I was doing something stupid) and my mom never signed me back up. But I have a serious appreciation for girls & guys & children that can cut a rug.

I’ve made my husband watch this one before:

Apparently “Formation” is a really good song to dance to. Maybe it’s any Beyonce song… I have no idea how you get your body to move like that… And I really want their style but I feel like it’s only appropriate for dancers…

ANYWAY. I don’t have a point or a story or a lesson. I just wanted to share these videos because I find them so incredible.

One more for good measure:

All of these people are stunning. I’m totally spellbound.

audielou.com_signature

The India Archive [1]

In 2012 I spent four weeks in Bangalore, India. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried a lot, I complained a lot, and there were at least two instances that I was positive I would die. That said, I learned a lot and went on adventures and had so much fun. On a bi-weekly-Monday basis I will share my trip here.

india_archives_travel

. . .

The four-week study abroad program I applied to was presented to me/us in an “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of way. In reality, we saw a lot more “Slumdog Millionaire” action. Honestly, the two movies that sum up the real India are “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Million Dollar Arm.” All of that to say Bangalore is a real city in a real foreign country and it was real culture shock.

india_archives

I am so glad that I traveled to Bangalore, but I really wish I would have had the right knowledge to mentally prepare; I think it would’ve made a world of difference. But what’s done is done.

My mom encouraged me to study abroad in my final year of school, but I believe she had a westernized European county in mind. When I came home with India brochures my parents’ jaws dropped and it took a little convincing to get them to agree. K was also a little wary, but like I said on Friday, he was nothing but supportive.

india_archives
They even got me a cake!

There were 6 girls that signed up for the program from my university. Additionally, there were 10 other students from the US that met up with us at our layover in Hong Kong or in Bangalore. (Plus 3 American adults on the trip.) The flights from Pittsburgh to NY to Hong Kong were fairly uneventful (and loooong) but our trip from Hong Kong to Bangalore scared the living sh*t out of me. I’m still a little nervous when it comes to flying.

Never in my life has a plane shook so hard or dropped altitude so fast. Even the flight attendants had fear in their voices. One of my travelmates was across the aisle and two rows behind me and I swear we just locked eyes and knew we were going to die in the damn Bay of Bengal. Everyone else on the plane (read: Asian business men and women) were peacefully sleeping. It was so surreal.

india_archives

Obviously we were fine and landed in Bangalore after roughly 36 hours of travel. #dead

india_archives
** If you fly in from the right direction in HK it looks like you’re landing in the ocean! **

So that’s enough for now. I could go on for hours; it was seriously the biggest adventure of my life!

More India craziness in two weeks!

audielou.com_signature