Top 5 Travel Tips


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petalsHomegirl Casey’s here today to talk a bit about travel advice. This girl is full of it (in both senses of the phrase! Ha!). She was a veritable well of knowledge that I tapped into often as we were preparing for our jaunt across the pond. And now…SURPRISE! We’ve actually been off enjoying said trip for the past few weeks (hence all my sweet friends helping to fill in for me around here), and while I’m back home now recovering from jet lag and getting my American bearings, allow Casey to share some of her wisdom with you. I promise to relay all the details from our amazing journey soon!

petalsHello there, friends of Kristin…and therefore friends of mine! I’m Casey, the brains behind the blog We Took the Road Less Traveled. I’m just your average Southern girl turned expat, living abroad in beautiful Germany! Completely normal, right? It’s not exactly where I thought I’d be spending 3 years of my adult life, but we definitely aren’t complaining! My handsome Air Force hubby and I made the move 4,000 miles away from our families in North Carolina a year and a half ago and have been traveling fools ever since! We love life here in Deutschland and have had the opportunity to travel to some pretty amazing places. Just last year we visited 9 different countries! My wallet is currently in the corner crying, but it’s worth it, I swear. So, how in the world do we manage to keep our sanity while traveling? Good question. Lots of wine! You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Ok, so wine and a few important tips we like to keep in mind while we’re far from home. Lucky for you, I’m going to reveal a few of our best travel tips here today! If only I could share the wine too, huh? 😉

Top 5 Travel Tips:

     Be flexible. You may have planned and planned a particular trip down to the very restaurant you’re going to dine in every evening, but just as in everyday life, Murphy
will strike! Murphy’s Law, that is. He’s always waiting around the corner to ruffle your feathers and turn a would-be fantastic getaway into a total suck-fest. So, learn to go with the flow. Roll with the punches. Fly on the wings of an eagle. One too many cliches? Moving on…

     Have realistic expectations. You’re not going to be able to do and see EVERYTHING you want to while traveling. Believe me, we’ve tried. My motto used to be, “If your feet
aren’t bleeding by the end of the day, you’re not doing it right!” And then I got a reality check. And lots of Band-Aids. Come into each travel opportunity with a few “must-see” spots on your list and let the rest be “bonus sights”. If you see them, cool. If not, ehhh, maybe next time. Don’t wear yourself out to the point that you don’t enjoy your surroundings. You’re on vacation for gosh sakes!

     Talk to the locals! We’ve found some of Europe’s best-kept secrets that no travel book will show you just from getting chummy with the wait staff or striking up a convo with a street performer (but please, dear Lord, give them a dollar or you’ll get a mouthful of not so friendly travel advice). They live there, why wouldn’t they know the best pub or picnic spot in town? Travel books are nice, but don’t let them dictate your entire trip. Go off the beaten path a bit and see what fun awaits you. Some of our most memorable experiences abroad have come from taking “the road less traveled”. HA! See what I did there? I know, stop it.

     Bring an umbrella. No matter where you go, it rains. London, it rained. Italy, it rained. Germany, it RAINS. If we waited for a day when the weather was perfect to get out and see our host country, we’d never see anything. It’s the rainiest place we’ve ever lived. But, that doesn’t stop us. And don’t let weather stop you! Invest in a sturdy umbrella and raincoat (or two) and make sure they’re in your carry on. You can thank me later.

     Don’t let culture shock bog you down. Stepping off the plane into a foreign country can be one of the scariest things in the world. It could also be the most exciting. Do your
research beforehand. Coming to a new country with a little knowledge of the culture and language can go farther than you’d expect. The locals appreciate when you make an effort to talk to them in their native tongue, however hard or embarrassing it may be. They also love to practice their English on you! Germans are notorious for never letting me speak German. It’s probably better that way anyways. Be open-minded and willing to try new things, no matter how wacky or un-American they may seem. We view the world through the eyes of our own culture and are often put off by the way other counties live, eat, dress, and what they believe. Because of this, we tend to shy away from certain experiences and often don’t get the most out of our trips abroad. While traveling, I challenge you to take time to appreciate your differences. Submerge yourself in them. I believe being a traveler can contribute to a person becoming well-balanced. Worldly. It can also make you appreciate what you have back home. After all, there is no place like it!

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about traveling abroad, whether you wanted to know it or not. Auf Wiedershen, freundes!petalsThanks Casey-girl! I know you’ll want to follow along on all her travel adventures – currently on her docket: a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. I know. Here is where she hangs out:

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Thoughts On Following Your Dreams

 petals

Hello beautiful readers! I’m Jenny Highsmith, of Maiedae, and I’m so happy to be doing a guest post for Kristin! When she asked me to do a post on “How to Follow Your Dreams”, I was thrilled. A while ago, I shared on my blog the exciting news about how I quit my 9-5 job on April 12th (woohoo!!) and went full-time with Maiedae. I am so so so excited and happy to finally be taking this risk. You can read more about that story on my blog here – http://www.jennyhighsmith.com/2013/03/the-winds-of-change-are-blowing.html .

For those who don’t want to read the whole story, pretty much what you need to know is that I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’m a graphic designer and an artist – I love making things beautiful. But, I realized as I grew up that making your dreams happen wasn’t the way the movies made it out to be. It wasn’t easy.

Kristin made a good point that many people would follow their dreams if they only knew how. So, how does one follow their dreams? I’m definitely no expert, but if I were to break down what I’ve learned on my journey of following my dreams, I would give these four pieces of advice:

 FOCUS

 We all have dreams, passions, and talents.  From the time we are really little all the way through our life, we have dreams. About our future, about what we want to be, about our passions. The thing is, our dreams constantly change and sometimes we have so many we don’t know where to start. Sometimes, we have dreams and we aren’t gifted or talented at all in those areas. So, the first step is to focus or narrow down your top dreams and passions and figure out where your talents line up with that.

 To do this, I would suggest taking some time to get away and write out all of your passions, talents, and dreams. Look for common themes. And, at the end of the day, look inside your heart and decide what really “gets you going”. For me, I’m passionate about art, hospitality, family, building relationships, bringing others joy, and a lot of other things. But, when I thought about the day-to-day, what really satisfies my soul is creating beautiful designs or art for others in order to help them pursue their passions and fulfill their potential. I love enabling others to accomplish their dreams by making things beautiful. And although I might be passionate about those other things, this is what I chose to focus on and pursue as my “career” dream.

 PLAN & PREPARE

Although risk is required in almost every case of pursuing your dreams, planning and preparing for those risks is just as important. You might think, “Then how is it a risk if you’ve prepared for it?” Well, if you’re deciding to quit your 9-5 job like I am and decrease your salary by half, that’s a huge risk. Not planning or preparing financially for that risk would be unwise, but doing so doesn’t make it less of a risk – it just makes you smart.

When I realized that I wanted to pursue Maiedae full-time as a career, I took a risk and moved to Atlanta with little preparation. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a support group, and I didn’t have a huge savings account. I couldn’t prepare for some of those things, but I could have prepared more than I did. So, when I realized that it was time to start thinking about preparing for going full-time with Maiedae, I sat down with my husband and we starting planning out financially how we could best prepare for this transition. We set goals for our savings account and started living off of the new budget that I would be on with Maiedae to practice and see how it would work. We prepared and planned and took a “calculated risk”.

STOP DREAMING & START DOING

Whoever said that dreams come easy was LYING to everyone and should be shunned. Okay, maybe not. I think maybe it’s just that, as a child, we all look through life’s window with our eyes glazed over with possibility. We think we are invincible and that life will be so good to us. Then we grow up. We realize that life is tough. And one day we look back and wonder how we got where we are now.

I’m here to tell you that I felt the same way. I realized at the beginning of college that my dreams of being an entrepreneur had little chance of ever happening. I felt discouraged and lost. And I realized I was not on a path towards real purpose for my life. Shortly after, I learned a very important lesson:

There comes a point where you have to stop dreaming, planning, and preparing and just start going for it. 
You have to stop saying, “One day I’d love to…” or “What if…” or “I just can’t…” and just start trying.I didn’t know that I could actually accomplish my dreams until I started actually doing them. Once I started, it gave me hope and stirred my passion even more. And I realized that I COULD do whatever I put my mind to. All it takes is courage and action.

MAKE SACRIFICES

Actually moving from “dreaming” to “doing” is the first big hurdle to jump over. The second is when you realize that “doing” means a lot of hard work, long hours, making sacrifices, being consistent and persistent, and keeping yourself inspired and on task. Savannah and I started Maiedae almost 3 years ago. And for the past 3 years I’ve worked a 9-5 job, then come home and worked every night (except Wednesday which is date night for my husband and I) and most weekends. Am I exhausted? Y-E-S. But pursuing your dreams requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

I joke around a lot that I’ve given up my social life along with many other hobbies for Maiedae. And, although that’s true for the most part, I know that it will pay off. And it’s a decision that had to be made. Figure out what sacrifices you have to make to make your dreams happen and ask yourself if you are willing to follow through with them.

I’d love to hear any advice you have on making your dreams a reality! Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at jenny@maiedae.com Thank you again for having me here! Check out my blog sometime – www.jennyhighsmith.com – for more Things I’ve Learned, Fashion, DIY Projects, Recipes, and other fun tidbits! petals

Thank you so much for sharing Jenny! And, I know I’ve recommended them before, but if you are in the market for a blog facelift – you need look no further than Maiedae. They are a design powerhouse!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites

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 Here is a delightful little snack that is easy to prepare, healthful, and delicious! Plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and maple syrup are all it takes. Mix, dollop onto wax paper, and freeze. Once frozen, remove them to a freezer bag or container, and pop one out whenever the craving for something sweet strikes!

Finding the Soul of Your Style Quiz

petalsIt’s here! The Finding the Soul of Your Style Quiz.

 

To see re-mixable wardrobe inspiration boards for your style, click on the links below:

Violet
Jane
Maggie
Elle

If you would like to discover your secondary style, simply re-take the quiz, answering the questions with your second choice from the answer list.

I’m a Jane Violet 🙂

So tell me, what is the soul of your style? Do you agree/disagree with the quiz results?

Exercising with Aunie

petals

Hey! Annelise from Aunie Sauce joining you today to talk about one of my favorite topics, fitness!

I’ve always lived a very active lifestyle, and thank goodness, because I love to eat. Nachos, mac and cheese, pizza… you’ll find all of those on my favorite foods list- and trust me, I eat them often. But I love balancing a good evening pizza meal with a great morning workout to rev my metabolism and keep me going before I kick back and indulge.

Every other Friday on my blog, I share new workout routines that you can do just about anywhere- at home, at the gym, even at a playground.

I try to live without excuses. You will never hear “I don’t have time to workout” come out of my mouth. If I have a busy day or can’t make it to the gym, I’ll run a couple loops around my street and do a few sit-ups in my living room.

Everyday, we’re given choices. It’s those choices that not only define how your day will go, but they define you as a person. For me, exercising -even for just 10-15 minutes a day- is a choice I will always stand behind. What do you think, want to join me and be healthy? Come visit me every other Friday (or more often, of course) for your workout exercises fix. Let’s get fit!

Find me here: Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram // YouTubepetalsThanks so much for sharing with us Aunie!
As a fitness instructor myself, I love her Friday workouts and general tips for active living. There is much more than fitness to her blog though! Reading Aunie Sauce inspires me to try out some fun new styles on my hair every-once-in-awhile instead of wearing it the same old boring way everyday. 🙂 An open and honest writer, I’m positive you’ll enjoy getting to know this multifaceted, kind, talented, blogging soul. Go hop on over to her place and say hello!