September 2017 Favs

 

And just like that, another month is over and we are entering a new season. I absolutely love fall. I love boots, scarves, leaves changing, the fact that it’s wine harvest and pumpkins. This month has definitely started to feel chillier and it’s darker outside in the morning and getting darker earlier. And I love it!

Now that it’s October, I thought I would share my favorites from this past month! So, here we go.

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Launching new travel & life abroad pages

Europe Travel Destinations

I have been working on updating my blog and how it’s all organized. This month I finally finished and launched my new travel and life in Germany pages! Now you can see all the posts relating to these topics in one neat, clean place. I’ve organized the travel page by country, so if you’re traveling somewhere or planning a trip, you can easily find what we did, where we ate, etc! And if you’re interested in moving abroad or what life is like in Germany, you can more easily check that out, too. I hope you like it. Leave me a comment if you’d like to see something added to these pages, like post ideas.

Meal planning

I stepped up my game with meal planning and branching out with new recipes this month. I still have a long way to go but I am putting forth the effort to eat healthier (most of the time) and to not waste as much food. I have been using Pinterest to find a lot of recipes and just got some new glass containers (similar here), which make meal planning and prepping more fun!

Reese Witherspoon’s Glamour article

I love Reese Witherspoon and always have. I love her even more now that she’s speaking out on ambition for women and creating a space in Hollywood where powerful women are accepted. What’s not to love about that message?

The Influencer Podcast 

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I am obsessed with this podcast. It’s from Julie Solomon, a famous publicist, who brings together all types of influencers to share their successes and tips on being successful. An influencer is someone who has trust with their audience and can influence purchasing decisions. I am learning so much from the podcast and if you have your own business, blog or just want some life success tips, I definitely recommend it!

A chocolate cappuccino 

A chocolate cappuccino

How good does this look? OMG. I went out for coffee with some friends and I ordered a chocolate cappuccino. It’s exactly like it sounds and was the most delicious thing ever. I will seriously order it again…and again…and again.

Another favorite this month is reading a ton. I shared my latest book reviews a few weeks ago in case you missed it!

September 2017 Favorites, a new podcast, books and meal prep

What are your favorites from September?

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August 2017 Favs

 

 

Another month is coming to an end, what?!, which means it’s time for another favs post! I can’t believe that August is over and kids are going back to school, stores are putting out all the fall clothes and I’m even starting to think about what to get everyone for Christmas! 2017 is going to be over in a blink of an eye.

August was a great month, filled with the most relaxing vacation, some reading and some great buys. I’d love to hear what you are loving in August in the comments section.

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At the end of July, I bought a bluetooth speaker on Amazon and it is ah-mazing. I’ve been wanting for a long time but just couldn’t pull the trigger. This one is compact, light and perfect to have on the balcony, in the kitchen or to bring on a boat, if we had one. I use it daily to listen to some of my favorite podcasts while I cook or for music if we have people over. It’s on the less expensive side as far as speakers go and got great reviews. We use it every single day.

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I love Friends and could quote pretty much every single episode. I swear I’ve seen the series 70 times and it continues to make me laugh. We definitely still binge watch it to this day. I also love reading all sorts of articles about the show, new insider information and silly quizzes on Buzzfeed. An article on Medium  took me by surprise, though. It’s all about how Ross Gellar was the beginning of an anti-intelligence movement. The article explains that Ross is the only one in the group to have PhD, a great job that he’s passionate about and even a job where he can’t get fired, but his friends don’t appreciate any of this. Anytime Ross starts talking about fossils, everyone audibly groans and dismisses anything he says. It’s an interesting perspective but probably a stretch. And Ross is one of my favorites! What do you think?

This month I finished reading Truly, Madly, Guilty summer reading list from my and I have to say, it was disappointing. I had to force myself to finish it because the build-up for the big event was too much. I just started Into the Water and I already like it.

Driving through the Alps

Our drive from Lake Como took us through the Alps via the San Bernadino pass. We stopped, took some pictures and listened to all the cow bells. It was gorgeous. The drive is definitely full of twist and turns and is not for anyone who gets car sick, but it offers some amazing views of the mountains.

We had several barbecues with friends this month and I decided to make some Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies to share. These cookies are the absolute best and I have to make sure I bring them somewhere because if they are around, I will eat five a day.

And, blog announcement! Have you seen the newly organized travel and living in Germany pages? I now made one page with a list of all of my travel posts that is organized by country. I love it! I also made a new living in Germany page with everything about what it’s like to live in Germany on a daily basis, the big ups and downs of being an expat and expat life in general. I’d love for you to check it out!

Also, with all the amazing-ness that August brought, I would like to take a moment to reflect and pray for the victims of all the recent attacks. Attacks in Charlottesville, Spain and Finland have left my heart heavy and wondering how we got here. Love not hate. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of these vicious attacks. And more recently, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. If you would like to help, NPR has a great list. Vinn and I chose to donate to the United Way of Greater Houston

What are your favorites this month? Do you think Ross was bad for intellectuals? 

August Favs, from music, recipes, books & more

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July 2017 Favs

 

Seriously, it’s almost August. I cannot believe it. Pretty soon there’s going to be pumpkins and Santas everywhere. But, for now, I’m enjoying the pleasantly mild weather we’ve been having here in Germany and I’m looking forward to one more long, summer weekend. Since it’s the end of a month, today I am going to share some of my favs from July.

In case you’re new, My Favs is where I share some of my favorite products, new finds that make daily life a little bit better and any fun things I’ve been watching, reading or listening to lately.

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This month I finished reading Lauren Graham’s book from my 7 books to read this summer  list. It was a relatively quick read and is definitely a must-read if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan. I did find the book to be a little boring before getting to the Lorelei Gilmore phase of her life but overall, it makes for a perfect beach read. Now I’m reading Truly Madly Guilty and am having a hard time getting into it. It’s a lot like Big Little Lies in that there are several different characters and you get their perspectives on the same event. I have yet to get to the “big event” or the hook and I’m really looking forward to it. My goal this August is to finish this book and one more, maybe Option B.

We had several vacations this past month, which were amazing. We flew twice with Copley to Nice and Croatia. She does really well on airplanes and I think it’s all thanks to this lavender spray. I spray all over her bag (we use this one and never had a problem with any airline) right before we are about to board and I really believe that it calms her down and makes her feel more safe. The spray is made by the same company that makes Thunder Shirts and is said to mimic the mother’s pheromones, which is why it is relaxing for dogs.

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On the what I’m watching front, Vinn and I totally binge watched Friends from College last week. It’s a Netflix original show with Fred Savage, Colbie Smuders from How I Met Your Mother, and Keegan-Michael Key. The show hasn’t been so well received on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, but we thought it was really funny! It’s about how a group of friends from college all still hang out twenty years later and still haven’t really grown up. They all allegedly went to Harvard, have real jobs and are trying to navigate life as an adult, while still acting like college kids. It’s laugh out loud funny and Fred Savage is my favorite! I wish he was the new host on Live with Kelly.

About three times a week this entire month I ate a snack of a Granny Smith apple with Gruyere cheese. I know I’ve mentioned this many times on the blog already, but it definitely deserves a spot on the monthly favs. I don’t know what it is about this snack that I love so much but I just do. I think it’s because the apple is tart and sweet and then the cheese is so soft. It’s a great snack because it has healthy fat, sugar and protein from the cheese. The one negative is that Gruyere cheese is on the expensive side, so I may have to cut back a little.

bringing your dog to Croatia

And, last but not least, a cute picture of Copley from our trip to Split. I just seriously love this dog with my whole heart. I can’t go too long without a cute puppy picture!

What did you love this July? 

July 2017 Favs

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My Favs {June 2017}

 

Welcome to the all new Friday Favs. I used to post these every Friday but I found that to be a little difficult to find new, exciting things to share each week. I still want to share some of my favorites with you all, so now it’s going to be a monthly series called My Favs.

Each month I will share some of my favorite products, new finds that make daily life a little bit better and any fun things I’ve been watching, reading or listening to lately.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

So, I drink coffee every single day. I just love starting the morning with something warm and delicious. Lately, I’ve been adding vanilla syrup, the same one that Starbucks uses, to my at-home lattes and cappuccinos for a little something extra. It really does taste amazing and I love having something special to make an ordinary day extraordinary. I look forward to it every morning.

With summer here now, it has been hot, hot, hot in Stuttgart lately. There have been several 90 degree days, no air conditioning and sweating bullets. When we went to the tennis tournament a few weeks ago, Vinn and I both got sunburned pretty badly even after several applications of sunscreen. I guess spray sunscreen doesn’t work as well as lotion. I bought this after sun SOS lotion that helped my sunburn heal faster and eliminate any pain. It’s a God send.

This next thing is something that has really helped me sleep lately. Since I graduated college, I’ve had difficulty falling asleep. I think it had to do with living in downtown Chicago and being on my own for the first time. My mind races with random thoughts, ranging from trivial things to the state of the world. Sometimes scary things. It’s awful. I did some research on more natural ways to fall asleep and started taking magnesium pills right before bed. Magnesium is nature’s calming agent and helps reduce anxiety and increase calmness. If it were healthy to take these every thirty minutes, I would probably do it.

We watched an amazing movie this month, Hacksaw Ridge. It is an incredible, based on a true story, movie about a man who joins the Army during World War II but does not hold or carry a gun. Desmond Ross, the main character, is considered a conscientious objector and goes through quite a bit of hazing during his basic training. He signs up to be a medic so he can help save the men who are fighting. Desmond deploys to Okinawa with his troop who must secure the Hacksaw Ridge. During the battle, Desmond saves 75 men ALONE when he stays behind even after his troop has left for camp. The real life Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The movie is beautifully shot, the writing is spectacular and is directed by Mel Gibson. It was nominated for an Oscar and I highly recommend it. It restores your faith in humanity.

The final fav for this installment is Stroopwaffles! These amazing, caramel filled waffles are from the Netherlands and are perfect to eat along with your morning coffee. Actually, they are best when you put them on top of your coffee mug to warm them up and melt the caramel filling. These little waffle cookies started in the late 18th Century or early 19th Century, we aren’t really sure, after a baker decided to make something with the leftovers. If you ever visit the Amsterdam airport, there are everywhere. If you just want to try some at home, I found some Amazon here. I definitely will be ordering these!

That will do it for today. What have you been loving lately?

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Friday Favs {June 2}

TGIF. TGIF. I woke up yesterday (Thursday) thinking it was Friday. I hate when that happens. But, today is Friday and I am super excited about this weekend. We are having dinner out tonight with our friends who watched Copley while we were in the States to say thank you, having some other friends over for dinner on Saturday, hopefully playing some tennis and just relaxing. It’s a three day weekend here in Germany, so we have a long weekend ahead of us. With all the traveling we’ve been doing, I could use a weekend to recoup and relax.

But before we get into the weekend, I thought I’d share my Friday Favs for this past, super hot week. Oh yes, did I mention that it was 90 degrees one day this week….and there’s no A/C anywhere? Yes, it’s been a hot one.

 

Another cool Alps picture 

 

cute_dog_swiss_alps

 

While I was editing pictures from our Milan trip (part 1 and 2), I forgot about this picture Vinn snapped during a pull off spot in the Alps. This is the face Copley makes all.the.time and I am so glad he captured it. I don’t know what it is about this picture specifically, I think it just shows how much I love her. I also love the juxtaposition of my sleeveless shirt and the snowy mountains.

 

Duolingo

 

duolingo_language

 

I’ve had friends tell me how great Duolingo is for learning a language and I never really thought to try it. Then one day last week I was bored with my German homework and decided to just give it a try.

Well, I love it! Number one: it’s free! Huge bonus. Number two: there’s a website and an app so you can learn from anywhere. I am having fun testing my German knowledge and practicing the grammar and words I already know.

Duolingo says it only takes 5 – 10 minutes of their lessons per day to learn a language. I’m coupling this new site with all my other practices to learning German so that I can continue learning and hopefully be more confident in my skills. I love that there is a percentage of how fluent you are in German at the top. Currently it says I am 24% fluent and that’s from three days. I was able to test out of a lot, too.

If you’re interested in learning a language, I would definitely check out Duolingo. It’s free, so why not! There are a lot of languages too, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Swedish, Turkish and more.

 

Vacation planning

 

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I know I say this in half of my Friday Favs, but I am super looking forward to our upcoming trips. The above picture is in Split, Croatia and we are going there in July with my sister and her boyfriend. I am so excited to see this water. And maybe go snorkeling!

We are also going to Champagne, France and the Nice, France with one of my best friends from high school and her husband in June so that one is coming up fast. I am having so much fun researching things to do there and places to visit. It’s going to be one busy summer!

What trips are you planning this summer?

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