Sep 30, 2013

Three Things They Don't Tell You About Being an Army Brat...

Welcome to Monday, friends! I know, sighhh. I've got a case of 'em, too. Thankfully I've got a fun little pick-me-up for you today! Readers, meet Britt. Miss Britt is the writer behind One & Twenty, a blog devoted to all things beauty, wellness, and balance. Not only is Britt an inspirational soul, she's also well versed in the military lifestyle having grown up with a father in the Army and being stationed overseas. Growing up as an Army brat, she's got herself an interesting perspective about living life through the eyes of a child in a military community. Not growing up in an immediate military family (I married into one), I found her guest post quite fascinating (and pretty witty!). I hope you'll take a quick sec and get to know sweet Britt and her little slice of blog land this morning! Take it away, girl!
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... and why it's all worth it!

1. You're not given a military exemption for all aspects of regular life.
For example, you can never truly enjoy places like this...
via
... because you know how authentic italian food tastes, and this will never be enough.
Not only do you not get to enjoy affordable pseudo-cultural eating establishments in America, but you also risk being labelled a snob because of it, since no exception for your dad's European tour of duty and your subsequent exposure to that authenticity is made.


2. The ever-complicated dichotomy of your hatred of violence and your love for your military parent.


I mean, how can you NOT love this guy?
He's undeniably the coolest-looking 90s dad ever. No crazy patterned hammer pants, or intense shoulder pads, or anything! And he's standing tall in front of a sweet swiss lion sculpture. Can't get more boss than that.

And then the reality hits you: this swagmaster fought in a very serious war at one point. 
The teen/adult me loves contact sports but is not fond of anything more intense than that. Thinking of all the lives sacrificed under one banner or another just puts me in a weird gray area that I try not to think of when I'm hanging out with the best man ever created.

3. There are many other Army brats, thereby taking away your "special" card.
At first, it's cool when you meet another military child because you get to talk about your experiences, and it's nice that someone "gets" you. But with the introduction of every new Army brat, your cool points exponentially decrease.
Now, you're not the only one in your class who has seen amazing stuff like this...


... or done awesome stuff like this...


So now there's some other kid around peddling your merchandise, and you're forced to find other things that make you unique. Darn you, American military, and your attractive recruitment policies for stealing my thunder and forcing me to be my own individual.

But all of these things are small prices to pay for what you gain as an Army brat.
A love for travel, a love for culture, and a love for trying new things are just some of the vast and varied benefits of the lifestyle.

 Even beyond this, the one thing that makes being an Army brat completely worth it is the strengthened bond between yourself and your family. Between having to accept that your father may never come back, having to navigate new places and new people constantly, and learning how to make the most of every moment you have together, you learn how important that reliable and unbreakable bond truly is.
I love being a military child, and most importantly, I love being part of a military family.


Britt
Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Instagram

Sep 27, 2013

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Shannon & Jessica

Hello from Deutschland, my friends! That's right, I'm back in the land of beer and sausages after a wonderful 3 week visit back to the states. Since that was likely to be my last visit home, now officially starts the countdown until we're back in America for good. A little over 8 months to go! I'm excited and not excited about the whole thing. Something I'll delve into a little more in a future post, I'm sure. As for today, I'm pretty pumped. I finally get to wrap my arms around my handsome hubby this afternoon! He's been in Mississippi for the last 3 weeks for an AF training course and will be arriving back to Germany in just a few short hours! Even though this separation was voluntary on both our parts, I've totally missed having his calming voice around. And seeing his good-looking face each day, but that's a given. :) In addition to being reunited with my love, we've also got some fun German things planned for the weekend! VOLKSFEST HERE WE COME! In case you've got no clue what I'm talking about, think Oktoberfest, but not in Munich. Cannstatter Volksfest is Oktoberfest's smaller counterpart, but it's about 2.5 hours closer to us than driving all the way to Munich, so we're giving it a go this year. From what we've heard, it's just as fun as Oktoberfest, only less touristy. I'm excited to see how it'll compare to our awesome experience at Oktoberfest last year. I'm also stoked to be able to rock my dirndl one last time. Ahhh, bittersweet!

I hope each of you have something exciting planned for your last September weekend! And to start it off with a bang, how about getting to know these two sweet bloggers below and link-up your own blog to the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop?! No better way to show off your space while meeting new-to-you bloggers! 
Cheers to a lovely Friday, dears!

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I'm so happy to share another expat to Germany with you today! Friends, meet Shannon, the brains behind the exciting travel & lifestyle blog, Beginnings in Bayern. Shannon is a native Georgia girl (who speaks fluent German and French) and Army wife transplanted to Bavaria with her loving husband. Shannon has quite the traveling background, as is evident by the mounds of wonderful travel posts floating around on her blog. You'll also find a few tasty recipe posts, tips on expat living, and peeks into everyday life in Germany. I love reading about her fun outings around Southern Germany! Head on over and get to know Shannon today. She's got lots of great things to share with blog world!

Shannon's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:



This sweet lady is Jessica- native Ottawan, former expat, and creative blogger writing over at This Analog Adventure. Jessica is a real photography enthusiast, having quite the collection of film cameras and the affinity for taking some pretty outstanding photographs. I am constantly fawning over her beautifully composed posts like this and this. She's really got an eye for telling a story through photos! Also on her blog you'll find lots of adorable outfit posts and a fun link-up called Photography Friday Blog Hop. Make sure you stop by and get acquainted with Miss Jessica. I dare you not to fall in love with her artful soul!

Jessica's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:


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Welcome to the
FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP!
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
2| Link up your blog's homepage or Bloglovin' page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info! 

Grab a button and share the blog hop love!
We Took the Road Less Traveled
Tweet about this blog hop!

Sep 26, 2013

What's In My Make-Up Bag?



Supporting Items:
DDF Amplifying Elixer (my only major splurge)
Simple Kind To Skin Facial Cleansing Wipes (as daily makeup remover wipes)

I've gotten a few emails asking what kinds of makeup and skincare products I use while traveling, so I thought I'd give you guys a quick round-up of everything I put on my face each morning! Well, not each morning. Let's be honest, I don't leave the house everyday, so I'm not gonna makeup myself up for a day spent behind a computer screen. Waste not, want not. I'm also a no frills kind of girl, so my makeup bag is pretty basic (and affordable, I like to think I've got a good mix of splurge vs budget-friendly products). I love neutral colors and I'm not a huge fan of bright lip colors or anything too flashy. Staying classic is a look I always gravitate to (a well-executed smokey eye is almost always flattering). As for traveling? The majority of these products come along for the ride. I do downsize to the travel-size versions of my face moisturizer and amplifying elixir. And I guess I should also mention why there's a big haul of Mary Kay brand items in my makeup bag. My mom's an MK consultant! A very awesome one, at that. She's like my little makeup fairy momma! I also really, really love and stand by the products I use (and have been using for years) from the Mary Kay collection. If you haven't tried their foundations or primers, give my mom a call! They're fabulous and work well for multiple skin types. I also swear by their mineral eye shadows. Use the primer in combination with the mineral shadows and your eyes will look fierce all day long! And those oil blotting sheets? Lifesavers after long flights and hot, muggy days out exploring and sight-seeing.

OH! And because so many people have flattered the pants off of me asking how I get my hair to cooperate on our travels (for real, you guys are too sweet to me), I'm going to vlog all my best hair secrets for you soon! HINT: they're not big secrets, so keep those expectations low. Just saying. ;) Be on the lookout for a hair vlog soon! 
Happy Thursday, everyone!

Sep 23, 2013

The Athenian Coast & Cape Sounion


One of the most unique parts of our visit to Athens was the opportunity to drive along the Athenian coast to visit Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. We had the option after roaming around the Acropolis to shop on the Plaka (which fortunately we also got to do later) and visit a few history museums, but being a non-museum goer (D and I only enjoy a few select museums, we're not big history buffs) we chose to go see another part of the extended city and enjoy some time by the sea. The drive from Athens to Cape Sounion was a little over an hour long. Normally, that would have deterred us from going, but the views along the coastline drive were too gorgeous to miss. While the rainclouds still lingered around, we were still able to get a good feel for Athenian beach life. From the numerous opulent homes resorts we passed on our drive, it's safe to say the economy is alive and kickin', at least where coastal life is concerned.

As we got closer to the Cape, we could see the Temple of Poseidon standing high atop a cliff. It was as if the temple commanded over the entire cape, sea, and villages below. Very appropriate for a temple dedicated to the god of the sea. We drove up a winding road to the cliff where the temple was perched to find that not a single soul was there. Just one woman in a tiny hut selling entrance tickets for 2 euro. You can imagine my excitement when I realized I was going to be able to experience this ancient temple in all its glory without a gaggle of tourists ruining photos. It was like a blogger's dream! We spent about 45 minutes taking it all in...the mythical temple, the gorgeous sea views, the tiny partridges that were running willy-nilly across the rocks. I couldn't have been happier that we chose to escape the hustle and bustle of Athens to see a bit of history by the sea.

You can find more from our Athens cruise stop here and here.

Sep 20, 2013

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Rachel & Kayli

I'm not quite sure how it's already Friday again, but I'm so happy it is! First of all, can I just quickly tell you guys how over-the-moon with warm fuzzies I am from all of your comments on my reader appreciation post yesterday? I was supposed to be thanking YOU for your continued support and readership and there you all go being super sweet and thanking ME for writing. I am constantly floored by you guys and this morning, I'm doubly thankful I started this blog. It's like the pick-me-up of all pick-me-ups!

In addition to having my cup totally overflowing, today, I get to have a little blate with one of my dearest blog and in real life friends, Kristin! Kristin and I have been blog friends and soul sisters for a while now and I was finally lucky enough to meet her in real life when I visited home last February. As soon as I mentioned that I was heading back to the states this month, Kristin and I started scheming how we could sneak in another quick meet-up during my visit. Thankfully the timing worked out and I'll be on my way to Virginia this morning! Yay for blog friends turned real life friends! Always such a blessing!

So, while I'm off enjoying some much needed girl time drinking tea and catching up, I hope you'll check out the two amazing bloggers below (these gals are the bee's knees, I tell ya) and link up your own blog to the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop! And if you haven't entered to win the $50 PayPal cash in my reader appreciation giveaway yet, make sure you do that, too! Best wishes for a perfect Friday, everyone!

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This girl hardly needs an introduction because she's already a rockstar in blog world, but I'll help you get acquainted anyway. Rachel, of the wanderlust-inducing travel & lifestyle blog, Postcards From Rachel, is not only a sweetheart, but really wonderful at creating an inviting place for travel lovers on the internet. Over on her blog, you can get entranced by her stunning travel photos, find lots of tips and tricks for planning your own adventure, and peeks into her life as a wife and fur-mom to two adorable doggies. Rachel is absolutely one of my favorites, so don't miss out on getting to know this blog world gem!

Rachel's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:


This knockout above is the lovely Kayli of the fun-loving new blog Kayli Wanders! Kayli just started blogging the beginning of the summer and she's already grown an amazing following! Over on her little slice of the interwebs you'll find lots of great travel posts (I always love a good travel post!), beauty & welness tips, and a look into her life as a college student in Phoenix, Arizona. I've never been to Arizona, so I'm always looking forward to her local love posts. Head on over and give Kayli a big blogger WELCOME! She's one to watch!

Kayli's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:

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Welcome to the
FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP!
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
2| Link up your blog's homepage or Bloglovin' page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info! 

Grab a button and share the blog hop love!
We Took the Road Less Traveled
Tweet about this blog hop!

Sep 19, 2013

To You, My Loyal Readers

I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to stick to one particular activity for too long. Growing up, I cycled through ballet, tap, tumbling, cheerleading, piano playing, basketball, chorus, and softball...never sticking with one extracurricular for longer than 3 or 4 years. I'm obviously a bit of a tumbleweed. As soon as I'd get the hang of one sport (and by hang I mean not sitting on the bench the whole game), I'd change my mind and want to try something else. What can I say? I bore easily. But I also have the need to keep testing myself. Probably why I'm keen on trying new things. Enter: blog world. I started reading blogs just as D was about to go off on his first deployment in 2010. I had this half-brained plan that I was going to write my own blog chronicling our life during a deployment...but, life ended up handing me other plans and my career jumped to the forefront, keeping me much busier than any blog ever could. After D returned from duty, we got orders to Germany and I began thinking about blogging again. I was still reading blogs (mostly military wife blogs at the time) and the challenge of writing about my life still intrigued me. So, upon planning our move abroad and quitting my full-time job, I finally dove into blog world head first.

In the beginning, blogging was just a way for me to keep our family and friends updated on our move to Germany. Today, while it still serves its original purpose, my blog has grown into so much more than I could have ever dreamed for it to become. Being a serial "quitter", as I've been known to call myself, I always figured this blogging thing wouldn't last long. I'd write and share photos for a few months, a year maybe, but it wasn't something I saw myself committing to everyday...or even molding into a business. In fact, I never knew a career or business could be a product of blogging. That thought seemed so foreign to me. Sometime after a year writing whenever I felt like it or whenever I had something fun to share, I got this twinge of inspiration to kick this blogging thing into high gear. Last September, I began networking with other bloggers and really started feeling embraced by blog world. That just fueled my fire to want to write and share on a bigger scale. What was once a fleeting hobby was slowly turning into something I was passionate about doing. All those other sports and extracurricular activities I'd tried sporadically throughout childhood hardly compared to the way blogging made me feel. And for once in my life, I was actually GOOD at the activity I was doing. You guys don't want to see me do a pirouette or play 1st base. It ain't pretty. But blogging, I feel comfortable with. I'm safe with. I'm at home here amongst the computer keys and HTML coding. And it's not because I write like Hemingway. Definitely not. It's because of all of you, my amazing, loyal, fun-loving, wanderlusting readers.

This whole blogging thing is funny, isn't it? Some random person sits behind a computer screen each day, writing about their life and whatever else pops into their mind. Everyday, we grab our cups of coffee, power on our desktops, and click around the blog world reading mere fractions of their lives, hoping to connect with them in some small way. We watch as voices evolve, families expand, vacations are taken, love ones are lost, careers are started, and relationships blossom...all the while becoming invested in the life of an individual we've never met, but have somehow grown to love. 

I don't know how or why, but you guys keep coming back to this little space of mine each week. I am humbled every morning as I open my emails to see another sweet message from someone I've never met, telling me how much they enjoy my blog and how they can't wait to read more. These are emails I never thought I'd be getting, but have become such a blessing to my life. As overwhelming as this blogging lifestyle can get at times, it's something I don't think I could ever tire of. Sure, there are days I get frustrated and want to throw in the towel, but then I see a boost in pageviews or a few new comments from thoughtful readers and all those frustrations fall to the wayside again. I am so grateful to each and every one of you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read about my own. Some days I'm in awe of the community I'm a part of and the connections I've made, all a product of sharing my heart, our travels, and bits and pieces of the things that make me who I am. You've helped keep me engaged and busy on those days where life seems lonely across the pond from all my family and friends. You've celebrated when I've celebrated. You've wandered where I've wandered (virtually counts, as far as I'm concerned). You've encourgaged me when encouragment was lacking. And you've embraced me into a world full of inspiring, like-minded individuals who continue to bless my heart on a daily basis. 

Needless to say, blogging has become an integral and visceral part of me. Believe me, my family is just as shocked as I am. Finally, an activity I couldn't dream of quitting! It's true, I can't quit you people. None of this would be half as fun if it wasn't for each of you. You guys give me the motivation and excitement to keep pressing publish each morning. There aren't quite enough words in the world to even being telling you how thankful I am to have been embraced by this community and to have made so many long lasting friendships through something so wacky and wonderful as the world of blogging. While this hardly scratches the surface of thankfulness in my heart, I want to give you, my faithful readers, a chance to win a little token of my gratitude. I so wish I had the means to give a gift to each and every one of you, but alas, I am not Oprah. Maybe if you guys stick around and spread the word, someday I'll be the next Oprah?! See the things you make me dream about? Today, as I a sit here and revel in my blog-fueled happiness, I hope you'll take a quick second and enter the simple Rafflecopter below. I chose to give you the chance to win some PayPal cash so all my expat friends out there could get in on the fun, too! I'm gonna need Target to get on that whole shipping internationally thing, otherwise, this giveaway could have been way cooler. But, cash works, right? I thought so...now get to entering!

  And as always, thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, and thank you for caring enough to keep on clicking on We Took the Road Less Traveled each day. I only hope this little creative space of mine continues to thrive and be a fun place that inspires a healthy dose of love and wanderlust in each of you. I big puffy heart love you all!

Sep 17, 2013

Athens: The Acropolis


After driving around Athens and getting a quick feel for the city, we made our way up to the attraction I'd been waiting all cruise to see...The Acropolis. We could see Acropolis Hill from the Temple of Zeus and as we drove by Panathenaic Stadium, but nothing compares to walking up its cobblestone streets and standing before the Parthenon with your own two feet. I was nothing short of awe-struck as I stood among such history, gazing out over the entire city of Athens with views of Lycabettus Hill in the distance. I kept flipping back to my college art history class in my mind, trying to wrap my brain around all the things I was finally seeing after studying them so intently many years ago. I've talked about those "pinch me" moments I've experienced in various other cities we've visited around Europe. Well, you can go ahead add the Acropolis to that list. Even the cloudy skies and sporadic rain drizzles couldn't wipe the smile off my face. After D and I walked around the Acropolis for about an hour, getting wind-blown and blissed out on ancient Greek architecture, we made our way back down the hill to start the next leg of our Athenian tour. Coming soon...a drive along the Athenian coast and the wonders of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion!

[Linking up with Bonnie & Belinda for Travel Tuesdays!]
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