September 30, 2013

Why I Blog

Fact: Blogging is a lot of work, and sometimes I have to remind myself why I keep doing it. 

I think that it's important for everyone to stop and assess WHY they do the things they do - specifically the things that take up a significant amount of their time each day, so here it is ... Why I Blog: 

♡ To have a creative outlet 
♡ To document my growth and change 
♡ To learn more about cooking and photography 
♡ To inspire others 
♡ To have a place to think
♡ To share my favorite things 
♡ To be vulnerable 
♡ To challenge my creative abilities 
♡ To strengthen my voice and sense of self 
♡ To document moments and memories
♡ To practice authenticity
♡ To develop friendships with people all over the world 
♡ To share what's on my heart 
♡ To document my messy, beautiful life 

Some days I can write long heartfelt posts in under an hour, other days I can't even force myself to write a sentence. I go through periods where I really love this whole blogging thing, and other times where I say "To hell with all of this!," and think about signing off from the blogosphere for good... but every time that I receive an email from someone who asks me for advice or someone tells me that something that I wrote here helped them through a rough day ... it reminds me that I'm supposed to be doing this. I'm supposed to be writing, I'm supposed to be blogging, and I'm supposed to be sharing what's on my heart.

This blog is my diary, my recipe book, my photo album and my travel journal. It's a collection of the places I've been, the moments I've lived through, and the things that make me, me. I sincerely hope that you enjoy my Travel Babbles as much as I do ... and that you'll stop to say "hi" at some point if you haven't done so already.

Why do you blog?
Why do you read blogs?

If this post inspires you to write your own "Why" post, please leave your link in the comments,
I'd love to read it!

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September 28, 2013


I'm just popping in today to let you know that I updated all of my sponsor/advertising options!

Please note that all ads will now run month to month, so if you don't sign up for October 1st, you will have to wait until November 1st :)

Click here for more info, and feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions!

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September 27, 2013

Words For The Weekend // You Will Never Be Completely At Home Again

This is my last weekend at home and I have such conflicting emotions about our move next week. 

Four, five, six years ago, sure, I was always filled with excitement to pack up my things, leave this small town, and jet off to a new place to explore. Now, embarking on "our" seventh hockey season ... this moving thing seems to just tug harder and harder on my heartstrings. 

I know that I'll love Denver - it's probably the most exciting city thus far that we get the privilege to live in, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about the hockey organization, and I can't wait to actually meet some of my blogger friends (Sami, Hannah, LaurenJanna, Kristina and Mal) in real life - but I just wish that this all didn't have to come with the cost of moving away from my family, friends, and memories to be made with them here in Massachusetts.

This weekend will be spent soaking up each second with my loved ones - I hope that you take some time to unplug from the interwebs and do the same.

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September 23, 2013

If You Own A Pet, You Need To Read This.

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Tagg™ Pet Tracker, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pettracker”

In his four short years of life, Brutus has packed up his bed, bowls and treats, and moved somewhere between fifteen and twenty times. I've lost count actually, but we're adding one more "home" to the list when we move to Denver next week.

I've never been too worried about Brutus venturing off (I mean let's get real, Chunks McGee isn't getting anywhere fast) ... but if I had to be honest, I've always been a worry wart that someone would steal him. 

When we first moved to Germany back in 2010, we had to have an international microchip inserted in Brutus. I felt comfortable with the just the chip for the past couple of years ... but the reality of the microchip is that all it really is is an identification number. The chip only proves to be useful should Brutus ever wander off straight into the arms of a kind person who would take him to a place that has the capability to scan his chip and find our contact information in their database.

So what happens if he wandered off into the wrong hands? Or what if someone saw his cute face and broke in and stole him while I was out running errands or something? I know that sounds silly, but I "like" a few English Bulldog networks on Facebook and I've seen a good handful of post about lost and/or stolen Bullies who have been taken right out of their yards and homes!

With Brutus being such a lover that he is, I know for a fact that he'd go home with anyone. Talk about frightening. And I'm not saying that I feel uncomfortable with our move to Denver ... but if he were to ever get lost or stolen there, I wouldn't even know where to begin searching for him in the city!

So when I was asked if I'd like to test out the Tagg Pet Tracker, of course I said Y-E-S!

And you guys, this thing is seriously awesome. I honestly, truly believe that it's a responsible investment in the safety of your four legged family member.

Unlike a microchip, the Tagg Pet Tracker tracks your pet 24/7 via GPS. You begin using it by creating an account online and setting a home base or "Tagg Zone". Once your zone is set, if your pet wanders outside of that bubble, you receive an email and a push notification on your phone.

In addition to tracking your pet's location, you can also enable tracking of his or her daily activities. This is a really awesome feature - it tracks every movement, walk, run or snooze, and gives you a detailed peek into your pet's overall fitness level. As you can see below, our lazy Bulldog rested for 51% of the day.

The tracker is so lightweight and easily attaches to your pet's existing collar or harness, and the tracker has been designed to be worn at all times - even while swimming!

Just for fun, we decided to "steal' Brutus over the weekend. The Tagg Pet Tracker has a "trip mode" that you can put the tracker in, but we decided to just put Brutus in the car and drive to the park without letting the system know that we were taking him out of his zone.

As soon as we left our bubble I was waiting for an instant update ... and it didn't come. As we drove another mile, it still didn't come. Another mile ... it still didn't come. But just as I started to stress and we were nearing mile three, I received an email and push notification that Brutus had left his safe zone. 

I think it took a hot minute for the system to realize that Brutus was gone because 1.) The Tagg goes into "sleep mode" when it's near it's base to save battery life, and 2.) We were driving 25-30 MPH. It really only took about four or five minutes for the system to wake up, realize he was gone, and notify me.

Now this is where the Pet Tracker get really cool - I was able to zoom right in on Brutus on the iPhone app, and actually see him via GPS walking through the park. So unlike the microchip, the Tagg Pet Tracker gives you the capability to locate your runaway or stolen pet RIGHT NOW - and you can even get directions from your location to your pet's location so that you can go and rescue him.

I'm seriously so impressed with this incredible system ... and because I know that you will be too, I'm happy to share the following promo code with you: If you use the code TAGG10, you will save 10% off of the Tagg Pet Tracker (which is normally $99 with 3 months of free service.)

If you have any questions about this system, feel free to leave them in a comment below and I'll be happy to answer them for you!

Are you as obsessed with your pet as I am with Brutus?
What do you think about the Tagg Pet Tracker?

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September 19, 2013

Thursday Things

We're officially leaving for Denver on October 3rd. Eeek. I've already been Googling Top Fall Festivals and 50 Free Fall Activities. I love this season, there's so much to do in Denver now through Christmas, and I can't wait to explore our new home :)

I'm not sure who conducted this study, but I have to agree.

Awesome DIY - turn an old coffee table into an ottoman.

I spent the day with my Grandmother yesterday and we stopped at Panera for lunch. I had the most delicious Autumn Squash Soup. Panera's website says that the soup is a blend of squash and pumpkin, simmered in vegetable broth with honey, apple juice, cinnamon and a hint of curry, finished with sweet cream and topped with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds. I am on a mission to recreate this recipe at home. I definitely tasted the pumpkin and cinnamon, and all of the flavors blended together but each had their own distinct taste in the soup. Does that even make sense? I'm not going to pretend to be a food blogger lol ... but I will definitely be attempting to make this soup at home and hopefully I can perfect the recipe and share it soon.

Do you have a favorite Fall recipe to share?
What's your favorite Fall activity?


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September 16, 2013

My Weekend // The Big E

Obviously, the only picture that I took of TJ and myself was taken on my cell phone.

For the first time in five years, we were actually home in Massachusetts and able to attend The Big E. To say that I was excited is an understatement.

There's no better way to celebrate the sights, sounds, and tastes of Fall in New England than at The Big E. 

From local beer, to Maine Baked Potatoes, Massachusetts Lobster Rolls, New Hampshire Maple Candy, Vermont Cheddar Cheese, corn dogs, cotton candy, caramel apples, sausage grinders, fried dough, fried pickles, fried Snickers, chocolate covered bacon, sugared doughnuts ... there's something for everyone, and trust me, the tummy ache that you have the next day is absolutely worth it.

There are also multiple concerts (we saw DJ Pauly D and guess what? I was (fist)PUMPED!), an incredible array of crafts and local goodies, livestock barns, tractor pulls (yes, I'm into that), the Clydesdale's horses, and more.

The Big E is a loud, tacky, silly, and smelly tradition - it's good old fashioned fun that I'm so happy I was home to celebrate with TJ and our friends.

Have you ever been to The Big E? 
Do you get as excited as I do about the local fair?


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September 13, 2013

Words For The Weekend // Be Kind

Writing a public blog is a funny thing.

I told TJ the other day that sometimes I feel like I live a double life.
While many people have told me that they appreciate how honest I am here ... from talking about how shitty the hockey life can sometimes be, to being so open about our miscarriage, to sharing different pieces from my heavy heart ... there are many other things that I wish I could write about, but I just can't.

Because, I guess, maybe, those pieces are too broken, and shattered, and scattered to piece together and write about.

So with that being said ... I guess what I wanted to share today is this:

Be kind. Because everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.


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September 12, 2013

Thursday Things

I'm swooning over this unique piece of art! How cool would it be to have a sound wave of your husband/wife/children/etc saying "I love you"?

Did you know that Panera Bread has a hidden menu? Mind = BLOWN!

I absolutely adore this DIY wooden pallet sign.


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September 10, 2013

Tasty Tuesday // "Just Like Thanksgiving" Casserole

As the temperature began it's descent into Fall this past weekend, I was immediately drawn to thoughts of pumpkins, chili, soups, casseroles, and hearty meals.

TJ joined me this past weekend at my parent's house. He's here until we're given the "OK" that our apartment is ready and we can begin our drive to Denver. That "OK" could be in two days, or two weeks, or three or four. Training camp officially begins on October 7th ... so until then, I'm soaking up each moment with my whole family. 

If there's one meal that resonates with "family", it's definitely one comprised of turkey and stuffing and cranberries. Yum. Looking back on my childhood, my favorite memories come from celebrating each Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house, when we were all able to sit and enjoy a giant holiday/family dinner without the hustle and bustle that Christmas or presents bring. Those memories make me smile.

As soon as TJ got here I knew that I wanted to whip up something special for our entire family - but a whole Thanksgiving feast takes HOURS to prepare ... and 'ain't nobody got time for that' more than once per year!

The easiest solution that I could come up with was creating a "Thanksgiving" casserole. I "winged it" with my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and came up with the following recipe:

3 pounds of diced turkey
10.5oz turkey gravy
40oz canned sweet potatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar
14oz whole berry cranberry sauce
14oz jellied cranberry sauce
3 cups turkey stuffing

'Grease' bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch baking dish with Country Crock Original Spread.

In a large bowl, season diced turkey to taste, and mix with turkey gravy. Transfer the turkey and gravy into baking dish.

In a large bowl, whip sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of Country Crock Original Spread. Layer whipped sweet potatoes on top of turkey and gravy.

In a large bowl, mix together 14oz whole berries and 14oz jellied cranberry sauce. Layer cranberry sauce on top of the whipped sweet potatoes.

In a large bowl, prepare 3 cups of turkey stuffing, subbing Country Crock Original Spread for the butter. Layer turkey stuffing on top of the cranberry sauce.

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 45 minutes.

I mixed up each individual layer in the same large bowl. I gave the bowl a quick wash in the sink between each layer, then moved onto the next one. There's no need to create a big mess of bowls, especially when each layer is going in the same baking dish.

There was a lot of "water" / moisture that came out of the turkey and sweet potatoes. In retrospect, I probably should have cooked the turkey first, but it wasn't a big issue and I don't think this really affected the taste whatsoever.

I add an egg to my stuffing to give it a little extra "fluff."


Country Crock Original Spread has always been a staple at my parent's house, and for good reason - it's a smart, healthy swap for butter. It's already softened, has zero grams of trans fat, no partially hydrogenated oils or cholesterol, has 70% less fat and 30% fewer calories than regular butter per serving.

My favorite thing about casseroles is that you can prep everything in the baking dish during the day, pop it in the fridge, and then throw it in the oven later that day when you're ready for it. Wham bam, thank ya ma'am.

I'm looking forward to savoring each of these last few family dinner's before it's time to hit the road again.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Do you have a favorite casserole recipe? Please share!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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September 5, 2013

Thursday Things

These Pumpkin Pie Pockets are 100% happening this fall! 

$83 for this is absofreakinlutely ridiculous - but I love the idea! Operation: DIY project.

The "Karma Necklace" from K.O. Designs comes in either 18k or sterling silver. At 15" long, it's perfect for layering!

This is magical.

Meet Arbor. She's a former shelter dog who is now an internationally recognized painter who sells her artwork to raise funds for other shelter pups. 


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September 4, 2013

Real Talk // How Do I Block You In Real Life, Too?

I was recently unfriended by someone on Facebook, and while my initial reaction was to get pissed off ... my response quickly turned into confusion about how both awesome and awkward the next time we see each other in "real life" will be ... and then it turned even faster into finding humor in the situation, because guess what? 

It's fucking Facebook. 

I remember sleeping in my dorm room back in 2005, when a girl on my floor came running through the halls, pounding on all of our doors at 2am to let us know that our school had finally been added to Facebook. 

You better believe that we all jumped out of bed and created accounts within five minutes.

Remember when it was only certain colleges and universities that were allowed to be a part of "Thefacebook"? Ohh, the good old days.

Since then, I've watched Facebook be a major component of the ruin of a handful of marriages, friendships and families - and I only have 268 friends on my personal account. That's really sad, huh?

Beyond that sad fact, Facebook now seems to have become a podium to express explicit personal opinions about things like politics, religion, abortion, circumcision, sex before marriage, same sex marriage. The list goes on. 

I've seen people go into all out battles on Facebook, and seeing it literally gives me anxiety. 

I mean, I have a blog, I respect the freedom of free speech ... but I wish more people would understand that in voicing their strong opinion to a group of hundreds of people - people who they are supposed to be "friends" with - they're also going out of their way to make those "friends" feel uninformed and inferior. I guess I just don't understand why many people possess the need to express themselves like that.

So I suppose the easy solution, in an ongoing attempt to avoid unnecessary drama in my life, is to delete my Facebook. 

I've kept it for years because I have albums on there that contain precious memories from years ago. But that's a silly excuse, I can back those photos up and print them out at the store. 

I also want to be able to stay connected with friends from years ago. But the easy solution to that is to exchange phone numbers, and *gasp* maybe even set up a time to actually see each other in person and catch up in real life. Do people even still do that anymore?

Have you ever deleted your Facebook account?
How do you keep your Facebook & your sanity at the same time?

September 3, 2013

You Say Bucket List, I Say ...

Inspired by the ever popular "Bucket List", I've decided to create my own list with a twist ... a list of the things that I have no desire to ever do before I die.

1. Go back to college. I've been doing quite alright for myself with this piddly dance degree that taught me no useful skills for the real world.

2. Karaoke. I think that I'm tone deaf and no one has had the heart to tell me yet. The thought of singing in front of a crowd paralyzes me.

3. Film a sex tape. Those things always seem to accidentlyonpurpose get leaked onto the Interwebs.

4. Eat caviar. I'm pretty sure that caviar is just a joke someone pulled to see if they could get rich snobs to eat slime.

5. Take the stairs. Just to get a minuscule amount of exercise? If there is an elevator available, I'm taking it.

6. Go sky diving. I came into this world by someone pulling 'chute too late - I'm sure as hell not going out that way, too. (hi, dad.)

7. Get a boob job. I was obsessed with the idea for a while. But once I realized that my boobs were never, ever going to grow, and I was forced to grow into them instead because I've never had an extra $5,000 kicking around, I've kind of learned to like them.

8. Drink a $100 bottle of wine. The $10 and under bottles do just fine.

9. Be on Survivor. Truth be told, the narcissist in me really used to want to be on TV. But now? Now, I'd die in six hours if I didn't eat. And if I didn't die of starvation, I'd die from being killed off because I whined too much.

10. Beg for other's approval. I've spent the better part of my life learning to like and love myself. I don't have that kind of time for judgmental people.

In a comment below, tell me:

What's on your list? 


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