SUNDAY FUNDAY (on Monday) – 1,500 Miles

So Sunday Funday is something that the lovely Cristina over at Girl in the Pages started as a way to recap the bookish (and not-so-bookish) things that have happened that week. I only tend to do it on weeks that actually have something really exciting happen. I also tend to do them on Monday instead of Sunday. Oops. But this past week was so ridiculously awesome that I had to write a post about it.

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I took TWO road trips this week. Yeah, I’m pretty much dead, but it was well worth it. On Tuesday, I went to Birmingham, Alabama (a little over 3 hours each way) to go see AWOLNATION for the second time and the first time in the States. I had an incredible time and the show was absolutely amazing. Not that they weren’t already, but this show just solidified in my mind that they are tied for first (with twenty one pilots) as my favorite band. Here are a few pics.

AWOLNATION, Birmingham, AL

Then on Saturday I drove over to Decatur, Georgia (a little over 5 hours) for a little getaway. On Saturday, I had lunch with the absolutely lovely Becky Albertalli (and her ridiculously cute son, Henry) at a place called Thumbs Up Diner. Then we headed to Little Shop of Stories (you’ve probably seen me mention this place about fifty times on the blog – I love it so much), where Becky BOUGHT ME TWO BOOKS. If she wasn’t already one of my favorite people (she was), she made me love her even more with this. I had a fantastic time talking to her about books (my TBR grew even more because she told mem about some awesome books she’s blurbing), the Decatur Book Festival, and so much more. Plus, I got to hold Henry and he’s the sweetest kid.
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For anyone who’s ever asked me about Little Shop of Stories, here’s a few pictures. It’s the cutest place ever!

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After lunch with Becky, I went over to a brewing company in Decatur where I was going to take a tour but when I pulled up no one was there and it was kind of sketchy and I didn’t want to go by myself. I actually think the place was closed because as I was pulling away, two people with the company logo on their shirts pulled up to put a sign on the door. Oh well. So I headed to B&N for a coffee and then went ahead to Little Shop of Stories for the book club. They were discussing The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, who WAS THERE. I’m really glad Vonya (the woman who usually runs the book club) told me about it at Becky’s book launch, because I had a fantastic time. Renee was really nice and I enjoyed the discussion we all had about her book. Plus, she called Sabaa Tahir for Kim (Little Shop’s store manager) because Kim’s pretty much in love with Sabaa. As you can imagine, we had a great time.

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After the book club, a few of us headed down to Colbeh, a Persian restaurant, for dinner. We had some delicious food (Renee pretty much told us what to order!) and some great conversation.

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I can’t even really put into words what an incredible time I had on Saturday. Lunch with Becky and dinner with Renee, Kim, Rachael Allen (author of 17 First Kisses), Ricki Schultz (editor and hopefully soon-to-be author), and MaryAnn Dabski (also a hopeful author). The food was delicious at both places, as was the conversation.

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After dinner, Kim and I went back to Little Shop to get my stuff, and she let me go through their collection of ARCs and take a few. I told you she was awesome. I had a pretty freaking amazing haul, if I do say so myself. LOOK AT WHAT I GOT!!!

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On Sunday, I spent a little time with Kim at her house (she kindly let me stay with her Saturday night) then went to two comic shops in Decatur (Oxford Comics and Criminal Records). I was looking for two specific issues, which I didn’t find, BUT I had a pretty awesome haul anyway!

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Then I drove home. Overall, I drove at least 1,300 miles this week, and that doesn’t include going to work on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. So probably about 1,500 miles in a week. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement. I’m one of those people that HAVE to travel to stay sane, but even I’m done with travel for a bit (you know, like a month or so. Haha). In the end, these trips were TOTALLY worth it.

How was your week?

Road Trip Essentials (RelayRides)

As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of traveling. I have been to about ¾ of the States and five countries (including living in Scotland for a year). I am obsessed with traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people. So when I was contacted by Emma from RelayRides (a super cool – and cheap! – peer-to-peer car rental service) to create a post with some of my travel essentials, I thought it’d be fun and figured some of my fellow travel-lovers might appreciate it! First, let me tell you how cool RelayRides is. Not only can you pick the car that fits your price range and taste (which the owner will bring to you at the airport to look over and get the keys), but you can also rent out your car to travelers so you can make a little money as well. Sounds like a pretty great idea. Unfortunately, they don’t do these airport rentals in Mississippi, but maybe they’ll have rentals at your airport!

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I take a lot of road trips and I’ve been on a lot of flights (over 25!), so it was kind of hard to decide if I should do a road trip essentials post or a carry on essentials post. As I’ve most recently been on a road trip (and I know a lot of you drive to see family during the holidays), I figured I’d better go with a road trip post.

Here are some of my absolutely-gotta-have on a road trip essentials:

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Several audiobooks or lots of CDs to choose from – I despise the radio. My car only has a CD player (no aux port. Sad day) so I have to lots of CDs and several audiobooks to choose from. I’m apparently very finicky and indecisive when it comes to what to listen to in the car. Audiobooks really help to pass the time and make the drive feel less short and less boring. And I’m sure you were all surprised that BOOKS were the first thing on my list. They are always the first thing I pack. 🙂

Hand sanitizer – Gas stations are nasty, you guys.

Starbucks DoubleshotComfy pants – I cannot drive longer than 2 hours in jeans without being uncomfortable. I mean, I have done it, but I’d rather not. I wear pajamas or stretchy pants or shorts or something (anything) other than jeans. Please.

Starbucks Doubleshot(s) – I am not a fan of normal energy drinks, like Redbull or Monster, but I love coffee. I usually buy at least two Doublshots (Vanilla, Mocha, or White Chocolate) before I head out, which increases as I go.

Water – I’ve also got to have a couple of bottles of water. Make sure you stay hydrated. No, you aren’t doing anything super physical, but anyone who’s gone on a long road trip will know just how exhausting it can be.

Cash – I have stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere to buy some gas or snacks and been told there was no card machine. That sucks, you guys.

Snacks – Road trips will make you hungry. Some of my favorite snacks for the road: pretzels, peanut m&ms, string cheese (best to eat these early in the trip), ranch Corn Nuts (whatever, they’re delicious), Kashi Crunchy Granola and Seed bars. I also usually pack a sandwich – cheaper than getting fast food.

Burt's BeesBurt’s Bees – The definition of essential.Meds – If you take any daily meds, make sure you pack it, plus a few extras just in case.

PRINTED directions – You never know when you’re phone will die, you won’t have service, or any other number of problems with technology. Having printed directions or an actual map is definitely essential.

Tissues/napkins – Spills SUCK when you’re driving.

Phone chargers (wall AND car) – Again, technology problems. If you’re like me, you use your phone to take a billion pictures and that drains the battery. You can plug your phone up at Dunkin Donuts while you get some coffee and be good to go.

Okay, so I could probably list at least ten more things I like to have in my car on a road trip, but I’ll stop there. What do you guys HAVE to have with you on a road trip?

Also, make sure you go check out RelayRides! They have an amazing service with some really great prices – I saw some cars on there for like $25. Dang.