LA and Hawaii

Remember that time I went to Hawaii and never posted photos? Well, you probably don’t remember because that was during the time I wasn’t blogging much and after my trip to NJ/NYC in September 2016 I didn’t do much in the way of posting. Crazy on my part really when you consider I took a two week trip to freaking Hawaii! On Friday night when I posted the previous entry I realized this little fact and decided to rectify this situation. I wasn’t really sure how many pictures I should share but here we go, we’ll see what happens…

My trip started out in LA, where I spent a couple of days doing a bit of touristy stuff, Grauman’s being my favorite. I took tons of pictures of hand and footprints but I’m only sharing my absolute favorites. I’ve always been a huge fan of Paul Newman so I made it my mission to find his and Joanne’s first! Then I had to find the Harry Potter cast, obviously.

We also went into Madame Tussaud’s because I’ve always wanted to check it out. I really hoped I’d have time to go when I was in NYC the month prior to this trip but there was just so much we wanted to do that we vetoed the idea. I was hoping to see the *NSYNC wax figures but they are obviously less popular now and weren’t in residence. Which makes me wonder…where do the old wax figures go when they stop displaying them? They did have a Justin Timberlake but my photo with him is less than stellar so I’m skipping it here. However, it’s probably on my Instagram.

Adele. Obviously.

Continue reading

TBEX Huntsville Alabama

This weekend there is a little travel bloggers conference happening in Huntsville Alabama. When I call it “little” I’m being somewhat sarcastic because it is far from little. The TBEX conference is around 500 people and occurs all over the world and showcases speakers from various aspects of travel, seminars, classes, and a plethora of other fun activities. It’s pretty darn amazing.

I managed to snap a few photos of today’s lunch before the masses poured in. Let me tell you, it all looked incredible. Theme stations, from southern fare to pasta and pizza. That banana pudding looked mighty good to me but I did not try it, though I was sorely tempted. I’m trying to be good lately, you know. I have proudly lost 15 pounds since December. But that’s another story for another time.

Seeing this conference made me want to be a travel blogger. I love seeing and taking photos of different parts of the world. Can you even imagine the amazing places these people have been able to explore? It has to be awe inspiring. I couldn’t do it all the time, as a full-time job, but I would love to be able to travel more and share those experiences here. My passport has not been used enough!

On my travel wish list: (international) Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Italy, Greece; (domestic) Seattle Washington, NYC, Orlando Florida.

Do you have a travel wish list? What’s on it?

Weekend update

How is it almost May already?!

Not much going on around here during the weekend. I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to finish reading The Shadows by J.R. Ward so I can get caught up on those books. I finished it at 2 am Sunday morning because I’d made it to a point where I couldn’t stop. The last 20% of the book was brutal. I can’t believe I allowed myself to go so far behind on them. After I finished Shadows I started the first in the Black Dagger Legacy, Blood Kiss.

Friday night I met a friend for dinner, which was both needed and appreciated. We were those annoying people that didn’t get up and leave after finishing dinner and sat there talking for a few hours. We went to a local place I’d never been to and it was really tasty! I had lemon pepper chicken, rice pilaf, and steamed broccoli. Wish I’d ordered dessert but I’ve been trying to be good. Next time!

On Saturday I went to Old Time Pottery, Pet Smart, Kirkland’s, and Target with my mother. She loves Old Time Pottery and rarely gets to go, but I can take it or leave it, honestly. Pet Smart was a trip for dog and cat food and nail clippers for Jasper kitty. He’s so good when you trim his nails, it’s amazing to me. Picked up a picture to hang on the wall in the newly painted bathroom, which I’m hoping to blog about later.

I’m a huge fan of the Best of Friends Podcast and one of the hosts raves about the Sea Salt Vanilla candle there. I didn’t intend on picking it up when I went in but I felt it required a sniff at least. I liked it so much I decided to go ahead and pick it up after seeing it was only $5.99. Lit it when I got home from shopping and Jasper immediately started sneezing, which worried me because of his history with a respiratory infection. Anyway. I’m going to bring it to my office since I spend the majority of my time at work.

The thing about Target is when you go in there you have a list of things to get but come out with things you didn’t expect. Always. My mother is hugely into flowers and such so we wandered over to look at the garden type stuff. At first, I noticed a little bitty version of a gnome wearing a metallic gold hat and talked myself out of it. Then we rounded the aisle to see what was on the other side and there was a large version of the same gnome. I couldn’t help myself. Gnomes just really amuse me and I think they are so cute.

So what did you do this weekend? What are your plans for the coming weekend?

Currently listening to:  Charlie Puth “Nine Track Mind”

Currently reading: Shadow Kiss by J.R. Ward

Currently excited about watching: the next episode of Jane the Virgin

woof and meow

This evening when I came from work these two wouldn’t leave their post in front of the front door. There was nothing else for me to do but grab my camera and start taking pictures. Allie [dog] wasn’t interested in the least, but Jasper [cat] likes the attention.

When he flares his whiskers out I just can’t help but coo at him. He’s such a sweet boy. It’s amazing to me that he was a random feral stray just over a year ago. He loves pets, to be brushed, and belly rubs. The only thing he doesn’t really like is to be picked up, but I’m gently working on that. On occasion, I pick him up and carry him with me to bed, or just give him a little hug then put him back on the floor. The cat I had growing up would let me carry him from room to room. We’ll get there eventually. At least I’m not trying to put doll clothes on him, which I did with my Tux kitty.

A couple of days ago she just wanted a nap and I just wanted her to post for me but she refused. At the ripe old age of nine years, she’s over me shoving a camera in her face. I get it though, I hate having my picture taken too. I sometimes think that I need to get over that because as I get older I’m going to want photos of myself. I’d rather take pictures of these two and other people.

When we bought Allie a new bed she was not the least bit interested. I guess the other one, being all worn and wallered out, is better. We kept it, thinking she would eventually use the new bed but NOPE, months later it is filled with her toys and she’s yet to lay in it. So I put it in the window seat of the bay window, to see if Jasper would get in it. As soon as I placed it in front of the window he climbed in. He has snoozed in it since. Money well spent, whether the intended recipient wanted it or not.


Wrecking Havoc

I’ve been attending hockey games for my towns SPHL team this season. Since I’ve been trying to get more use out of my camera I decided to pull it out during this past weekend’s playoff game.

These guys have played their hearts out this season and I’m so proud of them and everyone involved with the team. Friday night they won in overtime in a very exciting game. Unfortunately, Saturday night did not go as well and we were knocked out of the playoffs. I’m still so thrilled for them that they made it so far.

During warm-ups, I took five or six pictures before putting my camera away. This shot was my favorite of the series.

You’ll notice these are all the same picture, just edited differently. I love playing around with pictures and seeing what little things I can change to make the photo look different. I use Lightroom and absolutely love it! Most of my presets for editing are from Pretty Presets.

I’ve been randomly watching NHL games but haven’t really leaned toward one team or another. I’m still pretty clueless about most of the rules and terminology. Pretty much what I know about hockey I learned from The Mighty Ducks. Maybe now that the minor league season is over I’ll start digging up info to educate myself! I’ve watched college football all of my life but this is a whole other game.

Are you a hockey person? Do you have a favorite team?

all the fur

So here I am, finally, trying to get this thing going again. I keep thinking about it, then forgetting, then remembering, then putting it off. Not that I don’t want to get started blogging again, because I do, but internet, I am lazy. That’s the honest truth. Also, the house I’ve lived in the last almost fifteen years hasn’t had the internet until now. Our only internet option until recently was dialup, which is pretty much useless when it comes to uploading pictures. Last week we were finally able to get AT&T DSL. It’s not super fast but it’s so much better than nothing at all.

Let me tell you, this post will more than likely be all pet pictures I’ve taken recently. Mostly cat pictures, because he doesn’t seem to mind so much when I take them. A week ago we had to take our Lab, Jackson, to be put down due to poor health. It’s so hard losing a pet, no matter how many times you have to make that decision, it is the. worst. He had arthritis and could barely walk. Then as he got older (fifteen years) his stomach started giving him trouble and he couldn’t control his bowels. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with him other than “old age”. It’s hard seeing furbabies like that and not knowing what to do for them.


A few months ago I bought a point and shoot Sony camera. It’s one that Amanda of KevinandAmanda uses for her travels. I went back and forth on investing in another camera but I kept seeing how beautiful her photos were and decided to go for it. I love being able to carry a camera in my purse on a daily basis but it’s hard with my DSLR. The Sony RXM1003 is perfect for that. The next few posts will feature pictures I’ve taken with it recently.

I think I’m going to start doing a “weekly favorites” post perhaps. I worry that by doing that I won’t follow through because I do get stuck and obsessed with things. Especially when it comes to albums! I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes though. I suppose now is a good a time as any so…

Website I’m really enjoying lately: Sean of the South. I’m not a particularly religious person but I am a fan of beautiful writing and Sean does it so well. Also, I love his blog name.

Album I’m currently addicted to: Well this one is hard because there are two that I keep flopping back and forth between. Troye Sivan “Blue Neighbourhood” and Charlie Puth “Nine Track Mind”.

Currently reading and having a lot of feelings over: The Shadows by J.R. Ward. I do so love me some Black Dagger Brotherhood and I’m excited to catch up on the series. I can’t believe I let myself get several books behind!

New start

It’s me again, Margaret.

I decided to start with a new domain name; one that is perhaps easier to remember and more all encompassing for everything I may plan to do in the future. Right now it’s pretty basic around here but I have my eye on a custom logo for the header as well as a watermark for photos. I’d love to get back into writing book reviews again, so that may come as well. I’m considering discussing what I’m writing, which will be mostly fanfiction of the Twilight variety. I have a couple of stories to finish as well as a new one I am itching to start working on.


You can find me on twitter, instagram and snapchat (mandylulou) as well.

A day in NYC


I spent Labor Day weekend visiting my oldest friend, Kelly, and celebrating her sons first birthday. I flew into EWR on Thursday and we just relaxed and had yummy pizza for dinner. Then on Friday we went to NEW YORK CITY, since I’d never been and Kelly hadn’t made the trip in a long while. We took the ferry from NJ and I walked 23,000 steps in the course of our travels. We visited the National Museum of American Indians, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. We ate an early dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, which was such a fun place to eat! The wait staff sing as they serve you. It was a great way for us to enjoy the talented folks of NYC since we didn’t have time for a broadway show (NEXT TIME!). We also ended up in Harlem (because we took the wrong subway line) and walked more than half the distance of Central Park before giving up and getting back on the subway lol it was cool to see another part of the city though and the weather was amazing. I had such a great time with in NYC and in NJ. I can’t wait to go back.

I’m sharing a few photos and two vlogs in this post.


sunset on nyc





lady liberty

Continue reading

Vlog | Road Rambles | Makeup and a Movie


The thing you notice about yourself when you do a Vlog and then play it back is…you have some weird ticks when you’re nervous or unsure of yourself. I say “Um” a lot in this one. I also move my mouth in funny ways when I talk, which I have heard from other people. It’s different when you see it for yourself though. Anyway, I ramble about makeup and going to see a movie with a friend.