Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia [PHOTO BLOG]

On my recent trip to Slovenia, I spent some time in Ljubljana but also managed to make my way to enjoy the beautiful country side! In everything I was reading online about Slovenia, Lake Bled seemed to be one of the top places to go. It’s only an hour from Ljubljana so we decided to make a little extra side trip on our weekender!

Lake Bled Lake Bled

It was totally worth it! It was a beautiful day for a hike around the lake.  It was a 4 mile hike total, but we only made it half way around the lake. We naturally stopped for lots of picture, took a lunch break, and all that good stuff.

Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia

There is a little island out in the middle of the lake that essentially just has a church and a little cafe. Plus a castle on the hill. So that was pretty neat!

Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia

There wasn’t much to do on the island, but it was a gorgeous view! We took one of the boats over to the island, and being out on the water was my favorite part! I also tried some traditional Potica cake (which was very interesting… I think I’ll stick to gelato).

Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia

Til we meet again Slovenia!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia [PHOTO BLOG]

One of the countries never on my bucket list was Slovenia. In fact, the whole trip, I kept calling it Slovakia 🙈.

BUT it was an interesting little country to explore for the weekend! Joe had been there before, and it was an easy 2 hour drive from Aviano.

We stayed in Ljubljana (pronounced like lyoo-BLYAH-nah), the capital, at an Airbnb we found online. Our host suggested going to the Open Kitchen that is only open on Friday nights and it was my favorite part of the trip! There was music playing and lots of local (and not so local) types of food at the market.

Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia

That first evening we walked around the city after dinner and just took it all in! There was a brass band playing randomly in the street, which was also awesome!

The next day, we explored more of the city, starting out with Ljubljana’s main market.

Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia

We picked up some fresh raspberries and blueberries (that were delicious) and then toured the Ljubljana Cathedral after lunch. The church was very quiet and had paintings all over the ceiling that made you slightly dizzy to look at (or at least it did for me).

Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia

Before hiking up to the castle, we did some shopping and made a quick gelato stop. 😉

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The walk up to the castle was steep and a little windey, but worth it — it offered a great view of Ljubljana!

Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia

The castle itself wasn’t too exciting. We explored pretty much everything there was to explore. In one corner of the main open area, however, there was a neat little reading area on the lawn. So while Joe fell asleep (I refrained from posting a picture of that for his sake 😉), I pulled out my book and spent an hour or so reading. With a second gelato in hand and relaxing in the shade, it was perfect 👌🏼.

After Joe woke up, we meandered out of the castle to Tivoli Park. It probably would have been way more stunning in the spring, but it was still a neat walk (although my feet were killing me by this point).

Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia

To finish out the night, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant and then ended up at a pub crawl! It was a short trip, but Ljubljana was a great getaway for a weekend!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Galicia, Spain

July Reflection (2017)

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
 ― Yvonne Woon

Each month, I set aside time to reflect on the previous month: memorable moments, lessons I learned, how I spent my time, how I’m different, who/what I’m grateful for, improvements for next month, and goals to work toward. I try to be intentional in my personal development, and posting each month is a way to keep me accountable (it’s also built into my favorite planner, which is a nice reminder 😉 ).

THREE LESSONS I LEARNED THIS PAST MONTH:

  • If you want something, you can’t wait on others to do it for you. Just go get it! The early bird gets the worm, right? Don’t just wait around for something to happen. Go make it happen.
  • Social media only shows a sliver of “real” life. If you looked at my Instagram right now, it probably looks pretty glamorous — and don’t get me wrong, there are lots of parts of my life that are. But Instagram doesn’t show the daily up and downs, the isolation, the insomnia, the boredom. You can never really know what another is going through.
  • Traveling can get really hectic — that’s why one of my favorite things to do in a new city is to just wander around. To see what the city has to offer. To stop whenever something looks cool and catches my eye. And to eat a lot of gelato. 😍

Top 3 Highlights of the month:

  • Tried 11 gelato flavors so far 🍦
  • Visited my former coworker in his hometown in Spain! 🇪🇸
  • Explored Slovenia with Joe 🇸🇮

What big lessons have you learned over the past month? Share in the comments below!

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy [PHOTO BLOG]

After about 3 weeks of living in Italy (an hour from Venice, mind you), I finally visited Venice! It was such a magical city! I didn’t get to check everything off my Venice bucket list (yes, I do have an actual list). Instead, we spent most of the day just wandering around. It just gives me an excuse to go back ;).

We parked at the beginning of the Grand Canal and took a vaporetto (aka water bus) ride down the Grand Canal. Joe was a little bored (to be fair, it was also stifling hot outside), but I thought it was a great way to see Venice and get oriented. Plus it was way cheaper than a gondola.

Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

The vaporetto dropped us off at the main square, Piazza San Marco. While there are lots of cool things to do there, it was crazy crowded (not that I would have expected much else since it was a Saturday in July). So we quick grabbed a picture of the Bridge of Sighs and then hightailed it out into Venice’s narrow, windey streets.

Venice, Italy

One of my favorite things about Venice was just wandering its streets and exploring the local shops. Carnevale masks were everywhere! There were so many unique ones! Of course we had to try a few on ;). We also window shopped at some other cool shops that sold fountain pens, fresh made pasta, chocolates, glass, and many other Venetian things.

Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

Whenever we could, we tried to walk along the waterways (and in the shade)!

Venice, Italy

After the fact, I learned that this haunting sculpture is actually a call to action to deal with climate change issues Venice is facing.

Venice, Italy

Here’s a view from the Rialto Bridge.

Venice, Italy

By far, the best gelato I’ve had was at this little place called Boutique del Gelato. I could have gone back a few times that day 😍.

Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

Just sitting by the water with gelato in hand was the perfect way to end a day in Venice 👌🏼.

Have you been to Venice before? What should I do on my next visit to “The Floating City”?

Baroña, Galicia, Spain

Galicia, Spain [PHOTO BLOG]

Although Spain wasn’t necessarily high on my list of places to visit — since I was there when I studied abroad — my former coworker (who is from Spain!) happened to be in Europe just as I was arriving. So my fiancé and I took a long weekend over the 4th of July to visit Galicia with the perfect tour guide! Galicia, Spain

We packed a lot into our short weekend there! First, Alberto took us on a hike around his local town that took us all the way back to a waterfall he used to explore when he used to live there.

Galicia, Spain Galicia, Spain Galicia, Spain Galicia, Spain Galicia, SpainGalicia, SpainGalicia, SpainGalicia, SpainGalicia, Spain

And that was just the first morning! That afternoon, we hopped in the car for a little bit of a drive to visit some Celtic ruins. Yea, I had no idea that there were Celtic ruins in Spain. The more you know! We explored the Castro de Baroña, which was built some time around the 1st century BC (according to Wikipedia, at least). It was a very rocky hill fortress — I’d hate to try to scale that wall of rocks to get to the city! Pictures don’t do the sight justice, but this video shows a pretty cool view of Baroña.

Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain

Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain Baroña, Galicia, Spain

That evening, we met up with some of Alberto’s friends for drinks and tapas. Tapas are small dishes that everyone at your table shares, instead of everyone ordering their own meal. It is a great way to try a lot of different things! And boy, did we try a lot of different things. Some of the most notable things were octopus (top right photo) and pig’s ear (bottom right). Those Galicians really don’t like to waste any part of the animal apparently! My personal rule is to at least try everything that’s put in front of me, but that pig’s ear was hard to get down. I couldn’t even tell you what it tasted like — the texture freaked me out way too much! But it was an experience.

Along with trying to speak Spanish, tasting Galician wines and liquors, hearing the Spanish version of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, trying lots of new foods, and all without evening getting ready to go out until 10 or so, it was a perfect end to our already packed first Galician day. 👌🏼 Between the hike earlier, our Celtic adventure, and going out, we walked about 20,000 steps our first day. Needless to say, the next day we spent recovering!Tapas in Galicia, Spain

Alberto’s parents were very gracious to let us stay at their house for our quick trip. And also gave us an unending supply of Galician food! I ate more seafood that I have probably in the last 5 years combined. While I am normally not a huge fan of seafood, everything I had was delicious and tasted so different than what I’ve in the States.

Galicia, Spain

Our second day was a much more relaxed pace — we slept in, ate a lot of food, and hit the beach! It wouldn’t have been a real beach trip with these Galicians if there hadn’t been some beach soccer involved ;).

Galicia, Spain Galicia, Spain

We flew out Monday evening from Santiago de Compostela, so we got a (somewhat) early start on the day and explored Santiago. The main attraction here is the big cathedral that serves as the final point on the pilgrim trail called Camino de Santiago. Although much of the cathedral was under renovations or was being cleaned, we found our way inside along with hundreds of other visitors while a service was going on. In the afternoon, Alberto showed us a quaint Galician place for lunch, and we wandered through the alleys and shops that make up the main part of town.

Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela

My trip to Galicia was very different than when I had visited Madrid a few years ago. It was cool to see a different side to Spain (especially after hearing about it at work for so many years!). We had a great tour guide, and if you are interested in a more off-beat Spain experience, Galicia is a sweet place to explore!

Change of Pace

Change of Pace

It’s been a while since I posted something on here other than a monthly review. So I figured now is the perfect time for a little update.

The first half of my year was crazy. I didn’t really travel anywhere (well, except Florida, cause who doesn’t love the beach, right?), which was way different than what I was saying this time last year. Instead, I was busy working 4-5 jobs, saving up for the next season I knew was coming. I had 4 am wake ups most days and often went right to bed as soon as I got home from teaching another afterwork yoga class or playing soccer. I spent most weekends recovering to get ready to do it all over again.

Let’s just say, I’ve had a little change of pace.

I quit my jobs, packed up my life, and now am hanging out in Europe. And I think I might be going crazy.

Don’t get me wrong. Europe (or Italy more specifically) is great. I adore Europe.

But after being used to the crazy work weeks and the constant “go”, I am not quite sure what to do with myself.

For the first week I was here, I slept — a lot. It was like body realized I didn’t have to keep up insane hours anymore and decided it wanted to catch up on all the sleep it had been gypped of the past few years.

One of my former coworkers happened to be in Spain around the same time I arrived in Europe so after a week of sleeping, my fiancé and I took a long weekend over 4th of July to visit him and see northern Spain. Which was awesome! And you’ll see a blog post on soon. 😉

But after the weekend was over, back in Italy things returned to my normal – which, I wasn’t even sure what that looked like now. I couldn’t drive since I don’t have an automatic car. I’m visiting my fiancé who is stationed here, and he doesn’t live within walking distance of much. To prevent getting cabin fever hardcore, I’m taking all the extra time I now have to focus on things that I’ve been ignoring for quite a while. Like:

  • My personal yoga practice. It can be hard to fit a practice in when you are always the one teaching.
  • Italian. I’m here for now, so might as well try to learn the language, right? Please halp.
  • New skills. Not entirely sure what this will be yet — could be learning new yoga teaching methods, coding, martial arts… any suggestions?
  • Blogging! Tada! Of course, this had to be on the list.

As soon as I get stick shift down, I guarantee I’ll be doing a lot more exploring. Until then, I’m trying to learn how to take things a little more slowly than I’m used to.

P.S. If you have any suggestions for good books or Netflix series, I would love to hear them!

June Reflection

June Reflection (2017)

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
 ― Yvonne Woon

Each month, I set aside time to reflect on the previous month: memorable moments, lessons I learned, how I spent my time, how I’m different, who/what I’m grateful for, improvements for next month, and goals to work toward. I try to be intentional in my personal development, and posting each month is a way to keep me accountable (it’s also built into my favorite planner, which is a nice reminder 😉 ).

THREE LESSONS I LEARNED THIS PAST MONTH:

  • Change is bittersweet — at least big changes often are. As I packed up my life to head to Europe for the next chapter, my emotions ran the whole gamut. At times I felt bad for the “negative” emotions I was feeling since I was moving on to such cool things (I mean, can you really complain about spending time in Italy?). But no one can tell you what you should  or shouldn’t be feeling. It’s okay to feel it all.
  • Patience is a virtue — especially in Italy. My first experience as soon as I landed in Italy taught me how important patience is over here. One of my bags was lost, and I had to wait about an hour to fill out a simple form with my contact info and address for them to deliver my bag once it made it to Venice (turns out it was still in Newark). And there was only one person in line ahead of me. Much to learn while I am here. 😬
  • It’s okay not to know the next step. A lot of people asked me what I planned to do in Italy since I can’t work abroad. And while I had thought about it, I had no real answer. Aside from catching up on sleeping, I really wasn’t sure what I’d be doing. I had to be okay with not knowing just to make it through all the stuff I had to do before I left the States.

Top 3 Highlights of the month:

  • Went to a waterpark with my dad for the day! 🌊
  • Took a chair yoga training at Enso.
  • Arrived in Italy!🇮🇹

What big lessons have you learned over the past month? Share in the comments below!

Kayla's Surprise Bridal Shower 5.13.2017-47

May Reflection (2017)

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
 ― Yvonne Woon

Each month, I set aside time to reflect on the previous month: memorable moments, lessons I learned, how I spent my time, how I’m different, who/what I’m grateful for, improvements for next month, and goals to work toward. I try to be intentional in my personal development, and posting each month is a way to keep me accountable (it’s also built into my favorite planner, which is a nice reminder 😉 ).

THREE LESSONS I LEARNED THIS PAST MONTH:

  • Pursue what you actually want to do and don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut just because that rut is comfortable. An opportunity recently came up at work for training in a field I’ve been interested in getting into. So I took it. Cause why not?
  • Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved strong, kickass women and naturally gravitated toward those sort of movies and books. I never consciously realized that until recently in talking to my fiancé — it was just normal for me. That’s one of the reasons I was super excited for the new Wonder Woman movie. Girls need positive role models who aren’t fluffy characters, but rather self-reliant, badass ladies.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in our own perspective. But healthy relationships require you to seek out the other’s perspective. People need to feel like they are heard in order to be open to listen to what you have to say.

Top 3* Highlights of the month:

  • Paid off my debt! No more car or student loan payment 🤑.
  • Spent a weekend with Joe — it was quick, but every moment is valuable.
  • Booked my ticked to Italy ✈️. In less than three weeks I’ll be peacing out✌🏼.

*and my lovely friends and family threw a surprise bridal shower for me! It was so sweet and perfect 😊.

What big lessons have you learned over the past month? Share in the comments below!

Kayla + Joe Proposal 4.3.2017-78

April Reflection (2017)

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
 ― Yvonne Woon

Each month, I set aside time to reflect on the previous month: memorable moments, lessons I learned, how I spent my time, how I’m different, who/what I’m grateful for, improvements for next month, and goals to work toward. I try to be intentional in my personal development, and posting each month is a way to keep me accountable (it’s also built into my favorite planner, which is a nice reminder 😉 ).

THREE LESSONS I LEARNED THIS PAST MONTH:

  • Forgiveness is always a better choice. Holding onto bitterness and resentment may seem vindicating, but the only one it’s hurting is yourself.  {Ps. 51:10}
  • Take a break from your phone every once and a while — it doesn’t need to be attached to your hip all the time. I went away for a few days and ignored my phone (most of the time). And it was great! It was hard sometimes, but a much needed digital detox that allowed me to be more present with the one I was with.
  • Sometimes you have no option but to trust God. Sure, there are lots of things we can do in life on our own and never have to ask God for help. But for me, circumstances lately are teaching me, sometimes trusting in God and in his plans is the only thing you can do.

Top 3 Highlights of the month:

  • Got engaged! 💍
  • Played laser tag with some of my coworkers from Mexico 🇲🇽 who visited for a week.
  • Caught some rays in Florida ☀️✌🏼.

(A lot happened this month — it was hard to chose! And got more crazy stuff coming in the next couple months…)

What big lessons have you learned over the past month? Share in the comments below!

Hiking at Jim Thorpe

March Reflection (2017)

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
 ― Yvonne Woon

Each month, I set aside time to reflect on the previous month: memorable moments, lessons I learned, how I spent my time, how I’m different, who/what I’m grateful for, improvements for next month, and goals to work toward. I try to be intentional in my personal development, and posting each month is a way to keep me accountable (it’s also built into my favorite planner, which is a nice reminder 😉 ).

THREE LESSONS I LEARNED THIS PAST MONTH:

  • You don’t always need to get your way. While yes, I believe we all have things we should never compromise on, in relationships and friendships, compromise can be a healthy tool. And both people should be willing to work towards it, not just one.
  • Speak up for yourself. (Most likely) People can’t read your mind. How are they going to know what you want if you don’t tell them? Why would they assume otherwise? It’s not selfish to voice your opinions. If you have good friends, they’ll want to hear anyways.
  • “You can do anything, but not everything.” That was a needed reminder this month. In order to meet your goals or honor your values, sometimes you have to let go of other things. You can’t do it all at once.

Top 3 Highlights of the month:

  • Went snowboarding for the first (and last) time all year. 🏂
  • Paid off my car 🙌🏼.
  • Finally got to see my boyfriend after 8 months. 🙃

What big lessons have you learned over the past month? Share in the comments below!