Sunday, December 3, 2023

Salem, MA | November 10-12

A friend of mine organized a long weekend in Salem, MA, for her birthday. We rented a house and spent time exploring the downtown. We shopped, tracked down the filming locations from Hocus Pocus, and ate some great food. We were back at the house playing Who Would Rather and Jackbox Games when we weren't exploring.

What We Did:

You can't go to Salem without doing a few Halloween-related activities. We went to two different museums, both of which were quick to walk through and located right in the downtown area.

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery | $15

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery is a horror film museum in Salem, Massachusetts, that opened in September 2007. The collection is owned by James Lurgio and includes life-sized sculptures of several horror movie monsters, movie props, and life masks of various horror actors and directors.

Horror movies aren't my thing AT ALL, so I wasn't able to identify all of the characters, but I knew a decent amount. I kind of surprised myself, if I'm being honest. Some were terrifying; all were very cool.  

Halloween Museum of Salem | $10

The Halloween Museum is Salem’s premier Halloween-themed experience, with exhibits in 10 different rooms. The Histrionic Academy LLC operates the Museum. 

The museum is decorated with neon paint that leads you from room to room. It's filled with Halloween relics like old McDonald's toys and Barbies. As well as decorated house exteriors. 

What We Ate:

The Cheese Shop of Salem
Roseadela's shop and cafe
Engine House Pizza
Turner's Seafood
The Derby


Monday, September 11, 2023

Chicago, IL & Milwaukee, WI | September 1 - 5

Chicago, Illinois 

Where we stayed:

The Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center

This hotel is said to be haunted. One room so much so that it can only be booked by specific request. Thankfully, any ghosts in our room weren't active the night we slept there.

Day 1

Willis Tower / Skydeck & The Ledge

The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the world from 1974 until 1998. It has 108 floors, and floor 103 is home to the Skydeck. The Skydeck is a museum that shows Chicago highlights and the process of building the Willis Tower. There is also a feature called "The Ledge," which are clear observation boxes that protrude from the building. I'm not going to lie: the first step onto The Ledge is a little bit daunting, but standing over the city (and snapping some selfies) is a really cool experience.

Gin Alley

This one we could have skipped. I saw it on TikTok and thought it was going to be bigger than it was. It's basically an outdoor shopping area in the city. We got there too early for any of the bars to be open, but my sister did make a purchase at Uncommon James. If you're staying close to Gin Alley, give it a whirl, but don't walk an extra mile like we did to essentially turn right around.

Chicago Riverwalk

Now, this is where you're going to want to walk. The Riverwalk in Chicago is gorgeous. There are places to stop to sit or drink (we stopped at more than one) and look out onto the river, which always has something happening between all of the tour boats, personal boats, kayaks, etc.

O'Brien's Riverwalk Cafe

After the Riverwalk, we went back to the hotel to rest for about an hour (my sister and I had started our days early to make our 6 a.m. flight, so it was a necessary refresh). Then we went back to the Riverwalk for dinner at O'Brien's. Some of the fastest service I've ever had. We thought we'd be there until the start of our tour, but the food came out so quickly that we had time to visit one more bar beforehand.

London House Rooftop

I love a rooftop, and anything with London in the name is going to catch my eye. Getting a dinner reservation at London House is a multi-year wait, but we could head straight up the elevator and walk right into the rooftop bar. Excellent views and pretty good drinks. We also went one floor down to LH on 21 and got one final drink inside before getting to our tour meeting spot.

Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago

This was the tour my sister found, and was very excited to walk around Chicago with a tour guide. She thought it would be more spooky ghost story-esque than it was, but it was still great. I had no idea there were so many mass deaths in Chicago (boats sinking in the river, more than one fire taking out hundreds of people at a time). And then, on top of that, the gangsters fought over territory throughout the late 1920s. Al Capone (I kept saying Pacino, but that's the actor who played Al Capone in the movie Scarface. There are too many Al's) was building a name for himself and taking out quite a few people along the way. 

Day 2

Eleven City Diner

This was recommended by a friend, and it did not disappoint. More food than we knew what to do with, but it was delicious. And diners always tend to have a fun atmosphere.

The Bean

You can't go to Chicago and not see the Bean (aka Cloud Gate). Unfortunately, a fence was around it, so we couldn't get up close and personal, but we did see it!

Shoreline Sightseeing: Architecture River Tour

In the late 1800s, most of Chicago burned to the ground. But a cool consequence of that was when they rebuilt the city, they could do so with a little bit more of a plan than they had before, which led to some really innovative architecture. Today, the Chicago skyline still embraces architecture of all kinds. Going down the river and learning about the different styles and what people did to make their buildings stand out was really interesting.  

Wrigley Field Tour

The Cubs were out of town while we were in Chicago, so we decided to tour the stadium instead, which is arguably more fun. Wrigley Field was built in 1914, making it the second oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the world (Fenway was built in 1912, and Dodger's Stadium is the third oldest and was built in 1962). And with old ballparks come some amazing stories. Wrigley Field didn't have lights for years; it was forced to adapt to the changing city around it, and its fans (especially the Bleacher Bums) are the reason behind not only Wrigley Field safety features but also played a role in the MLB "batter's eye" rule.  

Smoke Daddy BBQ

Across the street from Wrigley Field is a BBQ restaurant (discounted with our Wrigley Tour ticket!) that we stopped at before driving to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Milwaukee is a huge brewery city. Each one is unique in its own way, and I enjoyed all of the ones we went into, but writing about each one was getting repetitive, so I decided not to.  

Where we stayed:

My brother's apartment

Free accommodation is always a perk.

Day 1

Cafe Hollander Tosa Village

This was in Wauwatosa, which is closer to my brother's apartment. It was in the cutest downtown area. We didn't explore because we had to get to the game, but spending an extra 15/20 minutes walking around would have been nice.

American Family Field / Brewers Game

Another city, another ballpark. However, it was for a game this time because the Brewers were playing the Phillies. They unfortunately lost, but it was a fun game to watch.
FUNNY STORY: At one point, a woman came walking down the stairs holding a hot dog and asking if anyone lost it. Turns out it had slipped out of the tin foil a little boy was holding. He took it back and ate it (5-second rule; it was fine lol), but all I could imagine was having to turn to my own dad and somehow explain that the overpriced hot dog he bought me three minutes ago vanished from my hands.

The Copper Turtle Brewery & Taverne

The Explorium Brewpub Third Ward

Cafe Benelux

Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria

Day 2

MOTOR Bar and Restaurant

Harley-Davidson Museum

I've never been on a motorcycle, but I know a handful of people who own them and since we were in Milwaukee, we had to stop and check out the museum. It was cool to see how motorcycles have changed over time.

National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum

It's a unique museum, for sure. Lots of athletes and presidents/famous figures. So many Grittys. We didn't do it because it was more for kids and not offered to us, but there was also a scavenger hunt element.

Broken Bat Brewing Co

Great Lakes Distillery & Tasting Room

MobCraft Beer Brewery Taproom and Pizza

Shakers Cigar Bar

Day 3


This was a good breakfast place. Located in Elm Grove, not Milwaukee. You could tell it was the first day of school because a group of moms (possibly some nannies) were all at a table together, toasting to drop-off.

Pabst Mansion

The Pabst Mansion, built in 1892, is a grand Flemish Renaissance Revival-styled house and was the home of Captain Frederick Pabst, founder of the Pabst Brewing Company. Each room has a slightly different style based on who used it and for what purpose. The street it's on used to be all mansions, but now Pabst is the only one. 

War Memorial Beer Garden

Lakefront Brewery


Saturday, July 9, 2022

5 Days in Edinburgh, Scotland | What to do

Many of you know that I studied in Scotland for the 2019-2020 school year. I was a postgraduate student earning a MSc in Creative Writing. However, due to COVID, my time in Edinburgh got cut short and ever since I've been itching to go back. I finally got the chance, and some family and I went to Edinburgh in early May 2022. There were nine of us traveling together.

Where we stayed:

We got hotel rooms at the Wilde Aparthotels By Staycity Grassmarket. This location was fantastic. It's at the base of Castle Rock and on a street lined with pubs. The famous Victoria Street is at the other end and leads you straight to the Royal Mile.

We considered getting an AirBNB, but the houses that could fit all nine of us were pretty far from Old Town and my sister was concerned that there weren't enough bathrooms for us to all get ready in a decent time every morning. It was an interesting concern for her to have, but at the end of the day, it was valid. Plus, after spending all day together, it was nice to go back to a hotel room with only one other person.

What we did:

My family members had flight vouchers because they were supposed to come visit me in early June 2020. For that trip, we were planning on doing both London and Edinburgh, but since a few travel restrictions were still in place when we were planning our new trip, and we didn't want to have to take off too many days from work, we decided to only visit Edinburgh. I did my best to cram as much as possible into the short trip, and not to toot my own horn, but I think I did a pretty good job.

We really lucked out with the weather. If it rained, it was a light rain that only lasted for a little while.


Our red eye flights were scheduled to land in Edinburgh around 9:20am, however we ended up getting slightly delayed. No big deal, we grabbed our luggage and headed to the hotel to drop our bags.

I reserved lunch at The Three Sisters because it was one of my favorite places to go while I was at school. It has gone through some updates since 2020, but it was still great to visit and it was nice to start our day with a meal. On the way there we walked through the University of Edinburgh campus, where I had most of my classes, and stopped into the gift shop.

From there we walked to the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club because it is the meeting place for the Mountebank Comedy Walk. I knew we were all tired from traveling, and a two hour walking tour might not have sounded awesome to everyone, but I figured it was the best way to get a quick overview of Old Town and keep us from falling asleep too early. I had done the tour when my friend, Casey, came to visit me and loved how Daniel led his tour. We laughed hard while we learned about famous serial killers and the history of the Scottish national animal (it's a unicorn!). Daniel does a fantastic job of getting to know each of his tour groups enough to make them feel included, and crack jokes at their expense.

After the tour, we grabbed a drink at The Last Drop, since we had learned about it on the tour (it was where prisoners got one last drink before being hanged) before going back to the hotel to regroup.  

We ended that first day at Biddy Mulligans


Friday we did the Rabbie's Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands 1 day tour. This day started early, which I did partially on purpose to get us up and moving and partially because the weather that day was the best when I was scheduling this event. The tour left at 8:00am and got back to Edinburgh at 8:00pm. It was long, but it was fantastic. Our driver/tour guide Pete was amazing at storytelling - he was able to recount Scottish history while pointing out landmarks that we were driving past.

The tour stopped at Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Great Glen, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Grampian Mountains, and Highland Perthshire before making one last stop to see Highland Cows. The Highland Cows were my highlight, but the longest stop was in Loch Ness where we were able to take a boat cruise on the Loch and learn about Nessie. 

When we got back to Edinburgh, we ended up grabbing some food at Mamma's American Pizza. This was unplanned, and what felt like the only open kitchen in Edinburgh by the time we got there. Afterwards, my sister and I grabbed drinks at The Black Bull.


My sister and I got up early to try to find a place for breakfast before dragging our whole group around the city. We walked to Em's Kitchen, which is delicious, but ultimately decided it was too far to make everyone walk to and ended up at Alba Bistro right in the Grassmarket, which was perfect.

We spent most of Saturday in Stirling. Stirling Castle is a lot of fun because it has tours and actors in costume to talk about what the castle was like when Kings and Queens lived there. After we explored the castle, we stopped at the ice cream truck that was parked outside (I got a 99 Flake), before walking towards the gin distillery. The Stirling Distillery ended up being closed for a private tour, so we walked right down the street to The Settle Inn, which is Stirling's oldest alehouse. It was the perfect Scottish pub: quaint, wood burning stove, great bartender - the works!

When we got back to Edinburgh, we grabbed dinner at City Restaurant. My friend from Grad School met us for dinner and it was great to see her again! My sister and I brought her back to her apartment and then met some of our group at The Black Bull.


Happy Mother's Day! At least it was for us/America. Because of this, I made a reservation at Tigerlily for brunch. We all loved it and agreed it was something we would do again if given the chance. On the walk from our hotel to Tigerlily we stopped in Princes Street Gardens to take a picture in front of the Ross Fountain.

My mom really wanted to see the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, so we walked there, but it was too early in the season and there weren't many flowers to see. We also accidentally walked to the entrance further away which added like a half hour to our walk. So all in all, not the greatest addition to our trip, but it was still nice. We could tell it would have been beautiful if it was further into the season.

We took a double decker bus back to Old Town and some of us did some shopping on the Royal Mile, while others went back to the hotel to relax before dinner. On the bus ride back, I made a reservation at The Pear Tree because they were able to show the Bruins game for us. It was a great addition to our week because it was a playoff game that was an afternoon game in Boston, so timing wise worked out great for us in Scotland.


Our last full day. We had breakfast at Alba Bistro again, before climbing the stairs to Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately, they weren't doing any tours at the castle the day we were there, but we spent about 2 hours walking around. From there we went to the The Scotch Whisky Experience. The experience starts with a ride in a whisky barrel and tells you how Scotch Whisky is made. Then you get to watch a short video about the different regions of Scotland and you select which Scotch you want to try. The Scotch Whisky Experience is home to the largest Scotch collection in the world, and looking at the different bottles is very interesting while you taste the Scotch.  

At the time of our trip, we needed negative COVID tests to travel back into the states. So, after we grabbed lunch at Deacon Brodies Tavern (I got a steak and ale pie - wicked good), we took a bus to a clinic right by Murrayfield Stadium. Thankfully we were all negative and got to come home with no issues the next day.

After our tests, we went to The White Hart Inn and Biddy Mulligans again.

What we didn't do:

There are plenty of more things to do in Edinburgh and surrounding areas, but of all the things I planned for, the only things we didn't do included extra walking. They were Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill, and the Meadows. Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill give great views of the city. We actually did walk to the Meadows on our way back from our COVID tests, but no one wanted to take the full lap. They would have been nice additions to our trip, but I can't really blame anyone for not wanting to do more walking.


Monday, October 11, 2021

The Wanderer by Josie Williams | Release Blitz*

Title: The Wanderer
Author: Josie Williams
Genre: YA Romance/PNR Twist
Release Date: October 7, 2021

“The Wanderer is a gut-wrenching, epic love story that I could not put down. I was addicted and rooting for Ryder and Maggie from the start.” ~ Natasha Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar

Teenage love is epic. But falling in love with a human girl when you’re dead? Yeah, that blows.

For the last few months, Ryder has been content just to watch Maggie from afar, but one rainy night changes everything. When the girl he’s in love with is in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to save her life.

That one moment alters their destiny, and now anything is a possibility.
As the pair grow closer, Ryder struggles to keep his dark secret hidden, because there’s something Maggie doesn’t know… Ryder died five years ago.

Are they just two lonely souls, destined to be apart?

"Moving and intense" ~ Kat Ellis, Harrow Lake 

“A beautiful book about loss, longing, and love” ~ NJ Simmonds, The Path Keeper 

“Just gorgeous” ~ Cynthia Murphy, Last One To Die. 

“A gut-wrenching, epic love story” ~ Natasha Preston, The Cellar.

Nobody likes feeling alone, which is why it's so important to find someone you can confide in and enjoy being around. However, that can be tough when one of you is a dead wanderer possessing a body of a boy while the other has no idea and thinks the boy has some type of duel personality because he only talks to her when they're alone. 

That's what happens in this book. Ryder has been dead for five years wandering around. He sees Maggie for the first time when she brings her grandmother into the hospital and is immediately intrigued. When an incident happens where he figures out that he can possess the body of her classmate, Charlie, and get to talk to Maggie, he does it whenever he can. But Maggie deserves more than a dead boyfriend and Charlie, even though he's a jerk, deserves to not have his body taken over every day.

It's impossible for them to truly be together, but that doesn't take away from the relationship that they form. They're finally seen by one another, but how long can it last? Watching them navigate the limitations of each of their worlds was heartbreaking because I just wanted them to be together. Mostly I wanted Ryder to be able to give Maggie the biggest hug as himself instead of as Charlie.

This book is a highly entertaining YA paranormal romance that kept me wondering, How is this going to work out? The ending made my jaw drop. I'm still processing as you read this. 

Josie Williams is the alter ego of international bestselling author Kirsty Moseley. She lives in the UK. Is a lover of dogs, donkeys and guinea pigs. A coffee addict. A hopeless romantic, and reader of all the things.


*This ARC was given to me as a gift, but the opinions are my own

Monday, October 4, 2021

Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell | Release Blitz*


When you say you're a sexologist, people imagine Marilyn Monroe. They don't expect a woman who uses a wheelchair. As the host of the All Access podcast, I'm breaking barriers, crushing stigmas, and creating sexual connections that are fulfilling for my fans. I'm like cupid, but with pink hair and fewer diapers.

Only, I've hit a snag. A lovely listener wants some advice about accessible rope play and I'm drawing a big fat blank. Which leaves me with no option but to get out there and give it a go.

Which is how I meet Jay Wood—rigger, carpenter, and all-round hottie.

I'd be open to letting him wine and dine me but Jay isn't my type. He's not a one-girl kind of guy. Monogamy isn't even in his vocab, and I'm not a woman who'll settle for being second choice.

But the closer we get, the more Jay has me tied up in knots.

And it's making me think, maybe I could compromise and accept a little Wood in my life. Even if it's only temporary.

Frankie's funny, intelligent, and ridiculously sexy. This should be a no-brainer. A little fun in the sheets, and a little romp with some ropes—simple.

Only the infuriating woman is asking for more. I'm not that kind of guy. I wouldn't even know how to be that kind of guy. I'm the definition of easy.

It'll be fine. We'll be friends. Just friends.

So, why does my heart feel frayed? And why is it I can't help but consider taking the ultimate leap of faith—tying myself to Frankie. Permanently.
Title: Knot My Type
Series: All Access #1
Author: Evie Mitchell
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 4, 2021


I want to start off by saying that I loved reading a book where the main character is in a wheelchair. I learned so much. Although she does it in a sarcastic way which makes it a bit more lighthearted, Frankie is quick to call out whenever Jay is being ablest and I found myself at times thinking, Oh shoot. I would have reacted the exact same way he did. And now I know better. However, I still can't figure out how she got her wheelchair into her car because wheelchairs seem heavy and difficult to maneuver over yourself if you're in the drivers seat, but that's on me to figure out somehow.

Frankie and Jay were really interesting characters to me because while Jay is a hot, rigger, Frankie also isn't afraid to voice her wants and needs. Usually I feel like there's one character more demanding or dominant than the other, but in this case they were equals and it led to some pretty interesting spicy moments.

The two of them fall into basically an insta love that Jay tries to counteract, but fails pretty quickly. Their relationship is fast paced with high highs and low lows. Their stubbornness is their downfall and their greatest asset.  

This is a quick, enjoyable romance.


Free in Kindle Unlimited



Capricorn Cove had experienced a renaissance in the last few years, the sleepy town beginning to emerge from its hibernation as people moved in, and businesses finally occupied formerly vacant storefronts.
Change came slowly in the Cove, but Books and Beans had fast become a local institution.

Inside the small café, warm brick walls were complemented by polished concrete floors, long wood benches, and upcycled tables. Bookshelves stuffed with new and used books were scattered throughout the space, inviting diners to peruse as they waited for their order.

I pushed through the door, the bell tinkling cheerfully above my head.

"Hey, Jay. Want your regular?" Betsy called from her position behind the counter. Dressed in a casual blouse and mom-jeans, the older woman didn't look like the kind of person who'd own a hipster joint. And yet, a quick glance around showed a surprising number of tourists enjoying generous meals.

"Actually, I'm meeting someone. Got a table for me?"

She nodded toward the back of the café indicating a table set between the currently empty fireplace and a pair of wall-to-ceiling bookshelves.

"Perfect. Thanks."

I made my way over, calling greetings and stopping for chats with locals. That was the problem with a small town—you knew everyone and everyone knew you.

Everyone, it seemed, except Frankie Kenton.

I settled at the table, anticipation simmering under my skin as I pulled my cell out, swiping to reread her messages.

I still couldn't figure out why she'd piqued my interest. There was nothing profound in her texts. And yet here I sat, waiting for her to arrive, my pulse unsteady, my body on edge.

What the fuck is wrong with me?


I looked up, my cock immediately hardening.


Her pink hair and blue eyes reminded me of the cotton candy I used to buy at the annual fair. The colors had me wondering if the taste of her promised to be as sweet on my tongue.

She grinned, her eyes sparkling as she came toward me, hand outstretched. "The one and only."

I'd have classified her as spun sugar, light and fluffy and extra sweet—if not for her voice. The richness of it forced me to reassess my initial impression—this woman wasn't sugar, she was spice in masquerade.


Releasing November 18


Evie Mitchell is a thirty-something woman who loves dirty books, bad boys, and men who know how to treat their woman right. She lives with her husband, their sausage dog, and an ever-growing collection of book-related mugs.

When she's not writing, Evie loves curling up in the sun with a good book and a cup of tea. Evie specialises in spunky reads for curious minds.


*This novel was gifted to me, but the opinions are my own
© Juliann Guerra
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