Friday, November 9, 2012

Window or Aisle!?!?

I love this  article I found on CNN...I swear I have this debate with friends at least once a month. Window or Aisle? I personally prefer the you know I have my "issues", so the window makes me feel in control, kinda like a co-pilot. That moment when the plane shakes, I can take a quick look out and say "duuuhhh, we're flying through tons of big fat clouds" and then when I feel a sudden descent I can see that we're starting our initial decline because we're a few miles from landing.

On top of that, I cannot be bothered with the endless "excuse me, can I pass to go to the bathroom?" I have one friend who is totally #TeamAisle, but he abuses his aisle power...this guy literally shuts down bathroom breaks by IGNORING the requests to pass. I pray to sweet baby jesus that one day a big sweaty man straddles him mid turbulence as he crosses over to gain bathroom access lol. Between the bathroom breaks and the crotch you're met with when people are stuffing their bags overhead...I'm soooo good on the aisle seat. I mean, yes you get a 2 second head start to exit the plane, but is it really worth it?

I would LOVE to hear from you all...are you window or aisle!?!? Any middle seat peeps out there?

Monday, October 8, 2012

TheExpat: Shoy Allison Caldwell

Welcome to"TheExpat", where I'll be highlighting a friend (or friend of a friend of a friend...maybe even your friend) that has left their native land for uncharted waters. Kicking things off is my near and dear throwback gal pal - Shoy...affectionately (and ironically) known as ShoySauce:

1) Name/Hometown/Exported to: Shoy/ Atlanta/ Japan

2) Why Japan? I followed my husband,who's in the NAVY

3) First impression: I no longer feel short. Wow, these people are polite! Clean streets, cabs, trains and subways. All the food looks just like the picture! Oh, and ghetto fabulous aint ghetto over here LOL!

4) Language/Accent issues:  I don't speak a lick of Japanese, well that's not fair -- I know a little, but if they don't know ANY English the convo's not going very far...I'm always getting something I didn't order, and not getting what I thought ordered, but funny enough that happens when people are speaking the same language.

5) Housing: Everything is smaller in Japan! Electrical outlets are two prong, furniture sits low and is smaller, and most affordable furniture is veneer or made of polyurethane. Most homes have a tatami room with bamboo floors, rice paper doors and I believe clay walls.  Most doorways are narrower than in the states... oh, and no central heating and air - most rooms have a wall mounted unit. Also, most chuos (as they're called in Japan) don't have ovens -- just stove -tops and maybe broilers. Also they have these great fancy toilet seats that are heated, spray your bum, play music, and a couple other functions I've never tried out.

6) Work: While I primarily worked on the US Naval base, I do know that most Japanese people take their job and duties very seriously and work long hours and Saturdays, which is also why you can find men in full suits stumbling the streets in the p.m any day of the week after tossing back a few.

7) Food: GOOD: sushi, sashimi, ramen,karage, yakitori, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki,yakiniku, bread/pastry shops, bentos, cakes and sweets etc. BAD: Natto ( it's not that bad, but it kinda is LOL) Oh, it's fermented soy beans by the way. UGLY: Some of the seafood is pretty creepy looking -- they'll eat just about anything that comes out the ocean.

8) New customs: Take off your shoes everywhere you  go - fitting rooms, restaurants, doctor offices, your neighbor's house, just about anywhere indoors. There are numerous festivals and holidays to participate and celebrate in. And obviously bowing is done often; as a greeting, a thank you, you're welcome etc. AND eating everything with chopsticks.

9) How would we say "Hi, my name is, please, thanks and 1 bad word" in Japanese: Konnichiwa, Shoy desu!! Kudasai/Onegaishimasu (please/pretty please) Arigato/Domo/Domo arigato gozaimasu (thank you/thanks/thank you very much) I'm a good girl ;-) so I don't know too many bad words, BUT I went to a pleasure party and learned the word "manko" (another way to call a cat a kitten...) LOL!  Other words: Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning) Daijobou desu (it's okay) Genki desu ka? (How are you?) and you've probably heard Kawaii! (cute!)

10) Ever get homesick? Here and again. I don't necessarily miss home much, but I miss my friends and family, and the night life (the clubs are small and surprisingly can be dirty)

11) How is the night life? There are definitely bars a plenty. If that's your scene, you'll have no problem. However, if you like big bouncing clubs, I'm still searching. There are clubs and many of them , but they're rather small and folks are packed in like sardines on a good night. I haven't gone to all the party districts though, so I know there's bound to be more out there...stay tuned! But all in all, Japanese people party hard and the girls throw on sky-high heels, blinged- out nails, hair -sprayed extensions, false lashes, colored contacts, and tight short dresses to party until 9am in some places.

12) What do we need to know before visiting... Ladies, should definitely know about the squatty potties! Small old-school dive bars & restaurants, and public lavatories will most likely have them. They suck and ALWAYS smell horrible! Oh, and if you're a healthy sized woman, don't plan to do too much shopping at Japanese stores. Most cute little boutiques largely carry M, and it's not an American medium. But, in the city there's plenty of non - Japanese retailers, and there are larger chain stores that carry "plus sized" clothing. Guys, be ready for big hair, tight jeans and pointy shoes galore (I'm talking about the Japanese men, by the way...) Oh and one little think I like to exercise often, no "open container" laws...hell yea! Try a chu-hai when you get here ;-)

13) Have you explored Japan and the surrounding countries/islands? We moved from Sasebo to Yokosuka. Yokosuka is near Tokyo, Sasebo is near Nagasaki, both very different -city vs. country. While overseas, we've visited Boracay in the Philippines, Phuket, Thailand twice, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Osaka, Japan. I plan to do much more traveling: Kyoto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bali, Singapore, Australia, and China are all on my radar. Japan has a lot more to offer in its diverse cities, as well as the other countries surrounding it.

14) Dating scene... What can I say --- I'm a married woman ;-)

15) Plans for moving home anytime soon?  Not in the near future...



Monday, September 17, 2012


Fall officially kicks off this Saturday and besides sadly putting away all my summer clothes and saying farewell to my chocolate tan…I’m feverishly planning a few autumn getaways. I laid REALLLLLY low this it's high time I get back on theglamtrak and start kissing the sky again. Knowing that the holidays will be here in two seconds, I want to mix in some local trips and lucky for me, Atlanta is flanked with mountains to the North and beach to the South. I found my first destination earlier this summer when I had the pleasure of going to an open house at a fabulous glamping spot, Sugar Boo Farms J.

Sugar Boo Farms is situated on 20 acres in Blairsville, GA a quick two hour drive from Atlanta. The compound hosts 15 cabins and a large lodge and let me just say the craftsmanship is AMAZING!!! You'll think you woke up in the pages of Arch Digest or House Beautiful! To add the amenities are incredible...a pool, outdoor theater, bocce court, hot tub, mini petting zoo, organic farm, and the list goes on!  The sweeping views of the Chattahoochee National Forest and the fresh air are the perfect remedy to settle any stress. If you're planning a family reunion, corporate event, girlfriend getaway or just a fun group trip this is definitely where you want to be ;-) For more deets make sure you check out the website . I, for one, can not wait to get a group together and spend a weekend of disconnecting (don't worry they have internet and cable lol) and QT with my friends!

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

photos by CJ Ramseur

For those of you wondering what’s behind the name "Sugar Boo", it’s a combination of the nicknames for the owners two favorite people…their kids! Dontchya just love that!! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

GUEST BLOG, Hope: 4 Travel Partners To Avoid

Gotta love my girl Hope ( )…she’s literally one of the funniest gals I know!!! So when she kicked this guest blog topic to me, I was sooooo excited to share her POV ;-) We ALL know these people below *rolls eyes

I really enjoy traveling I mean who doesn't dream of one day sipping a latte in Paris, or enjoying the sun in Italy or even going a little cheeky on the beaches of Brazil. Everybody has their list, but it’s sometimes hard to find that perfect travel partner. The person that is down to go anywhere and pretty much do anything, those people are few and far between. I think most of us are stuck with friends who would rather talk about traveling than actually do it. Over the years I've identified and narrowed down the specific culprits and here they are in no particular order…

1. The Rain Cloud- This person is the ultimate naysayer. If you mention the word travel, they name every disease (Ebola, malaria, swine flu) that has hit the world in the last 25 years. They also mention every natural disaster that has hit that region since the beginning of time. If you name a particular country, they immediately mention how long and horrible the flight is. This person is so annoying and I tend to steer clear because the last thing I want is to be scared to death of a vacation!
Via GoogleImages

2. EL Cheapo- This person is just that … CHEAP. They never plan to travel anywhere that cost more than $500.  Most of the time this person is last on your invite list and you are usually desperate when you ask BUT by this time you are trying to fill a spot. Well, I’m telling you now.. Save your breath! If they do somehow scrounge and yes I mean SCROUNGE up the money to go, when they get there they will not have any spending money, so usually you are stuck paying for this person the entire time. You are just better off leaving el-cheapo at home or by then end of the trip you will be going by the same name.

via Google Images

3. The Travel Agent No One Hired- This one gets me… it really does. And Imma tell you why. As soon as you mention a place to this person, they become Expedia, Trip Advisor and all at once. But wait... the kicker usually is … THEY AIN’T EVER BEEN ANY WHERE! This person is telling you how great South Africa is based on episodes of the Real Housewives of Atlanta! “ PLEASE KNOCK IT OFF LIES-A MINNELLIA!”
via Google Images

4. Whishy-Washer-  Never and I mean NEVER make plans with this person, unless you want to cancel at the last minute or rush to find someone to take their place (usually el-cheapo) so you are better off just not asking them. The main clues that you have a Whishy-Washer is they say stuff like this, “I will let you know next week” or “ Just let me know how much it is" That’s code for I’m not going, but I don’t want to upset you or hurt your feeling at this moment. I am the person that calls out a Whishy-Washer, and they hate me, but hey somebody has to do it, and I don’t  mind. There is nothing like getting your hopes up just to be shot down by a WW.
via Google Images

If you are friends with any of these confused and misguided travelers, take my advice and make new friends and categorize them as your “travel companions” or if you are brave enough, travel alone and meet people along the way! Traveling is a gift that a lot of people are blessed to take advantage of. If you are able to see the world with someone who is as enthusiastic as you then that is an extra bonus.

Happy Travels and Stay Free!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Omgosh….I saw this article (7 Signs You're Going Through Travel Withdrawal) on today and I just had to bring it over to theglamtrak…I’m currently suffering SEVERE travel withdrawal. I’m soooo ready to ‘kiss the sky’…shocking considering it will take approximately 3 rum and cokes and 10 messages from friends assuring me turbulence is normal in order for me to get on a steel bird....nonetheless, I’m READY TO GO. Enough of the day dreaming...I’ve Polyvored vacation outfits, I’ve pinned a bunch of other people’s travel pix to my Pinterest travel board (@kammikayke…follow me). I’m itching for a proper Euro summer getaway….blame this on Rhianna’s Cannes yacht pix on Instagram (@kammikayke…follow me). I would love to just go to the Delta counter tonight (yea, Delta and I are back in love) and say book me on the next thing smoking to Italy or Turkey or Greece or Thailand. 

Pray for me…get your crystals out…mamma needs a trip!