Posts tagged 'Travel'

Meet My 12-Toed Baby Niece

When Kristina and I went to California two weeks ago, we got to meet my new niece for the first time. One of the unique things about little Lacey is she was born with an extra toe on each foot, for a total of 12 little piggies. In the medical world this is called hexadactyly and is quite common. Lacey’s older sister was also born with 12 toes.

Sometimes the extra toes can be tied shortly after birth where they simply fall off. Otherwise doctors advise having surgery to remove the extra digit before the crawling stage. Lacey’s is scheduled sometime in June.

My niece Lacy was born with 12 toes.

Either way, she is still a cute baby.

Lacey and Kristina looking cuter than ever

Celebrating Our 7th Anniversary in Baltimore

On March 21st, 2008, Kristina and I have been together for 7 years. Most of our anniversaries were spent apart while I was in college up in Philadelphia and Kristina was studying in Maryland. This year we wanted to mark the occasion in a special way by going to a bed and breakfast in Baltimore.

Baltimore Skyline

The Inn

After weeding through the several different options available we chose the 1840’s Carrollton Inn just outside of the inner harbor. We stayed in the Independence suite which has burgundy walls, French Bonaparte furnishings, and a whirlpool tub. Upon entering our suite I was in awe. Kristina was really happy with our selection too. In fact we were both so pleased with the room that we cancelled our dinner reservations at Aldo’s and ordered in from Velleggia’s.

The Bed Room at the 1840’s Carrollton Inn

The Waiting Room at the 1840’s Carrollton Inn


An Interview With Memeber Of Ecovillage

Brian Liloia used to blog alongside me at When the site was near it’s final days he mentioned going to live at an ecovillage where the community practices low-impact, sustainable living. He graciously took a few minutes to answer some questions I had.

Dancing Rabbit Welcome Sign

What is Dancing Rabbit?
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community located in northeastern Missouri, and it is currently composed of about 35 total members. We live in a small, off-the-grid village setting on 280 acres of land, with organic gardens and buildings made out of earthen and recycled materials. All of our power comes from renewable resources, and we catch rainwater off of our roofs for all our water needs. To put it simply, we’re a group of people devoted to the idea of living sustainably, with a minimal impact on the planet’s ecosystems.

What made you decide to become a part of Dancing Rabbit?
I originally visited Dancing Rabbit last summer, shortly after I graduated from college. During my three week visitor period, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to come back as a full-time resident to continue to pursue my interests in living sustainably. Before I had visited Dancing Rabbit, I knew that I wanted to pursue a more self-sufficient, low-impact, and simple lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to go about it within the confines of mainstream culture. When I found out about Dancing Rabbit, I knew it was possible, and it was inspiring to see a group of people already doing what I envisioned as my goal.

Are you a permananet member? Do you live there year round? How long have you lived there?
As I write this, I am not necessarily a “permanent” member. There are no “permanent” members. Anyone can leave whenever they want, that is to say. However, I am currently a resident, and I’ve lived here for six months so far. I’ve recently put in a letter of intent for membership. A member is someone that knows that want to spend significant time here, and has the ability to build his/her own house, unlike a resident. I plan on staying on board for a while yet, maybe another year or so. We shall see.

Dancing Rbbit Group - 2007

What is an ecovillage?
An ecovillage is a community with the goal of living sustainably, with a minimal impact on the environment. This generally entails a radically different lifestyle from that of the mainstream culture. Living sustainably might be accomplished by using renewable energy, like solar and wind power, driving less (Dancing Rabbit owns two biodiesel-fueled vehicles for all of its 35 members), catching rainwater for cooking and drinking, eating locally and organically grown food, sharing resources, and generally consuming less.

Is there anything you miss about non-ecovillage living?
Not really, to be honest. I feel much more at ease with and confident about this lifestyle, and I love the culture that has taken shape here at Dancing Rabbit. It’s very open and honest and peaceful and healthy. There’s always work to be done, and good chunks of downtime, too, of course. Only once in a while do I miss things like going out to movies or moseying about New York City. (I’m originally from the suburbs around NYC.) All in all, life is good here.

What is a typical day like at dancing Rabbit?
This is an often-asked question, but still not an easy one to answer. Every day is pretty different from the next. But there are some things they all share in common. I generally wake up around 8:00 and eat breakfast. Then I usually check my email and do some writing. (I’m a freelance blogger.) After that, I might help someone out with some work they need to get done. (Right now, I’m “work exchanging” for a friend who is building his house.) At 12:00, I eat lunch with my vegan food co-op members. After that, I might continue doing work (if there’s any to be done), go for a bike ride, read a book, or do video work. (I also run a video blog here, called Dancing Rabbit TV). If I’m the cook for my food co-op that night, I might start cooking around 3:00-3:30. At 6:30, I eat dinner. Afterwards, I might play a board game with some folks, call my family or friends, read a book, watch a movie, or just hang out. Then I’ll hit the hay around 10:00-11:30, depending on how tired I am.

Dancing Rabbit Kitchen

What do you mean by sustainable living and how is it important to the environment?
A sustainable lifestyle is one that is capable of continuing indefinitely. I, among many others, believe that the typical lifestyle lead by most Americans is highly unsustainable, and is not capable of continuing much further into the future. As a civilization, we are desperately dependent on cheap energy, particularly oil, which fuels every facet of modern living, everything from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture and everything in-between. We generally disregard how our actions have an incredibly damaging effect on the environment. Without realizing just how much damage we are causing to the planet, we will leave serious scars on the environment which may be felt by many future generations. I think it’s important that we recognize this and learn to live in harmony with the earth’s ecosystems, so life, both human and non-human, can continue on more peacefully, healthfully, and indefinitely.

What are some things people can do to be more sustainable without moving out to Dancing Rabbit?
There’s plenty that people can do to live more sustainably. The first thing to do is educate yourself and others about the environment, about our culture, and about sustainable living. As far as practical things go, you can start by consuming less and realizing that you can’t just “buy” sustainability. Try eating locally and organically grown foods, those raised without pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and those that haven’t traveled 2,000 miles to reach your dinner table. You can also try driving less. Consider walking or biking, or ridesharing and public transportation, if possible. See if you can reduce your commute by moving closer to your job. Use energy at home efficiently, and avoid buying power-hungry appliances. Use water conservatively. Recycle your trash and compost your food scraps. All of these small actions can help. The main thing is to realize just how much we consume to accomplish everyday tasks, and then try to limit what we can.

More info about the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage can be found at and their behind the scenes video blog, Dancing Rabbit TV. Brian has also posted a semi photo essay on Facebook showing more day to day living at Dancing Rabbit.

This post is part of Blog Action Day
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Spontaneous Beach Trip Weekend

This past weekend a gang of friends and I partook on a weekend getaway to Ocean City, Maryland. The last time I visited the beach was a month ago for the 4th of July but there was still plenty of adventure to be had the second time around.

Ahh! I don’t want to read all of this…

Friday, August 3rd
I got home from work an hour earlier than usual. This left some time for a quick nap before the 3 hour trek to Ocean City. Kristina and I left around 8pm stopping only for a bite to eat at Hardee’s. We made it to the shore by 11pm. Our friends Matt, Pammy, Mike, and Tim traveled in a separate car and met up with us 30 minutes later.

Matt said we could spend the night at a friend of a friend’s place but when we got to Ocean City we were told there wasn’t enough room. Being without a place to stay at the beach on a late Friday night in the beginning of August is a miserable experience. Cruising down Coastal Highway, looking for hotels with signs reading “vacancy”, was frustrating at best. When we did stumble upon the rare vacant hotel the rates were sky high, causing us to continue searching. Apparently the weekend of our trip was not a good time to look for a hotel at the last minute as there was a car show at the convention center and the worlds largest billfish tournament taking place in town. Our best bet to find a place to stay was to head out of Ocean City via route 50.

We eventually stumbled upon a motel just outside of town that had a vacant room and a price that everyone could agree on. The downside is we could only get one room and the motel policy stated no visitors were allowed. That didn’t stop us from piling six people into a tiny two person room. There was just enough room for three people to sleep horizontally on the “queen” size bed and the other three to curl up on the floor. The air smelled of mold like from inside a locker room and the water had a pungent odor. At least we had air conditioning and a mini refrigerator, though only one could be plugged in at a time. It was nearly 2:00am and we didn’t care about the grungy condition of our sleeping quarters. All we cared about was getting to the beach the next day.

Photos from Kings Dominion

On June 21st I took a trip to Kings Dominion with my girlfriend Kristina, good friend Katie and her family. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day to go to an amusement park with beautiful weather and hardly any crowd. We managed to tackle most of the big rides and the water park — unthinkable on a weekend.

The highlight of the trip was the Hypersonic XLC which goes from 0-80 mph in 1.8 seconds before heading straight up, then over, and down a huge bump before finishing out by winding around several bends. It is a quick ride, but boy does it pump some adrenaline through your blood.

Hypersonic XLC

The Drop Zone stunt tower was equally unnerving especially since they wait a few moments before releasing you at the top, 305 feet above the ground. This Google video gives a pretty good impression of what the ride is like as a passenger.

the Drop Zone stunt tower

What may be as equally unnerving as waiting at the top is the fact that a Kentucky girl lost both her feet when a ride similar to the Drop Zone malfunctioned that very same day at a Six Flags. I had no idea this happened until I got home but that explains why they closed the ride early after we went back at the end of the day for one final scare.

Luckily there were no accidents where we were and everyone came away with just as many limbs as they came in with. The only thing we probably lost the whole day was a gallon of sweat from all of the gut-wrenching, scary rides we went on all day. It was fun.

See more pictures taken from atop the replica Eiffel Tower.