Travel Blog: Firenze, Italy.

Hey guys! Thanks for coming back to read my travel blog! This blog is about the amazing, wonderful, lovely time we spent in Florence, Italy!  We spent three nights and three days in Florence. We traveled from Rome to Florence by train. We got the tickets for about $30 dollars, a really great deal! In Italy, I would highly recommend traveling between cities by train, the train system is simple, it’s easy to book tickets on their machines, the trains are really nice, and the trains are high-speed.
So we waited for our train, and boarded! We meet a really nice guy from Russia, and we talked with him for the three hour ride.  We got off at our stop, and I had mapped out the walking directions, but my GPS was not having it! So we walked in circles for a while and walked back to the station. We got a taxi, and thank goodness, because the hostel we booked was also a camp ground, and the entrance is a long walk up a desolate road. Needless to say, we were a little nervous. We got to the office, and of coarse we had to pay more in taxes. Then they brought us to our room. We had a room with our own bathroom, yay. However, it had mold. We just sucked it up and figured we were only spending a few hours there, and decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of complaining.
Besides being a hostel, campground, and a rentable venue, the place we stayed at was also a dormitory  for a small school that was funded by the Italian government, that brings over men from foreign countries, and teaches them Italian so they can file for papers to move to Italy. We meet some very interesting characters there!  The hostel provided breakfast, so that was nice! The first day we got to Florence, we traveled to the Hostel, so we decided to stay at the Hostel and relax.
The next morning, we set off for the city center of Florence. The City center is located right by the St. Maria Novella Station. If you are going to Florence, you can stay either in the city center, which is more expensive or stay in one of the surrounding cities, which is what we did. We took a bus to the train station, about a 10 minute or so ride.  It started to rain, so hid for a little in the station, bought an expensive map, because I left the hostel free one at home, opps, and then we started walking around to see the sites.
There is so much to see and do in Florence, but large monuments, and such are fairly close to each-other, and you can see it in one day, if you try and plan very well! Without planning well, we were still able to see everything we wanted to on our first day there. I absolutely fell in love with Florence. And I will say it was by far my favorite place we visited during our entire month-long excursion in Europe.
The streets of Florence, are very simple to navigate, and they all tend to lead in the same direction. We first walked to the St. Maria Novella Duomo, which is a large church that is now more of a museum. You can pay to go inside, we didn’t. The Duomo is magnificent! The details,  are unbelievable, it is a gothic style cathedral, and is over 500 years old! The Duomo sits in the middle of a plaza or a Piazza in Italian. The surrounding buildings are dwarfed in comparison.
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 Then we walked over to the Museum that houses the Statue of David, which I wanted to see so so badly! We thought we were in the wrong place, lol, so we turned around and walked around. I also found out that it was going to be something like $20 dollars a person to get in, so that was a no-go. We decided in Rome, that we weren’t going to pay a lot to see things unless we were absolutely dying to see it, and unfortunately for David, he just didn’t make it on the list. But we  got lucky, and if you feel the same as us, you can get lucky, because Florence has a “Fake David” statue, which is almost as good. It was good enough for us! I would highly highly recommend seeing “Fake David” even if you plan on seeing the real David, and heres why. The Fake David sits on top of this huge, and I mean huge mountain top (?), not really sure if its a mountain, and you can see all of Florence from there !
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Bonus, there is a small garden a little over half-way up the large and traitorous hike to the top. And the garden has benches and you can sit and relax. It was so beautiful! It rained on-and-off, and about 5 minutes after we saw fake david, it poured. But it made the sky-line look amazing!
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The sun shone on the mountains in the horizon, and It was unspeakably beautiful. A moment I will truly cherish, it felt like one of those moments where the Heavens open and shine. I could not even capture the true beauty. Funny side note, as we were gazing at the beautiful city below, we heard some very thick accent Texans asking us to take their picture. They had fanny-packs and all. We laughed as we walked back down. We found the short-cut, by the way, there is one, UGH!
As we walked around Florence, we stopped and ate at one of those tourist trap restaurants, right in the middle of the center of florence, and It was actually a good deal, and the food was amazing. In Europe, in general you can find food for fairly good deals, just don’t buy drinks. The drinks are outrageous, as well as water. Make sure to bring a water bottle with you, and I would highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommend what my friends did, what I wanted to do, but decided to not do last minute, and that is to bring a water bottle with a filter built in. The main reason, money, but also because you can get water from anywhere, including bathroom sinks, sketchy looking water fountains, and from the hotel. I wanted to buy some, and found a great deal at Target for about 14 dollars for two, but I didn’t want to spend the money. BOY was I silly, because we ended up spending way, way more on buying water, then we would have if we had just bought the water bottles. I stand by this advice, and say it is the number one thing you should bring with you to Europe! NO JOKE!
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Moving on, we then walked to the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, which is a small bridge that has small jewelry shops along it. The jewelry is very expensive. In and around the bridge there’s many shops and stores to shop at! There are many stands that sell beautiful leather and other souvenirs. I got a beautiful purse! We stopped and ate some yummy food, and gelato! Walking to Ponte Vecchio bridge from the Duamo, you can walk through a small statue garden. It was a great place for us to stop and rest our tiered feet.
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 Halfway on the bridge, there is a small cut-out area where you can stop and see down the river. It is such a beautiful view, and the perfect place to snap a few pictures!
Our second day in Florence, we explored more around the city! It rained more, and I didn’t think I needed to take pictures of the same things! On our second day, my throat began to feel a little soar, I figured that I had slept with my mouth open. I ate extra gelato that day, but as the day went on I started to feel sick. We cut our day a little short, and headed back to our hostel, where we spent time talking with some of the local residents and ate the hostel provided dinner! The hostel had a laundry area, and we were able to pay about 10 dollars to do a load of laundry, but it was well worth it! We were about halfway or a little less into our trip, and we had gone through most of our clothes. We packed enough clothes to last a little over halfway through our trip, so we would only have to wash our clothes once! Here’s a tip about laundry, we planned to wash clothes in sinks and such, but many hostels have signs and shared bathrooms and do not want you to wash your clothes in the bathroom ( Can’t image why, lol.) We got up early, packed our bags, and headed to the train station to get a train to Pisa!
Thanks for reading!

 

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Fall beauty look & everyday routine🍂

Hello to all of my gorgeous friends !

I wanted to share my fall beauty look which has become my everyday routine !

I love fall, but for some reason this year I was NOT ready to say good bye to summer, so I have done a transitional look here!

Here is all the products I have been using! Most likely will see these on repeat for my fall beauty favorites! I just found a new lip product that I am obsessed with, which is new for me, I am starting to get into lip colors, which is so fun for me! I would love if you had any suggestions for fair-skinned red-heads like me for fall lip colors! Im currently on the hunt!

Step one: Either I washed my face in the shower, or with some generic soap from target.

Step two: Mousterizer, I am currently using one from my birch box subscription! I don’t have a preference here!

Step three: apply foundation (currently using Urban Decay, but I am going to switch to Too faced, and see how that goes soon, so stay tooned). I use a generic target brand beauty blender, which I love!

Step Four: Apply too faced broker and becca highlighter, I use a curved powder brush.

Step Five: Eye shadow, for this looked I used maybeline with pinks and grey, and use an elf eyeshadow brush.

Step Six: Eyebrows, I haven’t always been a huge eyebrows person, but once I discovered benefits glam brow, Im hooked!

Step Seven: Eyeliner, I use some dark eyeshadow and a liner brush and call it a day, nothing fancy here!

Step Eight: Curly my eyelashes and use my ultimate favorite mascara too faced!

Step Nine: Lips, I am using buxom, which is fantastic it is a lip plumping lipgloss and I love it!

And that is it! I have varied my routine, using concealer, setting powder, and also primer, but lately I just haven’t been in to spending so much time! I am currently looking for a good concealer and setting powder to get back into it for the holidays! So, comment below your favs!

Thanks for coming back to my blog! Let me know your fall beauty favorites/ routine below!

-Mariah-

 

Travel-Blog: Roma, Italy.

Hey everyone !  Thanks for coming back to my blog to read about our amazing time in Europe! This post is about the 3 days & nights we spent in Rome. Hope you enjoy this post !
We flew into Rome from Berlin, on one of those early morning flights. I got to sit in the window seat on this flight, and it was so beautiful to fly out of Germany and into Italy! The flight was longer than I had anticipated, we flew on Ryan Air for about $27 a person! We booked an Air BnB for around less than $10 dollars a night per person! The Air BnB was extremely difficult to find. I had messaged with the host, but he did not get back to me, super frustrating!
We got to Rome, and we rode a bus from the airport to the train station, it about about $4 dollars a person all together. There is a ticket counter that can book both for you! The train was so nice! Once we got off the train we realized that we hadn’t mapped how to get to the bnb, and we searched for wifi, which was really difficult! Everywhere we went wanted credit card information! UGH!
I somehow connected to the train station wifi, after trying for a while, and was able to get the directions. Unforchantly for us, the directions were not very clear, and we got lost. We followed the directions perfectly until we came across a plaza that had multiple right turns! Well we took the wrong right turn, but it just so happened to be the street that leads you to the Colosseum. 
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 The Colosseum just sort of pops up out of nowhere, all of the sudden you’re like woah, there it is ! I expected it to be in the middle of an empty field (no idea why), but it is surrounded by buildings and streets, restaurants and people. Some helpful hints to eating near monuments… don’t they way over charge. Try going a street up or around, all you’ll find the same menu but a few Euros cheaper per dish!
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I think we were distracted by the Colosseum, that we decided to go down the wrong path. After a while, we figured that we were lost. We asked some locals, and shop keepers for help to find the street we were looking for, but they kept telling us we were far, far away (we actually weren’t). Most of their advice was wrong, or made us go in a crazy round-about way.
My advice? Defiantly pre-map out walking directions to your hotel (etc), and try to familiarize yourself with the map/ surroundings before you leave for your trip! It’s a lot to plan such an elaborate and extensive trip, but it will save you time and frustration during your trip, and thats the point, you want to savor every second of the trip, and not get hung up on the details! I did this for our trip to Ireland in 2014, and it went much smoother!
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Here is a picture of a building near the plaza we took the wrong turn at.
So we were lost, so exhausted carrying our seemingly heavier by the minute backpacks, hungry, and frustrated for a few hours walking in the same few circles, until we decided to give up, and rest. Once this happened, we realized we were on the right street, yay! We made it to the Air Bnb, and were greeted by a worker. I had to pay extra, for taxes, which we were pretty pissed about because it was not described by the host. Keep this in mind, that what you book online might not include the countries taxes, we ended paying a few times for taxes upon arrival! So make sure to have spare change when you arrive at your destination!
The Air BnB was fairly nice. We had a big room, but the description said that the room had two beds, but it had one and two cots. We managed, but seriously?? We roll with the punches, but just in case, always expect that things are not always as them seem on Air bnb! THe bathrooms were shared… btw, most hotels in Europe have shared bathrooms, not just hostels, but it was difficult to find most hotels that had its own bathroom! Maybe it was because we had a low budget. But hey, we didn’t want to spend our money on hotels, when what we were there for was to see the sights! We spent small amounts of time in the hotel! I would highly recommend going cheap for the reason explained above, Ha!
We rested at the hostel, and then Jeff and I went to find a restaurant near by. It was an American themed restaurant, I got the spagetti bolognese, and Jeff got a burger I believe. We really enjoyed the food! Right around the corner from the restaurant was the most amazing gelato place! I got a small mint chip! It was my first gelato in italy, and I still wish I could have more!
Our second day in Rome, was magical! Our first stop was the Colosseum! On our first day, we did not get up close and personal with the Colosseum, we just got near it, so we decided to start there because we were staying so close!
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It poured on us for the first half of the day, but luckily we packed rain jackets. There were many street vendors trying to sell us ponchos and umbrellas, which became a nuisance to us. By the way, everywhere in Europe has beggars, scammers, and street sellers, it’s important to not buy from them, or be rude! Some people we came across were relentless, and it is super frustrating, but ignoring them is the easiest. The colosseum is about $20 dollars to enter, so we decided that getting close was enough! We then walked towards the Roman Forum.
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 It is hard to write everything you can experience and see around you in Rome. The scenery is indescribable, there are old buildings, details, foliage, everywhere. Despite being clique, the best way describe Rome is to say you have to be there to experience  the awe. I could not take a picture that could capture the true beauty, but I tried! Rome was all that I thought it would be and then some. Oslo, and Berlin are updated metropolitan cities, where as Rome, feels like an old European destination that you want to experience when backpacking through Europe!
After we walked through the Roman Forum, we walked towards the Trevi Fountain. I was so excited to see the Trevi Fountain, needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised that such a monument was in the middle of large old buildings. I expected it to be in the middle of the plaza. We walked along narrow cobbled stone streets and came across the bright white fountain!
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 It’s hard to get pictures of the front of the water & the fountain, because of the small space and all of the tourists that get in the way. In the picture above you can see the tight space the fountain is in.
After seeing the Trevi fountain we walked along one of the cobble stone streets towards the pantheon! It is pretty much a straight shot! All the big monuments and tourist sites are really close to each other in Rome. Rome seems like such a large city, due to all of the history, but it is pretty easy to see everything even in just a day!
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The inside of the forum is beautiful, but every picture I took turned out blurry, oops!
After the forum we walked back towards our hostel and found a restaurant to din at! I got lasagna, it was soooooo good, and Jeff got a salami sub. The food is Italy was so amazing. Every meal I loved! Berlin had the best food over all, when I consider groceries as well, but I loved eating out in Italy more, if that makes sense ! I didn’t take any other food pics, I believe, but I did happen to get a pic of my lasagna!
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We then headed back to our hostel and rested for the rest of the day. As the evening went on, we got hungry, and Jeff and I went and got Italian style pizza, basically glorified bread, and stopped by that amazing Gelato place! MMMMM! Did I mention that I loved the food???? Jeff and I also stopped by a market near our hostel, and bought some snacks and water and razors. We did not pack any, because we had carry-ons.  So, we hadn’t shaven for over a week, eek! It was amazing to use them! In Europe, you just flow with the bummin’, you go weeks without washing clothes, and other regular hygienic activities, that when you get home you feel so privileged that you get to do it!
The next day, our 3rd day in Rome, we decided to wake up super early and walk over 3 miles to Vatican City, to see the Vatican. Fun fact: the Vatican, isn’t technically located in Rome, it is in the smallest country in the world, known as Vatican City, score for us, we were able to add a surprise extra country to the amount we were racking up during this trip, haha! Another fun fact, or a tip rather is, to make sure you dress appropriately when going to the Vatican, they have strict dress codes, such as no shoulders, stomachs, or legs above knees showing, other wise you may be forced to wear bags over your body to enter, or be denied. You can look up the regulations online, that’s what we did! As we walked we crossed a beautiful bridge I had to stop and take a picture of!
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 We finally made it to the Vatican, and stopped by an old castle, I don’t remember the name! It rained again on us. We hid for a while in a few shops, and I got a cute pair of earrings! Then we walked towards the Vatican. It was so beautiful! It is exactly the way I had pictured it, and then some! It is free entry, and the line was not long at all. Beware of people trying to sell you a tour or “skip the lines” they are just trying to scam you! The inside of the Vatican, I would describe as very Gawdy, lots of paintings, statues, marble floors, gold everywhere, It was bad lighting, so all of my pictures turned out terrible! So I won’t post any here.
 
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 We walked back towards the hostel, and stopped in what I would call a small “village” neighborhood, and ate delicious pasta. It was such a beautiful little local area. With the bright orange, and green buildings, and flowers everywhere. There were lots of vendors selling beautiful jewlery! I loved that little piece of Italy. Rome & Vatican City was such a great introduction to Italy. The next morning we woke up, packed our bags and headed to the train station. Dani & Shane were taking the train to the airport to catch a flight to Lisbon, Portugal, and Jeff and I booked a train ride for about $30 dollars to Firenze Italy or Florence. One thing, I do not understand, is why in Italy all the towns are different names in English, I feel like we should call them by the names of country.  

 

Travel Blog-Berlin, Germany, Days 3 &4.

Hey guys, I’m back at it again! This next post is about the third and fourth days we spent in Berlin, Germany! If you like these posts, go ahead and like the link on FB or the picture on Instagram to let me know!
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 Here’s Jeff and I at the East Berlin Gallery Wall, featuring that famous Kiss!
Day 3 in Berlin:
We began our day fairly early, and stopped at the small grocery store, Berlin had by far the best food overall than any other country we visited. The grocery store had amazing salads and fruit and juice, and it also had a small bakery. Jeff and I both got pastries, and protein shakes for breakfast! We bought enough food to last us until dinner, and then set off!
We wanted to go to the Topography of Terror Museum, which is located fairly close to Checkpoint Charlie. It is free admission (score), and there wasn’t a huge crowd! The Topography of Terror is a Museum dedicated to the Rise and Fall of the SS and Nazi power in Germany. The reason it is located where it is, is because it was previously an internment camp during WWII, and then a prison for the individuals who ran the camp.
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Once inside the Museum, there is lots of information about the SS, and how they were able to rise to power. You can look through old photo albums, and even listen to speeches given by Hitler and the leaders of the SS and Nazi party. It was very eery but also interesting to read and watch and listen about. We spent most of our day here. We stopped on the side and ate our packed lunches. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to take some selfies and candid pics.
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 Opps! Dan & Shan split their gogurts in their bag! lol had to take a pic of that, after all the sadness in the museum.
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 Jeff with our lunch bag! He was loving all the pics I was making him take 😉 haha!
For the rest of our day we walked around looking for souvenirs for all of our loved one’s! I got some cool things guys! I found the most adorable street art of a kitty!
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 While we were walking back home, we walked past this building, which I thought was really cool!
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We then ate some dinner at an Asian restaurant near our hotel, and I got plain fried rice, but it was caked in cilantro (which I have a major food adversion to, seriously I cannot eat anything that even has remotely touched the stuff.) So that was a bummer, I think I just got some chips and the most amazing bubbly mango juice ever from a small store by the hotel for dinner instead! I still dream about that amazing bubbly mango juice! We then relaxed in our hotel!
Day 4 in Berlin:
For our last day in Berlin, we decided that we had to go to the East side gallery wall, where all of the famous paintings are. However, since we were more centrally located, the wall was about a 5 mile walk away. We set off in the early morning, making a few stops along the way. The five mile walk was worth it ( I know I say it a lot, but trust me, when in Europe you should try to get the most out of your experience, and sometime that means walking long distances, even when you’re tiered or sick!)
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I loved walking along the wall and seeing all of the artwork! some of the artwork was being retouched by the artists. As you walk along the wall it becomes less crowed, most tourists stop and take a picture at the Kissing painting.
We started at one end of the wall, knowing that as we walked along, it would be apart of our walk back. As we walked back we came across a river, and a small grassy area, and sat down to enjoy our packed lunch. I highly recommend if you are on a tight budget in Europe (and let’s be honest, if you’re in Europe already spending a fortune to get there and travel around, wouldn’t you rather spend money on that pricey souvenir that you just have to have!) to find a grocery stores around your hotel and get breakfast  items, snacks, and lunch foods. We bought most of our breakfasts and lunches at stores, and then went out to dinner! It’s also a healthier option, and you do not tend to get sick of eating out all of the time!
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 We had so much fun in Berlin, although we spent four jam-packed days, we still weren’t able to see everything on our lists, plus what ever else there is to do that we didn’t know about! Once we walked the five or so miles back to our Hotel, we packed up our now slightly heavier backpacks and got ready for our flight out in the morning. We had to ask the front desk to call for a taxi, because the trains did not leave early enough to get us to the airport which cost us about $10 each. Our next destination after Berlin, was Rome!

 

Travel-Blog: Berlin, Germany, Day Two!

Hey guys! If you have made it this far in my stories, I applaud you! Maybe, my stories are boring, or I ramble on, but if you are still reading these posts, THANK YOU! I am really enjoying writing these and I feel like it is just such a wonderful outlet for pairing my pictures with stories, and a way for those who wanted to see and hear my stories who haven’t been able to, to be able to read these posts!
This next post is about our second day in Berlin, Germany, arguably the longest, tiresome, most fun day! We literally did EVERYTHING, those “Top 10 things to do…” lists say to do in Berlin… and then some. Our second day in Berlin was amazing. We finally were able to get some sleep the night before! The sun actually set at a reasonable time, unlike Norway. We woke up early, and we set out for quite the adventure! Per usual, Shane devised a plan to see some amazing sites. Shane was a great navigator, and map reader! So we headed out for our big day in Berlin! We first walked a little over a mile to this landmark that was a symbol of victory during a war. I do not remember the name of the monument, opps! Anyway, what was really cool about this was it was in the center of the street, like a round-about. However, there was no visible way to get to it. However on each corner of the street there are buildings with staircases that lead to tunnels below the ground. You can walk the tunnels and then once you reach the correct staircase, you can go up and land on the ground of the monument! I thought it was really cool. The hall ways of the tunnels lit up as you walked, and there were musicians playing music. The market vendors were poised with efforts of sustainability. Jeff and I bought sustainably farmed bratwurst. It was so delicious! We also got these slushie drinks that were mango and strawberry. They made you rent glass cups for the slushies for 4 euros, and once you returned the cups you would get your money back. I found some really cool hand-crafted earrings, that I was able to negotiate for lower (score!)  While we were walking around the market, we saw a booth that was selling Chico Bags! We couldn’t believe it! I ran up to the booth, and said, “We’re from Chico!”, the employee’s were shocked, they asked ” really, Chico, California?” they asked us what could we possibly be doing in Berlin, if we lived in such a wonderful place. I laughed and said we were there for vacation. It was so cool to see a little bit of home in Berlin.   The BrandenBurg Gate is the entrance to a plaza with hotels, shops, and restaurants. There was a man on a bicycle who was selling pretzels so of coarse we had to buy some to try! I got a plain one, and Jeff got a cheese one, none for Shan & Dan 😦 . They were pretty dry, and because they were being sold by a touristy location, we assumed they must not of been so authentic. Oh well, we were still hungry and they hit the spot, in fact I even carried the rest of mine around in my bag and snacked on it throughout the rest of the day, haha!  Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA! We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
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Our second day in Berlin was amazing. We finally were able to get some sleep the night before! The sun actually set at a reasonable time, unlike Norway. We woke up early, and we set out for quite the adventure! Per usual, Shane devised a plan to see some amazing sites. Shane was a great navigator, and map reader! So we headed out for our big day in Berlin!
We first walked a little over a mile to this landmark that was a symbol of victory during a war. I do not remember the name of the monument, opps! Anyway, what was really cool about this was it was in the center of the street, like a round-about. However, there was no visible way to get to it. However on each corner of the street there are buildings with staircases that lead to tunnels below the ground. You can walk the tunnels and then once you reach the correct staircase, you can go up and land on the ground of the monument! I thought it was really cool. The hall ways of the tunnels lit up as you walked, and there were musicians playing music. The market vendors were poised with efforts of sustainability. Jeff and I bought sustainably farmed bratwurst. It was so delicious! We also got these slushie drinks that were mango and strawberry. They made you rent glass cups for the slushies for 4 euros, and once you returned the cups you would get your money back. I found some really cool hand-crafted earrings, that I was able to negotiate for lower (score!)  While we were walking around the market, we saw a booth that was selling Chico Bags! We couldn’t believe it! I ran up to the booth, and said, “We’re from Chico!”, the employee’s were shocked, they asked ” really, Chico, California?” they asked us what could we possibly be doing in Berlin, if we lived in such a wonderful place. I laughed and said we were there for vacation. It was so cool to see a little bit of home in Berlin.   The BrandenBurg Gate is the entrance to a plaza with hotels, shops, and restaurants. There was a man on a bicycle who was selling pretzels so of coarse we had to buy some to try! I got a plain one, and Jeff got a cheese one, none for Shan & Dan 😦 . They were pretty dry, and because they were being sold by a touristy location, we assumed they must not of been so authentic. Oh well, we were still hungry and they hit the spot, in fact I even carried the rest of mine around in my bag and snacked on it throughout the rest of the day, haha!  Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA! We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMXLL
 It was such a hot and sunny day, that it was difficult to take pictures of the building. We were pretty hungry at this point, and so we decided to start walking towards the BrandenBurg Gate. We walked through the Tiegarten park towards the BrandenBurg Gate, it was so peace full and serene.
SMXLL
 The BrandenBurg Gate is opposite this monument. So we followed the paths and stumbled upon a small farmers market!
SMLXL
The market vendors were poised with efforts of sustainability. Jeff and I bought sustainably farmed bratwurst. It was so delicious! We also got these slushie drinks that were mango and strawberry. They made you rent glass cups for the slushies for 4 euros, and once you returned the cups you would get your money back. I found some really cool hand-crafted earrings, that I was able to negotiate for lower (score!)  While we were walking around the market, we saw a booth that was selling Chico Bags! We couldn’t believe it! I ran up to the booth, and said, “We’re from Chico!”, the employee’s were shocked, they asked ” really, Chico, California?” they asked us what could we possibly be doing in Berlin, if we lived in such a wonderful place. I laughed and said we were there for vacation. It was so cool to see a little bit of home in Berlin.   The BrandenBurg Gate is the entrance to a plaza with hotels, shops, and restaurants. There was a man on a bicycle who was selling pretzels so of coarse we had to buy some to try! I got a plain one, and Jeff got a cheese one, none for Shan & Dan 😦 . They were pretty dry, and because they were being sold by a touristy location, we assumed they must not of been so authentic. Oh well, we were still hungry and they hit the spot, in fact I even carried the rest of mine around in my bag and snacked on it throughout the rest of the day, haha!  Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA! We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMXLL
 While we were walking around the market, we saw a booth that was selling Chico Bags! We couldn’t believe it! I ran up to the booth, and said, “We’re from Chico!”, the employee’s were shocked, they asked ” really, Chico, California?” they asked us what could we possibly be doing in Berlin, if we lived in such a wonderful place. I laughed and said we were there for vacation. It was so cool to see a little bit of home in Berlin.   The BrandenBurg Gate is the entrance to a plaza with hotels, shops, and restaurants. There was a man on a bicycle who was selling pretzels so of coarse we had to buy some to try! I got a plain one, and Jeff got a cheese one, none for Shan & Dan 😦 . They were pretty dry, and because they were being sold by a touristy location, we assumed they must not of been so authentic. Oh well, we were still hungry and they hit the spot, in fact I even carried the rest of mine around in my bag and snacked on it throughout the rest of the day, haha!  Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA! We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMLXL
Picture by Dani Anguiano
The farmers market was right in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, one of the main monuments I wanted to see! Behold:
SMLXL
  The BrandenBurg Gate is the entrance to a plaza with hotels, shops, and restaurants. There was a man on a bicycle who was selling pretzels so of coarse we had to buy some to try! I got a plain one, and Jeff got a cheese one, none for Shan & Dan 😦 . They were pretty dry, and because they were being sold by a touristy location, we assumed they must not of been so authentic. Oh well, we were still hungry and they hit the spot, in fact I even carried the rest of mine around in my bag and snacked on it throughout the rest of the day, haha!  Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA! We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMXLL
SMLXL
 Look how cute and touristy we look here with our pretzels in front of the BrandenBurg Gate, HA!
We then searched high-and-low for some food that Shane and Dani could eat, it’s tough traveling with dietary needs! But we managed to navigate and find our way to some food. While we were looking for restaurants, we stumbled upon the famous Ritter Sport Chocolate Store, they had so much chocolate, ice cream and a restaurant in the building. I wanted to buy allllll the chocolate!  While we were venturing for food, we found a plaza with old buildings, I assumed were music venues, as they advertised artists such as Motzart and others on a banner. It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMLXL
 Here’s a panorama of the plaza!
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Nearby Dani and Shane ate some curry wurst, and lots of little birds came by for some bread! The birds were so friendly, that they would eat the bread right from our hands! Ps. This is not a how to, be careful if you plan to do the same! It was probably a silly and dangerous idea.
SMLXL
 We also stopped by the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Which is the first picture of the post.
SMLXL
It was such a sureal feeling. You could feel the weight and heaviness that this memorial was providing. The memorial is an optical illusion. It appears to be the same height if you look at it head-on, but as you walk through it, the middle blocks get taller. We walked through to the center and around.Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMLXL
Across from the Memorial, was the U.S Embassy, as we were walking we saw many Embassies, and we were wondering when we would see the American one. Berlin, is well-known for it’s Berlin Bears, which are Bear statues all around painted in different colors and designs, you can find small replicas and stuff animals and shirts, etc. with them on it. So of coarse the U.S Embassy  had a Berlin Bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty. And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)  Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops. Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance. The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
SMLXL
SMLXL
We also decided to walk to the Birkenstock Store which was “close by” to try and buy some cute and cheaper sandals, no luck for me, but Dani got a really cute blue pair! On our way we stopped to rest our feet and we sat next to a really beautiful government building.
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And guess what guys… the day was STILL not over, trust me it was all the same day. We then decided to go to Check Point Charlie. I was really excited to see this monument, because we had learned about it in high school.  Side antedote: Jeff’s dad visited Check Point Charlie in the 60’s or 70’s during the cold war era while it was still being used! There are dressed up US soldiers that stand in the front of it and make you pay to take pictures with them… I didn’t want a picture with them, just in front of it, but it was difficult because so many people wanted to pay for pictures to be taken (noobs!)
Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops.
Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance.
The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
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Checkpoint Charlie is in the middle of a very busy street, there is the nicest McDonalds across the street, that I have ever seen. In fact, every McDs is better in Europe… not taste wise, but everyone we went to (which was a lot— don’t judge us) was glamorous and in beautiful old buildings. McDs has free wifi in almost every country, hence our frequent McD’s stops.
Near Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum and a small market-type place (free) that has the history on the fence, and sells souvenirs and food. After we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we had accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to see that day (I told you it was a lot!) We then began walking back to our hotel. We walked along a stretch of what appeared to be an old car museum, which is located by a huge hot air balloon you can pay about 20 Euros to go up in. In the first picture you can see the air balloon in the distance.
The street we took happened to be part of the Berlin Wall (West side), the side with the famous “Save Our Planet” painting. That was really cool to stumble on. As you walk there are also some small pieces of the wall that are found around Berlin. As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
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As we continued walking, we stumbled upon this restaurant pavilion, with this really cool statue. We stopped and rested our really sore feet, as we had walked about 12 or 13 miles that day. This day in Berlin, made my feet the most uncomfortable, I got the worst blisters, and both pairs of shoes that I brought gave me different blisters (UGH)… it was a good thing I packed bandaids!  As we sat down to rest our feet, in the water a water show began. It was fun to watch!  We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !
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 We drug our stiff bodies and swollen feet home, and then we went out to a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, and seriously ate the best chicken ever! It was an inexpensive place that sold huge pieces of chicken! Dani and I then soaked our feet in our shower, while the boys watched Twitch on their phones! We all fell asleep super quick, because we had big plans for our next day !

Travel-Blog: Berlin, Germany!

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Hello everyone!  I know it’s been forever since I posted about our European adventure, but life has been soooo busy! This post is about our first day  in Germany, because we did so much, I thought I should separate the posts, so it wouldn’t be too much to read!
( Quick life update: Jeff and I have both gotten jobs and are working towards moving into our own apartment down in LA! Hence the hectic busy life excuse, Ha ha. )
Now back to the fun part: talking about our lovely time in Berlin, Germany. We spent four days days in Berlin, and our days were jam-packed! We took an early morning flight from Oslo, to Berlin. To get from where we were staying in Oslo to the airport, we had to take a train. We bought tickets for the cheaper and longer train, to only find out that the train did not leave that early. So we hopped on the pricer faster train, and we had to pay more once we got to the airport. We were pretty disappointed.
If you are planning a trip to-and-around Europe I would highly recommend flying between countries. We flew to all of our destinations, and spent less than $200 dollars a person. Other forms of transportation such as getting the Eurorail-pass can cost anywhere from $500-$700 dollars a person. We also took a few trains from airports and a few buses but the fares were very low, and I would say we spent less than $50 dollars all together! It’s worth it to fly, Europe has many low-fare flights, but also keep in mind, that the low-airfare airlines have very strict regulations about the weight of bags, and some airlines only allow one bag per person! I would recommend looking this info before packing and leaving for your trip! (If you’re interested in what I packed for my Europe trip & packing tips, and what to bring, I will write a separate post about that!)
My last recommendation about flying between countries is to if possible book later morning flights. We decided to book the earliest flights possible, with the idea in mind that if we book earlier we would have more time in the countries we were flying into. However, it turned in trouble, as we could not always get trains and transportation that early in the morning to make the flights, and we were sometimes forced to pay for expensive taxis, and trying to converse with with hotel/hostel staff that we could not call the taxies ourselves because we did not have cell service. It was truly a nightmare. Book flights, but book later flights, even if they are a little bit more expensive, it will save you $$ in the end!
So, we finally made it to the Oslo airport, there is only one airport by the way, most European airports are small and you do not need to get there early, in fact you do not know what gate you need to be at until it’s time to board the flight at most airports. We flew Norwegian Airlines, which by the way is amazing, and arrived at the Berlin airport.
The Berlin airport was extremely small. We  walked around looking for train information and ATM’s that wouldn’t rip us off. We finally stumbled upon a counter with a worker, who booked our tickets on the U-BAHN, which was about $1.50 a person. We mapped out which trains we needed and which stops were closest to our hotel, and took off. The U-BAHN was extremely hot, and hardly any seats, but we managed to find some seats, and took off our heavy backpacks and settled down for the 20-30 minute train ride through what appeared to be German country side. We got off and then caught another train, which took us to a stop about a mile or so from the Hotel. We walked for a while, and then realized we were walking in the wrong direction. Eventually we got on the right path, and we made it to our hotel.
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Here’s a picture of one U-BAHN station entrance, that I found to be really cool!
The hotel was your average hotel, we had a suite, and they provided turn-down services, and even had harbo gummy bears on each of our beds! Dani and I had accidentally booked this hotel, when we were searching for hotels. We were trying to decide between the hotel we stayed at and another hotel that provided breakfast for a little more cost. Well, we thought we booked the breakfast hotel, and when we got the confirmation we were shocked that neither one of us had realized that it was the other hotel! Also the booking was non-refundable, so we were stuck! That being said the hotel was actually in a great location!
Berlin is HUGE, and did I mention there is 100’s of 1000’s of things to do there??? Well, we were luckily centrally located, that if we went any direction from our hotel, we would find something interesting to do and see! Maybe that is just how all of Berlin is, but we were only a few miles away from everything that we all wanted to see!
After arriving and checking into our hotel, we were all very exhausted, and starving. We found a mexican-style restaurant and got burritos that were very good, Dani and Shane got burrito bowls, and had left overs. After that we went back to our hotel and everyone relaxed. I fell asleep, exhausted from the travel. I was asleep for about 30 minutes when suddenly, I was being woken up, because Shane had found a place he wanted to visit that did free tours on certain days (the day we had arrived) that was going to close, and we were going to get there in time, if we left right away! I was so so so groggy, but Jeff grabbed my hand and guided us there. I pleaded with him to just leave me behind, but i’m so glad he didn’t! It was worth the rushed, sickly-sleepy feeling walk! Shane wanted to see the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was originally built in the 1890’s.
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 Here is the backside of the church, I did not get a picture of the front, (BTW all these pictures were taken by yours truly)
We walked about 1 mile or so, and we stumbled upon the church. It was so beautiful, it was in the middle of a plaza, surrounded by new buildings, shopping, a restaurants. Inside the the bottom of the church is a museum about the churches history.
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Here is a picture of the entrance to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church museum section.
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 These pictures showcase some of the amazing details of the inside. It was seriously amazing! There were also displays, and pictures on the walls, I just did not photograph them.
After we went to the church, we heard some live music playing, in English. It was a punk rock type band playing music in a plaza. There was lots of people around, some dancing, some eating at surrounding restaurants and others were there enjoying the sites, such as us. There was a huge fountain with kids playing in the water, and people cooling their feet off. We looked at some shops, and walked back to our hotel.  As we were walking we saw lots of little stands selling curry wurst, and found an interesting fountain. Living in California with severe drought, seeing multiple fountains and lush green plants everywhere was spectacular!
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 We stopped here and rested our sore and swollen feet, and took a couple of candid selfies, and pictures. Notice how Dani and I are wearing basically matching shirts, I guess it’s a BFF thing!
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This day was pretty relaxed compared to the days that followed…


Travel-Blog: Norway!

Hello everyone! I wanted to create this blog to highlight my recent adventures in Europe. So, I will be starting from the beginning, Norway!
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 This picture was taken on june 3rd 2016, it depicts the Oslo Fjords, which were absolutely breathtaking! We began our month long journey by flying 10.5 hrs from LAX to Oslo, Norway. Our friends journeyed the day before, and we arranged to meet them at our Air BnB (By the way we did not have cell service!).
DAY ONE:  June 2nd 2016
After we landed at Gardermoen Oslo Airport, we took a high-speed train to Oslo’s city center.
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 Our Air BnB host gave us directions to her apartment from the airport, but we were exhausted, in a foreign country, not accustomed to our very, very, heavy backpacks, and found ourselves lost. We arrived in the city center, and walked in circles for about 2 hours looking for the correct bus station. We asked multiple people where to find the bus station, and they kept telling us to go back and fourth between places! So frustrating! We eventually talked to the right person, and they told us we were looking for a city bus (we apparently were at a different bus station) and directed us to correct place to find the bus we needed! Whew! We found our bus, but needed tickets, so we tried buying them, but the machine would only take change! We had just exchanged our money at the airport and did not have enough change.
Exhausted and sweaty, I left jeff with the backpacks and went to the convenience store to buy a coke and get change, however, they did not have enough change! I eventually found a place that would let me buy a coke and get coins. Jeff thought I got lost, or taken (poor, fella!). We bought our bus tickets and then our bus came. Our host told us which station to get off at, and then to just walk five mins and we would somehow stumble upon her apartment. Well… we didn’t. We walked in a few more circles until we found the correct street and our gracious friends waited for us for about 3 or 4 hours outside! Thank goodness they were outside or we would not have found where we needed to be! Our Air BnB was so cute! It was like an Ikea add! She left us famous Norwegian chocolate and we rested for the night! We also went out and bought some expensive kebab for dinner. Norway is extremely expensive, just an FYI!
The next morning we had big plans! We all slept about 4 solid hours, but the excitement of adventure was like a strong cup of coffee, and I practically skipped the few miles into the city center. We walked along the promanade-like street that had shops along the sides, fountains, and much more! Oslo is fairly modern, but this street gives you that historical European-feeling, that you picture.
DAY TWO: June 3rd 2016
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At the end of this long street is the Royal Palace, which is a bit of a hike! We walked up to the palace and you could look down at this beautiful street, and it is a stunning view of Oslo!
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After this beautiful scene, we walked to the docks, and walked along the wooden board-walk along the beautiful Oslo shoreline. Here, is where you can also see where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year. There was also a wall with paintings of what we thought depicted syrian refugees.
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 We knew that Norway was famous for it’s beautiful Fjords, especially in Bergen. However, it was too pricey for our month long adventure to take the three plus hour train ride to Bergen. So, we opted to see the Oslo Fjords, which leaves right off the dock pictured above. It was worth it! There was a tour stand and we were able to walk right up and book a same-day tour! We had about three hours until our boat left, so we walked around the board-walk and shops. While we were exploring we stumbled upon a beautiful art museum, that was painted in bright colors that reflected into the water. It was so beautiful!
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 A funny antidote: the swan in the photograph above was not very happy about a huge mastiff sitting so close to the water. The swan kept charging at the dog, and they had a bit of a quarrel! It was pretty funny! Anyways, back to the trip. Eventually it was time to board our boat and set sail on the Oslo Fjords.
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We rushed to be at the head of the line, because we wanted to make sure that we had side-seats so we could be able to see the Fjords! Here is a picture of our boat, I liked that it had Scandinavian flags! Most individuals in Norway can speak English, and because English is most universal our tour was in English (lucky Americans!). We quickly boarded and were off in the Nordic waters.
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 Our tour guides brought us around the shoreline and showed us famous building and gave a small historical lesson. We saw the Oslo Opera house, which was designed to look like the Sydney Opera house. One interesting thing about the Oslo Opera house, is that they have a flat rate for all shows and seats, because they want everyone to be able to afford a ticket to any show! We thought that was pretty cool!
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 The Fjords boat tour was absolutely breathtaking! I could not capture the real beauty! They brought us around the small islands, and described the old customs. On most Islands houses cannot exceed certain perimeters, and have to be painted certain colors, such as red and yellow! We also went by “Rabbit Island” which was once inhabited by 1,000’s of rabbits. We also went by an Island with an old church, which is now used as a light-house.
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 It was fairly hot this day, we felt like we were getting sunburnt and sweating, then suddenly, it started to down-poor! It was crazy! Here we were on this tiny boat in the Nordic Sea, with a sudden down-poor! The tour staff started climbing on top of the boat to close the top, I was worried it was so slippery. The plastic covering, didn’t do much. I still got soaking wet, but, I didn’t mind! It felt surreal to experience such a moment! The Fjords were so spectacular and I would highly recommend seeing both Fjords if you have the chance! Here are a few more photos of the Oslo Fjords.
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 I really enjoyed our short amount of time in Oslo. Norway in general is so very expensive, so we decided to make it a short stop on our month long adventure. We spent about one full day and one half day in Oslo, but we were able to experience so much! Next time we plan to stay longer in less countries! After this long eventful day, we walked about three or four miles back to the Air BnB and packed our bags. We had an early flight the next morning for Berlin, Germany to catch!

Thanks for reading!

-Mariah-

How to be a blogger and stay true to yourself!

Hey guys,

I have had this on my mind lately, and wanted to write a quick post about blogging in general.  I have been getting a lot of questions lately about “how did you start blogging”, “how’d you get to where you are”, etc. So I just wanted to do a little post about my feelings/ thoughts for blogging!

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So, to answer a few questions, I have been blogging, on and off for about a year, and I started really getting into it last October. I started my blog as a travel diary, to document and write about my stories from my month-long trip to Europe. I love traveling, writing, and taking pictures, so I thought it would be fun to combine them, and a place to direct friends and family who were interested in our stories/ trips. From there I really started to enjoy blogging and creating some fun content. I started following other bloggers and blogs on social media and joined a few groups of other bloggers about one month ago and more than doubled my Instgram followers!  Once I started reaching out to others, my “brand” or Social media just started to grow and I have been really enjoying getting to know others in my niche. However, with it comes some draw backs, not everyone is so kind, and it is a learning curve.

In the midst of growing, I started worrying about my content being perfect, trying to make sure my social media had a “theme” and that I was following everyone’s advice, of being consistent and knowing your audience, etc. However, I started to realize that I was no longer blogging for me, and no longer doing it for the enjoyment as much as just doing it because if I didn’t keep up, then I would be in then hole.

I then took a break, and started thinking. Blogging can be someone’s career, it can be someone’s aspiration, but it doesn’t need to be forced. I do not want to create content that I wouldn’t be interested in.

So, here’s the advice I feel like sharing. Take it or leave it, agree or not, here it is– which is my point:

 Stay true to yourself.

Here are some of the ways, I think, you can be a blogger, and still stay true to who you are:

  • Write what you love! I always try to write, and post things that I would enjoy reading, or learning, or looking at! After all, this is a space that I see the most, and a place where I will look back on. It doesn’t matter to me if that means less likes, or views, I just want to create what makes me happy and fulfilled.
  • Post what you like! I have struggled to post some things, because I worry about my theme or how it will be received, but if you love what you post, someone else will too.
  • Interact with others in your niche! To me, this is the best part of blogging, getting to talk with other bloggers and truly make connections is so fun! You can also ask them what interests them too!
  • Try not to stress about the numbers. It does take a lot of effortful time, but everyone started from somewhere. If you do want to “grow” you will get there, you just have to find the right niche and group of friends along the way. But at the end of the day, numbers matter to some brands and people, but it what matters most is the authenticity of those who are interacting with you!
  • Brush off the small stuff. I think it is more important to have real genuine people following and engaging with me even if it is one person then a bunch of random people who do not care .
  • Be your authentic self. Make sure that you are doing YOU! If people do not want what your putting out there, then that’s their problem, not yours.
  • Check in with yourself.  Trust me it’s a hard thing to do, but check in with yourself and make sure you are following what you want and what you have decided is best for yourself, your blog, and social media.

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         Thanks for reading

       -Mariah-

 

 

House plant guide!

Hey guys,

Thanks for heading back to my blog! I have been talking about it for awhile now, and I have finally found some time to write up this post! I am absolutely obsessed with house plants, and I am always hunting for new ones!

House plants are all the rage right now, and  you can pretty much them at any store with unique ideas of how to incorporate them into your decor. I am obsessed with neutral tones in my house, so I feel like having greenery really helps to add some color.

I have never been much of a green thumb, but I have found a few house plants that I have managed to keep alive, and I thought I would share with you how easy it is to care for them. I also want to share with you my favorite stores to pick up plants, which plants work the best, and I will include some care and tips.

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Also, I am not sure of all the names of plants that I own (silly, I know), but I will do my best to let you know where they came from!

My favorite place to go shopping for house plants is Ikea, so strange, right? But they have amazing deals and a wide range of plants. The first plant we got was the Draceana Sun Ray. This plant is so cute. When we originally got the plant it was so small! We have since repotted it twice, and it has grown twice it’s size.

Purchased at Ikea
Plant: Ikea; pot: Home Depot

Tip 1: When buying house plants, keep in mind that they do like to grow, and that the pot you have now might not be large enough. So, if you absolutely love the pot, make sure you buy something that will stay small. Ikea is great, because they’re pots are reasonably priced !

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Plant: Ikea; pot: Home Depot

 

Most of our house plants are from Ikea, and unfortunately, I do not know the names, I have looked them up, and I am still unable to tell you, but if you love one of them, check them out and see if they have the plant at your store.

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Plant & Pot: Ikea

The two black pots we are using, we got at Home Depot. Which is my second favorite store to get plants and supplies. We got our succulents, cactus, and other outdoor plants there.

Tip 2: Make sure to get the right soil for your plants. Did you know roses, and cacti like different soil? Me either. But I learned. Once we repotted these plants into the correct soil they grew and looked great!

I have also purchased some air plants from target. I think target has discontinued selling them, but you can find them anywhere! These plants are super easy to care for, and they are so cute! They do not need to be planted, so they can go anywhere.

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Air Plant & geometric shape: Target

Tip 3: Make sure that your pots have holes at the bottom for drainage. If you over water you house plants, they will wilt and die, which is no fun. If you have a pot that doesn’t have a hole, you can also add rocks in the bottom of the pot to help with the water, but make sure you are watering the plant less.

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Spider Plant, & Pot: Ikea

Tip 4: Most house plants need low-light and light water. When shopping for house plants check for this. I know many people say that succulents are great indoor plants but I have never experienced them thriving inside. They need so much sun, and they love being outside.  Also remember that while they are indoor, plants still need some sun, so make sure they are in an area where they can get indirect light.

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Plants: Home Depot; White pots: Ikea, Glass pot: gift from a friend

Tip 5: Use filtered water, I know it sounds a little goofy, but, have you noticed the tips of your plants wilting, it has to do with the minerals in the water, so once I switched to filter water, and plants looked healthier. I use water from my glass, that I may not drink, because these plants do not need to be watered everyday, it isn’t a huge deal to use filtered water!

Last tip: Find the right fertilizer! I know it’s not the most organic way of doing things, but fertilizer works! We found a non-toxic blend of some sort and it did wonders for our rose plant! This plant was one rose in a tiny (size of a fist) planter, and now it is huge! We fertilize our plants once every two months.

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Plant: Gift; Pot: Home Depot

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Thank you so much if you have read all of my tips, and tricks to having happy little house plants. Comment below if you have any tips/ if you want to know more about my plants/ where they came from, etc.

-Mariah-

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten TextBook Tips (how to get the cheapest deals for those over-priced paper weights).

Hey guys with school starting this week I thought it could be helpful to give some  tips for getting textbooks at the best price ! Whether you are just starting school, or you’re unsure of all the tips for scoring the cheapest textbook, I have some advice that may help you!

As a undergrad, and now grad student, I know the struggle of expensive textbooks, I’ve spent up to $500-800 in a semester before and it really sucks. Sometimes there’s just no way around it, the professor won’t budge on the edition or where it comes from but, a lot of the time you can get the textbook for much cheaper than in the bookstore, and other outlets.

One major piece of advice: always remember to never buy the textbook before you get to class, sometimes the professor tells you you do not need it or will say get the earlier edition. So it’s important to wait and see first! 

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1.  So the first place to look for text books is Amazon. They have MOST textbooks and offer free student prime, so you can get prime books within two days, which is fantastic if you have an assignment. However, what I will say about Amazon prime is that they tend to jack-up the prices for textbooks and they can try to get you to pay for prime after the student trial is up. I’ve been there, and it is no fun to be charged $80 dollars especially on a college budget. If they do charge you, it is possible to reverse it though with a lot of effort.

You can also buy without prime, which is typically cheaper. So, if your professor is nice and gives you leeway you can do that.

Another amazon tip is while you wait for the non-prime text to arrive, you can buy the textbook at the book store and return. Some book stores do not let you to return after a week or two, but they may let you rent the book and return after a longer date! So there are always options with using Amazon.

Amazon also has e-books, but in my experience it is just as costly and I prefer the paper books!

2. You can also look for an older edition and ask the professor if it will work. A lot of the time professors will let you use a cheaper and older edition, I’ve even had teachers give us old page numbers to make it work. You can also email your professor and ask them if they know previous students looking to sell their old textbook!

3. Check online groups like, Facebook groups. I have both bought and sold textbooks on Facebook sell pages, just make sure to meet in a safe place, with a buddy, and to check that all the pages are there! You can also haggle on the price, because trust me when someone wants that textbook out of their lives they may be willing to sell for less!

4. Ask other people who have taken the course if the books are absolutely necessary. We’ve all been there, bought the expensive textbook the professor insisted you buy or else you wouldn’t be able to pass the class, and lone-and- behold you do not even crack open the text and yet still manage to get the A. This one is a little bit risky, but in the past I have had friends who have taken a course with a professor where they said you have to get the book and they told me that I would be fine without it. I didn’t purchase the book and ending up getting an A in the course. So, it may work, just take the advice with a grain of salt, what works for one person doesn’t mean it works for everyone!

5. Have a friend/ roommate taking the same course ? Ask them to share! Also you can make copies of the book  if it is short, or you and a few others could all pay for the book and then make copies. The only difficult part is, then who gets the real book?

6. Check-out other websites like Chegg, and book byte. I have gotten books from both. They also give money back when you return your book in good shape!

7. Rent books. When I was a freshman I thought I needed to keep all of my psychology textbooks for my book selves and for my own knowledge, but you know what, I never re-opened them or needed them. Renting textbooks is a great alternative to paying big bucks for them. You may be thinking, but what a waste of money, why not buy it and re-sale. Well, textbooks are like cars, once you buy them brand new and shiny, they lose value quickly and it isn’t a guarantee that the professor will use the book in the future and that someone will be willing to purchase your book for the higher price.

My favorite site to rent from is Amazon, but you can also rent from the bookstore. Also you can save a ton if you wait to rent the book after the first week or two of class. If the professor says something like “You won’t need the book until the third week” then rent it the moment you need it because sites like amazon will rent for a time-period, and they drop their escalated prices after the first few weeks of school!

8. Buy and re-sale. Like I mentioned before, this isn’t my favorite method but it does work, but say you buy a book for $100 new, its hard to sell for $80-100 used, so why not rent it for $20-30 same cost, and less hassle of trying to re-sale.

9. Check to see if it is at the library. Many professors will have copies there you can loan from, however, some libraries only let you rent for a certain number of days, so be careful when choosing this option. You can also just ask the professor to loan you their extra copy, typically if they know you already they may, or if you cannot afford it they are genuinely nice people and will try to help you out. So if you are really struggling to buy books, always ask them for advice.

10. If there is a book at the library, and you only need a few chapters for assignments, you can always make copies at the library. You can also check local libraries too!

.    .   .

I hope that some of these tips were helpful to you, if you didn’t know these tips and plan on using them, comment below! Have tips of your own? Tell me in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading, 

-Mariah-