Tuesday, December 19, 2017

One Little Word - 2018 (Self Care)

As 2017 comes to a close, I have to say one of the highlights of the year was our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Europe. I really enjoyed sharing those posts about it here on the blog. Each time I shared our stories, it was a little like reliving our adventures all over again.

But now it's time to switch gears and start looking toward 2018!
One of my biggest scrapbook inspirations is Ali Edwards who pretty much started the One Little Word concept quite a few years back. Basically you choose a word for the year and make it your focus. Some of the words I have chosen in the past are Breathe, Focus, Humor and Peace.

I've made a few scrapbook layouts over the years documenting my word, and I hope to do the same this year. Last year I tried something new and created a journal for my word Trust instead, but only filled about half of it.
That is what typically happens. I always start out pretty strong and than it kind of ebbs out. But I  still try to keep my word in the back of my mind when dealing with life. Such as remembering to see the humor in things when life gets tough, trying to focus on priorities, keeping peace in my home and with others, or simply breathing when anxiety is once again trying to close in on me. I use my word to help ground me and keep things light. The way I see it, I have one life to live. I can do it in a constant state of worry, stress and frustration. Or I can choose to see the positive and use my word to help me find a way to do just that!
This year I am choosing to focus on "Self Care". Ok, I know that it's really two words technically, but it's one concept. I am choosing to take care of myself so I can take care of others. So I can be the best wife, mom, friend, and person I can be. The healthier and happier I am, the more I have to give. The less anxious and stressed I am, the more peace and joy I can share. This is my goal for 2018 - to practice self care.

I used to think taking time to care for myself was selfish. That everyone else needed to come first. And most of the time I do still end up put my family first. But I also know that I need good sleep, I need exercise, I need to make sure I am eating well, and I need to do the things that make me feel happy. I have definitely made progress this past year. If I am having one of those days where I just don't have the energy to deal anymore, I know it's ok to put on an episode of Supernatural and just take 45 minutes to relax and regroup. Or instead of just talking about how much I want to do it, I actually will go and get a facial or massage. It makes me feel good and has positive benefits! Or instead of just thinking about how great it would be to join the YMCA and take a strength class, I decided to finally do it! So I am on the road already, but I know I want to keep moving in the right direction.

And since I know that in the past I kind of lose a bit of steam with my word come Spring, I signed up for Ali's One Little Word Workshop. I think it will be a good way to keep me engaged and reconnect with my word once a month to see how I am doing. This is a really important goal for me this year, because I see progress but I know there are areas where I could still improve!

Looking forward to seeing where my word takes me in 2018! I'll keep you posted :)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Zurich - The Last Day

Well for our last day in Switzerland and our trip, we had made big plans to take the train from Zurich to Vitznau to Mount Rigi and actually get into the countryside. Unfortunately, I was sick as hell overnight and not any better the next morning. Let's just say that sausage and German potato salad are now on my list of foods that I will never eat again.

I absolutely did not want Mike to miss out on the adventure though. I could tell he was hesitant to leave me, but really we had seen all there was to see in Zurich. And I did not want him to have to stay with me while I was so very sick. We had come all this way and I was so glad he was able to get out of Zurich for a bit and visit Mount Rigi.
He did stock me up on some fluids though before heading to the train station. And I spent the day in bed watching Netflix on my phone. Thankfully, he was able to send me photos and Snapchats throughout the day. And while it wasn't as good as being there with him in person, it was enough.
So most of the photos I am sharing in this post are his.

I have to admit, seeing this one...
made me a little bummed. Visiting Switzerland and seeing the mountains has definitely been on my bucket list for a long time. And this was pretty much how I had pictured it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

He took the train from Zurich to Vitznau which takes about an hour. Then from there he took the cogwheel railway up Mount Rigi

Then came photos from the top as he made his way back down
 Just Mike - Mount Rigi, Switzerland - August 5, 2017

The best was the Snapchat video he sent me. It was so quiet and peaceful except for the faint sound of cowbells in the background. And his caption was "I need more cowbell" which is from one of our fave Will Ferrell Saturday Night Live skits.

Next he took a boat ride across Lake Lucerne to the city of Lucerne so he could catch the train back to Zurich.
 Here are a few of the photos he took from the boat.
Arriving in Lucerne, Switzerland

He said he walked around Lucerne a little bit, grabbed something to eat and then headed back to Zurich on the train. I think the trip in all took him between 7-8 hours.
When he came back I was feeling better but not great.
So he found me some pretzels and a few more drinks.
No steps today because I didn't even leave the hotel room.

Thankfully the next day, I was feeling a lot better. Our flight to Chicago took between 8-9 hours, and then another shorter 45 minute flight to get home. If I was going to be sick, I am grateful it wasn't the day of our trip home!

And just like that, our trip was over.
Eleven days in Europe and I enjoyed every single one. Not even my sick day could ruin it, because we had a trip I will never forget!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wild Hare Kits Review

I have one more day in Zurich from our trip this summer to blog about, but I wanted to do a quick scrapbook post to share my review of the The Wild Hare Kit Club.

I have subscribed to a few kit clubs over the years, but tend to find that I don't always like everything that comes in a monthly kit. I usually come to the realization pretty quickly that I would be better off just buying what I want when I want it.
Although right now I subscribe to Ali Edwards Story Kits which I had been wanting to try because she includes class content with the kit. But I will most likely end my sub when the one year is up. Even though I have enjoyed it, I am planning on cutting way back on scrapbook shopping next year.

As for The Wild Hare Kit Club, it is a little different than most monthly kits. The club is owned by Alison Girling and it reminds me a little of how Stitch Fix or any type of kit where you fill out a profile works. In this case, your style profile lets them know what types of scrapbook product, theme and brands you like. Then they assemble the kit according to your preferences. It's not a monthly kit that automatically comes on a particular day each month.You can order one at any time and it will be shipped out as soon as they put it together.

They have two types of kits to choose from - The Petite Kit is $19.95 plus shipping, and the Deluxe Kit is $38.95 plus shipping.
I decided to try the Petite Kit because the price seemed reasonable and I wanted to see what type of product they would send before committing to anything larger.

This is what I received. In my profile, I mentioned that some of the brands I love are Dear Lizzy, Crate Paper, Pinkfresh Studio, October Afternoon and I believe Pink Paislee. I also mentioned that I seemed to be working on more travel themed projects right now. Embellishments that I like include alphabets, washi tape, cork, stickers, die cuts and chipboard.
They also ask you to list anything you would prefer *not* to have in a kit. I definitely said no more veneer and acrylics to name a few. To be honest, if I would have thought of it I also would have said geotags. They did send me cork which I love, but ugh geotags. Not their fault though. Geotags go great with a travel theme, right?

So for the most part I think they nailed it. I did say I would be ok with cardstock, and I received two pieces in colors I would definitely use - dark gray and a pale yellow.
The alphabet and puffy sticker sheets are from Pinkfresh Studio and I like both a lot. I just wish the letter stickers weren't leatherette. The font is cute and I love the number circles, but this material in the past with other brands has not held up well on a scrapbook page. I'm hoping Pinkfresh Studio will be different.
The washi tape is listed as navy on the invoice but it is more of a dark gray diagonal stripe which is fine with me. As I said, the cork geotags are not my favorite and will go in my giveaway box. But I like the super cute Thankful cut file. I don't have a die cut machine so I always appreciate something fun like this.

As for the papers, the brands they sent were two from the Dear Lizzy Stargazer collection:

Love the navy polka dot on the B side.
And love the Polka dot print, but could definitely use the Navy side as well.
Then there were three papers from the Pinkfresh Studio Escape the Ordinary collection that match the alphabet and puffy stickers:
 I could find ways to use either side on this one.
 Love the blue B side on this one, but maybe the floral side too.
Definitely love the side with the arrows!
And then we have two papers from the Pinkfresh Studios Boys Fort collection:
Really like the backside of this one.
And this was my least favorite of all the papers at first, but then I really looked at the circles and started thinking of some fun things I could use those for if I cut this apart!

So I would give my kit 4 1/2 stars out of five.
I think the value of the kit matched what I paid for it.
And I was pleasantly surprised how well I liked the color scheme. It's definitely a color palette I like, and the whole feel of the kit is cohesive.
I have to admit, that most of this product had flown under my radar. So I probably wouldn't have bought any of it on my own except for the Dear Lizzy papers. But that is kind of what makes kit clubs fun and a challenge to me. And it was one of the reasons I liked being on design teams for kit clubs. I usually felt pushed to get creative, and ended up liking most of what I worked with.

If you do try this kit club, would recommend being as specific as possible about your likes and dislikes though, because that really helps them successfully send you a kit that you will enjoy.

So if I did order again, I would think more about my dislikes.
But 2018 is going to be a scrapbook spend freeze year.
My goal is to only buy the basics such as adhesive and paper or albums if needed. Otherwise I am going to focus on using what I already have.

But if you are in the market for a kit club, I would recommend The Wild Hare Kits. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Zurich - Day 1

I'm actually going to start with the night before as our flight out of Brussels was in the early evening. We didn't arrive in the Zurich airport until about 8pm, and it actually took us awhile to figure out the transportation from the airport to our hotel. But we always seemed to get lucky in that area. A very nice man helped us at the train ticket kiosk, and eventually we were on our way.

We arrived at The Hotel Opera by 9:30 and then left to find some kind of dinner after getting settled. It took a while but we finally found a place open called Santa Lucia with once again unusual service but pretty good pizza.
The area in this photo, also called Altstadt or Old Town, is where we walked the most our first night. The three churches you see are Fraumunster, St. Peter's and Grossmunster.

I like this shot Mike got of Grossmunster church while we were walking around looking for dinner.

When we got back to the hotel it was pretty late, but because of the seven hour time difference we were able to FaceTime with the kids.
Just a little more information about our hotel. This was the view from our room which we saw the next morning when we woke around 10am.
 (photo from internet)
And this photo is similar to the room we stayed in. It was a good size and the bathroom was a decent size as well. I will say it was a smaller hotel than we realized with only four rooms on a floor. And the elevator was tiny! When we brought our luggage in the night before, Mike took the stairs because the elevator only fit one person with a big suitcase.

Anyway, after we woke up we had a breakfast snack of Fruit Juice smoothies from Joe and the Juice, and then we decided to just walk and explore.

Once again I had turned to the internet and researched things to do in Zurich. Here are a few of the sites I pinned that we actually used.
Zurich Bucket List: 15 Things to do in Zurich, Switzerland
We only really did four things on this list. Explore Altstadt - Old Town (mainly because our hotel was located in Old Town), Eat at Zueghauskeller (which was good but didn't work out too well for me. More to come on that later), See the Chagall Windows at Fraumunster church (loved!), and while we didn't take a boat ride on the river, we did take one out on Lake Zurich

Walking in the Rain - A Zurich Walking Tour
Because of this post, we went to see Lindenhof Hill and Rennweg Street. We kind of naturally ran into Bahnhofstrasse and the churches while walking on our own.

10 Awesome Things to do in Zurich Switzerland
After awhile these types of posts basically mention all the same places because honestly in my opinion, I don't think there is a whole lot to do in Zurich itself. 

5 Best Views in Zurich
The only one we made it to together was Lindenhof Hill. I would have liked to check out the Cloud Bar and Grossmunster Tower, but it just didn't happen. Maybe if we had a little more time.

Anyway, we started off our first full day by going on our own little walking tour like we did in Brussels.
The water in the Limmat river which flows into Lake Zurich is such a pretty color!

 I think the name Altstadt (Old town) is fitting.

 Just the two of us - Zurich, Switzerland August 4, 2017
We walked down to a bridge on the other side of the churches and made our way back down.
I didn't even know Mike took this picture, but I thought it was pretty cool with all the pots on windowsills.

Then we found a little quiet area right next to Fraumunster Church before heading out through some narrow streets to Bahnnofstrasse.
It reminded me of a little fairy tale village back there with the cobblestone streets and buildings. I expected Beauty to pop out any minute singing about wanting adventure in the great wide somewhere!
So Bahnhofstrasse, the main street of Zurich is for trams and walkers only. It is a pretty well known shopping district with stores for every major designer you can think of. It was kind of fun to look and take it in, but in all honesty we just weren't interested in hanging there long.

We decided to head towards Lindenhof Hill to see the view.

Our views from the park at the top!
Just the two of us - Lindenhof Hill August 4, 2017
After that we continued walking heading towards Rennweg street.
 Making our way there on some pretty cool little side streets.

Renwegg Street is supposedly where they take "the iconic photo of Zurich you see in all the guide books." So of course I wanted to check it out!

I had come across the information about Rennweg street on the "Walking in the Rain - a Zurich Walking Tour" blog post. And as we followed the directions to get to Rennweg street we felt lost even though we knew we were right there. Finally I realized since we had been following her tour backwards and we were facing the wrong way. So we turned around and saw this...

Lol, not quite so picturesque as we had thought it would be. Kind of fits right in with the scaffolding on Big Ben in London and the construction machines and materials from the iconic building shot in Amsterdam.
Yep, quite a difference. What are you going to do though? And actually Mike was kind of impressed with how they had the tower crane rigged up there on the street.

After that we headed back towards Fraumunster church to see the Chagall windows.
Fraumunster Church was founded in 853 AD! And of course there were no pictures allowed inside which was a little disappointing.
So you will have to settle for both of these photos off the internet. These are the five windows, but they don't appear together that way.
When you enter the church as you can kind of see, three of them are straight ahead and then there is one on a wall on each side facing in. They were so, so pretty in person!
After visiting the church we had a late lunch at another Santa Lucia restaurant in a different location. We are thinking it is a chain over there because we saw more than one with similar menus but different looks.
We ate out on the patio and the food was really good. I had the Ravioli with buffalo cheese ricotta and it was yummy!

We headed back to the hotel after that to rest and decide what we wanted to do that night.
We finally decided to take a one and a half hour boat ride out on Lake Zurich.
It was pretty cool and relaxing to just sit there on the boat watching the scenery and just talk. It's hard to get a lot of time for just the two of us back home. So I really enjoyed having uninterrupted time just for us.

Then we headed to Zeughauskeller for dinner. All of the "what not to miss" in Zurich lists said to make sure you had sausages at Zeughauskeller.
We managed to get a table and the food did live up to the hype. It was very good. Or so I thought, but more on that next blog post.

After dinner, we walked around for a bit more.
We bought some dessert at a place called Cake Friends and sat by the river to eat it. But we were surprised to find it super crowded all along the river with a teen and college aged crowd. I guess it's the place to hang out on a Friday night.
So we decided to head back to the hotel to FaceTime with the kids and we wanted to get to bed earlier since we had a big day planned for Saturday - a trip to Rigi Mountain.

And surprisingly for all the walking we did, I only had 15,981 steps and 6.87 miles on my Fitbit.