Life in Photos

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Trying to Get Out of Vacation Mode

It’s too quiet. This is a phrase I’ve rarely uttered in the past 2.5 years, but today, in the still of the afternoon heat with Aveline asleep to the hum of the fan, and the house strangely Lauren-less, I find myself whispering, “It’s too quiet.”

My second cuppa gone, I try writing a to-do list, but it’s hard to get back into working mode after so much time off. A whole month in Minnesota — and week here with my best friend — definitely spoiled me.

Starbucks and Fries Apartment Stairway Mexican Blanket and Books on Floor Intentional Blur Self Portrait

What do you do to get back into the groove after time off?

Summer Vacation Tour

TRAVEL :: Heidelberg, Germany with Amanda: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour

So far on this virtual travel series, we’ve explored two cities in Germany — Frankfurt and Hamburg, thanks to Sylvia (Artsy Ants) and Alyx (Every Day is a New Adventure). Today, we add a third to the list, as Amanda tells us all about living in Heidelberg!

AMANDA IN HEIDELBERG, GERMANY

A bit more about Amanda
I grew up in Ohio and moved to Florida a couple months after I turned 23. I lived there for three years and didn’t really plan on leaving. Then I met my husband, a medic in the Army, who was stationed in Georgia. I moved there the month after we got married. To our surprise, a month later, we found out we had orders to Heidelberg, Germany. Three months later, we were living here. So far, we have explored Heidelberg and several cities in Germany, and we plan to visit several more. We also plan to visit other countries, although we haven’t gotten to do so yet. I blog about our life and travels abroad at Overseas Adventures. Today, I’ll tell you a few of my favorite things about living here.
Continue reading “TRAVEL :: Heidelberg, Germany with Amanda: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour”

Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Long Live Summer: San Francisco with my Sister

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer photo contest.

When I was in Sacramento recently, my sister(in-law) and I spent a day in San Francisco. Orlando in July is, like Jim Gaffigan says, truly like the surface of the sun, so it felt SO good to put on a jacket and escape into a cool Bay Area summer. There’s nothing in the world like that Pacific air! And Grandma watched Aveline, so it was just sister and I playing tourists in our own backyard. (Well, her current backyard. My old one.)

Window Display in Union Square, photo via Oaxacaborn dot comDoesn’t this look like a still from a movie? I wish I had paid attention to which storefront this was. Does anyone know? Union Square is gorgeous, by the way — as is the walk from where the Powell-Mason cable car line starts, to the top of Nob Hill.
Shopping in Decades of Fashion on Haight Street in San Francisco, photo via Oaxacaborn dot comAh, this was so fun — Decades of Fashion on Haight Street. Literally a century’s worth of clothing here, all the way back to 1880. They had a ton of beaded flapper dresses from the 1920s, you guys! on Haight Street with IRLOMashup card from TicoandTina dot com, photo via Oaxacaborn dot comAnd yes, of course we had to venture into the Lower Haight and snap some obligatory pictures next to street art. ;) The card I’m holding is part of ticoandtina.com’s clever race to see which team’s card will travel the most miles!

Powell Street in San Francisco, photo via Oaxacaborn dot com

Ah, now I have a serious hankering to go back. Actually, who am I kidding? I am ALWAYS in the mood for California. ♥

Guest Blog, Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: San Antonio with Amanda: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour

Most of the recent Summer Vacation Tour stops have been outside of the U.S. Today, though, Amanda of teamespinoza.com is taking us on a thoroughly American tour of San Antonio, Texas. (P.S., Amanda? You’re a natural at this travel writing stuff!)

AMANDA from SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

A little more about Amanda

My husband and I want to be citizens of the world and travel the globe with our 3 young children. However, my heart will always belong to Texas. I grew up near Houston, TX, but now I have lived in San Antonio, TX for 14 years. This is where most of my family lives and where I have made lifelong friends. Let me tell you about where I hang my hat (or where I would if I wore a hat).
Continue reading “TRAVEL :: San Antonio with Amanda: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour”

Guest Blog, Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Costa Rica with Tico♥Tina: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour

You are fantastic, readers — thank you for the great feedback on the travel series so far! Keep the comments, tweets and shares coming. I appreciate every single one!

Today we’re leaving Europe briefly to virtually travel to Latin America. Our guest blogger has a lot to say on the topic, especially when it comes to Costa Rica…

TINA in COSTA RICA

Tico♥Tina - Top 5 Things to Love About Costa Rica

A little more about Tina
My husband is half Tico (Costa Rican), and grew up there until he was 20 years old, when he came to the States and promptly met me! :) Our love story is, of course, a long one with many ups and downs, but we eventually made it! And now we’re a passionately creative multicultural family who believes everyone should live an adventure. We’re on a mission to inspire people to go after their dreams, and we’re sharing our crazy journey on our blog, hoping to encourage others along the way.

Being self-employed and location independent has allowed part of our journey to be Costa Rica, where we have spent two of our winters so far on some pretty great “workations”. I wanted to feature Costa Rica because I hope to someday have dual citizenship there! My husband is already a citizen of both Costa Rica and the United States, and on our trip this past winter we went through the process to make our kids dual citizens as well. So now I am the only one in our little family who isn’t Costa Rican, and I can’t wait to change that :)

Tina’s top five things to love about Costa Rica

Why is Costa Rica a completely awesome and amazing country?

  1. It’s so DIVERSE! You can go to the mountains, the beach, volcanoes, or the jungle all within a couple hours of each other. There is a compelling mix of extravagant luxury and extreme poverty that constantly confounds and fascinates your senses.
  2. It is BEAUTIFUL. Insanely, breathtakingly, amazingly beautiful. God really pulled out all the stops when he created Costa Rica :)
  3. The FOOD. We live for garden season here in the States, so being able to go to the feria (farmers’ market) with its huge smorgasboard of fresh fruits and vegetables every Saturday is one of the highlights of living in Costa Rica!
  4. The pace of LIFE is so refreshing compared to the insanity of living in the US. I don’t really quite know what it is, because it’s not like Costa Ricans aren’t busy, but somehow it’s so much easier to relax there. Just the fact that they tend to have a coffee break every afternoon? Yeah, that :)
  5. It’s SEXY. Seriously … sorry, I don’t know how else to say it :)

Tico♥Tina - Top 5 Things to Love About Costa Rica
Tico♥Tina - Top 5 Things to Love About Costa Rica
Tico♥Tina - Top 5 Things to Love About Costa Rica
Tico♥Tina - Top 5 Things to Love About Costa RicaFeel free to come visit us at Tico♥Tina and follow our myriad adventures!
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This post is a part of the Summer Vacation Tour, a virtual travel series hosted here on Oaxacaborn.com. To ‘travel’ to other locations while I’m taking a brief break from blogging, click here. (Want to be featured in the future? Email me!)

Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: NorCal with Me: The Launch of the Summer Vacation Tour, a Virtual Travel Series

I am so excited to launch the Summer Vacation Tour, a brand-new virtual travel series! I have enlisted the help of some amazing friends and bloggers, and over next couple of weeks, they will take you to places like Costa Rica, London, Paris and more. This series wouldn’t be possible without their photos and perspective, so a huge thank you to each of you who contributed!

To kick off the series today, I want to share NorCal with you. It was really hard to narrow down what I wanted to say, since my love for this place is a whole lot bigger than I can convey in just a handful of photos. But, I’ll try… :)

THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY of NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

My top five things to love about the Sacramento Valley

  1. The people, of course! This goes without saying, since California holds a huge treasure trove of my dear friends and my husband’s family, whom I love like my own.
  2. The food! It’s less expensive, fresher, and there’s more variety than anywhere else I’ve lived. California produces more than half of the United States’ fruit, vegetables, and nuts. When you break it down to specific foods, the percentages are even higher — nearly 100% of the nation’s pomegranates, kiwis, olives, figs and artichokes come from California. The state also provides 90% of the nations’s avocados, 85% of the nation’s garlic, 75% of the nation’s lettuce…and the list goes on. This is all available to locals at farmers’ markets, and is reflected in the state’s restaurants, too, which are widely diverse in terms of different cuisines and different countries represented. (No, actually, not everyone is a vegetarian. Californians cook up a mean tri-tip steak, a cut of beef the rest of the US has rarely even heard of. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I don’t even eat beef!) Oh, and did I mention food is much less expensive there?
  3. I love Californian style. I love that Californians, by and large, are a stylish lot. Clothing and looks pop up in California long before they appear in the rest of the United States. In fact, our family jokes* that if one moves away from California to another state, one doesn’t have to buy any clothes for five years! (*very much based in fact)
  4. The weather in the area surrounding the Sacramento Valley is perfect. Spring is a gorgeous display of every kind of bloom imaginable, and definitely the greenest time of the year. The hot dry days of summer are countered by the refreshing Delta Breeze which blows in each evening and creates as much as a fifty degree difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Autumn’s crisp days and crunchy leaves swallow up the summer haze little by little, until it’s suddenly winter. Winters in the Sacramento Valley are cool, wet, and deliciously windy (although the strong winds which blow everyone’s fences down in December and January always seem to take people by surprise!) It regularly freezes in the Valley, and just 30-45 minutes away, into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and beyond, winter is white. An hour outside of Sacramento, snow is measured in feet, not inches.
  5. Is it cheating to say that a favorite thing about this location is…the location? The Sacramento Valley is right in the middle between the Golden Gate Bridge and Lake Tahoe. Enough said, right?

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Rural Towns Rural landscapes — Yes, California is FULL of the most gorgeous rural areas you’ll ever see. This photo was taken on the street we lived on before we came to Florida. Looks are deceiving, because this view is only a mile from city life. I LOVE that California is full of contrasts like that.

Favorite Places in Northern California - Lake TahoeLake Tahoe area in the Sierra Nevada mountains — From where we lived in NorCal, one could go the ocean and the snow in the same day — there’s that profoundly wonderful California contrast for you again.

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Point Reyes Point Reyes — If we’re Facebook friends, you likely recognize this as it’s my cover photo. I took this picture on our second anniversary, right before we hiked up 2,948,795,843,987 stairs to the Point Reyes light house. I was pregnant. It was a loooooong climb. But the view is one of my favorite in the world!

Favorite Places in Northern California - Bodega BayBodega Bay — I could write for days about Bodega Bay, and I’m still not sure words could do it justice (and that’s saying a lot, because I am a lover of words).

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Oak Trees and Foggy Sunrise Foggy sunrise shining through the oak trees — another photo from our old home in NorCal. I miss those trees, and the cool morning air that we definitely don’t get here in Florida.

So there you have it! NorCal, my favorite place. I can’t wait to introduce you to the other locations in this series!

This post is a part of the Summer Vacation Tour, a virtual travel series hosted here on Oaxacaborn.com. To ‘travel’ to other locations while I’m taking a brief break from blogging, click here. (Want to be featured in the future? Email me!)

Guest Blog, Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Summer Vacation Tour Blog Series :: Guest Q&A Submissions Now Being Accepted!

I’m putting together a guest blogging series called Summer Vacation Tour, which will showcase various places around the world. (Well, that’s the idea, any way. In order for it to happen, I need YOUR help!)

Summer Vacation Tour Hosted by Oaxacaborn dot Com

Here’s how it will work. If you wish to participate, email me (oaxacaborn at gmail) with the following information:

  1. Your NAME and the LOCATION you wish to showcase
  2. A brief BIO of yourself which includes how you are CONNECTED or RELATED to this location (i.e., currently live there, hometown, favorite vacation, etc). Please also expound upon WHY you chose this location to this feature.
  3. Your favorite PHOTO or three or five of the location (Photos must be at least 530px wide. You must own the rights to the photos; i.e., can’t have copied them off someone else’s blog.)
  4. A list of the TOP FIVE REASONS you love this location, or the TOP FIVE THINGS this location is known for.
  5. [Optional] LINKS to your blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter accounts (If applicable; not at all required in order to participate.)

Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family — let’s see how much of the world we can cover! Have fun — I can’t wait to read your entries. :)

The fine print: Submitting content does not constitute a guarantee the entry will be published. All submissions are subjected to editing for content and clarity. If multiple submissions for the same location are received, one or two will be selected for publishing. Submissions which are missing major sections of the Q and A may not be used.