The Great Gatsby, at the Springer Opera House

This is one of my favorite classics. I LOVE this book — the character I most relate to is Daisy, even though I’m the most sympathetic to Gatsby.

My mini-me and I went to see a theater performance production of The Great Gatsby at Springer Opera House. It’s a nice theater, but it’s rather small (I actually think it’s maybe a bit smaller than my high school auditorium). The stage didn’t seem very big… but I don’t know, maybe everything just seems smaller when you compare it to NYC.

Not the best photo… we had like 4 minutes before the show started! (The manager of the lobby gift shop gave her a free poster though, lucky girl.) 

I didn’t think the adaptation was that great. It actually reminded me of something rather amateur-ish, like what the drama class would put on as their annual show in high school. It was okay, but definitely wouldn’t have made its way on to Broadway. The props and costumes were also lacking; but it’s a small town production, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

The greatest adaptation of this book, in my opinion, is the Hollywood version with Leonardo DiCaprio. I LOVE that movie… but that was also a big-budget Hollywood film with top star billing of A-list actors.

I think Ava enjoyed Rodgers + Hammerstein Cinderella at the RiverCenter Theater more. (I’m still waiting to take her to an actual Broadway show when we’re home visiting one of these days.)

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Rodgers + Hammerstein Cinderella

*This was something that was in my Draft Folder, and I finally got around to finishing it and posting it. This happened at the end of June 2017.


My mini-me and I saw Rodgers + Hammerstein Cinderella at the RiverCenter Theater in Columbus. It was a lovely surprise from my hubby, since I have not taken our move to Georgia very well. (It’s been hard on me, but also on our daughter too.)

The RiverCenter is no Broadway or NYC, that’s for sure (but then again, nowhere other than Broadway in NYC is Broadway!) — but the production was very nice for a small stage. Our tickets were also very affordable compared to Broadway tickets for seats just as good (and we truly had some great seats too for this show).

This was the first time my daughter had went to a theater performance. She was very excited that it was a “special event” because we both dressed up — and in matching outfits too! (We even found a mini hot-pink tote handbag for her to match my wristlet clutch!) ♡

I figured now would be a good time for her first theater show because I love the theater, and even though she’s not a NYC gal like her mommy is, I still want her to be as cultured and have the same worldly experiences that I had access to. Also, she had done a few school Christmas programs already in Iowa, so she has some concept of the theater and performance art.

This was also an excellent choice, because like all American girls, she knows all about the Disney princesses. She had seen the Disney Cinderella plenty of time (we own the DVD to it), and even though this is not the same version, she is familiar with the storyline. I think for something as “grown-up” as the theater, you really do have to make it a special event. Make no mistake, the tickets were not “cheap” even for a small city production like this; my husband still spent over a hundred dollars on the tickets.

I absolutely loved that it was our first “official” mommy-daughter date. I mean, we go out to eat and shopping, party invites, etc. — but we’ve never done something like this before. Ava also got very excited once she saw all the other little girls with their mothers, and a lot of the girls were even dressed up like Cinderella too (the Disney Cinderella though, in her signature blue ball gown, of course).

My hubby is not into the theater, he is a typical guy that likes video games and sports, but we appreciate him so much for always thinking of us to make us happy… I would have loved it if it was a family-date night instead though!

The show was really good. The songs and dances was a bit corny for me, but I mean, this production came out like over fifty years ago, right? Still, the costumes and effects were beautiful, especially Cinderella’s ball gown. However, we didn’t leave until like almost 10PM even though we got there around 6:30-ish (there was still the summer daylight when we arrived), so I think next time we will see a matinée show instead because she is still very young to keep her attention span focused that late at night.

The theater is very nice, with a beautiful water fountain in the front, and a parking garage right across the street. There’s also lots of dining options in the area as well.

Fourth of July

With the crazy politics going on, it’s hard to “let freedom ring” — seems as if we are in some trashy reality TV show… I guess that’s not too far-fetched.

My hubby took our little family on a mini-holiday getaway to St. Augustine, FL for the July 4th holiday, we stayed there for a few days.

It is a historical, Spanish colonial town with lots of touristy stuff to do and see. Mostly, I thought Ava would love it, as she grew up in Iowa — so she’s never been to the ocean before. There’s lots of places to eat, shop, visit… we saw the town’s annual fireworks show, and did a few other touristy stuff. They have a really cool Visitor Center, and there were things there that was discounted (or even free) for active duty military.

I would have probably liked it more if I didn’t have my period — seriously, my period always comes at the worse time… like my wedding week! So I actually spent most of the time in St. Augustine sleeping instead, while my hubby and daughter were out. The heat and humidity was just about unbearable too. If the weather wasn’t so sweltering, and I wasn’t bleeding and miserable, I would probably have wanted to do and see more with them.

Honeymoon ♡

My hubby booked our honeymoon on his own (I feel we could have definitely gotten a better deal if we had shopped around online, but he doesn’t have the patience for that kind of stuff). We spent about $5,000 on our honeymoon, he had booked it through Expedia, I think (I vaguely remember).

We went dining at lots of local restaurants, but also at the beautiful restaurants at our resort. Our resort was gorgeous, with its own private beach; lots of activities on site, dining, even live entertainment on site — there was bocce ball, tennis, basketball, foosball, etc. A beauty spa, gym, fire pits… I even stole their mini shampoos and soap when I left because it smells like heaven, ha!

The only thing was that there was occasional sprinkling of rain, kind of like in Hawaii actually — but one night, I did get caught in a heavy downpour with lightning and thunder though.

We went kayaking (my hubby wanted to go scuba diving or snorkeling, but I don’t know how to swim)… and since I never went kayaking either, I wore a life-vest, and my hubby didn’t paddle very far out from shore. We went fishing right off our pier at the resort’s private beach; we also went deep sea fishing on a charter boat, went on a glass-bottom boat ride to a coral reef, checked out an aquarium… Mostly we dined and stayed in bed (I want a honeymoon baby, ha!). ♡

Nami Japanese Restaurant Review

Nami Japanese restaurant is located on S. Fort Hood Street, in the shopping center area that also has O-mart and Verizon Wireless. There’s parking available in the shopping center lot. I went here for lunch for the first time last November with my friend Greg, and I went here for dinner recently too.

The restaurant has three hibachi tables on the right side of the bar, and regular dinning tables scattered about, but mostly on the left side of the bar. They do have a full bar. The menu is the typical Japanese restaurant menu. I think the menu prices are reasonable for that kind of restaurant. They were busy during dinner service.

The food was good, but mine took a long time to arrive. They didn’t bring our food out at the same time though, so by the time my entrée arrived, the mister already finished with his. Our waitress also forgot my soup and salad that came with my entrée, but by that time I didn’t want to stay at the restaurant any longer and was ready to go, so we didn’t even bother saying anything to her about it.

I do want to say though, the sushi chef personally came over to our table and he gave us some sort of yellowtail fish that was very fancy prepared. This was about 15 minutes after we sat down at our table, I’m not sure if he thought we were on a first date or something. I thought it was very nice and sweet. He probably thought it was our anniversary or something because I had a dress on… but anyone that knows me, knows that I love wearing dresses, especially in the summer. The mister thinks he did that because the chef probably thought I was pretty or whatever.

The dinner service was a bit disappointing, but the restaurant was very busy, and I have eaten there during lunch service before, and it was better when they’re more slowed paced. I didn’t mind too much, except when you’re paying $25 for an entrée you should get everything that it comes with! But, don’t let this one slip-up deter you from going. Mistakes will be made in everything in life. I still highly recommend it.

Carolina Ale House Review

Carolina Ale House is a chain bar/restaurant. This review is for the Killeen, TX location.

They weren’t busy when we went, but there was no hostess at the front, so we waited a few minutes until one showed up.

The menu has a nice selection. (I asked him beforehand if he gets ID at places, and he said no, so I said they’ll ID him because of me — he thought I was joking, but everywhere we went they ID him when he ordered alcohol. Ha!) The thing was, I wanted their Seared Ahi Tuna Asian Salad… but the waitress comes back to tell me they don’t have any tuna. (An episode of Kitchen Nightmares flashes through my head, with Gordon Ramsey screaming.) So I ordered their grilled salmon instead. It tasted good, but I can’t really taste anything anyway.

I did not like their chicken soup. It was very salty. The waitress kept coming up to us like every 5 minutes asking us if we’re doing okay. I hate when they do that.

I told my Ranger, I usually don’t finish my food — he said, I know. So since his dad is a pediatrician, he had went to China to one of the rural villages to do some humanitarian work, and he said that his dad thought it was polite to finish his plate, but that they kept putting more food on his plate each time he finished his food — so he realized that in Chinese culture, leaving food on your plate is actually Chinese etiquette (versus American etiquette, where it’s polite to eat all your food). I told him I was very impressed that he even knew, ha!

I think if they had the tuna I would have liked it better. The Ranger being a guy, doesn’t care. Guys (especially military guys) are happy eating anything that isn’t a MRE. I give this place 3 out of 5 stars… the worse thing for a restaurant is to not have something on their own menu!

P/S. We went to Cracker Barrel despite the Cracker Barrel Tinder girl — I put my spoon into the bowl of gravy and ate it. He said, Are you eating gravy?! He laughed at me. Haha. ♡

Wicked

I saw Wicked tonight, at the Kansas City Music Hall. It was very good, even though it wasn’t Broadway. (I’ve been spoiled by that New York City life!)

It’s actually a love story, which made it kind of sweet, because I grew up loving this movie as a kid’s movie. So basically, the cute guy in the movie falls in love with the awkward misfit (like any teenage flick), while dissing the super hot girl. They end up together in the end. (It’s actually a lot better than how I wrote it.) Basically the wicked witch is actually the protagonist, Glinda is her BFF, and there’s practically no mention of Dorothy.

The music was very catchy and the dialogue was great. It’s definitely a twist from the original Oz story, so I’m not sure how I feel about someone reinventing the plot (the play is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire); especially since it is one of my favorite classics. The costumes and effects were also really good for something that doesn’t have the same production resources as Broadway.

I also got a super sized balloon as a lovely surprise for my birthday… I turned 21 today (haha).

Thanks to a really nice guy (a child advocacy lawyer) for a happy birthday. It was an unbelievable first date, but I kept thinking about the Intel Captain… I think it’s kind of hard to give someone a genuine chance when you’re thinking of someone else. Oh, I know the Intel Captain’s all the way down in Texas (but the man secret squirrel an address for my birthday flowers!)… and my Mets won the game tonight! #2015WorldSeries ♡

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Best Way Inn — Blackwell, OK

I drove down to Texas from Iowa for a week. First, I am never doing that drive ever again. I thought I would need my car while I was there, but I really didn’t. (I can’t drive my guy’s because it’s stick-shift, and I don’t know how to drive stick.) Going down and coming back up, my stopping point was northern Oklahoma.

I left on Friday evening, there was freezing rain in Iowa and Missouri when I left. (The boyfriend got me four Goodyear tires before I left, my Christmas present — thank God too because my old tires wouldn’t have been very safe going down there in that kind of weather.) Driving through Kansas wasn’t too bad, but in Oklahoma the fog was so thick I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I got off the exit for Perry, OK and stayed at a Super 8 that was right by the exit.

When I got up on Saturday morning and started my drive again it had started raining in Oklahoma, with steady raining in some areas of the state. It had lighten up in southern Oklahoma and even in northern Texas. It was just a very light drizzle rain when I crossed the state line and stopped at the information center in Gainesville, TX. However, around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, traffic was slowed down greatly and there were a couple of accidents on the I-35 southbound. From that area on, the raining had turned into a downpour, with certain areas of I-35 having very heavy raining. I finally got to Killeen around 3pm on Saturday.

Okay, I have to say that I was kind of bum about not really seeing much of Texas except for the I-35 highway. When I lived in North Carolina I had to drive through Virginia, Maryland, DC, etc. — yet, I don’t consider myself as actually being in any of those places. All I saw was the highways of the states I’ve passed! Killeen is a big commercial area that has been built up around the military presence at Fort Hood. There are a lot of restaurants, as well as a mall and other chain retailers. I really didn’t see much of anything because after driving for that long I didn’t want to be in a car. The area does have a lot of retailers that cater to the military, with discounts for service members from stores to restaurants.

On my drive back I stopped in northern Oklahoma again, but this time it was around 1:30am and I was so tired that I pulled into the first motel right off the exit. That was such a disgusting mistake. I didn’t really check out the area, instead I had paid for a room without looking at my surrounding. The motel (Best Way Inn, in Blackwell, OK) was HORRIBLE!!!

When I entered the room that he gave me, the bed was slept in and not done, which meant the sheets weren’t changed. The bathroom was the same, with soiled towels on the floor, and the trash bins still had garbage in them. I went back to the front desk and told the guy I wanted a refund. He said that they don’t issue refunds per their policy, but that he’ll give me a different room. If that’s how their business policy is, then it should be listed somewhere. It wasn’t listed anywhere. The new room he gave me was better than the last, but it was still disgusting.

I didn’t feel safe there. I was too tired to cry about it, but I had my guy on the phone until almost 3am because I was convinced that this motel was a place like Hostel, Vacancy, Psycho, or some other slasher movie. I’m also convinced there was blood stain on the wall by the door. Despite the towels being folded and the bed being “made”, I knew that they most likely weren’t washed at all. The white towels didn’t even look white and had specks of black stuff on them. Bug feces? Lice? Eggs/larvae? I was scared to fall asleep.

Using the bathroom, I squatted over the toilet to pee… like I do when I’m in a public bathroom. There was no way I was sitting on that thing, even if it looked relatively “clean”. I also slept with my socks on. I didn’t get to shower, not even wash my face or brush my teeth because the place was just so gross and disgusting I didn’t trust anything in there.  This is the ONLY business that I’ve ever filed an actual complaint against just because I was so disturbed by the way this motel operates.  I filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Protective Health Services, Consumer Protection Division. DISGUSTING!!!

During the rest of my drive on Sunday, it was so windy I didn’t even know until I got out of my car. In Texas and even parts of Oklahoma, the weather was mild and nice, but in the northern part of the state and once you’ve enter into Kansas, it was really windy and chilly. Once I finally got back to Iowa it was freezing!

Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island

The first time I’ve ever even realized that such a place existed was in the summer of 2013. While I was being stupid on Facebook (because it kept asking me to update my current city in the “About Me” section, which I wanted to purposely leave blank), I entered Christmas Island. I actually remember a place called Christmas Island when I was being stupid on MySpace back in 2006. When I had enter the country on Facebook, a city suggestion appeared for a place called Flying Fish Cove. It sounded so obnoxious and cute that I didn’t actually believe such a place existed. A quick Google search popped up a Wikipedia article that showed it in fact does exist.

It was stumbled upon by an English captain, for the British Empire’s East India Company, who sailed past it on Christmas Day 1643 — hence the name. Its capital is officially called Flying Fish Cove, and this is where the population of the settlement lives, it is also unofficially refer to as “The Settlement”, and some English and Dutch maps will even list it by this name. It was discovered to be uninhabited. In 1887, another English captain on board a ship called Flying Fish, named the anchorage bay area he found on Christmas Island, Flying Fish Cove.

It became a British territory the following year in 1888, and soon after settlements started on the island because of the discovery of lime. Lime mining began in the 1890s with indentured laborers from China, Singapore, and Malaya. It was first governed by a government department for colonies in Britain, and then by the Crown Colony of Singapore.

During WWII the island came under attack by the Japanese. The island was surrendered to the enemy during the war, and reclaimed after the Japanese’s defeat. In October 1945 settlements began to re-occupy the island. Australia’s request that sovereignty for the island be transferred to them from Singapore was granted by the United Kingdom, and in 1957 Australia paid Singapore £2.9 million for its compensation.

The majority of the population is Chinese, followed by European and Malay. The official language is English, with Chinese (Cantonese) being the second most spoken language. It has a large population of asylum seeker from other Asian countries, including those in the Middle East regions.

It has been described as a safe area, with many locals leaving their homes and cars unlocked. It’s a relatively small community that is surrounded by the jungles and the sea. Many of its goods must be imported in. There are no direct flights to get there.

I would love to check this place out one day. Things to do there include many activities that are popular and common in other island countries. I think Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island would be a nice place to visit with my guy some day. He’s always wanted to go to Australia — and that’s really the only way to get to the island.