Iconic Movies in My Life

Photo courtesy of Carbon Arc via PhotoPin / Creative Commons.

Whether or not I want to admit it, movies have played a big role in my life. It's not like I went to see movies every weekend as a child, but, even still, I have seen a lot of movies over the course of my life. Some have been pure entertainment while others have helped me to form opinions or create dreams. Movies, whether I like it or not, have influenced who I am and what I want out of life.

The questions below were originally shared on Babi a Fi's blog when she answered them. I enjoyed reading her answers and learning more about her; hopefully you will enjoy reading my answers and learning more about me. :) Or maybe, just possibly, you'll discover a movie you've never heard of before that you can add your must-see list.

Well, that's my hope anyway. :)


And, please, copy the questions and share on your blog too! Or respond in the comments. I can never learn too much about my fellow bloggers and blog readers! I'd love to know if we share any commonalities … or be introduced to new movies, if there are any differences. :)

01. What Is The Last Film You Saw?
in theaters: Captain America: Civil War. It was ok.

while babysitting: Hotel Transylvania 2. (Actually pretty funny.)

02. A Film That Always Makes You Happy?
as in always, always? :-/

It'd have to be a funny one… And not stupid…

I can't think of one that always, always makes me happy.

03. A Film That Makes You Sad?

Pay It Forward. Kid makes a difference in the world, a real difference, then… #nospoilers :)

04. A Film You've Seen Countless Times?

Anything I've ever liked or with good music. Sometimes I "watch" a movie while doing something else just for the music – Dirty Dancing, Center Stage, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Martian

05. A Film That You Love But Everyone Else Hates?

Here On Earth. Chris Klein, Leelee Sobieski, Josh Hartnett.

Moody, dark, emotional.

Yeah, I know you don't like it. (Or have never seen it.)

06. A Film You Wish You Saw In The Cinema?

Umm… I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, so I think I'm good. :) That was a fun experience. Maybe Casablanca? Or… The Breakfast Club?

Definitely The Breakfast Club. :)

07. Your Favourite Film?

No favorites. They seriously change every week.

I've kind of been loving all things Marvel recently. Ant-Man, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy. I like movies that are funny, but with a bit of action.

08. The Worst Film You've Ever Seen?

Probably Hardcore Henry.

Don't go see it. Ever. #GotPaidToSeeIt #NotWorthIt

09. Your Favourite CGI Film?
Wall-E, Despicable Me, and Ratatouille.

Wall-E, because it was so dang sweet. Justin and I made a date night after he graduated college. We went out to eat and had steak then saw Wall-E at one of the nicest theaters in Atlanta. The movie was so adorable and we had so much fun! It's hard not to include it in my list.

Despicable Me was the movie I didn't want to see until I did. Who doesn't love watching adorable little girls ordering around a mean guy?

And Ratatouille… The music is awesome! The concept was fantastic! And it takes place in Paris, of all places. <3. Pixar helped me to fall in love with a rat! What else can I say? :)

10. Your Favourite Animated Film?
My favorite as a kid was Beauty and the Beast.

Ice Age was really fun though…

11. A Character You Can Relate To The Most?
Jo from Little Women (1994)

"Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation."

Other ways I'm like her (or would aspire to be like her):

• Avoiding people at parties.

• Always thrilled about the prospect of a European vacation! :)

• Strong enough to say no to Batman!

• Defensive about my writing, but also desperate to do better.

12. A Film You'll Never Watch Again?

The Land Before Time II, III, IV, so on and so forth… Why all of the sequels? :-/

Although I can't say I'll see the original Land Before Time again either.

13. The First Film You Saw At The Cinema?
I have no idea…

14. Favourite Opening Sequence?
Ice Age. Definitely.

I couldn't find the opening scene for Ice Age on Youtube though, so here's the Deadpool opening credits. They are awesome too. :)

15. A Film That Takes You Back To High School?
Center Stage. High schoolers having fun, being flirty, living it up, dancing. What's not to love?

Oh – and Mean Girls. It came out after I was out of high school, but it sooo fits.

16. Favourite Love Story In A Film?

The Notebook. :)

Ryan Gosling is so dark and broody, and Rachel McAdams is cute and fun! Plus, the setting is so beautiful. I <3 South Carolina. :)

17. A Film You Can And Do Quote From?
Finding Nemo

"Just keep swimming; just keep swimming…"

"Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!"

"I shall call him squishy, and he shall be mine! And he shall be my squishy!"


"Do you want to build a snowman?"

"The sky's awake, so I am awake! I have to play!"

"Let it go!"

"Winter is a good time to stay in and cuddle, but
put me in summer and I'll be a … happy snowman!"

18. Your Favourite Book To Film Adaptation?

Breakfast at Tiffany's. I didn't like the book by Truman Capote.

19. A Film That Changed Your Opinion of Something?

The Devil Wears Prada – the idea that I could do anything I wanted with my life. That one's life is full of choices and you can handle those choices however you choose to.

"You want this life? The decision is yours."

20. Favourite Foreign Language Film?
I can't say I've seen one…

21. A Film You Would Recommend To Everyone?

Guardians of the Galaxy. It was just a fun movie. + Great music! :)

The Martian is also surprisingly optimistic, but probably geared more toward adults.

22. A Film You Used To Love But Now Hate?

According to my parents, ET. I had the weirdest ET doll. Frankly I don't even remember liking the movie enough to have a doll.

They also said I loved The Wizard of Oz. I don't remember that either.

23. Favourite Film Sequel?

Ice Age 2? Surprisingly good. :)

24. Favourite Film Villain?

Gru from Despicable Me. He makes me laugh. :)

25. Most Underrated Film?
Once. That was a great movie!

Or maybe Juno. :) Every day when I go to work I drive by two loveseats outside of a house and it always reminds me of this movie!

26. The Film That Scared You Most?

The Lion King. (As a kid, that is.) *spoiler alert* I'd always fast forward through the scene where Mufasa gets trampled. :(

I also didn't like the scene where Ursula rises from the ocean at the end of the The Little Mermaid. :(

Or when Bambi's mom is killed.

27. An Actor Whose Casting Would Make You More Inclined To See A Film?
Chris Pratt. I haven't seen anything he's done badly at yet. Also Meryl Streep and George Clooney.

28. Favourite Movie From Your Childhood?

Kindergarten Cop. :) A tall Austrian saves the day!

Lassie (1994)

29. Most Ridiculous Film You Have Ever Seen?

The Gremlins. I hate that movie!

30. Your Favourite Film Franchise?
Marvel movies. Superheroes ftw! :)

* This post was shared in response to #30lists (day 29). I can't believe this month is almost over! (But there's still time to join in… πŸ˜€)

Things That Make My Day

Looking at life through a rosΓ© filled wine glass! (heh!)
courtesy of: Bony Nguyen via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Don't you just love when things are going right in your life? You find yourself waking up from a good night's sleep skipping around singing Zip-a-dee-do-dah with the sun shining down on your face and the bird's chirping along. Heck! Even if you are typically tone-deaf, I bet on a good day you're tone is absolutely perfect! You feel great and you are ready to conquer all that your day has to offer!

Well … at least that's my attitude at the beginning of a great day!

Other things that only improve my day include:

1. Having great hair. And beautiful skin.

Maybe that's two things? Or maybe it's just one. I don't know!

I especially love having beautiful curls that don't quickly fall out. (My hair just senses humidity and down it goes!) And as for my skin? I don't need makeup, but some days my skin simply looks better than it does other days. Add a bit of mascara and let's go! :) Long lashes ftw!

2. Getting to wear a new outfit.

There's something magical about getting to pull the tags off for the first time!

3. The husband saying "Yes. We can travel there."

*shriek!* Specifically if it's to Europe. ✈️ Love booking those expensive plane tickets (preferably for cheap) and making dreams become realities.

Also. Disney World. Thanks Tribe Tyler for reminding me of that. (Seriously click the link and watch. It will take you back to childhood, if you've ever been to WDW. The magic never goes away.)

4. Getting to leave work early.

Obviously there is joy when the clock strikes 5 and the workday is over, but there's even more joy when the clock strike 4 and your boss says "You can go home if you want…"

Umm … yes. Yes, I think I will. :)

5. Minimally fun surprises. (Like flowers or chocolates, restaurant reservations, rainbows after a storm, getting more for my money unexpectedly.)

And if I am expecting it (the surprise to happen or whatever the surprise is), you can take this off the list.

I was expecting my husband to propose. There had been hints and odd behavior. That took the proposal from a *good* surprise to a futile attempt at my avoiding it all together.

"You want to go to this fancy restaurant on Christmas eve? … Ok. We'll take your sister with us." πŸ˜›

Yeah, I'm terrible. 😊

+ I was nervous.

Life decisions stress me out.

(Thank goodness I married someone who understands.)

6. Reading a great book.

If I can sigh happily at the end of the book, that's a great day right there. I'll be grinning ear-to-ear until the end of the day. Or something terrible happens. Whichever comes first.

7. Hearing unexpectedly from a friend.

Hugs, understanding, love.

Mail, phone calls, drop-bys, texts, emails.

Whatever it is, I'll take it! πŸ’•

8. Having a clean home.

It's a little thing, but it makes a BIG difference.

I hate cleaning, but I love having an organized house. It means I can find what I'm looking for when I'm looking for it. 😊

9. Hearing my favorite song on the radio.

10. No traffic.

I know. Right?

And with that being said, I'm going to attempt to have a perfect day. Because every day should be wonderful. πŸ’•πŸ˜€

What makes your day? Is there anything in this post that you would also include on your list?

Linking up with Tamara Gerber of Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom for #TopTenThursday

Wordless Wednesday – the Coast of Brittany, France

Two images taken during the same sunset near the Ploumanac'h Lighthouse in July 2016: one with a lower perspective than the other, one edited in Camera Raw and the other edited in Lightroom, light balance adjusted to more greens/yellows in one and adjusted in camera (while shooting – flourescent I think?) in the other. Tips and suggestions from Serge Ramelli used in editing.

Which one do you like better?

Walt Disney World 4 Parks in 2 Days: Pre-Trip & Animal Kingdom

"Justin! If I use fast pass for Spaceship Earth, we won't be able to fast pass for Test Track! What should I do?"

These are the quandrums you face when you aren't familiar with how Walt Disney World's fast pass system works AND you only have two days to visit four of Florida's best-known theme parks.

Having visited Walt Disney World as a kid, I already knew some of the best rides: Splash Mountain, It's A Small World, Carousel of Progress… (Yeah, I know my favorite rides from childhood may not have been yours… so? πŸ˜›) I also knew that Florida was blazingly hot during the summer and lines were extremely long. What I didn't know was how much Walt Disney World had changed in the fifteen years since I had last visited, how hot it would be in November, and whether or not the rides that thrilled me as a child would still thrill me as an adult.

Over the next few Tuesdays, I will share exactly what my return trip to Orlando entailed and how exactly the husband and myself saw #4ParksIn2Days! :)



Shortly after my engagement in late 2011, an old friend from my early college days also announced his engagement; he was to get married after his girlfriend of five years graduated college. Time passed rapidly with no wedding in sight (or planned). Would they actually follow through? Was a wedding truly on the horizon?

The answer: 2015. November.

So, shortly after learning of the date, I booked a hotel and started planning a Disney extravaganza. No way was I going to miss introducing my husband to the happiest place on earth! :)

Justin and I both worked full days the Thursday we were set to leave for Florida; then we had my parents drop us off at the airport shortly after 8PM to board our late night Delta flight to Orlando. With an arrival time set to just after midnight, to say that we were tired would be an understatement. 😴 Luckily, we didn't have any driving to do once our plane touched down. Instead, we scanned our Magic bands and boarded the Disney bus feeling minimal excitement as the bus driver showed us a video describing in detail just what was in store for us at the Walt Disney World theme parks. Honestly, no one onboard the bus that late at night cared or even paid attention to the video. We were all ready to get to our hotel. The hour long ride could not have taken any longer than it did…

One of the only people to disboard at the Port Orleans Riverside, Justin and I made our way to the front desk where we were given our room key. The room looked lovely, but I only spent the minimal amount of time admiring it before making sure the alarm clock was set and we were ready to go for the next day, a day that would be filled to the brim with activity. (And, of course, Justin was like "do we really have to set an alarm?")


Animal Kingdom –

When the alarm went off six hours later, I jumped out of bed and scurried to the suitcase. With or without my husband, I was going to the parks! Light and minimal was my thought process – eighty degrees and having to carry whatever I took meant that I did not want to take much. One camera, one husband, an umbrella … and GO!

** Pro-tip: Weather in Florida can be unpredictable. ALWAYS carry an umbrella. Even if it looks beautiful and no rain is forecast!

Justin and I ate breakfast at the Boatwright's Dining Hall (terrible food, expensive price) before jumping aboard a waiting bus to the Animal Kingdom. Our goal was to be at the park at it's 8AM opening time (for Disney Resort guests; other AK visitors would have to wait until the public opening at 9AM). The goal: see as much of the park as possible before the crowds came.

We walked all the way to the back of the park passing by the Tree of Life to go to the Kilimanjaro Safari in "Africa". With very few people in line, we were excited to see what kind of animals would be out so early in the morning. Then it was the Wildlife Express Train, the Conservation Station  grabbing some delicious chicken marsala in the Harambe Village to snack on before heading to "Asia" where the screams coming from Expedition Everest enticed us to continue on. (Seeing lions, giraffes, and apes was fun and all, but we were ready for some action!)

If you aren't familiar with it, in my opinion, Expedition Everest is the best ride available in Animal Kingdom. It is a roller coaster that takes you through Mount Everest where you spot … dundunDUN! Yeti! And those Yeti? …are after you! So you have to get away! But how? … You go on twists and turns, ups and downs … forwards and … backwards(!!!) until you have escaped what you had deemed your fate! While there are plenty of animals at Animal Kingdom making the park, in my humble opinion, a glorified zoo, there aren't too many rides for the thrill-seeker, but Expedition Everest is definitely one of them.

As a non-roller coaster-er, I was a little anxious as we waited in line. Yes, the drop that was causing the screams was very similar to Magic Kingdom's Splash Mountain, but what I didn't realize was that the roller coaster goes backwards in a dark tunnel! What?!?! I'd done roller coasters, but none in the dark! And certainly none that went backward! BUT we had already waited in line for soooo long. I couldn't turn back now

And I'm glad I didn't turn back. Expedition Everest was one of the most fun rides I did while in the Disney theme parks. The storyline was cute, I loved exploring the beautiful mountains of "China", and the backwards in the dark part of the roller coaster ride wasn't quite as scary with my husband by my side. (Plus, you can't help but laugh at all of the people screaming! … It's like seriously?!? πŸ˜›)

Other highlights of the Animal Kingdom:
The Oasis Exhibit (Oasis): tropical garden pathways
Discovery Island Trails (Discovery Island): more animals
Maharajah Walking Trail (Asia): guess what? more animals. πŸ˜€
Kali River Rapids (Africa): We had a camera, so this one was a no-go for us. Be prepared to get wet!
DINOSAUR (originally known as Countdown to Extinction in DinoLand): This is one I wish I had taken the hubby on. It's a lot of fun, but a bit scary for young kids. Not quite a rollercoaster, but feels like it. Very jerky.
Primeval Whirl (DinoLand): Never been on this ride, but it looks a bit like a spinning roller coaster…
It's Tough to Be A Bug (a show in the Tree of Life): Put on 3D glasses and learn what it's like to be a bug. As suggested on Disney's site, this show may be a bit scary for young children.

The husband and I left the park shortly after completing Expedition Everest. My goal was to be at EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival for lunch and I couldn't think of any other worthwhile rides or things to do at Animal Kingdom to keep us there past noon. So we moved on…

(To Be Continued…)


What do you think? Have you ever been to any of the Disney theme parks? And if so, what are/were some of your favorite rides? If you've been to Florida's Walt Disney World, have you had the chance to visit Animal Kingdom? Did I miss out on anything particularly good?

** Linking up to City Trippers Mummytravels.com and Wandermum.co.uk

My Kitchen Essentials

Photo via VisualHunt.com

I love when monthly themed prompts line up with the correct day of the week – like when "kitchen essentials" (#30lists day #22) is the prompt for Friday "food" day.

My essentials, in order, from least important to most:

10. Cheese Grater 

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is amazing. Seriously. No italian meal is complete without it.

9. Baking Pans 

How else will we make cookies?

8. Cast Iron pans. 

They make the world go 'round.  

Or at least … they are round … sometimes. ;) 

7. Cutting Board & Sharp Knives 

I have learned my lesson. Long gone are the days of cutting things on paper plates and using dull knives. My husband has ingrained this one into me…

6. Pots 

How else will I cook rice and noodles? (Don't say "rice cooker".)

5. Kitchenaid Stand Mixer 

I love our Kitchenaid branded mixer and I could never go back to the old whatever-the-cheap-brand-was-that-we-had,

4. Oven 

Cake. 'nough said! :)

3. Stove 

For arguments sake, the kitchen doesn't automatically come with this either. Where else am I going to use my pots?

2. Fridge 

I learned the hard way through friends that life without a fridge is a sad day indeed. How else will you keep all of your dairy products cold? … And do you have to purchase meat on an "as needed" basis?


Seriously, he makes the best food! He is creative and daring … even willing! I receive a cookbook to test and review, and he works with me on it. In the past five years that we've been married, we've experimented with making fries Belgian style, creating our own rotisserie for making trdelnik, using dry ice and alcohol to modify the KitchenAid ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer, and spent three days making croissants when we returned from France and I was craving them. He's not afraid to try anything in the kitchen, and I love that he takes my criticism and modifies his food so that it tastes better to me. I can't even begin to imagine cooking/baking without him in my life; I feel like my life would include far less tasty and delicious things. 

What are some of your kitchen essentials? Do we share any commonalities?

Ten Things I'm Good At

"Are you happy? Is that what you want to do for the rest of your life?" He didn't say it condescendingly, but the words definitely felt condescending.

Justin and I were attending a birthday party. We had just gotten through the typical small talk questions of "What's you name? Isn't the weather nice? And what do you do for a living?"

I always feel so small when people ask me what I do for a living. I'm not a computer engineer making a difference in the lives of ALS patients like my husband. I don't have children so I can't claim "housewife" status. And my life is far from what I ever expected it to be. I'm not living the American dream; I don't have 2.5 kids, a minivan, or even a house with a white picket fence.

But I have travelled to Europe. I am married to an amazing man. And, crazy enough, I actually like what I do.

Nevertheless, sometimes it's difficult to have confidence when I'm in situations like that. Sometimes it's difficult to see that my life has worth.

As an answer to that feeling of insecurity, here are ten things I'm good at:

1. Travel Planning

I'm not always good at managing my time for travel planning, but when I do plan, I'm good at it. (We won't say the same for travel budgeting. 😳)

2. Planning, in general.

You need a list? I'm there!

Organizing files, dressers, drawers, or cabinets? I'll do it.

Labeling is good too.

3. Editing text.

In school, I was the go-to text editor, specifically if you were a friend and we didn't share the same English/LA class. I'm all about finding the right word(s) and clarifying what is being said. (No, my blog should not be confused as an example.)

Words matter.

4. Research.

Give me google or give me death.

I'm not talking about scholastic research (though they were my favorite types of papers to write), I'm talking about finding answers to questions.

Today's google search: How do you book a Korean Air flight with Delta miles? Answer? patience. And possibly a call to Delta. (In other words, I learned it wasn't really worth it unless you stumbled upon a good deal.)

5. Being Quiet.

Two weekends ago a waitress who didn't know me from any other Tom, Dick, or Harry came up to me and said "you're quiet". Umm thanks? Is that a compliment?

But seriously, I hear it all of the time.

"You should talk more."

"You're too quiet. πŸ˜‰"

Well maybe you talk too much?! Ever think about that?

6. My Reliability.

If I say I'm going to do something, I do it. No matter what.

7. My Candor.

Don't get me wrong–I do lie, occasionally. But 99.999999% of the time, I'll tell you the truth even if you don't want to hear it. I feel like you should know the real me and not some person I'm pretending to be. Plus, I'm not very good at lying unless I have convinced myself that the lie could be true.

My grandparents called it correctly when they told me a story about how my grandmother took me shopping then told me not to tell my grandfather how much we spent. Immediately upon returning to their home I waltzed in, 5 years old or so, and told my grandfather happily that "We took the price tags off of the toys so that you wouldn't know how much we spent!" πŸ˜‰ 😳 😞 Yep, that's me. I didn't tell … exactly.

8. I'm considerate.

I will put your happiness or best interest ahead of my own.

9. Staying up late.

Don't ask me to get up early unless we are doing something really exciting,

But staying up late? How late do we want to stay up? … until the sun comes up? πŸ˜‰

10. Writing daily … or almost daily.

That's why I have a blog, I think. 😊

Are there ever situations or times when some part of your life makes you feel insecure? What do you do when that happens? Can you think of ten things you are good at?

*Join #TopTenThursday by clicking over to Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom and linking up your blog post for this week's top ten!

Paris: Seine River

July 2016

For #30lists (day 20): I do my best thinking when ______.
• I have no distractions. No noise, no facebook, no TV.
• at least 20 minutes have passed after starting a project when surrounded by people/noise/whatever. (I need the time to disconnect from my surroundings.)
• I have a goal in mind.
• I feel encouraged and loved.
• I have beautiful scenery. πŸ˜‰

When do you do your best thinking? Can you focus in a loud environment? Is working from the local Starbucks an option? Or do you need someplace quieter like the library? … or more private like your home?

Linking up for #Wordless Wednesday with Talbert Zoo!

English that Germans get Wrong

Photo credit: Caio Jhonny via Visual Hunt / CC BY

This past summer Justin and I took our third trip to Europe meeting with some German friends and exploring the north west French coast. While we always have fun with them, there are definitely times when their English makes me think twice…

1. Mostly used in email context, I've been hearing "somewhen" for the last fifteen years! And not just from the friends we were traveling with in France; I've heard it from German tourists my husband has just happened to make conversation with in the states. "Irgendwann" just happens to be a thing they say that when directly translated becomes "somewhen".

In the US, saying "somewhen" is not common; however it can be found in the dictionary.

My husband and I have tried to come up with alternatives for "somewhen" for our friends to use, but ultimately we find ourselves at a loss. The use for "somewhen" is so much more varied than even the English equivalent of "sometime" or "sometimes" … or "somewhere".

In the end I've found myself arguing for "somewhen" even when it is not traditionally acceptable. I consider it a cute quirk of my German friends, and it always makes me smile to hear them say "somewhen". Furthermore, I always know what they mean through the context of the sentence. In that way, the particularities of the English language matter far less. I'd rather hear the somewhat unusual "somewhen" than no words at all.

2. A new Germanism for me while visiting France: "Let's take a bath."


My first thought upon hearing this:

a. There are no bathtubs in our Airbnb. Do they mean shower? … as in get cleaned up? … or bathe together? 😳
b. Are they talking about going to a spa? … a nude spa? (y'know because bath = water + naked and we were traveling through France where nude spas are actually a thing).

I have to admit I was a little shocked at the suggestion of a bath. I definitely had no intention of stripping down to my birthday suit with these people. A nude spa or skinny dipping at the beach? Or bathing at the Airbnb … together? Yeah, no. They were more than welcome to do it, but I'm as American and prudish as they come. No friend naked-time for me.

While "baden" does mean to "bathe", in German you can say you want to "baden gehen" which means to swim, so when our friends were saying they wanted to go take a "bath" what they really meant was that they wanted to swim … in the ocean … in a bathing suit.

I got lucky there! πŸ˜›

3. Something I never expected to discover while talking to Germans, aside from their intense recycling, hatred for the death penalty, and love of beer/sausage, is that "smoking" doesn't necessarily involve cigarettes in the EU. Originally taken from the English "smoking jacket" which is a nice jacket one smokes in (I'm guessing from an earlier time when smoking was in vogue? early 1900s perhaps?), the term "smoking", as my German friends refer to it, is used to describe a fancy place where a dinner jacket, suit and tie, and/or dress with heels is worn. Definitely very different from the Marlboro I pictured in my head.

4. I'm not really sure why this came up, but at some point during our time in France, the female of our two German friends indicated that she needed to wash her "hairs". Having been warned of this in German class many years prior (die Haare vs. das Haar), I knew that Germans referred to hair in the plural form; however, this did not keep my mind from conjuring up images of Medusa with her head full of snake hair. 😳

5. In America, we say something is funny if it makes us laugh and fun if it makes us happy. Germans, however, can use one word to describe both: lustig. So, in directly translating, a German may say something is "funny" when they mean "fun" or "fun" when something is "funny". Are you confused yet? Just listen to the context of their sentence and you'll, hopefully, figure it out! πŸ˜€

6. And finally, the most confusing of all, is when Germans "invite" you to do something. What they really mean is that not only are you welcome to come along, but that they will also pay for you as well! And, crazily enough, it's a BIG deal.

We were in line to go to the top of a building in France, when my husband whispers to me that he is going to pay for our German friends. So then our turn at the register comes and my husband says "4 tickets please". The German friends look at me and say "did he invite us?" 😳 Umm … yes. Yes he did. 😜 #ICanKeepASecret #UntilTheyReadMyBlog

In case you are German and reading my blog (or any other European nationality), "to invite" in English simply means you are invited to come along. We never said anything about picking up your tab. If we are offering to pay for you, we will say it … or surprise you. It's at our discretion. πŸ˜‰ In my opinion, that sometimes make the "gifting experience" all the more fun. πŸ˜€

All of the interesting quirks and mis-translations of the English language make traveling with non-Americans all the more fun. It's a great opportunity to learn something new about your native tongue as well as gaining insight into other cultures.

If you are interested in this topic, and specifically interested in other words that Germans get wrong in the English language, check out Don't Trust the Rabbit, which helped to inspire this post. While I don't agree with all of the mistranslations she presents (an American would definitely understand and perhaps use "backside" when describing a mall or sheet of paper), it is intriguing to hear what Germans think they are getting wrong.

Have you ever heard any mistranslations in English or any other language that have made you laugh, made you cringe, or left you confused? What words do you always get wrong when speaking a foreign language?

** Linking up to City Trippers Mummytravels.com and Wandermum.co.uk

Top Eight Beauty Products

It's been awhile since we've talked beauty at this-here blog, so I thought I'd share a few of my current favorites. In the past I've spouted the praises of such brands as Mary Kay and Bare Minerals, but today I have new brands to introduce to you–some you may have heard of and some you may not. Either way, these brands have changed my life.

1. Once at Anthropologie and now no more, it seems I will have to try harder to find my favorite brand of toothpaste, Apothic & Co Winter Green. Unlike other fancy brands of Toothpaste like Toms of Maine (which is actually not organic) and Marvis (which the husband loves),Apothic and Co toothpaste takes some getting used to. It's more like an actual paste for your teeth rather than the more gel like Crest or Colgate. For me, the area of importance is that the product doesn't dry out my mouth or lips as much as other products. There's nothing worse than feeling parched after a toothbrushing session only to find that every drink you consume tastes like mint. Yes, I suppose you could use a different flavor of toothpaste, but that doesn't necessarily solve the problem. Whatever it is, Apothic & Co has solved it for me and, so long as I can find their products, I will continue using them from now until … I find something better. :)

2. The product I never meant to fall in love with but did is Golden Door Daily Exfoliating Serum. I received it as part of a package from the company to try–including face mask and face scrub. At over $100 in value, I found it a bit hilarious that the only product I actually fell in love with was the serum. But dear Lord, I don't want to be me when I run out of this stuff. At $88 a bottle, I imagine it will be quite the experience convincing my husband to let me purchase a replacement. "It's just soap!" he'll say. And I'll be all like, "No, it's moisturizing soap and my skin loves it!" Maybe I'll throw a "Don't you love me?" with a pitiful face in there for good measure. :)

Seriously though, I have always been in the it's just soap camp wherein you go to the store and buy whatever name brand (Suave, Lever2000, what-have-you) is on sale and use it until it runs out for … well, my whole life. Then I met Golden Door and my skin problems (what few there were, mostly dry skin) seemed to vanish into thin air. This was something even the best lotion wasn't handling! I love that this product is gentle on skin and perfect for everyday use. Even at it's high cost, you don't need more than a tiny bit for the whole of your face. I'll go back to the other not-as-good soaps if I have to, but Golden Door will always have my heart. <3.

3. Back before Christmas, as Justin and I prepped to visit Europe for the second time in our lives, my face decided to break out. And the pimples never went away. never. I still, months later, have red spots on my face, although, thank God, just a bit lighter than they were more than six months ago. And for someone who has rarely gotten pimples in the past (great skin ftw!), having pimples (or red scars) is/was slightly embarrassing. Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion hasn't solved all of my problems (specifically the ones that were already there–like pimples that never go away), but it has helped to minimize their appearance and conquer other pimples that have reared their ugly head.

ProTip: Stick a Q-tip directly into the Drying Lotion bottle without shaking it! (It actually says not to shake it on the bottle.) Then apply, the "lotion" to your spots.

This product can be rather strong on sensitive skin, so be aware of that and only use as little as you need. And always use a fresh Q-tip when applying the product. If you use your hands, you can transfer more bacteria to the area, which won't help at all.

4. If you know me at all, in real life that is, you know I am a "simpleton". My make-up drawer is rather limited and I'm entirely too picky about the make-up I will wear, even though I don't usually wear much (if any) make up to begin with. I mean–my skin is good but not great. I still deal with things like pimples (see above) and dark undereye circles that never seem to diminish no matter how much sleep I get the night before. As such, I've never been a mascara girl. I've always envied those girls with the long, beautiful lashes, but spending money to find a product that would give me them? Not as important as say traveling to Europe or getting a new book. Then I receive the Covergirl Super Sizer Fibers Mascara to try (not necessarily to review). I loved it. It was so easy to apply, and it looked super natural. I could definitely see myself fitting this into my beauty routine in the future. Even as minimalist as I am. There's nothing better than fast beauty, especially if it adds to your confidence as well. :)

5. To conquer those zits that add never-ending color to my face, Justin and I went on an Ulta run where I sampled as many products as necessary to solve my problems right before our third trip to Europe. First on the list, a color correcting crayon. I actually read about these on facebook, and being a photoshopper, it made complete sense to me. If someone has a red spot on their face in photoshop, you color over it with a green brush, as light in color as possible but strong enough to get rid of the red tint. I could hardly believe it though when I found myself using those same techniques on my own skin in real life. Like with the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, the Japonesque Green Crayon (also sold in yellow and purple) won't be a be-all-end-all type of product, but, paired with a good concealer, it can work wonders for your skin color and confidence.

To clarify how amazing this product is even more, the morning following the Bastille Day fireworks I awoke with a literal red nose, like Rudolph (the reindeer). Aside from freaking out, like I always do, I confidently used the pencil on a huge area of my nose going over it with concealer. Did my nose look incredibly pale and oddly not-nose-like? Probably. But the point was, every day until my red nose was gone (from allergies? We still don't know what caused it.), this product never failed me once. I did have to apply it more than once a day, but isn't that normal? Eh. Until I find something that will last all day, I'll take the product that works–the one I have right here and right now.

6. That good concealer I was talking about? For me it came in a small package from Philosophy called Hope For Everywhere. (What are they implying?) After trying multiple shades at Ulta, I found myself purchasing this expensive product in shade #4.5. At $26 a pop, I made sure that the concealer actually did it's job before buying. I tried it over my pimples and under my eyes… And, ultimately, I decided the price was worth it. Since I don't purchase many make up products, my husband agreed.

This concealer only offers 7ml of protection and with the brush tip, the product comes out fast. Be aware! It can be easy to use more concealer than you actually need. However, it's also worth mentioning that this concealer is not something I would recommend for people who need full face coverage. It's simply too expensive for that (imho). Furthermore, I did find myself reapplying the concealer as it wore off throughout the day. Usually only once or twice, and it was super easy to do on the run. I hardly felt the weight of the product in the purse that I don't usually carry. :) I will be purchasing this product again, but I will keep my eye out for something better.

7. Formula X: The System Xcel Gel-Like Manicure Set has been yet another surprise in my life. Received from Influenster with a bubblegum pink nail polish, I tried the set expecting just another nail polish. Nothing special right? Except that this uncoordinated and impatient blogger was able to apply it smoothly and quickly getting an almost professional look without much effort at all. And the polish is so smooth that I expect it to last for days… This product definitely came as a surprise and I'm so glad it did!

8. With gel-like nail polish, you need a good nail polish remover. Enter Delete All Formula X. Fast, easy. Then you can move on with your life. Or paint your nails a different shade. Totally up to you!

I'm so thankful for companies like Influenster and PinchMe that provide awesome products for me to try. When you are on a budget, skincare isn't always top priority so you buy the cheap stuff never knowing what you are missing out on. And your skin suffers for it. Furthermore, how in the world, without samples, are you suppose to know what works for you and what doesn't without actually trying it first? There are so many products available on the marketplace that it can get overwhelming! And expensive! Fast!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite skincare and nailcare products in this post. If you venture out to try them, be sure to let me know in the comments what you think! And if you've tried the products before, let me know if they work for your skin as well as they do mine. Maybe you know of better products on the market than I do? I'd love to hear!

Linking up with All the Beautiful Things and Run Jump Scrap.

* I received a few of the products on this page in exchange for providing a review. All opinions are my own.

Urban Pie Pizza: the NYC Answer to Frozen Pizza

Thanks to BzzAgent, Justin and I got a few moments break during the hectic last days of summer as we frantically attempted to complete everything before our days got shorter and the sun was down earlier. We received a free coupon to try Urban Pie pizza in exchange for a review, and boy was I surprised by the result!

Urban Pie pizza was designed to break the mold of other frozen pizza brands aiming to offer a unique take on each of four bureaus found within New York City: Little Italy, Mission District, Lakeview, and North End. As such, you will everything from your plain margherita style (Little Italy) to the best pizza for meat lovers (Mission District). Each pizza offers a thin crust perfectly flaky made with just a touch of Italian "love" added in. The differing pizza flavors all have unique cook times dependent on the fresh ingredients included in each pie–so you are looking at a 10-20 minute cook time for the perfect New York style pizza.

Here are some shots from when we made ours:

Delicious. Fast. Easy.

So that you can focus on the important things in life.

Have you seen Urban Pie pizza at your local grocery store? Are you intrigued by the unique New York bureau inspired flavors? 

Find out more about Urban Pie pizza here.

* I received this product at a discounted cost in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Famous People I'd Love to Meet

As per the rules of #TopTenThursday, here are ten eight famous people I'd love to meet:

1. Hannah Hart

2. Sue Bryce

3. Lindsay Adler

4. Danica McKellar

5. Mayim Bialik

I love seeing women who truly excel at what they do. Hannah Hart seems like she would make a good friend. Sue Bryce and Lindsay Adler have played a huge role in my development as a photographer, constantly encouraging me and supporting me through providing awesome free classes on CreativeLive. Then there is Danica McKellar and Mayim Bialik who are actresses that have gone all-science. I'm not really a science geek, but I love seeing women that are these types of strong role models in the world for girls that want to go that route–girls who want to be scientists/mathematicians/astronauts/so on and so forth. I think it's absolutely beautiful to see women being more than a pretty face, especially after having been a "pretty face" on television and having that sort of experience where they could have become just the face and nothing more. There had to be some awesome parenting going on in the background of these two girls. :)

Of course there are a few men I admire and would love to meet as well…

6. Flula Borg

7. Tyler Shelton

8. Matthew Kepnes

I think Flula Borg is hilarious. I'm not sure I could chat with him and still maintain a straight face. Tyler Shelton is incredibly creative. Recently his vlog series has begun to bore me, but that engagement video still captivates me. EVERY TIME I watch it. Soo, soo beautiful. :) I'd love to hear his top tips for editing photos and video. Then there is nomadic Matt Kepnes who has been such an inspiration. Before him, I didn't even know traveling for free/cheap was a thing. Plus, he has done amazing work, through his charity, providing the lifetime-changing experience of traveling abroad to students in poor communities. :)

So there you have it. My top eight for Thursday. Yeah, sorry it's not 10. I tried. :)

If you were participating in #TopTenThursday who would be on your list? Movie stars, rock stars, Youtubers, Bloggers, dead people? Share, I'd love to hear! Then link up at the Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom!

* Edited to add one more person: Charlie Puth. He seems awesome and totally down-to-earth.

Wordless Wednesday

NYC July 2013
For #30lists: How I Stay(ed) Busy 15 Years Ago vs. Now

15 years ago –
• FRIENDS. Always an adventure. Exploring graveyards at night, my dad threatening to take away my car when I didn't answer my phone (ha), swinging on the swingsets of my old elementary school, sitting on the lake docks late into the night and having the police approach asking for ID, shopping, singing as loud as possible in the car with friends, doughnut breakfasts in the park watching the sunrise, lots of movies at the theatre, skipping out on German club to play cards in the park, skipping school to go have a Mexican lunch with my friends, spend-the nights after prom and graduation, etc… (This was my favorite time in life. It should also be noted that I was a good kid.)
• ONLINE FRIENDS and IRL FRIENDS ONLINE. Oh the drama! But hey – it's how I got to know my (now) husband! So yay! :)
• SCHOOL. Calculus, AP economics, art, chorus, orchestra, and AP language arts. It was a pretty great year. Lots of homework despite having a mostly art-focused curriculum.
• VOLUNTEER WORK at the library. I was in charge of sorting books, preparing the kids program activities, laminating, sorting mail… Basically, if a person should get paid for doing it, I was doing it instead. Didn't even get a recommendation. :( I did get a special cord at graduation for having volunteered over 100 hours though. :)
• TV, BOOKS, & INTERNET SURFING. Sometimes my friends were busy; I had to fill that time. :)
• SCRAPBOOKING. Looking back, that was such a waste of time and money drain. If I could take back those hours and do something more useful, I would.

Now –
• VARIOUS JOBS. I do pretty much any paid work I'm offered. I like money. :)
• READING. One book a month every month. Two is my goal. I also reads lots of blogs.
• DRIVING. I live an hour from where I work. So two hours are spent on the road every week commuting.
• BLOGGING. I actually did do this 15 years ago as well, but it was less consistent. I also spend a lot of time commenting on other people's blogs which I didn't do before.
• CLEANING. Self-explanatory.
• TRAVEL. Love it. :)
• DINNER PARTIES. Once a month. It's about the only interaction Justin and I have with friends anymore. :(
• FAMILY. I spent a lot of time with family 15 years ago, but now my time is more-focused. I have a nephew. I'm worried about aging grandparents (and parents).
• COOKING. Love to travel somewhere then return home and try to make the same delicacies we had while we were gone. Translating cookbooks ftw! (I don't do actual dinners though; I leave that to the household chef, my husband.)
• PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTO EDITING. Also self-explanatory.
• BUDGETING. Fifteen years ago, it was like "what's that?" ;)

My life has changed quite a bit in 15 years.

What are some differences in your life from the past 15 years? Are you proud of those differences? Is there anything you would change?

Millenial Travel Trends

Photo via Visualhunt.com

I was born between 1980-2000 and thus am a millennial traveler. I went searching to discover what the latest travel trends for my generation are, and here is what I learned:

• 86% of millennials travel to experience new culture.

Yes, I love seeing the sights, but I also love learning new languages, trying new (selective) foods, and, most importantly, analyzing people's social interactions with one another, the landscape, and objects.

For example, I think it's really cool that the beach (neutral in English) is la plage (feminine in French) and der Strand (masculine in German). How does the gender of a location play a role in how all of these different cultures "see" it?

I also loved trying glΓΌhwein, seeing Christmas markets in Europe, going New Year's eve "trick or treating" (lol), and considering a sandwich as a breakfast food.

Experiences definitely make for a more exciting trip than just seeing "the sights".

• 84% reported user generated content had some influence on what they buy more than ads


Ads make me feel "sold" to. When a blogger (or facebook friend… or instagram friend) has a great time at a place and gets shockingly beautiful pictures, that plays a huge role in whether or not I want to go to a place.

• 75% wish to travel abroad as much as possible

Umm… YES!

I've never been to California to see the west coast. I haven't been to Hawaii or Alaska … or Denver … or Colorado. There is a lot of the US that I simply haven't seen.

And yet…

What keeps calling to me?

The Alps. Germany's castles. French chateaus. Switzerland's cheese. the reindeer in Norway. Mexican beaches. the cherry blossoms in Japan. seeing fireworks for New Year's eve in Australia. My Italian ancestry. England's queen. :)

I guess the US just seems more accessible which makes it less appealing?

• 85% check multiple travel sites to make sure they get the best deal

It's hard to get a good deal! Travelocity might be offering a 10% coupon which may be a better deal than booking direct to earn points. How do you decide?

And then, if you click through ebates (or another similar site) you might get an additional percentage off of your hotel, flight, or car rental. 

It can all be so confusing!

• 60% pay for in-flight WiFi

I do not. There have been times when I've considered it, but mostly I just decide it's not worth it. Then I proceed to sleep, watch a movie, listen to music, read, and/or look out the window.

• 75% pay for premium services such as baggage tracking, temp luggage check, curtsied rental car pickup

I HATE the thought of my luggage being lost on an airline. I try to pack as much as possible into a carry-on. Then I use Trakdot service when I start freaking out that my luggage hasn't hit the belt yet. *sigh*

I have to say there is something comforting about having a courtesied rental car available for you at the airport. I usually am the opposite though – I'd rather have the car drop me off then pick me up from the airport. By the time we are returning to the airport from travel, our luggage has fattened up and is impossible to carry. This is when I very seriously consider my need to start lifting weights at the gym.

And as for temp luggage check? :) It's so much better than carrying your luggage around. Bags are heavy, unwieldy, and slow you down. Who needs that? Time on vacation is short-lived enough even without that!

• 58% prefer full service hotels

I don't do hostels. I love hotels that offer amenities, free water, a luxurious bed, complimentary points, drinks or snacks (Doubletree cookies ftw!), free breakfasts, rooms with views, upgrades, etc… Basically, the fancier (for the cheaper price), the better!

• 11% prefer owner-direct rental like Airbnb

And when I'm traveling with friends/family, AirBnb is the bomb! Nothing better than getting two rooms for the price of one. Or being able to cook and save money on food. … Or being able to see the July 4th fireworks from your own personal dock! :)

• 68% are loyal to the program  where they have the most rewards accumulated such as cash/freebies, discounts, VIP upgrades, extra amenities

This, actually, is not true for me. I have the most points with IHG, but I think IHG hotels are kind of lame. I prefer Hilton. But Hilton points are hard to get and hard to use. Hyatt is also awesome. But once again, hard to accrue (quickly anyway), which thus makes them hard to use. IHG, it is.

• 75% of millennials has travel apps on their phones compared

I have a whole folder of travel apps on my iphone. Two pages. And I keep downloading them. It's a problem. :)

• 58% prefer to travel with friends

Nothing better. :) Plus, it helps to save money.

If you are a millennial, do you agree with any of the statements shared in this article? Are there any other things that differentiate you from older generations (like your parents or grandparents)? If you aren't a millennial, is there anything that you think is incorrect or an unfair generalization of your generation? What travel trends do you expect to continue in 2017? Are there any that you think will disappear? 

* Participating in #30lists. (Day 12.)