Numbers and Favorites

February 19, 2015

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 one of the first photos I took in Brussels ^^^

I knew back in September when we set out to live in Brussels for 6 months that it was going to be short. I knew that it was going to be a challenge not knowing the language(s) and only knowing a handful of people who live here. I knew it would be 6 months completely different from how I’d been used to living in Virginia for the last 30 years.

What I didn’t know, however, is how truly wonderful all the experiences we’ve had, the friends we’ve made, and the amazing places we’ve visited would be. I mean, I knew it would be pretty cool (it’s Europe!) but I was not prepared for how much we would really enjoy living here. I’ve rounded up a few numbers Mike and I brainstormed about our time here so we can quantify all the beer drinking, train hopping and vintage purchasing we’ve done over the last 6 months (ok, maybe the vintage shopping was just me…)

Europe by the Numbers-3

Although I’m quite sad to leave Belgium, I’m also excited to begin the next chapter in our lives- DC! But before I go, let’s take a trip down rue mémoire: check out some of my favorite photos, visitors and outfits from the last 6 months after the jump! Continue reading


Paris, the Finale

February 17, 2015

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So, you might be wondering why I went to Paris yet again in the span of only two weeks. The simple answer: because my sister wanted to! The more detailed answer is that everyone who visits Brussels seems to also want to throw Paris into the itinerary. The good news is that I don’t mind one bit!

My sister Laura’s fiancé Todd was visiting Paris for the first time so we did some sightseeing of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and a few other notable landmarks so that he could get acquainted with the city. We also took advantage of being in one of the most romantic cities in the world on Valentines day and went wedding dress shopping for Laura! I set up an appointment for her at a cute little bridal boutique near our cousins’s place for a fun afternoon playing dress-up.

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me and the bride to be ^^^

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just try and not salivate at the next few photos… it’s pretty much impossible

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cuteness overload at the bridal boutique ^^^

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Dress: Target (similar), Sweater: Sheinside (similar), Booties: Boutique in Brussels (similar), Leopard print bag: Street vendor in Amsterdam (similar), Hat: Bought for Mike in Munich (similar), Tights: Hema, Watch: Guess (gifted), Coat & Scarf: Zara

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It’s hard to believe that after this week I’ll no longer be able to take a short, one hour train ride to this place. Mike and I are returning to the states this weekend! I’m glad my sister and her fiancé were able to make it out to visit us before we head back home- they helped make it a pretty awesome ending to our awesome European adventure.


Final Visitors

February 10, 2015

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My sister Laura and her fiancé Todd are here visiting us! We’ve been looking forward to this visit for a while now so we’re so glad to finally have them here, on our second to last week in Brussels (feels even weirder to type that sentence out- only two weeks left?! where does the time go?) We explored around Brussels on their first day here and then we took a day trip to Bruges.

I guess we got pretty lucky because once we got to Bruges we found out they were having a beer festival! 75% of the four of us LOVE beer so this was perfect. We decided it would be our mission to try and find Laura a beer she actually likes, as she has tried many but hasn’t liked any of them (and usually dumps them off to her more than willing sister to drink). Did we find her the perfect beer? Scroll through the photos to find out!

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 beer fest in Bruges! ^^^

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can’t keep me away from a sale at a vintage shop ^^^

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drumroll please….. we finally found a beer Laura likes!! it’s called Pêcheresse and it’s a very sweet peach lambic fruit beer. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been trying to find her a beer she likes! success!!

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Hat: Bought in Munich for Mike (similar), Floral button down & sweater (similar): Old Navy, Jeans: Calvin Klein, Boots: Boutique in Brussels (similar), Coat (above): Zara, Scarf (above): H&M 

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We have one more day here in Brussels and then we’re heading back to (no big surprise here) Paris! Laura hasn’t been to see our Parisian cousins since 2006 and this will be Todd’s first time there, so, it’s kind of a must. Perhaps we’ll even find Laura a wine she likes…? Stay tuned!!


Noticing a Pattern

February 3, 2015

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The #friendventure continued on to Brussels for a day (sorry, didn’t take any photos) and then onto Paris. This was Jenna’s first time in Paris (ever!) so we hit up several of the big landmarks. Unfortunately for us it rained the ENTIRE TIME we were there. But, I explained to Jenna that this seems to be the norm for Paris. (See here, here and here for proof).

Luckily, Jenna is very easygoing and didn’t let the rain spoil her magical few days in Paris. After literally walking out of the train station, 5 minutes after we arrived she declared “I LOVE it here.” I guess Paris has that effect on people, even in the rain.

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me and my travel buddy! ^^^

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Coat (similar) & Blanket scarf (similar): Zara, Boots: DSW (similar), Crossbody bag (similar) & Faux leather dress (similar): Target, Gloves: SYMS (similar), Tights: Hema (wearing two pairs for extra warmth!)

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trying not to get rain in my eyes…unsuccessfully ^^^

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Friendventure was everything I hoped it would be and more- despite all the rainy days. It was nice seeing Amsterdam and Paris through Jenna’s eyes, with wonder and amazement. Ok, so maybe I see them with wonder and amazement too (how can I not?) but having a friend to share it with made it that much sweeter.


Back in AMS

January 27, 2015

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This week I’m traveling around with my good friend Jenna for a little friendventure! I met her in Amsterdam on Saturday where we stayed at a very cute AirBnB in the city center. Our place just happened to be right next door to a few flats of the red light variety, which we eventually began to see as our friendly (and a few not so friendly) next door “entrepreneur” neighbors.

It was mostly pretty rainy the two and a half days we were there, the misty kind of rain where you don’t know if you should use your umbrella or just rely on your trusty hat and/or hood. I tried relying on my hat most of the time but the wind kept threatening to blow it off my head and into the canals!! I was lucky to catch it several times before it ever got too far from my grasp.

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we did a little vintage shopping, obvi ^^^

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this canal only allows non-motorized traffic ^^^

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hat hair ^^^

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we would sometimes go into a restaurant or a bar and there would be a cat snoozing

on a chair or bench. some liked to think they owned the place ^^^

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Sweater Dress (similar) & winter tights: H&M, Chambray button down (similar) & necklace (similar): Old Navy, Hat: Bought for Mike in Munich (similar), Booties: on sale in Brussels shoe boutique (similar), Coat (similar) & Scarf (similar): Zara, Leopard print cross body bag: Flea market in Amsterdam (similar)

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We mostly spent our time exploring the city- and finding the best places to eat & drink thanks to our world-traveling-expert-friend Nikki‘s suggestions for where to go! We got back to Brussels late last night but tomorrow we’re off to Paris! The friendventure continues!!


Vintage Rompers & Hen Parties

January 20, 2015

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Just as planned, we road tripped it up over the weekend. It was an awesomely lazy road trip, the kind where you just get up when you feel like it, leave the house when you feel like it, and stop at random things along the way if the mood strikes. It was perfect.

We started out by going to Namur, only about an hour away from Brussels. We wandered around this cute not-too-small-not-too-big city and got dag burgers for lunch. Basically it was like a hamburger in a baguette (delicious). Then we explored the Citadel of the City and also checked out a cute little vintage shop where I bought this adorable white lace on black romper- on sale!

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we tried to check out this castle ^^^ but it was closed! despite the closure we still ended up happily ever after.

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Romper: Vintage from Un P’tit Coin de Parapluie (similar), Coat: Zara (similar), Tights & Sunnies: Target, Earrings: Vintage from Mam’zelle Swing, Boot socks: H&M, Knee high boots: DSW (similar), Hat: Thrifted in Virginia (similar), Leather gloves: SYMS (similar)

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we drove right through that tiny space between those huge rock slabs! talk about adventure. ^^^

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tried our best to get a photo of (yet another) castle at night ^^^ kind of magical, no?

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Mike was requested to be included in a photo with these fine Belgian ladies. I think this is how everyone dresses there… kidding! this was a hen party, AKA bachelorette party)

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We spent the night in the Maison Leffe, which is an old convent converted into a hotel. Entrance into the Leffe Museum and a free tasting came with our reservations- (excellent!) We had an awesome view of Dinant from our room- it was pretty spectacular. This was our last full free weekend in Belgium and I think we did it justice- thanks mostly to the vintage romper and the hen party, of course.


Road Trip Essentials

January 15, 2015

Now that our European adventure is coming to a close (insert teary-eyed emoji here), Mike and I decided this weekend we should explore more of our home away from home here in Belgium. We’re going to take, you guessed it- a ROAD TRIP!!! Cue the revving engine sounds and grab the trail mix!

I’m used to taking road trips back in the states, I know the obligatory rest stop and/or random gas station with random odds an ends will be just at the next exit. Road tripping in Europe with multiple destinations is a whole different animal. So I’ve put together a list of road trip essentials that I’ll need (yes, Mike, I NEED them!) for our little weekend voyage.

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(1) Leopard Print Eye Mask   (2)Water Bottle (3) Jasmine Hand Cream 

(4) Over-the-knee Socks (5) Healthy Snacks (6) EOS Organic Lip Balm 

(7) Weekend Tote (8) Plaid Blanket Scarf  (9) Portable iPhone Charger

I’ll be back next week to share how it all went down. Enjoy your weekend, friends!!


Eyes Open

January 13, 2015

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On Sunday we decided to check out the Army Museum here in Brussels- it had been recommended as a “must see” to us by a few locals. It definitely was an interesting visit (and free!), especially if you enjoy learning about history. Taking time out to acknowledge war times from the past that may be less than settling is something I don’t always jump at. I don’t like thinking about how people suffered or how cruel certain groups were. It’s not exactly a warm fuzzy feeling.

Once we left the Army Museum to head to the local English bookstore, we came across the Je Suis Charlie march. As I watched thousands of supporters walk peacefully through one of the normally busy streets in Brussels, it occurred to me that this is why it’s important to take a look into the dark sides of our past- so that we don’t repeat it in the future. There are still cruel groups of people out there who want to silence free speech or take away freedoms and liberties. Whether it’s visiting a history museum or participating in a peaceful movement against extremism, it’s not being ignorant to what has happened in our past and what’s happening in our present. It may not be warm and fuzzy, but it’s definitely worth acknowledging.

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Waxed burgundy jeans: Old Navy (similar), Black & white sweater: Zara (similar), Black & white gingham button down: Thrifted in VA (similar), Blazer overcoat: Sheinside (similar), Booties: Street market in Brussels (similar), Faux diamond stud earrings: Target (similar

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Vintage Market Sunday

January 8, 2015

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Mike and I got back from Barcelona on Saturday, which was kind of a bummer because we only got to spend two full days there. Don’t worry though, I figured out a way to make up for it: the Brussels Vintage Market! Apparently this shopping extravaganza happens every first Sunday of the month, so seeing how we were home and available we decided to check it out.

If you look closely at the following photos you can figure out what I ended up getting- for an amazing steal might I add! (I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with maux meopard moat).

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perhaps i should have snatched madame monkey up as an addition to my (non-existent) art collection?

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so many adorable vintage leather bags, so little closet space (as Mike likes to remind me)

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oh hey, meopard moat! (similar)

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under my new (faux) furry friend, I wore: Long sleeve tee: Esprit (similar), Short sleeve draped sweater: Brussels boutique (similar), High waisted wrap front skirt & knit hat (similar): H&M, Lace up military booties: thrifted (similar), Long necklace: Brussels vintage market (similar), Short necklace: Etsy, Vintage cross body bag: thrifted in Brussels (similar

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Mappy meekend meveryone!


Barcelona.Cat

January 6, 2015

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Our Spanish holiday adventure concluded in Barcelona, the city known for it’s interesting architecture, desire for independence, and a pretty relaxed, do-what-you-feel atmosphere. Needless to say- we totally digged it! We got there mid-afternoon on NYE, so once we had a little siesta we went out to a nice dinner in the city centre and after the grape eating challenge of 2015 we went out to some local bars and met some locals!

The next day we spent mostly checking out the touristy stuff like Park Güell, Sagrada Família (we didn’t go inside SF though, it’s almost 20 euro each- yikes!) and checking out the beach. It definitely wasn’t warm enough to get into our bathing suits and build sand castles but the sun was out, the surfers were surfing, and we took our cue from the locals to chill out like we had all the time in the world.

On the second day we went on (yet another) bike tour! We biked through the city with other visitors from around the world learning more about Barcelona’s history. Afterwards we got tostas and beers with our new bike friends. Not a bad way to spend our last day in Spain, no?

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Jeans: Calvin Klein, V-neck Tee (similar) & Sunnies: Target, Chambray button down: Old Navy (similar), Chevron open sweater: Sheinside (similar), Scarf: H&M (similar), Booties: Urban Outfitters (similar), Watch: Guess (gifted) 

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tostas and wine? yes please!

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mmmm more tostas….

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my bike tour selfie specialty (is it just me or do i look like popeye in my shadow?)

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we checked out the Moritz Brewery one night- VERY cool space and decent beer too!

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And thus ends the story of our trip to Spain for Christmas and New Years. Que lástima!