Saturday, April 25, 2015

Newport Aquarium: Explore Your Town Series Part 4

Part 4 in the Explore Your Town Series features the Newport Aquarium, and it is absolutely a MUST SEE for the MidWest! It is located right along the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Admission is as follows:
Adults 13-64 years: $23 (annual pass, $45)
Children 2-12 years: $15 (annual pass $29)
Seniors 65+: $23 (annual pass $40)
Full details on pricing can be found here. It was voted Number 1 by travelers and readers over at 10 Best! Yes, that's right, Number 1 in the United States! That's a pretty big feat! They have a number of exhibits of distinction that have helped propel them to the top of that list.
Newport has many temporary exhibits. They are known for a variety of exhibits as well. New in 2015, you can find the otters in Canyon Falls.

Coming in Mid-April of 2015, there will be a new "Shark Walk," exhibit, which will suspend over the shark tank, and visitors are invited to walk across! The Aquarium will also be introducing Hammerhead sharks as well!! The Newport Aquarium is probably most famous already for the way that they exhibit their sharks with a HUGE underwater viewing gallery in one portion of the tour, and then through tunnels as you pass through other exhibits and places in the Aquarium.

A couple of my favorite exhibits besides the NEW adorable otters and the sharks would have to be the Jellyfish and who doesn't love Penguins? The shore gallery was a lot of fun as well-being able to pet and touch the sea anenemomes and starfish. You can also pet sharks in Shark Central, if you're daring enough!! Then, there are the albino alligators in Gator Alley, and you might also be lucky enough to see Might Mike, who is an impressive 14 feet long and 800 pounds!!

I am currently looking into obtaining my own Annual Pass, since I am now a resident. It pays for itself in 2 visits! It's an excellent value if you live within driving distance. There is so much to see and do on the Levee, from lunch, arcade games, movie theaters and bars. You can spend an entire day overlooking the beautiful Ohio River and the skyline of Cincinnati!

Until next time,
 Happy travels!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Twitter Round Up

This round up will re-examine my travels from the month through my non expert photography (ha!), foreign and domestic. It will also give you more of a glimpse into my personal life. So, that you can get to me! I'm fairly personable in all of my posts, but here, you'll actually be able to see what I do with some of my downtime as well!


Two of my all time favorite pastimes: bubble baths and margaritas. I thoroughly enjoy taking a nice long soak after work, and engaging in some adult beverages. In March, I got a bottle of Jose Cuervo's Special Edition Silver Tequila. It was yummy!! Oh, and I tried Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream for the first time. If you've never had it, add it to your "to-do list," it comes highly recommended!! 

Camping anyone? First of all, AirBNB posted the above left photo (on twitter) of a boat hotel?! HOW COOL IS THAT? It also has a grill on it. This is officially on my Must Travel list (ha!). It's almost summer. So camping is of  course a "hot topic," for those not brave enough to weather the elements! ;)

Snuggles with my Bengal, Jeter. Isn't he just the sweetest?

Selfie of moi trying the Long Island Lemoncello from Olive Garden. It was on the lemon-y side, btw. 

NOT a selfie (but a girl can dream!) I RT'd (ReTweeted) this because it was absolutely beautiful!

In a random late night conversation with my wonderful little sister, we both turned on the compass app on our respective phones, and the Compass was at 333 degrees Northwest for her and 3 degrees North for me. We were kind of freaking out. (We live just 100 miles away from each other, by the way)

Thank you Expedia! Don't forget, you can take alcohol in your carry-on, as long is it adheres to the 3 ounce rule!!! 

Here is Blue II, the previous mascot for Butler University in Indianapolis, taking a potty break at the University of Notre Dame. I HAD to post this when Butler played Notre Dame in the NCAA Basketball Championship!! I'm a PROUD Butler Alumni! So sad they didn't beat ND. :(

Throwback Thursday to FIVE YEARS AGO on my vacation to see my lifetime pen pal in San Antonio!! It was so much fun!! She's now in Austin, and I can not wait to visit with her again! She and I have been pen pals since about the 2nd grade. I'm now 27! 

And, in closing, my two FAVORITE selfies from my most recent visit to the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky. I won't share too much, as a blog post will be coming in the coming in the next few days, but these pictures:
1) will be framed &
2) are simply amazing (if I do say so myself). 

I hope you've enjoyed my photographic review of March, from Twitter! 

Until next time, 

Happy travels! 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Abuelo's: Explore Your Town Series 3

Abuelo's is my 3rd post for the "Explore Your Town Series." I can also FINALLY recommend at least one local restaurant to fellow travels that I meet through work. (lol)

Abuelo's is located in the Crestview Hills Town Center, in Northern Kentucky. Originally, I went for 2 reasons:
1) I love Mexican food, &
2) My friend said their guacamole was "life changing."

Their guac was indeed life changing, and their salsas were amazing, and their queso was equally delicious. Like all Mexican restaurants, our server brought out our complimentary chips and salsa. Only, we were graced with 3 salsas:

The verde salsa was very mild, but oh so good, then the bright red salsa was the mild salsa, and the dark red salsa was your spicy salsa. I looove spicy salsa, and this did not disappoint. I honestly could not get enough of any of them though. 
We also ordered guacamole and queso. The negative to the queso was how incredibly runny it was. I had queso drops all over the table, and I was being careful. However, the guac truly was life changing. It was the FRESHEST guac I have ever had. 
(Excuse the pathetic guac picture. I had eaten most before I realized I needed a picture for the blog)

The Main Courses: 

My boyfriend ordered a burrito, and his only complaint was that it wasn't enough food for him. I opted for the "choose 3," option of their enchiladas, of which I ordered a cheese enchilada, chicken and spinach. I could taste how fresh, clean and good the chicken was. Of course, the traditional sides were mexican rice and refried beans, but they also offered mashed potatoes. We both opted for the traditional sides. I wanted to do the choose 3 enchiladas so I could report back to you all what was good and what wasn't, but honestly, I can't wait to go back and try even more. Have I gotten across that this place DID NOT disappoint?! 
Durango Burrito

Choose 3 Enchiladas

Of course, I sampled a margarita for everyone:

I ordered the La Grandeza Margarita, which was their house margarita. It was honestly one of the best margaritas I've ever had, and on top of that, it was freaking huge, obviously, for less than $7.

Their menu is a variety of "Tex-Mex." So, there's something for everyone. The prices were reasonable, google has them as "average." AND, they are actually a Texas-based restaurant. So, check their locations for a spot near you!

Go check out some new spots, enjoy your city, and see what you can find!!

Happy travels (local and abroad!)!!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding the Perfect Hotel

The "Perfect Hotel," is just what you're looking for. Be it family friendly, all inclusive, or just a place to lay your head. All of these are factors to be considered when choosing your hotel.

I personally love Expedia. In my travels, it has been my go-to website for the best deals on rooms. You also have the opportunity to rack up rewards points, and if you travel often, it's worth it.

Secondly, check reviews over at TripAdvisor. A hotel can be 4 stars, and suck-bad customer service, lack of ammenities, etc. I have stayed everywhere from all inclusive resorts, to a Motel 6. Because I did my research, I have never been disappointed.

So let's start at the top:

What's your budget? 
Many sites, including Google, allow you to search by price. Expedia offers a best price guarantee; if you find a lower price within 24 hours, you are compensated.
Have friends or family that work in hospitality? Use their discount! Many hotel chains are moving away from a strictly "family only," policy, extending the discounts to friends as well.

Who's going? 
Staying at a hotel that caters more to businesses, may not be a good fit for a family friendly vacation. Many hotels are geared towards the "family friendly" scene, offering pools, play areas, game rooms, or even indoor water parks. And they're not always as pricey as you would think--just do your research!
You'll find hotels that also cater more towards couples or advertise activities for "Girls Weekends," as well, with spa ammenities, and discounts to local attractions such as wineries.

Cities are huge. Use a map app-google maps, mapquest, whatever you want, but make sure your hotel is in the vicinity of the areas you'll be sightseeing in, visiting, etc. Additionally, sometimes (usually), it is cheaper to stay right outside of the city, and many major cities offer great public transportation alternatives (bus lines, trains) if you won't have a rental car.
Also, here is a great opprotunity for me to plug Uber (or Lyft). Download this handy little app on your smartphone (sorry blackberry users, but you can e-mail blackberry, and they'll send you a link...although mine still only works 50% of the time). You can get fare quotes, tip is included, and Uber (so far for me), has been cheaper than an actual taxi!

If a pool is important, make sure your hotel has one. Hotels offer a wide range of services anymore, from spas, fitness centers, pools, casinos, etc. However, some hotels only offer a few of these ammenties. Check these out. Your vacation should be relaxing, and it's not relaxing if you didn't book that hotel with a hot tub to hang out in!

Feel free to include any questions in the comments, or your own expert (or novice!) advice!!

Happy Travels!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Exotic Feline Rescue Center: Center Point, Indiana

One of my most favorite adventures to date!!

Literally, my favorite selfie EVER

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is located in Center Point, Indiana, which is approximately an hour southwest of Indianapolis. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. EFRC operates solely on donations and volunteers!! They are open Sunday through Tuesday from 10a-5p. Admission is only $10/adults and $5/children under 12. Rain or shine!! Totally feasible if you compare it to most zoo admissions!!

From the moment we got there, everyone was truly knowledgeable. If they didn't know "Cat Facts," they at least knew the animals' names, personalities, and why they were acting the way they were. Our guides were amazing. They knew everything about the animals that we saw on the tour. The EFRC offers a home for the rest of these rescued cats' lives. And they are all rescued, either from abuse, abandonment or some other reason. The EFRC is their "furever home," and they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT sell or breed these animals. They do everything in their power to educate the public on each cat that is in their sanctuary, while stressing the importance of why these animals are not "pets." Many animals, and this is not unique to EFRC, arrive at animal sanctuaries because someone thought they'd make a good family pet...until they grew up...and acted like nature intended them too. As of a year ago, this month (March 2014), the EFRC had 212 felines in its care, and you see approximately 60-65 on the tour.

In the future, when I visit Indiana on one of my (hopefully) many trips home, I would like to attend one of their Evening Roar Events.  You get to visit the rescue near dusk, when the cats are most active. However, on my visit to the EFRC, I was fortunate enough to visit around dinner. I heard the lions ROAR, and it was amazing. I had no idea just how loud their roar was. I literally felt the vibrations. It was one of the most intense and memorable experiences of my life! There are a variety of other events as well! They have various fundraisers throughout the state, and a 5k run, and even some kid friendly events as well! 

Check out some of my favorite photos below! You get so much closer than a zoo!!

Once again, DEFINITELY check them out if at all possible!

Until next time!! Happy travels!


P.S. Sorry for the lack of blogging! I have been absolutely slammed at work the last 2 weeks! I'm hoping to set up a few drafts that I can just publish when times like these happen!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Twitter Round-Up

So, like any "baby blogger," I've started following fellow travel bloggers, in an effort to SEE how best to go about this blogging ordeal. Of course, I've read all of the posts saying, "This is how you Run a Successful Travel Blog." Ok, that's all well and good, but WHO is actually running a successful travel blog, and what are they doing?

Well, Ms. Emily Luxton is doing just that! She had a recent post, February Instagram Round Up. I thought it was brilliant. Slight problem: I own a BlackBerry. If you don't have a BlackBerry, then I cannot express to you how AWFUL "iGrann" is. So, as you can tell from the title of this post, I'm going to do a slight variation and frame it around twitter. While I do have an Instagram, it gets far less use than it has in the past because the platform is just not there on BlackBerry. So, I tweet my little heart out. In fact, I even tweeted Emily to make sure I could "steal," this idea from her. She ever so kindly encouraged my thievery. :)

This round up will re-examine my travels from the month through my non expert photography (ha!), foreign and domestic. It will also give you more of a glimpse into my personal life. So, that you can get to me! I'm fairly personable in all of my posts, but here, you'll actually be able to see what I do with some of my downtime as well!

Expedia Chat
I absolutely love the weekly #ExpediaChat on Twitter (@Expedia). You get to connect with many other travels, and share all of your combined experiences. Well, February had an African Safari themed chat. Well, it's a dream of mine to go on an African Safari, but until then, I suppose the Exotic Feline Rescue Center , located in Center Point, Indiana will have to suffice for now. (Side note: One of the aspects of my ever increasing bucket list, is to visit every Zoo, Aquarium, and Sanctuary in the continental United States.) The EFRC is a non-profit, BIG cat rescue. You can get face to face (with a fence between) of these big cats. They run solely on donations and volunteers, with admission being $10/adults, $5/children under 12. I cannot wait to revisit to the EFRC. Their tour guides were extremely knowledgeable. These cats are RESCUES. It is imperative that you follow the rules. Once you hear some of the circumstances that these big cats came from, I'm sure you'll be more than respectful.  I'm hoping to attend one of their Evening Roar Events, which are when these big cats are supposed to be most active! How exciting would that be?? Here are the pictures I posted to Twitter from my visit at the EFRC:

I did not even have to zoom in. How amazing are these pictures? Check back for a full post of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in the upcoming week! 

In my spare time, I like to cook and bake. Above, you see homemade Chicken and Dumplings: only attempt if you have 3 hours to waste in the kitchen. This is my Grandmother's recipe. So, don't even bother asking for it ;) Below, are cupcakes. They're the perfect snack. I have a tendency to eat 1/4 of a cake if I bake the whole thing-cupcakes prevent that!

I have not had my own luggage, well, ever. I've been looking and researching for the past 2 years, and borrowing my sister's or my father's luggage when I need it. I've gotten by on my domestic travel with duffle bags and back packs. So, when my Dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas (2015, he plans ahead), I told him, luggage. What's the best kind of luggage to buy? My expert opinion is that, that decision is entirely individual. There are pros and cons to all the different types of luggage out there. Eventually, it'll have to be replaced, in my opinion. So, since I'm going on a cruise in April, my father went ahead and gave me my Christmas present WAY early, but THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES: 

OI! I'm in love! It's hardside, with the 4 wheels that spin in every direction. Each suitcase came with it's own lock, the 2 smaller ones are actually small enough to be carryons, yay! I hardly ever check a bag, but I did want a larger one. So, if I ever fly SouthWest, I can check a bag. (See what I did there?)

However, if that doesn't work, I highly recommend: 

  Baths, Candles & Wine are life. 

Baker-Bird Winery
In case you missed, here is my post on Baker-Bird Winery in Augusta, Kentucky. To my knowledge, it is the ONLY wine trail (Back Roads Wine Trail) in the state of Kentucky. Since my boyfriend took me on Valentine's Day (unintentional), he also spoiled me with a bottle of the Kentucky Black Barrel, you know, the one aged in Bourbon barrels. Oh, yum! If you can get it shipped to you, I highly recommend it, if not, come visit, and I'll take you on the Wine Trail-free coaster! ha!

Yes, I actually post things like this on the Internet...twice apparently. My picture was taken at my friend's 80's themed birthday party. The picture of my bengal, Jeter, was part of a larger picture (edited to do a side by side), in which we were celebrating and thanking our follower for reaching 250 on our Instagram. I am the moderator for the Instagram and Twitter for the non-profit Bengal Rescue. Both handles are: @GLBengalRescue

Never Forget

Again, the hashtag (pound sign) was how this was distinguished for my birthday...along with about 5 other hashtags. Anyways, I've kept with the hashtag theme throughout my Twitter, Instagram and Travel Blog. Here is that post, in case you missed that. I like to think it's one of my better blog posts thus far. :) ENJOY!! 

I took enough #selfies to last a lifetime

How could you pass up an authentic #PuertoRicancigar. It was all about the experience!

Banana Boat ride on my birthday #safetyfirst

#TransformationTuesday #birthdaygirl
Since we're often mistaken for twins, I'm on the right in 2010 and the left in 2015. 

Anddd, one final funny. Is this EVER a problem? I swear, the ocean is like a lullaby to me!!

I hope you have enjoyed this Twitter Round Up for February. It was fun for me to go back and look at some of the pictures I had shared with all of my followers, and I am glad to have shared them with you all as well!! 

Puerto Rico was the first vacation that I funded entirely on my own. That was very special to me. It was also my birthday, and the first destination birthday I have ever been on. I am GRATEFUL for that experience, and I am so happy that Puerto Rico has been my unofficial kick off for world travel. I was so happy to get to look back on my visit to the EFRC twice. It was an experience unlike any other, and I am eager to blog about it. I hope you learned a little bit about me as well, and my little shadow of a Bengal, Jeter. He's something else entirely LOL. 

Thank you for visiting! Until next time...