Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

2015 wasn't the best year for my blog.  But I did have a few interesting things happen, in my opinion!
Here's a look back.

Observations after 6 months of living in Alabama.
Wisdom from my mother that I need to be reminded of.
I finally posted pictures from Sugar Loaf!
I shared my experiences with medicine side-effects.
We finally visited the beach!  It's only 70 miles away but takes 2 hours to get there.
We visited a local historical park.  And we took an "adventurous" hike.
"I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere."
"The internet is starting to show me all the things about myself that I didn't know I was supposed to hate."
Art Journal Challenge Week 1 Update.
Art Journal Challenge Week 2 Update.
I found some pretty things to photograph around our neighborhood.
I revisited some pictures from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Art Journal Challenge Week 3 Update.
Art Journal Challenge Week 4 Update.
Art Journal Challenge Week 5 Update.
I made my first vlog!
I made some DIY Glass Lanterns (Dollar Store Craft).
wrote about our love story.
Another Art Journal Challenge Update.
Finally *almost* finished my Brazil photo album.
People are different here...
The travel essential you've never heard of.
I finally made a photo album of our wedding.
Art Journal Update. (lost count at this point)
The pros and cons of growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere.
Some things I can blame on Rio.
Some of my favorite Art Journal pages.
I tried my first Umba box.
I answered some "would you rather" questions about travel.
We carved some pumpkins!
I got my first "Try the World" box.
I posted my first "picture an hour" of a weekend trip to Michigan.
shared some tips for moving across the country.
I let you know 10 random facts about me.

Whew!  That's a lot more than I expected!  Basically what happens is when I'm working full time I don't blog as much, but over the summer break I cram a lot in!  I hope you had fun revisiting my year-on-the-blog!  Thanks for continuing to read my little corner of the internet.  Here's to many more fun posts in 2016!  My 2016 goals are coming soon.  Hope you have a great New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

10 Random Facts About Me

I haven't had any good ideas for blog posts recently... so I decided to just share some random facts about me.  I enjoy reading these types of posts from the bloggers I follow, so I thought you might enjoy reading this on my blog!


I only watch movies and read books that have happy endings.  I hate suspense, horror, or emotionally manipulative movies.

If I didn't study music I would have enjoyed studying linguistics, history, or art. 

I love brushing my teeth but I LOVE flossing my teeth.

Apparently I'm very blunt, but I really don't think I am!

My favorite place is the beach, but the jungle (rainforest) comes a close second.

I could eat chips and guacamole all day every day.

I get sea-sick from rocking chairs and swings.

I hate the sound of birds and whistling.

I love Bollywood movies.

I hate to cry and hardly ever do.  Maybe like once or twice a year if I'm really really stressed.

I've never broken any bones or had any major surgeries or been hospitalized for any reason.  Does that mean I'm not adventurous enough???  My life is too boring???

What are some random facts about you?


You might also enjoy: Getting to know each other and 50 things that make me happy

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tips for moving across the country

Moving overseas and moving across the country are two entirely different beasts.  Unless you have a super fantastic job that will pay for all your relocation costs, moving a long distance can be such a pain and very expensive.  Today I'd like to share with you some tips and lessons learned (from our mistakes) about moving across the country.

Create a budget

This might seem obvious, but it's so important.  You need to know exactly how much money you have available to spend on the trip.  Try to plan your trip for less than what you have budgeted.  That will give you a little cushion for "just in case."  Don't forget to include any expenses you'll have when you arrive (setting up your house, registering your vehicles, stocking your pantry, etc.).  If you think it will take you 3 days to get to your new destination, budget for 5.  You never know when you might have a flat tire, get sick, or be stranded somewhere for longer than expected.

Decide what you really, really, really need to take.  

If you're on the fence, don't bring it.  Sell or donate as much as you can.  What you save in moving expenses can be used to repurchase anything you might need when you arrive.

Micromanage your credit cards

Check your balances often.  Keep an eye on your activity.  Always know how much you have left and how much you will need.

Bring the essentials

I'm talking about a couple rolls of toilet paper, some plastic trash bags, hand soap, and paper towels.  There's nothing worse than arriving at your new apartment with a full bladder and no toilet paper!!!

Don't forget about your medicine

Make sure your medicine and other important items are easily accessible.  Also make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date and that they are easily transferrable.  Have your doctor and pharmacy in your phone contacts.

Have you moved across country?  Do you have any other tips to share?


Friday, November 27, 2015


Don't forget about the ceramic nativity set that my dad makes by hand.  Would make a beautiful addition to your Christmas decor.  Order now to receive it in time for Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Try the World || The Spain Box

I'm back with another box from Try the World - the subscription company that sends you gourmet food from around the world!  My first review was of the Paris box, and to summarize, I didn't feel it was worth the price.  But I decided to give it one more try.  The weird thing is that their website claims you will get a box every 2 months, but I received mine two months in a row...?  Hmmm...

Here is what I received in the Spain box:

Each box comes with a little booklet of information about Spain, as well as some recipes.  I am excited to try the Patatas Bravas recipe pictured above.  I do anticipate using the jams, olive oil, tomato spread, cake, and candy this week during Thanksgiving.  We are having some friends visit and I know they will help us finish off this box!

This subscription box is such a cute and fun idea, and I love finding out what is in each box each month.  However, I can't justify the price.  We are currently trying to get out of debt, and every little bit saved counts.  Ultimately I'm glad I gave this company a try, but I will probably not be continuing with my subscription.  Keep in mind that this would make a really fun gift for someone - Christmas is coming soon!

I would like to give one of my loyal readers a chance to receive the Spain box for free.  All you have to do is pay the $5 for shipping (at this time they only ship to addresses within the US and US territories).  If you'd like to enter to win a free Spain box, make sure you are subscribed to my blog and then leave me a comment letting me know your most favorite food.  (Mine is probably chips and guacamole and/or cinnamon rolls.)  I will notify the winner next Sunday, the 29th of November.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A picture an hour

This past weekend we went to Michigan for a friend's wedding.  I thought about doing a vlog, but I wasn't planning on bringing my computer and I knew I would run out of phone memory.  So instead I decided to take one photo every hour.

Here's our first day in Grand Rapids, by the hour:

8am - At the airport waiting for our plane.

9am - The view out our plane window.

10am - Still on the plane and not sure how we feel about it

11am - We made it to Grand Rapids and picked up a tasty snack (London Fog and Coffee Cake for me)

12pm - Peter's best friend's mom picked us up and took us to run some errands, such as picking up some items for the wedding, as well as picking up Peter's tux.

1pm - We took a drive-by tour of downtown Grand Rapids

2pm - We made it back to the house and relaxed with Netflix (Pictured is an episode of Sherlock).

3pm - Peter and his best friend.

4pm - A spot of tea to keep us warm.  We were not used to 30 degree weather!  It's still in the high 70s in Alabama!

5pm - Fully naked trees.  Also something that's not a familiar site down south.

6pm - I took a much needed nap and failed to get a picture.

7pm - We were going out for dinner and I could not get a cute picture.  They're all blurry because Peter and his friend were making me laugh too much.  This was the best I could get.

8pm - Dinner! (Thai friend rice)

9pm - Back at the house, back with Netflix!

And that's pretty much where it ends.  We went to bed early that night.

I hope you enjoyed this post!  I will soon be posting a bit more about the trip.  It was a great time to catch up with friends and take a little break from school!


Friday, November 6, 2015

November umba box || review

You can read my first Umba box review here.  To summarize my first review, I thought the box was too expensive for the items I received.  But I decided to give them a second chance, and I now have the exact same opinion.  You pay $25 plus $5 shipping, so $30 for these boxes.  They send one box per month and the items are guaranteed to be "worth" more than $25 per box.  Well, that's questionable.  Again, I understand that these are handmade goods, and I appreciate them for their artistic value, but I wouldn't pay full prices for any of these items.  See the following pictures for details of what was in my second box:

I put my hand in there for size comparisons.

Well, on a whole I'd say these products are not worth the price I paid for this box.  However, it is super fun to receive a box of surprises every month.  So now I'm torn... it's fun to see what I will get, and I do enjoy the items (and will probably use them or give them as gifts), but on the other hand, it's not worth the money.

What would you do?  Would you try a subscription?  Or do you think the products aren't worth the price?  Let me know below!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Let's get to know each other

I found these questions on Crumbs in the Bed and I thought they were a fun way to get to know the blogger a bit better.  So I decided to answer them myself!  Apparently it's a tag type of post, and nobody tagged me, but I think it's ok, I'll do it anyway.  Rebel like that... ;)

1. What was your first pet and what was it called? (If you have never had one, would you like one and what?)
A cat, named "gato." I was so creative as a 2 year old.  Aside from the cat we had for a couple of years when I was a baby, I've always had dogs and I love them so much.  Dogs are the best.  Have I told you about my dog?  He's so cute.  Wanna see a picture?  (aka very conversation I have with every person... I'm kinda obsessed about my dog right now...)

2. Online shopping or shopping in person?
Depends what it's for.  I HATE trying on clothes, so I'd rather buy them online.  But then there's the pesky business of them not always fitting when they arrive...  I love shopping in person for accessories and makeup.

3. If you could live in any fiction TV show, what would it be and why?
Friends.  Because Friends.

4. Do you know your heritage/ where your ancestors are from?
Ireland and South Korea.

5. What was one of your best experiences in life so far?
Getting married.  Aww mushy gushy.  It's been the best, though.  Good decision.  

6. Sweet or savory?
Most of the time I'll go for savory and crunchy.  Popcorn is the best.  But I can never turn down a cinnamon roll...

7. You are in charge of your country for one day. What law do you change, abolish or bring in?
Hm this one is hard.  There are so many things!  Kerri (from Crumbs in the Bed) said she would abolish smoking and I really like that answer.  Or I think I'd make the driver's test harder.  There are so many horrible, bad drivers these days.  It's like they don't even know what they're doing!  Your car has blinkers, people!  Use them!

8. What 3 things do you like most about yourself?
My hair (which I would not have answered 10 years ago...), my eyes, and that I look decent without makeup on.

No Makeup, except now that I look closer one half of my lips have lipstick... because I was testing the color in comparison to my natural lipstick color.  Oh well, close enough to makeup-free.

9. When do you feel most afraid?
When I'm in a confined space (claustrophobia) or when I don't know what's going to happen (ex. driving a long distance and not knowing where I'm going, scary movies, etc.)

10. Do you have any bad habits? (Tell the truth!)
I burp and fart out loud.  Not in public, but at home.  My husband hates it.

11. When you wish upon a star, what do you wish for?
I haven't done that in so long.  When I was younger I think I would wish for friends.  I think now I would wish for contentment.

The sun is technically a star, right?

I tag everyone!  I'd love to know how you'd answer these questions.
Leave your answers in the comments, or if you do a blog post, leave a link below!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Besty-Tacy (and Tib)

My life has been shaped and defined by a book series and fictional characters.  Is that weird?  I have memories of things that I haven't done, but I experienced them so vividly through these books that it feels like I lived them.

But really I think I'm not alone.  How many grown men and women are obsessed with Harry Potter?  Harry Potter is to them what Betsy is to me.  

Betsy is a character in the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.  The series starts with Betsy as a 5 year old and followers her life as she grows into a young woman and then eventually marries.  Betsy had two best friends named Tacy and Tib.  Betsy was the imaginative one, the creative one, the one always telling stories and coming up with adventures.  Tacy and Tib were the good spirited, obliging friends who were always up for whatever Betsy could come up with.  Betsy's childhood was light-hearted and carefree.  She and her friends would have daily picnics, put on neighborhood plays in their sheds, experiment in the kitchen, and most importantly, climb "the Big Hill."  As she grew older she and her friends would go ice skating, have bonfires, make fudge, and gather 'round the piano singing and dancing.  And don't forget about Sunday Night Lunch, which consisted of her father making sandwiches out of whatever happened to be left over in the kitchen from the week.

Maybe I always loved the Betsy books because I always wished my life could be like hers.  She had a group of friends who seemed so lovely, she lived in Minnesota where there are actually seasons, and she had so many fun things to do.  Meanwhile I grew up in a boring desert where there was nothing to do and no one to do it with.  

I also loved reading about the fashion and culture of a by-gone era.  Betsy lived at the turn of the century, when electricity was new and exciting, automobiles were only for the really wealthy, and makeup was just becoming suitable for regular folk.  It was a simpler time, full of new discoveries and inventions.

Betsy's life wasn't perfect.  She had boy drama, academic troubles, and illnesses just like the rest of us.  But that's what made her so relatable.  She lived 100 years before me, yet I could relate to her completely.  

What are your favorite books?  Do you think you'll give Betsy-Tacy (and Tib) a try?


The first four books in the series*:

The first two years of High School*:

The second two years of High School*:

After High School and Betsy gets married*:

*affiliate links

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Try the World || The Paris Box

Hi guys,

I'm back with another subscription box review.  My first subscription box experience was with Umba - you can read about it here.  Soon after I signed up for my first Umba box, I decided to give Try the World a go.  I guess I was just in subscription-box-mode.  Just like with Umba, I've been getting the Try the World emails and newsletters for awhile.  I can't remember where I first heard about the company, but it intrigued me.  I never ordered it because it was a little expensive for me - $39 per box (+shipping).  But they sent me a coupon code, so I thought, "Why not?"

What is Try the World?
"Every 2 months, receive a box from a new country - with 7 gourmet products curated by expert chefs." (from their website)  You basically get to try food from a different country.  A fun idea, in my opinion.

 Here is what I found in my first box, the Paris box:

So to recap, I received a few tea bags, mustard, fig jam, a small box of, like, 3 cookies, pork paté, salt, and the "mystery treat" was a tube of chestnut spread.  I held them in my hand so you can get an idea of the size.  Some of the items (tea and cookies) are very small amounts.  The mustard, salt, paté, and fig jam are decent sizes.  The chestnut spread will last a long time, because I won't eat it.  Peter will enjoy it though.  (The box itself is quite sturdy and cute, so I will probably find a use for it!)

My initial thoughts?  Not worth the price.  However, after talking it over with my husband, and after receiving another discount code, we decided we would give it another try.  The next box will be from another country, so hopefully there will be some cool discoveries.  This subscription is once every two months, so we won't get our next box until December.  Again, whatever I don't use from this or the Umba box I will give to my friends and family for Christmas gifts.  ;)

I have to admit, these subscription boxes are kind of fun.  But not great for the bank account.  As I mentioned before, I will give Umba and Try the World one more month before I decide if I will cancel my account.  

Do you think you would like this subscription?

I have a referral link to share with you guys today*, if you want to give Try the World a go.  You will get $15 off your first box.  Click on the link for $15 off your first box (and I get $15 credit toward the e-shop):

*This post is not sponsored.  Try the World has no idea who I am or that I have a blog.   Every new subscriber receives a referral link to share with friends.