New Jersey

The year that Mike and I got engaged we were on a road trip… from Seattle into Canada. The year prior we had done one through Wyoming. Last year for our first anniversary, we went up the Northern California coast and into Oregon. We’ve decided that we pretty much love those kinds of trips – they give us the freedom to go where we want, when we want. He’s even convinced me that it’s ok to book your hotel rooms the day of. Those of you who know me well know that something like that totally freaks out the OCD in me. But it works, we have fun, and we’ve come up with some great stories. We’ve decided that we’re going to continue the tradition and do a road trip for every anniversary.

This year, we decided to fly out to the East Coast and rent a car. We flew into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and drove through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington DC, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina. It was a seriously great adventure! I’ve decided that there’s way too much to post in a single post, so I’m going to go by state. Today’s state is New Jersey.

Wait, you ask. Didn’t you fly into Philly? Yes, we did. I had booked two hotel rooms – the very first night we were there and the very last night, just to make things easy. I figured we got there late and it’d be nice to note have to think about where we were going. Our flights were surprisingly smooth – one layover and it was virtually non-existent. We landed in Philly at around 9pm and headed towards the hotel, which was just across the bridge in New Jersey. That’s where it all went wrong.

Apparently, I forgot to look at the hotel reviews when I booked it on Expedia:

We asked for a non-smoking room and the room we were given REEKED of cigarettes.

This room was infested with bed bugs.

First impression – stepped on a used condom walking into the hotel.

Those are the nice ones. There are also discussions of “ladies of the night”, cigarette burns on the sheets, drug transactions, and all of the seedy neighboring establishments. When we got there, the “manager” checked us in and gave us our keys. We went to the room and when I opened the door a serious smokey smell came out… when I had specifically requested a non-smoking room. We went back down and asked to change rooms… the manager asked us to come with him. He went to open the other room that he planned to give us only to find that the room was already open – and he muttered something about someone staying the prior night that shouldn’t have.

If that wasn’t enough, I also didn’t know that it was in the lovely little city of Camden. For those of you unfamiliar with Camden, three of its mayors have been jailed for corruption and at the end of 2012 the FBI ranked it #1  violent crime per capita of cities with over 50,000 residents. Had I known all of this, I may have chosen a different hotel… despite the fact that it looked really close to where we wanted to go. Needless to say, we politely asked for our money back and moved on. Word to the wise, don’t stay at the Days Inn Brooklawn Philadelphia. Just sayin’.

By this point, it was almost 11pm, we’d been up all day and really just wanted to go to bed. We made the 1/2 hour or so drive to Ocean City, NJ where we booked a lovely hotel that literally was directly on the beach. MUCH better! The next morning we woke up and drove into Atlantic City. We wandered down the boardwalk and checked out the sights.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk
The Atlantic City Boardwalk
Mike & I On The Jersey Shore
Mike & I On The Jersey Shore
Who Knew?
Who Knew?


From there we headed back into Pennsylvania… stay tuned for the next post! I’ll eventually get around to getting all of the pictures up on Facebook… I’m home sick with a heck of a cold right now, so I’m trying to do some serious resting.

The Night Train Tour

Last night I went to the last concert of the megaticket series – the Night Train Tour featuring Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, and Jason Aldean. Amber and I went for our traditional In-N-Out dinner before the show. I played with my new curling iron that does these beachy waves… I love it!

Rocking The Waves
Rocking The Waves

I was seriously impressed with Thomas Rhett… out of the three acts, I thought he was the best overall entertainer. He had a natural ease on the stage and got the crowd really involved. I’m shocked to see on Wikipedia that he’s only twenty-three years old… he definitely performs with maturity beyond his years! Jake Owen was really good too… I couldn’t remember any of his songs, until he actually got on stage. Turns out I knew a lot of them! Then it was time for the main event… Jason Aldean. He did all of his big hits and was just a blast to watch. I absolutely love “Night Train“… it’s one of my favorite songs right now! I was exhausted after the show… we sang and danced almost the entire time!

One of the most shocking events of the night happened on my way back from the bathroom… as I was climbing the stairs back to our lawn seats, I noticed a group of people huddled around something on the ground. Once I got closer, I realized it was a person… to be clear, a girl. She was screaming bloody murder and was being held down by a bunch of the rock med people. I have no idea what was going on, but she was clearly out of control. Crazy!!!

It was a great time! This is the last concert on my calendar for the year… unless something pops up before the year ends. We’ll see!

Light The Fuse Tour

So I’m a little bit behind with my concert posts… a couple of weeks ago Amber and I headed out to Sleep Train amphitheater to see the Light The Fuse Tour with Keith Urban, Little Big Town, and Dustin Lynch. To be honest, I was most excited to see Little Big Town… I don’t mind Keith Urban, but he’s never been my favorite. In fact, most of his show felt like an epic guitar solo… over and over and over.

Little Big Town was absolutely amazing. I’ve always loved them, but they are phenomenal live. Their harmonies are amazingly tight! They did all of their big hits, and even did a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Listen To The Wind Blow”. I think since I sang harmonies with my dad and sister growing up that I’m drawn to that kind of music… to me there’s nothing sweeter than beautiful harmony!

And now for the obligatory pre-concert picture:

Amber & I
Amber & I

Not So Proud

It’s not often that I post about politics. I’m very much of the mindset that you are more than welcome to your opinion and I am welcome to mine. I don’t dislike people because of their beliefs and am proud to be a part of a society that allows political freedom and choice.

Until today. The long and short of it is that our government needed to have a finalized budget by midnight last night in order to avoid a government shutdown. The Republicans seem to be stuck on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which went into enactment today. They refused to ratify the budget (I know, I’m making it very simple) and therefore forced the country into a shutdown. Over a bill that will provide health insurance to the roughly 15% of people who are uninsured today. A bill that the people of the United States of America voted for. That the Supreme Court ruled as constitutional.

The best part of all of this is that Congress still gets paid. Thanks to the 27th Amendment, Congress does not have the ability to change their pay, which prevents them from giving themselves raises. That’s a good thing. The bad side of that is it also prevents them from freezing or cutting their pay. Here’s the crappy part… some of the Congress members such as Republican John Fleming (from Louisiana) have said they would donate their pay to a charity during the shutdown because “obviously we need to share the pain of the American people“. Yes, because the thousands of furloughed federal works who have lost pay surely feel that some rich congressman donating his paycheck to charity makes it all ok.

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you’re on, I think we can all agree that this is a childish, despicable act on the part of Congress. I am blown away that in a time that the American economy is just starting to rebound we would unnecessarily force ourselves into a shutdown that has no impact whatsoever on politicians and is devastating to the American people. What kind of statement are we sending to the rest of the world?

Today I’m not so proud to be an American.