Posted on: Sunday, September 25, 2016

Europe Post 2: Flight to Germany

When we arrived at the Detroit airport I was so excited to just get going! This trip was my first time leaving the country (excluding a quick family jaunt to Canada) and I was beyond excited to see more of the world. Lars is much more of the world traveler, so hopping on a plane to Europe was no big deal for him. Nonetheless, he was a great sport about it and let me be all giddy and excited to do basic things like buy a pack of overpriced gum at the airport shop.

It turns out the excitement of travel can quickly wear off around hour 6 in a 10 hour flight. We were fortunate enough to have no layovers, but our flight was overnight and sleeping on planes is hard! I did my best to fiddle around with the sleeping mask and mini, very thin airplane blanket (I luckily wore a scarf that doubled as an extra blanket!) and was able to get a few hours. Just our luck we had a couple very loud, crying babies right behind us. The joys of travel!!

When I was awake I tried to pass time by watching random in-flight movies. I did really enjoy Hector and The Search For Happiness, which was based on a book that I read a few summers ago.

It seems our troubles hit us much harder once we arrived in Germany. I was haggled a bit at the customs border (show me your hotel reservation -- errr, Lars has that on his phone and is already across the border since he went through the line for German citizens!).

The biggest stress of the travel came early, and that was when Hertz refused to give us our rental car! Long story short, we had paid with a credit card that Lars lent to his brother earlier in the summer, whom happened to actually be studying abroad in Germany. Because we didn't have the same card with us, they refused to let us use a different one to put down for the car! We ended up forking over almost all of our euros to be able to take the car sans insurance (thank god we had thought to take a bunch out before leaving!) and ended up driving a few hours each way to go find his brother, Nils, and grab the card.

Seeing Nils was an unexpected bonus, and lucky for us he let us take a nap in his dorm room to catch up on some much needed sleep!

Once we were feeling more awake we left Nils and drove BACK to the airport to put the card down with Hertz to ensure that our car was covered by insurance. Such an unnecessary hassle and suffice it to say, we shall not be renting from Hertz ever again!

After this whole shebang, we drove off to Saarland to check into our hotel for the night.
Our hotel ended up being the most lovely little spot with wonderful customer service. The manager put us up in the largest room (apparently it's rare for anyone to stay for more than 1 or 2 nights in Saarland!) and the room itself was gorgeous with the nicest bathroom ever. Kid you not - the shower was the most perfect shower, especially after such a long day!


Because we were both so exhausted from the long flight and unexpected 6+ hours of driving, we decided to just eat our late dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was surprisingly good! Not the cheapest place to eat, and we were probably under-dressed for how fancy it was, but it was warm food that we didn't have to drive out to get. I believe I had a nice salmon and asparagus dish and Lars ordered some sort of meat dish (classic orders for both of us).

We also enjoyed some massive German beers as we both felt they were well-deserved after such a stressful day!

Next post I'll get into more details about what we did while we were in Saarland and start to write about some of the day trips we took (Heidelberg and Luxembourg!).


Posted on: Saturday, September 24, 2016

Europe Post 1: Planning The Trip

     As I mentioned in my last post, Lars and I took a bug Europe/China trip after we graduated from MSU. Since I wasn't actively blogging at that time, I decided the best way to cover and talk about our trip would be to break it down into a few posts. To start off, I figured I would talk about where we decided to travel.

When planning out our trip, we decided to pick out a few key places we wanted to visit and then plan our trip in the most logical way we could to make it from one place to the next. At the top of our list of places to go was Germany - where Lars was born and used to live.

Of course visiting the entire country would be a massive vacation in itself, so we picked out just a few places to go to on our trip. At the top of the list was Saarland, the area where his Aunt and cousins currently reside. 

It's a bit more of a remote area and not the most touristy, but is absolutely beautiful! We were able to split our time there between visiting family and taking quick day trips to other areas nearby (Heidelberg, Luxembourg..). It was the perfect way to start the trip and get acclimated to the time change! Germany-wise, we also added Cologne to our must-see places in as his parents used to live there and Lars was born in the city!

To balance out the hustle and bustle of cities (Lars particularly prefers the laid-back, natural beauty) we booked a bed&breakfast in the French Alps. Thank goodness we did that because it ended up being our favorite place we visited! More on that in a later post, though..

Moving out of Germany, the romantic in me put Paris as a must-see place. We also added one night in Switzerland (only one night because $$$$), a few days in Amsterdam, and then booked a flight to Shanghai, China! His parents and younger brother actually moved to Shanghai the other year and are staying through this upcoming summer. It turns out adding that flight didn't change our ticket prices what-so-ever, so other than the jet-lag there was no downside to flying over there to see them!


Next post I'll talk about our flight (we had quite the experience with our rental car!) as well as our first week in Germany. Can't wait to reminisce on all of our fun experiences!

It's Been A While // Some Life Updates

Wow. It's been a long time.

I just happened to stumble upon this blog again when I found myself wondering if I had ever randomly blogged my favorite pumpkin muffin recipe. Turns out I had! I completely forgot that I had ever made this blog (being a busy student tends to do that to your memory!). It's been fun to read through the couple posts that I had written a few years ago.

Since it's been a while, I figured I'd see if I can pick the blogging back up again and thought I'd start out with a few major life updates.

1) It is now Fall of 2016 and I have graduated from undergrad! I earned a bachelor of science in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Health and Society with 2 minors in Bioethics and Women's and Gender Studies from Michigan State University.

Whewww - that's a mouthful! Basically I took a bunch of social science classes related to health (think medical anthropology, health psychology) and then complemented those with some "hard science" courses like pharmacology, microbiology, etc. I was honored to have received the President's Award in the spring (above), which went to the male and female graduating student-athletes with the highest cumulative GPA (not sure how I pulled it off in Epidemiology, but I graduated with a pure 4.0!).

Note the super sweaty armpits in the above picture. I had to give a speech to 1,000 people! Note to self: wear black when giving major speeches.


2) I'm not done with schooling! I'm officially a nursing student at Vanderbilt University studying to become a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. They have an awesome direct-entry NP program for non-nurses, called the pre-specialty program, that basically crams an entire BSN into the first year and then directly flows into my MSN credits. It's been 6 weeks and things are moving FAST.

Fortunately for me I'm learning a lot and having fun! I've been able to explore Nashville a bit (such a fun city!) and have also made some really wonderful close friends here, which is great because Lars is still in Michigan. Speaking of Lars.....

3) Lars and I got ENGAGED!
We took a wonderful trip to Europe (and China!) after graduation and he proposed to me when we were taking a day trip to Luxembourg. I'm sure I'll write an entire post on that, but just know it was the best day of my life! We're getting married on August 12, 2017 and I can't wait to become my best friend's wife.

So there you have it. Those are just a few of my most major life updates. I've been feeling really swamped with studying (and should also probably work on some wedding planning!) so I'm hoping to use this blog as an outlet to relieve stress, continue to hone my writing skills, and to document life. It's funny how whenever I write posts or journal entries they feel trivial, but I get so nostalgic and happy when I find them years later. Here's to trying to document the present so I can look back in a few years and relive these happy, exciting times!


Posted on: Monday, October 27, 2014

The Last Of Fall Colors

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go home and visit my family for a long weekend. The timing could not have been better as my dad was turning 50 that Sunday! I felt so thankful that I was able to be there to celebrate with him and to help make his day special.

One of the things that he wanted to do that day was go outside and take some family pictures. The weather was beautiful and the Ann Arbor fall colors were in their prime. My boyfriend drove down earlier in the day to celebrate the birthday with us, so he was able to join in on all the photography fun.
We seriously could not have asked for a prettier day to be outside! Michigan weather can be very bi-polar but that weekend it was beautiful. Today's actually another gorgeous day, so I'm trying to soak up as much of the colors and sunshine before winter takes them away.

Fall is hands down my favorite season, I think partially because of the symbolism it has (new goals, fresh starts) and largely because of it's beautiful, rich colors and the warmth and coziness that comes with the lower temperatures.

What's your favorite season? Do you have any fall traditions that you partake in? I'd love to hear about them!


Posted on: Sunday, October 12, 2014

LBB: Little Black Bralette


After years of trying to buy the best push-up bra at Victoria's Secret (I swear boobs were the thing in High School..) to give the illusion that I have somewhat of a chest, I've finally embraced my smaller set of twins and learned to love them. Ever since I found my first bralette 2 years ago I've been smitten. As an athlete I'm used to wearing sports bras but obviously look for something a little nicer when I'm dressing in non-athletic clothing or just hanging out at home. Insert: the bralette. These babies are as comfortable as they are cute and are an absolute staple in my wardrobe. For ladies that only need little support, these are your god-sent gifts.

Do you love the bralette trend as much as I do? Do you also seem to have an unhealthy amount of them? Tell me your favorites! I personally love my one from Aerie and a couple I picked up at Urban over the summer. 

Let's Talk About Drinks

Let's talk about drinks. No, not the alcoholic kind, but the type that seem to be booming through health stores and giving soda a run for it's money. These days you can't walk into a grocery store (especially organic/health stores) without being bombarded with stands and cases full of colorful bottles claiming to bring you health and balance. I'll be completely honest --I love to buy them! Drinks are such a quick way to get some nutrients into your system and when you're on the go it's much easier to gulp down a smoothie or freshly concocted juice as opposed to eating an actual salad.

Recently I've been trying these aloe vera drinks as I heard they were healing and extremely hydrating (always a good thing in the winter months!). To my surprise, they actually taste great! I was expecting another "health drink" that tasted a bit like drinking blended grass (sorry, wheat-grass lovers..). I was pleased to find that the drinks are quite sweet and taste refreshen when straight from the fridge. I'm no nutritionist, so I can't actually attest to if they are really much better for you than water. That said, I can tell you that I enjoy drinking them and feel extra nourished and almost "cleansed" (is that a feeling one can have post-drink?) after I have one.

Another drink that seems to be "hot" right now is kombucha. I personally love the taste and lots of people praise the drink for the probiotic benefits. Again, I'm not completely sure about it's healing abilities for sickness or it's chance of boosting your immune system, but at this time of the year I'm almost willing to try anything!

What are your thoughts? Do you have any drinks or health foods you swear by? I know coconut water is a huge favorite for many, but I just can't get into that one! I will, however, mix up my nightly Golden Milk between coconut milk and Silk. Let me know what your favorites are! I'm always looking to try new things :)


Posted on: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Words

I recently saw this quote on Pinterest and it really struck a cord with me. As I approach my senior year of college, it seems like grad school and post-grad jobs are constantly on my mind. It's been a constant battle of searching for the perfect fit for my future and trying to decide what it is that I want to do for a living. "Do I still want to be a healthcare provider? Maybe public health would be a better fit for my interests..What if I don't want to do health at all...should I change it up and go for an MBA? "...My poor boyfriend has heard it all (thank you so much for calming me down almost everyday!). 

Seeing this quote reminded me that it's okay not to know exactly what's in store for you next. Not every detail in life can be planned out..and I guess that's what makes it both terrifying and beautiful. For at least these next few days, I'm going to try to keep this quote in mind and focus on worrying less and living more. 

Have you been spending too much time worrying? How do you work to stay present and trust in the process?