Tuesday, October 29, 2013

(Almost) Anyone Can Travel: On Prioritizing

I’m a big proponent of prioritizing. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might already know this about me. Prioritizing is especially important to me regarding two things: time and money. I’ve talked about my feelings on being “too busy” before, specifically in this post from last summer. In this post, however, I'll be focusing more on the importance of prioritizing money, especially if you dream about traveling for an extended period of time.

Various foreign currency I haven't gotten around to exchanging yet.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Islandscape on Camera: Pico, Portugal

After spending a few days with Jonathan's dad's family on the Azorean island of Terceira, we hopped over to Pico to see his mom's island. One of the neatest parts of visiting this island was getting to stay in his grandparents' old house. It has electricity and running water and everything (although the hot water was veeeeery limited), but there were some quaint aspects of the house, like the chickens a neighbor still raises at the house and the well outside where we washed our beach towels from Greece. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Week in Review: 10.19.2013

I think this will be my last weekly recap post, at least for the near future. Now that I'm working a 9-to-5 job, my weeks all pretty much look the same, so I'm finding these posts to be a little repetitive. I plan on switching to a monthly recap instead (similar to what I used to do, but with an updated format), but I'll be finding other ways to share my most popular Instagram photos and posts each week, whether that's on social media or elsewhere. I hope you enjoy my final Week in Review post (for now)!

Get this: I only posted two pictures on Instagram in the past week! Whaaaaaat? I know; insane in the membrane. I guess I just didn't think my life was very Instagram-worthy this week. Here are the chosen two that made it to my feed:

1 | 2

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Photo A Day: September

My participation in Chantelle's photo a day challenge last month wasn't so hot. I think part of that was because I was pretty focused on my own photo challenge for one of the weeks. But, I did get a few nice shots to contribute to the #fmsphotoaday hashtag on Instagram:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Literary Junkies: October 2013

It's the third Tuesday of the month again, which means it's time for the Literary Junkies link-up! I didn't get a chance to read this month's book, so I won't be participating in the Twitter chat this evening, but I couldn't miss an opportunity to connect with my fellow book-loving bloggers with this month's questions. Read more after the jump to see the questions and my answers!

image via @mcstroup on Instagram

What are you currently reading? Tell us a bit about it!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Words cannot explain my feelings about this book. It is beautiful and tragic and everything a novel should be! I had heard this book was amazing throughout the blogosphere, but I really didn't know what it was about. I'm glad I started reading this without really knowing the plot details, though. It just made it more surprising and beautiful!

Islandscape on Camera: Terceira, Portugal

I can't believe I only have two more posts after this one to finish up my European Extravaganza recap series. I know I've been recapping this trip for quite a while (since July 23, to be exact), but there is still way too much to fit on any blog. I am so grateful I was able to take this trip, especially with my fiance and siblings by my side. :) Anyway, enough sappiness. Like I said, I still have two posts left! Today, I'm sharing photos from my time in the Azorean island of Terceira.

Street bullfight in Terceira, Azores, Portugal, on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
image via @mcstroup on Instagram

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Azores, I like to refer to the islands as "the Hawaii of Portugal." This archipelago is composed of nine islands and located about 900 miles southwest of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean. Jonathan's parents were actually both born in the Azores and emigrated to America. His dad was born and raised on the island of Terceira, our first stop in the islands. (His mom was born in Pico, which I'll share with you next week!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Volunteer State on Instagram: Memphis & Nashville

As I mentioned on Saturday, I spent five days in Tennessee last weekend. My sister of the suitcase (a.k.a. fellow Alpha Delta Pi leadership consultant last year) got hitched in her hometown about an hour outside Nashville, and by some amazing miracle, every single one of the 2012-2013 consultants was able to attend! Not only was it a great reunion, but Jonathan and I took a few days off work to explore Tennessee, considering we were already making the long trip.

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee, on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
One of my favorite signs down this strip said, "First chance for a drink. Next chance 25 feet."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Currently: recapping my banned books week photo challenge

Happy Sunday, everyone! I promised you last Sunday that I would recap my favorite entries in my Banned Books Week photo challenge last month, but I broke that promise. So, I'm recapping today! First, though, I want to share my current goings-on for siddathornton's The Sunday Currently link-up.

image via @mcstroup on Instagram
reading | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Holy cow. Expect more thoughts on this book during the Literary Junkies link-up on Tuesday. I hope to be finished with it by then!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week(s) in Review: 10.12.2013

Hey there! Did you miss me last weekend? I didn't pack my laptop for my five-day trip to Tennessee (shocker, I know!), and week in review posts are pretty hard to write in advance if you leave early Thursday morning. Therefore, today's post will encompass the past two weeks. And hopefully tomorrow I can catch up on those 300+ unread posts on my Bloglovin' feed. :)

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

If you like these Instagram photos, be sure to check back on Monday for an Insta-recap of my trip to Tennessee!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday's Fancies: The best of ...

First, I want to send huge kudos to Alison over at {long distance loving} for celebrating her 150th Friday's Fancies link-up today! That's almost three years of fashion-related posts every Friday! For this special anniversary, I decided to pick my five favorite fashionable creations from the past and reshare them here. You can click on any image to see the original post. Enjoy!

This was the second outfit I ever created for Friday's Fancies, back in February 2012.
I would definitely wear this now!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Summer 2013 Book Challenge: Final Scoreboard

Wow! This summer's book challenge had a record number of finishers. Nine of you completed the entire challenge within three months! (Or nine of us, I should say. Yippee!) Read more after the jump to see the final scoreboard.

The Book Chat: E-books vs. Print

I've touched on my feelings about e-books a few times, but it's been a while since I've done a full post on the subject. After reading my Kindle almost exclusively last year while I was traveling and then moving back to a city with a library card a few months ago, I definitely have some more defined thoughts on the topic now. Luckily, Jessica chose e-books vs. print books for the Book Chat topic this week, so you get to read all about my opinions today! :)

all images via @mcstroup on Instagram

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cityscape on Camera: Lisbon, Portugal

The final big European city on our backpacking trip was Lisbon. Abby, Jonathan and I took an overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon for a few days in the Portuguese capital. Unfortunately, we didn't book our tickets much in advance, so there were no beds left. :( We just sat in regular train cars for the 9-hour trip. It was still way more comfortable than a plane, though!

Welcome to Lisbon on Instagram on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
Patterned leggings are a cultural experience in Lisbon. ;) via @mcstroup on Instagram

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy birthday, Jonathan!

In honor of #tbt, here's an oldie but a goodie from our senior prom.
Jonathan hated this hat, but I thought maybe it could be his birthday hat in this case? Haha.
Jonathan's birthday was yesterday, but of course we were too busy celebrating for me to get a post up to commemorate the occasion. (What was the celebration, you ask? Frozen food from the grocery store, homemade guacamole and a Criminal Minds marathon finished off with the new episode of SVU. Man, we are old. Oh—and we had to pack, because I'm hurriedly typing this as we get ready to head to Tennessee! More on that later.)

In honor of his 24th year, I wanted to share this video for those of you unfortunate souls who haven't been graced with its hilarity before. I typically don't share videos on the blog (I'll admit it—I almost never watch videos in my blog feed. Sorry! It's just not always convenient to load a video), but this one is just too good to pass up. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cityscape on Camera: Madrid, Spain

After nearly a week in Andalusia with the entire family, Mom took my little brother back to Switzerland with her while Jonathan, Abby and I continued on to Madrid. (Don't worry, Michael was leaving for a study abroad trip at a cheetah rehabilitation center in South Africa. So it's not like his trip was being cut short.) We caught a train from Ronda straight through to Madrid and checked into our hostel. We were able to find a very affordable hostel within walking distance of two major plazas in Madrid (Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor), the major shopping street (Gran Via) and the main city park (Parque del Retiro). I highly recommend Room007 Ventura Hostel if you're ever in the area. We even had a great roommate from Brazil, so Jonathan got to practice his Portuguese and we had a friend to explore the city with.

Drinks and tapas at El Tigre on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
With our Brazilian roommate at El Tigre bar. Now THOSE are tapas!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Summer 2013 Book Challenge: Month 3

Time's up! Please put your books down and record your progress in a comment on this post. :) You can see the scoreboard up until this month after the jump, along with my check-in to see how to format your comments.