Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites

Truth. Music ignites the soul...and heart.

After traveling in Europe alone, this list of reasons regarding why one should travel alone in their lifetime really hits home. Ahh, that wanderlust!

Have you ever heard of nutritional yeast? It's a vegetarian's best friend! Perfect for cooking - check out the link for some recipes.

These marble print surfboards are incredible. Designed by Haydenshapes.

Twenty-one magical burritos across America? Yes, please!

This quote sums up how I try to live my life and treat others. Some days I'm better at this than others...

Lastly, my mom did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and this video makes me laugh every time (as you can hear in the video...oops)!
Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.
J + I are going to a winery in North Georgia tomorrow with his parents and I'm really looking forward to the drive in the mountains. Townes will even be along for the ride!
I totally forgot it was Labor Day weekend so no work on Monday. 
It also means that it's almost September...crazy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wise Words

Some days, a really good quote serves as a perfect reminder that we are all human. Fighting the good fight together.

I recently started reading The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World by HH the Dalai Lama. One of the focuses in the book is that despite close encounters with hardship, disappointment, and failure, one must maintain a belief in the value of optimism and resiliency.

I've been really focusing on my positivity to help focus more on the good things and less on all the hurt in life.

It's always worth the effort to find strength to keep going and seek out those rare moments of beauty and peace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly Tiny Home: Size Does Matter

Every week I post a tiny home. Along with many others, the ideal of living simply appeals to me. I love the concept of a tiny home for many reasons. I wanted to share this chart since it has some of these reasons listed (less debt, more time, and sustainability). I currently have a home that is around 1500 sq. feet (4 bedrooms/ 2 baths) and about 1/2 acre. I love my home, but we spend a lot of time doing house work and maintenance, mowing the lawn, and we have way more things than we need (or use). I think it's safe to assume that many homeowners feel the same way. A major issue these days is mass consumerism and when people get older and make more money, they tend to buy bigger and more...then stay in debt forever.

Maybe one day I'll live in a tiny home on the beach and spend my days surfing and living more carefree, but in the meantime, I'm trying to live more intentionally - spend less and save more. Pay off our house and build a tiny home for weekend getaways and to rent. 

I recently had someone tease me that living in tiny spaces leads to psychological issues. They were joking, but it felt silly and unnecessarily judgmental. Don't get me wrong, having a whole family with multiple kids in a tiny home full time with just a loft would be insane, but then again families used to share a single room before the days of 4000 sq. ft homes! Also, the majority of the world live in spaces smaller than what we'd consider "tiny" in the US. I think that being in massive debt and that the stress of keeping up the Jones's would cause more psychological issues personally. 

With that being said, I know tiny homes aren't for everyone and that's ok, but I think it's pretty amazing that people are starting to look at housing alternatives that are more sustainable and mindful. Different strokes for different folks.

Bigger may not be better, after all...

I'm curious - what are your thoughts on the tiny home movement?


Monday, August 25, 2014

European Adventure Recap: Part 4 in Cologne, Germany

After 5 days in Paris, I headed to Cologne, Germany for Gamescom. I took a direct train between Paris and Cologne (it took just over 3 hours). I had never taken a long train ride alone before, so I was initially nervous, but it was so wonderful. They served lunch right after we left Paris and then I enjoyed the lovely countryside views. 
When I got to Cologne, my hotel was a short walk from the train station. I stayed at the Hotel Savoy and they upgraded me to a junior suite. Apparently each floor has a theme and I got the Paris floor (fitting, eh?). The room was insane! A fringe curtain between the bathroom and bedroom and a black velvet couch!

Once I settled in to the room, I had a 2 minute walk to the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom). It was magnificent! Apparently it's Germany's most visited landmark!

The view from my room was amazing (the first photo was taken from one window in my room) and the other window had the best views for the sunset.
For the rest of the week in Cologne, I had meetings during the day with gaming partners and got to walk around the show halls a bit as well. Riot Games had a League of Legends eSports competition going on during the show and had an area set up. While I was taking the panoramic below, the lights changed colors and created this awesome effect!

For dinner one night we ate at Gaffel am Dom and although I couldn't eat the Schnitzel, I had an amazing salad with honey-thyme marinated goat cheese. For the record, I only ate half of one of those huge goat cheese wheels. It was so delicious. We also had Kolsch. They serve the thin glasses in a round carrier.

On the last night, there was a Wargaming party with DJ Justice. We had a blast, especially since most of our group had some yellow sunglasses that we had gotten earlier in the day. Everyone at the party kept asking to have our glasses (or tried to take them)! 
I had a great time in Cologne and had great meetings, but I wish I had more time to explore (and check out Old Town). Maybe next year! ;)

The travel home was easy, but sadly I got some sort of virus (I could feel the symptoms on the flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta) and I was stuck in the bed all weekend. At least it gave me a chance to recover from jet lag!

Europe overall was incredibly beautiful, fun, and the food was amazing. I definitely want to go back as soon as possible and would love to live overseas at some point. Now I just have to figure out how to make that happen. I feel so lucky to have had this experience and I feel like it was all a dream!


Friday, August 22, 2014

European Adventure Recap: Part 3

On my last full day, Lily and I started out the morning with an awesome 3 mile run by the Chateau de Vincennes (Lily ran 9 miles that morning!) and then headed to La Jardin du Luxembourg. The entire garden was magnificent and the landscaping was immaculate

I could have stayed here all day...
 Lily by the sailboats!
We also had the most incredible lunch at a cafe by the Canal Saint-Martin. We split an amazing vegetable plate and quinoa salad.
 That night, we had a nice ladies' dinner at a local Vincennes cafe. 
I am so thankful to have such an incredible woman in my life. She's so supportive and inspiring. I love you, Lily!

The next morning, we had a French breakfast (aka lots of bread with butter and jam) outside of the train station before I headed to Cologne, Germany. It was the perfect end to an amazing week!
It's crazy how long I was looking forward to this trip and that it has already come and go!
Guess it's just time to plan the next one...;)

One more Europe post: Cologne, Germany!

Have a wonderful weekend. 
I'm hoping to boost my Vitamin D levels next to the pool!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

European Adventure Recap: Part 2

On Saturday, we headed to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont for Lily's belated birthday picnic! The great thing about this park was that we were around locals and had a great view of the city. We also lucked out, because we had beautiful, sunny weather. We had champagne, baguette, hummus, cheese, and some desserts. My favorite was the pain au chocolat that was still warm! YUM!

Afterwards, we walked to the Parc de Belville. From there, we walked the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. I loved all of the activities and bars (made out of shipping containers) along the river.

 This view was worth braving the crowds and a thousand words...

 That night, we headed to Montmarte and although we were a night early for the super moon, we still had an incredible moon that evening. Sacre Coeur was packed so we headed off the main streets to a small cafe, Les Novices, to share a bottle of red wine.

We finished the bottle and I may or may not have been feeling "la joie de vivre!"

 On the following day, we decided to go back to Marais for falafel, but this time at Mi Va Mi. It's amazing how close all of the falafel vendors are to each other (across the alley) and that everyone's preference is different. 
 Find love everywhere...
 We stopped in a park and were greeted by a 11+ piece band. Once again, that magic of Paris!

We headed to Musée des Arts et Métiers to escape the rain and see various scientific instruments and inventions throughout history to the present. The level of detail put into the objects housed in this museum was incredible. 

The museum's interior was also spectacular!

We ended the day with a bottle of wine (surprised?) along the Canal Saint-Martin in the Republique neighborhood. I could get used to the Parisian lifestyle...

Next up, the final Paris chapter!
I'm ready to go back...
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