With it being my 5th time moving in 6 years, no matter how many moves, it is always bitter sweet. For someone who is rather good with change, moving always gets me rather emotional. When it fully sets in that I am moving, I become an emotional basket case. I think it is because it means there is a new future for me, a new step in life and will never ever have the same room, house or location. My commute will change, my lifestyle will change and of course it is another time for growth in anther direction.
Each time I move it is hard, but this time it will be by far the hardest move outside of moving out of my parents house. I will be selling my townhouse I worked so hard for and saved up my money for and be moving in officially with my boyfriend into his house. While it is a great move in the right direction for us it is also scary.
Home inspection was this past Sunday and it started to set in that I will be changing my life forever. This is the beginning to forever for my boyfriend and I as well as my life in general. Once I sell my townhouse and move in with him, this is it! It is only up from there, marriage, kids, retirement.
Looking back the many times I have moved over the years, the roommates, the room setups and the locations, I’ve realized moving is a hard change. Here are some things that I thought about this past week that help me with these types of changes and who knows, this mindset might help others.
- Change is an inevitable part of life.It is important to remember that change is going to happen whether you want it to or not. Accepting that is the first part of change. There is a reason why we call it history. Change happened, there was evolution and we developed. Change is part of life and existence. Remember change will never end and becoming who you are will never change as well.
- Try to put change in perspective- Change can be overwhelming and make you an emotional wreck but having a positive mindset might put things into perspective for you.
- Don’t live in fear of change- If you live in fear, it will eat you alive…trust me!
- Embrace your feelings- If you are sad, if you are mad, let it out. If you don’t zone into your feelings and get emotional you will just bottle it up and either explode or never get past the change. Let’s be honest you can only put on a happy face for so long and denial doesn’t combat those changes. If that means screaming into a pillow and watching a sad movie or talking it out with someone do it. Everyone is different but whatever it takes do it!
- Be Optimistic- Even though change can have a negative impact on your life, odds are there are at least one pro to the situation that is causing the change.Change can be good and lead to more open doors. It can expose you to new people, new places and of course new opportunity. It will give you a fresh way to look at a unique and complex decision. Change is needed to become a better person whether it is you as your role as a family member, friend, co-worker, teacher or leader. Ideally change means you are learning and growing from that change.
- Manage Stress- I don’t know about you but change can stress me the F out! If you are stressed by this proposed or happening change try to divert your stress to a stress reducing activity such as practicing yoga, exercising or staying busy with a hobby. Even go outside your box and try something new with trying a new hobby or potential interest. These tactics will take your mind off the change while finding self-fufillment.
- Realize changes make you stronger person – Odds are you will learn something from the change that will make you stronger. This inner strength is important and will help you in your life and in the future.
- Create Life Goals- Create a list that will help you move in the right direction of you life. If this change isn’t helping you move in the right direction of what can you do to proactively, change it. Change the already changing atmosphere so you get what you want. New job, new man, new life style, new place. Whatever it takes for you to achieve your goals and make you number one again, do it!
Accepting life’s many changes can be scary and rather difficult. Just remember you are never alone. We all experience change day in and day out. We all struggle with it differently. Hopefully these perspectives and ideas will help you look at it and handle it differently moving forward. Because again, remember change will never end…
Happy Hump Day everyone! The week after Thanksgiving seems to move like a snail. Maybe it’s because we are all rush, rush, rush during the week of Turkey Day. Maybe it’s because we want to slow things down and enjoy the holiday season before it’s over. Either way this week seems to be dragging on but I have no problem making the best of it.
For this weeks Style of the Week, I wore an all black (surprise, surprise) outfit with a denim blazer. The denim blazer is a unique piece I have in my closet that I can only wear with specific colors and textures. It’s a dark denim with dark brown suede elbow patches. It goes great with khaki, gray’s, browns and of course black. It adds dimension to the all black ensemble. The outfit is a pair of slim black pants, black booties and a crew neck black satin tank. I added a gold chain necklace for a touch of sparkle.
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It’s officially Holiday shopping season! So you made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but you still need the perfect gift for the gadget lover in your life. There are so many new gadgets every year to chose from. I know the Amazon Echo is on the top of everyone’s list. But while we can take a crack at some new tools on the market, it’s sometimes best to look at the tried and true gadgets that have been on the market for a while.
The girls at Grabbing Lapels love anything that makes our lives easier and helps us do things better. Whether it’s in the kitchen or around the home, here are three of our favorite household gadgets.
Every twenty-something runs on coffee. This Keurig pod system allows you to pop in a pod and brew at the press of a button. I bought mine online on Amazon and I use it every morning. It is perfect for the person that is on the go and wants to save a buck!
BAVISION Wifi IP Camera Wireless Home Security Camera
This Wifi Camera allows you to monitor your home using your smartphone, tablet or PC. It is great for home security, watching your baby sleep or monitoring your dog while you are away (like me). It is connected to your home’s wireless internet so you can always see and hear what is going on. It even has speaker that you can talk through. Best part, it is affordable! Only $49.99 on Amazon.
Make baking easy with this batter dispenser. Just squeeze the handle and allow the batter to dispense controlled and without a mess. It is perfect for making pancakes and other baked goods. It is also portion controlled so you don’t have to struggle making sure all your items are evenly distributed. It even comes with a lifetime warranty which is even better!
Single Serve Blender
I have gone through a lot of these single serve blenders, well 3 to be exact. They always end up breaking but this one has been working for over a year now. The Bella 12 piece allows you to make a smoothie whenever you want without using a large blender. I use this a few times a week. I like to have a smoothie after the gym and my boyfriend likes them for lunch on the go. It comes with travel lids so all you have to do is add your ingredients, place on base to blend and take on your way.
Mini Kitchen Torch
I got this as a gift second hand and never thought I would use it, but it really comes in handy! Anytime I want to add little burnt top on crispier crunch to food, I don’t have to place it in the broiler. I simply use this mini torch and done! It’s really great for desserts and cheese that need a little caramelization.
This was a gadget I never knew I needed until I got it. It syncs with everything on your iphone so you can check email, send text messages, even make phone calls. The best part is the activity tracker. It saves all my workouts and shows me which was my best time running, calories burned and things like that.
Britt & Bianca
This fall has already been a roller coaster of weather. Warm and then cold and then warm and then freezing. For today’s style of the week I embodied an outfit that is for more of the warmer weather.
I started off with my green long sleeve dress, which I purchased on Amazon. Then added my Target peacock feather scarf and weathered Steve Madden boots, to keep with the rustic fall look.
Then when looking at my outfit I realized that the style needed a little more to make it more unique and more fall looking.
So, to top off the look, I added my white sleeveless sweater, that has decorative embroidery on the back of it. It adds a nice little rustic touch to the outfit.
This outfit would be perfect for a casual day in the fall, either shopping, a lunch date or a day at the office. Also would be great for a fall festival, as long as the weather is appropriate!
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Bonjour! Happy Tuesday and almost Thanksgiving! One thing I am so thankful for is the amazing 14 day trip I took in October. I was able to submerge myself in so much culture and forget about a lot of cares. Since I got to go so many places, I had to break up the trip into a few blog posts. Today is all about the French Riviera!
After an all day bus ride from Spain into France, we stayed for one night at the Crowne Plaza Montpellier. We got in at about 4 pm. It gave me just enough time to relax and do some work. Our first meal really set the tone for the amazing food we were going to eat while in France. We ate at a small upscale restaurant called L’Oracle. The food was so good and really inspired me to try and recreate some of the items.
In France, almost everything is served with a small salad, which I loved! I love being able to add greens into any meal. My meal started with a green salad with a cheese tomato puff. My entree was spiced risotto, a stuffed tomato and a corn souffle. Dessert was a raspberry lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream.
While en route to Montpellier we stopped in Carcassonne for a few hours for some sightseeing, shopping and lunch.
Carcassonne is a fortified French Town known for the medieval fortress at the center of the town, Cite de Carcassonne.
Below is a panoramic view of the town square where my mom and I enjoyed lunch.
Carcassone is where my mom had her favorite meal of the trip, a mushroom and cheese crepe from a small bistro in the town square. I had a plain cheese crepe and we both enjoyed fresh salad and cappuccino.
Our first excursion after a night in Montpellier was a day in Nimes. We went to the Arena de Nimes, which was built in 70 AD. The arena is used only twice a year for bullfighting but also holds concerts. Even though I detest bullfighting and think it’s an outdated and gruesome form of entertainment that should not still be going on. However, the arena is really amazing to look at and it’s amazing seeing such an old structure that has been part of the town for centuries.
If I had to describe Nimes, I would say it’s a massive little town. After we toured the Arena, our tour guide walked us through some of the streets in town. My mom and I kept keeping mental tabs on all the stores we wanted to go back to during our free time. Once we got back to the town square it was impossible to find our way back anywhere. The streets go all over the place! If you go to Nimes, set aside the day. Touring the Arena, shopping and eating will take all day!
The coat of arms of Nimes consists of a crocodile in a palm tree. You will see the logo stamped on everything and you will see a giant palm tree in the center of the square. On a nice day you can sit outside almost anywhere and do lots and lots of shopping!
My mom and I had spent a lot of or free time sitting and eating at places, so while we were in Nimes we wanted to try and get some shopping done. The weather was getting damp and cold and my mom wanted to get a new coat. We rushed into the city market to get something quick to eat before we hit the streets.
If you are out and about in Nimes, or any place in France, be prepared to pay for public bathrooms. Public bathrooms are kept very clean, but you have to pay to get in. I don’t think it was more than 1 euro. The market was mouth watering! I was a little bummed about not getting to go into the city market in Barcelona, it was way to crowded we couldn’t even walk around there. This was a lot less crowded and much bigger. My mom and I grabbed some baguettes to go. Which is something you see very often. Most people walk around holding a baguette or eating a sandwich on the go. We fit right in.
One or way to Monaco we stopped in Vers Pont du Gard. It’s an ancient aqueduct, you can go on top of it and inside of it.
One thing I was really bummed about was our trip to Nice, France. I really was excited to see the town and walk around. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain the entire time we were there. Hustling around in and cold rain was not very appealing. My mom and I stopped in a small pub for lunch and then went to the Maison Auer, my favorite shop in France!
The Maison Auer is one of the oldest shops in Nice and sells fine candies, gourmet desserts and chocolates. The layout is so beautiful, you would think you were in a jewelry shop. I could have spent more time and money in there. I limited myself to 65 euros, which is a lot for a candy store but it was so worth it! I got lots of candies for myself and for co-workers.
Next stop Monaco! One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You don’t want to miss out!
Here is part 2 from my trip to Sweden. As you know I was beyond excited to be invited to one of my good friend’s Evan Jager’s wedding in Sweden. My mom and I agreed, it is a once in a life time experience and we had to go! So, we prepared and planned not only a trip to Stockholm but to Sigtuna, for the actual wedding.
Once we spent 4 days exploring Stockholm restaurants, fashion and of course culture, we took a 40 minute cab ride to Sigtuna. All of the guests and wedding party were staying at the beautiful hotel where the reception was being held, Sigtuna Höjden Spa. Here is a picture of the inside of the hotel and what our room looked like.
The hotel and it’s grounds were absolutely stunning. All the food, made by the chef onsite was organic, local and eco friendly. It was located on a small body of water and was surrounded by wooded trails. The back deck overlooked the woods and had hot tubs that were opened to guests, even at night.
Since Sigtuna is the oldest town in Sweden we walked to downtown Sweden to check out shops, eat some delicious chocolate and do some site seeing.
All of the shops had that antique feel to them and were fun to explore. If I would have had more room in my luggage I would have bought more trinkets, clothing and decorations for the house.
They had a decadent chocolate shop that everyone indulged in. And then I can say it was a first time in my life that I ordered coffee from a shop that also sold raw crawfish…smell was not good…
After a few hours of enjoying ourselves our feet were killing us so we ended up just taking a bus back to the hotel. As you can see I missed my dog Kip very much throughout my week long trip!
The day of the wedding, my mom and I slept in, grabbed lunch at the hotel and then prepared for a lovely day ahead of us. Evan and Sofia’s BIG Day!
The ceremony was held at this little adorable old church in the middle of nowhere. It was like something out of a fairy tail and very romantic!
Once they said “I do”, it was back to the hotel for cocktail hour and the reception.
In Sweden there are a few things that were different than a traditional American wedding.
First you do not sit directly next to your significant other. The reason why they do this is because you have a little printed pamphlet at your seat with every single guest’s name. Next to their name there is mini bio about each guest, explaining your relation to the couple and some quirky fun facts about each guest. It allows you to get to know a large variety of people at the wedding and not be stuck to your own circle of friends. It was super fun to meet and get to know everyone. It gives you a feeling of comfort as you are able to find things in common with guests sitting at your table. By the end of the night everyone knew each other really well.
Another Sweden wedding custom is when the groom leaves the room every single man has to run around the room and kiss the bride on the cheek and the same goes for when the bride leaves the room, the single ladies have to kiss the groom. Weird but cute. Perfect timing for me, I just applied lipstick.
Last but not least regarding unique Sweden Wedding customs was the constant speeches. A designated toast master is in charge of coordinating speeches throughout the evening and anyone was able to give a speech, toast or just a nice little saying to the couple. I am pretty sure I cried like 3 times throughout the night!
Dinner was absolutely amazing! Presentation and the 3 courses were delicious! Very impressive and completely entertaining all throughout dinner getting to know the guests at my table and listen to the heart warming speeches.
After dinner there was a DJ and my friends and I danced until the wee hours of the morning.
For more details of my trip to Stockholm, click here.
Baklava is by far my favorite dessert in the entire world! If you don’t know what Baklava is shame on you! Baklava is a rich sweet pastry that is made with layers of phyllo dough, honey, butter and of course filled with chopped nuts. It is melt in your mouth goodness and is perfect for any holiday dinner!
Sometimes I feel like I am a Baklava connoisseur because I have tried a lot of different types and styles of Baklava. Here is a list of items I have never tried, but are definitely on my to do list for 2016/2017. They will all honor National Baklava Day, today, very well!
Baklava Brownie Bombs
The pictures make your mouth water and of course anything with Brownie AND Baklava has to be dog gone delicious!
Just think about snacking on the taste of Baklava, yum!
Not only is the recipe straight from Chicago but it sounds like a great alternative to the real thing!
This could be the best possible way to start your day, today!
I am not a cheesecake fan but this just looks phenomenal!
Baklava Ice Cream
I pray to God this is not just a specialty flavor and that it is around all year long!
Baklava Lip Balm
On my wishlist for Christmas. Problem is it might make me want to continuously lick my lips…
Raw Cacao Baklava Fudge
Great recipe to bring to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava
The Domestic Rebel knocked this one out of the park; enough said!
Cinnamon Baklava Candle
Another item on my Christmas wishlist
Gluten Free Baklava Doughnuts
Naturally Ella has amazing pictures on her blog as well as delicious gluten free recipes!
Never tried it but worth a shot. You cannot go wrong with Honey, Maple, Walnut and Pistachio flavor in the morning!
Spiced Honey Baklava Candy
This would be a cute party favor item!
Will be trying this next time I go out for a special event. Click here for more Pistachio inspired cocktails.
Will be sending this to my mom because she also loves Baklava AND eats oatmeal every morning. Love it!
I’d love to turn this week’s Style of the Week into a political statement, like I am in mourning over the election. But the truth is I dress funeral style any chance I can get. All black is my favorite style, but I like to keep it ladylike too.
This week I wanted to showcase a very cash friendly option for looking good for a work, an event or just going out. I never thought I would find a dress like this at Target, but I did! I love to shop the designer releases at Target but this looks like a brand that is here to stay when it comes to the Target floor. The dress is by Who What Wear. I didn’t even know they made clothes! It was a very inexpensive $35 for the dress and it’s a great material and fits me perfectly. Without adding too much fluff, I wore a ponytail some shades and my gold buckle suede pumps by Vince Camuto. Lastly I added a vintage suede purse to pull the look all together.
I would encourage you to check out some of the Who What Wear clothing at Target. It’s affordable and stylish, so you have nothing to lose!
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Happy Thursday everyone! I know some of you can already use a drink…or three. The holidays are coming up soon and something that really saves me from going crazy is spiked coffee. A little coffee and Bailey’s is the perfect post-meal treat around the holidays. Since there are so many ways to spike coffee, I thought I would showcase some delicious and unique ways to enjoy a coffee cocktail.
Bourbon Pecan Coffee Cocktail
How delicious does this look! I was not surprised to find this great drink at the WorldMarket.com blog, since that store has such unique items.
Hubers Iced Spanish Coffee Cocktail
This drink is a little more cocktail than it is coffee, so be ready to feel a little buzz after. But it’s still easy to make and very easy to enjoy.
Gin Lavender Lattes
Shout out to The Effortless Chic for making this little lady like drink look so flavorful. Also her espresso machine looks awesome…I drooled over it. Also the recipe uses almond milk!
Espresso martini is a classic coffee and alcohol combination, so I had to go to a culinary classic for the best recipe. Jamie Oliver calls this “a sophisticated little devil” and I have to agree. Tastes like coffee, gets you drunk like booze. Get the recipe at Jamie Oliver.com.
Roasted Marshmallow Coffee Cocktail Shake
Yeah I know that picture made you think of some delicious caramel popcorn, or was that just me? I like when I can sneak in marshmallow flavor in dessert and drinks. This is a great drink for fall because it uses caramel and coffee.
Spiked Thai Iced Coffee
Last but not least, a classic spiked coffee with a twist. Cardamom and amaretto really make this unique, not like a typical cold coffee with kahlua.
Hope some of these recipes help get you through the holidays!
For this week’s style of the week I decided to re-purpose a dress, like a I did last week for my Style of the Week wedding dress post. With that said, this orange top that you see in the pictures is actually a dress that I tucked into my high waisted jeans! I bought this No Comment dress (yes, dress) about a month ago for dirt cheap at TJ Maxx. The fabric is super soft and I am IN LOVE with the unique neckline!
I then added my new H&M black suede biker jacket, that I got in Sweden, and my black leather Madden Girl riding boots.
To top the outfit off I added my new black hat that I also purchased from H&M in Sweden and my Louis Vuitton purse I bought used on Tradesy.
I am obsessed with this hat and I am always trying to find creative ways to incorporate it with any weekend outfit! This outfit is perfect for coffee with a friend, outdoor fall shopping or even a casual lunch or dinner date. Just think, with this dress underneath the jeans could also make for a great day to night transitional outfit. Time to think outside the box next time you look at your wardrobe!
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Today is the day everyone! It’s Election Day, time to cast your ballot and hope it makes a difference. I always feel pretty good come election day, it’s a feeling we take for granted. We get to vote on the things we feel strongly about, and the people we think will deliver on their promises. Since the presidential election only comes around only 4 years, I thought I would put a halt on normal blogging business and talk about why it’s important to vote. Because here is the thing, we don’t all feel like it counts. Especially if you don’t live in a swing state. If you live in a historically blue state or red state and you vote for the opposite party, sometimes it can feel like your vote doesn’t matter anyway. Your state will vote the majority red or blue and chances are your vote won’t make a difference. I’ve been in those shoes for a long time, but it never discouraged me from voting. Why? Because as much as people love to bitch and moan about how the new president is going to ruin our lives and make the world hell, that drastic change never comes. That’s right, chances are the next president is not going to affect your day to day life, but what will affect you is your state representatives.Something that a lot of people forget is that the President doesn’t get to make nationwide changes without sending it through congress first. Voting for your state representatives and members of congress is where you should do your research.
The issue with election season is the false information voters receive. I know it’s rare to separate fact from fiction in elections, but I would advise to you the following:
Meme’s are not facts
I know with Facebook and Twitter it’s hard to not pay attention to the meme’s that people post. You have all seen them. I know I see some people post multiple of them a day. The only problem is…meme’s are not facts. No one is fact checking the photos of Clinton or Trump with a hyperbolic statement followed with a punch line. No one is approving these, they are simply made by anyone who has access to a computer. That’s probably been one of the most frustrating things about the election, the use of meme’s to make a point. We forget that when it comes to elections, fact checking is key. So if you saw some meme about either candidate, fact check it. Don’t take it at face value.
Rally Speeches are not facts
Again. When candidates are at rally’s making speeches in front of thousands of people over and over, they tend to appeal to the audience by bending the truth. They are seeking applause and maybe sometimes even laughter. But while they can speak on themselves, do not take what they say about one another as fact. This is a political race, and while I despise when candidates talk about their opponent, it’s a fact of life. It’s important to not cast your vote based on what your candidate said about the other.
Ad Campaigns are not facts
Seriously, this is the last thing I’ll say about where we to get your information. So the attack ads, you know what I am talking about. The one’s where a candidate says they approve this message and a slender scary voice comes talking about how the other candidate kicked a puppy and then sold their own grandmother to pay for drugs. Its ridiculous guys and again it’s all propaganda. It should not influence your vote.
To be an informed voter now and days mean going above all the items listed below and even some news sources. Your opinions on the candidate should be based on statements from their sites, statements from verified news sources and from other people in political power whom you trust that back up your candidate. So when you are searching for news articles to debunk something you have heard about your candidate, don’t go got political blogs or right and left wing focused agenda sites. These are biased and are carving up news stories that fit to your opinion, not the facts.
Facebook has done a great job with tagreting users and giving them insight into their local elections. On Facebook you can actually create your own election plan, so you know what to do when you get to the polls to vote. If you are not sure which candidate you align yourself with, you can take the Presidential Quiz at isidewith.com to see which candidate shares your values. If you are not sure who you are voting on besides the president, go to Google and search “view my ballot”. Google will give you a results page with a box to fill in your address. You can see a preview of what your ballot will look like so you know what is on it before you get to the voting booth.
But now let’s say you are a voter who has done their research, made up their mind and ready to cast their vote. Here is why you are awesome!
- The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. Which means women have only been allowed to vote for less than 100 years. Being a woman who votes is something that is still outlawed in some countries. As a woman, you are setting a great example for the next generation by just exercising your right to vote.
- The African American and Latino vote is needed to win any election. If you fall under the category of an African American voter or Latino voter, your vote could make or break the election. No candidate can win without a strong voter turn out from each.
- Millennials make up 1/3 of the voter count. So we really are the future!
A lot of companies offer time off for voting, so please take advantage of that! Good luck today and remember, no matter what happens, the world is not going to end tomorrow. This is America, we just keep on keepin’ on.
Flying through SAS, going to Sweden, was very relaxing. The food was actually really delicious as well! Since I already had a cold I doped myself up with zquil and Sudafed and was knocked out for 7.5 hours straight.
Since my sorority sister gave me a heads up prior to the trip, my mom and I knew to pre-buy the Arlandia train, which goes straight from the airport to downtown Stockholm. The train was only about 20 mins and was super easy. Kind of felt like a modern Harry Potter on the train haha! Once we got into Stockholm, we took a cab to our hotel…it was within walking distance but my mom wouldn’t have been able to handle pulling her luggage for half a mile.
We then checked into the adorable hotel Lilla Radmannen! Each room is decorated differently with wallpaper and themes.While it had a small bathroom, this is pretty much expected in Europe. Shortly after checking in, we dropped our bags and decided to take a walk down Radmansgatan, to take in the city for a few hours. We stepped into delicious smelling bakeries, funky clothing stores and then sat down for dinner at a Greek place for a quick bite to eat.
We then decided to make it an early night because I was sick and wanted to get a full day out of trip the following day. Well, we slept in so didn’t get a full day but still was able to enjoy a lovely lunch at Rolfs Kok and then took the on and off Red bus tours throughout Sweden/Stockholm. We also did some shopping at stores that we have never seen before. That evening we went to dinner at Urban Deli and this was by far my favorite restaurant!
The following day we took the on and off bus tours again, but stopped at Mister French for a glass of wine before switching over to the on and off boat tours and enjoying our day at the Vasa Museum. I wish it was summer, becuase there would have been more to see on the water, but it was still a beautiful view and with the sun out, it made the cool weather bareable!
The Vasa Museum was awesome! Honestly it felt like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was super cool seeing a 300+year ship inside a building and hearing how the scientists could actually predict how the crew died, injuries they had previously and what they probably looked like and wore. I highly recommend doing this!
After the museum we jumped back on the on and off buses and went to the Ice Bar. It’s an experience like no other where you have to wear a thermal poncho and enter sub freezing temperatures. Literally the bar is made of ice and so are your drinks. Another place totally worth going!
Since I did pre-research for the trip I knew I wanted to go the Grill. The hilarious part of this was that it was literally kiddy corner to our hotel but didn’t realize it because the outdoor seating area looked cheap, but don’t let that fool you! The place is awesome inside with each room themed differently. We sat in the circus themed room while the adjoining room was decorated like a library. And that is not even the best part! The food was also delicious!
Since we basically walked around everywhere it was important to be prepared for brisk weather but then the warmth of the sun so we layered our clothing. Here are some of my outfits while touring Stockhom.
Unfortunately there is only so much you can pack into a few days to see in Sweden so that was our last meal in Stockholm before we had to take a cab into Stigtuna the following day to get ready for the wedding. Stay tuned for part two of my trip to Sweden!
THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM STOCKHOLM:
- Weird and unique clothing stores
- 7/11’s are REALLY nice. They have freshly baked goods, candy bars, hot and cold fresh food. Pretty crazy, I know!
- I did not see ONE woman in stiletto high heels, that would be because the roads are not the greatest and most are cobblestone. Highly recommend wearing wedges or thick heels if you do want a little height
- Very clean city. They actually clean the roads each night and have people who vacuum the streets daily. Yes, real job!
- Drivers are crazy! Taxis and people driving through the city play chicken with pedestrians and don’t really care if there is a walkway so be careful!
- Even though it is Europe, EVERYONE speaks English. Even if the menu isn’t translated in English the servers will do a verbal menu for you which is super impressive!
- If you are out late, try MAX, food isn’t the best but the concept for this fast food restaurant, is pretty creative. You pay for food with a touch screen module, then they scream out numbers on a screen, like bingo, when your food is ready.
Even though I am a White Sox fan, I think it is only right to give a little honor to the Chicago Cubs for winning the World Series last night. After 108 years it is FINALLY their year. Congrats to the oldest fans who have been waiting their entire life for a Chicago Cubs World Series Game. I am sure you are still sleeping in from celebrating last night and tearing up the town, but here are some amazing drinks that are inspired by the team at hand, the Chicago Cubs. Congrats and drink on you Cubs fans!
Even though The Homespun Hydrangea knows nothing about baseball, she does know plenty about a good drink like this beautifully inspired Cubbies Cooler!
Chicago Cubs fans are all about day drinking in the stadium! Goose Island’s “Not-So-Craft” brews, and now The Chicago Dog Bloody Mary, are available exclusively in the bleachers. Here is the recipe:
The underground bar, which is below Bleecker Kitchen & Co. at: 643 Broadway in Greenwich Village, is offering a new cocktails, including the “Delirium,” AKA “the Bill Murray cocktail.” Who doesn’t love Bill Murray?
Holt’s, located at 43 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, donates a portion of the proceeds from the drink to Cubs Charities. Drinking for a cause!
Yes, it is made with Big League chewing gum AND made in Chicago! Double bonus!
Hey Guys! Happy Hump Day!
I am starting to piece together my trip so I can give a full recap on my adventures. It’s a little hard because I did so much. Every day we did up to 5 things, so it’s hard to figure out what I should talk about and what I should skip.
My first stop was in Barcelona. We stayed for three nights and got to see much of the city. I loved how friendly the streets are and beautiful the city is. The roads even have large walkways for you to walk or bike. We got to do a lot of sightseeing, a little shopping and lots of eating of course. While it’s hard to include everything we did, below are some main things I would recommend to anyone venturing to Barcelona!
Basílica de la Sagrada Família.
This is a must see if you are in Barcelona, even if you are not Catholic, or even religious. They started building this church in 1882 and still have another decade to go to finish it. When we came up to the church, it really took my breath away. It has a presence with it, you can’t stop looking at it. The stone on the main entrance is so carved, it would take days to examine every single part of it. I tried to stare at it as much as I could, examine every single piece of artwork. Each statue and piece of art carries a story and represents a story in the Bible. It’s really amazing to see in person because I’ve seen it so many times on travel shows.
This is the front entrance of the church. It’s a massive building, so I could not load a picture of every single section.
Below are some close up shots of the carvings in the front entrance.
The inside is massive. The walls are lines with paintings and stained glass window, but the ceiling is immaculate.
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona
One of the excursions on the trip was dinner and a Flamenco show. I was not sure what to expect and I was not even sure I wanted to do it. I imagined a dull event space and crappy food and dancing on a far stage. I was so wrong! This place puts on such an amazing show, you should really go if you are in Barcelona. The venue is small and cozy, so you feel like you are part of the show. The food is buffett style and it was one of my favorite meals in Barcelona!
The Flamenco dancers moved with such passion and had great audience participation. Below you can see I filled my plate with local foods like paella, mussels, local fish and ceviche.
You cannot escape the work of Antoni Gaudi while you are in Barcelona. His touch is almost everywhere. One place to see some of his genius is at the Park Guell. It’s a massive landscape of plants and trails, with a main sitting area with mosaic tile seats to overlook the city. The upper level is all sand, so rain water can filter through it. Below are massive columns, holding up the massive structure.
Another one of Gaudi’s work we got to see in person was the La Predrera. It’s a building designed by Gaudi. Currently people still live in the building as it is used for apartments. The building is on a main street, but the center is hollow, so imagine living in an apartment that goes in a complete circle! We got to tour the inside of it, including an apartment used to show how people lived when it was first built. We also went to the top of the building to see the city views and the massive mosaic tile sculptures placed on top.
Literally one of the first things we did when we got to Barcelona was eat Tapa’s. And we didn’t stop! You can’t stop because almost every place is a tapa’s place. Bit of advice for you if you are dining in Barcelona.
1.Keep your personal stuff on your lap. We had a woman sitting next to us at a Tapa’s place have her purse stolen. Thieves are everywhere and they look for tourists.
2.Expect to be there a while. In Barcelona, there is not rushing through a meal. The service is slow, the cook the food fresh and nothing is taken to-go.
3.If you are in a rush, order whats under the glass. A lot of tapa’s places have menus as well as items under the glass on the counter. If you are in a hurry, get the stuff under the glass so you can eat it now. They cook everything fresh so if it’s not under the glass, they have to cook it. Pair that with very slow service and you might be there all day.
4.Lastly, check your bill. We had a waiter add extra items to our bill. A lot of times it’s an accident, but they also know we don’t use the euro so they could be trying to confuse us. Check your bill and your items.
One the trip we got to see a lot of Catholic churches, which was always a bucket list of mine to see the great Catholic Churches in Europe. One of them was on Montserrat Mountain. The church is on a mountain 5,000 feet up. The church holds the Virgin Madonna statue, which the church was built around. The sculpture was made around the 12th century. Montserrat is in an area in Spain called Catalonia, which has it’s own flag.
Going into the church, it’s amazing how massive it is and how much mountain side it overlooks. The church itself is built into a mountain. When we got there, we stood in a long line to see the Black Madonna. You pass through amazing artwork and sculptures only to get to the best statue of all. Everyone gets a few minutes to stay with the statue, which is behind glass. She does have one hand out that holds a small globe that you are able to touch.
After we saw the Madonna, we toured the area around the church and stayed for a few songs from the Boys Choir. During the choir singing you could see people visiting the Madonna. She is located at the center of the church, you can see her through a small window from your seat.
Above is the Black Madonna herself! Also you can see inside the church, some of the statues outside the church and the view from way up!
Below is a view from the top of Montserrat Mountain.
Looking back at all these places, the images really don’t do it justice. Everything was so crystal clear and beautiful and the vastness of the Montserrat was breath taking.
But, you will just have to go to Barcelona and see for yourselves! Sty tuned for more from my trip, next up… the French Riviera!
As you know we both LOVE Halloween and enjoy dressing up. Every year is different but regardless the year, we always want to stand outside the box and come up with a kick ass costume! Here is what we created this year!
If you don’t know who I am, SHAME ON YOU! I am Negan, from Walking Dead, and I am holding my dirty girl, Lucile. I will be honest, this year I just wasn’t feeling the festiveness for Halloween. Even though this is my holiday, I think being sick, being behind on getting decorations up and not pre-planning my costume 8 months in advance, like I usually do, threw me off my A-Game this year.
Regardless, my muse came through last night at 8p.m. when I was watching Walking Dead…I mean come on he is the nastiest, most sadistic villain to ever live! And even though all girls are obsessed with Harley Quinn, from Suicide Squad this year, Negan is the true owner of the bat! This Halloween I am rocking a beard and a dude facile and I am owning it; BOOM!
So I my wardrobe this halloween weekend was actually a very nice dress. I was in a wedding in Savannah over the weekend so I did not dress up. We did have a work Halloween party earlier in the week and I was able to dress like TV show character as well. We had a theme in our department to do American Horror Story. We prepared by having multiple characters from each season. Me and a co-worker were the killer nurses from the Roanoke season. Which were actually inspired by real people! See the true story here. So my costume was not as elaborate, if I was hitting the streets of Savannah Saturday night I might have dressed in a full out costume. Halloween is a HUGE deal in Savannah afterall.
Happy Halloween everyone!
Britt & Bianca
On my travels I ate a lot fo really unique dishes. I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could and apply it to meals I made at home. My most favorite meal on my trip was in the city of Rapallo at the Grand Hotel Bristol Resort. The resturant featured only a few items on the menu and we ordered whatever the waiter suggested. We got a beautiful ligurian style fish served over potatoes and topped with a lemon oil sauce and olives. I wanted to replicate it but with a more midwestern style, with white meat and potatoes. My boyfriend would not be eating a fish dish, so I had to add chicken. I also HAD to add truffle oil. I bought three different kinds of truffle oil while it Italy so I was so excited to start using them. With truffle oil, the best thing to do is not cook it a lot, cooking it can make it lose flavor. So for the potatoes, I add it very last.
I also wanted to make it a bit Halloween-y so with the green beans I decided to lay them on top like a spider. But you can arrange them however you like.
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 tbs garlic salt
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs oregano
3 large golden potatoes
3 pieces of thin sliced chicken breast, cut in half
½ pound fresh green beans, sliced in half
1 handful fresh baby spinach
2 tbs butter
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs black truffle oil
Salt, Pepper Olive oil
Pre heat oven to 375. Place potatoes in a small pot with water. Turn heat to high and boil for about 10 minutes. Potatoes should be parboiled, so you can pierce them with a fork but not too easily.
Meanwhile cut each thin sliced chicken beats in half to it makes 6 tender sizes. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs with flour, garlic salt, oregano and basil. Stir well. Break egg into a separate dish and mix well with a spoon. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg and then into the flour mixture. Place each chicken piece onto a large greased metal baking pan.
Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, so 20 minutes total or until cooked through.
In a large sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add in shallot and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove cooked potatoes from water and run under cold water to cool them Place the potatoes on cutting board, dump water and put small pot back on stove. Fill with chicken broth, spinach and then add in the cooked shallots and garlic from other sauce pan. Heat to medium high and add in the sliced green beans and 1 tbs truffle oil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice cooled potatoes into ¼ inch wide circles. In the same large pan you cooked the shallot and green beans, heat 2 tbs butter over medium-low heat. Pat sliced potatoes with loose bread crumbs. It does not have to coat them, just pat them well on each side. Add each potato to the frying pan and cook on each side for about 10 minutes on each side. When the potatoes are down, drizzle remaining truffle oil over potatoes and turn off heat.
Once potatoes are done, remove green beans from chicken broth mixture with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add heavy cream to broth and stir well. Turn off heat and stir until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Place 4-5 potato rounds on plate and then place 2-3 pieces of chicken on top. Place sliced green beans over chicken. Pour sauce over plate and serve immediately.
This past 4 weeks I have had 4 weddings! Yes, I am extremely overwhelmed and didn’t have much time to plan my outfits, nor could afford new dresses for each wedding soooo, instead I improvised with two of the weddings using only ONE dress. Here is how I made one dress look different for two separate occasions.
For my friend Evan’s Wedding in Sweden I decided to keep my attire sophisticated, yet warm, since it was like 40 degrees there. Therefore I opted for a long, off the shoulder, black dress that I actually purchased on Amazon. I love PattyBoytik’s clothing! The fabric is great quality and super soft! I have a few items I have purchased from them over the past year and love each piece!
To add to the outfit I paired my Kardashian Kollection leopard stilettos, for a little sex appeal, and accessorized with some faux diamond drop earrings, I purchased from Forever21 a long, long time ago.
Again, since it was rather chilly, in Sweden, I added my brand new H&M black suede biker jacket (which I purchased in Stockholm) and topped off the outfit with my Grandma’s black suede clutch, to match. The outfit was perfect for the location and style of the wedding!
Shop the Look:
Now here is where my creative improvising came in, with dress number two!
Now what’s awesome about this PattyBoytik’s off the shoulder black dress, is I was able to wear it to another wedding three weeks later in Wisconsin! So that people didn’t recognize the dress, I wore my pink tutu skirt over the dress.
It gives off a more romantic, kind of Audrey Hepburn look, rather than the original sleek and sexy look I went for, for the wedding in Sweden. Again, bought this skirt on Amazon and this outfit was a hit and the best part is no one knew I was wearing a skirt over a dress!
The month of world travel has come to an end, and Britt and I are so excited to share our details with you! For the last two weeks I have been traveling areas along the mediterranean sea. I flew to Barcelona and traveled through Spain, to France and ended my trip in Rome, Italy. The trip was a tour by Go Ahead Tours. The tour company plans your flights, your hotels, your daily excursions and some of your meals. You of course get free time everyday, and all of the excusrions are optional. If you want to do a grand tour and want all the planning taken care of, I highly recommend them. Our tour guide really made the trip and we got to do and see so many things each day.
I promise to give more specifics of each city I visited as I go through the hundreds of pictures I took. For now, here is a sneak peak of just a view unforgettable views and sites I got to see.
Me by the Sea at Vernazzo, a city along the Cinque Terra in Italy.
A view of Tuscany from the hills of San Gimignano
Me at the Monistrol de Montserrat in the area of Catalonia, Spain
A view of Principality of Monaco
Monaco was surreal for me. I always dreamed of going there and the views from anywhere you stood were exceptional. Everything was so beautiful, even the view from our hotel was picturesque.
The Statue of David in Florence, Italy
Balcony view from Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild in Monaco
Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City
I will go into more detail when I do my review of Rome, but St. Peter’s is just amazing. Each inch of that church has some amazing piece of artwork. While I got to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum, the inside of this church was just as stunning.
Much more to come on all these pictures and places. Stay tuned for what I did in each city and what you should see and what you should avoid in each amazing location.
If you haven’t noticed, this month is highly weighted on posts about both Bianca and my trip over seas! For this week’s Style of the Week post, I am showcasing two of my outfits I wore while being a tourist in Sweden. While preparing for Sweden, I did some research on what is fashionable there, but also kept the chilly weather, cobblestone streets and flexibility of my outfits in mind. Being able to layer pieces, be comfortable and be able to travel light by reusing certain pieces throughout my trip was the most important to me.
With that said, here are two of the outfits I wore while my mom and I explored downtown Stockholm.
For the first day in Sweden I wore my new plaid pullover shirt/dress that I recently purchased on Amazon. I then added my black cotton leggings. This shirt would also pair nice with jeans and tall boots FYI!
Since the mornings were pretty chilly I wore my new Aeropostle jacket. Believe it or not it was hard to find a warm olive coat, with a hood! I found it at the Pleasant Prarie Outlet Mall.
To finalize the outfit I wore my new boots, which were also from Amazon and super comfortable, as well as my Louis Vuitton purse. This outfit was perfect for a casual day on the town doing touristy things!
The second day I decided to add a little color by starting the outfit off with my new Ann Taylor mustard sweater. I added a pair of jeans and accessorized with my Target plaid blanket scarf and gold and beige Coach crossbody bag.
I added my Steve Madden riding boots and re-wore my Aeropostle jacket again.
While I started off the morning with a knitted headband, I ended the evening with a new black hat from H&M, after doing some shopping
This outfit was perfect for a day to night transition in Sweden! I enjoyed a lovely meal with my mom at Urban Deli.
As you may know, my mom and I recently went to Sweden for a friend’s wedding! We decided to make the trip a mini vacation and stay in Stockholm for 3 nights. While we were there we enjoyed some amazing restaurants and bars! Here are some of our top places and highly recommended!
This was our favorite restaurant! From the sound of it, I thought it Americanized chain restaurant, but I was wrong! While they have two locations, they are both in Sweden. The restaurant is attached to a hotel and is decorated very industrial. They pride themselves on organic and local food. They even have a market inside where you can by some of the same meats, and organic foods that they use in their delicious dishes! My mom and I opted to get a meat platter for 2 that you can share. It was melt in your mouth delicious! Their fries were also the best I have ever had! They were all super crispy and had an after taste of funnel cake batter!
When I was doing my research and pre-planning for the trip, this was the #1 place I had on my list for places to eat. The menu sounded amazing and the themed rooms sounded funky! Little did we know that this restaurant was literally right around the corner from our hotel lilla rådmannen. Don’t be fooled, by the cheap looking outside, the restaurant is super cool inside and the food is DELICIOUS!
I had the GRILLED DUCK BREAST with morels, pumpkin puree and Madeira gravy and my mom had the LAMB ASADO: Garlic- and herb spiced lamb grilled over an open charcoal fire which was served with garlic fried haricotverts and rouille and potato gratin. Both were amazing dishes and I would highly recommend this place, especially for a big group!
I can honestly admit, I have NEVER been to a bar made of ice! Nor, had drinks made with ice cups! This place is fun and very unique! It is located inside Nordic C Hotel.
You first have to pay a entrance fee, which includes one alcoholic drink per person. Then you don this thermal poncho and gloves because the bar is 7 degrees Celsius all year. Once you don your protective winter gear you can enter the bar.
The bar is set up with ice sculptures you can take pictures and believe it or not the bar has to be completely redone each summer! I had Moose Calf and my mom had the Hooded Crow. Both were amazing! Definitely a one in a lifetime experience!
The first full day my mom and I had in Stockholm we stopped here for lunch. Since it was a week day, it was full of business people! It was a great lunch place we just happened to stumble across and I am glad we did that! Even without reservations we got the best seat in the house by sitting at the window.
While we only stopped by for a couple glasses of wine, before the on and off boat tour, this was another great find!
Even though it was quite brisk on the water it had the cutest outdoor seating area that we just couldn’t pass up! The inside of the restaurant also seem very sophisticated and nice place for young adults to hang out!
We only stopped in there for a beer but they had a HUGE selection of beers on tap as well as in bottles! Great choice for a quick beer or to socialize with friends. They also have a entire menu where you can either eat at the bar or in the small dining room.
Only stopped in for a quick sweet bakery item! We got a warm chocolate croissant and coffee. It is off the water and is quite quaint. So many cute bakeries to choose from but this one was super convenient for us!
I will be honest, none of the restaurants or bars that I went to, were bad, what so ever! I had a lovely experience with the food I chose and the food I ate. The only thing that was interesting was that the servers do not expect tips so multi-tasking and urgency is not really an interest. Service isn’t bad it is just slow. With that said, Swedes like to enjoy dinner and therefore can be dragged out longer than traditional American dinner. Each place my mom and I went to it was 3 hours. Again, due to the knowledge that dinner is more of an intimate meeting time as well as the non-urgency of dining. Keep this in mind when planning ahead and if you are in a time crunch!
Other than that, the service and food was amazing and these places come highly recommended from my mom and I!