Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review...Sort Of.

 
I could take the time to list out the highlights of 2012,
tell you (again) about the countries I visited,
the food I ate,
the things I experienced.

And that would be fine.
However, seeing as this is a blog and I'm sure many of you have read about that already,
 I'll spare you the repetition this time.

I do want to take the time to say this:
This past year I have pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone,
made new friends and rekindled relationships with old ones,
cried tears of joy to see a nephew born and a best friend married,
fallen deeper in love with my goofball of a husband,
and I've loved every moment of it all. 

2012 has been my happiest year to date. 
But I look forward to making 2013 an even happier one.

Thanks to you for being such a significant part of my life. 
I hope 2013 is your happiest year as well. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in New York


Skirt: H&M (similar here) | Top: Vince Camuto | Belt: H&M | Glasses: DKNY (similar here) | Necklace: H&M (old) | Bag: Forever 21 (similar here) | Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)| Bracelet: OIA Jules |

Yesterday was "Christmas Sunday," at Church. I loved it; from the festive way people dressed to the christmas songs we sang in between talks and lessons.

We are leaving EARLY this morning for New York to spend Christmas with my father's side of the family! Some of my greatest holiday memories were made with my family there in upstate New York and I am so happy and excited to take Steven there to meet everyone and finally put faces and places to all of the stories I've been telling him.

Because we'll be spending Christmas in New York, my mother's side of the family got together to have an early Christmas dinner, celebrate together and open gifts! I was shocked and elated and over the moon when I opened a present and inside was a CANON 5D MARK II! 

I am so excited. I just - there are no words for how excited I am.

That being said, I am selling my Canon 1000d and Sigma 18-200mm lens! The Canon 1000d was
purchased about a year ago brand new. There are a few surface scratches but it is otherwise in perfect condition. The Sigma 18-200mm is a great, versatile lens that was perfect for my travel photography. I'm only parting with it because it is not compatible with my new, full-frame camera body.

Canon 1000d with Sigma 18-200mm lens
The Canon 1000d retails (new) on Amazon for $500. The Sigma 18-200mm can be found used on Amazon from anywhere between $300 and $400.

I am selling both together for $500! That includes a case, camera charger, and a 8GB SD memory card.  (AWESOME DEAL) Please email me at Darylnicole@gmail.com if you are interested. First come, first served.

I wish you all a very happy holidays. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

What to Expect on the New Blog


Hi everyone. As I announced earlier this week, there will be some big changes on this here blog in just a few weeks time.

There will be:

  • a new blog name
  • a new design
  • a new website domain name.
I'm really excited about all of these changes. A few people have expressed their concern (through emails and in the survey offered last week) that changing so much could be a really bad decision that will cost me a lot of readers. While the second part of that statement may be true, I still feel like this is the right choice. Even if my numbers drop at first, my blog will be a better representation of me and what I want to put out there. I figure readers will sense that as well and readership will hopefully actually increase after the initial shock is over.

But the truth is I don't really know. We'll see what happens.

SO. Here is what you should expect out of the new blog:
  • Travel posts. My blog will always be a travel blog, no matter where I'm living. As I study up and work on improving my writing I'll be working on creating useful articles to help hopeful/potential travelers in addition to my normal travel posts.
  • Fashion posts. On the survey readers were pretty divided about this. Some love outfit posts and some aren't interested at all. Because it was so split I knew I had to just go with my gut and do what I felt was right. I love fashion. I believe it should be affordable and accessible and I want to write more about creating great looks for very low prices.
  • Food posts. One of my goals for 2013 is to study food photography and learn what I can. Food is one of my biggest passions - I love the way it is influenced by culture and travel and let's face it, life is better with good food. In 2013 I'm hoping to bring a lot of high-quality food posts to the table with recipes, videos and good photography.
  • Super awesome giveaways. Especially at the beginning. I'm planning on hosting several H-U-G-E giveaways the first week to jumpstart the relaunch and thank you all for your support.
  • New sponsorship policies.  I want to work really hard after the blog launch to make sure blog sponsors feel well taken care of and happy with their purchase. I will be reforming all of the sponsorship terms, ad sizes, etc; in a way that will offer sponsors the most bang for their buck. I'm so grateful for sponsors and they deserve the best.
  • NEW PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG. That's right. I've been pondering on this for a while and it seemed like this was absolutely the right time to just go for it. This second blog will showcase my portrait/couples/family/wedding photography as well as my creative photography adventures.
I want to thank you all for your love and support. I am SO EXCITED for the new adventures ahead and can't wait to bring you along with me.

Things will be slowing down around here from now until the blog relaunches in early January. I will be focusing my time on preparing for the launch as well as enjoying the holidays with my family.
 
I wish you all a very happy holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Mission

 
 
Our final day in San Francisco was spent in the Mission District. I needed to find fabric to make a bridesmaid's dress for a friend's wedding, and the huge fabric outlet in the Mission turned out to be the perfect place. After finding the fabric I needed, my mom and I wandered the streets for a while. There was plenty of street art and cool buildings to keep we tourists interested.
 

We stopped for lunch at La Taqueria, enabling my addiction to Mexican food. The man working the cash register was hilarious and seemed to have something to say about everybody and everything. It was a great, authentically Mexican eating experience which I would recommend to anyone.


Other cool places in/around the Mission:

  • Dog Eared Books - Very cool new and used bookstore we happened accross on Valencia. I hung out in their travel/adventure section for the better part of 45 minutes. They also had a section based on food related travel (recipes from around the world, etc;.) I just about died and considered buying out the whole section. My wallet thanks me for refraining.
 
  • F.S.C. Barber - All I could think about when looking around this place is how much Steven would have loved it. He's very into the old world gentleman thing, and in addition to being a very cool barber shop, this place had a great selection of men's skincare, hair care (and yes, beard-care) products that would have made The Art of Manliness proud.
  •  
  • The Buffalo Exchange - Thrift store with great stuff. I'm used to shopping at their Los Angeles and Ventura locations, so when I saw that they had a store in the Mission I was elated. I picked up a pair of Free People Corderoys for $16! In the past at buffalo exchange I've found J.Crew sweaters, J.Brand jeans and other amazing top brands for a fraction of the cost.
 
How do you like the Mission? What's your favorite San Francisco neighborhood?
     

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Day in Berlin



I have been obsessed with Ashley and her blog for quite some time, so you can imagine that I was ecstatic when I found out that I had one her giveaway for a free couple's session. At the time I was in Frankfurt and she was in Berlin, so we figured sometime in the coming months our schedules would allow us to be in the same place for a shoot.

Then we found out Steven's visa had processed and everything changed. Our estimated time in Germany shortened from a few more months to a few more weeks.

Since we were driving down to Frankfurt from Denmark in November anyway, Steven and I decided to take a detour to Berlin and have a photoshoot with Ashley. She is the sweetest, most talented person and it was so wonderful to have met her.  These are the photos she took of Steven and I all over Berlin.


 Thank you Ashley for the memorable day and photos/memories that will last forever.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Foodie Adventures in San Francisco


Following my return the to good old US of A, my mother and I decided to hop on a plane and head up to San Francisco for the weekend. I hadn't been in years and since both Steven and my father wouldn't be in town until the following week, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a girl's weekend.

A girl's foodie weekend, that is.

Before anything else is said, I have to extend an extremely warm thank you to Nicole, who wrote me a wonderfully long email with lots of tips and reccommendations for the city. I went to many of the places on her list and have to say: WOW! So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco soon, I definitely recommend taking a look at her blog and saying hello.

Foodie Destination #1: Ferry Building Farmers Market
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
{Website here}
 

 We arrived into San Francisco around 10 AM and were settling into our hotel around 11, so we decided to head down to the San Francisco Ferry Building to check out the farmer's market and find lunch. They had a great selection of stands both inside and outside. My mom (who eats gluten-free) loved that there was a gluten-free bakery stall there and I have to say the pumpkin muffins there were DELICIOUS. Definitely made her morning.

When perusing the outdoor stands we saw that there was a really long line for something, though we didn't know what it was for. My father (who passed down his foodie and traveling genes to me) always says that if you see a long line for something food related, whatever the line is for is worth the wait so you should get in it. So we did. At the end of the line was delicious mexican food which we got to eat sitting on wooden benches looking out at the bay bridge.
 
Foodie Destination #2: Lucca Italian Market
1100 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California 94110
{Website here}

 
We stumbled on this little italian market while wandering Valencia street near the Mission District. From an outside window you could look in to see a man making tortelinni by hand. Inside the varieties of meats, cheeses and italian snacks took me right back to the time I spent in Tuscany earlier this year. I can totally imagine myself in a few years coming home to a shoebox San Francisco apartment with an arm full of groceries from this lovely little place.
 
 

Foodie Destination #3: NOPA
560 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, California 94117
{Website here}


 

After reading a few reviews on NOPA I knew it was a place we had to eat at. I also read that it was pretty difficult to get a reservation and the walk-in wait could sometimes be over two hours. So, weeks before the weekend itself I checked out reservations on OpenTable and, sure enough, there were absolutely no tables open for dinner the entire weekend we were there (or the week after, mind you.) On a whim, I checked the availability for brunch and saw that there was only ONE table left! Snagged it, and it was definitely worth it.

Other places we ate at but didn't document photographically:
 
Wayfare Tavern: Oddly placed in the financial district but a five minute walk from our hotel. It has the feeling of an English pub while still being romantic and modern. Ordered the burger - I almost cried tears of joy, it was that good.

B44: Delicous Spanish (Catalan) Tapas Restaurant. We found this place by accident after stopping in this beyond adorable little alleyway filled with restaurants. My mom and I both loved the Catalan food we had in Barcelona so we knew this was a must. Loved everything about the scenery and my Paella was just perfect. The fact that we were wedged in a little alleyway with market lights overhead on a warm night made me feel like I was in Spain all over again.

La Taqueria: Actually, I did take pictures of this place. I just thought that it (and the mission district in general) deserved its own blog post. So, stay tuned for that.
 
Places we didn't eat at but would have if we had unlimited time and money:

Foreign Cinema
Tony's Pizza
Roam Artisan Burgers

I'm feeling fat just thinking about all of this good food. Do you have any favorites in San Francisco? DO SHARE!




Friday, December 14, 2012

Being Back.


Oh Mexican food. It is so good to be home.


Many people have been asking me how the adjustment has been going from German life to an American one.

Is there culture shock?
 Do I miss it?
Where would I rather live?

These questions have become pretty normal around these parts lately, so I'd thought I'd take the time to answer.

An international move will always require adjusting, whether moving somewhere completely new or back to somewhere familiar after being away for a while. For the most part these adjustments are small; different placement of wall outlets and light switches, getting used to handling American money again, etc;.

Some adjustments are much larger. I married Steven at eighteen years old and immediately moved to Europe, so essentially my entire adult life has been spent in another country. Coming back to the states, I realize I know nothing about American tax laws, insurance policies or even what a normal montly utility bill should cost. I'm pretty familiar with all of these things in Germany, but the US is a completely different story.

Do I miss it over there? Yes, but not in the way I thought I would. I miss Steven's family the most. From the very beginning they have made me feel like one of their own and I'm so grateful to have been able to spend two years with them in Germany - now it's hard to be without them.

I thought that moving back to the states would mean giving up constant and/or frequent travel, so I was very anxious that a few months here would have me going stir crazy. It turns out I don't need to worry about this at all; after mapping out the next several months it's become clear that Steven and I will be traveling a lot within the US. We live in a beautiful country that I truly haven't seen much of and I am so excited to begin discovering it with my foreign Husband. Seeing things through his eyes makes my country so much more beautiful.

Life is very busy right now, which believe it or not I think has made the transition easier since I have absolutely no time to sit around and be sad about it. In the next few weeks both of my best friends will be getting married and I am involved in the planning of their bridal showers/bachelorette parties/weddings. I've only been back about a week and I've already spent three days in San Francisco, a day in Los Angeles and a day in San Diego!  (phew!) On top of all that I am taking finals for my online classes, looking for employment and readying our new little apartment.

Things are stressful, yes, but it's the good kind of stressful where you feel productive and successful for accomplishing your tasks and goals and somehow managing it all.

We are so happy to be back and I am ready for the adventures in store for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Big Announcement/Blog Survey (Win $50 to Starbucks!)


I have a very big announcement to make: In January, my blog will be relaunching. 

There will be a new design, website URL and, even scarier, a completely new blog name. 

This was a decision I reached after a lot of thought and deliberation: I know it's risky to change your blog's name, but in the end I feel like it's the right choice that will help me accomplish what I want to accomplish with this here piece of virtual space.  While I love my blog's title and what it represents, it is really long. Long, and kind of hard to say. Even harder to come up with a website URL for.

So it's time for a change.

I will be talking more about these changes in the coming weeks. For now, I've created a little survey to help give me an idea of what you like, what you hate, what works and what doesn't. It's very short and won't take you much more than five minutes. You can complete it anonymously so I highly encourage honest, thoughtful answers! Constructive critisism is much appreciated, however let's keep things civil and appropriate, shall we?

To add an extra incentive, I've decided that everyone who completes the survey will be entered to win a $50 starbucks gift card! That's a lot of peppermint hot chocolate, my friends. Simply plug your information into the rafflecopter gadget after completing the survey.


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best Wife Award

| Coat: Nine West Outerwear | Blouse: Anthropologie | Jeans: Free People (old - but similar style here) | Boots: Kohls| Bag: Aldo |

Things have been CRAZY since returning from San Francisco.
We got in Monday night very late and I immediately passed out from exhaustion.
Tuesday involved me running around like a chicken with its head cut off preparing our little apartment for when my husband flew into Los Angeles later that day.
Due to a misunderstanding (Read: My own stupidity) he ended up waiting for me at the airport for over an hour.
I obviously deserve the best wife award.

Monday, December 10, 2012

San Fran


As you are reading this I am enjoying my last day in San Francisco.
LOVE this city!
It is so fabulous it actually makes me consider somewhere other than Southern California as a permanent home. I mean, it's still in California so that counts for something, right?

Here are some lovely ladies I really think you ought to meet.
---
Danica is adorable.
Her blog is full of sweetness & optimism,
and I love looking at the styleboards she puts together!



Hi everyone! My name is Danica and I blog over on goodheart.
I'm a twenty-something girl from Texas, now living in Portland, Oregon. 
I love fashion, travel, photography, and chai tea lattes. 
Seriously, chai tea lattes are the best.


---

Lena lives in one of my favorite places,
totally rocks colored jeans
and has super adorable children that make my little girlish heart expand to the full width of my chest.
She also takes rockin' photos. What's not to love?




Fashion-loving, photo-taking, 30-something wife & mom of 2!  Happily blogging from a small town in Quebec, Canada... I can't cook and I don't make pretty things, but my kids are cute & our life can be pretty entertaining!

blog  facebook  twitter

--

Now that I'm living in America, you probably need someone else to live vicariously through.
Well, I found that person. Casey is American and lives in Germany just like I did! Check out her blog to read about her awesome travels and life with a super-cute hubby.






Hi there Roots & Wings readers! I'm Casey…an Air Force wife and transplanted Southern girl living a life of adventure abroad in beautiful Germany! I write about my life as an expat…the good, the bad, and the funny. I'm addicted to reality TV, social media, interior decorating, good food & wine, traveling, and my adorable fur-baby, Tucker. All of which are frequent topics on my blog. So, pull up a chair and stay awhile! I'd love to get to know you!


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