Oct 30, 2013

Nove, Italy: Ceramic Shopping Heaven


During my fabulous Italian Blate with my dear friend Jess, we made a trip to Nove to do what all 20-something gals do while traveling...SHOP! Nove is a small town in Northern Italy known for its amazing ceramics. Some of the world's best-loved kitchenware sellers get their goods from different ceramic houses all around Nove. In fact, I scored myself the cutest honey pot normally sold in Williams-Sonoma stores at a price point of $20...for 6 euro! This lace-imprinted coffee mug is sold for $35 a pop at Arte Italica online...I snagged it for 4 euro. Same for this Arte Italica bowl...10 euros for me, $34 for you! Nuts, right? You can even find the adorable piggy banks made for Tiffany's (normally $120 each) selling for 15 euro in Nove. You're practically stealing it off the shelf at those prices. I'm really kicking myself now for not getting one of those piggies! And check out all the fiesta ware, ladies! Every color you could think of...wholesale...right there at your fingertips. I'd throw a fiesta just to have an excuse to buy those beauties! I also spent a few euro on some gorgeous pasta serving bowls and a couple of those cute chicken pitchers to give to my mom & mother-in-law.


Needless to say, this quaint Italian town is a ceramic goldmine and should be frequented by every kitchenware loving gal this side of the Atlantic Ocean. There are many treasures to behold in Italy, my friends!

Oct 28, 2013

Qsine: The Most Fun Meal on the High Seas


I've meaning to share this meal with you guys...because it was a doosie. A doosie in the most delicious sense of the word. This was HANDS DOWN the best meal we ate during our 11-day sailing on the Celebrity Reflection last May. Qsine is a fairly new specialty restaurant aboard a handful of the Celebrity fleet of vessels. This fusion-esque restaurant prides itself on taking each of its patrons on a culinary journey to the farthest corners of the world in mouthwatering spoonfuls. While wandering around the ship on our first afternoon aboard, we came across the menu for Qsine and knew we had to try it out. The first point that drew us in? You order on iPads! We've been to a few restaurants in Germany where you order via iPad and they've all been spectacular, so we knew we were in for a treat with Qsine. We set our reservation for the night we departed the port in Istanbul and waited patiently for our chance for culinary wonderment.

Upon arriving for our reserved seating time, we were greeted by another courteous Celebrity staff member (they seriously have the nicest staff) and were led to our table, right beside a large window. We couldn't have been given a more perfect table because as we sipped our sangria, we watched the sun sink behind the waves. Hello, romance! At the start of our meal, our lively waiter explained exactly how dinner at Qsine would work. We could choose anything from the iPad menu and boom, it would be table-side in a few short minutes. D and I dove into that menu with eyes bigger than our stomaches and ordered 5 different treats from their fascinating selection of dishes from all around the world. We tried M's Favorite (this giant Pandora's box of small bites like Goat Cheese Cigars, Hummus, Lamb Chops, and Eggplant Imam Biyaldi), the Sushi Lollipops (with yummy wasabi mayo), the Slider Party (make your own Angus beef sliders with fun garnishes), the Chinese X Martini (featuring Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Shrimp  Beef & Pepper in Black Bean Sauce, Sweet & Sour Pork, Stir-Fry Veggies, and Sticky Rice), and the Painters Mignon (Filet Mignon with sides of Garlic Mash, Mac & Cheese, Creamed Spinach, and Au Jus sauce). Oh and that's not all...we also ordered dessert from this fun flip cube type thing. Decorate your own cupcakes, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pops, and a Chocolate Tombstone the length of my forearm...need I say more?! 

I'm drooling all over my keyboard.

 To say this place is a delight would be a total understatement. With each dish that rolled out from the kitchen, D and I would squeal with excitement at the thought of what new flavor explosion we were about to experience. Each item was so thoughtfully cultivated and beautifully executed that it felt like we were dining in some scientist's brilliant art-deco lounge. A total meal for the senses if I ever ate one. D and I left absolutely STUFFED to the gills, but happy as clams. If you ever have the chance to sail with Celebrity, run--don't walk, and snag a reservation at Qsine. Your mouth will thank you!

Qsine || Now aboard the Celebrity Reflection, Eclipse, Millennium, Infinity, Silhouette, and Summit. || Additional $45 fee per person (worth it!!) || Reservations suggested.

Oct 26, 2013

Coffee Talk 2.0


  • I have to share this first thing because, well, I have never laughed harder in my life than watching this 5 minute video that Ellen put together. Ellen, god love her. She's a hilarious genius. And the guy in the video? I feel sorry for whatever girl ends up marrying him. He's obviously not the protective type, throwing that girl in front of him on NUMEROUS occasions. If he said "You just STOP IT!" one more time, I think I would have peed my pants. Bless his scaredy cat heart. (Also, what a friggin' cool Halloween maze, Universal! KUDOS!)
  • I've cried at the series finale of 3 shows (and I'm honestly still in denial that they're over): One Tree Hill, Friends, & The OC. But I cry EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Parenthood.
  • Forever 21 overwhelms the crap out of me. So much stuff. Also, I think I'm getting too old to shop there. So, that settles that.
  • I made this recipe for dinner last week. Mind=blown. I added in sliced mushrooms and a touch of garlic. This one's a keeper.
  • I've got 20/15 vision. It's kind of my thing...perfect vision. One time the optometrist on base told me he wished he could send a pair of my eyes to every solider down range. I wish I could, too.
  • This might be a weird thing to say, but I love the smell of dog feet. They're like tiny, soft corn chips. I love Tucker-Bear's corn chip paws.
  • According to this test, my personality most matches the state of Georgia. Not sure why I'd ever need to know this, but now if anyone asks, I can tell them. Must be all that Southern dreamin' I do. 
  • I keep napkins, receipts, brochures, wristbands, business cards, and ticket stubs from almost everywhere we travel. If there is a decorative flag in our cheese plate, that baby's coming home with me.
  • If you could have dinner with one celebrity, dead or alive, who would you dine with? Me? Kate Middleton (so I could ask her how she got so fabulous and why she stole my hair?) or James McAvoy (so he could say things to me in his sexy Scottish accent).
  • I hate that so many people hate on the pumpkin spice latte. And all things pumpkin, for that matter. I get that it's been sensationalized and turned into something fall "trendy," but for those of us who LOVE pumpkin flavored anything year-round, it's like you're hating just to hate. What did the PSL ever do to you? [side note: I forgive you and we can still be friends.]
  • My Spirooli came in the mail last week and I've been making noodles out of ALL THE THINGS. 
  • Speaking of food...have you guys seen this TIME World article photographing what families from different countries around the world buy for a weeks worth of groceries? America, I can't even look at you anymore. You either, United Kingdom.
  • I don't typically unpack my suitcase until at least a week after I return from traveling. Sometimes I think it's just pure laziness, but other times I think I'm subconsciously not ready to get back to reality. Suitcase stays packed=vacation not over.
  • You know that "fight or flight" analogy? I've decided I'm more of a flight than fight person in certain respects. The second something starts to overwhelm me, my instinct is to go take a nap or loose myself in a TV show. Escaping from reality for a moment helps clear my head reset my panic button.
  • Guys, I've joined the cool kids and put together a Media Kit for this 'ol blog. Well, I just compiled the photos and the info...Jenny Highsmith (my fabulous blog designer) designed the crap out of it and made my vision come to life. God love her. Whatcha think? I'm kind of in love.
  • In case you haven't already--if you've got a handmade shop you'd like to show off this holiday season, don't forget to sign up to be a part of my 2nd Annual Handmade Holiday Gift Guide! Don't have a shop? Feel free to share this post with someone who does! I want this year's guide to blow last year's out of the water!
  • Oh and HI THERE! to all you The Daily Tay readers! Glad you stopped by! There's a whole lotta fun, travel, and nonsense around these parts. Hope you'll stick around. :)

Tell me, what's on your mind today?

Oct 25, 2013

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Megan & Akirah

Guten morgen, friends! Guess what?! I'm on a plane!! Soon to be on a boat...but that's not until tomorrow. D and I were up bright and early at o'dark thirty ready to make our way to Barcelona for our Spanish cruise! We've got 2 days to explore all that Barcelona has to offer (which I'm more than stoked about...hello sangria and tapas!) before we board our ship and sail off to Morocco, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and Malaga. After our lack-luster Baltic cruise this past July, we definitely need something to take the bad cruising taste out of our mouths. Remind me to blog about that cruise one day (I swear, I'll get there). With the weather forecast for each destination in the mid-70's to low 80's and 4 "sea days" ahead of us, I think this cruise is already shaping up to be pretty stellar. Not to mention we're gonna ride camels! I rode a donkey in Santorini, why not add a camel to the list? Seems like the natural order of things. :) I know I say this every trip, but since we've never been to any of these locales before, it's worth saying again...make sure you're following my INSTAGRAM feed!! I'm sure I'll be posting an ungodly amount of fun travel pictures during our cruise and you won't wanna miss 'em! Things on the blog and in Twitterville will be pretty quite while we're sailing, but I do have a few posts scheduled so you guys won't forget about me. And if you've got a handmade shop, don't forget to sign up to be showcased in my 2nd Annual Handmade Holiday Gift Guide! I'm taking entries until November 6th, so spread the word to all your shop-owning friends! I want this guide to be the best one yet!

Ok, enough about my vacation excitement and blog housekeeping...on to my lovely Fresh Faces! Be sure to visit the two fun bloggers below and leave them some love. Also, link up your own creative space to the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop and meet some new friends this weekend! All the cool kids are doing it. :) Adios, my friends! See you in 9 days!!

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Megan of the fun travel and lifestyle blog, Megan Joy Jaunts, is brand new to blog world! She's currently living and working abroad in Germany (yay!) with the US Air Force (double yay!). She's also lived quite a few other places having been a military brat and active duty Air Force for over 10 years! Pretty impressive, huh? Over on her creative space, you'll find posts about her jaunts around Europe, peeks into her life abroad, and some serious football fandom. I'm honored to have Megan as one of my Fresh Faces this month, so head on over and say hello! 


Megan's Favorite Posts:
It Wasn't A Moment, It Was A Person
Elephant Parade Luxembourg City
My 10 European Day Trip Must-Haves

My Favorite Posts:
Luxembourg City: Part 1
Weekly Wishes #6
Trier on a Whim

Blog  | Twitter | Bloglovin'Facebook | Pinterest

The spunky girl above is Akirah, founder of the namesake blog Akirah Robinson. Akirah is a total powerhouse and women's advocate, as is evident by her inspiring blog devoted to spreading awareness for healthy relationships, self-love, and encouragement for women's healthy living. Akirah shares post after post meant to uplift and empower women to share their "brave hearts," as she so eloquently puts it. I hope you'll visit Akirah today and find the love and inspiration you've been looking for. She's a true warrior for women!

Akirah's Favorite Posts:
Why I Told 150 Wedding Guests That My Husband Doesn't Complete Me
Extra Weight, Extra Grace?
21 Things You Can Do The Moment You Feel Lonley

My Favorite Posts:
Elle Wood's Knows What's Up
Number One Rule of Dating
Why We Don't Talk About Abuse: Part 1

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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!

Oct 24, 2013

Air Force Ball 2013


Since so many of you left super sweet comments on the Air Force Ball instagrams I posted last weekend, I figured I'd share some more photos from our night out dancing and celebrating the good 'ol Air Force. Before moving to Germany, I'd never been to real true Air Force Ball. D was in ROTC all through high school and college, so I attended "mock" military balls with him on numerous occasions. In the spring last year, we attended our very first official Air Force ball while stationed here in Germany. Come to find out, these "mock" balls are actually identical to the real thing. This year's ball was no exception. Thanks for all the years of practice, D! 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I really hate the whole hair and makeup song and dance that goes along with these shindigs. Especially here in Germany where I can't find a single hairstylist I'd trust turning my hair into an up-do. By the grace of the hair gods, I somehow managed my own up-do and got complimented on my hard work all night long (BIG thank you to Kate of The Small Things blog for this tutorial! I have WAY more hair than she does, but I think I nailed it!). I also have to say thank you to America and their plethora of formal dress options during my visit home. NOT!!!! I had THE HARDEST TIME finding a formal dress for this ball back in the states. Every store I went to had slim (to no) pickings. I was shocked. Apparently no one in North Carolina goes to any formal functions other than prom...and if it's not prom season, no dresses for you! I did, however, find my beautiful lace sheath dress at Belk in the way back corner of the women's section hiding behind a ladder and a few neon hootchie dresses. Story of my life. While it wasn't exactly what I was wanting in ball dress, it turned out to be pretty darn comfy and fabulous. And as always, D was looking mighty handsome in his mess dress. I can't resist a good man in uniform! Needless to say, while the hype and dress-up was a bit of a hassle, a great night was had by all. :)


Oct 22, 2013

2nd Annual Handmade Holiday Gift Guide: Calling All Shop Owners!


Do you have a shop you'd like to showcase this holiday season? Are you ready to get a jumpstart on Christmas gifts this year? I'm here to help! 

NOW BOOKING slots for my 2nd Annual Handmade Holiday Gift Guide! Last year's gift guide was a big hit, so this year, I thought I'd support handmade shops again by offering more slots and more showcasing options for everyone's holiday gift giving needs. Shop owners...this is a PERFECT way to drive traffic and sales to your shop during peak shopping months! Not only will you be showcased to my fabulous readers, but also other participating shops as they share the gift guide with their fans, followers, and loyal customers! We're spreading holiday cheer all around!

The details:
  • Open to handmade shops/small businesses/online boutiques ONLY (i.e.- Etsy sellers, StoryEnvy, Soceity6, etc.).
  • Participating shops are asked to offer a discount promo code exclusively for gift guide readers as to encourage sales.
  • Gift Guide will go live on the blog the week of November 11th and all shop promo codes will be active from Nov 11th through December 15th. This way, it gives our shoppers plenty of time to place orders and shop owners enough time to ship orders before Christmas.
  • There are 6 shopping categories this year. Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Gifts for the Traveler, Gifts for the Little Ones, Gifts for the Home (i.e.-paper goods, prints, candles, wreaths, etc.), and Jewelry.
  • Each gift guide slot comes with a short blurb about your shop, links to your shop, and the opportunity to showcase your top 2 or 3 best selling/favorite items (with links to these items). I will also showcase my 2 favorite picks from your current shop inventory.
  • Cost to participate: $10 per shop (most shops will only have to sell one item to make that back!). Payment made via PayPal only.
  • Each Gift Guide category post will be shared via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ to a social media reach of over 7,600.
  • Spots are limited. You will be emailed upon acceptance to the Gift Guide.

Want to show off your shop and join the holiday fun?
 Email me at wetooktheroadlesstraveled@gmail.com. 
Deadline for shop entries is Wednesday, November 6th!!
LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE, so don't miss out! Not a shop owner? Feel free to spread the word!

Oct 21, 2013

Sorrento, Italy


The last stop on our Italian coastal tour was Sorrento, also known as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. While Sorrento still boasts gorgeous sea views, colorful buildings, and delicious Italian cuisine, I didn't find it quite as charming as Positano. We arrived in the heart of the town just after 2 pm and the streets were bustling with tourists. I don't mind visiting touristy locales, but after wandering down the almost tourist-free streets in Positano just hours before, I couldn't help but be disenchanted by the overabundance of them in Sorrento. Not to mention it was over 80 degrees outside that afternoon, so the combination of crowded streets and humid weather made our time there a little less bearable. In lieu of snapping a million photos of the town (since I'd already had my fill of photographing gorgeous Positano), we spent an hour wandering up and down the shop-lined streets trying to find a memento to bring home from our quick stop there. We settled on a cute ornament covered in hand-painted lemons and seascapes, then headed back to our air-conditioned van and we jetted off to the docks to catch our ferry back to Naples. A quick stop, indeed. If I had the chance visit Sorrento again, I would...but maybe in the off season when less tourists are out in full force. Although, if we find ourselves along the Amalfi Coast again, I'm positive the island of Capri will be our first stop since we opted out of it this past trip. So much Italy to see, so little time. Guess we always have a reason to come back! You won't hear me complaining. :)

If you missed any of our day along the Amalfi Coast, you can find all my recaps here, here, and here.

Oct 18, 2013

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop]: Meet Sarah & Jessica

Well, it's Friday. Also known as Air Force Ball day for D and I. Today, I will don my frilliest dress and fakest fake eyelashes to celebrate Air Force life with a ballroom full of friends. To tell you the gosh honest truth, I HATE these things. Not for any reason having to do with the military, but I just hate all the fuss over getting dressed up. Prom, weddings, charity events...hate them all. The hair and makeup song and dance is overwhelming to me. And since we're in Germany and I can't find a hair person I trust to save my life, I'm stuck trying to shape my own mane into something acceptably formal. I'm great at casual curly styles, but formal? Might as well stick my finger in a light socket and push me out the door. Ugh, I loathe this process. This is when being a celebrity would be PERFECT. Snap my fingers and a hair and makeup team assemble before my eyes? Now that's living the dream.

So, while I'm wiping the hairspray out of my eyes (because I'm surely going to be that girl today), please take some time to meet and greet with these two lovely bloggers below. I've got the sweetest sponsors, you guys! I also hope you'll stick around and link up your own blog to the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop! No writing prompt, just good old fashioned fun. Enjoy your weekend, my dears! And be looking out for about a dozen photos of D and I dolled up on Instagram tonight. You'll D I E when you see D in his mess dress. I always do. ;) 

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This pretty lady above is Sarah, founder of Midnight Rambler...a blog she's devoted to all of her musings after the clock strikes 12 (and lots of thoughts throughout the day, too.) Sarah is an American currently living and studying abroad in London (color me jealous!). Over on her musing space, Sarah shares stories from her jaunts around the London, tips on studying abroad, and some pretty heartfelt peeks into her personal life. I love it when bloggers get real and raw! Sarah is a gem, so head on over and say hello!

Sarah's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:
India

Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Jessica is one of 4 sweet parts that make up Team Wiking. This California clan is just too precious for words. I so enjoy scrolling through all of their adventures in Cali and beyond! Over on Team Wiking blog, you'll find snapshots and musings of everyday life, great tips for traveling with little ones, and some seriously stunning photos. Seriously. Jessica has a keen eye for capturing perfect moments and storytelling through photos. If you're living in Cali and want some gorgeous photos taken, Jess is your girl. You can check out her professional photography site here! Head on over to Team Wiking today and prepare to stick around forever!

Jessica's Favorite Posts:
Travel Light: Miami, Florida
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Life is Hard

My Favorite Posts:
Make: Terrarium 
Emigrant Wilderness
Sausalito, California

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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!

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