Come on, ride the train

I promise this will be my last Amtrak themed post (for the week). But, I have to say I was very pleased with my experience. Reasonable prices, ease of travel, efficient… I really don’t have a bad thing to say!

You know, just casually waiting for the train on a Sunday afternoon

ChooChoo here comes the train in Cary!
The ride from Charlotte to Cary was easy – the train was not crowded and I had a seat all to myself! On the way back, the train was completely full. I had to walk through 3 cars before I could find a seat. The girl I sat with (super unfriendly), but she got off at Greensboro so I had half of the ride with a full seat to myself. Look at all this space! So comfy. I would pay a small premium any day to not have to drive 6 hours in one weekend. I was able to do a lot of reading and get some school work done as well.

Weekend at home was really good. I forgot to take pictures – I am looking in to investing in a (new) digital camera, and giving my phone a break. I always forget to take pictures. I wonder if I had an actual camera, if I would do it? Friday night we went to Abbey Road in Cary, NC – broke my no meat streak for good reason. They really do have the best burgers. And the beer and onion rings didn’t hurt either.

Saturday was a lazy day. We napped, watched TV, and went to the first annual Apex Jazz Festival, where I ate my weight in bar snacks, popcorn, and tortilla chips. We then went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner – La Rancherita. Did I eat too much? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Bean burrito, spinach enchilada, and cheese quesadilla. I sometimes wonder where I put it all… and then I remember – my ever expanding stomach. Speaking of minimizing the expanding stomach, I am still going on the jogging… I sort of conquered my parents’ neighborhood on Saturday (although there were 2 points in time where I thought I might have died). Charlotte = relatively flat. Apex = super hilly. My legs and my lungs were not prepared for the hills, but it was definitely good practice.

Yesterday was an even better lazy day, and while I woke up with a stomach ache (thanks, La Rancherita) and a massive headache, it was a perfect excuse to curl up and watch the Teen Mom marathon. I got my mom hooked… she kept on watching even after my train was Westbound to Charlotte. Finale on Tuesday. Will Farrah move??? The suspense is killing me (not). Got back to Charlotte. Got in a (minor) argument with my cab driver from the train station. He totally overcharged me and I called him out on it. Whatever, that was not my first cab ride and I’m paying what I know it costs! He even said “I promise my meter’s not fast!” and I said “uh huh.” Don’t pay Mr. Cabbie. This is why I like Yellow Cab – reliable and fair, not Joe Blow’s cab service. He also turned on the meter while we were sitting in a gridlocked parking lot. I made him reset it. Argh. I’m feisty and I get my way. Deal. With. It.

On tonight’s agenda – elliptical machine (I guess), Zumba, and TV time. Because I know I am not going to want to cook tonight, I have a Lean Cuisine reviewed today by ‘Tactfully’ Southern ready and waiting to be microwaved. This will be my first try of the Lean Cuisine bags – I am trying the Asiago Cheese Tortellini.

I know it is Monday but I am ready for the weekend because two of my best friends are coming to visit! We go all the way back to middle school and high school. They are also some of my favorite dance partners. Time to brainstorm activities and fun things to do!! Below is a picture of these two lovely ladies’ last visit (to Atlanta) more than a year ago (my hair is so short and blonde!). It is about time for another Girls weekend ‘o fun!

Casey, Meredith, Me

Friday’s thoughts

As I write this post, I am on a wi-fi-less train, cruising through North Carolina. For a train ticket about the price of gas, and the 3 hours that I get to spend blogging, reading, and/or doing schoolwork, this is definitely the way to travel. I admit, I had some anxiety about taking the train by myself. Part of it was caused by the “unknown” factor, but luckily there are “train attendents” everywhere that tell you what to do. I have only ever been on Amtrak twice before: once with my elementary school, traveling from Detroit to Chicago and once with my friend Casey, traveling from Raleigh to Baltimore. Now that I am on the train and have a power outlet right at my seat, I feel fine and anxiety-free! 3 hours to myself with really nothing else to do? This is a foreign concept unless I am asleep! My only complaint (and I would hope this changes soon as it is 2011) is that this train does not have wi-fi. I would definitely pay a small fee to have Internet access.

So far it’s already been an adventure. Before the train even took off, I heard some girl fighting with her boo over how “he’s making her take this train” and “he won’t even come pick her up” and “he’s pullin’ some sketchy ass shit.” Oh, people and the conversations that they are willing to have in public. Thank goodness she shut up. (Edit approximately 20 minutes later: here she goes again – she is riding all the way to G’boro, just to see him, and he is going to go out with his friends. Homegirl is NOT happy.) A happier story, we just pulled up to the Salisbury train station. It is really cute and historical; someone is even having a wedding outside, adding to the charm! It is decorated with Christmas lights and all set up. Even spotted the bride and groom taking pictures.

In other news, one of my best friends Betsy started a blog today! I am so excited for her… Blogging is my favorite hobby, and I am glad we will be able to share our experiences with each other. Be on the lookout for some guest blogging from Betsy. Until then, let’s all welcome Betsy to blog-land. Stop by and say hi to her!!!

For those of you that don’t know “our story,” we went to the same college and had very similar majors. We graduated a year and a half apart, but never crossed paths at NCSU! Anyway, I started my big girl job after college and people kept calling me “Betsy junior,” and I kept asking myself “Who is this Betsy girl and why do people keep calling me this?” Keep in mind, Betsy and I had never met each other before, only talked a few times on Office Communicator about random work topics. Turns out Betsy and I look a lot alike, and basically have the same personality. We became fast friends and bonded over… everything: our love of NC, our love of food, our love of boys, our love of bad TV, the list goes on and on.

Betsy and I really got close (read: attached at the hip) when I lived in Atlanta for a year. When I found out I was moving to NC, we got a lot of comments from concerned friends and family members: “Are you guys gonna be ok? How are you gonna handle the separation?” Well so far, we are surviving (thank goodness for gchat and BBM!) and regularly scheduled visits that we can look forward to. We are fortunate to work on the same team, just in different locations, so for training and such, we will be reunited. We are also excited to be going to Raleigh for NCSU recruiting again this year! This will be our third year going. Time flies. And now I sound old.

I suppose I should get back to working on my schoolwork. Might as well use these 3 hours for something productive, so I have more time for exercise and TV next week! And I am certainly going to need a lot of TV time with all of the new shows starting. Mr. TiVo is feeling a bit overwhelmed, but with each other’s support, I know we will get through it. I can’t really say which TV show I am most excited for – but I am pretty pumped up about the ABC shows starting back up again, but it is slightly bittersweet with this being Desperate Housewives’ last season. Also looking forward to old favorites ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Private Practice,’ and I plan to check out the new ABC drama ‘Revenge.’ The previews make it look really good, but we shall see if it passes the “Katie test.”

Ok for real this time… school, focus, now!

Confessions of a shopaholic

So it has been requested of me to write a new blog post by my estimated 4 fans out there. If you haven’t liked Katie’s Pirate Booty yet, get your act in gear and just do it!!!

Just warning you guys… nothing very exciting has happened to me since the last blog post, except I ran 1.5 miles (in a row) on Saturday and 2.0 miles (in a row) yesterday. For those of you who don’t know me… I probably look super ridiculous jogging. For those of you who do know me, laugh now – I ran.

I was the child huffing and puffing and praying that I made it around the track 4 times when we had to run the mile in school. Remember that? When you would get a popsicle stick each time you completed a lap? Or maybe that was just my elementary school because they thought: #1 we were too dumb to count or #2 we were smart enough to cheat (I so would have). Pretty sure I had never run an actual mile in my entire life until recently. My walkjogging has become a nice hobby of mine – I always used to say “I wish I could run because I could get places so much faster.” I always was jealous of people who could run. Now I can! It’s amazing! I still have a lot of work to go, but one of these days I would like to run a 5K. New life goal.

I still feel like I look ridiculous jogging. Most of the time I wear yoga pants – so what, I only have one pair of running shorts. Also, I have that monstrous 1984 ipod to drag around. Ipod shuffle should hopefully ship soon, and I am going to buy some new running shorts/tanks/maybe shoes this weekend.

In other news, I have gotten to do a little shopping in the past few days (both in the mall and online). I had almost every credit card I own out on my desk this morning in an attempt to order this from Citibank Extra Cash rewards. All I wanted was this pretty purse. Everyone seems to have one of these satchel thingys, and based on my complete obsession with Michael Kors, I found this one to be perfectly suitable.

I have like $600 of “extra cash” to use. Said extra cash is a pain in the a$$ – you can’t use it for much of anything for “free”, you have to pay a significant portion of almost everything you buy, and everything you have to pay for, you must pay with your Citibank card. Now I don’t use this card anymore and don’t care to use it ever again for good reason. They changed my billing address without telling me (I am guessing they got my new address from USPS) and I tried for a good two days to order the purse, my card being declined each time. Prior to ordering the purse, I had to call customer service like 4 times. I finally got a hold of people there that spoke limited English and was able to find out my billng address was wrong and that’s why the card was being declined. They have “high security” and it has to be typed in exactly correct. So I pulled old billing statements to get exactly what my billing address was according to USPS postal standards. Eh. Declined again. Running around in circles on the phone with more people, I then discovered my billing address was now in NC. Purchase successful. This was exhausting and all happened post-coffee (thank God for that), pre-breakfast (PB&J english muffin nom nom).

I also ordered 4 years of Rachael Ray magazine thanks to this coupon from Coupon Divas. Do I like Rach that much? Not really, but she has good recipes and they are easily adaptable to be healthy. Also, each year was $4.49 and I have a magazine addiction. One day I will list the ones I subscribe to. This could take the remainder of the blog post, and I have more important things to talk about.

Like my new perfume. So I splurged? So sue me.

I need a “signature scent.” I have never stuck with one perfume long enough to have one. I also don’t wear it every day. Well people, things have changed.. whenever you smell Versace Bright Crystal, you will think of me! I had a Visa gift card from my apartment complex as my move-in gift… and I spent it on a gift for myself. I had been toying around with the idea of getting this perfume and just decided to go for it – the big bottle too! I found a few other scents I like (BCBG Max Azaria’s new perfume for one)… but I will get the rollerball version of that and save myself a few pennies. For air travel purposes, I need to get a sample of my Bright Crystal. Oh, the things I worry about… I don’t have expensive taste in clothes; however I have been blessed (cursed?) with expensive taste in handbags and accessories. Designer only please. Future suitors, all family members and friends, and other miscellaneous gift givers, take note. There is no faster way to my heart than a designer handbag (or sushi, or Subway breakfast for that matter… there, 3 tiers of gift giving ideas).

Speaking of travel – I am taking Amtrak home this weekend. We shall see how this goes – the last time I took Amtrak, I was with a friend and it was a long haul trip (Cary to Baltimore). This is a bit shorter but still could be interesting. The ticket was about the same as gas prices, and the beauty of mass transit is that I can do other things (read for school, read for fun.. nap… eat… drink… the list goes on). Perhaps I will have some good stories for Katie’s Pirate Booty. Until next time…