Carrolls, we are attractive

There are a few posts I am working on that I promised last week, but I had to take a break from that and share with everyone how beautiful my family is:

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Or at least how beautiful the incredible Meg Borders made us look. Family portrait success! This is just one teaser photo that has me dying to see the others.

P.S. Notice the hair? I finally did it all the way, not just the streak, not just the dark, but both – all skunky like and everything. (For a while I was just rocking the dusty brown with a blond streak, but with fall right around the corner I finally decided it was contrast timez!)

There is no place like home

Turns out that September is traveling month, first Hawaii and now we are up in the Tri-Cities, Washington visiting my parents and my siblings. There really isn’t much I love more than being here with everyone. I love my family dearly and only wish I could be here for longer. Vacations are great, but nothing really recharges my batteries like a visit to my childhood home. I am hoping Sunday approaches VERY slowly.

And I get to kick it with the world’s best dog: KIPPER, my agility buddy and puppy training super star.

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Tomorrow we have a family photo shoot with the beautiful and talented Meg Borders and I am both super excited and terrified that I’ll look like a frumpalumpapus. Despite the irrational lady anxiety (this is normal, right?), it will just be really nice to having some non-wedding family photos of us, since, on the whole we are a pretty attractive bunch.

In other exciting news – next week will be DIY week where I will be posting the final project from the Pinterest Challenge I joined in on with Chronicled, and maybe one or two smaller DIY’s that I’ve done over the last month or so.

I am really looking forward to this weekend of love and happy memories – hope yours is similarly stocked.

Hawaii in Instagrams

So we are back. We had a great time, but I am just now getting back to reality, when this really should have happened on Monday. Turns out we came home to a couple small issues, nothing major, and a decent amount of freelance work I needed to jump on (which is only a good awesome thing), so yes, it is three or four days later and I am finally getting back into the groove. This makes me feel a little crazy, restless, frustrated, because we were only gone a couple days, but if it were easy and simple all the time, life would be boring. And while I love the comfort of some routines, I don’t want boring. There is certainly a decent amount of boring when you are new to a town and don’t know many people, so when boring can be avoided elsewhere I am all for it.

I didn’t even really get a chance to check my Bloglovin’ feed, Twitter, or do much social media-ing apart from Instagram on the trip, so in light of that, I am taking 5 minute breaks throughout my ‘work’ day today to read a blog or two out of the 196 posts I missed over the few days and thought I would share the photos I took on Instagram from the trip. I took a TON of photos and hope to do a full post with those and the details of our trip, but for now, this is a bit of a teaser, I hope. Oh, and speaking of Instagrams, I am incredibly STOKED to have JASPR, an excellent blog, which I love, feature one of my photos in a round up. I saw this on the tablet on our last night in Hilo (I may have been a margarita or two in) and might have squealed.

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OH. AND. Coolest part of our trip? NIGHT MANTA RAY SNORKEL! What? Totally awesome. Here is a video a couple we snorkeled next to shot (they were very sweet and from Australia, we were just to the left of them, holding onto a square hula-hoop like contraption) – yes, it is as big as it looks (10+ ft wingspan, some as big as 16/17ft), and yes, it got that close. We were down there for 45 minutes and all of it was incredible.

 

Today I am inspired by: Lisa Congdon recently shared this video and I think I need to set a reminder on my calendar to watch this at least once a month, so helpful to hear.

and listening to: New album, The Electric Lady from Janelle Monae! Door Sixteen was lucky enough to see her the other night and did a great post about it, the lady herself, and shared some great photos.

 

and want to be wearing: Jenny’s turn, she told me she wants this collar, by Grey Paw Design (also found through Door Sixteen‘s Etsy post – as I said, still working through all the posts I’ve missed, so DS gets double link today)

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Europe in Review: Antwerp

Living very close to the beach, we have the pleasure of paying lots of money to live in a box, well, that and experiencing perfect weather, pretty immediate beach access, and a ton of fun stuff in walk-able distance. Our apartment doesn’t even have a heater or AC because the temperature is mostly perfect (anyone who feels envious, just remember glorified closet + $$$, there are pros and there are cons).

Needless to say, when we landed in Germany and it was snowing, we were a bit out of our element. But warmed and motivated by our shear excitement to be out of the country and on a fun, new adventure, we somehow we made it to our rental car and drove straight to Belgium.

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And thus begins our trip in review, with Antwerp.

This may be a reoccurring statement for all the places we visited – but it is cold there in March. If you are making traveling plans, keep this in mind. But besides cold, it was charming, totally walk-able, not completely touristy and just super interesting.

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We were Bert and Marley’s roommate for two days – using the spare bedroom, and I can’t recommend this AirBNB spot enough. Beautiful views, stylish furnishings – including a piano that had been brought in by CRANE the day we arrived-, friendly cat (Marley), and what is probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I’m serious, he had a guest book and almost everyone (I’d say at least 50+ people) commented on the bed.

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We spent our days exploring. Alex is a beer guy, as I discussed briefly here, so we made a point to try a few of the local breweries. Almost everyone has a Double and a Trippel. I tend to prefer the Trippel, but Alex was feeling more of the Double’s. All beers come in goblet-style chalices, which will make any peasant briefly feel like a royal.

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Alex’s only real complaint was regarding the size of coffee’s available. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind their size, or their price as much because that was some very delicious small sips of coffee.

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My favorite spot was easily the MAS, the Museum Aan de Stromm. The way the entire building is organized was really fun and intuitive – you knew exactly where and what to see next; and it gave us a great overview of Antwerp and its history. You can also walk on the roof and get a full 360 degree view of the city. It is absolutely a must-see if you ever find yourself in the area.

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Another amazing spot was the Middelheim Open-Air Museum of Sculpture. It was huge. And this would have been the best day, had it been summer – grab some food, have a picnic in the park, and stroll through some incredible art.

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We also tried the fries, as many suggested. Now, we don’t speak Dutch, like not a single word, and while this was fine because everyone was super nice and often spoke at least conversational English, the fry place was a challenge in that there was just a TON (like so much, you guys) of fry-able items that were completely indiscernible. Rather than being those annoying American’s who ask what everything is (since it was labeled in Dutch and again, indiscernible) we stuck with the fries and the fries alone. Anyway, I thought they were OK, maybe there was too much hype beforehand. And maybe I tried them with the wrong sauce (I went with ketchup) because, like the options for frying, there was a great many options when it came to sauce too. The best part was that they come with mini forks, which are just adorable.

All in all, it was beautiful, and would only have been more so if we had been there on a friendlier-weathered month. I also really loved taking photos of our cat roommate. Only regret – there was this great little place down the street from us called Burgerij – Burgers voor Burgers (Burger also means citizen in Dutch, which is why THAT’S super cute), but when we tried to go they were very busy and ended up getting doners instead – Alex’s favorite.

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