Photo Friday: Stranger in a Strange Land

Happy Photo Friday! Today’s theme is #strangerinastrangeland.

This past June, I was lucky enough to do a bit of exploring in Austin, Texas. It was a short trip for a beautiful wedding and then some family bonding time with three of my favorite people. Austin isn’t particularly strange but I did find some fun things to photograph. The images I want to share today are a couple of the intriguing things and places we saw in nature and otherwise that certainly “Keep Austin Weird.”  Texas was a visual adventure for sure, I look forward to visiting again in the future!

Photos all taken with a Nikon 3100.

Keep Austin Weird
Austin ArtMonkeys Always WelcomeLucy in DisguiseCactusCheeto TreeAustin AnimalsZebra in DisguiseLavender PlantSkeletonTree Branch Spikes

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Photography travel

Start Bucket Listing Today!

As a blogger you quickly become a list maker…if you weren’t already one. I’ve always been a collector, a compiler, a gatherer.

Today I’ve created a list of bucket lists. Yes, that’s right. A list of lists.

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Everyone has that never-ending to-do list of things they want to try, places they want to go, things they want to learn. And now I dare you to rally those ideas and thoughts. Corral the to-dos and to-don’ts. Lay it all on the table. And make your list(s).

It can be a….

  • Standard Life Bucket List (Include it all!)
  • University Pride Bucket List
  • Travel Bucket List
  • 30 things by 30 years old Bucket List
  • Season Specific Bucket List
  • This Month Bucket List
  • Sporting Event Bucket List
  • City Specific Bucket List
  • Country Specific Bucket List
  • Skills/Knowledge Bucket List
  • Must See in Concert Bucket List
  • Books to Read Bucket List
  • Movies to See Bucket List

The list of lists can go on and on!

Becoming ultimate is about doing. It’s about giving, learning, growing, and just plain living. Take hold of opportunities and run with them. Clench your fists and say yes to a challenge! I recommend the “Life Bucket List” to all. The “big list,” the “ultimate list.” This includes everything, but particularly your long term goals.

The rest of the lists include short term, very achievable goals. Perhaps one you can accomplish this week, or today! The short term items will act as stepping stones or benchmarks to your long term items. If you achieve everything on your “this month” list think of how much progress you’re making on the big list!

Of course, if you’re anything like me this list will keep growing as you experience new things. But you’ll only become that much more interesting.

Below are some possible list making tools and bucket list examples:

For the digital note taker, evernote.com – or any standard note app.

For the Journal Junkie, My Ultimate Bucket List Journal – a journal made specifically for Bucket Lists…there’s quite a few out there.

For the Creative Journal Junkie, http://bulletjournal.com/ – Explore the amazing world of bullet journaling to make your lists with organization and a little pizazz!

For the social goal setter, www.bucketlist.org/ – a website to create your list, get ideas from others and communicate with other bucket listers.

For the quiz taker and challenge starter, http://www.listchallenges.com/ –  tons of pre-made lists to inspire your own and see where you stand today.

To spark your interests, https://personalexcellence.co/blog/bucket-list/

More examples, https://daringtolivefully.com/bucket-list-ideas

For the millennial woman, http://bucketlistbombshells.com/ – An inspiration.

For everyone, my personal favorite bucket lister, http://bucketlistjourney.net/my-bucket-list/ – She’s amazing.

Make your list and try to check one thing off by the end of the week! It can be simple! But make it about something YOU want to do. We’re not talking about chores or errands! Do something for yourself.

Please share!! I will do the same.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Inspiration Journaling Lists

30 Random Things That 12 Days in Europe Taught Me

Venice, Italy  2014.

Venice, Italy 2014.


1. European lifts (or elevators) use 0 as the ground floor, anything above is a positive number, anything below is a negative number…makes more sense than G and B, really.
2. Coffee Shops in Amsterdam do not sell coffee…
3. In Germany, particularly Munich, when ordering a beer, 1 liter is a normal serving.
4. …Where you should also never order a Radler (a shandy), unless you want to be made fun of, especially you men, sorry.
5. The word pickpocket is the same in every language. Wallets in front pockets, hands on your purses!
6. Tequila is much better with cinnamon and an orange slice, as opposed to salt and a lime.
7. Always have your hotel address written down to show a taxi driver.
8. Sometimes…you must pay to use the public toilet.
9. Sometimes…there are Italian men outside the restroom taking money for you to use the toilet when it should actually be a free toilet experience…beware of these tricky people.
10. Austrian Schnapps are not like the Schnapps in the States…they’re stronger.
11. White Water Rafting is an amazing experience, even if there is a torrential downpour.
12. Think of yourself as a traveler, not a tourist.
13. If you need a masquerade mask, go to Venice.
14. Learn to say “Thank you,” “Please,” “Cheers” and other basic phrases in the local language…especially, “Do you speak English?”
15. There are lots of people who sell fake bags, glasses, and other products randomly on the street.
16. A coach is more than just a bus.
17. There are Australians…everywhere.
18. Bread, slices of assorted meats and cheeses…classic breakfast.
19. Italian rap karaoke is super entertaining.
20. The game “every time you see someone riding a bike, take a drink” in Amsterdam, is a death sentence.
21. Service stops in Europe are much more elaborate that the ones in the U.S.
22. You want leather? Florence is your answer.
23. On occasion, a seagull will attack and kill a pigeon in Rome…or maybe that was just a one time thing…
24. There are gypsies…there will always be gypsies.
25. Europeans listen to a wide variety of American music.
26. You will stay up late and you will get up early because you only have so much time in each place!
27. Validate your subway ticket to avoid falling up a down escalator.
28. Macaroons…Paris…delicious!
29. Don’t think too much, experience and embrace every taste, smell, sound, touch and sight!
30. 12 days is not enough time in Europe!

Lists My Travels

Stay Strong, Boston Strong

This past Summer I had the pleasure of having an internship in the wonderful city of Boston. This city is full of history! Whether you’re talking about the history of our country, the history of art, the history of architecture, the history of the 80s sitcom Cheers…or perhaps the history of Mark Wahlberg. It’s all there! Boston has been the scene of several key events in our country’s history including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunkerhill. Boston is also the home of  the United States’ first public school (1635) and the first subway system(1897). And, though I am a Detroit Tigers fan, how can we forget the year the Curse of the Bambino was broken, when the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series! All of these events of history have played a part in our lives, whether it was in joy or pain.
One year ago today Boston experienced it’s most recent pain, the Boston Marathon bombing. At 2:49 pm EDT, on April 15, 2013 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets broke out in fear alerting others of the tragedy. Three people were killed and an estimated 264 others were injured that day. The bombs exploded about 12 seconds and 210 yards (190 m) apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston.

Boston Marathon Memorial

Boston Marathon Memorial


Boston Marathon Memorial


Arriving in Boston in June of 2013, I found that the pain and fear had turned into courage and faith, with a community of support and remembrance. A beautiful memorial was created where the incident occurred. There were fences, trees, benches, posters, and more decorated with everything from flags, hats, shoes and clothing to stuffed animals, books, ribbons and notes. Though an unfortunate and an awful happening, it was amazing to experience the togetherness of a city. Everywhere you looked someone was wearing or selling a “Boston Strong” t-shirt. Companies, organizations and individuals all over the city were displaying the blue and yellow ribbons of their Boston Strong support.
A breathtaking photo series was released last week where “Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing send messages of hope…” Please check it out, it’s truly inspiring. It’s events like these that remind us to be thankful for everything we have, everyday, even if we don’t think it’s much! We are lucky to have our health, our family, our friends and the opportunities that we do!
My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all of the those affected by this tragedy. Stay Strong, Boston Strong!

Boston Marathon Memorial


Boston Marathon Memorial

Life My Travels

Twenty Two, the Hidden Milestone

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On Monday, I started a new year of my life. At first glance, there is nothing special about being 22. It isn’t really a milestone birthday, but all of the sudden it sneaks up on you, this is an important year full of important decisions and events. In the next two months I am finishing a senior design project, I am looking for a full time job, I am graduating from Purdue, I am saying goodbye to college friends, I am moving out of my apartment and I am going to Europe…that is just in the next two months! If this isn’t a milestone year, I don’t know what is!
The year a person graduates from college is always a big year, it is the time you enter the “real world”. You are about to become a tax payin’, loan payin’, 8-5 workin’, “real person”.  It isn’t always year 22 but that is how it worked out for me, so I have to make it count (like Jack and Rose…minus the whole iceberg thing).
I recently decided Chicago is where I want to go after Purdue, decision made, yes! I had an internship there in the summer of  2012 and fell in love with the people, the architecture, the sights, the festivals, the churches, the art…it was a culturally stimulating experience and I barely brushed the surface of the things to do there, so the Chicago exploration will continue. Though if I don’t get a job first…I may just have to look into street performing (joking but not joking).
Before that adventure can begin I have to finish strong at Purdue. Two weeks from today I have my senior design final presentation. I won’t lie to you, senior design has been a more than challenging experience, then again group projects usually always are. They’re kind of like arranged marriages. And then you have this ‘baby’ of a project that you have to raise together.
I’ve learned a lot from my project, my class in general has prepared me for what it might be like working with all different kinds of people at my future place of employment. No matter how this project ends up, I’ve grown as a leader and as a person from this project, so that’s something.
From there, it’s turning in projects, taking finals, packing up the apartment and walking across that stage. Followed by a thirteen day European tour through eight countries! On June 4th I’ll come back…hopefully to a place to work and place to live…
It’s going to be a busy, and kind of scary, year all around, but I’m excited for what ever else 22 throws my way!

Life