holiday gift guide for the glamper

Icebreakers Gift Guide

If you’re like me, you’re still scrambling for gift ideas even though Christmas is a week away, and hey, that’s alright! With quality websites like Icebreaker you can pick up something unique for all of your travel-loving friends and family. The first thing you’ll notice about the Icebreaker website is that they have helpful gift guides for easy shopping. These gift guides are your one-stop-shop for glampers, globe trotters, over packers, fitness fanatics, snow bums, and the minimalists in your life, and you’ll find different items on each page. I decided to build my own gift guide with items from the “glamper” section because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Luxury camping? Sign me up. (It’s probably more enjoyable than camping in Scotland while insects attack your face and crawl into your nostrils, right?) Holiday Gift Guide for the Glamper: + This MerinoLOFT Chelsea vest looks chic and comfy and […]

       
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aluminum free natural deodorant + giveaway

Aluminum Free Deodorant

I recently had the chance to try Caitlin’s Super Natural aluminum free natural deodorant spray and because said deodorant worked so well and I’m sure everyone needs a few last-minute gift ideas, we’re giving away a bottle of this magical stuff! Other than being with family, my favorite part of Christmas morning is unique stocking stuffers, and I absolutely know that your health conscious — and smell conscious — friends and family will enjoy these easy-to-carry deodorants. The 2 ounce bottles are perfect for holiday travel, and doesn’t it feel like we do so much of that in December and January? Caitlin’s Super Natural uses 100% botanical ingredients, is vegan, cruelty-free, environmentally sustainable, and the deodorants come in three different scents that both women and men will love. I’ve been using all three — sandalwood olive leaf, bergamont cypress, and lavender currant — and if I had to choose a favorite, well, I’d be screwed. Buy them […]

       
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taking stock | november

Taking Stock November

Making: Lists. Lots of lists. I’ve realized that the only way I can accomplish anything is to write it down. But speaking of writing things down… The awesome people at Colorvale are sending me the Photographer’s Planner and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! I’ve never been so excited about a planner. Cooking: I’ve had great luck with Pinterest lately. My current favorite is this minestrone soup recipe by Chef in Training and this Louisiana chicken pasta. Drinking: Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon and peppermint tea. Simultaneously, usually. Reading: Way too many books. I’ve spent $120 in Kindle books in October and November (gasp!) and B wants to murder me. That’s what happens when you travel to and from Peru, and take a random road trip to Florida. But, I highly recommend the Legend and Shatter Me series to everyone. And I highly recommend visiting your local public […]

       
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this is home

This is Home

This summer has been a whirlwind! I’m having a hard time believing it’s almost October, and an even more difficult time getting used to the fact that we’re staying in this location instead of the “move-every-six-months” routine we became so accustomed to due to Brandon’s job. There are a few things we’ll probably miss, like the excitement of moving overseas or to a different state and having the opportunity to explore the area — but I won’t miss packing. Or movers breaking our belongings into three pieces (RIP Target bookshelf). I’ve also loved making this place our home. When you have your own place, even the most mundane of tasks seem special (except cleaning toilets… cleaning toilets is always disgusting), because you know that it’s necessary to keep your household running. That’s the one thing I craved while we were living in corporate housing and unable to make those places our own. Now that […]

       
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taking stock

Taking Stock

TAKING STOCK Making: Lots of pretty photos — hence, the blog silence. Cooking: Everything from our garden. I briefly mentioned our backyard garden in this post because I was scarred by all the creepy crawlies residing in it, but now it’s all good. Because cherry tomatoes straight from the vine are delicious and well worth it. Drinking: Coconut water… and it’s nasty. Brandon’s parents took us to Costco while they were visiting, and we thought it was a good idea to buy a massive pack of coconut water. Too bad we both hate it. Serious question… why does it taste salty? Reading: The Giver. I’m not sure how I’ve missed reading this book over the years, but I figure I should finish it before the movie comes out. Wanting: Our wood floors. We finally ripped up all of the nasty carpet in my office and our wood floors are getting installed on the […]

       
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best online yoga store

Best Online Yoga Store

^^I took this photo after spin class so I’m sure Ollie is appalled by my smell I’ve been trying very hard to stay active this summer, and whether it’s doing yoga in the privacy of my own home, playing tennis with Brandon, or going to spin class during the week, one of the things that keeps me going is comfortable workout clothes and good quality accessories that make the task of staying fit a little easier. That’s where YogaOutlet.com comes in. QUALITY PRODUCTS I recently had the opportunity to do a little shopping with them and purchased the Yoga Glyphs Flow With Me Tank in sapphire, the Gaiam Organic Cotton Yoga Strap in sage, and a Gaiam Yoga Block in blue teal. The cotton tank is light and soft and I’ve loved wearing it around the house and to morning classes, and the accessories go perfectly with the yoga mat I […]

       
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excerpts from my childhood diary

Excerpts from my Childhood Diary

My parents unloaded a bunch of my childhood “stuff” at our house when they stayed with us in mid-July, and although Brandon wasn’t too excited to go through more cardboard boxes, he found all of my journals to be extremely amusing. Let me first start out by explaining that I was a dramatic child. And weird. And if you took the time to read every single page, along with the random year-long breaks in between (I apologized to my diary for constantly leaving cliff hangers), you’d find the different stages of life I experienced. Plus sibling drama, ex-boyfriends, mean teachers, an obsession with boy bands, and poems — lots of poems. Needless to say, we all sat around the living room for a solid two hours and I read my entries aloud until everyone was in tears. Then my parents wondered if I’m actually related to them. And now… excerpts […]

       
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random thoughts and confessions | vol 2

Bingo Game

+ I have two maternity shoots this weekend and I’d love to copy some of these poses and prop ideas. Thoughts? + Sometimes I dream about liver pâté. My grandma was from Germany so I basically grew up on the stuff and even though I shouldn’t want it because it’s LIVER, and a pâté, and looks beige and somewhat revolting, I still think it sounds like the most appetizing dish I could eat right now. Leberwurst… Mmmm. + A mint colored entryway seemed like a good idea at the time, but… it’s bright.We’re going to finish up painting tonight and then comes the task of decorating it. I’m hoping to bring in some neutral wall decor so the entire space doesn’t look like cotton candy… or Easter. P.S. My husband wants to kill me. + After we tackle this entryway and office renovation, the next project on my list is a […]

       
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and this is why my neighbors probably think i’m crazy

Hornworm

My husband and I decided to buy some organic seeds when we moved into our new home and for a few months, they lived in a small plastic greenhouse in our kitchen. Since the smell of soil disgusts me and for a while our kitchen had a faint aroma of the earthly mix, I’d try and throw them out onto our deck because I’m awesome like that. Every time I attempted this, my husband would insist on it being too cold during the nighttime, and eventually he won the battle of the plants. After a while, our Target seeds sprouted into seedlings and then full-blown plants that were taking up way too much room because I’m a dumbass and planted an excess of seeds in each container. Because of this, we then had to purchase a legit tiered cedar garden that had to be assembled in our yard. Since we’re both so outdoorsy, it was an interesting […]

       
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my favorite cruelty-free products

Favorite Cruelty-Free Products

My husband and I have fostered shelter dogs in the past, but when I found out about The Beagle Freedom Project through another blogger, I decided that a laboratory beagle would be next on our list. I filled out the necessary paperwork a while ago and we’re still waiting to rehabilitate a sweet pup, but in the meantime I’m trying to go completely cruelty-free when it comes to household products and all of the toiletries I use. It has been a difficult process since almost everything is tested on animals, but we’ve made progress and the new Beagle Freedom Project Cruelty-Cutter app has made shopping a little easier. I’ve had my fair share of slip-ups and shopping takes a bit more effort since I’m constantly searching for alternatives, but for now, here are a few of my favorite cruelty-free products. 1. Lush Guv’ner. I’ve discussed natural deodorant on the blog in […]

       
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what i’ve been up to | newborn photography

Newborn Photography

I’m usually fairly regular when it comes to posting on my blog, but this week I’ve been working on everything photography-related and my little website has been placed on the back burner. I’ve quickly realized that a lot goes into owning your own business so kudos to all the ladies and guys out there making stuff happen. It’s hard! I was contacted by a wonderful family wanting photos of their 3 month old son and I happily obliged. This was my first baby photoshoot ever so naturally I was a bit nervous and worried the baby would absolutely despise me, but everything went well and I’m happy with how natural the photos look. I never want my photos to look uncomfortably staged so this was super important to me. Anyway, here’s a little peek at what I’ve been up to lately. I have a feeling newborn photography is going to […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Photography, Voyage Photography Studio36 Comments

i’m a work in progress

Work in Progress

A few days ago, I had the earth shattering realization that I’m nearing the age of thirty and still have no clear idea of the direction I want my life to go in. I always figured that after college graduation my life would be cut and dry but that hasn’t been the case. I’d continue to work on the Hill and live in my small studio apartment on Connecticut Avenue until I could afford something bigger. Boyfriends would come and go but I’d most likely have a loyal dog that would greet me after a long day at the office. I’d go to happy hours after work and Nats baseball games on the weekends, and everything would be simple. But simple is boring, isn’t it? Then I met my husband, realized the work wasn’t the most important thing in my life, and quit my job to move abroad to Scotland. […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle28 Comments

random thoughts and confessions

Random Thoughts and Confessions

+ Last night I had a nightmare about making a serious grammatical error on my blog. Let’s be serious, this website is one big grammatical error, but for some reason I was shaking and crying in my dream. Apparently I was upset? Okay then. + Advertising a photography business is time-consuming and frankly, it blows. I keep thinking about how easy it would be to promote myself back in my home state since I have friends and family there, and in Virginia it’s the complete opposite. Be my friend? + Speaking of advertisement… I’m considering getting rid of all Postcards from Rachel advertisement options so I can focus on this little blog of mine. Have any of you made a similar decision before? + I’m trying really hard to get back to blogging for myself (hence ridding my site of advertisement options), but I just realized that I’ve gone back […]

       
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travel essentials | battle of the natural deodorant

Best Natural Deodorant

In my quest to switch to all things natural, I’ve been experimenting with different deodorants to see which one holds up best. An “OK” deodorant is fine when you’re sitting at a desk all day, but when you plan on taking vacation that involves the summer heat and lots of walking, you want something better than that. Especially if you sweat like a man… like me. It’s been a long and smelly road, but I’ve finally found a few natural deodorants that work. 1. Tom’s Lavender Deodorant Stick. Oh, Tom’s. I wanted to like you. I really did. This deodorant doesn’t work for me at all. Sure, the lavender scent is nice, but after only an hour, I already smell. It’s not pleasant… plus, I don’t want Brandon to divorce me so in the trash it will go. 2. Earth Science Deodorant. This is better than Tom’s but not by much. […]

       
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splashing around with joules rain boots

Joules Dog Rain Boots

As I’m typing this post, I’m enjoying lots of sunshine in Virginia; however, last month was a different story. I don’t think the rain stopped for an entire week, our dogs smelled, the back yard was flooded, and I lived in my Joules rain boots. Seriously, it’s a good thing they’re cute and comfortable because they’ve definitely been a wardrobe staple for me this spring. I’ve been wanting these Joules navy dog print rain boots forever (I even pinned them to Pinterest exactly 27 weeks ago) so when I was contacted to try them out for myself, I jumped at the chance. These are the exact ones I wanted! The rubber is thick and flexible, my feet stay dry, they’re unique, and Joules rain boots come with a one year welly guarantee. They’re perfect for running errands and I’ve received so many wonderful compliments because who doesn’t love a cute dog […]

       
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the importance of simplifying your life

Importance-Of-Simplifying-Life

THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE For the past couple of days, I’ve been a cleaning and organizing machine. Being an expat made me realize how little we really need since we moved overseas with only two suitcases each, so coming home to an entire storage unit filled to the brim (or to the ceiling, literally) with junk we hadn’t used in years caused me a lot of anxiety. And made me realize that we were borderline hoarders and should have consulted with the experts of TLC. Little by little we’ve been donating clothes, random electronics, and other home goods, and I’m beginning to feel lighter and happier. That’s why I feel that simplifying is so important. Ridding your house of clutter makes it easier to focus on living life. CLEAN AND ORGANIZE IN SECTIONS The easiest way for me to clean and organize is to start at the top […]

       
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i’ve met some of my good friends online

When I started my first blog back in Scotland, I had no idea what I was doing. I published posts for my friends and immediate family, and wasn’t aware that there was an entire community of expat and travel bloggers I could connect with. I didn’t even consider that some of these women would become my good friends down the road, and honestly, I used to think that meeting people online was somewhat creepy. Ok, really creepy. Obviously things have changed since then. I’m here to retract my previous sentiments and tell you that I’ve met some of my good friends online. In fact, I’ve met some of my closest friends online because of the blogging world. And the thing is, we don’t have to be friends. We just are. We didn’t grow up together and we didn’t go to school together. We don’t work in the same offices and most of us […]

       
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Filed Under: Blogging, Lifestyle56 Comments

21 things learned in 21 years

21 Things Learned in 21 Years

I’d like to pretend that I’m a wise individual since I’m nearing thirty years of age, but the truth is, I still do a lot of stupid stuff. Nonetheless, in honor of my birthday weekend and turning old(er), here’s 21 things learned in 21 years. Because I stopped counting at 21. And also because everyone needs unwarranted advice from a complete stranger. 1. If it scares the crap outta you, it’s probably worth pursuing. Unless this is a person we’re talking about. Then you should run. 2. Anything is possible with a clean house. 3. Life experiences are more valuable than material possessions. 4. Creeping on WebMD always leads to a cancer diagnosis. Avoid at all costs. 5. Wait for pizza to cool before taking a big bite. A burnt mouth is nothing to mess with. 6. A lousy day can be turned around with puppy snuggles and a hot mug […]

       
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be positive

You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. Ralph Marston A quote for you on this beautiful Monday!

       
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spring goals

I had a list of winter goals I wanted to achieve, but between buying our first home and moving to another state (and unpacking a thousand boxes from a storage unit we hadn’t seen in three years), the time got away from me. Now that our lives are finally starting to settle down, I’m able to really focus on growing as an individual. And spring goals are the best because the weather is finally improving and ahhh, it feels like a fresh start! Grow my photography business: I’d love to expand my photography business and network in this area since I’m the new kid in town. I’m already in the process of getting a fresh website design thanks to Amanda, and then I’ll be ordering business cards and buying an ad in the local newspaper/magazine. Speaking of photography… Take more photos: When I get overwhelmed, I stop doing the things […]

       
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fresh start

Isn’t it funny how something as small as a new design can give you a fresh start and a new perspective when it comes to blogging? My friend Amanda was kind enough to overhaul my entire website for spring and I can’t think of one thing I’d change. That’s surprising because I can be a big pain in the ass when it comes to the elements I want in a design. She’ll also be creating my new photography website in the near future and I’m sure it will be just as stellar. Amanda is a joy to work with and I highly recommend her if you’re looking for a fresh start like me. She’s sort of a genius when it comes to coding and isn’t afraid to work with her clients until everything is perfect. But back to fresh starts… Settling down after three years of moving feels like a […]

       
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Filed Under: Blogging, Lifestyle46 Comments

marriage makes you useless

The first thing you should know about me is that I’m bad at finding my way. I might even be considered directionally challenged. Unfortunately marriage hasn’t rectified this issue because I’ve realized that keeping my eyes open while traveling with my spouse is completely unnecessary… I mean, unless I’m the one driving. So if you want to be super lazy and helpless like me, you can choose to nap in the car (my preferred activity), read your Kindle, twiddle your thumbs, listen to birds, people watch, and even adjust your makeup. And if you decide to walk instead of drive, just ensure that your hand is securely fitted to his and that he’s guiding the way. Voilà — you’re golden! This method is even flattering to your spouse because it says: “I trust you with my life. Thanks for always looking both ways before crossing the street.” Or something like […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Marriage40 Comments

i jinxed myself

A few days ago I was discussing my immune system with Brandon and the fact I haven’t had the flu or a cold in a very long time. I shouldn’t have even brought it up because sure enough, two days later I was sick in bed with the dreaded common cold and a lovely case of the night sweats… I jinxed myself. Don’t you love when that happens? Now, I can deal with congestion but waking up in my own sweat every morning isn’t pleasant. It’s cold, uncomfortable, and incredibly disgusting. There’s nothing sexier than your wife being covered in sweat, acne cream, smelling like cough drops, and with a snot tissue pile conveniently located next to the bed. Am I right, B? Since we just moved this weekend I had big plans to organize our townhouse and make it feel like home, but I’ve been napping, cuddling with the […]

       
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Filed Under: Life's Little Moments, Lifestyle18 Comments

5 things you might hear after quitting your job to pursue something else (if you’re a woman)

Sometimes I have the urge to write sarcastic, snarky posts and today was one of those days. It’s no secret that I quit my job to move abroad with Brandon for his career, and this post explains some of the comments I’ve heard throughout the past couple of years. Sadly, quitting your job to pursue other things is often looked down upon, so memorize these responses and save this awesome GIF to your computer if you’re in the same boat. 5 things you might hear after quitting your job to pursue something else: 1. Oh, you’re one of those women. Giving up your career for a man, huh? Yes. I base all of my decisions on the fact that I’m married and because there’s a man in my life, I’m no longer able to think for myself. #helpmeimmarried 2. What will you do next? Start popping out kids? Great observation. I do have […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle51 Comments

do epic shit | because you deserve to be happy

Amy from Créatrice Mondial has wonderful advice for us all: Stop comparing yourself to others, find your own voice, choose your own path, and don’t forget to do epic shit. This blog post couldn’t have come at a better time, because I needed that reminder. My husband and I did do something a little crazy this year (we bought a house via FaceTime) but we also want to achieve other goals like traveling the world, running walking another 5k, and expanding my photography business. Sometimes it’s just difficult to get started. How about you? Do you struggle with this? If so, read on and be inspired, my friends. Read on. (and after you read this, you had better do epic shit). Do Epic Shit. I hope Rachel doesn’t mind that I’m suggesting somewhat colorful language on her blog, but that’s a bit how I roll. Plus I love that quote, don’t you? […]

       
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Filed Under: Guest Post, Lifestyle16 Comments