The Tiny Canal Cottage

So I came across this article from One Kings Lane back in February or March of 2015. I was immediately enamored with this little cottage. So sweet, so perfect. I sent the article to my best friend. I showed it to my family. I just couldn’t stop gushing about how perfect this little home seemed to be.

TCC living room 2

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Although I had long lost the link to the One Kings Lane article, I still remembered the little cottage that captivated my attention. On a whim I decided to google “tiny cottage” and by the magic of the internet I discovered the tiny canal cottage again!

TCC kitchen

Little did I know however that there was not just one article about this picturesque home, but many articles about it! In fact the tiny canal cottage has it’s own website! I could not have been happier to be able to explore this adorable home further.

TCC desk

Whitney Leigh Morris lives in the cottage with her fiance and 2 dogs. I love Whitney’s philosophy about her home: only what’s necessary. Because the cottage is so small (less than 400 square feet), she understands she must only keep the necessities. Nothing enters her home unless it serves a purpose. And in Whitney’s own words she describes her home as “Natural. Practical. Functional. Simple. Mindful.”

TCC bedroom door

My favorite part about the home is how it seamlessly blends the indoors with the outdoors. All throughout the home are vases and bottles full of blooms and greenery. Their little garden simply took my breathe away! All of the plants, herbs, and flowers are beautiful. The way they treat their patio as another living space is 100% a dream of mine. I’ve even been inspired to start transforming my own apartment balcony to match the feel of the tiny canal cottage’s outdoor space.

TCC outdoorsTCC outdoor benchTCC outdoor table

Do you like the tiny canal cottage as much as I do? Do you think you could live in such a small space?

all images via here

Advertisements

Finding My Style

Slowly but surely I’m figuring out how to dress myself. Clearly I know how to tie my shoes and button up my shirt, but I’ve semi-struggled with finding my personal style. What I feel comfortable in. What flatters me. What looks polished and put together.

Outfit 7

I’m not a shopper really. I have to be in a specific mood to try on clothes. For awhile that meant when I was in a shopping mood I would end up buying whatever fit. Regardless of if I really liked the piece or not, I just felt like I had to buy it because when would I got shopping again? Because of my lack of desire to shop, my closet has never been too full, but it was also a mishmash of items that didn’t really work well together.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to pare down my wardrobe into something I truly love. It’s taken some time but I think I’ve come to develop a style. I realized I’m not a fan of oranges or yellows. I’m not big on reds either – they’re okay for a pop of color, but that’s about all I’m comfortable with. I’m really drawn to neutrals like black, white and gray. Blue and green are great too. Stripes are a win in my book and so are plaid shirts, but most other patterns are off the table. I like something that’s a combo between preppy, classic, and girly.

Pinterest has become my go-to place for inspiration. It’s easy to look at my style board and see all the similarities between the outfits I pinned and what clearly draws my eye.

Now that I have my style identified I’ve made a list of staples/pieces I want to invest in to make my wardrobe something I love:

  • navy blue or black blazer
  • jean jacket
  • leopard print clutch
  • black riding boots
  • plaid blanket scarf
  • navy blue or black peacoat

Do you have any items you would like to add to your wardrobe?

If I Won the Lottery

hammocksource

Just the other day Annie posted about what she would do if she ever won the lottery. I thought that was such a cute idea for a post! My boyfriend and I just discussed what we would do if we won the mega millions earlier this summer. I have to say my ideas were a little on the boring side, haha! Rather than buying a brand new car, I would just fix the problems with my current one (one of the windows doesn’t go up and down anymore and I should remove all those scratches). I’m locked into my apartment lease for another year so I wouldn’t go off and buy a house anytime soon. I wouldn’t quit my job, at least not right away. But here are the things I would do:

  • Pay off my parents’ mortgage.
  • Pay for the rest of my brother’s college tuition.
  • Hire a nutritionist to clear out my kitchen and restock it with healthy foods.
  • Buy a vacation home somewhere like Paris or the Amalfi Coast.
  • Hire a stylish to help me redo my entire wardrobe.
  • Take my family on an amazing vacation to somewhere like Croatia or Costa Rica .
  • Give to a charity I’m passionate about or start my own.

Eventually I would probably buy my own house in DC somewhere and quit my job to work at a non-profit full time. Have you ever thought about what you would do if you won the lottery? Let me know in the comments!

My Vegetarian Adventure

It’s official. I’m a vegetarian. Okay, actually not quite. I’m a pescatarian for the moment. In case you’re not aware a pescatarian is someone who eats fish but not any other type of meat. I feel like this has been a long time coming and I am very happy I finally made the decision to live this lifestyle.

veggie saladsource

For as long as I can remember I have loved animals. Like seriously loved them. I would pretend to be a dog so much I got holes in the knees of most of my pants. I also thought I could speak to animals and would try to talk to the birds and rabbits in my backyard. I currently volunteer with an animal rescue and I have my own little rescue kitty at home. Animals are such a huge part of my life so it seems almost strange that I haven’t been a vegetarian prior to this moment.

About a year or so ago I started watching food documentaries on Netflix. Oh man will those change your view on meat real quick. The movie that made the most impact on me was Earthlings (I was bawling). But even after watching that emotional documentary I couldn’t shake my meat habit. It was mostly due to convenience. It was easier for me to stick to my tried and true recipes than to branch out and test new vegetarian meals. Basically I was a little too lazy *insert see no evil monkey emoji here*

In order to ease myself into the vegetarian lifestyle I started to slowly cut back on my carnivorous meals. I set little challenges for myself such as go 1 week without meat or try 2 new vegetarian recipes. These challenges helped me expand the meals I felt comfortable whipping together. Because like I said before my blockage was really convenience. When I get home from work I want a meal in 15 minutes or less. I can’t spend an hour on a weeknight throwing together dinner. Just doesn’t work for me. But by taking the time to learn a few quick and easy vegetarian meals I allowed myself more wiggle room to ease into the lifestyle.

Finally at the beginning of August my friend was telling me how she had been eating mostly vegetarian/vegan for a few weeks. For whatever reason I had hit my trigger. I set the biggest challenge to myself yet: go 1 whole month as a pescatarian. That was nearly 3 months ago and I am still going strong with my new lifestyle!

Eventually I would like to transition fully to vegetarian only (no fish). But for now eating fish is good for me and my diet. I am sure I am getting enough protein while still being conscious and mindful of the meat that’s on my plate. I try to follow the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) ratings on seafood. They have an app that’s helpful. Also if you shop at Whole Foods all their seafood is rated by the MSC (green being the best).

Becoming a vegetarian/pescatarian is not easy. It takes time and determination. I would not recommend going cold turkey and giving up all meat at once. It should be a gradual process, slowly giving up meat and learning new vegetarian-friendly recipes. Start by cutting out one type of meat such as beef. Or choose one day of the week to be completely meat-free (Meatless Mondays are pretty popular). Eventually you’ll reach your goal of becoming a vegetarian!

Anyone else out there a vegetarian? Or trying to become one? Let me know how your journey is going in the comments!

Top 5 Things To Do in Paris and Santorini

So I’ve recapped my time in both Paris in Santorini. What else is there to say? A lot! I had an incredible time in both locations and I am already figuring out how I can get back to both locations.

In case you are planning a trip to Paris, Santorini, or both I figured I would post my top 5 things to do in each location.

Paris Streetsource

Top 5 in Paris:

  1. Taste test Laduree vs. Pierre Herme. The big debate in Paris is which macarons are better: Laduree or Pierre Herme? My friends and I decided to taste test both places and make our decision. While the macarons from each shop were baked to perfection and had excellent texture and taste, we all agreed Pierre Herme was our favorite. Tip: definitely try the olive oil and vanilla macaron from Pierre Herme, heaven!
  2. Spend an afternoon in Montmarte. Montmartre is the cutest little area. There are a ton of small cafes and restaurants. There is a great assortment of shops and stores up there as well. I purchased a gold necklace from a jewelry store called Telle Mere, Telle Fille up there. Sacre Coeur is gorgeous to look at and the views are incredible. I would recommend heading there in the evening with a bottle of wine to soak in the sunset. Afterward stop by La Famille for unique and creative mojitos.
  3. Brunch at Holybelly. My second morning in Paris, my friend Laura and I ate brunch at Holybelly. My oh my, it was one of the most delicious brunches I’ve ever had! We each ordered pancakes topped with fried eggs, bourbon butter, maple syrup, and bacon. Cannot go wrong! It opens at 10am on weekends. We arrived around 9:45am and there was already a line outside so make sure you get there early!
  4. Head to the top of Printemps. Another place with an amazing view! Take your time browsing all the levels of this department store as you slowly make your way to the top. There is a restaurant at the top of the store but it’s very overpriced so I suggest skipping it and heading straight outside. The view is not one to be missed. I stood for more than a few minutes just soaking it all in and being eternally grateful for the opportunity to be there.
  5. Eiffel Tower light show. No matter how many times you’ve seen this it’s a can’t miss item on any Parisian itinerary. Grab some wine and a picnic dinner and pick a spot to enjoy this magical show. The last show of the night is particularly special because afterward the entire tower goes out and makes for a dramatic finale.

Greek flagsource

Top 5 in Santorini

  1. Hot springs and volcano boat tour. This was really fun! We took a 3 hour long boat tour to the natural hot springs and the active volcano by the island. We jumped from the boat and swam about 50 to 60 yards to where the hot springs were. They definitely felt warm like bath water and I could have floated there all day. Afterward we took a hike up the volcano with a tour guide that gave us all sorts of great information about the islands (did you know that the towns of Oia and Fira were completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1950s? Me either!).
  2. Hike from Fira to Oia. Oia and Fira are the two biggest towns on Santorini and there is a hiking trail that connects them. It will take you about 3 hours to complete the hike and it can be strenuous at points (think tall hills). It’s best to do earlier in the day or else it gets HOT. But literally the entire time is just one gorgeous view after another. I think this was the highlight of my trip.
  3. Dinner in Amoudi Bay. There are about four or five restaurants in Amoudi Bay. They sell super fresh seafood where you can pick out the exact fish you will eat that night for dinner. You dine right out by the water. It’s picture perfect. The only drawback is you must climb down (and then up again) 300 steps. If you go early enough in the day you might be able to hitch a ride back up with a donkey. Since we dined there a little later at night the only way back to Oia was by foot. At least we worked off our dinner!
  4. Sunset in Oia. You seriously cannot miss this. If you think you’ve seen some beautiful sunsets, you’ve seen nothing until you see a great big red ball of fire slowly descend below the deep blue ocean. Try to get a reservation at a restaurant with a sunset view. Or you can always stake out a spot around Oia’s castle ruins.
  5. Visit the Red Beach. There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Santorini but the Red Beach is pretty special. It’s completely surrounded by cliffs so you have to hike a little ways in order to get there. Because of the volcano, the cliffs are a deep red. It’s a sight to behold! The water there is so clear and pleasantly warm. Lounge chairs are available to rent for a few euros.

Have you been to Paris or Santorini? Do you have any recommendations?

5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

I’m not always the perfect sleeper. I tend to toss and turn a lot in bed. I wake up at least once most nights. It takes me awhile for me to drift off. It can be frustrating especially since I can really feel it the next day when I don’t get a full 8 hours.
Because of my bad sleeping habit, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks on how to get a better night sleep. Some of these I discovered for myself. Others I found out through some internet browsing. If you also have trouble sleeping try out one or all of these tricks to see what works for you!
  1. Turn off electronics. I’m the worst with this but I do try to turn off my computer and TV at least an hour before bed. We’ve all heard how the light from our devices tricks our brains into thinking it still needs to be awake. It takes discipline and practice but when I do follow this rule I find I fall asleep quicker. If you are really struggling to turn off your computer, you can try downloading the flux app. It reduces the blue light from your computer so your brain isn’t as stimulated before bed.
  2. Get into a routine. After turning off your electronics set up a bedtime routine. Maybe that means you make yourself a cup of tea and read a book. Maybe that means you light a candle and listen to soothing music. Maybe you take a bubble bath. Whatever it is by following the same routine every night it cues your brain that sleep is coming.
  3. Stretching, yoga, or meditation. I like to incorporate some light stretching into my routine before bed. Just 5 to 10 minutes worth. It calms my mind and allows my body to relax. I know there are also yoga routines designed specifically to help ready the body for sleep. Another option is meditation or mindful breathing. There are a ton of apps out there to help you with this. One of my favorites is Calm. Again just 5 to 10 minutes is enough to get your mind into a relaxed state.
  4. Listen to soothing music or binaural tones. I have a playlist on my Spotify of soft music that’s perfect before bed. I also like to listen to nature sounds (like rain on a tarp or a fire crackling). I recently discovered binaural tones. They way they work are the tones are supposed to stimulate your brain into creating the brain waves that match sleep. It’s not scientifically proven these tones work but I’ve found they help me personally.
  5. If you can’t sleep get up. This may seem counterintuitive but if you wake up in the middle of the night and don’t fall back asleep after 15 minutes get out of bed. It will only frustrate you that you’re not falling back asleep (anyone count the hours till morning? “If I fall asleep right now I’ll get 4 hours of sleep.” So annoying). Getting up and do something relaxing. Make a cup of tea and sit on your couch with a book. Soon you’ll be feeling sleepy again and will be able to get back into bed.

Let me know if you have any other tips for a peaceful night of sleep. I could definitely use them!

How to Pack in a Carry On for Vacation

Packing Ollie

First rule of thumb: don’t forget to pack your cat!

But really, packing every you need for a 10 day vacation in a carry on can be a small challenge. I decided a carry on was the only way to go because I was going to be taking so many flights during my vacation (8 planes total!). The chances of my checked bag getting lost were way too high for me to risk. I had never packed strictly in a carry on before, at least not for a trip as long as this one, but I think I rose to the occasion successfully since I used every piece of clothing I brought but didn’t feel like I really needed any more.

Tips for packing in a carry on:

  1. Mix and match. This is the golden rule. I used to make the mistake of creating outfits for my travels. I would plan maybe two outfits per day with an extra outfit or two for good measure. The problem with this plan though is every outfit had it’s own components. I would end up bringing 12 shirts, 12 bottoms, all different accessories, some dresses, etc. The best way to pack is to have items you can mix and match. I only brought 3 bottoms on my trip to France and Greece: black jeans, jean shorts, khaki shorts. I brought 10 shirts that I knew could be mixed and matched with any of those bottoms and work perfectly.
  2. Keep to a color scheme. This rule works hand in hand with rule #1. I brought mostly white, blacks and blues for my trip. This helped everything feel cohesive. I didn’t feel like I could only wear this shirt with these bottoms. Everything went together so I always had options.
  3. Plan to do some laundry. Plan to do a little laundry when you travel. Even if it’s just in your hotel sink. I washed socks, bras, and a couple shirts during my trip.
  4. Know your style. I used to make the mistake of bringing clothes I hadn’t worn in years on vacation. What if the one time I want to wear this shirt I bought back in 2009 is when I’m on vacation?! Guess what, not going to happen. If you haven’t worn an item of clothing in years, do not bring it with you on vacation. Pack only what feels like you and what makes you happy. Vacation should be fun! Don’t stress about your outfit.
  5. Highs and lows. Didn’t I say mix and match was the golden rule? Well it applies here too. Bring clothes which can be worn casually or dressed up. I brought a few dresses that felt casual and breezy enough for a day of sightseeing but also felt polished and perfect for a night out once I layered on a few more pieces of jewelry.
  6. Don’t over do it on shoes. I brought only two pairs of shoes to Europe. Brown strappy sandals and white converse. I did not bring any heels. Two pairs of shoes is probably really all you need. If you can mix and match your outfits you should be able to match them to just two pairs of shoes. If you think you’ll be going to fancier dinners or events, bring one pair of heels. But three pairs of shoes max.
  7. Keep your jewelry simple. Yes, you should also be able to mix and match your jewelry. Bring jewelry that you know will go with everything you’ve packed. I only packed gold jewelry because I knew that would go with all my outfits.
  8. Stay comfortable. Chance are you’ll be doing a lot of sightseeing on your trip. Or if not you’ll be doing a lot of relaxing. Or a lot of eating. With any of those things you want to be comfortable! Don’t pack those shoes that give you blisters. Don’t bring the jeans you need to suck in your stomach to wear. Comfort is key when trying to actually enjoy your vacation. Save room in your suitcase by getting rid of that too tight top.

Those are my best tips to pack for your vacation in a carry on. Let me know if you have any other packing tips you would like to share!