Just a Wee trip to Edinburgh

November 27, 2014

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When I was on the train heading back from London to Brussels yesterday, I was reminiscing about my time in the UK. First of all, it was kind of nice being in a country where the official language is English again! Being an American, I’m quite lazy when it comes to trying to communicate with others who don’t speak English (it’s sad but true) so just being able to say “hello! yes I would like to order the fish & chips, thanks so much. also let’s discuss other intricate things where only people who speak the same language would be able to talk about.” instead of pointing, smiling and nodding to get my point across was a welcome change.

Before leaving Brussels, I was mentally preparing myself for much colder weather by positive self talk (being cold agrees with you! you don’t mind feeling like a frozen popsicle!) and also purchasing a warmer coat and bringing many layers with me- but it actually wasn’t as cold as I was expecting! (Perhaps that’s because I was wearing a warmer coat and many layers?) and the sun even peeked out from behind the clouds a few times, so I think we were pretty lucky in terms of weather up north.  Edinburgh was a very lively city full of tartan plaid, good scotch whisky and plenty to walk around and see- we had a really awesome time there!

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We had an amazing time exploring this lovely, historic city. Then Colleen and I took the train down to London- where we also enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! More about that next time…

ps- Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!!


Packing for the trip up North

November 20, 2014

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a few friends- Colleen (known from blog posts such as here, here and here) and Nikki (known from blog posts such as here) and her husband- also named Mike- to go to Edinburgh! I’m crazy excited and have been exchanging many planning related emails with both Colleen & Nikki for many months- it’s gonna be a blast. And speaking of blasts, there definitely will be blasts of wind, rain, and chilly temps all around.  So of course, my next order of business is to figure out what to pack! I’m going to do my best not to overpack like I normally do- actually this time I really can’t overpack because we’re flying with Ryanair, and apparently if your carry-on doesn’t fit their requirements they charge you a crazy fee. So, not only do I want to try and be an easy breezy traveler who only needs a few pieces to get by- I pretty much have to pack light or my wallet (aka Mike) will not be happy!

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keeping comfy on the plane ^^^ (i’ll throw some socks in my carry on)

Printed Wrap Cardigan  Leather Leggings  Travel Satchel  Crochet T-shirt 

Cute Headphones  Smoking Slippers  Eye Mask

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First Day of Exploring ^^^

Faux Fur Parka  Pullover Sweater  Distressed Jeans  Flat Booties  Cozy Scarf 

Mittens  Warm Socks  Cross Body Bag  Knit Hat

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Day Two Sight Seeing

Pink Cardigan  Cross Body Bag  Knit Hat  Faux Fur Parka  Flat Booties  

Mittens  Over the Knee Socks  Thermal Tights

Did I mention that Colleen and I will be heading to London for 3 days after Edinburgh? The plan is to just re-use everything I have here in different combinations. If I keep telling myself I can do it, that makes it possible right? Wish me luck!!


Germany Reflections

November 18, 2014

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One of the things Mike and I decided we really wanted to do while we’re living in Brussels was road trips! We’ve already done a couple nearby places like Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp, but those places are all still in Belgium. This past weekend we decided we wanted to go a little further out and decided on Cologne, Germany. Basically I looked at Google maps and saw that it was only about 2 and a half hours away, so why not?

We rented an AirBnB a few kilometers outside city centre and drove our way east on Saturday morning. The first thing we did was go to a BierHaus! We ate delicious German food and had a few Kölsch beers, the official beer of Cologne. After we were fully stuffed we went to the Ludwig Museum and pretty much spent the entire afternoon there- they had four floors packed with amazing modern art.

On Sunday we went to the EL-DE Haus which is the former headquarters of the Gestapo. Mike and I both found this museum to be extremely powerful. Hundreds of people were kept as prisoners for suspicions of being anti the Nazi party, most were tortured and many were murdered. It was very tough to read all the notes scratched into the walls of the cells by the people detained there- they had hopes and fears and families they didn’t know if they would ever see again. It really puts our privileged life into perspective.

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Knit hat (similar) & Trench (similar): Old Navy, Scarf & Tights: Target, Socks: Hema (similar),

Booties: Street market in Brussels, Umbrella: Ikea (similar)

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this bridge was COVERED with love locks 

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I know that usually I take a sillier tone on this blog most of the time but, I can be serious sometimes too. There are times when I get caught up in what I don’t have or what other people have that I want, and although it’s normal to feel that way occasionally (I hope!), I think it’s important to once in a while reflect on one’s life, being thankful for what we DO have. Because compared to some people in the past, and people here in the present, who struggled/are struggling for justice & freedom etc, we are quite lucky. In a few weeks it will be thanksgiving, and Mike and I decided to host a small get-together with some of the friends we’ve made here. I hope to spend the evening being thankful for what I have, and making an effort to keep that mindset even after all the dishes have been cleaned and put away.


Getting into the Spirit

November 13, 2014

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We had quite the pleasant weather earlier this week- sunny and 60! Mike and I walked all around Brussels for his day off on Tuesday (they had a national holiday here commemorating WWI), and it was quite enjoyable. We didn’t have any real plan in particular, we just wandered around the city trying to find new streets and parks we haven’t seen before.

This outfit was perfect for walking around and doing nothing, it was comfy yet still looked put together. I also got to try out some back seam tights for the first time that I got at Hema. What’s Hema, you ask? It’s only the Target of Europe, also known as the best store ever where I can get everything I don’t need. It’s possible I go there a few times a week, just to see what else I might need to grab for crafting/cooking/new make-up/my closet.

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Quilted skater skirt: Target (similar), Heart print top: Esprit (similar), Felt hat: Thrifted (similar), Mustard textured coat: Thrifted, Patent leather oxfords: Thrifted (similar), Sunnies & Necklace: Target, Back seam tights: Hema

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Leaf throwing might be an american thing, i got a few confused stares after this sequence. (or maybe it’s just not a thing 30 year olds should be doing, but when has that ever stopped me?)

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The trick is to walk away like nothing happened. And then head over to Hema to find more goodies. Solid plan if you ask me.


Antwerp

November 11, 2014

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Mike and I ended up staying in Brussels again last weekend. I know what you’re thinking: They finally decided to settle down and just relax in their own city for a while, that’s nice. ACTUALLY, we went all the way to Antwerp on Sunday- so, not so fast there, guys.

Ok, Antwerp is only about 45 minutes away from Brussels, so we didn’t have to go very far BUT, we’re still getting out there and exploring Europe. We haven’t slowed down! We’re not becoming complacent! We’re not just laying down and taking naps or– ok maybe we have slowed down a bit. It’s quite possible I might have napped in the car on the way home. But if there are interesting places to visit right in our “back yard” we might as well check ‘em out, right?

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i didn’t know jesus was a dj! antwerp taught me so much.

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a bonus of having more time to ourselves means more time for outfit photos! i decided to wear a vintage 70s dress i found here in brussels at a vintage shop nearby with another vintage find- my leather jacket from paris. 

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Maxi dress: Brussels vintage shop (similar), Leather jacket: Paris vintage shop (similar), Scarf: Old Navy (similar), Booties: Brussels street vendor (similar), Necklace & Sunnies: Target

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when wearing a long flowy dress, spinning is necessary. 

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Although I really enjoyed all our traveling every weekend (and more) at the beginning or our time here, getting to know the areas nearby have also been quite lovely. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go finish up that nap (twirling is exhausting)…


The Perfect Winter Coat (Under $150)

November 6, 2014

When I knew I was moving to Brussels, I asked a friend who had lived here for years how cold it gets in the winter. “Not that bad” he said. “It’s chilly, but it doesn’t get that cold” he promised. I think he lied to me, straight up lied to my face. It’s not even “winter” yet and I already feel pretty “chilly.” I only brought a few trench coats and two semi-warm overcoats for my stay here, so I’m thinking I need to invest in a real winter coat to be fully prepared for what’s to come. I’d like to keep the cost to as low as possible, but I also don’t want to buy something cheap and regret it not actually being warm or falling apart on me in a hot second. Knowwhatimean?

Long Puffer Coat

Plaid Overcoat i’ve been longing for a plaid coat like this ^^^

Contrast Sleeve Shearling Coat

Faux Leather Trim Wool Blend Coat

Colorblock Coat

Hooded Duffle Coat this would go with everything- and it has a hood! ^^^

Faux Fur Collar

Teddy Car Coat looks so soft- everyone would want to hug me!! ^^^

Buffalo Check Print Coat

Which one is your fave? I’m not sure which way I’ll go, but I need to act fast- as each day passes winter gets closer and closer. Plus I’m going to Scotland in a few weeks and lord knows it won’t be any warmer there!


Exploring our City

November 4, 2014

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We had a first this past weekend- our first weekend in Brussels without any visitors! Don’t get me wrong, I love having visitors (I’m not what you call a loner, so having people around to hang out with is preferable) but it was nice to just be Mike and me for a change. On Friday you saw that we dressed up and went out for Halloween, but for the rest of the weekend we just explored Brussels.

One thing we have both been wanting to do was to visit the Atomium- actually now that I think about it going there kind of falls in lone with our 50s themed costumes from Halloween since this enlarged atom structure was made in 1958 for the Brussels World’s Fair. It was definitely a touristy spot but very cool nonetheless. The next day we explored the gorgeous Botanic Garden of Belgium and found our way to an English bookstore where we purchased one too many books. We really know how to live it up, right?

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the backside of a fallen leaf looked almost ghost-like

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It felt really great to just walk around and explore our city. We are really enjoying living here and can’t wait to see what else Brussels has to offer- on our own or with guests joining us for the ride.


Halloween in Europe

October 31, 2014

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Happy Halloween! Apparently, Halloween exists in Europe.. who knew? Mike and I did our best to put together some last minute costumes. If you can’t tell on your own, I’m channeling Joan from Mad Men and Mike is looking pretty suave as Don Draper.

I ran around town to all the vintage shops I could find today to grab us the look- how do you think we did? Hope everyone has a wonderful night full of yummy candy, spooky surprises and the magic of creepiness that is Halloween.  We’re headed to a party with a few friends, there’s a prize for the best costume so here’s hoping we make it into the top 40? top 50? We’ll take it. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Help is on the Weddington Way

October 30, 2014

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I’m still riding high from the nuptials of my brother and his now wife (and my new sister!) so I was thrilled when Weddington Way challenged me to put together a bridesmaid look using one of the dresses from their collection! The premise of the challenge is if I was someone’s maid (ahem) matron of honor, how would I advise them to dress their bridesmaids?

I checked out Weddington Way’s bridesmaids section, and I’m sure no one is surprised that I noticed their under $150 section first (am I that predictable? yes, yes I am) and browsed under that limit. When I saw this classic cocktail dress with the big bow surprise in the back, I knew it was a winner. Another added bonus it that it has a sheath-like shape to it, so you’d be prepared if another outdoor wedding is planned (unlike I was)! If purchasing something for the big day doesn’t suit you (or your bridesmaids, if you’re the bride) Weddington Way gives you the option to rent 6 different styles if you don’t want to commit to having the dress forever! How convenient!

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Alfred Sung Cocktail Dress in Atlantis

Seychelles Wedges

Wishbone Necklace (a nod to wishing the bride and groom luck!) ^^^

Revlon Super Lustrous Shine Lipstick in Lovers Coral

Beaded Fringe Clutch

 

Linked Stone Bracelet (they’ll be LINKED together for life! har har) ^^^

Waterproof Mascara

Fold-Up Ballet Flat (so you can dance the night away later!) ^^^

 If you were the maid/matron of honor, which dress would you suggest to the bride?


Hop-Skip-SAUTER

October 28, 2014

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After spending a glorious weekend in New York with family, I knew I was going to feel some withdrawal leaving so many loved ones to come back to Brussels. Luckily, I had a pretty fool-proof solution in mind to make the withdrawal less painful. I went to Paris to visit MORE family!

You may recall that I visited my Parisian cousins last year, after going to Stockholm with Mike. This trip resembled the same relaxed vibe as last time- we did a lot of walking around, eating delicious food, and being in awe of how much my little cousin has grown (as it turns out, babies grow a lot in a year)!

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 i’m foolishly attempting to jump into Mike’s arms ^^^

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unsuccessfully ^^^

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mmmm fromage frais ^^^

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Luckily, Paris is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Brussels, about an hour and 15 minutes on the high speed train to be exact, so I plan to make use of my proximity as often as I can. Do you blame me?