Cappuccinos near Marienplatz: Munich, Germany


We started the trip with a short visit to Nurnberg to visit Aunt Karin. We also stopped at the Longchamp store in Nurnberg. Dan’s sister Megan has incredible style. While they visited in November, we talked about how annoying it is to carry tons of bags while traveling. She recommended the cross body bags by Rebecca Minkoff. Best advice ever. I’m in love with them and I use them ALL the time. If you love style, do yourself a favor and check out her Youtube channel and Instagram here—>  InstagramYoutube . Her videos are so fun to watch, you’ll love them.

I’ve been wanting a Longchamp bag for traveling for a few months and I finally bought one. They are pretty pricy in the states (about $145 at Nordstroms) but I scored this one for 67 Euro (73 dollars)! Don’t get me wrong… I love to shop but I also LOVE to get a great deal. As you can tell by this picture, I love love love neutral bags. One of the bags in this picture I only paid 99cents for because I bought it with points from my AMEX on Amazon!


We made our way out of the city and to Aunt Karin’s house. We had such a relaxing night! She made delicious homemade schnitzel (literally the best I’ve had in Germany) and packed our bags to the brim with sweets and goodies. I’ve had a pretty bad cold lately so I drank a LOT of tea with honey. Staying with Aunt Karin is one of our very favorite things to do while we are traveling 🙂 We woke up early for breakfast, said our goodbyes and headed to Munich.

We were about 45 minutes into our road trip when I realized… I FORGOT MY NIKON. Holy moly. This never.ever.happens. I snapped all of these pictures with my iPhone. Here are a few pictures of us walking through Munich.

A park we stopped by to stretch our legs near Munich.

Driving through Munich

I love this man!



Dan always finds a lion when we travel.. it never fails.


Even though he didn’t speak English, this guy was willing to take a picture for us 🙂

A delicious bakery in the same plaza, you can see Marienplatz in the background.

Trying out a new sweet treat. Dan liked it, I wasn’t such a huge fan.

Espresso. The fastest way to my heart.
When in Munich… take time to enjoy a cappuccino and a long walk.



Let the Games Begin: London, England

It’s a lazy Sunday, the weather is super gloomy and rainy today. It reminded me so much of our trip to London. It rained pretty much the entire time we were there. So as I’m snuggled up in my leggings and cozy sweater with my cup of espresso I figured I would blog about our rainy adventure.

Our flight landed at Stanstead Airport and we took the Stanstead Express train into the city (totally worth taking the train. It’s so fast and leaves pretty frequently). From the moment we landed in the airport I felt so relieved to hear the crowd bantering away in English. It felt so much like home (except they all had really cute accents). I’m pretty in love with accents and meeting people from different places. I really love southern accents too…just ask Laurie 🙂


We purchased the all you can ride passes for the Underground (their subway system). We were there for the long weekend and it was totally worth it. We took the underground everywhere! After transferring to a few different trains on the Underground, we finally made it to the stop closest to the hostel we were staying at. There were two sets of elevators that would take us to street level. We were impatiently waiting in a huge crowd of people for the lifts, so we decided to take the stairs. WHAT A MISTAKE! We should’ve listened to the sign that said wait for the lifts. After about 200 stairs or 20 flights of stairs later, we finally made it to the top and breathed in the fresh rainy air. My legs were on fire from carrying my weekend bag up all of the stairs. I can’t tell you how incredibly happy I was to see the top!

It was so bizarre to see them driving on the opposite side of the road. They must have a lot of tourists that get hit by cars because they had these painted signs on the road to remember which way to look for traffic. I only forgot to read the signs once…which almost created a bad day for a bicyclist I stepped out in front of and quickly jumped out of their way. Haha


We stayed at Generator Hostel a few blocks away. It was really close to a few of the Underground stops and to a bunch of little cafes and coffee shops. Below is a picture of me at one of the coffee shops nearby. I absolutely LOVED how funny their advertisements were. They were clearly just as excited to see American football as we were by the hilarious signs they made.



It was too early to check into the hostel so we paid to store our bags in secured lockers and went out to find a place to eat lunch. (Lets be honest I went to find a place with coffee that conveniently also served food). We ran into Café 49. It was this adorable little breakfast/lunch café that served the most amazing espresso and hot chocolate. My fiancé is obsessed with hot chocolate (he’s a big kid) so he tries it everywhere we go.


It was my 27th Birthday and Dan wanted to do something special for me. He knew how much I loved the theatre. In college I needed an art class to graduate so I took Introduction to Theatre 101 my freshman year. I was captivated the first time I saw a live show. The characters emotions and distraught over life events felt so real. I was sitting on the edge of my seat intrigued by the show and disappointed when it was over. So my love for the theatre began in 2006.


We snagged last minute tickets for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The New Musical. The show was at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This show won “Theatre Show of the Year” from the London Lifestyle Awards 2015.


We paid 54 pounds per ticket (about 78 dollars), which is a steal for getting seats on the main floor. Dan decided to preorder refreshments for intermission (SO THANKFUL HE DID! The lines were crazy). I obviously couldn’t take pictures during the show but here are a few from the gorgeous brochure! I would highly recommend seeing a show while you’re in London. You can’t walk three blocks without running into a theatre.







The next day we spent exploring the city. We saw the Tower bridge, London eye and Big Ben. I was surprised with how BIG the Tower Bridge was. It continued to rain so we snapped a few pictures and kept moving.

Tower Bridge:




Big Ben:




I had the map the guys gave to me… and I accidentally misplaced it the first time we stopped. So the rest of the weekend we spent navigating based solely on street maps on poles like the one below. It was interesting but took longer to find our way.



Sometimes being lost is half the fun of finding your way around. We ran into a really old bar in London. The Albert was built in 1862 and was named after Queen Victoria’s husband. It had this really unique etched glass for the windows which was almost like a frost with a victorian feel. The Rugby championships were going on so we stopped by for a brew and to partake in local activity. We all shared fish and chips but passed on the mushy peas.  The bar was crowded with every age to watch the game. I didn’t really understand the rules but it was so much more brutal than American football and way more fun to watch than soccer so I was happy.





We had passed a bunch of casinos along the way while we were walking through the city. I had mentioned that I had never gambled before. We stopped by and played blackjack. Daniel and I both came out even and one of our friends won over a hundred pounds! Talk about luck! Then we crossed the street to a little restaurant where we had pizza and all of us split a piece of cheesecake for my birthday. It was such a sweet and wonderful birthday. I couldn’t have asked for more. We were pretty tired so we headed back to the hostel and played pool.

The next day was Game DAY! We had booked the trip because Grant, a good friend of ours loves the Buffalo Bills. They were playing in one of the NFL London games against the Jaguars. The game was held at the Wembley stadium.


Our seats were incredible, only 10 rows up from the field. I never realized how BIG those players were in real life (they look so normal sized on TV!). Unfortunately the Bills lost but we had a wonderful time. On our way back to the underground we noticed they were televising the Patriots game at a nearby hotel. The Patriots beat the (insert team that doesn’t really matter here) while we enjoyed watching more American football. Over all, it was an unforgettable trip.

If you ever travel to London…go to the theatre, loose your map and wander around!



ps. If you notice in my last post I was blonde and in this one my hair is brunette… It’s because I can’t decide which one I like better… So I pick both! 🙂 I’m currently on my way back to blonde.





The City of Lights and Love: Paris, France.


“There is a perpetual anticipation when you turn a corner that something wonderful is waiting to be discovered. It may be true love. It may be a marble sculpture. Or it may just be the perfect espresso.” -Elaine Sciolino

Falling in Love: Dan’s Version.

So there I was waiting for Jenny to message me. According to her, she was supposed to land around 11am and we were going to get together. I was super excited because it had been over three years since we last saw each other. Before I knew it though it was 6pm and I thought to myself, what the hell? I thought at first she didn’t want to hang out with me but I decided to message her and see what was going on.

Of course, in true Jenny fashion, she answered and said, “Oh you actually wanted to hang out? I thought you meant sometime over the next three years.” I said, “No you knucklehead, get dressed. I’m on my way.” So I pulled up and there she was standing outside her hotel in a beautiful yellow sundress. I remembered her being beautiful but I was blown away at how amazing she looked. We hugged and talked for a little bit and I took her to my house. We shared a beer and caught up and after a bit I took her back to her hotel. Little did I know that would be the last night we would spend apart from each other. The next night I told her to come stay with me (just as friends) because her hotel was, for lack of a better term, crappy.

brunch saunders
(It was a rainy Sunday in August and I remember it so vividly, like it was yesterday. Dan and I were eating brunch at a favorite place of ours. {We are head over heels in love with their Nutella croissants and espresso.} He looked across the table and asked “Do you want to go to Paris next weekend?” I’m pretty sure I almost dropped my coffee I was so excited. Visiting Paris has been a long time dream of mine and we were going to do it… five days from that moment. He snapped this photo of me because I seriously couldn’t stop smiling I was so happy. )eiffeltowerdanjenny
Our first activity we did together was go to the gym everyday. Jenny told me she wanted to get whipped into shape and she wanted me to be her trainer. I don’t think she was ready at all for the pain I was about to put her through. She didn’t realize that I have a completely different personality when I am the gym. My motto in life is work hard and play hard, so I work out hard in the gym and my reward is to relax on the weekends. A couple days into our gym trips I was really starting to like Jenny. I enjoyed spending time with her and to be perfectly honest I loved watching her workout. In all our previous conversations Jenny had said that she was always attracted to jerks. So one day I decided to take on that persona in the form of her trainer and see how she would respond. Since I never act like that, she immediately knew something was different. I was being extra hard on her at the gym. I wasn’t being mean per say but I was having her work out harder than usual. Then she asked me why am I being such a douche (this is a favorite expression of hers, it’s basically a form of affection). I said “I thought you liked jerks” and I winked at her. She smiled and laughed and I could feel real chemistry starting to develop.

Over the next couple weeks, we spent everyday together and traveled all over. We took day trips to Frankfurt (for Chipotle obviously) and went to visit my Aunt in Nuremberg. I never imagined things going any better than they were. She was such an amazing and interesting woman and I seriously felt like the luckiest guy in Europe. She had made a list of her top 5 travel places that she wanted to visit and Paris was at the top. I knew we would make it there eventually but I didn’t realize the perfect opportunity would present itself so soon.


I got a random Facebook message from my lifelong friend Jimmy. He mentioned that him and his fiancé Sara were coming over for a four day weekend. They were going to look at venues for their upcoming wedding and that he wanted to get together. Jimmy has always been such a close friend of mine, even though he was always “Eric’s friend.” Jenny asked me to describe him and I had the perfect thought. When Jimmy wanted to do something serious or just hang out, he would call Eric. When Jimmy wanted to get in trouble or do something stupid, he called me. The memories Jimmy and I have made will last a lifetime and I couldn’t wait to introduce Jenny to someone I care so much about.


When we got there we checked into the hotel and shortly after Jimmy and Sara came to meet us. It was such an awesome feeling being able to see those two and spending the day with them. From walking up the Eiffel Tower to bar hopping, it turned into one of our classic amazing nights. All I can say is that when Jimmy and Sara tie the knot in Paris, that will most definitely be a night we will never forget.




48 Hours in Paris

We looked into taking the Ice train to the city but due to the time crunch the tickets were really expensive so we ended up driving instead. It’s pretty common in Europe for most people to be on vacation for the entire month of August. The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as it normally is according to the locals. We stayed at Hôtel Le Relais Saint Charles in Paris. It was located about half mile from the Eiffel Tower. I was surprised with how friendly the locals were to us.



Shortly after we checked in Jimmy and Sara surprised us by knocking on our hotel room door. We had such an amazing time walking around site seeing with such a fun couple. We walked to the second landing of the Eiffel Tower…. YES… we took the stairs. 42 flights of them according to my iPhone app.


The view of the city was the best. Since we didn’t have time to see absolutely everything we wanted to… seeing much of the city from up high was really cool!



My favorite view was from behind the fountain with the statue below. There were tons of kids (and adults too) playing in the fountain and swimming because it was outrageously hot that day.


It was such a blessing getting the tour of the city from someone that is actually from the area and can speak French. Sara knew all of the cool places to see and took us to a wonderful cafe near Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. From the stained glass to the uniquely designed architecture it was gorgeous.





(I was just learning how to use my DSLR camera but I loved how this turned out 😉

We ended up spending the rest of the night in an Irish style bar near our hotel. Dan had “just one more beer” about 5 times because sometimes when you’re with people you love it’s just too soon to say goodbye just yet.

When in Paris… take the stairs.




Ps. Happy Valentines Day!


Show me how BIG your Brave is: Boulder, Colorado

In light of the recent Super Bowl Champs… I had to give credit to the Broncos. Their defensive line played an outstanding game (at least the parts I watched anyway.) Let me tell you, watching the Super Bowl at 1 in the morning makes it more of an intermittent napping party in sweat pants especially when you’ve worked all day. However, since they won I figured my next post should be about Colorado. What a beautiful place! It’s even better that it’s completely appropriate to wear lululemon/workout clothes EVERYWHERE you go. If i’m not working, 95% of the time you’ll find me in lulu so I could totally be a local there. I love that fitness seems like such an obvious part of the culture. So why did I go? To surprise my sweet friend Sophia…


Let’s Back up a minute…

25. Twenty Five. Dang that was a hard year for me. Have you ever woken up and realized you’re not living the life you’ve always imagined you would? Have you heard your own voice and realized the words coming out are not what you WANTED or NEEDED to say? The moral of my story is that: Life is hard. Life is messy. Anyone who tells you that it isn’t, is a big liar. They are most likely trying to make you believe everything in their life is perfect. Here’s the shocker… no one’s life is perfect. Call it a quarter life crisis if you will. To me it was a realization that you don’t have to keep moving on the same path if you’re heading in the opposite direction of where you really want to end up in life. I learned very quickly that I was too educated, determined and stubborn to be content with unhappiness.

So I made big changes in my life. I moved fearlessly in the direction of my dreams. Was it hard? ABSOLUTELY. Did I doubt my decisions? Occasionally along the way but I had to trust that I was doing the right thing. When you go through chapters in your life like this one, you truly find out who is on your team. Who is going to love you through both your good AND bad decisions. Who is going to love the best of you and the worst of you. Once again I leaned on the friends that are practically sisters to me. I also listened to songs on repeat (like Brave by Sara Bareilles, not an artist I usually like but what an amazing song). I read a bunch of books. I’ve always loved to read so it’s really that I needed a reason but I found it was soothing.

If you haven’t read Wild by Cheryl Strayed you should! That girl was a hot mess with all the chaos going on in her life. And yet… I couldn’t blame her for coping in all the wrong ways. In a sense I felt like I understood her pain and suffering. One of my favorite quotes from her book was this one.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” -Cheryl Strayed


Traveling to Colorado was a breath of fresh air for me. Literally, it felt so clean and running there made my lungs burn like I had never imagined they could. It awakened a part of me that was numb and for the first time in a long time I saw over the edge. I saw the bright future ahead that I would build for myself. These women pushed me to be brave. They brought out the best in me and listened to me cry when I needed it most. Standing on the edge of this mountain I knew everything was going to be better than just okay… It was GOING to be fantastic.

“Let’s go for an early morning run and hike. It’ll be fun.” she said….11 miles later….

Now I only agreed to this nonsense because Sophia woke Katie and I up with steaming hot mugs of our favorite Wild Mountain Blueberry Coffee. After she bribed me with coffee, I drug myself out of my warm bed and laced up my running shoes. Keep in mind we had to run to the staring point of the hike… so my lungs were literally on fire.

Elevation: 5,430 Feet

When they say the air is “thin” up that high… what they mean is you’ll feel oxygen deprived… like you’re dying. Eventually, we watched the sunrise as we finished the grueling hike to the top.


Boulder Colorado Sunrise
Katie, Sophia and I getting a much deserved cup of Froyo at Spooners.


About six months later, I made a second trip to Boulder. I wanted to surprise Sophia at work. She was as a manager for Lululemon (you can see why my obsession with lulu started to grow) and I knew she had to work the day I arrived. So I coordinated with a few of her coworkers to make sure she had the weekend off (but was still on the printed schedule to “work”). I walked into her work with flowers and she looked up and greeted me. She did a double take and was shocked I was actually standing in the store with her. The smile on her face made the trip so worth it!

colorado lulu

I told her the rest of the girls and I had planned to get together in Colorado Springs the next day. It was just after christmas time so we decided to meet for dessert and cocktails at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. It was gorgeous and the cream brûlée was just perfect!


Catrina, Kala, Sophia and I at the Broadmoor.

I spent a few more days in Boulder with these girls and it made me miss our weekly running and breakfast dates in North Carolina so very much! I am so thankful for the women in these pictures. They push me to be a better person every single day.

Sophia, Kala and I.

Overall, I would highly recommend visiting Colorado when you have the chance especially if you’re a fan of the outdoors. Don’t get me wrong… hiking, running, biking it’ll all be harder at that elevation. But from my experience, the view was always worth the climb.




ps. I almost forgot. Sophia, Mike and I went to this outrageously good brunch place (after she almost killed me at her crossfit class). Coffee is by far the fastest way to my heart!



Let’s talk Savannah, Georgia

Wow. Just mentioning Savannah in my last post brought back so many memories. The first thing that came to my mind was GIRLFRIENDS. I honestly think God blessed women with girlfriends so they can laugh, drink red wine and dance until sunrise with their favorite people on earth. I’ve gone to Savannah a bunch of times mostly because of it’s close proximity to where I lived in both Georgia and North Carolina but also because one of my very best friends lives there. Here I’ll highlight my favorite moments.

Savannah Take 1

The first time I went to Savannah I went with a big group of friends. We were in our early twenties and could drink until 4 am, take a two hour nap and get up and run six miles during the sunrise. (see picture below… because thats exactly what I did.) Ohhh how I miss those days. One of my biggest power partners in life Ashleigh invited me to go with her and a bunch of our mutual friends for a long weekend on Tybee Island. By power partners… I mean the girls at the gym that are so incredibly fit… you hate them just a little bit… but you’re friends so it’s okay for her to be a million times stronger and faster than you. We spent so many days in North Carolina lifting weights, swimming, running, doing cross fit and making healthy meals together. Power partners are seriously my favorite kind of girlfriend. They push you far beyond your comfort zone and are ALWAYS rooting for you. These are the confident, driven, outrageously intelligent, beautiful women that I surround myself with and I can’t  imagine living life without. Y’all know who you are..

A few cool things about this trip:

  1. I had just gotten my first tattoo. So I reapplied sunscreen WAY more than I normally do. Which is probably why it was the first trip I didn’t get sunburned. Also I would highly recommend NOT getting your first tattoo on your ribcage… It was miserably painful you can tell by the picture below. It’s so red because I bled SO much!
  2. Three of us were floating about waist deep on inter tubes. I saw a few fins in my peripheral vision (immediately the tune from JAWS started playing in my head).. all three of us sprinted to the beach… just to find out 30 seconds later they were just dolphins.
  3. I wish I was as fit now as I was during this trip! See those Abs…. I should call them Abs by Ashleigh! That girl pushed me so hard in the gym I felt like I was going to throw up after every workout. Ashleigh… hurry up and move to Europe so you can be my trainer 🙂

A Savannah Sunrise
tybee island

Savannah Take 2

A bunch of my ICU coworkers wanted to run the Savannah Rock and Roll half marathon. So naturally we decided to take the Slow ride pub crawl, bike pedaling tour and see all the cool bars and hydrate prior to our race. Thankfully we all finished our half marathon that weekend and had a wonderful time. We also did a lot of shopping down town. One of my absolutely favorite stores—> Savannah Bee Company is located in downtown Savannah. If you love tea as much as I do… I’d highly recommend you try their different honey’s (their Tea Honey is my favorite because it’s subtly sweet… and not overwhelming). They also have amazing Royal Jelly Body Butter and Beeswax hand and nail salve that will change your life if you wash your hands as much as I do (obsessively!).

savannah icu team
The ICU Crew! I miss y’all!
savannah half marath
Katie H and I post race.. She almost killed me trying to break two hours. 😉 I’m clearly the slow runner of the two of us.

Savannah Take 3: Girls trip to the beach

Another reunion for the incredible women I met while I lived in North Carolina. One thing I’ve learned with moving as much as I do… Is that friends of friends are the best! They’ll help you get settled in your new area, tell you what places to avoid, give you a written must do list while your here and they’ll also give you tips on where to get your hair cut (no one likes the regrowing process after a hack job… ps. all these pictures were taken right before I donated 11 inches of my hair!).

Hands down one of best things in Georgia is the beach. We played beach volleyball…Katie rocked her amazing skills and made us all look like we were trying out for the middle school volleyball team all over again haha. Also on this trip, I got a 3 minute refresher on how to drive a manual transmission and then drove 4 hours home. Thanks to Abby and Laura for not giving up on me regardless of how many times I stalled while I was learning!

Catrina, Katie D, Laura and I cruising in down town Savannah.

Katie D, Katie Z, Catrina, Laura and I at Dinner.
From the bottom of my heart I love you Katie! We’ve gone through hell and back together and I would visit Savannah a hundred more times just to see you!

Savannah Take 4

Saint Patricks Day. Lets just say… I don’t own a single thing that is green… at least not bright green. From road tripping with my favorite southern girl Laurie…. to mimosas and watching the parade.. that weekend was unforgettable. We stopped at our favorite place, Lane Peach Orchard on the way home because they have THE BEST peach cobbler with home made pecan ice-cream on top!

Savanah Group

Savannah laurienme


I hope y’all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me. These southern memories will last a lifetime. If you’re in Georgia eat some peach cobbler for me!!






Falling in Love: Ibiza, Spain

“I want to dance by the water beneath a Mexican sky. Drink some margaritas by a string of blue lights. Listen to the Mariachi play at midnight. Are you with me? Are you with me?” -Lost Frequencies

This song played over and over in my head and on the radio in Ibiza. Every time I hear that song it takes me back to paradise, even if only for a moment.

How we met:

Jenny’s version

{Summer 2012} I had been working in the ICU in North Carolina for over two years and we were short staffed that night. Dan had just graduated the new RN program and obviously picked the short straw on his unit because he was the one that floated to help us out. We gave him the most hemodynamically stable patients on the unit (yet he was still anxious to hear the alarms constantly going off for one thing or another). It was kind of sweet he was so nervous… I too remembered what it was like to be brand new to the ICU and it can be a little overwhelming.

On the other hand, I had already gotten my patients mostly settled and the majority of my initial charting complete. I had a few moments and after chatting with a good friend I worked with (Amanda, Miss you so much girl!) I was looking for a new pair of boots online. If you know me well, shoes are an addiction of mine… I don’t discriminate but I especially love leather boots. In walks Dan… the newbie. He was so friendly and extremely hilarious, he made me laugh all night (and teased me mercilessly for online shopping). At the time I was in a serious relationship and completely friend zoned him. However, I had a few hot single friends that I immediately thought of… and this says a lot because I don’t set my friends up with just anyone. There was a mixed group of 15-20 people going to Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island for a long weekend at the beach. That first day I met Dan, I invited him to come with us… so he could meet my friends (that I attempted to set him up with). Luckily, things didn’t workout with my good friends but he did end up meeting someone and I was sincerely happy for him.

Sweet sunrise. Tybee Island, Georgia 2012
{Fast forward a few years}

As the years passed, both of our relationships didn’t work out. Thank God for that! I had moved from North Carolina to Texas and eventually to Georgia. I was very fortunate and got the opportunity to move and take a position in the ICU in Germany. MANNNNNN I was nervous to move internationally with just my puppies. I was leaving my wonderful adopted southern family (the Loughmans) and friends I had made in Georgia behind. It was such a bittersweet and tearful goodbye. {To this day I still miss the peaches and the sweet tea. Laurie, JB, Yoko, Lori and friends drink a glass for me!}

The realization hit me that I didn’t know anyone that was currently working in Germany. Hhmmm so I did a little research just to make sure and BAM…. Dan popped up on my Facebook with pictures from Ireland. We started chatting as friends and he helped me tremendously with organizing my international move. The day I got here I was super jet lagged. Rachel picked me up from the airport and got me settled into my hotel. I took a five hour nap (aghhh jet lag is awful!) and I woke up to a few texts from Dan. He basically said “Are you alive? I haven’t heard from you.”  I assumed I would see him eventually when I got here but he was motivated to see me that day.

So I got dressed in the only thing I had that wasn’t wrinkled… a summer dress. He met me with a welcome package: Harbro gummy bears, Milka chocolate bars and Magnum Ice cream bars. He showed me around his little village and I had my first German beer and döner with him. It was delicious and it was really cool to catch up on life with him. He dropped me off at my hotel and I fell asleep for a few hours until I abruptly woke up STARVING. (Little did I know that I would eat chocolate and gummy bears for breakfast at 4 am because nothing else was open). Dan would always joke that we were perfect for each other. I on the other hand told him that things would never work out between us. I knew we were both incredibly independent, driven, active, stubborn  and funny individuals. Ironically, he ended up being right about this one. When I first got here I watched him play a LOT of softball while I learned how to use my Nikon. Heres a few favs I snapped of him. We ended up spending a lot of time together and he saved me from the mini hotel room I was given until I could find a house.



A week later we went on our first trip to Ibiza, Spain. The beauty of this island took my breath away. Never in my life had I ever seen such a beautiful place. At that moment… I knew without a doubt I had made the right decision moving to Europe. I didn’t know it then but looking back on our trip to Ibiza I was falling for him (even if I didn’t want to admit it).

Our Ibiza Trip!

We started by checking into our hotel which was located half a mile from the beach in Sant Antoni de Portamy. We stayed in a minimalist hotel (70 euro a person for three nights!) and I’m so glad we did because we spent the majority of the time at the beach anyway! I asked the owner in Spanish (finally using that second language I spent so many years learning) if she could recommend her favorite restaurant in the area. This is something I do frequently when we travel because the locals usually recommend far better places than we find online. It was still early so we rushed down to the water for a quick swim and a drink from the beach side bar.

ibiza sunsetThe restaurant she recommended was tucked away in a secluded alley and we drank Sangria as the sun went down. We ate freshly caught fish from the area (just kidding I had fish… Dan had steak or something) but he did actually try mine. I am always the adventurous one when it comes to food where as Dan will play it safe EVERY.TIME… if given the option. For example, I had to try paella that weekend and Dan refused :). 

The next morning we woke up early and put on our expensive sunblock on (I insisted on buying it at the airport…. Dan was right about this one too… it was much cheaper on the island).

Cala Conta

Cala Conta was the first beach we went to and by far my favorite. This is why: we couldn’t keep these cheesy smiles off our faces. A lot of my friends here have told me the sparks between Dan and I were obvious from the start… even when I insisted that we were “just friends.” haha DSC_0027


They used to have a zoo on the island but it closed down. The interesting part is that they turned it into a massive techno bar. Each of the areas that previously housed animals became a new bar/techno dance area. They called it the “Zoo project.” It was so much fun, everyone was painted like animals (pretty sure this was Dan’s favorite night) and there were a lot of entertainers and musicians.

zoo project ibiza

Cala Salada

I spent most of the weekend with an Island girl in my hand (coconut rum and a splash of sprite/pineapple juice) and relaxing on the beach. However, we also spent a LOT of time cliff diving and swimming with the fish. This place was perfect to cliff dive for the brave at heart. The water is outrageously clear and looks shallow but I promise it’s not!




So that’s how our love story began. I’ve suckered Dan into writing the second half… So come back to visit for the next post with his version. 🙂 Thanks for reading!






Dreaming all the Dreams

I’ve always been a dreamer and a compulsive list maker… so when you put those things together you end up with a fancy doodled form of a To-Do list for Life. Things you dream to accomplish that are important to YOU for one reason or another. I’ve been making lists for years. It’s almost comical reading some of my dreams from ten years ago. Learn to Sew? Who knew that would be something that never really interested me in the first place… but felt more like a life necessity I SHOULD learn. Then there are other things on the list that you just can’t ever seem to live up to…. like “Always give more than you take.” First of all, that is not a measurable goal. My nursing professors and educators would be disappointed in that statement Haha but it’s more of a gentle reminder to stop being so dang selfish in life. We are programmed to be selfish, to fulfill our needs before any one else’s and in my line of work we are pushed to go against the grain. A special thanks to my coworkers, they constantly fulfill the needs of our patients and their family members far before their own needs.

Speaking of work, one of the next things on my list was get a Masters Degree. Whewwwww I’m all about working hard and doing well in school…as a broad concept (my friends all know I’ve always been a committed back row sitter and will be for life). But SO many people are doing things like this just to check the box. When I start my masters, I want it to mean something. I want it to change my career entirely… so I refuse to buy into the “You should start now to get it out of the way feeling” that so many people I know have done. Recently I’ve read “Yes Please!” by Amy Poehler.

Yes pleaseIf you haven’t read it yet… do yourself a favor and BUY IT NOW on your iPad/Kindle/Nook or be old fashion like me and actually buy the book you hold in your hands because it’s HILARIOUS. One of my favorite quotes in her book was about how women tend to constantly compare themselves to others. She reinforces the fact that you don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s standards of success. She says in her book “’Good for her, not for me’ that is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.” So to my friends getting masters right now, CHEERS! I am sincerely happy for you. I hope it leads you to exactly where you want to be in life! But to be completely honest, I haven’t even decided what I want to be when I grow up! I’m still deciding if I want to apply for CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) school or if I want to apply for Nurse Practitioner school. Right now, saving lives in the ICU is extremely rewarding and enough for me. Hands down, there is absolutely nothing better than taking care of soldiers that have sacrificed so much and sending them home to their families. To my friends stuck in the in between stop stressing and just enjoy the season of life you are in right now.  Eventually I too will decide whats next but for the moment, I’m caught up in living the life I’ve always dreamed of. I have spent years dreaming about traveling the world and I’m finally doing it. I keep telling myself that NOW is the best time! I’ll only be young and able to run, hike, swim and bike across the world for a limited amount of time. So maybe by the time I’m 80 I’ll look back with less regrets on what I “should have done.”

ibiza couple


{As for Traveling}

Holy Moly, these last 6 months have been packed with travel. It helps that my trip-planning partner, Dan is constantly asking me “where are we going next?” I love his heart and the way he is always pushing us to enjoy the best things in life. He is on the path to discovering the world, the people and of course the beer/wine selection, one country at a time. Eight days after I landed in Europe he talked me into starting my travel with the most relaxing thing on earth… the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. We traveled to the Balearic Island of Ibiza, Spain. {I will do a retrospective blog post about this later} I conquered so many fears with this trip. First of all, I was out of my comfort zone my first week of living internationally but at least I was back in a country where I could speak the language. (A huge thanks to Señora Walsh and Señora Seamans for teaching me Spanish, a life skill that I’ve used more times than I can count…in work and in life.)

ibiza rock

One of my most memorable moments on this journey to finding myself on the other side of the Atlantic was taking the plunge… literally off of a cliff in Ibiza, Spain. I have always been terrified of heights, as in I don’t even like standing on ladders. Dan talked me into cliff diving with him (as you can tell by the pictures he’s not scared of anything). It seemed like an eternity standing on the edge of that cliff. I was shaking the first time and wanted so badly to return to the safety of the beach with my sun hat and sunnies with a book in my hand. I knew at that moment I had the choice to be brave or to play it safe. Every time we’ve gone to the beach since then we cliff dive. It is exhilarating! (Of course I have to make sure the water is deep enough first…haha) but most times we were diving into places 15-25 feet deep and into schools of fish! The water is more clear than any pool I’ve ever swam in. I absolutely can not wait to go back to paradise. Dan’s front flips were pretty impressive! Each time we jump I get more brave. Here’s to many more cliffs and tackling many more fears in life.




Dan dive


J cliff dive

If you’re interested in my Lists here they are:

A few things still left on my old list:

  1. Bike around Mackinac Island.
  2. Hike the Grand Canyon.
  3. Go on a mission trip.
  4. Take Gram to Hawaii.
  5. Go parasailing.
  6. Swim with dolphins
  7. Own exotic fish.
  8. Learn to surf
  9. Do a mini triathalon

Things I’ve accomplished:

  1. Run a marathon (Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC in 2011)
  2. Pass my NCLEX
  3. Own a Jeep
  4. Be debt free
  5. Navigate better with a map (this is an ongoing process and it’s accomplishment depends on who you ask 🙂
  6. Conquer my fear of heights
  7. Make Grandma Jo’s peanut butter fudge
  8. Admit when you are wrong
  9. Go shopping in New York City
  10. Rescue a dog (Bonus… I rescued TWO!)
  11. Buy a House with pillars
  12. Spend a few weeks traveling through Europe (and OHHHHH how I’ve traveled! This should have been a few years traveling Europe)
  13. Learn to drive a stick shift and own a car with a manual transmission
  14. Trauma Nurse Critical Care Course
  15. Donate my hair to kids with cancer (twice!)
  16. Passed my CCRN

OHHH the places we dream to go!

  1. Fjords of Norway
  2. See the northern lights in Iceland
  3. Croatia
  4. Italy (again and again and again. I want to see the whole country. Eat all the food and drink all of the wine!)
  5. Yacht week in Greece
  6. Run the Athens Marathon
  7. Go on an African Safari
  8. Hike in New Zeeland
  9. Surf on the beaches of Hawaii
  10. Take a cooking class in Thailand
  11. Study Yoga in India
  12. Prague, Czech Republic
  13. Skiing in Austria
  14. Portugal
  15. Canary Islands

Places we’ve been:

(If I haven’t blogged about them already, I will soon!)
  1. Ibiza, Spain
  2. Paris, France
  3. Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim. (Biggest wine fest in the world!)
  4. Mallorca, Spain
  5. Octoberfest in Stuggart, Germany
  6. Portsmouth, England
  7. London, England
  8. Venice, Italy
  9. Nurnberg, Germany
  10. German Christmas Markets: Trier and Heidelberg
  11. Strasbourg, France
  12. Zermatt, Switzerland

Favorite Big Cities I’ve visited in the USA:

(In no particular order, I’ll blog about my favorites later!)
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • New York, New York
  • San Diego, California
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Washington DC
  • Orlando, Flordia
  • Raliegh, North Carolina
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Austin, Texas
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Portland, Oregon
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Destin, Florida
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Auburn, Alabama

Places I’ve lived for more than six months:

  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Germany

I choose you for life.


I choose you for life.

I choose the best of you and the worst of you because I want both. 


With this ring, I give you my heart. Take my hand and my whole life too.


























I hope you enjoyed our engagement pictures!





Ps. A very special thank you to the amazing friends we have made. The Grahams took these pictures and we are so incredibly thankful. Our trip to Zermatt, Switzerland was unforgettable. Cheers to a lifetime of friendship!




A Winter Wonderland: Zermatt, Switzerland 

The beauty of living in Europe is that you can travel at a moments notice. A few weeks ago my fiancé {dang that word sounds amazing, we are newly engaged as of New Years} and I were casually talking about our dreams which we do frequently. I mentioned that I have been itching to go skiing. It’s been so long, maybe 6 years or so since I’ve gone. We immediately started researching… Where would our dreams lead us next?! We eventually decided we couldn’t miss out on skiing in the Swiss alps. He booked our trip! Surprisingly Daniel is awesome at coordinating our trip plans. He books the reservations and I figure out the activities once we arrive. We usually find great deals on or We decided to take a couples trip with two very good friends of ours Travis and Krissy.
After a 4 am wake up and a 7 hour drive…. We finally boarded the train from Täsch to Zermatt, Switzerland. As we started to climb in elevation, the scenery looked untouched (so beautiful in fact that I forgot to take pictures for most of the quick train ride up the mountain). Zermatt is snuggly located in a picturesque valley in the Swiss Alps.
There are no cars in Zermatt! They run all transportation on foot, skis, bikes or special electric run taxis to transport you through the very mountainous town. We checked into our hotel which was pleasantly surprising. We stayed at Alpenlodge and the atmosphere was incredible. From the fresh pine scent of the wood finishes to the crackling of the fire we were in love. The decor couldn’t be more perfect for a cosy lodge tucked away in the mountains.

The sweet receptionist Maxi recommended a few restaurants to us and we quickly jumped at the idea of fondue with cheese made in Switzerland. I am huge on tasting the food of the region we are in and and experiencing the world through a new perspective. However, they were booked solid that night so we made reservations for the following night and choose and Italian place instead. Zermatt is located on the border of Switzerland and Italy and therefore has a strong Italian influence on food and wine. And ohhhhh my the wine!!!! I am obsessed with Italian wine. It is by far my favorite region as far as wine is concerned.
Molina’s was the name of the Italian place we decided on. We started the meal with Italian red wine and bruschetta (one of my absolute favorites!). Dan ordered pizza while I chose the lemon risotto with jumbo prawns. The intensity of the flavors danced on far after we were finished eating. If you know us well, you know that Dan and I are firm believers in dessert. We chose the Tiramisu with café ice cream to share and it was the BEST tiramisu I’ve had in Europe yet! After dinner we walked through the town, most of the shops were closed but fun to look at. It truly felt like a winter wonderland.

We played euchre in the lodge (a huge card game rivalry/fav of ours as a couple). We woke up early and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast and got ready to take our engagement pictures. Our impromptu photogrphers took breathtaking photos that I absolutely can’t wait to share!

Afterwards we got our ski gear on. I was excited to wear my new ski jacket and snow pants. I’ve had my old ski jacket for ten years and needed to replace it now that I’m no longer living in the south. We took a long tunnel and a train up to the ski slopes. We started slow with our friends since this was their first day ever skiing. Everyone fell atleast once, it’s a million times more scary than skiing in the USA because if you fall too close to the edge you fall 30+ feet down the ledge!

Thankfully we all made it back in one piece to have a warm drink at the lodge. I had a glass of glühwein and it warmed me from the inside out. Thankfully it was warm-ish outside and not too windy so we sat on the deck and enjoyed the view. We hit the slopes for a few more runs until they closed for the day.

We had dinner at the Ferdinand, a fondue restaurant in a hotel overlooking the entire city of Zermatt. The atmosphere was so romantic and sweet. Although it was pretty pricy, it was totally worth it. I would highly recommend that place. We left with our bellies full and our hearts content with such an amazing weekend away.

The next day we left with sad goodbyes with Mrs. Rosemary, the owner of Alpenlodge. She had an extra room adjacent to us available and gave it to us free of charge. She went out of her way to make us feel more than welcome. We assured her we would return (and refer all of our friends too!).
 On our way out of Switzerland we stopped in Bern to eat dinner (pizza again… I swear we have an obsession with Italian food). We chose a place called IL Grissino. We also stopped at Starbucks (a tradition of ours) to collect a Switzerland cup for our collection. As this long weekend comes to a close, I am so thankful for the selfless and hilarious friends we have made. Krissy and Travis have made us laugh until we cry and took the most incredible engagement pictures we could have ever hoped for and that I can’t WAIT to share!         Until our next travel adventure…