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!


2015!

January 1, 2015

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Happy New Year, you guys! Mike and I spent the last few minutes of 2014 at Plaça de Catalunya where a huge crowd had gathered to ring in the new year. We learned that it’s a tradition in Spain to eat 12 grapes for each 12 seconds remaining before midnight, so we were lucky to find one bunch of grapes left over at a Mercado after dinner. It wasn’t really my favorite thing to do, as I found out, since they had seeds in them and basically you have a mouth full of grapes by the end and can barely say “happy new year” or kiss your sweetheart (although we still tried)!

I’ve felt extremely lucky this year to have had such an amazing experience living abroad and being able to travel as much as we have these last several months. When I look back on 2014 in 5, 10 or 25 years I’ll smile super wide remembering all the adventures we’ve had! I’m looking forward to 2015 as well, when we’ll come back to the states and live somewhere new, I’ll get a new job and keep posting my thrifty scores here on this little old blog of mine, which is celebrating it’s 4th birthday this month! Thanks so much for coming by to check in every so often to catch up with me, you guys are like the the grapes I had to eat at new years- you’re sweet, juicy and you fill me up so that I get choked up and can’t talk. (No? not the same?) What I’m trying to say is- THANK YOU and cheers to 2015!!

Love,

Stephie


Bonita Seville

December 30, 2014

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I’m trying to figure out how I can explain Seville’s charm and beauty in words, and I’m having a tough time. I think it’s better if you just check out the photos and see for yourself, since however I try to describe it might not do this lovely place justice! Mike and I have seen a good portion of the city on foot and on bike, and we’ve eaten our way through a generous portion of the tapas bars, too. (Are you not surprised?)

There’s so much culture here with influences from Northern Africa (Arabic), India (Hindi) and Europe, it’s easy to see why Seville is so beautiful. We’ve been in awe of the gorgeous gardens, cathedrals and of course the flamenco! We have one more full day here and the plan is to take it easy and soak in as much of the lovely atmosphere as we can. (Including a trip to the Arab Bath House, which I have been looking forward to for weeks!)

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the views from the top of the Plaza de la Encarnatión were stunning ^^^

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oranges are everywhere! they were imported here to replace gunpowder- the rinds are highly flammable ^^^ our bike tour guide demonstrated this by creating a 12 inch flame from an orange he plucked off a tree. it was cray.

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Plaza de España was not only gorgeous, it’s one of the locations where they filmed Star Wars Episode I!!

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We toured the incredibly intricate/beautiful/relaxing Real Alcázar. we’ve decided to live there, so, welcome to our new home ^^^ 

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apparently, the new season of Game of Thrones was filmed here! ^^^ 

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Coat (similar) & Sweater (similar): Zara (when in Spain…?), Flats: Steve Madden (similar),

Jeans: Calvin Klein, Necklace: Lulu’s (similar)

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If you need us, we’ll probably be eating more tapas while singing flamenco songs in our always improving Spanish.


Feliz Navidad de España

December 26, 2014

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We’re in Spain for Christmas and New Years! When we were trying to decide where to go for Mike’s time off from work, we had a couple of ideas. We considered going somewhere that was warm and beachy, but we did that last year. We also considered taking a road trip around Belgium and nearby but then we’d spend most of our time in the car driving from place to place. Then we finally settled on Spain!

I studied abroad in Spain the summer before my junior year of college, over 10 years ago! (Here’s a blast from the past for ya… I guess crop tops and low rise jeans were la moda back then?) I remember loving the relaxed atmosphere of Spain- eating delicious tapas in all the restaurants, taking a siesta in the afternoon, and not having dinner until 10pm! I wanted to show Mike what made me fall in love with Spanish culture over a decade ago.

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how fitting!! ^^^

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Sequin heart sweater: H&M (similar), Chambray button down: Old Navy, Faux leather leggings: Target (similar), Patent leather oxfords: Thrifted in Brussels (similar), Rose Gold Watch: Guess (gifted), Long silver ring: Thrifted in Madrid (similar), Hooded coat (seen above): Zara (similar)

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we did another bike tour- we can’t help it, we like bike! ^^^

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We’re headed to Seville tomorrow and then getting to Barcelona just in time for New Years! I hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am! Hasta pronto, amigos!


Before it’s Too Late…

December 23, 2014

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With Christmas being only a few short days away, there was only one more thing on our list we needed to complete before it was too late! Several locals have been telling us that the Christmas Markets in Germany are the best- especially in the small towns. Unfortunately, when we went to Cologne a few weeks ago it was literally one weekend BEFORE they opened up their Christmas Market (bad planning on our part). So for this past weekend we decided to head to Aachen to see their holiday chomps before they closed until next year.

Before heading to the market, we took a little chilly hike (read: it was COLD), and then checked out the Ludwig Museum to see pieces that started the whole contemporary art movement. Also it was an indoor activity, so, I was happy.

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just taking their pony out for a stroll. totally NOT weird. ^^^

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we had hot cocoa on the top level of this building- a rotating cafe!

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finally reached the top! and the view was a bit… foggy.

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wearing this leather jacket instead of my winter coat was a LAUGHABLE decision! i can’t feel my arms. ^^^

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Mustard waffle sweater (similar) & Mittens (similar): H&M, Skinny jeans: Calvin KleinMilitary lace-up boots: Thrifted (similar), Plaid blanket scarf: Zara (similar), Gray faux leather jacket: Thrifted (similar), Knit hat: Thrifted (similar)

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my outfit kinda goes with this painting, dontchathink? ^^^

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it was quite crowded, but it helped keep us warmer so i didn’t mind ^^^

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the hot gluhwein (pronounced glue wine) helped a bit too ;) ^^^

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I’m glad we were able to experience the festive atmosphere of Germany during Christmas, because for actual Christmas day we’ll be somewhere very, very different. Stay tuned!!