a surprising sunburn

aloe vera, gardening, the lady's guide to adventure, sunburned, sunburnt plant, yellow pot, succulent, life in london, learning every day, stones, aloe, natural healing, health, brown leaves, turning greener

did you know that aloe vera plants can get sunburnt? isn’t it incredible that a plant that cures sunburn can be sunburned itself? anyway, just two days ago, my aloe plant was looking more like this guy… after being moved, she … Continue reading

matthias, my first love. remembering redwall.

redwall, brian jacques, badger illustration, redwall character, the great redwall feast

“Brian Jacques, author of Redwall (1987) and some 20 sequels, died at the age of 71 on Sat., Feb. 5, 2011. His books have sold in the tens of millions and have touched adventure-loving kids all over the world. His … Continue reading

the day the sky spewed vegetables

draught cider, apple day in borough market, apple day october 20, borough market celebrations, the lions part, apple cider in london, festivity in london, southwark, apple cider, hot mulled cider

london is not a place where boredom is an acceptable state of being. there is too much going on, too many lost people subconsciously searching for other lost people. it was on a chilly, arbitrary morning when i went looking … Continue reading

car boot glory [part one]

as i prepare for car boot glory round two, i cannot help but reflect on last sunday’s boot sale. back home in the midwest u.s., i spend the happiest hours of my life plundering my city {and beyond} for treasures. … Continue reading

four countries. one week.

if we die, then we die. but for now, we’ll live. (or something like that)

well, game of thrones is getting better and better and my blogging seems to be getting worse and worse. when i first began this project, i vowed pretty much in blood to not allow myself to slack off. not anytime. not for any reason. with that said, i’ve got a plethora of reasons for my aloofness of weeks past. this list contains but is not limited to. . .

  • i’m caring for a baby. this is not an easy thing to do and it takes long hours, lots of practice, and the ability to mentally recover from being shat on, puked on, screamed at, scratched {by vicious little fingernails}, farted on, sneezed on, and cried for. all in a day’s work. and sometimes at the same time but in different variations, ie: today, i was feeding baby and while doing so, he was shitting on my leg. {not on my leg but i could feel the explosive warmth through my pants} not only was he shitting whilst eating, he was also burping, farting, and squealing/screaming, all at the same time. he didn’t seem to be very happy about any of it. and i don’t blame him- babies shouldn’t be expected to multitask like that!
    anyway, these things happen to me all the time and the booger (baby) wears me out.
    all i want to do at the end of a long day is write about it but all i can do is pass out as physically close to my bed as i can get.

    girl and baby in paris, by the eiffel tower, france, travels

    {how can something so little make me feel sosee picture below…}

    maxim verehin

    {“bunny” by maxim verehin}


  • i just traveled to four countries in one week. seriously, this happened! as you know from my last post, i met my family in barbados and spent an amazing 2 1/2 weeks preparing for dreary london weather soaking in the glorious sunshine. we left barbados near the end of april and after briefly uttering my hello!’s to london, i bid it a temporary farewell and traveled with an even larger family group on trains through france and germany.

    family in heidelberg

    {my oldest cousin peter, and his little family in heidelberg – they joined us from orlando}

  • london has got me all t w i t t e r p a t e d. there is so much glorious fun to get into. not to mention, i’m still reflecting and recovering from my most recent adventure to heidelberg and paris. [blog post to come] i have also put a lot of my time into planning my adventures over the next few months. they include shows, car boot sales, and maybe a little lot of couchsurfing. my cs profile is updated and ready to go, and i already have plans to attend a west london meeting at a pub next week. if you have not heard of couchsurfing, i implore you to sign up–> adventure awaits! as for shows, i am contemplating a rather impressive lineup at the latitude music festival, more than a few names have whet my appetite… modest mouse, beach house, james blake, the tallest man on earth, local natives, grizzly bear {must i go on?} the only way for me to attend [besides saving a hell of a lotta £££] is by finding likeminds in london who are wanting to go as well and need a travel buddy. thank god for couchsurfing. and now the search begins..are you going??? 🙂
latitude music festival lineup, modest mouse, beach house, james blake


in other news, when i went to check my email account on aol, a swanky-sounding british gal chimed “you have email.
i suppose i’ll have to whisper my temporary goodbyes to “you’ve got mail.”

it’s the little things.

to manchineel or not to manchineel

definitely not to manchineel.

when you are a child and your parents strictly {but lovingly} warn you not to eat wild fruits, i would hope that this sage advice stays with you longer than it did me. but first thing’s first…
why am i not in london?!
it’s not due to the chaotic traveling “adventure” that i just had a few days ago, but is simply a precursor to my time spent there. before london, comes a vacation in beautiful barbados with my cousins, and a get-to-know-you with henry. he’s a total doll-baby. after three days spent beach-combing and diaper-changing, i have never felt more at ease with such a tiny person. and he’s not that tiny! at eight weeks, henry weighs an average 11-ish pounds but is in the top 90th percentile in height. he must have my grandfather’s genes. he was tall, kinda lanky. loved to dance. loved to vacation on the beach and drink and be merry. i remember his version of santa clause the best, played charismatically, whiskey on the breath. i miss him and the fun he instilled into my family. it’s nice to think that his vitality runs through the generations.

as i was saying, barbados is where the action is. lots of action. laughing, puking, healthy crying, playing. on their own, not as exciting, but all-together equals one contented baby henry.

barbados, baby, on the beach, vacation

{we are all acclimating to the heat of the island very well – including this guy}

baby expressions are fantastic. no matter what is happening, their faces either read utter amazement or complete misery. they are learning to use every little bit of their bodies {eyebrow experimentation is my favorite} and i’d like to think that children are the rawest forms of humanity. they tell it like it is- with little to no social influence. this emotional honesty is a thing to marvel at. [reminds me of this cute movie]

little baby feet, sprawled toes

{“even my toes are full of raw emotion!”}

so, what is this about a manchineel??

whilst lying on the beach yesterday, keeping a watchful eye on napping infant-baby, my attention was captured by a pretty green miniature apple. or so i thought it was an apple. every bit of advice my parents gave me concerning this situation flooded my temporal lobe – “do not eat strange fruit that falls from strange trees!” in that infinitesimal but critical battle between my curiosity and wise words of wisdom past, i would have to say that i settled somewhere in the middle betwixt gorging myself on this delectable little find and disposing of the alien immediately. my two front teeth sank into the rough outer membrane and into the fleshy center, but i pulled away before ripping a big enough amount to require chewing and swallowing. in that way, i was able to taste and entertain, but not actually eat.

big mistake.

here is a little bit about the manchineel tree and it’s poisonous fruit.

the adventure guide to barbados

{my favorite bits are: “highly poisonous fruit”, “potentially deadly”, “mouth to burn“, and “stay well away!” – in a book called “the adventure guide to barbados” by harry s. pariser}

green manchineel apples


apparently, everything about this beach tree screams poison. it literally reads that herds of cows standing under these trees during a rainstorm have been known to lose their hides from the acid that is secreted from the manchineel’s leaves and sap; it travels down to the animals via the falling rain. can you even imagine? i knew i had a problem when, still at the beach, my mouth began to tingle and then burn. painfully and irritably. it was comparable to the feeling of eating an extremely hot pepper and being completely unable to rid your tongue and inner cheeks of the spicy burn. without internet and trusty google, i resorted to tracking down a local and asking them about the mysterious.. and now entirely evil apple. when they said “poison,” i knew my curiosity had taken me too far. {whatever happened to “look, don’t touch!” ??- or in my case, eat!} dumb, dumb, dumb.. yet also somewhat interesting and definitely educational. below is an actual sign on the island of barbados. these signs are fairly common {meant for the most “curious” of tourists} but alas, i had obviously missed them until now.

warning not to touch poisonous manchineel tree or it's deadly fruit, green apples fall onto beach, found in barbados, eaten by me

{the post bar}

bussa, the emancipation statue

{bussa – the emancipation statue – such a powerful statement in statue-form}

luckily, a run to the pharmacy in holetown was all the help i needed. after some antihistamines and a glass of whole milk [consumed slowly], i was back to enjoying barbados and all of it’s strange sights. and there are many of them. after being claimed by england in the 1600’s, barbados became a popular trading port and eventually, a profitable producer of sugar. it’s history with the slave trade is also quite intense. the villa i am staying in is located just north of holetown, which used to be known as jamestown and was the first settlement on the island. this link has some fascinating and equally appalling information about the vast amount of slaves that were brought here to work in the sugar cane fields and the uprisings that eventually led to their emancipation. history shapes modern-day culture and the story of this people’s journey to freedom on barbados is imperative in understanding the island today.

it’s hard to imagine that my big adventure has barely begun, that i will not be going home but on to london after this wonderful escape to paradise. already, i have seen so many interesting things {and eaten the absolute best breakfast of my entire life at the sandy lane hotel.} barbados is lovely.


{a home to be dreamt of}

beautiful purple flowers

{no landscape without flowers}

after the poisonous apple debacle {snow white, much?} i am now considering every little creature or plant to be extremely hazardous. upon leaning forward to touch this 7-inch long slug, i immediately willed my hand to retreat. i am henceforth using preventative action towards any possible poisonings. starting with this slug that was practically begging to be touched!

slug, barbados

{why must these things lure me so!?}

beautiful barbados, ocean, lovely beach

{too much beauty to handle}

now, onto the beaches. they are phenomenal. the west coast of barbados is known for it’s calm, swimming waters. snorkeling here is extremely popular because beautiful reefs are commonplace. the east coast boasts rockier waters and ideal waves for surfing {something i have always wanted to try!} my family and i will definitely be trekking to other fantastic beaches [including crane beach which travel channel has placed in the “top 25 sexiest beaches”]

here are just a few more wonderful pictures i have taken in the past few days…


{an adorable window shape that is very prevalent in this neighborhood – the view from my shower}

beautiful baby in barbados

{the first time i really held henry. since then, he has claimed a decent amount of my hair for himself}

grumpy baby

{his grumpiest of faces, he is still so adorable}

bags of fresh almonds

{these almonds were packaged in bridgetown, barbados – i am taking advantage of the inexpensive prices here because elsewhere, they are not so inexpensive}

blowpops taste so much better on the beach!
blowpops, america, barbados, sweets, candy, caribbean

what a way to spend my days.
this little family {my family} will be the center of my life for the next few months spent abroad.
i am so excited to see what opportunities await me.
what adventures arise.
and what fun there is to be had.

my family

everyone, meet tom strobhar.

followers, meet tom strobhar. strobhar is the founder of the corporate morality action center. the cmac is both anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. tom strobhar also stands against domestic partner benefits, family planning, and contraceptives. planned parenthood does not report it’s … Continue reading

the loves i am leaving behind and why not to get a turtle

this post is for my critters. and for you, so that you can get to know an intimate part of my life! i am the luckiest person in the world that i have a mother who is not only willing, but eager to help watch over my little darlings while i am in london! [and my plants, the woman is a saint!] what can i say?
we’re both huge animal-loving freaks. so, here it goes. . .

meet, the boys.

red-eared sliders, turtles, my loves, pets

actually, they are probably female. i have just always referred to them as boys and even gave them masculine names:

samwise william
nostradamus augustus

red-eared sliders, sliders, turtles, nostradamus and samwise william

{they both have extremely unique personalities – samwise (above) is definitely the more friendly of the two! also, check out nos’ hitler stache! (below) they both swim towards me when i walk through the room}

i know that they are heart-melting and gorgeous and playful and seemingly ideal, but be warned. i purchased these guys when they were the size of quarters from a smoke shop [next to the bongs, jeez oh pete- i should have known] in florida. as it turns out, red-eared sliders are nonnative to the united states and due to a colorful history involving their invasive natures into our lakes and ponds & salmonella-related deaths [usually children], they are illegal to sell/possess/release into the wild. this confuses me. i already have them [the laws vary by state but mainly apply to turtles that are less than four inches, which mine are not] but i am essentially being told that i can’t release them nor can i keep them. what? i would like to hear what i am “supposed” to do that doesn’t involve killing them – i swear, these people don’t think these things through.
anyway, i have never had a desire to release them. although they have the lifespan of vampires and grow to be the size of trash can lids [am i exaggerating? umm, probably not] i am not the type of person that views pets as playthings or fashion accessories. i have learned, after caring for samwise and nos for five years, that they require a lot of work, a large semi-aquatic [expensive] habitat, and they will likely still be around well after i begin to have children.
unfortunately, not everyone takes on that kind of responsibility and the sad story continues. . . parents buy their children cute, little turtles and when their kids are [obviously] incapable of caring for them properly, or get sick from them, they are either killed or released into the lakes and cause a massive disrupt to the ecosystem.

{remember seeing these little habitats with the palm trees? red eared sliders were once known as the dime-store turtle and sold like crazy in the 60's and 70's - click photo for original source}

{remember seeing these little habitats with the palm trees? red eared sliders were once known as the dime-store turtle and sold like crazy in the 60’s and 70’s – click photo for original source}

i will admit, i did not do my research before getting my own sliders, but nothing infuriates me more than people’s disregard for animal-life and the exploitation of them for profit. the little plastic habitat above is practically uninhabitable- even for a baby this small. the best i can do, after realizing the error of my youthful ways, is give my animals the best possible care until the day they die and inform others of my mistake- in order to prevent this from happening again. if you are, however, willing and capable of helping a turtle that has already gone through the nightmare of pet stores, cramped living spaces, and being abandoned, there are options!

turtle adoption exists and there are sites and locations popping up all over the u.s. – just make sure to research these facilities and get references. remember, never pay for turtles. receiving some sort of payment only makes the cycle continue. here is an example of one of these adoption sites. i can’t give them my stamp of approval because i have never worked with them nor spoken to any references, but their site is reassuring and looks legit. here is another link to show you the magnitude of the problem —> turtle adoption forums.

alright, i hope i haven’t sounded preachy! this was not where i wanted to go with this post but it is so important for me to spread the word and keep you informed!
we shall now continue with “the loves i’m leaving behind
[and it’s not just turtles!]


tarantula, chupacabra, love, my pet

{chupacabra was given to me by one of my closest friends, who now lives in memphis}



chupacabra, tarantula

{she is a chilean rose-hair tarantula and is my most beautiful possession}




chupacabra, tarantula

{rose hairs are both nonvenomous and, like many eight-legged creatures, are deeply misunderstood. i have had chupa for six years and am hoping for many more. she is sometimes the tool i use to open my friends’ eyes to how lovely “spiders” really are, and how much good they do for our environment}



{kristin, the friend who gave me her on my birthday, also gave her the name "chupacabra" - it is a monster of sorts, a mexican urban legend and translates into "goat sucker," my mexican friends especially find her name to be hilarious}

{kristin, the friend who gave me chupa on my birthday, also gave her the name “chupacabra” – it is a monster of sorts, a mexican urban legend, and translates into “goat sucker” – my mexican friends especially find her name to be hilarious}

{this does seem to be kind of montrous. extraterrestrial, no doubt. this is what tarantulas do in order to get larger - it's called molting, and this is the only time in six years, that i have been a witness}

{this does seem to be kind of montrous. extraterrestrial, no doubt. this is what tarantulas do in order to get larger – it’s called molting, and this is the only time in six years that i have been a witness}



{brand spanking new! look at her gorgeous color!}

{brand spanking new! look at her gorgeous color!}



i hope you have enjoyed this little gallery of some of the creatures that i find most fascinating – my own pets. i will include a few more photos of my “boys” [probably girls] because they are cute and wonderful.

red eared sliders, turtles

{when they were tiny babies – i had to capture this because they are mirroring themselves in my favorite “superman” basking pose}

{i blinked and they had gotten so much bigger!}

{i blinked and they had gotten so much bigger!}

{nostradamus augustus - the shy turtle with the hitler stache}

{nostradamus augustus – the shy turtle with the hitler stache}

{samwise william - the lively turtle who had a severe vitamin a deficiency in the first year of his life and almost didn't make it}

{samwise william – the lively turtle who had a severe vitamin a deficiency in the first year of his life and almost didn’t make it}

uninformed as it may have been,
i will never regret the decision to bring these guys home with me!