Feb 24, 2015

European Superlatives: Part 1

I've had this post in drafts for so long. Since a few weeks after we touched down in Florida, in fact. While D and I sat on that last incredibly uncomfortable 10 hour plane ride from Germany to our new home in the Sunshine State, we kept our minds busy reminiscing about all the things we'd done during our 3 years in Europe. Our conversation lasted for what seemed like hours. That's how amazing our time abroad was…of course, you already knew that though. As we talked, I jotted down a list of things I wanted to tell you guys…our favorite restaurants, the worst tours we took, the destinations we can't stop daydreaming about…and then it hit me. A European Superlatives list! Just like high school, only we won't talk about you behind your back and draw mustaches on your senior pictures. We're adults now, ahem.

This will likely be a series of posts, because let's be real…we've got a lot of favorites out of the 28 countries we visited and you guys need to know about them all so you can, in turn, email me and let me plan a trip to get you there (shameless plugs are my new favorite thing, but will not make this favorites list). Moving on. Keep in mind, these picks are purely based off our own experiences. Some destinations we had just a taste, others a full 4-course meal. Even so, we enjoyed every second of coming up with these superlatives...and reliving the memories that go along with them. I guess you could call this the Team Coté's European Superlatives of 2011-2014. 

Opening lines reading...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." 


…or something like that.



    Positano, Italy
I literally can't look at this photo without drooling. Italy may not have been our favorite country, but it did prove to have some of the greatest food we ate while abroad. How could you not love pasta, wine, bread, and more pasta?? Positano, however, reigned supreme in our food memories. We only spent 4 short hours in this Amalfi Coast town, but it left such an impression on our taste buds. Fattoria La Tagliata, we still dream fondly of you.

     Doner Kebab in Istanbul, Turkey
I LOVE a good Doner Kebab. Germany was chock full of tasty doner stands and we tried a lot of them over our 3 years in Wiesbaden. So, imagine my surprise when I visit Turkey, the region of the world delicious doners originated from, try one and then HATE it. From the bread all the way to the tiny pepper on top, it tasted like…what did Veronica Cornerstone call it? A used diaper filled with Indian food. Ok, maybe not that bad. But it was no Germany doner. I was sufficiently disappointed. A handful of people have mentioned that Germany perfected the doner kebab and I'd wager to say those folks are right, because I'll never eat a doner in Turkey ever again if they all taste like this one.


Innsbruck, Austria
Imagine wandering around in the pouring rain, snapping photos and trying your darndest to enjoy your one and only day in a beautiful Austrian town. Suddenly, your soaking feet just can't walk anymore and you've had just about enough umbrella tourism for the day. A tiny cafe comes into view (angels audibly rejoice) and your sanity returns with one sip of a cocoa-heart dusted cappuccino. That's how I remember this little cup of heaven found in one of the tiniest alleyways in Innsbruck. So tiny, in fact, that I can't even remember the street nor the name of the coffee shop. My chances of finding it ever again are probably slim to none, but at least I had a that one moment of coffee bliss. 

  Free coffee on the cruise ships we sailed on.
Hey, it was free...I honestly shouldn't complain. But when you're the type of person that falls asleep at night already looking forward to the cup of coffee that awaits you come morning, then a bad cup becomes a big deal. We got smart after our second cruise and sprung for the specialty stuff at the coffee shops. So worth the extra money. And when we got a beverage package for free included with our final European cruise last May, we milked that coffee bar for all it was worth!

    Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt wins this title, but almost by default. We only went a handful of cold places during our time living in Europe. But that doesn't mean it wasn't cold as ice...it was! And the ice on the slopes proved it. D and I skied in almost white out conditions (fog and snow flying errrwhere) and I slipped an slid over patches of ice down a handful of slopes. Even with the cold and ice (and aching quads), Zermatt also takes the cake as one of the most gorgeous snow-laden destinations we ever visited...even more beautiful than our Austria ski-cation our first year abroad (sorry, Austria). If you've never been, I'd highly recommend a romantic winter getaway! TIP: stay at this hotel...the view of the Matterhorn is just too much!


  Riquewihr, France
You're probably thinking, huh? French wine country...the warmest destination? NO WAY. Well, how does 108 degrees sound? Yeah...hot as Hades! D and I spent a weekend (our 6th anniversary weekend) exploring charming Alsatian wine towns during the hottest heat wave Europe had experienced in, well, almost ever. Salzburg, Austria (for example) reached record highs of 101, unheard of for the area. We stayed in the adorable town of Riquewihr on the 3rd floor of a sweet-as-pie NON-AIR CONDITIONED hotel. We had one fan in our room and it just blew around hot, humid balls of fire. We both soaked through our clothes while touring and took multiple cold showers a day...but even so, we LOVED Riquewihr and the Alsace wine region. It was gorgeous (the vineyards had me smitten), even though we were sure we were burning alive. 


  Amsterdam, Netherlands
Not to beat a dead horse, but yes, Amsterdam was the one and only city D and I ever got totally lost in. Lost in the sense that we weren't sure we were ever going to be able to find our car again. I was only slightly freaking out (ok, a lot freaking out). It's no surprise that it's one of the cities I'd love to re-do, because our day there was just not the loveliest. Getting lost is no fun. Getting almost run over by multiple bicycles is annoying. And the Red Light District, well, you know.


   Idstein, Germany
When you're a cute German town with two main streets and the square footage the size of a modest Wal-Mart parking lot, you win the award for easiest to navigate. Idstein was a town all the expats in Wiesbaden liked to visit when they wanted a quiet day of beautiful scenery and cafe sitting. While there wasn't a whole heck of a lot to see, it was a super charming town (or village, maybe?). We enjoyed a handful of days strolling around, eating gelato and just marveling at the German quaintness. 


Germany 
I had no idea it was possible (or even plausible) to fall in love with doors. Seems like a weird thing to love, but man, Europe is the continent of beautiful, photo-worthy entryways, is it not? Large, small, old, new, painted, rustic...you name it, there's a door for it...and I could not get enough! I've got dozens upon dozens of door photos from our travels abroad. So many, in fact, that I really need to make a cute photo book of them all. When I think about beautiful doorways, Germany always pops into my mind. It's where I first fell in love with them and it's where the majority of my door photos come from. This photo is currently hanging on the wall of our family room (Rothenburg swoon!). Maybe I'm partial because we lived in the country, but even so, no one can deny Germany's adorable doors. No one.


Greece
Totally different style of doors than Germany, but beautiful all the same. Colorful, worn, rustic, CHARMING. The kind of doors that make you wonder what lives could be behind them. Greece had to be mentioned as my runner up of door favorites. All of these were taken in either Santorini or Mykonos. I die over them every time.


   Belgium
I really feel like there is no need to elaborate on this. Belgium is and will forever be the country of amazing beer. The locals love it, the tourists love it...if you're a beer fiend, you lust over Belgian beers. I didn't love beer before living in Europe. But after multiple trips back and forth to Belgium, sitting through beer tastings and lounging around at Bruges bars, I quickly developed a fond appreciation and haven't looked back since. Our group of American friends we hung out with while we lived abroad were also smitten with Belgian brews. We used to have at home beer tastings and took "drinking trips" to Belgium on the regular. D and I even made what I like to call a "beer pilgrimage" to Westvleteren for highly coveted monk-brewed beers...and then shipped back 14 crates of various Belgian beers upon moving back to America. I guess you could say we love the stuff...just a little. ;)


  Germany
We realize we might be a bit biased seeing as we lived in German wine country, but it makes no matter...German wine is delicious. From dry to the sweetest of sweet, German Riesling (among many other varieties) grabbed hold of my heart (and wine cabinet) very quickly. We loved visiting wineries around the Rhine and Mosel River regions and every wine fest we could find, we attended. I also count our day picking grapes in Nierstein as one of the highlights of my adult life (thus far). If you thought I loved Belgian beer, multiply that love by 5 and that's my affinity for German wine. We brought back over 100 bottles upon moving to Florida and I've been slowly savoring my stash ever since.


    Burano, Italy
Seeing the island of Burano in person is really something special. Hands down the most colorful floating village I've ever wandered through. The rows upon rows of brightly painted houses against the blue sky and watery canals is an Italian gem I won't soon forget. Venice is gorgeous, but when a day trip is in order, Burano is the island you've got to visit. I spent two wonderful days here snapping gobs of photos and enjoying the beautiful lace handicrafts of the locals. I'd spend another 100 days here if ever so lucky.


    Athens, Greece
A delicious gyro meal including beer at a sit down restaurant for $4. A hand-painted ornament for $5. A day filled with ancient history and gorgeous vistas...PRICELESS. Cliche, but Athens was the most affordable city we visited while abroad. I'm sure Greece's economic turmoil has much to do with it, but either way, it's a dream for any tourists wallet. I remember walking the Plaka and gasping over the souvenir and meal prices (compared to other cities on our Med cruise). I could have shopped in those stores and made a serious dent in my Christmas gifting list for minimal cost. I was very impressed with Athens, both in affordability and in overall awesomeness.


    Stockholm, Sweden
It was late when our flight arrived in Stockholm. After 10pm, if I remember correctly. After taking the train from the airport to the city center where our hotel was located (20 minute pre-booked train ride for $50...yikes), we were starving. The quickest and seemingly cheapest meal option was the McDonald's a half block down the street. Who would have thought those two double cheeseburgers, fries, and drinks would be the most expensive fast food meal we'd ever eat ($20 equivalent). We knew in that moment that our time in Stockholm was going to cost us. Thankfully, we never had to eat major meals here (thank you, cruising!), but Stockholm's reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world still made itself evident to us in our hotel stay, train ride, souvenir shopping, and cheeseburgers. Would I go back? Of course. I'll just have to work double time first. ;)


...More European superlatives to come!...

Feb 17, 2015

5 Cities That Deserve a Second Chance

I have a lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda's for our time in Europe. Seems pretty normal for any avid traveler or expat to have that ever-growing bucket list...as well as a list of places you wish you would have never visited in the first place. I like to refer to that list as my "never again" list. It's ok to have a list like that! Not everyone will love every single destination they visit. Flying home on our last transatlantic flight from Germany to Florida, D and I talked about all those places we wanted to visit but never made it to...about destinations we made it to, but didn't love...and those places we absolutely never ever wanted to see again. Happily, there were none on my "never again" list, or at least, I've changed my mind since having time to reflect on those places. Today, I've shared that list with you and I've affectionately labeled these 5 cities as those that deserve a do-over. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? If you've visited any of the places below and loved them, let me know what you loved about them so when I get the chance to have those do-overs, I'll look forward to better experiences!

(The list below is purely based off of my experiences in each city over 3 years living & traveling abroad. These are my opinions and literally have nothing to do with the general consensus of traveler reviews. So, basically, read ahead and go to these places anyway.)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I wanted to fall in love with Amsterdam so badly, but alas, it just didn't happen. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. We literally only had one day here. That seems to be a reason why many of these destinations made my do-over list, but nevertheless...with such a short amount of time to stuff in loads of iconic sights, we couldn't handle the pressure. Amsterdam also proved to be difficult to navigate. It's still the only city in Europe that D and I have ever gotten seriously lost in. The place is like a labyrinth of canals and row houses. It all looks the same after you've wandered around for hours. Couple that with bicycles zooming past you constantly and trying to get places quickly because of limited time, well...we had the perfect recipe for vacation disaster. I remember coming back to the hotel that night and telling D how disappointed I was with the whole darn day. Yet, everyone who visits seems to love Amsterdam. I want that same feeling! This city is my #1 do-over dream.

Rome, Italy

Rome, I truly liked Rome (what I remember of it, at least)! But again, we had a hurried visit there. One absolutely cannot do Rome in a day (it wasn't built in one, after all). Sure, Rome is a bit dirty and run down to the eye, but it's chock full of history and ruins...it's old, but for good reason. That being said, we spent our one and only day in Rome on a guided tour with 8 of our closest family members, the majority of whom had never ventured to Europe before. STRESS-FUL. Our guide was awesome and got us to every sight we wanted to see in 10 quick hours (except the Spanish Steps, wah wah), but she talked A LOT...I needed less talk, more aimless wandering. Hard to have the best of both worlds in one day, I know. Additionally, while the Vatican is a must-see, we spent way too much of our time there (for my taste, at least). I also felt compelled to keep checking on my family, making sure they were all having a swell time and not getting lost in the Roma tourist crowds (I'm a people pleaser, even on my own vacation). So, between rushing, death by history lesson, and people pleasing, I felt like Rome was a total blur. Re-do destination #2, and rightly so.

Florence, Italy

The Duomo in Florence is super cool. The views from the top after you climb the, oh, 450+ stairs, is worth the workout. The rest of Florence to me was...ehhhh...not memorable. This was one of those cities I had super high expectations for because of one reason...study abroad students. They RAVE about Florence being such a dreamy place. Good food, great history, gorgeousness nestled in the Tuscan countryside...YES. Florence has all that, but it still left a lot to be desired in my mind. True, I had my 8 feisty family members in tow on our visit here as well, but even so, I wasn't blown away. Still, though, I feel like I need to give it one more chance. Maybe a long weekend away there with D would have shined a more romantic light on Florence. Who knows? One thing I know for sure...the Uffizi Gallery is boring as crap, unless you like that sort of thing. I'll be sure to skip it on my next go-round for sure.

Helsinki, Finland

I've mentioned this a time or two before, but the Baltic cities I've visited in Europe didn't wow me as much as I'd hoped. Stockholm and Tallinn, Estonia being the two exceptions (out of the very small handful I was fortunate enough to see). Helsinki, well, I know I liked the beer there. And the Rock Church. And of course, this gorgeous white cathedral. But I remember getting back on the cruise ship early because we'd simply run out of things to do there. In this case, one day was enough? I hate thinking that, because Helsinki sounds cool. They eat reindeer after all (it's pretty tasty, mind you)! We had a nice time there and liked what we did see. Maybe our flippancy towards Helsinki was due to lack of research (although I had my trusty Google Map itinerary)...or maybe there really isn't a whole heck of a lot to see, I couldn't confidently say. Either way, I'd like to give Helsinki another try. Maybe next time with a local guide who knows a thing or two about the city and could show us all the things that seemed to hide from us during our visit. 

St. Petersburg, Russia

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, then you know the story of our time in St. Petersburg. Again, I wanted to be wowed by Russia. RUSSIA! I couldn't believe we'd made it to Russia. But Russia looked like every other European city I'd seen...except for the Church on Spilled Blood. That screamed Russia to me. I'm still not sure what that even means, but I do know I was disappointed after our time there (minus the midnight sunset...that was a true highlight). I really, really need another St. Petersburg visit. One that's NOT on a tour with 30 old people who complained about bathroom stops and aching feet. Next time, private tour guide and a much longer stay. I'm positive there's more to love in St. Pete than we saw, we just experienced it the wrong way. Hey, when you have the opportunity placed in front of you, you take it...even if it isn't the ideal way to travel there. At least I can say I've seen it. Looking forward to the day when I can say I LOVED it. It could happen.

What cities are on your list to "re-do?" 

Feb 11, 2015

7 months later...


It's in quiet moments like this, with a cup of coffee on the nighstand and a sleepy pup beside me, that I have time to remember life before Florida. 7 months feels like 5 years these days. Germany might as well be a lifetime ago. I can walk around my home and see pieces of Europe around me...in photos on the walls, in bier steins on the bar, in knick-knacks resting on the shelves...but then I look outside my window and see palm trees and I'm brought right back to reality again.

I miss Germany, but not everyday. I thought I'd think of it constantly, but honestly, with a new job, new house, needy pup, and new life to carry on with, I think of it only in these quiet moments...or when I reach for a bottle of Riesling. If you had asked me 4 months ago how often I pined for Germany, I would have said EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Cut to the 7 month re-pat mark and life's very different. We've adjusted...almost completely, although I can say it was hard. Really hard. And for more reasons than I care to mull over. But even in those hard moments, we realize we're in such a sweet season of life. One we knew we wanted, just didn't know when or how it would come about. We finally own the home we've always wanted, I've finally found a job that I can truly say I love, and we're getting back in the swing of life before Germany. A sweet season, indeed. It's almost like we pushed pause on June 23rd, 2011 and didn't press play again until June 24th, 2014. So weird how that happens...picking up right where we left off (or close to it, at least). Because I'm sure you think you know where this is going, I'll stop the reading ahead and tell you no, we're not expecting (sorry to disappoint you baby crazy ladies!)...but the conversations about that are more frequent than not. Seems like the natural progression of things, but we're still not there yet.

In other news of life post-Germany, D's new job is good. Different, but good. He still feels like the new guy and thinks he gets lost in the shuffle of business there. The squadron is massive, so it makes sense to feel this way, but with each passing week he gets more confident in his role, so that's a blessing. He's on the last leg of his Master's and will finish in May! Praise the Lord! I'm so proud of him. There's literally nothing D can't do. In fact, his possibilities are endless. From time to time we have those mind-jarring discussions about possibly leaving this Air Force life, but then we wake up with new eyes and table the discussion for later. I'm sure other military families can relate...the grass seems greener, but is it really? Taking it one assignment at a time, our motto of late.

A new biz update--being a travel agent is so fun! But it's also tough navigating working from home. Like, really working from home. I always thought I kind of did that with the blog, but that was nothing compared to the kind of busy I am now. I'm so grateful for a booming inbox and flurry of traveling souls to help (it's a great feeling), but there's a learning curve that comes along with working from home, I'm finding. I often don't know when to cut my day off...not answer emails and close up shop. Setting boundaries has been a struggle. I'm literally drawn to my inbox...way too excited to open up my booking engines. While it's a practice good for daytime, it's bad for nightime when my eyes are slowly crossing and D is wondering if my laptop is somehow becoming an extension of my arm (truth: some days I think it might be). Finding a balance between home and work will come with time. I know I won't be afraid to set boundaires forever (I am a yes-girl...learning to be a yes, but tomorrow-girl instead). I'm a work in progress. This new biz is a work in progress. But I do look foward to waking up and sitting in my office chair each morning. It's fufilling in a way Germany wasn't. That in itself makes this new chapter so rewarding.


As far as traveling goes, I still miss it everyday. That's the one part of this whole new season of life that I've not been able to tame. It probably doesn't help having a career based solely on the world of travel (I'm often daydreaming of my own fabulous vacation amidst planning for others), but at least it's still a part of my day to day life...in some tangible way. Truth is, even though we want to travel, we also want to do other things. Silly grown-up things. Like upgrade our walk-in closets and buy new patio furniture. Plan for expanding our family (someday) and saving for the day we could possibly leave the Air Force (maybe?). So many variables, so many possibilies in our new life that we can't frivolously jaunt off to here and there anymore. I get bitter about that some days, but I'm a conscious player in the change of priorities. These new things are all things I want, too. Being a responsible adult is hard, isn't it? D and I loved being less responsible in Germany. America, the land of responsibility! We had it good those 3 years. But we also have it good now. 7 months in and I still compare our Germany life to our Florida life. Apples and oranges (no pun intended). I probably will keep those comparison bubbles around for the forseeable future...lamenting about this and that, reveling in the change still to come. Nevertheless, I'm excited to see how my perspective changes as we creep closer to the year mark of repatriation. YEAR...that's only 5 months away. I can hardly wrap my mind around this. I haven't seen a real castle in 8 months (Disney doesn't count, sorry). That's gotta be like 10 years in Germany time. Time is a rude jerk. 

And with that, I give you my life update. We're good. We're happy. Florida weather is AMAZING. And I'm still super grateful for fo-yo...God's gift to America, I've decided. This is likely the only blog post I'll write this week. Did I mention keeping up with this space has been tough, too? I will get my ducks in a row. I will get my ducks in a row. For now, thanks for sticking around with me regardless of my inconsistent postings and lack of any Instagram content other than my dog and selling vacations. My life in a nutshell, folks. ;) Hope you all are well and I look forward to editing cruise photos for you to see...someday!

Feb 6, 2015

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Carly & Erica (and a farewell...)

As with all good things...sometimes, well, they just reach a point in time where it's best they come to an end. This, my friends, is the very last Fresh Face Friday on We Took the Road Less Traveled. I know! Sad news for a Friday. :( We've had a good 1.5 year run, this little ad spot and blog hop o'mine. But as life moves foward and priorities change, I've been feeling the need to let go of one project in sacrifice for another. 

As you all know, I launched Road Less Traveled Vacations in early December. Since then, business has been steadily growing (yay!), and with the blessing of growth comes the need to show my baby biz more of my undivided attention. Even though I so enjoyed connecting with and learning about the bloggers that sponsored FFF (as well as those bloggers who participated in the blog hop), I just can't devote the time to FFF as the project deserves. So, with that comes my decision to focus more on my travel business, as well as keep this blog alive by posting on a more natural basis. I don't want anything to feel forced. Even though FFF's will be gone, there will still be Featured Ad opportunities as well as medium and small ad spot open...for now, at least. ;)

That all being said, I want to thank each and every one of my fabulous Fresh Face Friday sponsors for suporting my creative space and sharing little pieces of your blog and stories with me these last few years. You've not only helped my blog to grow, but me to grow as a blogger and businesswoman as well. I am forever grateful for the fun we've had each Friday! And to my readers and those who linked up from week to week...you guys are AWESOME! I hope you've all made new blogger connections are were able to see some growth in readership (and friendships!) as well! Now, let's make this last Fresh Face Friday go out with a BANG! Say hello to these two lovely bloggers and link-up your own space to the hop. Make new friends and help me say farwell to the Freshest Friday of them all! Love and hugs to you, blog world!

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 BLOG | BLOGLOVIN' | TWITTER | FACEBOOK |  PINTEREST | YOUTUBE | GOOGLE+

Friends, meet Carly! She's the brains behind the lifestyle and travel blog, Let Us Wanderlust. Over on Carly's piece of the interwebs, she shares lots of fabulous posts filled with travel tips & recaps of her trips, gives us insight into her daily life with sassy style posts, and writes with such a fun and carefree voice that it's hard to peel your eyes away. I so enjoyed spending time reminiscing with and getting to know Miss Carly! Hope you'll do the same today and add her to your reading list!

Carly's Favorite Posts:
My Favorite Posts:
Within the Walls of Old Quebec
Beauty Favorites of 2014
Road Trip Essentials

BLOG | FACEBOOK | BLOGLOVIN' | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

Erica, author of the blog, Whimsical September (you can read more about the story behind the blog name here), is a fellow military spouse currently living and loving in Texas! Erica has been blogging for years and loves sharing peeks into her life as a military wife, momma to an adorable little girl, and their journey of improving their current home! If you have any affiliation with the military or motherhood, you'll LOVE reading Erica's blog! She's a total sweetheart, so make sure to take some time and leave her some love!

Erica's Favorite Posts:
Peace Out, Fort Hauchuca
Jamie's Homecoming from Afghanistan 
Mom, All I Want is You

My Favorite Posts:
A First Birthday Letter to My First Born
The Roller Coaster of Being a First Time Mom
Better Than Sex Cake


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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

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1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
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Feb 2, 2015

Happiness Advocate: Uncustomary Art

Hey there, lovelies! I'm Uncustomary, and I'm so happy to be guest posting on this wonderful blog you follow! I live in Baltimore, Maryland and I'm an advocate for happiness and living your life the way that's the most fun for you. For me, happiness is found in things like street art, snail mail, and practicing self love. I wanted to outline some ways you might be able to bring more joy into your daily lives!

Celebrating
Guest Post on We Took The Road Less Traveled | Uncustomary Art 100 Ways To Celebrate Life
We tend to wait for big events to celebrate, but guess what? It doesn't need to be a wedding or birthday to put on a party hat! Check out this giant list of unusual holidays. For example, today is Groundhog Day but it's also Crepe Day and Play Your Ukulele Day! You can celebrate those so easily!?But also just being alive is a reason to party. Put mini umbrellas in your drinks and dance in store aisles! The world is your playground.

Practicing Gratitude

Guest Post on We Took The Road Less Traveled | Uncustomary Art

Keeping a happy journal changed my life. I write at least three things that made me happy everyday in my journal, and it's made all the difference. It has made it easier to focus on positivity and find the sparkly linings in potentially miserable situations. I can't recommend making gratitude a priority in your life enough. However you decide to show your appreciation for this life you have is brilliant!

Spending Time With Animals

Guest Post on We Took The Road Less Traveled | Uncustomary Art

Animals make this world so much better. They're all beautiful, and if you get the chance to cuddle up with a little fur ball, by all means do so! You're going to feel so much love in your heart that it's going to be really difficult to not smile. PS - this is Bug, my cat!

Exploring Locally

Guest Post on We Took The Road Less Traveled | Uncustomary Art

You don't have to get on a plane to become an explorer! There are tons of amazing things to look at and search through in your general location! If you're in the states you might want to check out Roadside America to get you started. Once you realize that there's such cool stuff within a reasonable distance of your doorstep, you'll be more inclined to find these things on your own-- without predetermined GPS coordinates!

Getting Weird
Guest Post on We Took The Road Less Traveled | Uncustomary Art 5 Ways To Live Eccentrically
I embrace my weirdness, and believe an eccentric life is the best kind. I encourage you to try something silly or strange this week, and I'd love to hear what you do! If nothing else, it will make for a great photo-op and memory for you (and whoever witnesses it)! Examples of weird things I've done have been "drinking" Windex out of the bottle, dressing up like a Troll doll and hanging out on a bridge, and covering myself in temporary tattoos. I touch on a lot of these topics (and way more) in my e-mail subscription "Inspiration For Your Inbox". Today I'm going to be giving away one of those subscriptions (that you can choose to be delivered to you daily or weekly) as well as one month of my Monthly Marvels surprise package subscription ($30 value).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So never let anything get in the way of your joy! Being happy and positive is a choice and a skill. And feel free to be my friend online! Thanks for having me today!

CONNECT WITH UNCUSTOMARY!
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