Thursday, July 11, 2013

around the world

I've talked about my travels a little bit on this blog, but always kind of in passing as I mention that I got a bowl in Italy or a shirt I'm wearing in Dublin. I have some travel room updates coming soon (and I'll explain why I call it that), but I wanted to do something a little bit different and put together a round-up of some of my favorite pictures from my world wandering. Some are just pretty to look at and some have a story behind them, but they all represent the incredible experiences I've had and lots of amazing memories.

 I have another blog where I post all the details of each trip and I just love going back through those posts and remembering all the things I've done and the amazing places I've seen. As I was putting this post together, it really hit me how lucky I am to have been to all of these incredible places. This world really is an unbelievable place and I want to see it all! So fasten your seatbelt, put your seat back and tray table in their full upright positions, and enjoy this little trip around the world with me!

My first international trip was to Spain the summer after 8th grade. I went with a group of 15 girls, and we cared more about shopping than actually taking in the sights and culture of Spain. I would love to go back now that I'm older and can appreciate shopping and culture. Unfortunately, that trip was way before digital cameras so I don't have pictures to share here. My 2 semesters in Hawaii during college were also pre-digital, but that is where I really fell in love with other cultures and wanted to see the world and learn everything I could about how other people live. It's so fascinating to me. So we're starting here with my first trip with a digital camera.


Vatican Museum ~ every inch of every surface was covered with paintings, mosaics, tapestries, and sculptures. Beautiful.

Grand Canal in Venice ~ I didn't know until I went to Venice that it's all canals. There are no streets, no cars, nothing with wheels basically. Just walkways and canals. Pretty impressive.

New York

We were in the audience for a taping of the Late Show and it was such a fun thing to do!

View from the top of the Empire State Building


Big Ben ~ I heard they renamed it, but to me it will always be Big Ben

Westminster Abbey (hands down, best abbey I've ever seen)

Windsor Castle - the queen's second home. I loved this day. We took a train out of London a little bit to get here and I loved the little town of Windsor with its cobblestone streets lined with cafes, and this castle was unbelievable. It's so much bigger than what you see in the picture. Our tour took a few hours and we barely saw a little section of it. The life of a queen doesn't seem so bad.


The Eiffel Tower at night

Standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe with the Eiffel Tower in the background. We climbed a never-ending spiral staircase to get up there and my legs felt like mush by the time we finally made it, but the view from the top was pretty amazing.


Funny how a little bit of paint made these guys at Tulum seem a lot less naked

Parasailing in Mexico is pretty ghetto. It this picture I'm sitting on a rolled up towel hooked with rope to a tarp. It was fun though!

Our resort. We stayed in the white building on the left, and just past that you can see the ocean. Take-your-breath-away beautiful. I spent my 30th birthday here and it was the perfect way to turn the page on a new decade.


Karlstejn Castle ~ we had a hilarious guide and loved our tour of this castle, even though it's not heated and it could not have been more than 20° in there.

Still Karlstejn ~ that box on the side of the castle was the king's bathroom and it was just open on the bottom. If you're feeling sorry for the king who had to use an open bathroom in the winter, think about the poor soul whose job it was to go out and clean up the ground every day.


Great Wall of China ~ our guide told us anyone who climbs to the top is considered a "true Chinese hero," so you may refer to me as such :)

The Chinese people at the Great Wall acted like they had never seen a white person before and kept asking to take pictures with us. We felt like celebrities!

This was one of the most amazing things I've ever done. We road in this rickshaw pulled by a man on a bike through the hutong (an old part of Beijing where the streets are less than 9 steps across) and ended up at the house below. The woman who lives there cooked a homemade meal for us that was delicious. It was so amazing to talk to her and see how her family lives. An incredible experience.

Yu Garden in Shanghai ~ right in the middle of the bustling city of Shanghai, this garden is quiet, peaceful, and so beautiful.


This trip to Ireland started with a day in New York with my friend and travel buddy Rikki. Sadly, she was not able to go to Ireland with me because she was pregnant and had some complications, but her doctor said a day in New York would be okay. We had seen Wicked before in London and were so excited to see it again!

This friendly Irish wolf hound guarded the door to the first castle we stayed in. So perfect.

Our Nissan Micra with everything on the other side. That took some getting used to and I was nervous at first, but it ended up being kind of fun once I got the hang of it.

The second castle we stayed in was haunted. Don't believe me? Look at the picture of our bathroom wall below.

It was seriously a creepy place.

Kissing the Blarney Stone


No description required for a picture of a beach sunset

Waimea Falls ~ this picture has been on my desktop since we got back. That's how much I love it.

My brothers and nephews

Something beautiful to see everywhere you look

This is a picture of a picture so it's not the best, but my brothers and I took a ride in that helicopter over the island. I maintain that it was amazing and totally worth it...even though I got to taste my lunch a second time during the ride. Motion and I are not friends.

Costa Rica

La Fortuna Waterfall ~ we hiked down (and then back up) millions of steps to get here and swam in the pool. Cold, but so fun.

We found this little guy at the end of a hike through the rainforest

Click on this one to enlarge it. We were so close to this tree full of howler monkeys. So amazing.

Tabacon ~ an all natural hot springs, and as you can see, absolutely beautiful.

Lake Arenal ~ we did 2 different sets of zip lines and this was the view from one of the platforms.

As you can imagine, I have tons more pictures from all of these places, each with a memory attached. This has been such a fun post for me to write, and I hope you enjoyed a look at a few of my favorites! I'll end with my favorite quote (that you've seen here):

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page"
~St Augustine

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Keeping It Simple

Monday, July 8, 2013

framed scrapbook paper

If you've been here in the last few weeks, you know I have recently fallen in love. With a color. 

It's Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor, and I want it to take over my house. 

In my ongoing quest to surround myself with Grays Harbor, I did a simple little project to add a little bit of it to my living room. 

I painted a frame I had laying around and put some scrapbook paper inside. I just happened to already have this paper, and it's so perfect in the frame. It's like it was meant to be.

I'm loving lime green with the navy/grey color that is my new love, and I'm loving this cute and simple addition to my living room decor.

This isn't the first time I've framed scrapbook paper. These frames in my bedroom are also filled with paper. Such an easy and inexpensive way to add color to your home!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

bathroom rehab ~ last update for awhile

This will be the last bathroom post for the foreseeable future. There are still things I would like to do in both bathrooms, but they're as done as they're going to get for awhile. 

When I started this bathroom rehab project, my master bathroom looked like this.
Not much going on, and those shower doors were hiding a lot of secrets.

The last time I showed it to you, it looked like this
The red towels and rug had always been there, but when I took out the shower doors and added the shower curtain it was just a lot of red. I knew some of it needed to go. 

First I bought some grey towels and a grey rug, but when I got them home I didn't like how the color looked in the bathroom. So they went back and I bought these brown ones. I like the color much better.

Especially how they look below the painted silk picture I got in China a couple of years ago.

I thought for awhile about using the brown towels but keeping the red rug, but in the end I think I like it better with the brown rug. It makes everything more neutral with the shower curtain being the main feature of the bathroom. In such a tiny space I think it needs to be mostly neutral.

I forgot to take a before picture of the vanity, but you can see part of it here (and it looked exactly like the guest bathroom vanity before it got painted)

Now it looks like this

I was originally planning to paint it bright white like the other one, but when I went to paint it I was out of white paint. So I ended up using the same off-white color I used on my kitchen cabinets and TV console. It's just white with a little bit of the wall color from the living room and kitchen mixed in. The wall color in my master bedroom and bathroom is also a mixture of that same wall color and white, it just has more of the brown mixed in so it's obviously beige while the cabinet color is a subtle off-white. Because it's all just different shades of the same color, I knew it would work and I love it. I love how it brightens up this tiny bathroom.

I've kind of struggled with the colors in this bathroom because I have felt for a long time like I needed to add more grey to my house. For a long time every house you saw on every blog was grey, and part of me felt like I needed to follow along. If you look at my home tour though, you won't see a speck of grey anywhere. As much as I like the color (especially clothes, I have lots of grey clothes) it's just not the color that speaks to me when it comes to decorating my house. Then everyone started painting their walls white. For me, I need color on the walls. I think it's important to recognize your own style and the colors that make your house feel like home, even if no one else is using them. I still love beige, so I'm still going to use it. 

I would still love to replace the floor, counter/sink, and light fixture, but for now this bathroom is done.

And here's one little update in the guest bathroom

My mom gave me this shelf that she wasn't using anymore and I painted it and hung it in my bathroom

It's a light aqua color that goes perfectly with the shower curtain and towels, and I sprayed the metal part with my favorite Krylon Caramel Latte.

I haven't gotten it completely decorated yet, but for now it's holding my little thrifty find jar filled with Q-tips.

It might be hard to tell with the horrible lighting in my house, but the colors go really well together. The whole bathroom is light and bright, but calming at the same time.

So that's it for bathroom updates for awhile. It has been a lot of work to get these bathrooms looking the way they do, so even though they aren't completely where I would like them to be yet, I'm happy with the progress I've made.