Ringing in the New Year in Nashville

 

On this third day of 2018, I am settling into the new year and digging into goal setting and trying to stop eating all the Reese’s trees. Why are those so much better than regular ones? Ugh.

But before we dig into what I want to get out of 2018, I thought I would share how we rung in the New Year in Nashville with my family because it was just so much fun!

A few months ago, my mom texted me to see if we would want to go to Nashville for a Jimmy Buffett concert over New Year’s Eve. Without hesitation, we said yes!! My dad is quite possibly the biggest Parrot Head in the world and has been to concerts since before I was born. In fact, this concert was his 40th year in a row he has been to a Jimmy Buffett concert! Some of the songs were his lullabies for me and my sister when we were babies, so the songs have such a special meaning for me.

We rented a house in East Nashville that turned out to be perfect. The area of Nashville is up and coming so there isn’t too much within walking distance, but it’s about a 3 minute drive from downtown Nashville. We stayed at this house in case you ever visit Nashville. It would make a great place for groups of people or families who want to have a home base in Music City.

After a Chinese dinner, we made our way to Bridgestone Arena to stand out in the freezing cold (I think it was 14 degrees!) to wait to get in. It was freezing. I thought my sister was going to just call an Uber and head home because it was so cold! But once we made it inside, we found our seats and drank some Landshark!

NYE 2018

Our seats were in the upper balcony but we had the first row, which turned out to be great. Huey Lewis and the News opened and was pretty good. I didn’t really know many of the songs but it was cool to see the crowd go wild for him.

And then, the main event, Jimmy Buffett came on stage. He played all the classics and my favorite is always, “Fins” because everyone in the crowd throws their hands in the air like shark fins.

2018 New Years Eve

There was a countdown on the projector for midnight and when there was about 4 minutes left, Jimmy started playing, “Margaritaville.” It was the perfect song to ring in the new year and the crowd went wild. Then balloons came falling down from the ceiling!

New Years Eve 2018

If you’ve never been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t know many of the songs, it is so much fun. I highly recommend going in the summer, though, because the tailgates are out of control. My aunt and uncle actually got Vinn some pretty amazing seats to a Buffett concert in Chicago for a college graduation gift and we have the best time tailgating and seeing everyone else’s games.

Here’s a picture of my dad so happy after his 40th year in a row:

New Years Eve Nashville 2018

Doesn’t he look so happy? He’s so happy when he’s listening to Buffett.

Overall, the concert was great and was such a cool way to ring in the new year. We came back  to our house and sipped on champagne before passing out 2 AM.

How’d you spend New Year’s Eve?

Jimmy Buffett NYE Concert in Nashville 2018

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Why Ornaments Are the Best Souvenirs

 

Whenever we travel, I always love to buy some kind of souvenir. I mean, who doesn’t? Sometimes I buy clothes or a scarf but 9 times out of 10, I come home with an ornament! The reason: it’s a reminder during the holiday season of our past adventures, are quite pretty and make decorating the tree an affair filled with laughter from our memories.

Why an ornament? I don’t really know but Christmas time has always been one of my favorite times of year from the decorations to the gatherings to the food. Plus, every year my Mima would gift all of her grandchildren an ornament to commemorate the year. I have over 25 from her and can’t wait to steal them back from my mom!

For Vinn and me, I started buying an ornament over our honeymoon. I got a cute one with two beach chairs that said honeymoon and Aruba on it. Ever since, I search for a cute, different and meaningful ornament everywhere we go.

With all of our travels the past two years, we’ve certainly collected some great ornaments along the way. I loved pulling out each ornament this year and thinking back to our time in that city. Here are some of my favorites:

Ornaments make the best souvenirs

This is a fun one from our trip to Dublin. And what is Dublin without a trip to Guinness? I saw this ornament in the gift shop of the tour and knew we had to get it! I love that it’s red and has the toucan. Plus, it has polka dots!!

Why ornaments make the best souviners

“I love this one because it’s blue. It’s really rare to have a blue ornament,” says Charlotte York from Sex and the City. Our trip to Croatia with my sister and her boyfriend was one of my favorites from 2017 and I love that this ornament is a reminder of that trip, especially of the most beautiful scenery ever!

Why ornaments make the best souviners

The orange one is seriously my favorite ornament. I love the shape of it, it’s so different and magical! I bought it from a Murano glass store in Venice and is so beautiful. I love the color and the design. I loved that trip so much because Vinn planned it to celebrate my birthday, so this one has extremely meaningful memories!

Why ornaments make the best souvenirs

And this final one is from our most recent trip to Florence. I love the color and that it’s a beautiful drawing of the famous Duomo. It’s a great reminder of all the fun we had with friends in the iconic Italian city.

These ornaments make the Christmas tree even more fabulous and I just love staring at it all day and remembering all of our fantastic vacations!

Why ornaments make the best travel souvenirs

What’s your favorite souvenir to buy?  What’s your favorite ornament?

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Why Germany is Magical at Christmas Time

 

Christmas is right around the corner and I am in the holiday spirit full force. Our tree has been up for weeks and I am all about Christmas music, parties and, most importantly, Christmas markets.

I’ve always loved Christmas, probably because my mom goes insane on the holiday decorations, like a tree in every room insane. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I see her house. But then I moved to Germany and the Christmas celebrations skyrocketed. I will say one thing, Germany is absolutely magical at Christmas time is, in my humble opinion, the best place in Europe to celebrate the holidays.

And what better to show you how truly amazing Christmas is than with a photos from around Germany that highlight the holiday season.

Christmas Pyramid in Heidelberg, Germany & Other Places Germany is the best place to be for Christmas

 

Why Germany is the place to celebrate Christmas

 

Germany Christmas Markets are so Magical

 

Christmas Markets are so magical in Germany

 

Christmas Markets in Germany are the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season

 

Most of these pictures are from Christmas Markets because there is nothing like a German Christmas Market. Every city, big and small, has some sort of Christmas market or at the very least a weekend with a market.

What is a Christmas Market, you may ask? A city takes a main square and the surrounding streets, puts up stands, sells glühwein (hot, mulled wine), trinkets, gifts and lots of food, and everyone stands around eating and drinking and being merry. There’s always sausage sandwiches and crepes with Nutella.

The streets of our city are covered in Christmas decorations and the atmosphere is so happy. I swear, Germans are the happiest this time of year. People are holding doors for others, not pushing as much, and very much enjoying the Christmas spirit.

If you add snow to the mix, there’s just nothing like it. It’s like being in a Hallmark Christmas movie minus the terrible acting. I hope I’ve convinced you to visit Germany over Christmas because there is just nothing like it.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holidays?

 

Why Germany is the best place in Europe to celebrate Christmas

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Gift Guide for Babies

 

This past year, 6 of my friends have had babies. Five friends from home, my three best friends from high school and two from college and then one friend here in Germany. Needless to say, I have been buying my fair share of congratulatory baby gifts and gifts for baby showers.

I love looking and buying gifts for babies, especially because I’m have yet to experience having a baby of my own and because everything is just so darn cute! It’s actually pretty difficult to buy baby gifts if you haven’t had a baby, so I thought I’d share some of the gifts I’ve purchased for my friends and other top ideas if you’re stuck on what to get and want to get something that isn’t on the registry.

*This post contains some affiliate links.*

Baby Gift Guide, Holiday or Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Freshly Picked Moccasins // Everyone I know that has a baby is obsessed with these cute little booties. Freshly Picked moccasins come in so many colors and designs that it’s hard to choose, actually! I’ve heard that these are great for babies and toddlers because they stay on the baby’s feet.

Honest Bundles // For several friends, I’ve given the starter bundle from The Honest Company. They offer a monthly supply of diapers and wipes with the cutest design ever! Who knew baby diapers could be cute? The bundles come in a variety of prices and monthly basis, ranging from one month to a year. I’ve only done the one month bundle, but how awesome would it be to give a gift of one year of diapers?!

Pretzel Rattle // Toys are difficult to buy because they are usually bulky and you never know what the mama-to-be has already received. I usually error on the side of caution and get a small toy like a rattle. I bought a friend a pretzel rattle because it’s cute and it can serve as a reminder of the baby’s aunt & uncle in Germany!! I bought it at a little boutique in Stuttgart but found this one online and think it is just darling.

Bibs // These are an incredibly easy gift and make a great addition to a larger gift and these will get daily use. These on Amazon have great reviews and are dishwasher friendly.

Stuffed Animals //  My sister and I had so many stuffed animals growing up and I still remember many of them! I especially love this blue bunny. <— If you’re a Housewives fan, you might recognize it!

Hooded Towel // I mean is there anything cuter than a post-bath baby wearing an animal hooded towel? The answer, no. I am obsessed with this little lamb towel.

If you’re a mom, what’s the best gift you’ve received? If you’re not, what are your go-to places to shop?

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Nuremberg Christmas Market

 

After our relaxing Saturday spent at home on the couch, we drove about two hours to Nuremberg for the Christmas market or Christkindlmarkt! We wanted to visit Nuremberg’s Christmas Market because it is undoubtedly the most famous in Germany and gets about 2 million visitors per year. Historians also believe that this is the oldest market that started in the 1600’s.

We arrived around 2 PM, checked into our hotel and immediately headed off to the market. It was snowing like crazy and poor Copley was not feeling it. She was wearing a Christmas sweater but she will not wear little booties, even though we’ve tried. So, after about an hour, we headed back to the hotel and dropped her off so she could be warm & snooze.

Nuremberg, Germany

The city is on the water and has beautiful bridges everywhere. I love that in this photo you can see the snowflakes and the Christmas decorations across the way. There’s just something about Christmas that is so peaceful and perfect.

Going to the Nuremberg Christmas Market

Despite the weather, it was quite crowded with people all bundled up and using umbrellas against the snow. But that’s nothing a little warm, mulled wine (or glühwein, as it’s called in German) can’t fix. I’m actually not a huge fan of the drink because why mess up delicious wine, but I can always manage to find some Bailey’s and hot chocolate.

Nuremberg is known for lebkuchen or gingerbread cookies and Nuremberger Wurst, which are three small sausages in one roll. And, oh man, are both absolutely delicious! I have to say that the wurst sandwiches were the best I’ve ever had and would want to go back just to eat those again. And there are stands and stands and stands full of cookies and decorated hearts and just as many serving wurst. It is a sight to see and one that I absolutely love.

The market itself is mostly in the main square and then also on the surrounding streets. If you have small children, Nuremberg would make a fantastic choice because there is a children’s specific Christmas market with rides, stands selling toys and delicious treats!

Cute dog goes to the Nuremberg Christmas Market

One of my favorite parts was going to the top of Church of Our Lady, which you see in the background. The church is Catholic and was built in the 14th Century. I love the Gothic structure, as well.  The top of the church has two small platforms for people and you just have the most magical view of the market.

View of the Nuremberg Christmas Market

I mean, isn’t that view amazing?! Look at all the stands, all the lights, all the snow. In the middle of everything there’s a manager on display to add even more greatness to the market. Germans certainly know how to celebrate Christmas!

Top of the Nuremberg Church at the Christmas Market

Drinking Gluhwein at a Christmas Market is a German Tradition

A fun portion of the market is a small area dedicated to the sister cities of Nuremberg, included Atlanta, Georgia! The cities have stands and sell items specific to them. The Atlanta stand had Swiss Miss hot chocolate, Reese’s, Hershey’s and Coca-Cola ornaments. There were stands from Cordoba, Glasglow and Venice. It was neat to see all those cities in one place with their famous food and goods.

And while you’re enjoying the Nuremberg Christmas Market, you should definitely make your way to the Nuremberg Castle. It’s a 6 minute walk and offers you a spectacular view of the city. The castle itself isn’t too exciting but climbing to the top during the snow is just spectacular.

View of Nuremberg from the Castle

And they even had a Christmas tree up!

Nuremberg Castle at Christmas is beautiful

Snow in Nuremberg

All in all, our time spent in Nuremberg was just wonderful. It definitely made it feel like Christmas with all the snow and the market. It is a beautiful city with a spectacular Christmas Market. We heard a lot of English, actually, and would make a great destination during a tour of Germany and should not be missed around the holidays.

Christmas Markets are a German tradition and Nuremberg offers the most famous and oldest in the country!

 

What It's Like to Visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holiday season?

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