My FAV EuroEats…Hello, delicious!

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about traveling is having the opportunity to EAT my way through a new country. Who else gets super excited when they think about all of the yumminess they are about to experience before going on vacation, or traveling throughout a new country? Grabbing drinks and bites is the best way to meet new people, and probably one of my favorites. Whether we speak to someone who works in a restaurant, or the table directly besides us, I have found it is one of the best ways to meet new friends, and discover fun things to do in a new area.

SO, without further ado, (this list was very hard to consolidate), my must haves and FAVORITES in EUROPE, in no particular order, as they are all very equal.

#1 PIZZA

These slices are coming to you from Nice, France, and Florence, Italy. We found that pizza changed throughout Europe, and our favorite slices varied greatly.  We were shocked to find the most delicious pizza, and our favorite in Nice. We met many friendly locals in Nice who educated us on “French food.” They told us specifically that there is NO such thing, and the French adopt recipes from their neighboring countries. Naturally, Nice had great pizza, since it boarders the Italian Riviera. We were also told that consuming your own personal pizza is a right of passage in Italy. Families order their own pizzas, rather than share. Seriously?! That is my kind of place! I was in heaven.

3 of the slices are thin & crispy, from Nice, and the other 3 slices are simply perfection from Florence, where the sauce is sweet, and the mozzarella is fresh and decadent.

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My LOVE/HATE relationship with Barcelona, Spain.

There is no doubt that Barcelona is an absolutely gorgeous city! I mean Gaudi did wonders to the culture, look and feel of the city. To be honest, I really did like my time there. However, when you visit so many other gorgeous cities in Europe (like Amsterdam, Paris, Santorini, Venice, for example) Barcelona (to me personally) falls short. Perhaps I would have liked it more if I visited the busy city prior to hitting up so many other places in Europe? In fact, I wouldn’t visit Barcelona again unless I went FOR FREE (if it’s free, it’s for me). It was unfortunately disappointing, and left us underwhelmed beyond belief. There are simply way too many beautiful places in the world I need to visit before I ever even think of going back to Barcelona.

5 things I absolutely LOVED about Barcelona (in no particular order):

1) The ARCHITECTURE

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2) Gaudi Gaudi Gaudi. Did I mention GAUDI? I mean did you see Parc Guell? 

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3. Barceloneta Beach 

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4. La Boqueria 

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5. FC Barcelona Futbol 

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5 things I absolutely HATED about Barcelona (in no particular order): 

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In a world full of hate, it is easy to find kindness.

You hear it all the time, and I definitely wont be the first or last person to bring up what a sad time in history it is. With all of the darkness in the world, especially now, it’s hard to think love and kindness can be found in someone you do not know. A stranger, to be exact. We are all guilty of judging others. I unfortunately know I am, especially while traveling. It’s like you’re always second guessing yourself: Should I talk to that person? Will they like me? Are they nice? Will I be safe? Can they speak English? Can I say that one phrase I’ve been practicing well enough? Are they going to think I am a dumb American? These thoughts are normal, and a huge part of exploring abroad because traveling makes you vulnerable, and that is the beauty of it. 

Traveling also causes you to get lost… a lot…which I highly recommend. Get lost willingly and purposely, get so crazy lost, you have no choice but to ask a local, and THEN find your way!! AND while you’re finding your way, you’ll find yourself, which ends up being the absolute best part.

Sean and I have been awe struck at how many times complete strangers have shown kindness to us while traveling abroad. Whether we asked, or not.

During our first extended travel trekking through Europe, we found kindness in Paris, and then it happened again and again and again. 

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Where am I now? What does IT mean?

December 29, 2014: The last blog post published to this page. WOW! Where have I been, and who am I now?! Although highly embarrassed at the thought of how much time has passed since fulfilling my passion of creative life-style writing, I have been doing a lot of living. And by living, I mean getting married, changing my last name, traveling (I guess I wouldn’t be the Traveling Love Bug if I didn’t), and making it happen each and every day. Wait a second, what do I mean by it? IT means life, IT means loving, IT means laughing, laughing really hard until I pee my pants (yes, that’s happened before too, and no, I’m not ashamed), IT means cherishing every moment,  IT means taking in every day as if it were my last, and most of all, IT means slowing down and living for now. LIKE, RIGHT NOW, and that my friends, is what I have been up too.

Something special happens when I begin writing, and after re-vamping my page (you like?) and diving back into it, I have finally been able to put my finger on it. Reflection. Reflection happens when I begin writing. Why is this so important? If we don’t take time for ourselves to reflect, to be grateful, to re-imagine and dream, we don’t move forward.   It is so hard to stop and take a second to breathe it all in, relax and enjoy. When we do this, we allow our bodies to fill with gratitude, re-charge and most importantly, dream. I have so much gratitude for God, my husband, my family, my best friends, and most of all this beautiful life. I love taking time to reminisce and remind myself how incredibly thankful I am to be living this wonderful life.

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Reflections

2014 was my best year yet. Reminiscing all of the good that came out of 2014 is such an incredible feeling. Although a little emotional saying goodbye, I know 2015 will be even better because it’ll be action packed and full of people I love! I think the year-end calls for a plethora of self reflection: What did I do that made my year so great? Who contributed to my happiness? Who didn’t? Why was I so happy? How can I keep this feeling going forever?

Having a deep understanding of what makes you tick on a personal level grounds you. It makes you take a step back and prioritize your life. If something or someone makes you happy, fill your life with them/it. If someone takes away from your best self, drop them and move on (no really….move on). If only life was that easy, right?

I am not crazy (well most of the times I am, but I have never met an awesome person who wasn’t completely crazy in their own way anyways). I know life knocks you out of the driver seat more times than not; however, if you know in your heart of hearts what makes you happy, and you follow it, you are destined for eternal greatness and everlasting happiness. It took me a little bit of time to figure that one out, but I have never been happier since realizing it, and when I say realizing it, I mean truly internalizing and living by it.

What am I most thankful for this year

Everyone I love is healthy, and for that I am eternally grateful.

As I reflect on 2014, and how special it was to me, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite pictures from each month this year, and the memory behind it. Read more

What it’s really like to drive cross country from Florida to California

Wow! I can’t even believe it… Sean and I have been San Diegans for a whopping 13 days. We are FINALLY settled in, and our place is fabulous! More to come on our perfectly located condo in Cortez Hill, but if I can just say one thing, our view is on fire! Not only do we obsess over it on the reg, but the Tuck man is also in love. He has fully mastered the concept of city-living, people watching, and basking in the endless amounts of sunny yet perfectly breezy days.

Our road trip…oh the memories…it was LONG, fun, and full of Taylor Swift…Shake it off…Shake it off…only 36 more hours of driving to go! OH God. We enjoyed it.

I honestly cannot continue without giving the BIGGEST and BEST of props to my chauffeur of an amazing fiance, Sean. He drove 33 out of our 36-hour drive. Not only is he a keeper, but he is an angel sent from God to make our drive full of cabin fever or should I say “car fever” less daunting. But HEY, I offered to drive at least 3x each day. My gentlemanly fiance only let me drive when he mentally and physically needed a break. Somehow, he couldn’t seem to close his eyes and relax when I was driving…I dont understand? I am a GREAT driver! lol.

We segmented our drive over 4 days and 3 nights.

DAY ONE: West Palm Beach, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana

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Split, Croatia: Extreme Canyoning on the Cetina River

Split, Croatia is an adventurer’s dream. Not only does it give you the ability to marvel at nature’s beauty, but you literally have the opportunity to do anything from hiking, zip-lining, kayaking, cliff jumping, rock-climbing to canyoning. Sean and I wanted to do something completely and utterly awesome while in Split…something out of the norm. While researching Trip Advisor and reading reviews, I stumbled across Adventure Omis , and I am so glad that I did. Ivan, our tour guide and one of the owners of the company took very good care of us. He was knowledgeable, down to earth, accommodating, and never once made us feel unsafe. While reading about the activities they had to offer, I knew Extreme Canyoning was for us. We had SOO much fun canyoning on the Cetina River. We swam through crystal clear natural pools and rapids. We cliff jumped into various lakes and waterfalls. We abseiled 164.5 feet along the side of the great Gubavica waterfall. It was fabulous! Words cannot describe the beauty we witnessed, or how crystal clear the water was as it rippled with each step. Pictures simply do not do it justice.  

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