into the wild

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

it’s easy to see how a person can lose themselves in all that alaska has to offer (alexander supertramp, anyone?).  you don’t have to camp out in an abandoned school bus to feel like you’re living in the wild, though.  just stepping outside my sister’s front door, for instance, we saw tiny paw prints. 

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thanksgiving in alaska: the best meal ever

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on thanksgiving, my sister and i slept in and then spent all day cooking in our pajamas.  we did make a point later on in the afternoon to call our parents/other sister, who were celebrating together back in oklahoma.22.0

while i love the traditional thanksgiving food my mom makes every year, i have to say this particular thanksgiving dinner might have been the best i’ve ever eaten.  we prepared a vegetarian meal that consisted of broccoli slaw, garlic mashed potatoes, beer bread, roasted cauliflower, baked asparagus and a veggie lasagna.  does it sound amazing?  it was.  and the falling snow outside did wonders for the ambiance.28

and of course we ended the night with a cosby show marathon, made complete with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk.31

thanksgiving in alaska: the vampire version

Monday, November 28, 2011

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i’d have to say my favorite part of my trip to alaska was all the eating we did.  my sister knew just where to take me, and i loved every place we ate (including breakfast at the mermaid cafe, pictured above). 

during one particular meal at a local cafe, my sister and i noticed 3 guys sitting at table with 3 untouched plates of food before them. as if their undeniable good looks and mysterious allure didn’t make them conspicuous enough, the way they sat in silence – arms crossed, brows furrowed – really caught our attention.  my sister leaned in toward me and whispered, “do you think they’re part of the cullen family?”.  i didn’t even have to take another glance behind me before answering, “i really, really think they are”. 

when we left the cafe an hour later, not only had they still not touched their food, but they hadn’t spoken a word.  you have to admit, it does make a bit of sense…..alaska would be the perfect place for a civilized vampire clan to settle.  no sunlight, lots of wild game….. just sayin’.

and that is what i took away from my time in alaska.

thanksgiving in alaska, pt. 1

Sunday, November 27, 2011

last year, i celebrated thanksgiving in one of the best ways possible.  i’d be lying, though, if i said the thanksgiving i celebrated with my sister in alaska wasn’t pretty special itself.  spending holidays without your family can be rough, but at least 1/5 of my family (my sister) was waiting for me when my plane touched down in the last frontier.

speaking of which, the journey there was by no means simple.  riding in the tiny plane from anchorage to homer, for example, was especially memorable (since the plane was the size of a sailboat and we were seated in rows according to our weight….) but hey, i’m the girl who loves turbulence so the bumpier flight, the better, i say.

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fun fact: you could see the northern lights from my sister’s bedroom window!

It’s finally time for Christmas sweaters, jumpers, whatever.

Friday, November 25, 2011

samesies

I, an American, refer to the garment on my upper half – seen above – as a sweater.

My English friends, however, call it a jumper.

I have many confusing conversations with these friends.  The baffling part is not so much the misunderstandings in and of themselves but the fact that we are both speaking the same language and yet cannot seem to get our points across to one another. 

I recently had a conversation with an English friend who lives in Dresden, for example.  When she found out that I used to live in Nuremberg, she asked me, “How did you find Nuremberg?”.  I responded by saying, “Um…it wasn’t that hard to find…it’s a pretty big city”.  Puzzled, she looked at me and inquired, “But how did you find it?”.  I said something like, “I just….used a map”. 

Only later did I realize that she wanted to know what I thought about the city.  She wanted my opinion; not driving directions.

Welcome to the life of an American abroad; pretty much everyone thinks we are idiots (like when I write the word “color” on the chalkboard and my students tell me it’s missing a ‘u’), but that’s alright because it’s Christmastime and I’m about to have Christmas music sing-along, which, as we all know, makes even the worst trials and tribulations seem like snowballs and candy canes.  Now let’s all take a moment to ponder that sentence with deep appreciation.

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P.S. I have 3 sponsorship spots available for December. 

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Thanks, bye!

Christmastime in Dresden

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dresden doesn’t mess around when it comes to Christmas.  Their Christmas market is world renowned.  And the holiday decor hits the storefronts months in advance. 

I snapped this photo walking home one night.  I usually stick to the “no Christmas movies/music/countdowns ‘til after Thanksgiving” rule.  But it’s hard to mind these charming window displays full of pretty candle carousels.

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P.S. Every time I see a candle carousel, I can’t help but think of this movie.  It makes me so excited to have a Christmas movie marathon (after Thanksgiving, of course).

london: the lomography version

Monday, November 21, 2011

i absolutely loved this trip to london.  did it have something to do with the fact that i flew directly from dallas to london?  probably.  i never fly direct.  never ever!  those flights are always 500x more expensive than the indirect ones.  but after having done so just one time, i’d have to say it’s well worth it.  next time, i might just have to spring for the direct ticket… it makes all the difference (5 hour layovers in atlanta or new york can be pretty stupid).  also, staying in a hotel (rather than a sketchy little hostel) makes quite a difference, too.  and for that reason, this trip to london wins the prize.  i must be moving up in the world.... (that, or i won't be able to eat for the next 4 months to make up for it).

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and, like every other trip i’ve taken to london, i insisted upon stopping at the notting hill flea market solely for the purpose of eating at falafel king. as someone who makes a point of sampling falafel in every city she visits, i must say that london’s falafel is the 2nd most delicious (2nd only to paris).  maybe someday i’ll be the kind of traveler who re-visits cities to see new sights and try new things.  but as long as this portabello market falafel stand is still in business, i really don’t see that happening (in london, anyway).

just 2 sets of best friends hanging out, nothing special.

Friday, November 18, 2011

kaitlyn & me + edie & stella =

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p.s. this concludes the american  posts (for the time being, anyway).

p.p.s. i stole these photos from kaitlyn’s blog.

in case you were wondering about my exercise habits

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

when madeline and i work out, it goes from this:
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to this:
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to this:
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sorry, jillian michaels. we tried to get ripped in 30….but sitting in bed eating cupcakes & drinking milk (while watching E!) proved to be far more enjoyable.
are we shameless representations of this nation’s downfall and all that it entails?  eh, maybe. 
do i care? eh, not so much.

on contentment

Monday, November 14, 2011


i lived in salzburg my junior year of college and returned to america to finish my undergraduate degree.  i was only there from august to december before i headed back to salzburg once again.
and while i loved living in stillwater and had an amazing time finishing up my studies there, i spent many moments, days, nights, weeks, etc. wishing i was back in europe and resenting my present circumstances.  i pushed myself to the breaking point – enrolling in 21 credit hours (when only 12 were required) to try and perfect my german, revising and rewriting my fulbright essays time and time again (2 dozen times in total…absurd, looking back on it), meeting with professors during office hours to make sure my grades were good enough to land whatever internship i was pursuing abroad.  very rarely did i stop and live in the present moment, happy to be alive, happy to be receiving an education, happy to be in oklahoma.  i had two great roommates and so often did i pass up the opportunity to spend time with them in order to spend time at the corner table of the coffee shop or at the library, pulling an all-nighter.

weirdly enough, since moving to dresden, i've found myself missing those roommates and our cute little house with my huge, all-to-myself bedroom --  the same cute little house that served as my headquarters for operation: flee america, the same hilarious roommates that i so often took for granted or prioritized far behind my scholastic ambitions, and even the same big, beautiful bedroom in which i spent many friday and saturday nights, pouring over questions i might be asked during my fulbright interview instead of socializing or having ‘normal fun.' if you're wondering if this is super annoying, it is.

but dresden is GREAT.  my friends here are so fun.  and my school, students, and teachers are pretty amazing.  that doesn't mean, though, that i can’t visit home every now and then when i have a month’s worth of vacation from school and a wedding to be in….

so when i went back home in october, i went back in time, if only for a short while.  and this time, when i returned to the big, beautiful bedroom in the cute little house with one of my hilarious roommates, i appreciated it all.  the photos may suggest otherwise, but i promise i did.

also, taco bueno may have been involved in that appreciation, but i can't be sure.

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it starts in a church and ends in a barn.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

well, technically it starts on a country road and ends on route 66 (at pops)…but whatever.

a video i made of jenny’s wedding day:



wedding + reception

Friday, November 11, 2011

here is the final post on jenny’s wedding (the reason for my october homecoming).
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jenny’s sister, sally, wins the ‘best bridesmaid hair’ award, don’t you think?
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and while we’re giving out awards, i think jenny deserves a little something for choosing cute bridesmaids dresses that were super affordable, too (or am i the only one who minds when brides expect you to spend $300+ on a dress you’ll never wear again?).
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jenny’s mom found her mother-of-the-bride dress on etsy.  isn’t it lovely?
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being a bridesmaid in jenny (aka the most relaxed, laidback bride who ever lived) and eric’s wedding was an absolute privilege.
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and celebrating their marriage at the historic round barn in arcadia was a treat, too.  while the dinner and cake were delicious (especially served with raw milk provided by a local farmer/family friend), the highlight of the reception was dancing to beyonce’s ‘love on top’ with the wedding party.48
did you know that oklahoma’s historic round barn (located on route 66) was built in 1898?  if you’ve ever seen elizabethtown, then you’ve seen the barn.  i think it’s a pretty great venue for wedding receptions.
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it was definitely one of my favorite weddings/receptions that i’ve been to yet. 
thanks again, jenny & eric!