Blogger Bombardment: August 9

It seems I’m not the only person in the blogosphere who loves a bunch of links to click on and read! After last week’s post, I’ve decided to bring you some more links for this Friday. Some of them are old and recently discovered, and others are new!

The UNESCO Hunt: 1-10 (via Adventurous Kate): I am absolutely in love with this blog! And the idea for visiting a ton of UNESCO sites is awesome to me.

Picnic at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (via Ifs, Ands, & Butts): Just discovered this girl’s blog yesterday and I can’t get enough. Picnic + Ireland? Yes. Please.

Great White Sharks, Guitars and Gettin’ Down, Down Under (via The Planet D): In honor of Shark Week finishing up, why don’t you head over here and see how adventurous Dave and Deb are?

Visit Brindisi Italy (via Young Adventuress): Another blogger that I love, writing about a country that I love. What more could you ask for?

My Train Derailed in the Northern Thai Jungle (via That Backpacker): My friend was also just in Thailand and just missed a crash. This is a story that needs to be heard!

Confessions of a First Time Solo Traveler (via Ways of Wanderers): This is an old post, but an awesome read! As someone who wants to get in to solo travel, I found it very enlightening.

Vital Reminders for Writers (via The Conversationalist): Excellent quotes to take a look at.

How Funny Tweets Win You New Customers (via Fast Company): It turns out, people on Twitter really do love humor!

Do What You Love and Get Paid for It: The Missing Link (via The Middle Finger Project): SO GLAD I found this project this week. Love the attitude and the life/business lessons. You should definitely check it out!

Photography Tips, Part 1 (via Postcards from Rachel): I’ve been trying to find ways to improve my photography to improve my blog. This is a great list of tips, especially if you can’t afford a DSLR yet and most tip posts go over your budget head.

That Sponsorship Thing That Nobody Gets (via Kisses and Croissants): Just discovered this blog and knew it was love. I’m really thinking about sponsorship (as soon as I transfer over my blog) and so this was a great guide!

How Beer & Coffee Affect Your Brain (via LifeHack): An interesting infographic that explains it all. In moderation, mind you!

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do (via Elite Daily): Everyone wants to be happy, but what don’t you have to do to get there?

Why I Wake Up Early and 3 Reasons You Should Too (via Julia Boorsten on LinkedIn): I always have wanted to be an early riser, and this article might be the inspiration I needed to get there!

16 (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks for Summer! (via A Beautiful Mess): Sometimes, you just can’t afford the alcohol. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Some of these sound seriously delicious!!

No Technology Weekend (via Lost in Travels): As a treat to your weekend, read this post!

How to Be Confident (via Prolific Living): Another great site that I found this week! I definitely need to work on my confidence, so if you’re like me…this is a must read.

As usual, let me know if there are any awesome links I missed this week!


How to Properly Do A Beach Trip

First, an update on some Adventure Year news! I know you’re all hanging on my every word and waiting desperately to see when the next post comes out, don’t lie to me. Well, I’ll tell you that as I transition back into my activities for the Fall, I’ll be posting on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. So no more 5 posts a week for you. We can mourn together. ๐Ÿ˜‰

August may not feel so much like August anymore up/over/down in Pennsylvania, but I am not one to let a summer month go to waste. Going to the beach is one of my favorite summertime activities, if not my favorite. But I didn’t actually go to the beach, even though it’s a mere two hours from my hometown, until my freshman year of college. I had no clue how to do it. Well, now I’ve been around the block a time or two and I’ve got some tips to make the most of your beach trip before the summer weather totally escapes us!

What to eat on the beach is a big tip that I, for one, had no clue about. Firstly, if you’re going to any beach on the Jersey Shore, do yourself a favor and get a Hoagiefest Hoagie from Wawa. It’s just a thing. If you’re like me and are broke and don’t want all fried food you never want to leave the beach, spring for a cooler. Some awesome things to put in there: fruit (cherries are awesome!), hummus and carrots, and sandwiches. All super light, so they don’t make you feel gross in the sun! If you want dessert, bring Double Stuf Oreos and leave them in the sun all day. Just do it.

I think the West Coast has it right here, but in New Jersey at least, you might have to pay to go to the beach. It’s usually around $8 during the high season. There are ways around it and not all beaches monitor so closely. But just be aware!

If you’re not a big “sit and do nothing-er” on the beach, do not despair! Go to a beach with a boardwalk, bring a good book, throw a football or a frisbee around, build a sand castle, or swim. The options are really endless!


You can take pictures of your athletic ability, even!

If you want the quintessential lifeguard stand photo, you have to wait until they actually leave. For some reason, when I first went, I could NOT figure out how people accomplished this. Well, little did I know, lifeguards tend to leave around 5/5:30. If they leave their chairs up, bam. Mission accomplished. Could anybody else in the world figure this out? Probably. But it’s not something I thought about!

Lifeguard Stand

We will save you, for sure.

Speaking of quintessential, if you want to see that ever-popular sunrise you’re gonna have to wake up for it. But it’s so worth it. The beach will usually just be cleaned and, chances are, not many people will be out. Some fishermen and other sunrise junkies like yourself will be around, but it’s such a peaceful thing. You’ve gotta try it at least once! Check your weather channel/their website for sunrise times and head out 20 minutes early or so.

Jersey Shore Sunrise

All you West Coasters, you’re gonna have a sunset picture instead!

Please, for the love of anything you believe in, use sunscreen and drink water. A bottle of sunscreen split between two people, should actually be gone in a day if you apply it correctly. No more of these tiny dabs here and there. Please, use it! And if you want to stay hydrated at all, drink that water. I suggest throwing them in the freezer overnight and using an insulated one if you have one. If you don’t want to be trashed after a beer with dinner, DRINK UP.

If you can, find somewhere that you can eat outside. One of the things I love most about the beach is the air. And after a long day of swimming and beaching, I love eating outside as well. If you’re staying at a home, shower before you eat, throw on a dress, and don’t blow dry your hair. That’s especially when I love the ocean air!

Last but not least, ENJOY the beach! Enjoy your time (safely!) out in the sunshine and soak up that relaxed ocean vibe as much as you can. Before you know it, you’ll be back to that stupid “real world” dreaming about the days you spent at the beach.

Handstands on the beach are fun!

Do you have any beach going tips? What’s your favorite beach to go to?

Book Shelf: Eat, Pray, Love

I’ve found that if you mention, even think perhaps, the words “Eat, Pray, Love,” somebody in the vicinity will have something to say about it. I remember reading the book when it just got big and totally connecting with the fact that I wanted to learn Italian. I think I may have just barely been in highschool, though, so most everything else I didn’t care so much about. Well, I’ve been on this travel reading kick lately and I knew I had to go back and read it.

Eat Pray Love Book

Synopsis from Goodreads: “In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”


It’s another ’round the world trip, you see, so maybe I wanted to be inspired. The first few chapters, I was not having it. I’ve never been through a divorce, so what do I know about how much you should cry/how much you talk about finances/etc? But I think, just maybe, if that whole chunk was shortened a little bit I would like this book a whole lot more! Approximately half of the section that was supposed to be about Italy was spent crying on the bathroom floor. Let’s throw that in a preface and spend more time with the Italians and the eating, si?

Italian Man

Gianni! An Italian man in the flesh. Well. Pixels.


Skipping ahead to India, because that seems to be the trend, we find ourselves in an ashram. We meet an awesome guy named Richard who calls Liz “Groceries” and helps her find her way to enlightenment. First of all, I wish a had a Richard around, spouting gems of wisdom at every turn. Good deal! Secondly, I know a lot of people who really embrace meditation and have had such success with it. I am not one of those people. I understand the concept of wanting to find that enlightenment, but I just can’t actually wrap my brain around the process. This whole section seems to be about inner demons and that elusive enlightenment to send them away. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she finds it in four months. On a rooftop, nonetheless!


We enter the Bali section when Liz is finding her way to a medicine man’s abode. She met him long ago and he said she would return. He’s wonderful. Then a bit later, she meets another woman who is a healer. Liz then spends most of her time with this woman. This woman is also awesome to read about! She goes to a party and meets the man of her dreams. My goodness. I got to this part and this roller coaster of “Love, Hate, Love” took a nose-dive. OF COURSE she would achieve enlightenment and then find the man of her dreams in Bali. Because on a journey to find yourself, it’s gotta end like a fairy tale, am I right? Yikes.

Thing 1 & 2

Does it mean I’ve found myself and achieved bliss, now that we have these shirts?

Negatives aside, what did I like? The characters she meets along the journey are all people that I would like to get to know! Also, visiting Indonesia/Bali is something that I’d really consider. Gilbert does have a way of describing people and scenery and I really enjoyed that. Really, that’s what I was after in the first place. Technically, then, I’ve achieved my reading goal. It’s wonderful that she was able to write a memoir and have (most) people respond so well to it.

Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars

I just cannot get out of this three star rut. I hear that she has a follow-up book to this called Committed. I might have to take a breather before I read that one, though! Somebody, please recommend a travel book to me! Maybe one that will give me a four star feeling? ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you read/seen Eat, Pray, Love? Which camp do you fall into?

Which of Liz’s destinations would you most like to visit?

Traveling When Sick

Let’s talk getting sick. I’ve got a headache that I wake up with every day. Then it pops up periodically throughout the hours that I’m awake. This weekend, I took off from work and headed down to the beach with Paul and some friends. Super awesome, except for I spent half of Saturday not being my normal beach-going self. I was huddled in a towel and shivering all day. So it was super awesome.


Still smiling, because it’s the beach.

When you’ve planned a trip, whether it be an hour outside of town or halfway around the world, it can really suck to get sick. And if your immune system is anything like mine, you’ve been there before. So what are you supposed to do about it?

I should note that I’m not talking about a hospital matter sickness. I’m talking about those bugs that slow you down, but aren’t going to kill you. I’m less than 0% experienced about or authorized to talk about any other sort of sick!

First step: breathe. Life happens. There’s no use working yourself up about it. Chances are, doing any sort of panicking about how you’re “wasting a day” (or more!) is not going to make you feel any better. Start to focus on getting yourself better. If you’ve got a travel partner, don’t leave them hanging in the dark. Let them know so that they can help you! If you’re going it alone, you’ve got to learn to listen to yourself, so at least there’s a lesson in all of this?

Don’t worry about not getting to see all of the sights. I got a major head cold/sinus infection when I was headed to Dublin in my last couple of weeks of study abroad. Paul and I had all of these fun things we wanted to do, but I was seriously struggling to keep up. It was not helping my body or my mental state. No fun all around. So we saidย  ‘screw it’ and went to see a movie. Yup. We saw Arthur Christmas one night in Dublin instead of going all-out Irish. And I don’t regret it at all.

Arthur Christmas

Technically this sign was in London. But work with me.

This may be more of a public service announcement, but be mindful of other people around you. The last thing you want is to have people coming up to you next week scorning you for getting them sick. I will be the first to admit that when I’m sick, I don’t give two patooties about anything but feeling better. But for all of us, use those hygiene skills I hope know we all have. At least have some hand sanitizer.

I know this might be unavoidable, but don’t fly if you don’t have to. This is not for the other people around you, so much as for yourself. I’ve been next to somebody that pukes on the plane. It wasn’t fun for me, but it sure wasn’t fun for her. That head cold I told you about? Well, let’s just say my already less-than-ideal Aer Lingus flight turned into a painful explosion of ouch centrally located in my head when we landed.

I can’t look at this without feeling pain.

In conclusion, SLOW DOWN. It’ll help your body get to healing lickety-split and not completely wear you out. Nobody wants that!

Do you have any tips for when you get a bug while you’re traveling?

Blogger Bombardment: August 2

One of the great things about being a blogger is that you get to read other bloggers. I guess technically you don’t have to be a blogger to do that, but I feel you get more invested when you’ve got a baby of your own. Paul is so lucky to have me because usually I’ll bombard him with about 12 send him a link a day about something awesome I’ve found.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your own blogger bombardment! Is that too obnoxious of a title? I might keep it. It’s pretty nice alliteration, you must admit! Give me your thoughts. I can’t be the only one that finds these posts and gets insanely click happy…right?

Travel Links

Eight Alternative Theme Parks of the World (via Lonely Planet): Who’s not a big theme park fan, I ask you?

Why I Love A Traveling Girl (via 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die): Probably my favorite that I sent Paul. Clearly showing him that he should still love me.

Why I Want to Move to Carmel by the Sea, California (via A Passion & A Passport): I exclaimed “I NEED TO GET RICH BECAUSE SEA OTTERS!” when I told somebody about this.

My Favorite Beaches After Two Years of Travel (via Never Ending Footsteps): Beach lady for sure, over here.

Put-In-Bay: Wait, This Place is in Ohio? (via A Dangerous Business): Totally doable on a trip to the big Cedar Point. This baby has GOT to happen.

Blogging & Business

10 Tips to Help You Find Work Abroad (via Wild Junket Magazine): Okay I guess technically this can be lumped into travel. But I’m not doing it.

10 of the Most Inspiring Websites for Digital Nomads (via The Barefoot Nomad): Some serious inspiration here!

Qualifications (via The Art of Non-Conformity): This one is big on my mind right now as I struggle to complete my fifth year of schooling.

58 Ways to Get Notices as a New Blogger (via Blog World): Some great tips to look at!

Blog School Scholarships (via The Blog Genie): …and my entry! Seriously, if you want to build your blog, check this page out!

Health & Happiness

Happiness is Not Something Ready Made (via Olive to Run): If you only check out one of my links today, make it this one. I believe I said “it made my heart soar.” And I meant it.

The 7 Chakras (via Love Life Surf): Ever wondered about the 7 Chakras? I fully trust Christine to educate you.

10 Things Fit People Do…So Copy Them (via Lifting Revolution): Taylor is a marvelous fit person, so you may want to listen. ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to Say NO With Love (via Heather Waxman): I’m awful at saying no, with or without love. Excellent post!

Ironman Lake Placid Recap (via NYC Running Mama): Is it normal to want to cry at the end of somebody else’s Ironman racap? AMAZING woman.

As they say, that’s a wrap! Anything you’ve got to add to the list this week?

Book Shelf: The Lost Girls

I don’t just read about travel. I read about everything under the sun, and I like it that way! But because this is steering more in the direction of “travel blog,” I try to keep my book posts at least somewhat travel related. For this book, I don’t think I could have gotten more travel-related. Enter The Lost Girls, by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner. That’s right, there’s an Amanda.

The Lost Girls

The tagline reads: Three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world. Basically, all three of the girls are nearing that ancient age of 28 and are feeling smothered by the working/getting married world of New York City. So they decide to go around the world for one year with each other and actually follow through on it. Definitely different from my last book, I was excited to follow their journeys and get a heavy dose of wanderlust.

It’s a sizable book (542 pages). What else would you expect from a year memoir from three different girls? That didn’t bother me at all. More travel reading for me, right? The three go through their ups and downs and discover how to travel with each other. Learning how to balance work and play is a big one, as is learning how to handle a long distance relationship. These two things totally resonated with me because I love looking at relationships between people and I’ll be doing the long distance situation in the coming years.

Eiffel Tower

Heee’s gonna be jeaaaalous. At least he got to go to Paris!

The writing in the book was decent! They had all worked in writing one way or another, so it seemed they had a handle on that. I easily read it in not too much time. One thing that I didn’t like so much is how it all sounded like one person. Each chapter was from a different girl’s perspective, but it all sounded and looked the same. Remember, this is a long book…so that got a tad old and dragging. What happened to the days of names and voices differing, a la Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Sisterhood Traveling Pants

Yup, I read it before the movie took over the cover.

One final thing: that wanderlust I was yakking on about? I actually didn’t find it in this book, which completely surprises me. There is a period of time that they are volunteering with young girls, and that is the only time I felt an urge of, “I would like to do that!” I’m not sure if it’s because it didn’t focus so much on the place as it did their thoughts and feelings, or what. Perhaps it was because they sped through a lot of destinations and left out some (what I think would be) awesome parts of travel. It was a whirlwind and after I finished reading, I didn’t feel like I had traveled anywhere with them. That bummed me out!

Even though I wasn’t completely satisfied with the read, it definitely got me excited about taking a journey similar to this myself. Maybe I won’t write a book, but I blog for a reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In this case, I would have much rather read a blog about the places they went. They started a blog too, though, so I’ll have to do some poking around!

Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars

Honestly, maybe I was too excited to read this and put it on too high of a pedestal. It just didn’t hit the travel mark for me, and that’s all I wanted!

Have you ever read The Lost Girls? How do you feel about reading travel books? Sometimes I think I might expect beautiful blog posts with gorgeous pictures. Maybe my imagination is the problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Money Woes: Starting A Travel Budget

If you ask me what my most talked about subject was, it would probably be how money is stressing me out. I am my father’s daughter, and I’m a money worrier for sure. It’s not difficult to see why with how much tuition and general living expenses in Philadelphia are. But it would be nice to not worry about it so often!

High School Grad

High school graduation. We’re probably thinking about money. ๐Ÿ˜‰

One thing that’s made my worry a lot better recently is having a travel budget. I’ve had a budget before, but I was just saving for the all-elusive “someday” when I would need a big chunk of change. As with most things in life, having an end goal is super helpful. And if I want to enjoy all of these travel plans brewing in my brain, whether they’re near or far, I’m gonna need some moolah to get it done.

The question then came up of how to actually get money in there. There are many travel budgeting posts out there (this one from Kate was one I found to be very realistic!), but not all of them applied to me! Many, many, many of them mentioned selling possessions on eBay or selling your car. But what if you don’t have nice things to sell to cushion your savings fund in the first place?

Rome Biking Sunset

My preferred mode of transportation. If only it were always at sunset in Rome.

I’m going to share some things that I’m doing to try to save money. I’m not going to break it down by specific expenses (yet!), because technically I don’t know if I’ve been successful or not yet! Keep in mind, I don’t have kids or anything. I also rent an apartment and don’t own. I don’t have a car. Etc. Etc. I’m already budgeting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Break it down. The first thing you have to do is to actually get a handle on where your spending is going. Excel spreadsheets are my boyfriend’s favorite things in the whole world, but they don’t really do it for me. I use and all of their apps to keep track of what my money is going to and then adjust a monthly budget off of that.

Perfect the art of income. I totally TOTALLY understand that the job market sucks. I worked a very minimum wage job serving various forms of frozen treats for a few years. Sometimes, the income just isn’t as great as you want it to be! If you want something badly enough, you’ve got to take something out there. I’m lucky now to have a job that I love that gets me by! But it wasn’t enough. I got chosen for a peer teaching job at school that will give me a little extra dough. I recently begged asked Kristen how to jump into the art of freelancing. Sometimes, you have to be overworked get creative.

Manage those paychecks. I pay for rent/utilities by taking half out of two separate paychecks. I pay off my credit card balance (hello groceries) or any loan payments as well. Then I move it ALL into my travel fund, saving $300 for emergencies (that I’m considering moving back down) in my checking account. If I don’t think I have it, I don’t spend it. Boom.

Don’t pay for something you can do yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard, “Don’t eat out. EVER!” Well…been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I am a huge fitness junkie. I refuse to pay for a gym when I can get creative and workout at home or at school/work. I run because it’s fairly cheap (and I like it, yada yada yada)! Sometimes I splurge on races, but I’m trying to cut that down. I’m also a book lover. Goodbye Barnes & Noble and helloooo Public Library. I don’t even buy books for school anymore. Even this blog is an example. Sure, I’d love to be self hosted and have a designer do all of my work for me. But I’m sure trying my hardest to get it done myself so it’s cheaper!

Don’t ever shop at Whole Foods. Seriously, though. It’s the closest grocery store to my house, but I refuse to do my shopping there anymore. I’ve got a friend at work who orders all of her bulk stuff off of Target’s website and/or Amazon and she saves a TON! Highly considering that! I also buy my produce locally, which really helps me out.

Look for discounts. I don’t care if you aren’t a student anymore. If you’ve got a student ID that looks vaguely like you with no expiration date, USE THAT SUCKER. Coupons/special promotion codes are also a big help. Just make sure the place you shop accepts them (see above)!

Wait to buy big travel items. I’m not talking about airline tickets or anything, because I am NOT well versed in that yet. But I’m talking about a camera, a backpack, clothes, etc. Black Friday and huge ginormous end-of-season sales will be around eventually, right? Be a smarter shopper!

Lastly, a word of advice from my parents when I showed them my new “don’t spend anything” budget. Don’t get crazy. Don’t spend so much time and effort saving for a trip (or anything, for that matter!) that you lose sight of what you’re doing today. Many people travel to enjoy life. It’s a heck of a lot easier to enjoy life when you allow yourself to enjoy life where you are right now, too. And sometimes, that just takes money to happen. Allow it, embrace it, and don’t feel guilty.

Mickey Mouse Ice Cream

Never feel guilty, for instance, about Mickey shaped ice cream sandwiches.

Share your favorite budgeting tips! Have you seen any great posts about budgeting? Isn’t money fun? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Learn A Language At Home (For Free!)

I have had this potential post on my list since I started this blog. I was going to tell all of my readers (all 2 of you! ;)) about this awesome site called Duolingo. And then yesterday, I spotted a hashtag on Twitter and followed it around. I ended up at a blog called Almost Fearless.


And then I realized I wished I would have found this hashtag long ago! From Memorial Day to Labor Day, people all over are learning a language on this website. That’s what I was doing, but I’d have a heck of a lot more motivation if I knew other people were doing it too!

Piazza del Popolo

Friends don’t let friends learn Italian alone! At Piazza del Popolo in Rome.

Through college, I always had this burning desire to learn Italian. And when my number was up for studying abroad, I ultimately chose to go to Rome because of that desire, even though my program at the time was “supposed to” go to London. Now that I’m back in the U.S. (and two years away from studying abroad…), I don’t want to let those Italian skills that I learned go to waste. While it may not be the most “useful” language to learn, it most certainly is the most fun for me!

Italian Studying

Breakfast in Italy. Greek yogurt with a piece of Nutella-slathered bread. All while studying Italian!

How do I plan to learn Italian in Philadelphia, you ask? Well you know I’m going to tell you. And you can bet they will be super cheap or free. The broke college student over here understands.

Learn A Language

  1. Duolingo. Since this post was supposed to be about Duolingo in the first place, it only makes sense that it’s first on my list! It’s kinda/sorta like Rosetta Stone, only more fun. And you can compete against friends. And make an owl cry when you didn’t retain enough Italian information. It has an app for your phone or tablet too, so you can learn on the go. You can also learn Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese on here! Is it crazy to want to know them all?
  2. Facebook. Yeah, not many of my friends on there speak Italian. If at all. But you can change the language on it! And while some things get mighty confusing, I generally figure them out! Finally, using the language tool for good and not for Pirate or Upside Down.
  3. News Articles. The age of technology these days, am I right? Wikipedia to the rescue, and I’m sure this would work for any language. A lot of other sites I’ve found are translated into English, but I’m going to find a good one in Italian. I’m determined!
  4. A Pen Pal. I’ve always dreamed of having a pen pal. And while this hasn’t been put into action yet, I think it would be so awesome to find an Italian pen pal/travel blogger/anyone to practice with! If I could find a live person in Philadelphia, that would be ideal. But alas.
  5. Life is Beautiful. Movies in general, I suppose. But La Vita รจ Bella is my absolute favorite movie. Sure, it’s got English subtitles. But my ultimate dream is to be able to watch it without needing them. I am on the hunt for other Italian movies, but I don’t think they will ever compare!
  6. Take a Class. I know there have to be Italian classes in Philadelphia. I live right down the street from the community college, so it wouldn’t be an impossible task. However, I’m also paying regular college tuition currently…so this one won’t fly for me! But I shall live vicariously through others!
  7. Read a Book. Christine made this suggestion on her Bilingual Summer update post. Reading a book in another language is going to be a task, but I assume it would help so much! Perhaps a fun one like Harry Potter would be really exciting. I just have to find a way to do it cheaply. My library has it in a bunch of languages…just not Italian!
  8. Podcasts. A quick search on iTunes confirmed that there are a BUNCH of “Learn (insert language here)” podcasts. While I’m running, I don’t really listen to anything. But longer marathon training runs mean I may need distraction. Language distraction!
  9. Music. For all of you auditory learners out there, check out the music! I’m a life-long dancer, so this is an excellent and enjoyable way for me to be exposed to the language. You may not pick up on vocab words unless you know the song in your native tongue, but this definitely helps with the general sounds, pronunciation, and stresses of another language! Plus it can be really fun.
  10. Plan a Trip. When all else fails and I’m having a tough time sticking to my learning, I turn to travel blogs and plan a trip to Italy (feel free to insert your own country here!) where I can use the language I will learn. Having an end goal in sight is always helpful (so says my boyfriend/parents/counselors/etc…), and planning a trip seems like a perfect activity!

The best way of learning a language is always going to be sending you off to a country that only speaks that language. If you want to eat, you learn a language faster than you could ever imagine. The main thing here is that you have to want it. If you just think it’s cool because everybody else is doing it…chances are you aren’t going to succeed. Do it for yourself!

Italian Market

I started learning it so I could survive in Italian marketplaces and be happily fed!

Are you learning a language? Have you successfully learned a language? I always excelled in language classes throughout school, but once I get out there, my brain panics and forgets everything! I’m hoping to avoid that from now on…

Share any ideas you have in the comments!

Photo Journey: London

I’m sure the whole world by now has heard the news of William and Kate having a baby boy. The coverage on American TV is in heavy supply. Watching all of it is exciting, but it definitely has me wanderlusting away for the time where I was abroad. And so today I’m going to share some pictures of my trip to good old London.

Phone Booth

Had to do it! Who could blame me? Lost on our way to our friend’s apartment.

Peter Pan Statue

Cheesin’ it up at the Peter Pan statue.

Kensington Gardens

Lounging in Kensington Gardens. Who said London was gray in November?

Big Ben London

Checking out the Big Guy for ourselves. Big Ben!

Wicked West End

Before we saw Wicked, West End style.

Platform 9 3/4

Harry Potter approves.

London Olympics Countdown

Countdown to London Olympics in Trafalgar Square. With my love for all things Olympics, this is an awesome picture.

As you can see, posed pictures were a thing during our trip. One of the goals I have for my travel photography is to really delve into candids, as well as embrace the landscape. I’ve always been wary of landscape pictures because mine turn out awfully boring, but with practice I would hope that goes away!

Photography step 2: Capture the moments, not the poses.

London Eye

I promise I don’t only take pictures of people. London Eye in the evening!

Your Turn!

Have you ever been to London? It was a total whirlwind trip for me, but we definitely got lucky with the weather!

What do you photograph more often? People or places?

Disney Anniversary

I have a way to make life more exciting. Granted, I can’t take all the credit for it. And it’s not exactly new, per se. But it rocks and it definitely makes life more exciting. Simple solution: celebrate an anniversary. Of anything! For example, today is my two and a half year anniversary with Paul (of dating, let’s not get crazy). And so we’ll celebrate by making some delicious food and choosing something fun to do.

Two months ago, we just so happened to be in Disney World for Paul’s graduation trip. And since I’ve got this new thing about being a travel blogger, I’m going to tell you about our anniversary day dinner.

Bride Mouse Ears

The picture I sent to my dad to try and trick him that we got engaged. It didn’t work. Smart cookie.

We chose to go the Disney Dining Plan route this trip because we have a tendency of ordering the cheapest thing on the menu, even though we really REALLY want something else, because we’re budget obsessed money smart. We didn’t want to feel guilty for going on vacation. And so as soon as we decided to go dining plan, we also decided to go to Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian for our anniversary.


The sign! Hooray!

We chose to head here because of two main things.

  1. We could get a spot to see the fireworks show, Wishes, from our table. This was big because when I watch Wishes, it’s a feat if I don’t get teary-eyed from loving it too much. They also have a wraparound porch if you want a better view.
  2. 2 pound lobster. Paul and I love lobster. Maybe more than we love each other. It was bound to be a great evening.

Usually, Paul and I don’t buy drinks when we’re out. It’s that money thing again. But tonight was special, and so Paul got a fruity concoction and I enjoyed a white wine sangria. Because I’m not sophisticated enough to enjoy red wine.

Narcoossee's Drink

His lit up. We thought it was hilarious.

We spent a lazy three hour dinner there, fully enjoying our waiter. He was an expert lobster-lover from Maine, so we trusted his opinion greatly. Paul and I spent a good amount of time deciding which part of the lobster we liked most. The lobster also came with this delicious vanilla butter sauce for dipping that really took it over the top.

Narcoossee's Lobster

I’m drooling just looking at it. It also came with whipped potatoes and some broccolini.

Just before dessert we got to enjoy the fireworks. They turn the lights off and pump the music through the speakers of the restaurant. It was definitely a different way to see my favorite fireworks display. While sitting directly under the castle is preferred, munching on lobster (Do you munch? Should I say delicately enjoy?) is a VERY close second. We even got to see an engagement, which is always fun!

Narcoossee's Dessert

Dessert was almond crusted cheesecake for Paul and baked mousse for me!

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this dinner. Beyond the usual Disney hospitality, our waiter was wonderful and the overall experience was just great. I highly recommend it, although I can’t speak for any of the food besides the lobster!


It looks empty because we were there so late! Dress from Tobi. It was 50% off for my first purchase!

Overall: 5/5 Star Experience

The only bad part about this is that our other month-iversaries will be nowhere near as exciting!

What’s your favorite way to celebrate a special occasion? We don’t usually go out to eat, and usually we’ll do something outdoors!