Over the river and through the woods and over a mountain and across the plains…

New York Trip Day 2

Wednesday morning had me up with the sun.

That morning we were headed to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Nat, Steph, and I took an Uber to the Botanical Gardens and boy were they GORGEOUS! The security guard that we bought tickets from recommended the rose garden, and Stef wanted to see the green houses that had the cacti and bonsai trees. A picture is worth 1000 words though, so I’ll let them do the talking:

Packing up and heading to lunch:

We went to lunch at the ramen shop, but because it took so long, and traffic and parking was so bad, we had to skip out on MOMA and Central Park. I was a bit disappointed, but there was really nothing we could do. I did get some NY pics of places that I had wanted to see before we left though!

We drove out to New Jersey and played with Stella on the beach for a bit before packing up and heading home.

We spent the night in a hotel, got up early the next morning, and drove to the airport to drop me off, from which I drove to Jeremy’s house to show off all of my souvenirs. I took a nap and later that night was Melvin’s 20th birthday party!

untitled.png

Kinky Boots and other fashion wear

Hey guys! Sorry for the short hiatus there~ I just returned from my week of gallivanting across the Eastern Coast of the Estados Unidos! Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

New York Post #1: Tuesday

Tuesday morning at o’darkthirty (2:30 am) I awake and leave for the Indianapolis International Airport for my too-early-to-be-sane flight to Newark, New Jersey.

Upon arrival at the terminal, I park in short-term parking ($9/day) and take a shuttle to the airport. There was a suspicious looking man on the bus with me and 20 other poor souls that had to be awake that early in the morning to catch a flight, and when I was standing on the escalator to get to the second floor of the airport, he tried to kill me by ‘accidentally’ letting his suitcase fall down the escalator. Me, being the superhero with lightning fast reflexes that I am, caught it and returned it to the suspicious man who had just tried to kill me. I saved the whole airport (He was really super nice and kept apologizing. Not suspicious at all- it just makes for a better story. Don’t call the cops on him or anything please~ thanks).

IMG_20170613_062529

After saving the airport I went to retrieve my ticket for my flight from the flight desk. Only when I went to put my number into the machine that prints tickets, it said that my number was invalid and that I had no registration. I freaked and thanked my lucky stars that I had come as early as I had because there was a decent amount of people there, and finding an attendant was tricky at first. The attendant walked over, took one look at my phone with the flight number on it and said ‘Sweetie, the airline that you’re looking for is over there’ and points to the other side of hallway. She then proceeded to LOUDLY assure me that stuff like this happens all the time and that I shouldn’t be worried about it. Only then did people stop and stare at the girl who couldn’t read her ticket. Luckily, the people across the hall didn’t hear about my mistake and throw up a sparkle banner in my honor that said ‘Congratulations, you can’t read’ so I got my ticket and went to see what sort of foods this airport had.

I’ve recently been on a McDonald’s kick where all I do is crave McDonalds, so I went to McDonalds thinking I would get a caramel hot chocolate, sit around, watch the sunrise, etc. No. I got in line, ordered, and they gave me a mocha. I took one sip and almost cried, but by that time the line was so long that it wasn’t worth waiting around in to have my order changed. I pitched it and rationalized that I didn’t want to have to pee on an airplane anyways.

Security was easy to get through as I didn’t have luggage (I had given it to Natallie earlier in the week so that when she drove to NY the week before, she’d have my clothes and I wouldn’t have to pay for a carry on), and the people in front of me smiled at my unicorn shoes and Eeyore sock combination. Once through security I caved and bought a hot chocolate at the chocolate store and sipped on that until my plane arrived. The lady at the chocolate store is some kind of character- let me tell you. What an interesting little old lady. She was just the liveliest little thing. Didn’t even come up to my shoulder, bright white hair dyed bright purple in spots, clown glasses that were three times the size of her head, and the chattiest Cathy I’d ever met. But she made it extra chocolatey and extra hot without having to be asked so shout out @ her.

The plane was the smallest commercial aircraft I’ve ever been on, or even seen. There were 24 rows, one side had 2 seats, the other side had a single seat, and I was lucky to be able to squeeze down the aisle as is. Of course, having the cheapest ticket on the flight meant that I got on last, and was in the very last row by the window. The poor lady who had the aisle seat had to stand in the bathroom to let me pass, and the a$$hole in front of me had his chair leaned back the whole way the entire trip. ^#$(&*a^@#$.

We landed in Newark, and because I was at the back of the plane I felt every single bump x10. It felt like the pilot had gotten his license off of GTA, but I made it out alive so not too many complaints here. I walked into the airport and was met instantly with the nicest, most smiley airport workers to have ever exist. Everyone smiled at me. I don’t even get that here in the Midwest, and we’re supposed to have that Midwest-friendly-or-whatever stereotype. Nat and Stef had been caught in traffic, so they were delayed by an hour or so. I grabbed some floor next to an outlet and kept myself busy learning the ins-and-outs of my new Google Pixel.

This is where it gets messy: Nat called as soon as she was 5-10 minutes away and said that she was in Parking Pickup C-2, because supposedly (according to the airport’s website) it was the closest to where my flight dropped off. This meant nothing to me, and I went in search for terminal C, pickup 2. Doing the most logical thing, assuming that I was in the right area, I walked out the closest exit and asked a parking attendant where I was supposed to go. I said “Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find Terminal C Parking pick up?” Thinking I would find terminal c parking pickup, then find lane 2. The guy points at the parking lot and says, ‘Yeah, Terminal C is over there’. I thank him and walk into the parking lot towards a small building only to find that it is a bus pickup. I walk all the way back into the airport (about 10-15minute walk) and the same guy finds me and says ‘You should take the AirTrain there’ (thanks for telling me that 20-30 minutes ago) so I say ‘Okay! How do I get to that’. He gives me instructions that I all but forget within the first few seconds and walk up the stairs in doors to get to the second floor (which was the first part of his instructions). This whole time I am on the phone with Nat and her sis trying to find out where it is that they are parked. My neck is beginning to hurt, so I open my backpack while I’m walking up the stairs to look for my headphones. I get to the top of the stairs, and I’m greeted by the sight of 10 news cameras and security that would make the White House weak at the knees. At least 4 security/secret service men make eye-contact with me as I dig through my bag all suspicious like to find my headphones and I walk up to one of them to ask where I can find the airtrain. He points me in the right direction, and I manage to walk by it about 3 times before I see it. I get up to the platform and ask Nat, ‘OKAY. Are you at Terminal C? Or parking 2? Because they are LITERALLY in opposite directions of each other’ (and I mean parking 2 was on the South end of the track (2nd to last stop), and terminal c was on the North end (last stop)). They said ‘Parking 2!’ So I hop on the train for parking 2. When I get off, I ask them if they see all the construction or the Budweiser building. They say no, and I get on the train for a 15 minute ride to the other end of the airport. Long story short, I find them and we get lost for another hour or so trying to find the apartment we’re supposed to stay in.

car
Stella (pupper) Stef (driving) Nat (cutie)

 

My mom later Googles why there was so much security in the airport, and it is because I ran into the Mayor, giving a speech about making the airport easily accessible and quick to navigate (http://www.fox5ny.com/news/261010152-story). The irony is not lost on me, I assure you.

Once settled into the apartment, we strategize a plan of attack for the next day or two that we are in New York which went as follows:

Tuesday Evening:

  • Cookie Do (I couldn’t find the special character for it, soo….)
  • Kinky Boots
  • Times Square

Wednesday Morning: (pictures in next post)

  • Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
  • Come back, pick up Stella

Wednesday Afternoon:

  • Lunch at 5 star noodle restaurant
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • Central Park
  • NJ Beach
  • Head for home

Thursday:

  • Drive to Airport and drop Raye (me) off at car
  • Drive back to Champaign
  • Melvin’s birthday party

 

That evening we took the Subway to Times Square (a nice old black lady was our savior and told us tourists where to get on and off), grabbed some McNuggs, and stood in line for KINKY BOOTS!!!!!

What a great show. It was really incredible and I am so disappointed that the sound track didn’t have the cast from the show that we watched. They would have sold SO many copies!!! But that aside, I went for Brendon Urie and came out a true lover of the musical. The cast was truly gifted and I want Lola to be my best friend. The show had us in tears, laughter, and all the emotions in between. I’m a little salty that I didn’t know about the mug until after I had bought all of my souvenirs, but if Jeremy saw me buy one more mug for my collection, I might get in trouble.

We waited outside after the show and got pictures with a cast member, as well as BRENDON URIE’S AUTOGRAPH!!!!!!!!! Nat and I were in shock for the rest of the night. I mean- I got the autograph of one of my favorite singers of all time since who knows when. I tear up every time I see it. (pardon my fan-girling) BUT WE WERE SO FREAKIN CLOSE!!!!

After our encounter with bae-urie, Nat and I toured Times Square, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t buy Hershey Kisses the size of my head to bring back with me because it was quite literally 100 degrees outside, and they would have melted. Taking the subway home was much easier, and I crashed the second my head hit the pillow.

Tuesday’s extra Pictures:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Let’s Make Lots of MONEY” -PSB

It’s the end of the year and a lot of people are getting rid of their stuff. How can YOU profit?

How to become a dealer (of knowledge):

Some poor guy is down the street standing in line at the campus bookstore that is out the door and around the block. He is trying to sell his textbook back to the school, knowing that at best he’s going to get 1/3 of what he paid for Satan’s incarnate in text form, that put him through hell this last semester because he didn’t even open it. Sound familiar? That was probably you. Well I’m here to tell you that you can probably get a little more than 1/3 of the price!

Here are some tips, tricks, and apps that you can use to sell your old books, but keep in mind that I am still investigating some of these apps, and that selling back to one place might not get you the biggest bang for your buck, so shop around. Remember that saving money takes a bit of time and effort so don’t give up!

Bigwords.com: This website has saved my tush when it comes to buying books for the year. You enter the books you need and it will compare prices from websites all over to find you the cheapest place to buy the book you need. Keep in mind that some of the cheaper websites will take longer to get the book to you so make sure that you order your books early enough. It works the same way in reverse! You can enter your books into the website and it will tell you on which website you can sell it for the most money! Warning! Some websites require a minimum balance, (ex: my book is only worth $5, but the website won’t pay you unless they’re paying you more that $10 so I would either have to sell more books to this website, or find another website that will take it) so watch out for that. Bigwords will give you the top 20 or so places to sell your books, and I highly recommend it. Do remember that you might be buying your books from 5 or so different stores, and that it is important to keep track of shipping dates and fees.

BookScouter: An app for iOS and Android. It works similar to Bigwords, but its main purpose is to sell books. The app links with your camera, you can scan the barcode of the book you are trying to sell or enter the ISBN #, and voila! Presto! It will tell you the highest bidders for your book. Cons: It doesn’t recognize every book ISBN, scanned or entered manually. The prices aren’t as good as Bigwords, and the range of books that it can find is limited to popularly used books, but have no fear! It works on all of my U of I books, just not any of my community college books.

Chanel your inner Oscar the Grouch:

If you’re like me and you go a school that boasts about its diversity and that about half of the students are from exotic lands (like Iowa) and the other half are foreign, then you need to make it a priority to learn how to dumpster dive. Gross, right? Not if you do it right. I’m not saying hide out in a dumpster at the end of the year and wait for people to throw their goodies at you, but if every once in a while you HAPPEN to drive by a very nice apartment complex or private certified housing at the end of the year when all of the students who will be going back to their homes across the pond, and you HAPPEN to see a bunch of really nice stuff (mirrors, electronics, generic college dorm stuff, etc.) and you HAPPEN to load it all in your truck and sell it online, essentially making free money, then no harm no foul. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: and that statement has never been more true than at the end of the year when everyone vacates a college campus. Hate all you want, but when I’m paying college tuition without having to take up poll dancing (mostly because I’m too clutzy to ever learn anything that required any form of grace) and you’re in debt 20 years down the line, you’ll wish you had dumpster dived like me.

Testimonials:

  • My friend’s sister found a Prada bag in a dumpster. WHO DOES THAT?!
  • I found a nice looking printer next to a dumpster. Cords and all. (I looked it up- it goes on Amazon for ~$220).
  • I found a table. I’m keeping it, but it’s money that I don’t have to spend to buy a table.

Please do stay safe when dumpster diving though. There is no need to chase down the garbage man. Don’t just jump in the dumpster- that’s gross. If it’s on top, GREAT! If not, you should probably leave it. Don’t fight with the dumpster rats. They’ve been there longer than you and know the territory better. They’re more likely to form a rat gang and corner you in a dark alley at night wearing leather jackets and snapping- you get the point. Don’t do anything stupid. Fun fact: When reselling items in a manner where you have to meet up with the buyer, there are stores that have designated online selling spots (like parking spaces, or a corner of the parking lot with a sign). Stores like Walgreens and Walmart that run 24 hours and are well lit are good places to conduct your deals (that sounds kinda sketch, but you get it).

Good websites to sell your findings on are:

  • Your local VarageSale website
  • Amazon
  • Ebay (only meet in well lit, public areas- STAY SAFE)
  • Have a garage sale
  • Specialty websites (ex: book websites, furniture websites, etc.)

Cash on the go:

There are many apps that allow you to make money simply by taking surveys and allowing ads on your phone, but what are they, and what are the pros and cons? I can honestly say that I do not outwardly seek these kind of apps, as they usually come up with popups that are annoying, or I can never find one that isn’t time consuming enough to be considered an efficient use of my time. However, I have run across a couple that are worth sharing, so here they are:

Google Rewards: This app is, unfortunately and as far as I know, only for Android users- but maybe Apple phones can use it as well? I believe that all you need is a google account, and since  I have an Android, my google account is what everything backs up to. It is a very easy app to use, but you don’t get much money out of it, and what money you do get can only go towards things in the Google Play Store. You will insert basic demographic information and will receive an alert anytime there is a questionnaire to be answered. Cons include that I did not get a questionnaire right away- I had to wait for them to send them to me, and they don’t come on a regular basis (i.e.: one every Thursday or once a month like mother nature intended), and even though the questionnaires that I’ve had to fill out take about 10 seconds (convenient), I only get pocket change out of them, and I wouldn’t complain if I got more of them. But as it sits now, I’ve got $.58 in my account and I’ve taken 3 questionnaires. As a millennial I want things faster. I would happily sit here on my phone, filling out surveys about which sports I have and have not watched for hours if it meant I would earn money towards getting movies on my phone for trips and stuff. But that’s just me. You really do get paid for your time and it IS satisfying to watch the little money meter go up every time you fill out a survey.

Quick Thoughts: This app is much more forthcoming with its surveys than Google Rewards, but you can only receive money $10 at a time. You take surveys until you reach the $10 mark, and you can redeem that money through Amazon gift cards. The questions are a bit more personal, but nothing too serious, and you can choose to not respond to some, should you so choose. There is always a new survey to take which means you can sit around at your desk all day and answer questions- getting money to sit around and get money. I like that. Or I would if I didn’t have to dedicate so much time to studying….

Surveys on the Go: It is very similar to Quick Thoughts in that you are asked to do surveys and they pay you more for it, and they pay in $10 increments. However, it is different in that you are to turn on your location so that it can give you location specific surveys. So far it has paid the best out of the other survey apps, and you can redeem your rewards through three different sites (Amazon, Paypal, or Visa) meaning that you can choose how you get your money.

There are plenty of apps and websites that have surveys for money, but please be safe when using them! Don’t give away information such as, oh, idk, social security, credit card numbers, you know. The important stuff. DON’T BE STUPID PLZ. But also, earn a lot of money by sitting on your phone.

Have fun with this guys and save the money for a rainy day or your next vacation! All of my funds are going toward my vacation jar. ❤

RayeDeSol

Spring Cleaning

I have at LEAST 10 drafts in my draft box right now of unfinished and unpublished posts, so in the spirit of spring cleaning, I probably won’t do anything about it because I’m not one to spring clean. This post itself is a spring cleaning post. It has been sitting around for at least 3 weeks. Yikes.

Things that are happening in my life:

Memorial weekend had my Mom’s side of the family together for a reunion, and looking back on the photos (I have half of my hair up in a bun and the other half down to keep it out of my face) I have a mullet *cries*.

I’m taking an online summer class (PSYC 101) that is killing me. I have no idea what’s going on. I need to woman up and take this exam before it closes, but I’m too afraid that I’m going to fail it, but while I’m stressing about this exam the second module has already started which is stressing me out because I don’t want to start it until the first exam is done but the second module is due at the end of the week. It’s the circle of stress, but I’m pulling through! To anyone who is reading this and wants to send me baked cinnamon tortilla shells to snack on and regret eating later, message me for my address.

Despite all of this stress, I am thinking about a second job to better regulate my schedule. It will get me moving, bring in extra cash (and discounts at stores are always nice). I have a few places in mind, but nothing concrete until I know for sure that I can handle a second job this summer (this means that it is not top priority right now, and might not even happen).

The New York trip I had been planning and was really excited about has been put on hold until further details can be worked out. There’s an issue with the dates and stuff, so it might turn out to be a whole road trip later this summer. WHO KNOWS! But if it does turn into a road trip, I hope to see a lot of cool things along the way! 😀

  • UPDATE: New York trip has been scheduled and I fly out on June 13th!

Study abroad is back on my radar, but it’s not looking good. The programs that I am interested in would push me behind a semester in school with all of the catching up I need to do in my major change (changing of the major. major that has been changed. the change that has been made to my major. The  changed major. <- it’s a Disney reference. Comment if you know which one ;D) However! Have no fear because there is no way that I will not study abroad! It just might not be for as long as I want, or to my first pick program. BUT I AM DETERMINED TO STUDY ABROAD!!!

My latest apartment decorating fad has been sun-catchers, and not just ANY sun-catchers, but the kind that you can find at Walmart for $.53 and paint yourself. #throwback. They are however, the kind you paint, not the kind that you bake. I used to have one of those that I made with Gma Fields, but it has since been broken and thrown away. Not that I would mind making another one (HMU if you want to make a makit bakit with me). My goal is to have a Pinterest apartment, or at least all of the things needed to make a Pinterest apartment when I move into my new apartment August 6th. Most of my plant babies are doing well. Baby Dude got a haircut recently as he was growing too big for the amount of sunlight that makes it into my apartment. I’m saving up for an indoor trellis to put in my next apartment so that I can better grow my ivies.

Speaking of SAVING UP! 😀 My current phone contract has expired recently which means that I am open to getting a new one! 😀 I am holding off for a bit and waiting until the Google Pixel reduces their price. I know I will be waiting a while, but I figure around Christmas will be a good time to invest because the Pixel 2 and next Pixel XL (whatever they’re going to call it) will be released. The only problem is, is that when they release THAT phone then I will want to save up for it instead of getting the first one :’D. Such is the harsh reality of first world problems.

This has been, a Silly Song With Larry: catch you all next time when I actually finish my drafts! (They will be really overdue. One is about pledging APO, so maybe I’ll just hold off on it until the fall pledge semester) I hope to not be posting 3 a day, but it’s whenever I finish them.

Hope everyone is having an amazing summer and that they aren’t stuck inside all day like me! ❤

RayeDeSol