Monday, May 28, 2012

paddle board

just spent my second long weekend in a row at one of my very favorite places: my family's lake house. i shut my brain off from work and made it my mission to relax for 3 whole days. 

activities for the weekend included: sitting on the porch, paddle board yoga on the lake, snuggling with the puppies, laying on the dock, flicking ants away, running, regular yoga, walks with my parents, and sleeping in. 

happy memorial day! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


after 18 glorious days back in the united states of americuhhhhhhh i'm packing my bags again. figured i'd visit the hat of the best country in the world. it's been a while since my last visit and i'm going to an entirely different province this time (i am SO worldly.)

in addition to going to the largest mall in north america, i'm hoping to spot a mounty, a hockey player or two, and some moose. can't wait to go oot and aboot and have some beers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

one last stop

i officially have one week left in my teaching contract. i am amazed at how fast the time has flown by, especially these last few months. i can't even begin to describe how incredible this experience has been. i have a lot of mixed emotions about coming home; i'm so excited to see friends and family and start new adventures, but at the same time i'm sad my adventure here is ending. i'll no longer be able to up and go to paris or amsterdam for the weekend, i won't be able to take the train whenever and wherever i want, i won't have 2 week vacations every other month, and i won't be able to walk to a patisserie and get a fresh baguette whenever my little heart desires. 

i do have one more european adventure before coming home: croatia. my itinerary is as follows (roughly). 

image from google

i'll be starting in dubrovnik, skipping korcula and heading straight to hvar, then finishing the week in split.  adventure starts on the 21st and lasts until the 28th. ah, the dalmatian islands, cannot wait. i'll be back in lille on the 29th to get all of my luggage and then am heading to paris for the last time. 

happy vacationing!

Friday, April 6, 2012


amsterdam. the place that made me feel like a kid again and want to give the world a hug.

the canals were so beautiful, the city was made for bikes, there was amazing food, incredible museums; it was vibrant in every way. 

if you're wondering what an incredible day is like, i'll tell you. we rented bikes. awesome bikes. cruisers. i will most certainly be investing in one in the near future.

we rode for less than 5 minutes before finding a flower market. so pretty; tulips in every color. 

we stumbled across a cheese shop (or two.) who knew holland had such amazing cheese? flavored gouda (pesto, garlic, and red pepper to name a few) and herbed goat cheeses. incredible mid-morning snack. 

post cheese coma, we continued on our bikes. we we having so much fun just riding around the streets along the canals. we must have gone all over the city. we took the typical touristy picture next to the i amsterdam statue before going to the van gogh museum. 

the most expensive museum i've been to in europe, but it was worth it. van gogh was an incredible artist. i could have stared at my favorite paintings for hours. if there was any confusion before as to who my favorite artist is, there is no confusion now..vinny wins.

we finished our afternoon with happy hour at our hostel, had amazing thai food for dinner, then wrapped up our day at a coffee shop in the red light district. 

on sunday we went to the anne frank house. something i'm so glad i got to experience. listening to and reading exerts from her diary, seeing pictures from her life, hearing accounts from the survivors that knew her, you walk through all of the rooms in the house where she and her family hid before they were betrayed during the holocaust. incredibly moving and terribly sad.

go to amsterdam. even the street art is beautiful:

Thursday, March 29, 2012


going on an adventure in amsterdam!

leaving tomorrow with luli, kiley, and joe--

happy happy happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


everything's sunny
birds go chirpity chirp chirp
the sky is bluer

sun i really love
happiest must be the earth
play play play play play 

happy spring! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

that happened.

istanbul/not constantinople. after the nightmare getting there, it was amazing. so much culture. the mosques, the bazaars, the food, the language, everything opened my eyes to something new.

there were mosques around every corner. my favorite? the blue mosque:

it also happens to be one of the only ones we actually went into. my first time hearing the call to prayer was one of the strangest things i've experienced. over megaphones, every mosque calls the people to prayer, 5 times a day. chants from the quran filled the streets.

more things that filled the streets? street food vendors. like this guy selling 'simit' (round bread  covered in sesame seeds):

stands were all over the place selling all kinds of food; simit, roasted chestnuts, boiled and roasted corn, pickled vegetables (gross),  and halka (similar to churros). kebabs are also considered street food, and there were kebab 'stands' everyywherrreee. walking through one of the many many markets, luli and i stumbled on this little place:

there was a decent line of turks, so we figured it was a good idea. for 2 turkish lira, we got the most amazing sandwich i've had in a long long time. spicy deliciousness. in addition to to street food being everywhere, there was also baklava all over the place. 

there are very few words to describe how good it was. after sicily and istanbul, i have a new found love for things with pistacchio. i'm pretty positive i had at least one piece of baklava every day we were there. it never got old, just stayed flaky and awesome. 

i became obsessed with multiple things while we were there...

evil eyes. which, despite their name, are a symbol for protection.


tiles. so ornate. so pretty. 


apple tea and turkish tea. we were given apple tea practically every time we walked into a store and were served turkish tea every afternoon when we got back to our hostels. i just love, job well done, turkey. 

probably one of the best things about istanbul were the markets. the grand bazaar and the spice bazaar are two of the most popular, but there were so many others that oftentimes felt like little hidden secrets. 

the grand bazaar. grand indeed. huge and intimidating. also, be prepared to haggle prices down; the vendors are extremely pushy and try to sell things to you for at least 50% more than what things are actually worth. needless to say i didn't buy a single thing there, i hate being harassed and hit on when i shop. a sight to see, but not the place for me. 

the spice market on the other hand was much less crowded, and much more calm. they had everything. spices (duh), tea, honey, plants, mass amounts of turkish delights, and more. the colors were beautiful. 

i think of all the markets we went to, my favorite was the arasta bazaar. they had the most incredible jewelry, and i found these old maps:

everything was really pricey, so again, no purchases; but everything was awfully nice to look at. it was also the smallest, easiest to manage bazaar we found and was right in the heart of sultanhamet, perfect. 

the only market we went to that i bought anything was one we stumbled upon after walking around an area of the city known as eminönĂ¼:

i found a few cheap crafty things that i couldn't pass by. i'm convinced tourists don't really know this bazaar exists, we hardly saw anyone other than turks, and no one there spoke english. we also found amazingly delicious freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. since the man working at the stand spoke no english, we had to play charades to get it, but it was well worth looking like fools.  

we went on a boat tour of the bosphorus and golden horn. it was freezing, but the sultans palaces that we got to see along the sea were incredible. 

another incredible thing we got to see. whirling dervishes. mesmerizing.

my favorite part of the whole trip was probably the hamami we went to. a traditional turkish bath. it is probably also one of the most awkward things i've ever experienced. once i got past the naked self consciousness, it was blissful. i was scrubbed and exfoliated raw, bathed head to toe, massaged, and shampooed all by a turkish woman who's only english words were 'lady,' 'turn,' and 'douche' (which she used in the french sense, meaning shower). i got to sit in a sauna and a steam room, and swim in a cold pool. i hardly remember a time i have ever been so relaxed. i would go to one every week if i could.

istanbul was, in a word, beautiful. more words to describe our week: bohemian, spicy, aladdin, elephants, hookah, tea, homemade wine, sparkling, pushy, charlie, lamps, angels, stray cats, genie pants, magic carpets, unique, blissful.