Browsing Tag

goals

Dallas Personal

Summer 2017!

Now that I have finallyyyy finished the Ireland posts (again, apologies for the delay) I can focus on the rest of my amazing summer!

Here are some highlights and pictures to tide you over until my next post: ISRAEL!

Celebrated my birthday (again!) with my Texas friends in Uptown (while jet-lagged). We went to dinner in Dallas at The Social House. I got my dress for free from Rent the Runway (you know I love them) #notanadvertisement and I got to wear my new Loubs! I missed my friends so much while I was gone and wish they all could have visited me. Having Melissa and Brian, even for a week, really saved my spirit. Having friends is one of the best things about life and I wouldn’t trade mine for the world. They all mean so much to me and it was really amazing that they all came out to help me celebrate my special day (belated as it was). 

Took my mom out for Mother’s Day to brunch in Denton at Barley and Board. We then went blackberry picking at this super cute farm, which didn’t have very many blackberries, but had AMAZING blackberry cobbler! If I can get the recipe I’ll post it on here. It was seriously soooo good! 

Got in a small fender bender on the way to work 🙁 I was literally totally fine driving for THREE MONTHS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, but I am home less than a week and run into the back of another, smaller car. #angst 

Had an afternoon of wine tasting at the Shops at Legacy with Melissa, Becca, and Scott. The Cru Wine Bar is now one of my favorite places to have a chill, but upscale afternoon. We tried so many different kinds of wine and snacked on two charcuterie boards. We of course had to also make a stop at Oil and Vinegar. I bought some amazing roasted garlic olive oil that I still need to pull out for a well-planned dinner. They always have great samples and the staff is very knowledgable about all of the products; how to pair them and how to use them creatively. If you’re ever near one of their outposts I highly recommend going in even if just for a small sample. 🙂 They also can do private parties and my friends have been talking about having one someday so maybe I’ll just have to make that happen this year!

Finally visited Magnolia Market in Waco with Julia! Unfortunately, we did not see Chip and Joanna, but I plan to return on a less busy day and hopefully catch a glimpse! #couplegoals 

We also got to see some of the other landmarks around Waco that are regularly featured on the show such as the store and workshop for Harp Design Company, some of the renovated houses, and the coffeeshop, Common Grounds. There are also some copy-cat design stores that are near the Silos, which are way less crowded and have similar items. Obviously, I had to check those out as well. Julia and I got lunch at this awesome Greek place called Alpha Omega. I highly recommend it if you are looking to get lunch near Downtown Waco and don’t feel like dealing with the lines at the Silos. There is also the last remaining Ninfa’s restaurant next to The Spice Market (another really cool shopping destination). I didn’t get to try this location, but if it is like any of the other Ninfa’s then I am sure it is awesome. I wish the one in Lewisville was still there. I have such fond memories of visiting there for dinner after elementary school so long ago. Next time I go to Waco, Ninfa’s it is!

Got a belated birthday present from my sister: a puppy carrier for Karma! It is seriously the cutest thing ever and I love dancing around the house with her in tow. She likes it sometimes, but other times struggle to break free from my loving embrace. I wish she could understand just how much I need to be holding her at any given time. She is too precious for words. 

I restarted Paleo and fell in love with it all over again. I kept it up for the entire time leading up to my trip to Israel. I have been falling off of the band wagon since returning, but this weekend I am going to do some SERIOUS meal planning to get back on track. I felt amazing and could immediately tell a difference in the way I felt. I’ve been on a new medication that makes me nauseous and fatigued so I’m praying that paleo can once again come to the rescue and save me from these side effects. I cannot keep falling asleep at work… #notgood 

I also managed to sell my house and find a new house right before I left for Israel. Let me tell you, house stuff is always: #1 more expensive and #2. stressful than you originally think. It had been a few years since my last experience and this time I was doing this without my dad’s help so I felt the full weight of responsibility. It’s totally do-able and hopefully you pick awesome people to work with, but it can be overwhelming at times. Just being honest.

I ended up with an awesome, new (to me) house in a much better area with a shorter commute to work, closer to friends, and closer to Dallas! I am still in the middle of fixing it up/organizing (it’s been almost two months at this point… don’t judge!), but once I get everything situated then I’ll take a home tour and give you guys some more details! I am 95% finished painting and my floors are being delivered on Saturday. My mom is getting my little, back patio fixed up so that may or may not make it into the house post. We will see how well everything progresses and if it’s not ready then we will just do another house post later 🙂 Karma is loving it so far, but she has quickly ruined the carpet, hence the new hardwood floors that are on their way. In all fairness, I was already planning to get the floors even before she had her many accidents, but this just makes it more necessary to get it sooner rather than later.

I’ve managed to pack a lot into a very short amount of time. This summer is one for the books and I am so excited to tell you allllll about my wonderful, life-changing trip to Israel!

Happy Reading!

-Savannah 

Ireland Travel

Dublin for 3 MONTHS!

Yes, you read that correctly.

My dream of living in another country (if only for a short while) has finally come true! I get to be in Dublin, Ireland for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! This time I have an apartment and a car like a real city dweller. I am incredibly nervous to drive! I got my car today, but my driving lesson got moved to tomorrow. I had to drive the car around the block to park it in my garage and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. The driver’s side is on the opposite side AND they drive on the left hand side of the road instead of the right. #firstworldproblems

 

This time I flew to London before getting on a short flight to Dublin. I made some nice friends in the DFW airport in the American Airlines lounge and one at the MAC makeup counter. Everyone was so nice and chatty that day! Since I left on Valentine’s Day there really weren’t that many people at the airport, which made getting through TSA a breeze. There are still no direct flights to Dublin directly from Dallas, but I think I prefer to fly to NYC and then to Dublin rather than London first. If I go to London first then I have to do customs there AND in Dublin. The Heathrow airport is HUGE too, so if you are ever using it for a connecting flight make sure that you allow plenty of time for your layover. I had three hours, which may have been a tad generous, but I could see where on a busier day (it was the 15th by then) where you would need all 3 hours. Also, remind me to not look like a total slob if I ever fly into London again. You should have seen the drastic difference from everyone in the lounge vs me after an 8 hour flight. I was frightening.

After I landed in Dublin I was greeted by Brian from the relocation company who was to collect me from the airport and help me get adjusted. He normally collects people who have never been here before, but I was super easy since I’ve already been here twice. If you’ve never had someone holding a sign for you at an airport, it’s fairly exciting. I’m sure you all know by now how much I like to feel like I’m famous so that only helped my ego, which is totally unnecessary according to some. Brian was super great and didn’t even act phased when I totally tried to get into the driver’s side because I forgot that it wasn’t the passenger side in my jet-lagged haze; not the first time I’ve done that and it probably won’t be the last. Brian had picked up some groceries for me prior to the collection and helped me take them up to my new apartment along with my luggage. He did question my need for 4 suitcases for a 3 month stay… and after unpacking I also have questioned my decisions. I asked for more hangers… I will still need more. #sorrynotsorry

Brian took me on a drive to the office since I generally don’t really pay attention when my cab drives me there at 6:30am. Coffee might have to start becoming part of my daily routine again… I normally don’t have to be at work until 8, but here they start at 7 since traffic can get so bad. We drove all around just getting acquainted with the route and then we walked around city centre getting used to this new location. His son works at Lush, which happens to be one of my major stops every time I’m in town. It’s way cheaper here than in the States and the dollar is almost flat with the Euro (aka I need to shop more). My skin is going to look ah-maze-ing after all of this salmon and skincare.

Every time I visit this city I learn new things. I will be here during several major holidays to include Easter. Back in the states we have Fat Tuesday before Lent, but here they have Pancake Tuesday! All day they eat pancakes! People have tried to pull jokes on me with things like this before (like feeding Leprechauns) so I totally didn’t believe my coworker when she told me about this wonderful day. It is in fact a thing and work is bringing a Crepe truck for lunch that day! (Also, they pronounce them creps, not like grapes with a c instead of a g)

I have just spent the past few days getting used to the time change, arranging my apartment, and getting back into the swing of the city. I still get American holidays so I don’t have to work on Monday for President’s Day, but obviously that’s not a normal holiday here in Ireland. I also have cable TV here, which is a very nice treat since I only use Amazon Prime or Netflix at home.

I do miss little Karma and my friends. I am hoping that people come to visit since I managed to bring a queen sized air mattress with me. Brian and Melissa are coming in mid-April and I am so thrilled to have them! Tara potentially will come for her Spring Break, but has lost her passport… so she’s got to straighten that out. I haven’t planned any weekend trips here yet, but my friends are all very exited to do some little road trips. I am fortunate that I’ve made friends in previous visits who are excited to hang out while I’m in town. Last night I went out with Marie and one of her friends. Last time I was here Marie posted a picture with me and all of her friends were like “Who is your new friend? Why don’t we know her?” which sounds to me like a slew of new friends to be made 🙂

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventures!

-Savvy

Travel

Leg Four of Europe 2016 – Berlin

Guten tag from Berlin!

14718631_10154644375446563_1352693914577798037_n

On Sunday I left Amsterdam for Berlin, Germany. The nice thing about my Air Bnb in Amsterdam was that it was fairly close to the airport. Schipol is apparently the fourth busiest airport in all of Europe. It was rather large, but everything was run very efficiently. I flew KLM, which is very popular here, but not as popular in Texas. My flight was only just over an hour, but they gave out free sandwiches! It was a full flight and I had the middle seat, but no one came for the window so I just scooted right on over 🙂 The flight was uneventful other than that, which is exactly what you want to hear; traveling with only a carry-on has greatly helped in that regard. I think I am a converted traveler after not checking a bag this entire trip (except for the very first leg to Dublin and on the way home in a few days).

14732232_10154641531546563_8304518965201777065_n

I took a taxi from the Berlin airport to my Air Bnb here in Berlin, which is in Marlene Dietrich‘s old apartment building! I thought that was pretty cool in itself, but my apartment is also super awesome. It’s really artsy and well thought out for a flat. It’s basically one medium-sized room broken up into sections. The bathroom is right next to kitchen, which is a little odd, but works for this space. The bed is on a platform with a closet and underneath the platform is another bed as well as a printer. I could totally see myself living in a place like this if I could bring myself to purge about 80% of my belongings 🙂 My host is also suuuuper awesome. Even though there is a printer it wasn’t working with my laptop and if you fly Ryanair you have to print your own boarding pass or pay a $50 fee… I asked him if he knew a internet cafe nearby so I could print my boarding pass back to Dublin and he just had me email the boarding pass PDF to him and brought it over to me! He is totally going to get a glowing recommendation for sure. 🙂

14681829_10154647228671563_864496582319985640_n

14666028_10154641531426563_5249848560640383396_n

14708362_10154641531486563_5403468610209368191_n

I got here on a Sunday and fortunately the weather was very lovely. My Airbnb host also told me about this cool bar that is on top the 25 Hours Hotel near the Berlin Mall called The Monkey Bar. The bar overlooks the Berlin Zoo’s monkey enclosure. Due to the language barrier, my understanding was that you could drink with monkeys so I was off! I was sadly mistaken that you could only view the monkeys, not actually drink with them, so after a quick self-guided tour, I moved on down the block. I walked so much that first day and ended up seeing a few sights that were actually going to be on my tour the next day (that seems to be a theme with me). I’m glad I did a ton of walking to orient myself that day with the nice weather though since the next two days proved to be fairly miserable with rain.

14695311_10154641531346563_5652840178508025139_n

I was also very excited to get my hands on some authentic German food since I had such fond memories of being in Mannheim 10 years ago and eating so much good food. Apparently, Berlin German food is very different than Mannheim/Frankfurt/Heidelberg German food  AKA no spatzel! 🙁 You don’t even know my level of disappointment. I had to drown in in making up for it with schnitzel and strudel, which were both still very tasty, yet not spatzel…

14716248_10154641531261563_1289286357610166981_n

14731354_10154641531231563_4355332672882942171_n

The next day I had booked a walking tour throughout many famous Berlin sites from World War II and The Cold War. Everyone always tells me how FUN Berlin is…. not going to lie, this portion of the trip was rather depressing. I totally have to come back and only do fun things because I definitely got all of the sad parts out of the way right off the bat. I do feel that I learned so much though in these past two days and from really knowledgable sources. My tour guide through the actual city was a lady named Merren from Australia, but is of German descent. She has her master’s in history and came to Berlin four years ago. She had some great insights and managed to walk us briskly through the cold all while being several months pregnant! Fortunately the rain stayed away until right after the tour was over, but it was significantly colder than the day prior.

Sights Seen in Berlin:

  1. A portion of the Berlin Wall

14721571_10154644375671563_3518302777698089577_n

2. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: a very controversial memorial since there is no set meaning to the art piece, there are no descriptions on the slabs identifying that this is for the Jewish people, and the company who produced the chemical that is coating the concrete slabs to protect them from graffiti is the same company that provided concentration camps with the chemicals for the gas chambers. Here is the wikipedia article to give you some more information. It was very erie to walk through and actually experience.

14657453_10154644375726563_637993814971012194_n

  1. Checkpoint Charlie

14708291_10154644374906563_4975797172333096134_n

  1. Museum Island

14650175_10154644376201563_8562596814496543690_n

  1. The Brandenburg Gate (in the daytime and I had accidentally already visited the previous night)

14721563_10154641531051563_3008839361523106882_n

  1. The site of the Berlin German book burning in front of the Bebelplatz. There is a clear window into the ground into a room with enough blank bookcases to hold the amount of books burned that night.

  2. The statue of “Mother Holding Her Dead Son

14721736_10154644375316563_8215634131378170217_n

8. Topography of Terror: a museum where the SS offices used to be.

  1. The car parking lot over where Hitler’s bunker used to be. Only a small signs marks this spot so as not to make it a memorial for Nazi sympathizers. The sign is a recent addition from the last time the World Cup was held in Germany (2006).

  2. The hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his infant son, Blanket, out of the window. (not WW2 related, just interesting and happens to be right next to the Brandenburg gate)

14705666_10154644375371563_147068631009079831_n

Germany has made many of these sites free to the public as part of their “penance” for so much of the wrong that was done to so many different people groups. They want everyone to be able to view these sites without having to worry about cost since it is such an important part of all of our histories.

After this very intense day of sight seeing I went back to a biergarden with some others from the tour. Although I do not like the taste of beer (they didn’t have cider) I had to take a picture with one of the traditional glasses.

As if one day of intense images wasn’t enough, the next day I went to a concentration camp just outside Berlin called Sachsenhausen. Ironically, it was also my half birthday; what a way to celebrate…. If you are a new reader to this blog let me just let you know now that I am Jewish.

14606432_10154647228601563_7664021515074131363_n

Fortunately, most of my relatives (to my knowledge) managed to escape the majority of WW2 terrors. My great-grandfather actually escaped from a concentration camp and made his way to America. It was incredibly sobering to be in a place that was dedicated to the cause of wiping out entire people groups: Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc… Even though I am not full-blooded Jew, just being partial would have been enough for the Gestapo to arrest me and send me to die in a place like Sachsenhausen.

14725636_10154647228421563_3694889380276419932_n

My guide today also had his master’s in history: specifically in how Germany treated public school history textbooks post-WW2. Apparently, they initially basically cut out everything after the 1860s. Up until 1960 this was happening until the young adults realized what had happened and started the movement to add it back into the textbooks so future generations would know so it would not be repeated. During this time period that age group felt a tremendous amount of guilt for what had happened, even though they had not even been born during that time period. Now the country is trying to reach a medium where they are not racked with guilt for something they personally did not do, but are not having “amnesia” about the events since it did in fact happen in their country.

14670775_10154647228316563_4107816350928040316_n

14691002_10154647228331563_6537533803074657473_n

14695603_10154647228301563_6940196756704493485_n

14717174_10154647228201563_2012317428563277734_n

14731272_10154647228271563_4836696421358756445_n

The concentration camp was eventually taken over by the Red Army who tore down parts of the camp in an attempt to show this as a victory for the Soviets and a place to come revel in that victory. Portions of the buildings still exist and most have had to go through major restorations. In the 1990s a small group of Ne0-Nazis tried to burn down some of the buildings; you can still see their efforts in one of the barracks where the ceilings and walls are charred from the fire. Several buildings remain as well as part of the gas chambers and the crematoriums. There are several marked sites over the grounds to show where the ashes of the burned prisoners were dumped once the trays were full.

14716134_10154647228361563_4224021896484573231_n

It was a very serious day and sort of a sad way to basically end my trip. I am very glad I went and thankful I was afforded the opportunity to pay my respects in this way. I am not sure how many of my other family members have visited other concentration camps, if any. My mother came to Berlin back in the late 70s/early 80s when the Wall was still up. She was able to visit East Berlin on a bus, but was not allowed to get off of the bus to walk around and explore. The answer when people ask how old Berlin is is basically “26” since that’s when the Wall came down. Berlin is still in a huge state of change and will probably be totally different by the next time I visit. There are construction cranes everywhere you look trying to build more apartments and bring in more tourism so the city can continue to rebuild and have a positive future.

14666110_10154641531381563_2719014309404326415_n

Tomorrow I head back to Dublin for a night then it’s back to the good ol’ USA after being gone for almost an entire month. As much as I love traveling/being on vacation, I do enjoy my routines and am eager to see my sweet little puppy. I am getting back right in time for a birthday party, Halloween, and a wedding shower so there is still no slowing down for awhile, but that’s the way my life always goes and I enjoy it.

Stick around!

-Savvy

Personal Travel Uncategorized

Leg Three of Europe 2016 – Amsterdam

Hello from Amsterdam! 

14716108_10154635195961563_6840495470878545293_n

Leaving Paris was bittersweet for me since I never want to leave, but at the same time I was so excited to go into the unknown once again. Dublin, London, and Paris, while not quite home, are familiar. It’s been several years since I’ve truly been immersed in another totally foreign culture. I have never been to Amsterdam, I don’t speak the language, know the transit system, etc. so it was a new and exciting challenge.

This brings up a few tips for next time:

  1. Try to book your accommodations as close to the city centre as possible. This will generally save you transit money (and confusion) even if it costs a little bit more per night. Trust me, when you don’t remember if your train stop is Waterlooplein, Weesperplin, or Wilbaustrautt and it’s getting late you will thank me.
  2. Learn a few key phrases in the local language
  3. Have the address of your hotel/hostel/Air BnB saved into your phone where it doesn’t require wifi or data to access it
  4. Download/Screenshot a map of the area
  5. Try to rely on wifi/data as few times as possible. Even if a country is in the EU that doesn’t mean that your data will transfer from one country to another. If you have a US data plan be prepared to pay a huge fee when you get home too…. #DreadingThatSprintBill

14717299_10154635196326563_2338144920181951544_n

The people in Amsterdam are very friendly, super chill (probably from the weed), and generally have a great grasp on English so this isn’t an incredible culture shock. The worst part was just remembering the train/bus stops. There are easily more bicycles here than cars (at least near the canals), but unless your GPS is working incredibly well I probably wouldn’t try to get in the fast lane with the more experienced cyclists. After breaking my tailbone in sixth grade, I generally avoid riding bicycles if at all possible so I was not eager to hop on for this trip. If I had a guide to show me where I was going then I would be more apt to rent one for the weekend. Side note: how they remember where they “parked” their bicycle is a mystery to me. There will be MASSIVE racks of bicycles that basically all look the same. There must be some trade secret that I am just not privy to to explain this situation.

14656433_10154635196306563_6383370114053750557_n

Marijuana and prostitutes are legal here and don’t have the same stigma as they do in the states. I did have to walk through the famous Red Light District just to see it for myself. It really is as easy as walking up to the door where the girl or guy is and hopping into the rented room. One prostitute thought I was there with someone else as a couple and I quickly managed to get myself out of that situation. There are tons of “cafes” where you can purchase all manner of weed varieties as well as edibles and mushrooms, but in most of them you cannot also get liquor, only beer or wine. However, Stoopwaffles are available everywhere and only contain fat and sugar 🙂 Illegal on my real life diet, but totally legal on my vacation diet!

14720347_10154635195971563_7949710178613939908_n

I also finally got to cross something off my bucket list: visiting the Anne Frank Museum. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures of the inside, but I got the see the actual red-checkered diary in which she started writing down her novel. If you do go, I suggest booking your tickets online in advance through the museum website. It’s around $12, but you also pick your time slot for the museum so you are guaranteed entrance. I am visiting in off-season and it was still packed. Make sure you do carve out at least an hour for it since there is a lot of reading involved and people in front of you may move slowly. Everything is in Dutch as well as English and you get to see the real rooms and the bookcase that covered the secret entrance to their annex.

14731124_10154635195871563_1237854559762200475_n

On Day 2 of the trip I went on another Viator tour to Zaanse Schans, which is about 30 minutes away from central Amsterdam. It is a historic town with a ton of old, restored windmills that are actually working to this day. Each windmill works for a specific purpose: one mills wood, another grinds the pigment for the paint used in the town, another made mustard! It was really cool to walk through them and see the people who are so dedicated to preserving their heritage. (again, not sponsored)

14690941_10154636910401563_68409032320612670_n

After the windmills we were then transported to another village where we watched a cheese making demonstration. I have a great love of cheese and I was excited to find out that:

A.) They were making Gouda

B.) I CAN TAKE IT IN MY CARRY ON!!

I bought a regular wheel as well as an Italian herb one so invite me to ALL the cocktail parties! 🙂

14731118_10154636910036563_2437191877492542223_n

After the cheese demonstration we got lunch at a local restaurant. I got fried mussels, which were very tasty. I had previously mistakenly gotten the wrong type of waffle recommended to me by my friend Julia, but the correct type of waffle was being made right next door so I managed to snag one for dessert. True to form, they were tasty, but how can you go wrong with dough and nutella??

14708345_10154638038361563_5674056878191670014_n

Once the time in that village was complete we were herded onto this river cruise, which normally I would think would be delightful, but it was FREEZING. Of course by the time I got onto the boat all of the inside seats were taken so I froze outside about 80% of the time until I couldn’t handle it anymore and just stood inside to thaw out. Once the ice boat ride was complete we finally got to go to another little village that makes the traditional wooden shoes you always associate with Holland. Back in the day it would take 3 hours to make one shoe; now with “modern” machinery it takes 5 minutes per shoe. I succumbed to my inner tourist and bought a pair…. they are supposed to be water proof so maybe I’ll wear them around in the garden? Orrrrr just put them in a place of honor on my travel wall…..

14641933_10154638038271563_8507408879275205728_n

It was an action-packed day and a great way to end my time in Amsterdam. Next time I come I’m definitely staying closer to the city centre to take more advantage of the nightlife. Living so far away kinda put a damper on that idea for this go around. Not a problem though since I will most definitely be back and I really could use the down time in a very comfy bed 🙂

14656269_10154636910746563_6770334118715404609_n

I am now back in my Air BnB taking advantage of the fact that there is a washer and dryer available for my use since all I brought was a carry-on and we are now 7 days into the trip. I am fairly proud of the choices I made in my small carry-on, but I will make a mental note to bring fewer leggings, fewer shoes, and more shirts next time. I feel like traveling by carry-on would have been much easier in warmer weather. It is steadily getting colder and I know that I am going to probably need to buy a scarf in Berlin if this keeps up. #moresouvenirs 

14732334_10154635196416563_5022787810622145716_n

Tomorrow I head to Berlin for my last real stop on my European tour! After Berlin I’m back in Dublin for a night to pick up the rest of my luggage and then head on back to Dallas. There are still no direct flights to Dallas from Dublin (weird, I know) so I will have to make the journey back through… dun dun dunnnn CHICAGO. I swear to God, if I get stuck there again for another three days it will NOT be good. (if you are confused about to what I am referring, please read this post for context.)

14680493_10154638038191563_5543423209954297690_n

Leave me some love in the comments and stay posted for the rest of my trip!

Savvy

Personal Travel

Leg Two of Europe 2016 – Paris/Normandy

As sad as I was to leave London, the upcoming rest of the trip was still very exciting. Paris is a city I have visited twice previously. Once on that same London trip when I was 13 and once for a day on a Germany trip when I was 15. I’ve always have a love for Paris and even decorated my childhood bedroom in all of my souvenirs (i.e. useful postcards because I don’t do trinkets) from my first trip. I’ve never bothered to change it so when I visit my room at my parent’s house I get to relive that trip over and over again. Both of my previous trips were in July so it was really cool to see how the city changes in the autumn weather.

Instead of flying to Paris it was significantly easier to just take the train. Previously, on my first trip my family and I also took the train so this wasn’t my first rodeo. However again… that was 12 years ago and I wasn’t in charge that time. I managed to get from the train station to my Air BnB unscathed and was pleasantly surprised to find that the location was as close to the Eiffel Tower as previously described. I was literally across the bridge from the tower and could see it from around the corner of my apartment. This was super convenient especially giving that my grasp of the French language was way stronger in my head than in real life. My French Rosetta Stone computer program is still collecting dust on my bookshelf…. #goals

14680612_10154624081531563_4209622742348206863_n

I managed to avoid the Metro by being this close to all of the major sites, which from my memory, saved me from some smells I would rather not ever smell again if I can help it. I did notice that in the past 10-12 years Paris does seem a lot cleaner. Maybe that’s just my memory or maybe it was because both previous times were during the height of tourist season and the city just couldn’t keep up with the demands of the people. I really enjoyed exploring the city without the previous hustle and bustle that can occur during the summer months. Either way I wasn’t about to chance it for the smell and for the fact that I most likely was going to get myself lost. If I was here for a week or so, not a problem. Three days is not enough time to salvage time from being lost. I know, I know, “getting lost is part of the adventure“! I’ll save that adventure for my fourth trip to Paris, thank you very much.

The first day was basically just getting to my apartment and walking around the neighborhood a bit. I of course had to visit the Tower several times and Day 1 was no exception. Traveling as an adult who needs to actually be in charge in a new place is way more exhausting than I remember as a teenager who just needed to follow a group. Couple that with anxiety and just getting to my next destination is already enough struggle for most of the day. I managed to get to my destinations and that was basically all I could handle for that day. I have consistently been going to bed super early mainly due from exhaustion and from the paranoia of going out at night in a new city where I don’t know where things are. My love for adventure sometimes takes a back seat to my personal fears and capacities, but that is probably what has kept me safe many a time. If you’re reading this looking for wild stories, then this is probably not the trip for you (but stay posted for other trips with more people and when I’m not in charge). 😉

14650176_10154624081296563_2814983196670312865_n

The next day was some more low-key sightseeing, which totally needed to include a trip to the Champs-Élysées! Since I had already done my major purchase in Dublin for LV, I just needed a quick run-through of the flagship store in Paris. If I hadn’t already looked at my credit card statement I might have been tempted to buy another addition to my now growing collection. I reigned it in for a few more stores, but then I ran across Longchamp. In my extensive research of what to buy in Paris I discovered than not only LV, but also Longchamp bags were significantly cheaper. They are also a great travel bag since they fold up fairly small and are made from nylon which is more water resistant than the calf-hair MK crossover I had been carrying. Yet another useful souvenir was purchased 🙂 Between the two bags I have probably saved over $500 dollars that I would have spent at some point. I already have been wanting them for a long time so it just makes logical sense to buy them both now at the cheapest I’ll ever get them rather than waiting until I’m back in the states. If I ever get the opportunity, there is also a Burberry outlet in London I discovered for the next trip! I may like to shop, but I am not into paying more than I have to for anything.

14729220_10154624080106563_8097545052209370850_n

After Longchamp the Ladurée macaron store was calling my name. I would have brought back some for others, but as I am not checking a bag that would prove difficult and they do not travel well. Let me just tell you that they were every bit as delicious as I imagined. Dublin and Harrod’s in London actually have their stores as well, but I decided to wait until Paris to get some for the real experience. I only got 4 for a little snick-snack. Coconut, pistachio, coffee, and salted caramel; all of them delicious. This one also had a little cafe inside, which I probably should have visited, but alas, there were sights to see! Someday when I am rich and famous I will spend more time on this street and the cafe will be my headquarters.

14731254_10154624079751563_8535827172300471398_n

I walked down the entire district and ended up at the Louvre glass pyramids. I had been previously had spent the better part of four hours in there the last time so I decided to skip it for this trip. However, it did remind me of the time when I went with my parents and sister. My parents left me in charge of 10-year-old Tara (who looked 7) while they went to figure out tickets for our next attraction. All around the glass pyramids there are ponds with ducks. Anyone who has met or knows of my sister probably knows about her love of animals. There are ducks everywhere on the ponds so she was just minding her own business looking at the ducks when all of a sudden an Asian family swooped in a scooped her up and started walking away with my baby sister! Thirteen year old, gothic Savannah was not as assertive as you might think and I was stumped on what to do. I sort of followed them at a concerned pace until I realized they thought she was a cute, french child that would be perfect for their family portrait. They sat her in their family picture, put her down, and walked away without a word. I was never more scared/amused in my life. Fortunately, Marc and Sarah soon returned and I did not get into trouble (my main concern). Tara and I have laughed about that for years. I can just imagine a gigantic blow up of this picture on some random family’s wall hanging there for the past 12 years.

14670616_10154624079741563_4312221281041607887_n

I like to book tours especially when I’ve already seen most main sites and want a different perspective from an insider. They also take the pressure off of me trying to figure out where I am going for the day/driving. God knows I avoid driving in foreign countries at all costs. I just get flashbacks to watching my parent’s honeymoon video of my dad driving around the Arc de Triumph, videotaping with one of those gigantic 80’s film cameras, narrating, and my mom screaming bloody murder. You need dramamine just to watch the tape. I will not be a part of any driving accident abroad if I can help it. It also doesn’t help that my manual transmission driving skills leave a lot to be desired. Marc took it upon himself to teach me in his Z06 Corvette around the North Texas Motor Speedway a few years ago… let’s just say it didn’t end with flying colors on my part.

My tour for that random site-seeing day was dinner at the Eiffel Tower followed by a show at the Moulin Rouge! I was pretty hyped since this was my first “adult” thing to do in Paris since both previous trips I was barely in high school. Let me save you the trip: it’s basically a dated Vegas show with nothing you haven’t already seen. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be really cool to say I went, actually going is a different story. Save your money. Dinner at the Eiffel Tower was also pretty cool, but I think I would rather book it on my own next time now that I’ve done it. I had read a lot of travel blogs who hyped it up a lot so I had one image in my mind, but it was actually very different. Because it was a tour and we are on a time schedule there was just a set menu that everyone got (which was good, don’t get me wrong), but probably wasn’t what I would order if I was there as just a normal patron. I will put it on my list to return next time, but it will most likely be for lunch and not on a tour.  The tour was fun though and it was nice being taken all of these places on a comfortable coach bus and skipping lines. You know how much I love living the VIP life.

14656353_10154628298991563_4306301686879654951_n

14656443_10154628299881563_9024000958316430364_n

The next morning came very early for my Normandy tour. Fortunately, the meet-up spot was right down the street from my apartment, which made my early morning, anxiety-ridden walk that much easier. Our tour guide, Felix, was a very friendly and knowledgable former history teacher from Croatia. I enjoy having tour guides who aren’t from the actual city since they are most of the time not biased the way nationals would be. That being said nationals/locals should know the area really well in their own way and can offer different insights. I have been very fortunate to have really awesome tour guides most of the time so I could myself lucky. I usually book all of my tours through Viator. They have the best deals and always a wide selection to chose from. I’ve had issues with tours not being available on the dates that I want, but that’s usually my fault for looking last minute. (again: not sponsored)

14732173_10154628294521563_2185724633689271828_n

We left Paris for Normandy around 7am. I am pretty good about sleeping anywhere and everywhere so I slept the majority of the way to our first site, which was the farthest away. The bus was fairly small and didn’t have Wi-Fi (my major complaint) so sleeping was my best alternative. I do have data for some reason in all of these places, which I am sure my cell phone company is going to remind me about on my next bill even though I am on an international plan. I tried to get a portable Wi-Fi device, but even if a country is in the EU that doesn’t mean that their data plans transfer from country to country. That makes no sense to me and in this day and age with international travel being so prevalent this needs to change steps off soap box.

14724368_10154628295996563_5168718259970187464_n

14705777_10154628295916563_7811586967389831546_n

14656299_10154628289826563_3481997975382528528_n

Our first stop was a gas (petrol) station for breakfast and a leg stretch. We hopped back on and pretty soon were at our first site, Utah Beach. Not going to lie, I am not the biggest history buff. All of my family, that I know of, survived WW2 and no one was stationed in France so I have no personal ties to these historical sites in that way even though I did have several serve in other capacities. We did have one veteran on the trip (he hates Trump) so that was interesting especially since Felix was a history professor so he had his own personal questions, which made for a lively discussion on the bus during our “down time”. After Utah Beach we drove past a German cemetery where all of the graves were buried vertically to save space since it was such a small cemetery. After this we went to a Cidery (my favorite part) and learned about the history of the Cidery and the plans for the future. The owner just got FDA approval to sell in the US so I didn’t feel too bad that I couldn’t buy any at the moment #carryonproblems 

14731334_10154628292416563_2773489779301680593_n

14725687_10154628292231563_6123058875703329894_n 14650743_10154628293661563_3307102103612778223_n 14650131_10154628293441563_3449281247387042460_n 14729378_10154628293311563_473249687970400297_n

After the Cidery we went to lunch in a nearby fishing village at a Michelin starred restaurant. I had probably the best Haddock I’ve ever had in my life and I am so glad I took a picture of the restaurant. I sat next to a father/son duo from Minnesota so we chatted about that for a bit since I had visited briefly in college at the Mall of America. I also discovered that there were two other Texan groups on the trip: one from Houston and the other from Forney (near Dallas)! Again, such a small world.

14729200_10154628291491563_8912224745169178750_n 14725763_10154628290431563_4315479104695285946_n 14708115_10154628291626563_5792782210990626393_n 14632819_10154628291436563_4733129874036404033_n

After lunch we went to Pont du Hoc, which was not that far away, then to an American cemetery for their closing ceremonies where Teddy Roosevelt was buried, and then Omaha beach. We had a long drive back, but managed to stop back just in time for the Eiffel Tower to sparkle at 10pm. It was a great way to end the last night in Paris. 🙂

14680744_10154628299116563_6258517401375960182_n

Stay tuned for the rest of Europe!

-Savvy

Ireland Personal Travel

Leg One of Europe 2016 – London

After Dublin the plan is: London – Paris – Amsterdam – Berlin – Back to Dublin for a night – Texas. 

London: my parents took me here when I was 13, but that was 12 years ago. A lot can change in 12 years! I decided to do a highlights tour as well as hit up some of my favorites sites from last time. I had also never been to Buckingham Palace so this time I made up for it by accidentally going twice…

14725556_10154613815476563_46463400223628849_n

Getting to London from Dublin COULD NOT BE EASIER. Ryanair is basically the European version of Spirit airlines (aka budget) and if you book your trip in advance (and on their app) the flight is 20 EURO…. Obviously I would be going EVERYWHERE if I lived here. That’s cheaper than a tank of gas just getting me around Dallas! The seats don’t go back, but the flight is 45 minutes; a small price to pay for such a deal! I will be using them later in the trip from Berlin to Dublin so stay posted on my feelings after a 3 hour flight…. The only issue is that Ryanair doesn’t fly into Heathrow, it flies into Gatwick. All you do is take a train from the airport into Victoria Station and then take either the Tube or a Taxi to wherever you need to go.

14717086_10154613168491563_5997917410993896438_n

I stayed in the Hampton Inn in Waterloo (thank you, Hilton points and Gold status!). Honestly, it was way nicer than I thought it was going to be. Also, the included breakfast was probably one of the best free breakfasts that I have ever had at a hotel, domestic or foreign. I would totally stay here again (not a sponsored post btw). It was really close to the Waterloo Tube station as well as most major sites. I totally did my fair share of walking, but I appreciated being so central to everything.

14572227_10154613815416563_4351534599898177356_n

I visited Harrods, Buckingham Palace (2x), the London Tower, London Bridge AND Tower Bridge (not the same thing!), a few cathedrals, saw some Roman ruins, had a wonderfully colorful British tour guide, and ended up getting to hang out with one of my friends from college! London was the shortest leg of the trip, but I made sure to pack in as much as I could.

14716108_10154617241161563_1962422443610170711_n

I had messaged my friend Alex about a month prior to the trip and asked for some recommendations. We met at Liberty in the HR cognant, both were in SHRM, and both worked at J. Crew. He has been living in London for the past few years and I caught him just in time since he is about to move back to the States! It worked out that he was free one of the nights I was going to be in town and asked me to go with him to the London outpost of Hillsong. I had actually never been to a Hillsong service even though they visit the Dallas area fairly often and I was actually in the Hillsong “neighborhood” back in the day on my Australian trip (never actually saw the campus though). It was such a great service and I was really happy I went. The guy speaking we are pretty sure spoke at Liberty our Sophomore year (I still need to verify the speaker schedule) and he also played the saxophone! He played “What a Wonderful World” and Justin Beiber’s song “Let Me Love You” (which my new little friend group and I continued to sing the rest of the night). After the service I was invited to tag along for dinner with Alex’s friends aka my new friends. We went to this Brazilian restaurant and stayed for a super long time just laughing and talking. Almost everyone wasn’t from London and I actually met someone who went to the same high school as my cousin! It truly is a small world. If I ever get to come back to Dublin/London I know who to call 🙂

14650332_10154618642386563_6625247415986721373_n

London was a great couple of days and, per usual, I wish I could stay longer. I could totally see myself living in London, especially once I figure out the Tube system!

14717221_10154613815216563_3087865813820585124_n

Stay tuned for the rest of Europe!

-Savvy

Ireland Travel

Solo Travel – Dublin Wrap Up

Hello again!

Last year when I came to Ireland I didn’t know a soul. I managed to make quite a few friends in my month here and develop a sort of routine. This time I am coming into these few weeks with a roster of ready-made friends, but these people all have lives too. I cannot solely depend on others to keep me entertained and that’s a bad habit to have anyway. Always be as self-sufficient as possible. #lifemotto

Tips for times like these:

  • Be flexible if possible – make a list prior to the trip of places that you would like to see, but don’t necessarily have to stick to a strict schedule.
  • Download some books (or bring some along if space/weight isn’t an issue)
  • Always have pen and paper (or the electronic equivalent)
  • Comfy shoes – exploring on your own might entail getting a tad “lost”.  Always count on walking more than initially intended
  • Bring cash/currency, but not too much at one time

Here are some pictures  places I’ve been in the past few days. I of course had to spend a leisurely afternoon in St. Stephen’s Green park, which is handily across the street from my hotel. I have had the good fortune of nice weather this trip and that day was the perfect day for a stroll in the park.

14732382_10154613168661563_120033668086702493_n

I also checked an item off of my personal bucket list: buying my first Louis Vuitton Neverfull (on my own!). Please spare me your arguments on how these are overpriced la la la… I wanted one, did my research, and discovered that Europe is the cheapest place to buy them due to the imports and how well the US dollar is doing against the Euro. Ideally, I would have liked to buy this in Paris, but since I am not checking a bag all of the money I saved by buying it in Europe instead of in Dallas would have been diminished. I can get it hot stamped back in Dallas so that’s not a problem. I don’t like to get the normal souvenirs. I want mine to be useful and what could be more useful than a designer bag? 😉

14732319_10154613168546563_5652570463226793979_n

Solo travel is going to become more a part of my life as my friends start to pair off and my sister is still in college (aka broke) so it’s either deal with being alone or don’t go at all. Not going at all and missing out on all of the opportunities that come up is a sad way to live. That being said, even if a travel partner becomes available they may not be the best fit for your type of travel, so choose wisely. Sometimes being alone is better than being with the wrong person (true in travel life and real life).

Here is an actual picture of my hotel from the outside and my room. I was pretty pleased with my stay at The Shelbourne. I think there are some updates still being made to the hotel so if I ever get the opportunity to stay here again my next room might look a bit different. I loved the location and how close it was to Grafton. The food here was also great, which is incredibly convenient when it is a typical rainy Dublin night and you just don’t have the energy to find a new restaurant.

14725756_10154613168616563_1572378804497633299_n

14731206_10154613168706563_3773657889581737566_n

 

I also FINALLY made it into Copper’s! For those of you who don’t know, Copper Face Jack’s is the #1 most profitable nightclub in all of Europe. I thought it was fairly packed, but apparently it wasn’t even the busiest evening since you were still able to move around a bit. They play “cheesy music” (aka 90’s and early 2000’s pop – Spice Girls, B*Witched, etc…) and it’s basically a great time. This is a place where you end the night, so you can’t get there too early (or too sober). The Dubs definitely have a different way of dancing than we do in the States; cue to me being the only one fist pumping….. The funny thing too is that if you passed it on the street you probably wouldn’t even know it was a club. This one as well as another called Dicey’s (which I went to last time) are both located next to business offices in historic Georgian buildings. I totally passed here in my cab probably 20 times before I even noticed the fairly non-descript sign outside the door.

14702363_10154613168556563_6010004692202934924_n

And with that, my posts about Dublin are over for the moment and the rest of my vacation can begin! I apologize about the posts being so spread apart, but I was pretty busy during my time in Dublin. I will be back for a night in a week so I may have some more to add later. Keep on the lookout for the rest of my posts from other parts of Europe!

-Savvy

Personal

2016 Goals!

Hey Everyone!

If you known me for at least several years you’ve probably seen my weight fluctuate anywhere within the range of 30 pounds. I have PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome), hypothyroidism, and adrenal fatigue. These factors together along with stress, bad eating habits, genetics, etc have resulted in my life-long struggle with my weight. I’ve always been that chubby kid even though I played every sport my small school offered as well as danced ballet/tap/hip hop outside of school for many years. I’ve tried a variety of diets with varying successes and failures ever since 8th grade.

Even though I’m only 25 I’ve definitely noticed my metabolism slowly dying and felt helpless against my own body.  It really makes you feel helpless when you’ve been with a personal trainer for 5 months while watching what you ate and at the end you’ve gained three pounds…. #notcool

When I was a freshman in college my dad (who has also had his own weight issues) went on Medifast and lost 40 pounds! He looked completely different when he came to pick me up at the end of Spring semester. Within the sphere of my community I started to see more and more people joining the Take Shape for Life movement (which uses Medifast) and having awesome results. Almost a year ago I decided to give it a shot. I had just had a terrible doctor’s appointment where they were basically telling me that I was on the brink of being pre-diabetic, which would then put me at risk for a multitude of other future health problems. I felt like I had nothing less to lose so what the heck, why not?

My friend Michelle became my health coach since she had already gone through the program and wanted to help other people with their health journeys. I reached out to her at first just with some general questions about the program since I had a small knowledge of it from my dad. It seemed pretty simple and would fit my lifestyle. I chose the 5 and 1 plan where I eat 5 of their meals a day and then one healthy meal on my own. That one is referred to as a “Lean and Green”. Each of their products is between 100-110 calories and comes complete with a ton of vitamins and minerals that your body has been needing.

I started it and immediately started losing weight. I had just seen some friends the weekend before I started the program for a pub crawl (healthy way to start, I know). I saw them three weeks later for a birthday party and had already lost 15 pounds. People didn’t even know that I had been starting something, but they were all like WOAH WHAT HAPPENED. After that initial weight loss it did slow a bit and then I had some life stuff happen so the weight loss slowed and stalled for a bit due entirely to my choices. I would be really good for a few weeks and then kinda fall back into some of my old ways.

However, within all of that I have lost 36 pounds in almost a year and feel the best I have in a long time. I’m off of caffeine (essential to people with thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue), which as a coffee-lover is really sad, but good for my body and my teeth. I’m drinking so much water it’s insane.  I PEE ALL OF THE TIME (tmi??), but I feel amazing. My skin looks better than ever #praise I aim to drink at least a gallon of water per day. I read that everyone needs to drink half their body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, then you should drink at least 100 ounces of water. That may sound like a lot, but if you have a reusable water bottle that you carry along with you all day then it’s really not that hard. I drink between 16-24 ounces on my commute to work every morning, around a gallon at work, and then an estimate 32 ounces at night. Tip: try to stop drinking an hour before bed or else you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night.

You may say to yourself that 36 pounds isn’t that much. I would argue that for someone with the weight loss issues I’ve had that 36 is better than nothing. 36 is less than what I weighed last year. The end goal right now is 80 and I am aiming for July. It’s scary to put that out there on the internet for whomever chooses to view it, but that is yet another thing to motivate me. On my old blog from college I wrote about trying Visalus, which my roommate had used to get amazing results. It didn’t do much for me, sadly, as did Plexus, which I also tried with no success.

In all honesty, it should have been more by now. It is entirely my fault for getting sidetracked once in awhile, but with the start of the new year I have rekindled my passion for changing my life. I’ve made a lot of changes and tried some new things these past two months. So far 2016 has been challenging, but totally awesome. I am really excited to document the rest of the year with some trips I have planned, changes I’m making, and my weight loss journey.

After I had lost around 20 pounds it was time to go back and get my blood work done again. I passed with flying colors and that was the first doctor’s visit where I didn’t leave crying that I had had in a long time. Best feeling ever. That is what we like to call a #nonscalevictory

I would also like to point out several things though that I don’t want people to misconstrue from my personal life. I am in no way ashamed of the way I looked 36 pounds ago. I did this because my health was starting to spiral out of control and I didn’t want to end up with diabetes and heart disease. I am very body positive and just because you are a larger person does not automatically mean that you are unhealthy. One of my inspirations is plus-size model Tess Holliday. She is nowhere near the “normal” model size, yet has been signed by an agency and is a leader for the body-acceptance movement. Ashley Graham has also recently made a big move by being one of the first plus sized models to be features in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine. I am proud to say the least. It has bothered me for a long time that the media only portrays one type of beauty when that’s not real life and that’s not even what a lot of people prefer. Beauty isn’t this one-size-fits all thing. It’s also more than skin-deep, which is also forgotten most of the time.

This is going to be an ongoing thing. I don’t know if I will reach the goal by July, but eventually I will reach the goal. I feel like putting this out there for the world will potentially help me stay on track with everything. Not gonna lie, sometimes it’s hard. I go to birthday parties and I can’t eat the food or drink the wine. Week days are way easier, but sometimes weekends kill me. I enjoy schedules and this diet works really well with that since you eat small meals every few hours. Weekends don’t always lend themselves to set schedules…. There are many pre-prepared snacks that are very portable and I usually keep a box of snack bars in my car just in case there is a change of plans. Always plan ahead!

If you have any questions about the diet or you’re thinking about about trying it out let me know! I would love to be your health coach even though I am still going through this journey. I can relate to your struggles and be someone for you to call/text when the struggle gets too real.

Thanks for listening and let me know if you wanna chat! 

-Savvy

 

Dallas Personal

2015 Recap

Happy New Year, Readers! 

I hope your 2015 was amazing and everything you wanted it to be.

12470903_10153852327316563_242928265_o

Here is a recap of a few exciting things that happened in 2015:

  • Went to IrelandIowa, San Francisco, and Austin
  • Bridesmaid in Lauren’s wedding in May
  • Took two cooking classes
  • Saw several of my friends get engaged
  • Created new friendships, let some old ones go
  • Ran a 5k
  • Lost 30 pounds
  • Explored more of Dallas, Denton, and Ft. Worth (plus surrounding areas)
  • Started this blog!
  • Had some professional victories
  • Saw Maroon 5 in concert
  • Celebrated Galentine’s!
  • Went to a Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Celebrated many friend’s birthdays as well as my 24th birthday

There were so many highs and lows to this year, but I can definitely say I learned a TON and hopefully will be taking some new habits into 2016.

Some goals for 2016:

  • Run another 5k (and potentially a half marathon)
  • Lose 50 more pounds
  • Pay off my couch and eliminate unnecessary spending
  • Spend more time with my dog and my friends
  • Focus more on my blog and professional goals
  • Travel to Ireland and Italy, hopefully Virginia and Colorado, potentially some other places
  • Celebrate my 25th Birthday!
  • Get back into reading at least one book a month
  • Start the MBA process
  • Take better care of my skin {even though that might mean no more tanning ;(}
  • Cook more (since I got new pots and pans for Hanukkah!)

I am sure there are other things that I would like to accomplish for 2016, but honestly I think this list will cover the whole year and then some. I am already trying to figure out how to prioritize my life for these next 12 months.

Holiday Recap

I had a great Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. There was so much going on in such a short time frame, so sorry for the lack of updates (because I know everyone cares so much lol). I blogged a little bit about Hanukkah already so I won’t bother your with more of that.

Christmas went well. My sister came back to town and will be here for a whole month so we’ve been hanging out. She made me these really cute little embroideries for my travel wall in my house so my best friend came over and helped me hang them along with some other house stuff. I will have to post a house tour on here in a few weeks when I FINALLY finish my Travel Wall in my living room/dining room. I’ve only lived there for almost a year and a half….. no big deal. 😉 We went to my Grandma’s house and I hung out with my little second cousin, Liesel. She is seriously the cutest/happiest baby ever. I’m in love.

12436431_10153840085691563_819183240_o

We have so many people in such a small house so my sister ended up getting the special chair in the Annexed part of the house next to an extra table.

12422052_10153839461151563_1320795914_o

We were tired of having the same food for Thanksgiving and then just a few weeks later for Christmas so we decided to add some Mexican flair since a good portion of my family is Hispanic.

12415994_10153839460956563_1196837665_o

For New Year’s Eve I was supposed to go out in Uptown with some of my friends. Unfortunately I got kinda sick the day before and it has lasted several days. So last night I ended up just going down the street to Julia’s house and playing games with her, her family, and some significant others, which was exactly what I needed. We had a really great time and I got to see some of her siblings that I don’t normally see. This morning my dad made New Year’s Day brunch since I decided to spend the night.

12469865_10153854573826563_998874530_o

Karma and I tried to get it together in time to make a Christmas card this year, but it’s going to end up being more like a New Year’s card (if I even hand them out) (probably not, let’s be honest).

We both wish all of you happiness for the New Year! Let’s make 2016 the best yet!

12415889_10153825899981563_735589487_o

Dallas Personal

First 5K!

Happy Weekend, Readers!

I hope your holiday weekend has been filled with fun, family/friends, and food. I on the other hand have just been bumming in my house making recipe cards and doing laundry, but hey, we all celebrate in our own ways.

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving as all of you remember. It was also the day I had been waiting for all year, the 48th Annual Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot! After seeing all of the pictures of my friends and family doing this over the years I decided last Thanksgiving that this was going to be my goal for 2015. Let me remind you how much of a runner I am not before I tell you my most embarrassing public moment of the year.

12290447_10153778056421563_486089417_o

12315242_10153778154171563_1575563962_o

In January I decided to join a Planet Fitness location since it was cheap and close to my house. I figured if I was the one paying for it then I would be more apt to go. I also determined that since I had 11 months to train, by the time Thanksgiving rolled around then I would be in tip-top shape to run those 3.1 miles.

My first day at PF was a rainy, cold Monday night. Since everyone is still into the “New Years Resolution” phase of their work outs, it could not have been busier. I find the only open treadmill in the entire building. Since I had never been there before (I enrolled online) I didn’t know where the locker rooms were or if I had to bring my own lock, etc. so I just placed my stuff next to me. The base of my treadmill was rather large so I put my huge purse on it so it would be out of people’s way, but still near me.

I had downloaded the Couch to 5k app earlier that day so I turned it on and started walking. If you’ve never used the app it basically tells you when to run and when to walk for about 30 minutes. Every week it increases the amount of time you run and decreases the amount of time you walk. You start with a five minute warm up walk and then it has you run. I think for the first day it’s something like 30 seconds of running (but don’t quote me on that).

I am 10 minutes into my first day and as I start running for the second time, unbeknownst to me, my large purse falls onto the track. I have not figured out about pacing yet so I am running 6.5 miles an hour and proceed to trip over the purse. Time basically starts to go in slow motion as my life flashes before my eyes. I manage to grab onto the bars of the treadmill and kinda catch myself with one leg, but with a track going 6.5 miles an hour, I clearly can’t stay that way for long and my leg falls out from under me. I am now being dragged by the machine and I have to make the decision to let go. I am THROWN into the treadmill behind me in this super crowded gym and I crumple to the ground. Immediately, I am hit with an incredible amount of pain in my right leg. I have several piercings and three tattoos; I’ve broken my left wrist and my tailbone before. Given this information, I was pretty sure I had broken my leg.

12299862_10153778155721563_1833297512_o

I slowly look up while I am still on the ground to see if anyone wants to help me. No one is making eye contact. Finally the girl who was on the machine next to me looks back and in a disgusted, annoyed high pitched voice asks if I am ok. “Yeah…. I’m fine,” I meagerly eek out. “Well I know first aid,” she replies then turns back to walking on her machine. No other offer of help is given, God forbid she stop her work out. I manage to collect myself and stand up. I determine that my leg is not broken, however it has definitely sustained some sort of damage. I get the rest of my belongings, which are now scattered all over the place from my fall. My jacket is wrapped up on one of the poles, my purse is laying sideways behind me. I hobble myself out of there as fast as my mangled leg will let me and just cry in my car. Fortunately, I don’t live that far away and am able to make it home fairly quickly.

After that incident I didn’t go to the gym again for a few months. I never went to the doctor since I try to avoid them as much as possible, but I sustained some nerve damage in my calf and now have two lovely large scars from the belt of the treadmill dragging against my legs. It is much better now, almost a year later, but once in awhile that knee will hurt for a bit. I have yet to try to get that footage from Planet Fitness, but I will reach out to see if I can’t get that clip to submit to something like #GymFails.

All of that to say, my running career took a bit of a break for awhile and then in September I realized that November was coming faster than I had anticipated. I was only on week 4 (of 8) when the Turkey Trot came, but I was determined to do as well as I could. My best friend, Becky, was also doing C25K and we had signed up together this past summer. My mom and sister also signed up and I realized later that actually a lot of people I knew had joined as well. Unfortunately, this is more like a “fun walk/run” than I had realized. People walk this race wearing corduroys and holding their Starbucks. It just became too much to try to pass all of the walkers after awhile (I heard there were 25,000 people there) so Becky and I just decided to walk the last part. We still managed to get quite a bit of exercise on a day that is solely dedicated to food, which to me is a major win.

12295464_10153378320073892_7479681635532801645_n

There is also an 8 mile run course for the Turkey Trot that, as you can guess, is much less crowded. That has made it to our running goals list as well as doing a smaller, more race-centric 5k in the coming months. That means I will still have some attainable fitness goals to be working towards instead of just mindlessly running for no reason. I have heard many times that you are more likely to reach a goal if you write it down.

12301637_10153378320023892_3466076104007013022_n

Even though I didn’t full out run the Turkey Trot then way I had imagined, I still set a goal and accomplished it. I finished the race, I put work into making the goal attainable in the months before the race, and I did it with people that I love. What could be better than that ? 🙂

12299897_10153778983181563_1811832810_o

Happy Reading!

-Savvy