Sep 30, 2014

European Tour, Day 15, Free Day in Nice

Continuing our Europe Trip from 2013, 
Check out the previous adventures below: 

Day 14, Visit Piza and Nice

Expat Explore had this to say, " Day 15: A free day in Nice and the French Riviera
Today, you can do whatever your heart desires! As the saying goes ‘It is always nice in Nice’ - so now is your chance to find out why. One thing is for sure though - this is the playground for the rich and famous. Keep your eyes open for celebrities and stars whilst you are enjoying the sights yourself! Today you also have a free optional excursion to visit Monaco (which is also a principality, and the 2nd smallest and most densely populated country in the world!) If you choose to come with us, you will be taken on a scenic coastal drive from Nice in the afternoon, and have the rest of the day to explore. The city offers stunning views over an enormous private harbour, where super yachts and ships come to rest. The Grand Casino is particularly spectacular, and the castle district offers beautifully preserved architecture and views of the coast and city. In the evening, why not chill out in the ‘Old Town’ of Nice where the restaurants serve a range of tasty French cuisine and wonderfully fresh seafood. The night markets offer great choices in the way of souvenirs."

Nice was really good to us. There is The Promenade des Anglais, which follows down to the marina. The Mr. and I really wanted to just get out and walk. This is the first beach we were really able to explore since leaving Hawaii, and it felt great! We just strolled down, I believe it was 2 miles, and took pictures, talked, discussed, found a heart shaped rock, just relaxing in this beautiful town with each other. Nice is one place we will go back to, I'm sure of it! 

Some of our other tour mates decided to rent bikes. I am not that great at French, but I knew enough to read the sign that said if you don't return it to the original place you picked it up from, they would charge you $150 per bike. It was a great idea, to get a bike and ride up and down the town, but they returned it at another docking station (same company, just a docking station a mile or so down the promenade) and sure enough, they charged one person $150 per bike. Since they all used one credit card, it was a big hassle and people were upset. Lesson here, do not rent things that you can't read the sign! 

We stayed at the Ibis Nice Promenade des Anglais which was really nice! I highly recommend any Ibis hotels in Europe when you aren't sure. 

I believe this night, we wanted to go for sushi, but the wait was just too long, so we decided to go to a pizza place, bring it back to our room, and have a picnic on the bed! Since we traveled with one bag each, we needed to repack and reorganize our bags before leaving each stop. It wasn't terrible, and the pros of traveling with one bag far outweighed the cons! 

The next day, we were headed out to a stop at Arles and then on to Barcelona! Stay tuned! 

Sep 29, 2014

Weekly Wishes, The one that's a month old

So, today is the day I share with you my Weekly Wishes. I'm so happy Melyssa from The Nectar Collective came up with this link up! It's a great way to list your to-do list online, and hold yourself accountable!

I also am throwing in a couple of my favorite photos from Instagram from last week!

The Nectar Collective

The last time I did this was on Sept. 1st, so I'm pretty sure this will be an easy recap! Here are the previous Wishes:

1. Schedule blog posts a week out. I had this done for vacation, and sadly, I didn't keep it up. So now, here I am, flying by the seat of my pants again. I really admire the folks who write like this! I feel so pressured and anxious about having nothing ready to go! I need to get at least a couple of days scheduled, then I'll feel better.  
So, I had this done, but I have slacked off while getting my head around the Prayerful Blogger schedule, so I will keep this one on here. I'd like to have this done a week out on BOTH blogs! Wishful thinking! 

2. List all books and Vera Bradley on ebay.  I have tons of Vera still left from the factory sale back in the Spring. It's just not selling on Instagram, so I'm moving it to ebay! Sounds like a great idea right? Let's hope it gets out of my office soon, I'm kinda tired of lugging that bag around when I need to move it. (click here if you want to see what's still available) Still have some Vera items for sale, so please go check it out! Christmas is close and there are plenty of awesome gifts! 

3. START SCHOOL!  Yes, you read that right. I haven't even started school yet. I've been so worn out and distracted with so much to do, that there is no way I can sit and study now! Thankfully, the courses start when you want them to, so I haven't been in trouble about not starting. Hopefully next week will be quieter and I can focus. Yep, I haven't started yet. Hopefully this week I will get to it! 

4. Set up "Sharing Scripture" Link up!  YEAH! I shared a little about this last week herebut I really loveeee all of the hand lettering and typography I've been seeing floating around everywhere, and thought- WE NEED A LINK UP! I'm going to start it the first Thursday of every month, and see how well that works with everyone. You can link up your personal doodles, your amazing photoshop skills, or anything with scripture that you've made! It can even be items you do for sale! Amazing idea right? So, it'll be the basic rules, link only to a specific post, follow your host, moi, put the Sharing Scripture link up button on your post,  and go spread some love on the person before you! Easy Peasy! Set a reminder for you, it will be up this Thursday, 9/4 and will be open for a week.  I'm so excited to see every one's creative sides!   
I was excited to launch this link up! A few of you participated, but I would love MORE to join in! The next link up will be on October 2nd, so you have a few days to get yours together and join us! The link up stays open for a week after, so really you have until October 9th to add yours to the party! 

I won't add to this list just because there is still a lot still on my plate. It's always great to know your limits and to not stress yourself out too much, am I right?

I hope you all have a great Monday! How was your weekend?

Sep 27, 2014

Europe Tour, Day 14, From Florence to Pisa to Nice!

Continuing our Europe Trip from 2013, 
Check out the previous adventures below: 

Expat Explore had this to say, "Day 14: Visit Pisa and Nice, Under the Tuscan morning sun, you will depart Montecatini Terme, in search of stunning coastlines, the rich and famous, and a holiday spirit. Your destination?...the French Riviera! However before saying ohh la la to France you will spend some time visiting one of the most iconic landmarks of Italy - the Leaning Tower of Pisa! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the neighbouring cathedral, cemetery and baptistry, this 56m, 840 year old Bell tower draws millions of visitors from all over the globe, namely for one thing...To have their picture taken pretending to push the tower back up! So get creative, get into position - these snaps are always the most memorable. (Make sure you share your favorites on our Facebook page!) After a scenic drive through the last of the Italian countryside, you cross the border into France. Bonjour French Riviera! You have arrived! Having made it to the South of France, you will see one of the most picturesque strips of coast in the world, where the ocean laps the shore, and it’s holiday season all year around. After dinner, why not head into town to join the locals in one of the many bars and restaurants."

We leave the Tuscan region and head to Nice, France! This drive was a long one, but we had a break in Pisa. The tour guide challenged everyone to come up with a more original picture idea other than just trying to push the tower over, I think we did pretty well, yeah?

We hung out here for a couple of hours while our coach driver took his mandatory break. It was a gorgeous day, so some of us were leaning up against the wall or sitting on the grass, eating an over-priced hot dog, and talking about everything we could think of.   I will say this, watch the vendors. We wanted to buy some of our brothers shot glasses, so we picked out cool looking leaning Pisa ones. The guy takes our money, and turns so his back is to us, and "wraps" up our glasses, handing us the bag. We don't think anything of it. Turns out, when we are repacking our bags that night, I looked and instead of the cool leaning ones, he gave us cheap plain ones! I know it was only a couple of dollars, but it burns me up when people do that! We are there, giving you our business when there are about 10 other vendors set up right next to you, and you do this? Bleh! 

We headed out after the break was over, all comparing photos and excited about seeing the French Rivera!  I believe this day, we stopped over at the Fragonard's perfumery for a tour. I thought we would really get to see something, but it was set up a little like a gimmick. We did see a couple of rooms, but no one was working on anything. And after the little spin around the building, they left us to buy perfumes. I have to say, these perfumes were really really good! And of course they had deals where if you buy so many bottles, they are discounted, so a couple of us got together and purchased some. I just  ran out of mine and was a bit sad! Oh well, we will have to go back to France for more! 
Yes, that is a perfumery, on a mountain side, by the ocean. :)

We also passed through Monaco, the smallest little country. The homes were more like castles, and we did see their castle! It was such a beautiful site. They had an optional excursion to go to a casino in Monaco for the night. The Mr. went, I stayed to rest. At this point, I was beyond exhausted and knew that the next day, a free day in Nice, I would want to explore. It's all about knowing your limits here. 

At almost sunset, we finally arrived in Nice. Driving through town was beyond gorgeous. They were setting up for Carnival, so everything was buzzing! The buildings were beautiful, the beach was beautiful, so much history and I couldn't wait to explore this town the following day, when we had a free day!  That night, however, some of the members were going with our tour leader to a casino in Monaco! I stayed back because I knew I wanted to rest for the next day- a free day in Nice! Come back soon to check it out! (Yes, I'm really focused on getting all of the trip down, and we're only about half way!)

What are you guys up to this weekend? Comment below!

Sep 26, 2014

Get your Find Beauty Friday and Faith & Fellowship Link up here

It's Friday! Yay! I'm combining my usual Find Beauty Friday hosted by the gracious Aimee from This Darling Day,  with co-hosting Susannah from Simple Moments Stick for her Faith and Fellowship link up, except I'm going to do it with Prayerful Bloggers! So head on over there as well!  IT's pretty much a party on my blogs today! 

This Darling Day

For my photo, I chose this one. Because, no matter how we feel, seeing beautiful works of art, displaying such a tender moment, humbles me to my core. He did this for US, so that we may be with him in the end. How amazing is that, my friends? It gives me chills each and every time I stop the chaos in my mind and just be still to simmer in that thought, He did this for us. 

Well, I hope you've enjoyed today's post! Please don't forget to link up with both parties! It's fun!

What's everyone up to this weekend? I hope you all are doing Fall-ish sort of activities!

Faith and Fellowship Guidelines

1.  Link up a post (not just the link to your blog) from the week that shares what the Lord's been doing in your life or speaking to you.
2.  Put the button on your blog post or blog so that others can hear about this wonderful group of Godly women.
3.  Visit as many blogs as you're able and get to know your sisters in Christ!
4.  Share this blog hop on social media using #faithandfellowship or pin the button on pinterest.

Simple Moments Stick

Your Host:

Susannah1Susannah from Simple Moments Stick

Meet This Week's Cohost

Jessy from Prayerful Bloggers

A Bit About Prayerful Bloggers: Prayerful Bloggers is a safe place for bloggers to share their joys and concerns with each other and join together in prayer and support of one another.   Any and all bloggers are welcome.  We are all at different places in our spiritual journeys.  Our theologies may be different and that's ok. The main purpose of the group is to show each other love and support in both good and bad times and maybe even grow in our faith together. Won’t you join us?

If you'd like to cohost in the future, please email Susannah at susannah.kellogg (at)

Sep 25, 2014

Learning as we go

(Today's post comes from Dani, a new bloggie friend from Disowned. Please stop by and show her some love! )

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay"
Ruth 1:16

It's been two months this week since I left New York. I had a career that I had built for myself, I had an apartment that felt like home, and I had friends. But I also was a newlywed with an English husband who wanted to visit home. And then wanted us to stay there.

One of the hardest parts for me was letting go of stuff.  Deciding to leave my life behind in America has taught me several really important lessons along the way. First, I don't need stuff. No one needs "stuff". You need to clothe yourself, and maybe you need a few nostalgic momentos. You need a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head (most of the time). I've been a bit of a pack rat, to be honest. I always felt that I needed every little gadget and thing - and a back stock of it - to have a functioning home. But it's ok. I don't have a stash of 8000 types of tea, every tool or gadget imaginable, and piles of clothes that I never wear, and I'm happier this way. Removing the weight of stuff from my life removed a lot of the stress from my life. Waste not, worry not. Something like that.

There were a variety of factors involved in the decision to settle down across the pond; this wasn't some hasty ill-planned (ok, maybe we could have planned a little more) conclusion. For one, we want a family some day. Maybe some day soon. But in NYC, I was the breadwinner, and stopping working for any amount of time just wasn't an option; we'd never be able to support ourselves with such a high cost of living, and my company didn't offer paid maternity leave (most don't). Second, neither of us grew up in cities, so we didn't like the idea of living in one, at least not permanently. Third, and the nail in the coffin, is the difficulty of getting my husband a green card so that he can work. The process can take years, and after hearing horror stories from colleagues and friends - the amount of money it cost, the years without legitimate employment, the heart wrenching interviews where you're accused of having a "false marriage"... time on his temporary visa was running out. We decided to use some cash from our wedding gifts and travel to England to stay with his family and do some traveling as a bit of an "extended honeymoon". I took a leave of absence from my job, and we packed up and waited a month for our lease in Brooklyn to be up.

Then he got a few job offers here. It started looking like staying might be the way to go. I've been enjoying the difference in lifestyle, and the quality over quantity mentality. So I agreed, let's do this. And here we are.

Life is a constant learning process, and this event in our lives has been like a crash course in humility and patience for me. I learned that I can adapt. I can be flexible. I can accept that I'm not in control. I can rely on faith, because I have to now.  When we made "the big decision", I was kicking and screaming and reluctantly agreeing. I didn't want to have to change my whole life. I didn't want to have to learn the ins and outs of a whole new place - that would be way too hard, right?

Taking it out of my control, and putting the future - OUR future as a husband and wife - in God's hands... it was an eye opening necessity to move forward. I had to accept that I was far too weak to do it on my own. Only by giving up control was I able to to release my anger about the whole situation.

That being said, the homesickness (if you want to call it that) is starting to sink in. I'm not sure it's homesickness, though, because I never really called NYC home - at least, that's what I thought.
I miss my family, of course, but I am used to being away from them for extended periods of time, because I've lived hours away in a different city for years.
I do miss knowing  where things are. I miss knowing my way around. Knowing the subway weekend schedule like the back of my hand, and where to get the best bowl of hangover cure noodles in Chinatown.I miss knowing what was coming, what was down the street, how to get where I needed to go.  I miss all the places where I was a regular.  I MISS REAL COFFEE. And I miss my friends.

But I know that at one point in time, I had to build all of those things from scratch, by myself. I moved to New York with an air mattress and a suitcase. Over time, things fall into place. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, as the old saying goes.  So we do what we can, pray when we can, and never forget to be thankful for what we've had, what we don't have (like a cramped apartment in a scary neighborhood), and what we do have - love. 

Sep 24, 2014

European Tour, Day 13 From Rome to Florence and Tuscany

Continuing on our European trip, Can I just say that this is really a trip of a lifetime. If you guys don't do anything else with your life, at least save up and go on a trip like this once. You won't regret a second of it! 

Continuing our Europe Trip from 2013, 
Check out the previous adventures below: 

 This is what Expat Explore had to say, " Day 13: Visit Florence and Tuscany

Today we head straight to the heart of the picturesque Tuscan region, made famous for wine, great food, art, architecture and the birthplace of Renaissance. Your first stop is the romantic city of Florence, where your local Italian guide can’t 
wait to show you around. The Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce Basilica all feature in this guided tour, as well as many other works of art - the street sculptures are amazing! If you have time after the tour, why not visit Michelangelo’s masterpiece sculpture ‘David’, at Galleria dell'Accademia, or wander along the river? Check out the world famous leather markets if you have time! Time to wind down and give yourself a break from the buzz and noise of the big cities - tonight you will head to your accommodation in the beautiful Tuscan hills, where the soft afternoon light which radiates across the land and everyone looks good in a ‘selfie’ at this time of day - is it any wonder this region attracts and inspires so many famous artists? After checking in to your accommodation in the ancient spa town of Montecatini Terme, you can enjoy your dinner before embarking on an evening stroll to relax the mind and explore the town...
Breakfast. Overnight accommodation."

Florence is one of those cities that the beauty is around every comer and steals your heart. The intricate details they put into everything is nothing short of amazing. After the tour around the city, I knew I wanted to see the leather markets! I found that nothing stood out as a I must have it item, but I did want a leather journal for us to write our travels in. Turns out, this trip was more exhausting than we thought, and we didn't get to write in it much. When you have down time on a trip like this, TAKE A NAP! Best advise I could ever give you. I also found a few gorgeous Italian scarves for gifts!
Nothing stands out about the accommodations or the dinner, and the next day we were going to have a semi-long bus travel day headed to Nice with stop overs in Pisa! Check out the beautiful photos!

Stunning, right?
Sep 23, 2014

My new green skin care routine

Have you guys been to Ulta lately? There are soooooooo many products for this and that, it is mind boggling! And I love hearing what actual people like to use. I know there are reviews and commercials for you to check out the products, but I like real opinions.

That's why I wanted to share with you my skin care routine!

Recently, things have been changing and I've been trying to go more ecofriendly/green and really looking at the products I use daily and how many chemicals they have in them. A good website I use is EWG's Skin Deep. You can check just about anything there to see how bad it is for you!

During research, I've found this brand, called Juice Beauty. And no, this is not a sponsored post, it's just something I want to share in case others are wanting to clean up their beauty routine!

I had a coupon for Ulta, so I took off and found they had a Juice Beauty kit there, which is perfect! I wanted to try them, but didn't want to spend a fortune on each individual product. The soap is nice, very clean feeling but doesn't dry out your skin. I find the serum to be a bit heavy and doesn't absorb in right away, so maybe just a nighttime thing, but make sure you will still be up for a while and not rubbing this stuff all over your pillow! The two moisturizers are nice, the one with spf is amazing, but a bit greasy. Over all, I love these and will probably continue to use them until I find something better.

I also found a toner recipe for 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 2 parts Rose water. I think the rose smells a bit strong for me, but you need something strong to deal with the vinegar smell. I only use this a couple times a week because of the vinegar smell. I also recently discovered the Shiseido cotton squares, and the hype is true, these things are the Rolls Royce of cotton squares. Try them, I can't say enough good things about them, you just have to try them! (They are only at Sephora, and online in my area)

This is how it goes,

  • Take my whipped coconut oil I have in a jar, and grab a cotton square, and use these to take off eye makeup.
  • Next, is the Juice beauty soap with my Clarisonic Mia 2. I love the Mia because it has beeps to tell you when to move onto the next section of your face! Mine is the teal and white zebra print! 
  • Then,  follow up with the toner (most days) and then the serum at night and moisturizer. During the morning, I do same routine minus the serum. 

Once a week, I'll have a beauty night where I deep scrub my face with my Mia, then do a Queen Helene Mint Julep mask, and deep scrub again, and then moisturize. I have to say though, part of me thinks it's all crazy, that I will get wrinkles eventually, so why spend the money and time in doing this? The other part is saying do what you can, it makes you feel better to know you are, at least, trying to take care of yourself.

What do you think? Is it worth the time and money to really get into a beauty routine? And if so, what products do you use? Comment below! 
Sep 22, 2014

Grace Upon Grace- The one with the group

Ok, so last Grace Upon Grace link up, I said that I was up late reading Divergent. I am here today, to tell you, that I have finished the series and am STILL so upset! I won't say any more, in case others haven't finished the whole series,  but other than I finished the book days ago and STILL AM UPSET! Anyway, moving on to this week's Grace upon Grace linkup! 

Y'all, I adore this link up! Check out what Jordyn has to say about it, from her blog She Who Fears, " I may be biased but Grace Upon Grace is my fave linkup out of all of the linkups in the land, and since it's that time again, I am really just excited about today. If you haven't been here before, Grace Upon Grace is a linkup that takes place every other Monday where us bloggers come together and share the ways that God is doing big things in our lives. The small community of grateful women that it has created encourages me every single day and I would love for you to be a part this week!" 

She Who Fears || Grace Upon Grace

So, here we go:

+ One: Family. God has been really throwing family all around me, and I am so grateful for that. I know that we don't live in the same town, but through technology, I can chat with them as much as I want, and I love that! I love when I get a random text, or a facetime call so I can get the nieces and nephews all riled up! 

+Two:   Friends. Same applies as point One, I love that I can facetime and text them, and we are always apart of each other's lives. It's amazing! And I'm so grateful that He put such amazing friends in my life. I know I talked here about if your circles friendships are beneficial, but I really think I have my circles sorted out now and I'm happy about it! Also, I love my bloggie friends. Even though we may only connect through our blogs and emails, it still means a lot to me when someone takes the time out of their day to leave a comment or drop me an email. I heart you guys! 

+Three:  So grateful for an open heart. God has shown me exactly what I needed to see lately. A couple weeks ago, I contemplated the direction my blog was heading. I didn't necessarily want to write all faith based posts, because I love arts and crafts too much to stop sharing that type of stuff, but I just was a little restless with the whole thing. I prayed daily for God to just direct me and use me in whatever way he wanted. Then Aimee came to me about leading the Prayerful Bloggers group and it was like, "WHOA, Ok God, I've got this!" type of moments. I just keep praying he gives me the right words and actions for this group of amazing folks! 

+Four:  God's grace shows no bounds when it comes to my Mr. He and I are a bit opposite. While he is very logical and technical, I am a free spirit and shoot from the hip, but we fit perfectly. What I lack, he has, and vice versa. I'm so happy that God threw him in my life! I seriously would not know how to get through the hard days without this man!

Ok, ok, enough mushy stuff! If you haven't checked out our Prayerful Bloggers group, please do so! We are most active on our Facebook page, found here, but I would LOVEEEEEEE for you to sign up on the website as well! I just want to uplift and encourage every single person God has put in my path, and if that means you, then welcome! I can't wait to meet you! And that's all! 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this link up! You guys need to slap down 4 points that God is showing grace to you and link up ASAP! Jordyn keeps this link open for 7 days, so you have 6 more days to post & link up! You won't regret it!

Sep 18, 2014

My Happy List

Do you ever have those days when you are just done. I mean mentally, physically, just down right exhausted. I am starting to have those days more and more often. And when they appear, I can throw my to-do list right out the window because NOTHING is getting done. I call these personal days, and try to fill them with the things I like to lift my spirits.

I've come up with a list of things that make me happy:

When I am physically able to move around:

  • Go to the library, check out new things or just sit down and read.
  • Head out to a candle store, and buy a new candle after smelling every single jar.
  • Take Ginny on a long walk with my ipod going.
  • Just get outdoors! If it's just a balcony day, I'll take it!
  • Make a new recipe, experiment with an old one, just submerse myself into cooking or baking. 

When I'm not wanting to leave the house:

  • Put in my favorite movie and veg out.
  • Grab my favorite book and veg out.
  • Cuddle up with Ginny for a little bible study and journaling.
  • Light every candle in my home.
  • Plan like a mad woman for the next day.
  • Email/Skype/Facetime my family and friends. They are always good at cheering me up!
  • Look at old photos, this one sounds weird, but some of the best years I've ever had was in Hawaii, so I like to flip through them and remember how magical that island was!
Those are just a few. Of course it depends on what I'm feeling at the moment, but they are all guaranteed to lift my spirits! 

What are some ways you lift your spirits on a "Personal Day"?