#WanderlustWednesday: Almalfi Coast

When most people think of Italy they mainly think of Rome or Venice or for the fashion savvy, Milan.

All of which I would love to visit but one of my top places to visit in Italy is the Almalfi Coast. Although, I’ve heard it is a bit “touristy” the views and the seafood are enough to pull me in.

The Almalfi Coast stretches about 50 km along the southern part of the  Sorrentine Peninsula. Some of it most well known cities are Positano, Almalfi and Ravello. Theses cities hang within the cliffs boarding the Mediterranean Sea. This area is well known for its lemon and olive groves that grow along side the mountains. Of course with the sea being so close in proximity, they have some incredible seafood. Anywhere where you have fresh lemons and seafood in one place, you can consider me in! I put lemon on just about everything and then you add some fish or calamari..I’m in heaven .

Then with the beautiful beaches and colorful houses…it’s like a piece of what I would consider heaven to look like.

It’s also where I would totally get married at. You have to understand, I am not one to sit on Pinterest and pin things to some “wedding” board. I honestly dont have one. For me, getting married is so far off in the future that I just can’t be bothered to think about it yet. I also work in a part of the wedding industry and from what I have seen, weddings are so complicated and over the top that I just can’t be bothered to want to have to stress over all that nonsense.

I don’t want a “traditional” wedding ceremony with the white gown, the church ceremony or the reception b.s. I want to just have a big ol’ party and actually enjoy that day. So I have said for years that I would just get married in Italy on the Almalfi coast. Whoever would want to come can join but I am not going to waste my money and time on people who i hardly know. But I digress…for me, this is one area that I continually dream about and hopefully one day soon I will be able to stand on the beach and smell the sweet salty Mediterranean Sea mixed with the lemon groves and Instagram the hell out of the breathtaking views.

Enough with the talk…let’s just take a moment and daydream about being there instead of being stuck at work…

 

Who wouldn't want to be here?
Who wouldn’t want to be here?

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 Hopefully, one day soon, I’ll be able to post pictures that I have taken myself, but for now, these will do.

Sometimes You Just Have To Go

Have you ever had the longing for an adventure?

Like something within you was pulling you towards someplace new and unknown…

Last Saturday I couldn’t stop thinking about Charleston,SC. I posted a picture for my #wanderlustwednesday a few weeks ago. So, as I was steaming a wedding gown, I decided to actually go and wander about the city for myself.

Since the drive from Nashville to Charleston is about 8 hours away, I almost didn’t do the drive. I had to work on Sunday and I only had Monday off so I would have to do a quick trip. But as I was on my way to work “Heads Carolina, Tails California ” came on the radio and at that moment someone in with South Carolina plates got right in front of me. That was my sign, haha.

So after work on Sunday I filled my gas tank and headed down further south. As i was passing through Murfreesboro I almost decide to turn around and head back home. It would be the longest drive I’ve ever done on my own. I knew that after about 3 or 4 hours I would get bored and want to turn back, yet I knew I would regret not doing this trip, so on I went.

somewhere in georgia
somewhere in georgia

I drove down through Chattanooga and into Georgia. Going through Georgia, a fog started to cover all the fields and roads. It was slightly creepy yet beautiful as the sun set and the moon rose. Atlanta was pretty at night, I have never been but I’m planning on going in August. Then through Augusta and into South Carolina I drove on.

followed this guy through the fog of south carolina
followed this guy through the fog of south carolina

I made to about an hour from Charleston and I had to stop for the night. After drinking a Monster energy drink, i felt sick, exhausted and delirious. I laid there in some random town in SC regretting having to do the drive all over again the very next day. It was one of those moments in which I definitely regretted the decision and assuming that I got caught up in emotions and that Charleston would disappoint. But there I was, so I would have to go through with it all.

I woke up early in the morning. Got myself a cup of coffee from the hotel lobby and trekked the last hour of the trip.

I was planning on going to a certain restaurant that I had read about on a couple different sites and on yelp. As I passed the parking lot I decided to turn off my GPS and just drive around. With every street I came upon I just went with my instinct on whether to turn or drive straight through.

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Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park

I ended up by the bay, then after finding a parking garage I was off to wander about the city. I ended up by the Waterfront Park and the Pineapple Fountain that you see in so many pictures of Charleston. Then after a few more turns I ended up on Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is a series of colorful historic homes in the French Quarter of Charleston. That spot was where the picture that I had posted on Instagram was taken from.

rainbow row
rainbow row

I then spent the rest of the afternoon just walking about Charleston. I found a cute little restaurant called, Eli’s Table and had Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict with the best grits that I have ever had in my life. Every bit was like a bit of southern heaven in my mouth. It was the perfect combination of southern cuisine and seafood. Those were probably the best variation of eggs benedict that i have had. Then off I went to explore some more. I was probably one of the youngest tourist walking around. Most of them were older folks taking the same pictures of the architecture as i was. I know though that I am a nerd and I am fascinated with history so it’s the perfect city for that.

Crab Cakes Benedict
Crab Cakes Benedict

 

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The smell of the honeysuckle, the architecture, the wrought iron gates, the ladies weaving palmetto baskets, the history, the culture…all that make up Charleston…i loved.

Although I only spent a few hours there so that I could do the 8 hour drive and get home at a somewhat decent time, I know that I will return to explore some more. It was worth all the hours on the road and the moments of delirium.

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I did return home exhausted but I am so glad that I did this trip. Exploring and getting lost in new cities is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. It does good to my heart to wander in places I’ve never been before. It’s the gypsy in me that pulls me from place to place. It’s a need within me to drift about. One day, when I’ve finally settled down (if I ever do), I don’t want to have any regrets and you’ll regret the things you dont do more than the things that you do.

..because...duhhh...
..because…duhhh…

And so, the southern wanderings continue…let’s see where I may end up next time….

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#WanderlustWednesday: Norway

For this weeks #wanderlustwednesday lets talk about a country that not too many people are familiar with.

Norway

I never really thought about going to Norway until I met some Norwegians whilst I was living in Australia. A couple of them became dear friends of mine and I cannot wait to go visit. I just want to jump through Instagram and join them in their everyday life.

Norway (from what I’ve seen in pictures) is an absolutely beautiful country. It lies in Northern Europe next to the Atlantic Ocean and the North sea. It shares a border with Sweden. Norway is approximately a bit bigger than the size of New Mexico. It has 64,000 miles of coastline and 240,000 islands.  It’s not a very large country but it’s natural beauty, interesting cities and incredible people make up for anything that it may lack. It’s one place that you could explore for years and really not get bored.

So lets just take a bit of a look and maybe you’ll join me one day in exploring Norway.

 

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I mean, how could you not want to go here?

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This is Oslo, even with their capital, it’s still surrounded by gorgeous trees and mountains. Yes, please.

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Standing on these would make for a pretty badass profile pic…just sayin…

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Then there’s the midnight sun in part of summer where the sun does not set

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but of course the Northern Lights are something that I must see with my own eyes

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or how about chasing some wild reindeer

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yet I’d be totally okay with going through Geirangerfjord

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or wandering about Aalesund.

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This is beauty at it’s best. So who’s in to go wander about Norway?

Oh, and of course we can’t forget about this Norwegian gem…

http://youtu.be/jofNR_WkoCE

#WanderlustWednesday

I, being an avid instagramer, occasionally will participate in the #throwbackthursdays, #mancrushmonday or the always faithful #flashbackfriday but then I came across #WanderlustWednesday. Instantly I was hooked. Anything that has to do with inspiring travel makes my heart happy.

Last week I posted a picture from Charleston, SC. As I was looking for the “right picture” to post I started to read about the city and I thought of why not making it an actual blog post. I must confess, I am a nerd and I love learning about the history and cultures of different towns/states/countries, etc. So this is my attempt at doing something more consistent with this blog and hopefully inspiring others to get out there and explore this amazing planet that we live on.

Now on to my first pick, Oaxaca, Mexico. (It’s pronounced wah-ha-kah. My 8th grade Spanish teacher pronounced it Oh-ah-chaka. It drove me absolutely insane and you best believe I rose my had and corrected her every time…but that’s beside the point.)

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For those that may not know, my mother is originally from Mexico. As a little girl, I grew up going to Mexico all the time. All of her family use to live down there, so for any holiday, off to abuela’s we would go. They lived in Mexicali, which is on the border in between California and Arizona. Border towns are not the greatest places to visit. Unfortunately most of them have become run down and full of drama with all that’s going on between our borders. I haven’t traveled throughout Mexico as I would like to. I would love to know more about the other half of heritage. Each part has its own traditions and food.

What I would do to do a culinary trip all throughout Mexico and being the wannabe foodie that I am, I am a big fan of chef Rick Bayless. Here’s this white guy from Chicago who speaks better Spanish and knows more about the culture than I do. On Saturday’s he has a show on PBS where he cooks recipes from his travels around mexico or items out of his menus from his various restaurants. He shows scenes from mexico and his encounters with locals. He goes into the history and stories of various locations and local plates. He has been in Oaxaca several times on the show and every time I see it, I just want to get on a plane and fly straight there.

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It’s because of him that I have added Oaxaca to my list of places I must go to. Oaxaca is filled with its colorful culture, unique foods and stunning architecture. The landscape ranges from its beautiful white sand beaches to vast mountains. The ruins of the Zapotec still remain of times past. The gold encrusted ornate churches loom in the skyline. The markets filled with multitudes of goods from food to chocolate to the locally made home goods. The moles and the mezcal that are so famous from the area. Each sharing the differences and the beauty that make up the land. It’s a place for foodies and those who truly enjoy the beauty of different cultures. For more details and information, check out http://travel.cnn.com/6-reasons-visit-oaxaca-954911

 

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Thoughts From a Morning Hike

 

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Since moving to Nashville, I am obsessed with being outdoors.

Living in the desert for so long, I’ve missed seeing actual trees and living in a place with distinct seasons. After having such a cold winter, any moment that i can sit outdoors and enjoy the sun, you know im there.

I would have to say that it probably started when we moved to Missouri when I was 5. Or maybe even before that, as a toddler my parents would take me to the beach and I would throw a fit when it was time to leave. I LOVE the ocean…I mean, I was born in Oceanside, CA.

Then it all probably got worse when we moved to Missouri. We lived in Branson West for two years. For the most part, we lived in a trailer park. Yes, we lived in a couple different double wides. Its really quite redneck but hey, it was great for the time being.

All the kids in the neighborhood would run around, playing and causing a ruckus most of the time. In the summer we would all go down to the lake and spend out days swimming. In the fall most of us had to rake the leaves in our front yard, only to jump and mess the piles up. During the winter, whenever we had snow days we would all gather together and shovel our neighbors driveways for spare change then we would all go sledding together. In the spring we would run around lost in our own world of imagination. No matter what we would run, barefoot most of the time and just enjoy life.

The road we lived on was a dirt road. It was on this dirt road that I learned how to ride a bike. I can’t even begin to count how many bloody knees and elbows I had. There was a sharp turn at the end of the street and I ate it so many times. But nonetheless, I learned how to ride that banana seat, rusty pink bike that my dad bought at a yard sale. That was my pride and joy. Speaking of pride and joys, I had an awesome bug collection. I had all kinds of butterflies, spiders, walking sticks and just about any other type of creature I could put in my shoebox. Then there was also my killer rock collection. I thought I was so bad ass.

One of my favorite things was going fishing. Most of the time it was with my dad. My dad tried to get my brother into fishing but he would just be quite impatient and would rather play with his cars on the shore. We would grab our fishing pools and walk down to the lake and fish for hours. I loved it! Just sitting there, waiting for something to bite, then reeling the fish back on in. (I did catch a turtle once, which was kinda sad but we got him back to his merry way. Another time, I caught a cottonmouth, for those who may not be familiar, its a black poisonous snake and when it opens its mouth, its is white inside…therefore the name cottonmouth. We quickly cut the line and just let the snake fend for itself. )

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Even when we moved up to Springfield, we were still running around with the neighborhood kids, riding our bikes, going to the pool in summer and getting in trouble all the meanwhile.

We didn’t have very much at times, but I loved my childhood. It felt like we were actually kids. Even today, it feels like it was a different world then. We would roam about all day and then when it would start to get dark we would know it was time to get back home before your mom called for you and you got in trouble. We had the freedom to just enjoy life. Before we all had cell phones, when the internet was all dial up and you were only allowed to be on for like an hour because your parents needed to use the phone. Back when we would tape TRL onto video tapes. Back when, it felt, like life wasn’t all that serious.

Living in Vegas, you never saw kids running around. They have no idea what it would be like to run barefoot through a field and have to check for ticks at the end of the day. They don’t really know the freedom of just being able to ride your bikes down to the park to play football in the rain. I feel, like if i had grown up in Vegas, I wouldn’t really have much of a childhood.

For me, its something that I treasure dearly. All the memories, all the redneck neighbors that we had. All the sleepovers, all the bruises and cuts. All of it is quite dear to me.

And maybe thats why I so enjoy the outdoors and this part of the U.S.

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It brings me back to a much simpler version of life. It brings me back to my core. It reminds me that even through the trials and rough patches, its all going to be okay. That no matter how small I may feel, that theres a God out there that created it all and knows about every grain of sand and every creature that roams about. If they’re taken care of, then I’ll be taken care of and life will be alright.

Call me crazy, or whatever but being out in the midst of the beauty of nature, its where I feel God the most. Past the noise and the distractions, its out there where I feel refreshed and somehow know that in some crazy way it will all work out, like it always does.

So thank you for going down memory lane with me. I know it was a bit sporadic and random but as I was just wandering about on my hike today, I couldn’t help but think of all these things.

 

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It’s Okay

 

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lets be honest for a moment, ive been having difficulty with what to post next. ive had so many different thoughts running through my head, you should see all of the pages i have open on my computer with all kinds of random thoughts. then theres all kinds of post its, notes and random pieces of paper all through my purse and on my desk. its been quite a month. ive also felt like anything that i have written is just not good enough but, really, who freakin cares?!? theres people posting all kinds of stupid crap online, so why not just join in

so with this, i feel like, sometimes you just need someone to tell you that its okay and that everything will be alright. i am a fan of writing letters and sending cards. call me an old lady or whatever but i love cards! im trying to bring back the art of letter writing, texts are cool and all but i love the feeling of coming home and seeing a card waiting for you in the mailbox. its like a little treasure in the midst of a sea of mailers and crap you just throw away.

so heres my letter to you wandering twenty-somethings, who may just need a bit of a hug and little encouragement to keep doing what you do….

your 20s

sometimes you feel that you are all alone in this journey

you look around and it feels like your friends have it all figured out

it appears as though they have all their shit together and are living some glorious “adult” life

and then theres you, trying to figure out what youre supposed to do

feeling like you may have missed something in life struggling to pay your billls and feeling like youre in way over your head.

when youre in several bridal showers and buying baby shower gifts for all your other friends

and then you, yourself cant even get someone to go on a freakin date with you

you have many “what the hell” moments

you think you figure out what you want to do but then the next day you want to do something completely different with your life

and in the midst of the chaos

you feel as if youre the only one going through it all

yet, ive come to find, that could not be further from the truth

over the past few weeks ive overheard conversations and spoken with a few people and

i keep noticing that they too, are in this hot mess of their 20s and they have no idea

what their doing with their lives

theres that unspoken pressure to have your shit together by your mid-twenties, get married and pop out some babies and yet they are far from that

as am i

but, let me ease your mind and let you know, its okay not to have it all together

its okay to explore and try out different things

its okay to not have that full time job

its okay to not have the biggest paychecks

its okay some people will go straight into their careers and start families.

thats cool

but then there are some of us that will have a life completely different

its okay sometimes you just need to hear that its okay that where you are in life is where you need to be at this moment

and that somehow, someway, it will all work out for the best

all in its own crazy way

if you dont do the crazy stuff now, then when will you

if you dont but that one way ticket to a foreign land now, then will you do it later in life

if you dont pack up your car and move to the other side of the country now that you are

free to do so, then when will you

 

enjoy being free

roam about without a plan

give yourself the permission to let what happens happen

let yourself be free

enjoy this

because one day

youll miss it

 

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