On a beach down in Mexico

8 Jul

After four years of blogging, one thing I’ve learned is how quickly time gets away from you. I’m so behind in posts that I wonder if it’s worth continuing, but then I remember how awesome it is to look back and see all my memories in one place. So today I’m sharing photos from our Mexico vacation earlier this year.

Cancun Mexico | www.the-wild-child.com

After months of research we settled on an all-inclusive resort, The Finest at Playa Mujeres. We were a little nervous because the resort was brand new, and who knew if all the kinks would be worked out by our trip. But we quickly learned there was nothing to worry about. The hours spent on TripAdvisor reading reviews were for nothing. The place was fantastic.

From the modern, luxurious rooms to the beautiful grounds, it was the perfect setting for a relaxing vacation.

Finest Playa Mujeres Plants | www.the-wild-child.com

Pool Friends | www.the-wild-child.com

Finest Playa Mujeres Grounds | www.the-wild-child.com

Finest Playa Mujeres Lobby | www.the-wild-child.com

Finest Playa Mujeres Night | www.the-wild-child.com

Some favorite memories:

-Mojitos and tequila shots with our amazing bartender Ivan.

-Meeting new friends – Kevin and Erin from New York and Trent and Melissa from Canada.

-Pool trivia every afternoon at 3pm.

-Kayaking in the clear blue waters.

-Watching the sunrise with my love.

Pool Selfie | www.the-wild-child.com

Finest Playa Mujeres Pool | www.the-wild-child.com

Finest Playa Mujeres Kayaking | www.the-wild-child.com

Sunset Cancun | www.the-wild-child.com

Sunset | www.the-wild-child.com

Sebastian and I often take active vacations where we’re exploring new cities together, but it was beyond nice to just sit by a pool without a care in the world.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort, we highly recommend The Finest Playa Mujeres. We’re already talking about a return trip next year, it’s that good.

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Five years

15 May

Sebastian and I began dating 5 years ago today. I can hardly believe it’s been that long. Five years. Sixty months. One thousand eight hundred and twenty-six days. And through it all, more than 4,000 miles apart.

A long-distance relationship is certainly not ideal, and I know some people think we’re crazy. Why would we choose this? To add to the complexity, we’re also from different countries, so living near each other hasn’t been an option. But the moments we do share are wonderful. Why would we trade those moments for something easier? When Sebastian is gone, I realize just how much he adds to my life.

One of these days we’ll figure it out, but for now we’re enjoying when we can be together. Because when we’re together, the world feels right.

I recently read a book with some lovely passages, and one in particular made me think of Sebastian and our relationship.

 “With you, my life felt indeed like a fantastic adventure – despite our ordinary circumstances, your love imbued everything we did with secret riches.”

www.the-wild-child.com

Happy five years, Basti. You know I wouldn’t do this with anyone else.

xoxo

Dealing with loss

8 May

loss

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, and while I have much to share from recent travels, today all I have to share is some very sad news. My Grandma’s twin died Sunday night after a long battle with cancer.

My Great Aunt Georgi was one of a kind. She always had spunk in her step and a smile on her face. And her laugh was one of the best I’ve ever known. She was a true joy in all our lives and will be greatly missed.

I remember going to her house as a kid and hanging out in her kitchen. We’d spend summer days with my Grandma at her cottage on Lake Erie. I love all those memories. She sent me a card for every holiday, and was usually the first to comment on my Facebook pictures. She always told me how she enjoyed reading my blog and how awesome it was that I traveled. I know she loved my family, and I can only hope she knew how much we all loved her.

Here is the obituary describing her beautiful life. Please keep my family, especially my Grandma, in your prayers as we say goodbye and do our best to heal.

Travel plans

27 Mar

Happy Friday! How was everyone’s first week of spring? It’s still a bit cold here, but the snow has melted and it has certainly lifted my spirits. Today I have travel on the brain, and I’m looking forward all the trips I have planned.

There’s nothing better than counting down the days to my next trip. Here’s where I’m heading this year if you’re interested…

Chapel Hill NC | www.the-wild-child.com

I’m taking my annual trip to visit my best friend Lindsay in Chapel Thrill. I leave a week from today! We’re planning a full weekend, and I see hiking, trampolining, camp songs and so much laughter in my future.

Playa Mujeres, Mexico | www.the-wild-child.com

This is the trip I’ve been dreaming about for months. Sebastian and I will be spending five glorious days at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

Beach. Mojitos. Sunshine. I’ll say no more.

Churchill Downs | www.the-wild-child.com

During a random conversation, a group of us decided to go to the Kentucky Derby this year. I’m so excited for this weekend! Picture this: giant hats, mint juleps and a spectacular race. What’s not to love?

New York City | www.the-wild-child.com

Is there anything better than a girls’ weekend? How about a girls’ weekend in NYC?! I’m going with some girlfriends who have never been before over Memorial Day weekend, and their excitement for the trip is contagious.

Cedar Point| www.the-wild-child.com

Don’t underestimate what’s in your own backyard! I plan to use some of my holiday time around the fourth of July to spend a day at Cedar Point. I love that we have amazing roller coasters so close to home.

Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

My cousin Alli is getting married near Boston, and I wouldn’t miss the wedding (or an opportunity to visit the city again). I’m looking forward to celebrating the happy couple and eating lots of seafood. If everything works out, Sebastian and I will stay a few extra days to check out Cape Cod, too.

Colorado Springs | www.the-wild-child.com

I wasn’t going to make the trek to Colorado this year, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity for my family to be together. With both my siblings living out West these moments are rare. It should be a fun Labor Day weekend with my favorite people.

Rome, Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

I try to go to Europe at least once a year. It’s only fair since Sebastian comes here so often. We’ve talked about traveling to Scotland since neither of us have been, but lately I have Italy on the brain. Part of me wants to spend time in Rome again. I have daydreams of a late fall trip filled with great wine, amazing food and a beautiful city.

Add in all the work trips I have this summer, a few Ohio wedding weekends, plus somewhere for NYE and I think I’m set for the year.

What are your travel plans?

Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate pumpkin frosting

2 Mar

I recently started a nutrition program in an effort to eat healthier this year. The challenge this past weekend was to make something I’ve been craving but in a clean way. I have a pretty big sweet tooth so I decided to find a modified cupcake recipe.

Luckily there are a lot of clean eating sites out there, and I found one on The Gracious Pantry for pumpkin cupcakes. The recipe is below if you’re interested. And yes, they were delicious.

Clean Pumpkin Cupcakes | www.the-wild-child.com

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Pumpkin Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients:
-1 cup canned pumpkin – just pure pumpkin, not pie mix
-1/2 cup almond milk
-2 egg whites
-1/2 cup light extra virgin olive oil (the original recipe called for safflower oil)
-1/2 cup honey
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ginger
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting Ingredients:
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line your pan with cupcake tins.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, almond milk, egg whites, oil, honey and vanilla extract.
4. In a second bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
5. Whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture and blend well.
6. Pour into tins, and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. To make the frosting, whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
8. Remove cupcakes from oven, allow to cool, then spread frosting over the tops.

Clean Pumpkin Cupcakes | www.the-wild-child.com

I garnished mine with raspberries to add a pop of color. I’m excited to try more recipes like this and continue doing my best to eat healthier.

Life lately

27 Feb

Cup of Tea | www.the-wild-child.com

Shall we have a little chat over a cup of tea? First, let’s just say goodbye February. Can’t say I’ll be sad to see this month go. Even though it’s short, it certainly hasn’t been sweet. I feel like I’ve been in a fog, and I’m so ready to get out of it. From crazy days at work to being sick to the endless snow and cold, I could use a serious break from it all.

I even missed my blogiversary. Can you believe I’ve been writing here for four years now? I just haven’t had the energy to keep up with it lately. But even under all the layers of snow, I know spring is coming, and I’m ready for a fresh start. Not just with this little blog, but life in general.

Sometimes you just need to take a step back, breathe and start again. New Year’s was two months ago, but I’m hitting refresh today and setting my sights on the rest of the year. Here’s what I’m planning to accomplish in the next eight months:

  • Set up a consistent workout routine
  • Read more, watch less TV
  • Volunteer again
  • Build up my savings
  • Play the piano for fun
  • Make time for those that matter

Looking forward to what’s to come. xoxo

P.S. In case you’re interested – Blogiversary 1, 2 and 3.

Auld Lang Syne

31 Dec

Can you believe we’re at the brink of a new year? Do you feel the anticipation of what’s to come? Maybe it’s unrealistic to believe the striking of midnight wipes the slate clean and everyone gets a fresh start. But there is something exhilarating about the beginning of a new year. I can’t help but feel there’s a little magic in the air, ready to work wonders on those who would believe.

Tonight I’m reflecting on 2014 and feeling excited for what’s to come. I don’t know what 2015 will hold, but that’s the beauty of it.

Happy New Year! Cheers from me to you. xoxo

The best is yet to come | www.the-wild-child.com– 2014 –

January
-Traveled to San Antonio with Sebastian where we enjoyed the River Walk, attended a Spurs game and even spent a day in Austin.

February
-Celebrated my best friend’s birthday with a trip to the West Side Market.
-Spent a winter weekend in Westfield, NY, where we used a canoe as a sled.
-Started a book club at work.
-Celebrated three years as a blogger.

March
-Traveled to Chapel Hill, NC, for a weekend with my dear friend Lindsay.

April
-Visited Boston for the first time and enjoyed soaking up history and eating delicious seafood.
-Thanks to his work trips, I saw Basti several weekends over the spring – I don’t have to tell you how great it was.

May
-Celebrated four years with the BF.
-Traveled to Berlin where we ate a lot of food, went bike riding and took a day trip to Fleesensee.

June
-Attended my first NASCAR race and enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

July
-Fourth of July in Oregon with my sister and cousin.

August
-Celebrated my 26th birthday.
-Attended a One Direction concert in Detroit with my cousin.

September
-Labor Day vacation in Colorado Springs to see my brother.
-Ran my first half marathon.

October
-Celebrated Halloween with a great group of friends.
-Shared another lovely weekend in Westfield, NY, with my family.

November
-Bought a new car. Woot!
-Enjoyed thee best Thanksgiving with both of my siblings home for the holiday.

December
-Paid off my student loans. Double woot!
-Spent NYE in Berlin with the love of my life – the perfect start to a new year.

Café am Neuen See

26 Dec

Guten Tag! Hope you had a lovely Christmas! As you’re reading this, I’m currently making my way to Germany for a week of exploring, restaurant hopping and relaxation. If all goes as planned I’ll be on the ground Saturday morning, giving the BF a big hug.

Today I wanted to share my favorite spot in Berlin, Café am Neuen See.

On the Lake | www.the-wild-child.com

Pizza and Beer | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See is a restaurant and biergarten located within the Tiergarten Park. I love the biergarten, especially on a warm day. You can sit by the lake, enjoy a beer and some pizza, and take comfort in the shade.

Cafe Am Neuen See Biergarten  | www.the-wild-child.com

Cafe Am Neuen See Lake   | www.the-wild-child.com

I’ve actually never eaten at the restaurant, but we made reservations there for New Year’s Eve or Silvester. There’s an awesome menu planned with champagne and fireworks. I have a hunch I’m going to like it.

Biergarten in #Berlin  | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See
Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787 Berlin
+49 030 2544930

Tidings of comfort and joy

24 Dec

Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Hope you have a lovely holiday filled with so much joy. I can’t wait for Christmas day with my family and then heading off to Berlin.

Have a good one. xoxo

Brandenburg Gate  | www.the-wild-child.com

Photo from my first trip to Berlin in 2010.

Vacation rentals

22 Dec

Although we enjoy staying at hotels, Sebastian and I really like renting apartments on vacation. We love feeling like locals, plus rentals typically have more space and are less expensive.

If you’re new to the rental scene, some of the well-known sites are Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. We prefer Airbnb and have stayed at some pretty awesome places.

This duplex near Avignon, France, was so lovely. The owners, Emma and Herve, were beyond great, and we loved cooking meals at night and relaxing in the garden.

Rental in #France | www.the-wild-child.com

Avignon rental apartment #France  | www.the-wild-child.com

Rental duplex in #France | www.the-wild-child.com

The apartment we stayed at in Rome was perfect – just a few blocks from the Vatican and not far from a Metro stop. Our host, Cory, was so sweet. He even provided us with a map of the city with restaurant suggestions.

Rome Kitchen  | www.the-wild-child.com

Rome Apartment  | www.the-wild-child.com

Airbnb has some awesome roundups if you’re looking for a truly unique vacation. Here are some of the places I’d love to stay:

Treehouse in Hawaii

Treehouse  | www.the-wild-child.com

Converted train caboose in Malibu, CA

Caboose | www.the-wild-child.com

Houseboat in Amsterdam

Houseboat | www.the-wild-child.com

Clock tower suite in London

Clocktower  | www.the-wild-child.com

If you could stay anywhere, where would you choose?

P.S. All photos are from Airbnb, except the one with Sebastian.