Thursday, October 18, 2018

Our Honeymoon: Croatia

Croatia was the final place we went on our honeymoon, and if it weren't for some good pals of ours, we wouldn't have even had it on our radar. Austin and I both have friends who had been to Croatia and said we had to go. They were right.

Since tickets are less expensive to hop around once you've crossed the ocean, we took advantage of that (and being able to take time away from work) and spent a few days in Croatia at the end of our trip. It was the perfect low-key way to end the most eventful month of our lives!

Part of the reason Croatia was a little slower paced was due to the time of year we went. If we had gone even a month earlier, that certainly wouldn't have been the case. But the weather was so beautiful even as they were beginning to enter the off-season in Split.

AirBnBs were super affordable in Split, so we stayed in a gorgeous space that overlooked the old town. Above was the view from our bedroom. Split has been around since the 2nd or 3rd century BC, and it was so fun to see how all of the rich history mixed in with a modern way of living.

We spent time exploring the city and ate our weight in seafood. (Can you blame us?!)

One afternoon we climbed an old bell tower and the views were incredible. Best $3 we've ever spent.

You can also tell we take ourselves very seriously. ūüėú

We spent a lot of our time in Split just being present and admiring the views and the scenery. It did get pretty chilly after dark, though, so we typically retreated to our AirBnB at that point. One day (photos below) we explored the Fortress of Klis thanks to a recommendation from my friends Jenn and Michelle. It was overwhelming how large it was and to consider its ancient history! Fun fact for today's time: quite a bit of Game of Thrones was filmed here, so they had some photos showing how the set designer transformed what we were seeing in real life to what appeared on-screen. It was really fascinating for us especially considering Austin's job!

This final photo was actually snapped in Chicago on our way home (we had a bit of a layover and were able to see Austin's sister while we were there!), but I loved it too much to not include it. 

Thanks for letting me reflect on our honeymoon this week on the blog! It's full of a lot of sweet memories for us, so I'm feeling very nostalgic and sappy as we head toward our first anniversary. We're heading to NYC tomorrow to celebrate, and I'm really looking forward to making some new cherished memories together.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Our Honeymoon: Paris

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted about the first part of our honeymoon which was a quick, 3-day stopover in Iceland. You can see it here if you haven't already!

Funnily enough, Austin and I planned our honeymoon around Paris and just kind of hung out once we got there. If you're considering international travel after a big life event (like getting married!), know that a bigger city will present different challenges than a more remote area. I had spent some time in Paris before and Austin had been, but hadn't really been acquainted with it to the same level. There were times we felt pressure (from nobody but ourselves!) to do all the things and see every single spots. After all, certain places are called "must-see" for a reason, right?!

What we ended up doing was taking it pretty easy and doing a bit of a deeper dive in Montmartre, which is the neighborhood we stayed in, than trying to see everything. Looking back, I wouldn't change how we did Paris. And I would absolutely do it again (like, tomorrow, if you're reading this fairy godmother).

C'est tout. P.S. Did you know I have a minor in French from college? Don't ask me to speak French with you because I'm rusty and I've forgotten so much. ūüėā Paris is a dreamy place and I'm feeling so nostalgic looking back on these photos! I'll be back tomorrow to share the final leg of our honeymoon trip — Croatia! xo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Our Honeymoon: Iceland

In less than a week, Austin and I will be married for a whole entire year! It's hard to believe it's been almost 365 days since we said "I do", and in some ways, it feels like much longer ago. In other ways, I feel like we're still just getting the hang of married life. It's a funny season where we live together and share the entirety of our lives, and yet I still need to be reminded sometimes if he's seen a certain movie or likes a certain vegetable.

It makes me even more excited for the future — to get to know each other better, to communicate more effortlessly and to grow into ideas and experiences together. But in reminiscing about the future, I realized there were some pretty cool events from our past that I haven't shared on here! So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to share some photos from our honeymoon this week.

Thanks to Austin's excellent traveling planning skills, we were able to spend a few days in Iceland, Paris and Croatia following our wedding. In this post, I'm going to share our highlights from Iceland.

One thing a friend of mine recommended was to put a buffer day between our wedding and international travel, and hands down, it's one of the best things we did for ourselves. Our wedding was on a Saturday, and looking back on it, the Sunday following was incredibly special because we weren't rushing to the airport or prepping to sit on a plane for 10+ hours. We had the chance to be still, take it all in and even see some of our out-of-town friends and family who had flown in for our big day. If you're planning an international honeymoon (or maybe any honeymoon!), that advice served us well and I would pass it on to you.

We landed in Iceland at about 4 a.m. Iceland time, before the sun rose, completely unaware of what world we were about to glimpse in no time at all. Austin and I spent a couple hours — just enough time for a quick coffee — in Reykjav√≠k before heading out of town to see the countryside.

We had a rental car for the few days we were in Iceland, and it was the perfect way to see part of the country. The landscape changes often and driving through it is a great way to see the different elements it holds — all beautiful, and I often said it felt like we were on Mars!

The above images are from Gullfoss, a waterfall in Iceland, and saying photos don't do it justice would be an understatement. (Photos don't do anything we saw in Iceland justice, to be honest). Most of what we saw is so vast — it's the type of place that just begs for you to gaze at the land and consider your own smallness. Below is part of the hotel we stayed at in Gullfoss; we ended up dropping off our bags and walking to the waterfall from there. Then, we rushed back inside to warm up over an early dinner.

The next waterfall we saw (above images) was Sk√≥gafoss. It was a little more crowded than Gullfoss, but part of it could have been the time of day we went. On the side of this waterfall was a huge staircase, so you could climb it and see different angles of the natural phenomenon. 

If you know much about Iceland or were on Instagram circa 2015, you may be familiar with Sólheimasandur. It's a US Navy plane that ran out of fuel and crashed on the black sand beach, left abandoned for over 40 years. Austin and I didn't prioritize seeing this site, but he had a general idea of where it was and on our way to stay in Vík, we drove by a parking lot that he figured was for Sólheimasandur. Since everything in Iceland is gorgeous, we figured whatever this parking lot was for was worth our time, so we hopped out of the car after a light breakfast.

We ended up walking forEVER, but it was one of those situations where we had walked enough that I wasn't about to turn around and not see whatever was at the end of this little path we were following. Since our plans for that day weren't to hike to a demolished airplane I was wearing boots with a low heel and probably not enough layers for the crazy wind. Austin was better prepared in attire, but once we got to wifi that evening we discovered we'd walked 2.5 miles each way since the country had closed off the closer access point that used to exist there. We laughed so hard about this little "detour", but ultimately, it was a pretty cool thing to see and the unknown length of the hike made it so memorable.

Pro tip: Marry a photographer! Austin and I had so much fun swapping our camera back and forth throughout this trip.

Our last evening in Iceland was spent going grocery shopping and making pasta in the coziest little cabin on the black sand beach, on high alert for the northern lights. We saw the beginning of the shapes forming in the sky, but we didn't see colors as vibrant as we'd hoped. Still, it was both absurd and amazing to see the earth do something you haven't yet witnessed. It was another reminder of how tiny we are — to me, a reassurance in a Creator whose reach is unfathomable.

Thanks for reading if you've made it this far! I'll be sharing photos from the other segments of our trip throughout the week, so check back if you're curious about Paris or Croatia. ✨

Friday, October 12, 2018

Have You Tried the 'Capsule Wardrobe' Thing?

Have you guys seen the phrase "cooler on the internet"? Maybe it's popped up on a keychain or in the Instagram bio of someone you follow. It's kind of a funny way to admit the difference between "internet life", e.g., the things we show our online communities vs. real life, e.g., the dishes from last night's dinner that are still sitting in the sink. There are all sorts of things that come up as "cooler on the internet", or even "talked about on the internet", that don't seem to be as big of a deal in real life.

This brings me to capsule wardrobes. A lot of bloggers I follow have been talking about reducing their wardrobe for certain seasons or occasions. There are a lot of different approaches to building a capsule wardrobe, and I've even seen some bloggers call it a 2-week capsule wardrobe when they're packing for vacation. I don't think this is 100% the idea behind a capsule wardrobe, but I suppose they are treating the clothes they choose with intention, and in that sense, they're on the right track.

Interestingly, the term "capsule wardrobe" was coined in the 1970's by a London woman, according to Wikipedia. Then, the article says, in 1985 Donna Karan came out with a line of 7 "easy pieces" for a woman to incorporate into her daily life. At the time, Karan's philosophy was that women had become routine at everyday tasks like putting dinner on the table, and she wanted to empower them to approach style with the same confidence and determination.
Mood board details: 1, 2, 3, 4

Then, we all know how Steve Jobs wore his signature turtleneck, jeans and sneakers combo every day. Other successful uniform-touters like Zuckerberg and Obama say they save time — and mental energy — by not having to make so many decisions when they look at their closet.

And, of course, there are other benefits: sustainability, cost savings, less clutter.

All that being said, the arguments on the internet are widespread and pretty convincing for why we should all be ditching our extra stuff. From a lot of the capsules I've seen, this way of dressing often leads people to determine a single palette of mostly neutrals — which makes sense, easier to mix and match. (Except, shoutout to Elsie Larson for keeping her capsule fresh with some serious patterns in the dress category) I have to be honest and say I enjoy adding color and random patterns into my wardrobe, so I've felt like a capsule wardrobe might limit my enjoyment for dressing myself.

My fall/winter wardrobe is far, far less extensive than my spring/summer wardrobe, and I tend to view the four seasons as two collective "cold times" and "hot times". So, my "cold time" wardrobe needs some updating — and some decluttering. Maybe this post is the inspiration I needed to try out a capsule?

I make no promises.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk

I love my hometown. Really, the only bad thing about it is that we don't have a Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's is insane because their prices are good AND they come out with crazy seasonal products that tempt me to drive all the way to Kansas City to get my hands on 'em. I've never gone to KC just for Trader Joe's (yet), but I admit it's typically the last of my itinerary before heading home.

TJ's has some crazy autumnal products, including fall harvest salsa and pumpkin pita crisps, but the one that caught my eye the most was the pumpkin spice almond beverage. I dreamed of a perfect world, a world where my coffee was supported with just the right hint of a sweet and spiced nondairy creamer. I thought, oh my. Think of all the savory, seasonal overnight oats I could create!

But then I remembered I'd have to drive 3 hours to get it.

So, I solved my own problem (and potentially yours, too!) with this recipe. And, bonus! Tomorrow is National Coffee Day, so if you don't have plans... Now you do. :)

Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk

- 2 cups almond milk (you can make your own or use store bought)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin purée
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Sweeten to taste. I added about 1/2 tbsp maple syrup.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.

I'm really happy with how easy and sweet this recipe turned out — I think it'll be a go-to for me each year! Would you add it to coffee or just chug it on its own?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

We Joined a CSA!

Well, I guess this announcement is a little late, but Austin and I have been part of a CSA this year through some of our local friends who have a farm! Dustin and Lacy Stewart manage a number of things, and somehow, they all turn out to be amazing. Our CSA experience has been no different. Dustin and Lacy call their farm the Stewart Settlement, and they have a beautiful piece of property in Pleasant Hope, MO, where they've even built a wedding/event venue and a couple of AirBnB's. Check out Lacy's blog for more insight into the type of people they are — I think you'll like 'em.

I say this announcement is a little late because we're already halfway through our CSA season! We started back in April, and we'll be receiving farm-fresh goodies through November. If you don't know what a CSA is, let me back up. It stands for community-supported agriculture, and the way it works is that you pay a farmer upfront to receive a share of their crops throughout the season. CSAs are designed to support both the farmer and the consumer — having customers pay upfront for a share of crops often allows farmers to have the capitol they need to buy seeds, meal and anything else they might need to get the heavy-duty growing season started. In exchange, customers receive a crop share (often on a weekly harvest day) and an opportunity to get a closer look at where their food comes from.

Each Tuesday, I love the surprise of going to pick up the goodies and seeing what we'll get to eat that week! This summer we've been getting a lot of yummy tomatoes and cucumbers, kale and green beans. It varies a lot, so we don't get the same exact things every week, and I'm always super excited when we get a big, fresh bunch of basil. I've loved getting to visit the farm and seeing where our food comes from, and it means a lot to us to know we're supporting a small business with our dollar. Honestly, before I started writing for FEAST magazine, I didn't think too much about what I ate or where it came from. Now, I consider where my food is produced. The way the farming and grocery industry works means a lot of veggies I could buy in the store might be organic, but they could have been grown in Mexico or California and come a long way on a truck. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to get those same foods from friends down the road.

All that to say, joining a CSA has been really good for Austin and me. We've been stretched in the kitchen (in a good way!), but we still have no idea what to do with fennel. Ha!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Grace of Nostalgia

Above: An oldie but a goodie by Beth Solano

I've been thinking about nostalgia lately and some of its benefits. Namely, how it has this weird ability to infuse our memories with grace. Austin and I haven't even been married a year yet, but frolicking through this field for our "save the date" photos already feels like a lifetime ago. The reality of that day was me wearing the wrong shoes, fidgeting with my dress, and probably bickering with my sweet fiancé about something or other (hey, we're all human). Now, looking back, all I see are giggles. I'm beaming remembering the silly outtakes that can only come from having one of your best friends take your photo, and the unexpected blessing of having a second pair of shoes in my messy car. Grace. Love. Joy. The stuff that was there all along, if only camouflaged by bug bites and itchy ankles. Here's to enjoying the photos getting older and the memories getting good-er.