Day Trips from Ramstein, Germany

20180811_143657
Maastricht, Netherlands

Hey guys! Happy second day of spring! I am so excited! I actually need it the sun right now. Ya girl is starving for some sunshine and 70 degree weather, but we can hold off on that sweltering German heat wave that we all know is coming. Alas, I am ready for all the things that spring and summer entail (i.e. day trips and village festivals). So what better way to get pumped up for a few of my favorite things than to share with you guys some of my favorite places to travel (within a reasonable distance). Don’t forget, I always link the websites to the places I mention at the end of blog, so feel free to check out the links if you want some more info. So first things first, lets start with the places closest to Ramstein and then we will work our way up to the trips that require a little more time.

Homburg (23 Minutes from Ramstein Air Base)

Alright, alright. I know I am going to get a lot of flack for mentioning Homburg as a “day trip” but hear me out: Homburg has a lot to offer and honestly I like some of my day trips to not be jam packed full of a million things to do. So what should you do there? Well, leave Ramstein close to lunch time and stop in at Yedo for some yummy sushi. Seriously, it’s the best. Also right across the street is a delicious gelato cafe called Gelat!oh. I had the equivalent of a strawberry sundae and Andrew got Tiramisu. Andrew’s coworker said it is the best gelato he has had outside of Italy. I haven’t been to Italy yet, but I don’t he is lying! Afterwards, if you are down for a little bit of a hike, I have the perfect recommendation for getting a view of the city.

20190317_153332

Check out Schlossberghöhlen! Once you get to the parking area, it has some great views of the city, castle ruins, and even some caves you can walk through. Sadly, we didn’t make it in time to check out the caves, but the views of the city and the Hohenberg castle ruins was worth the hike up the hill to me! Which brings me to my next point, if you are like Andrew and I and decide to walk up to the castle from Yedo, be prepared for those inclines! If inclines aren’t your thing, there is also some parking available near the hotel by Schlossberghöhlen. So that it an option as well! After we finished with the castle, we made our way back down to the town square and walked around to the different shops and window shopped.

20181117_193933
Ran out time before making it down to Schlossberghöhlen, but the Hohenberg ruins were quite the treat!

Not into castle ruins? No worries! Karlsberg brewery is located right next to Homburg. They weren’t offering brewery tours when we visited, but we also enjoyed just walking around the outside of the plant and check out some of the statues and art work. Check out their website and watch to see when they will bring back the brewery tours! I know Andrew and I have talked about revisiting the plant once tours are available again.

20181117_111937

 

Mannheim (58 Minutes from Ramstein Air Base)

Moving on to a more “industrial city” and the last day trip Andrew and I took, Mannheim! Alright full disclosure: we didn’t eat in Mannhiem. We actually only went to a park there simply because we got a little bit of a later start to the day than what we hoped for, but the show must go on! So I 100% recommend going to Mannhiem on a beautiful day and leaving around lunch time. First I would stop in the amazingly huge Luisenpark. This place is insane! Andrew and I spent a couple of hours here and didn’t even see the entire park. Honestly my favorite part was lounging in the sun in the lounge chairs spread out through the park.

Afterwards, we just went back home and had dinner at a restaurant close to Ramstein village. If you are interested in spending more time in Mannhiem, I suggest checking out the local shopping district and doing some research on places to grab a bite to eat before heading home.  

 

Heidelberg (1 Hour and 11 Minutes from Ramstein Air Base)

One of my favorite day trips probably has to be to Heidelberg. There is so much to see and do that honestly, it is difficult to fit it all into one day. Andrew and I actually got here around lunch time on a rainy day and spent a good chuck of time just walking around and exploring the different shops on the main streets of the town square. We didn’t make it to the Heidelberg castle, but I managed to snag a picture.

20181110_134155
Heidelberg castle

Our (mainly mine, but Andrew loves me and just tags along) pit stops were the local yarn store, LUSH, Antiquariat Hatry (a used bookstore that has multiple levels), and Amarino (the flower gelato place that I am obsessed with for some reason). We also purchased homemade gummy bears from a local shop and had a schneeball pastry (a treat that is honestly so complex, but tasty). After walking around the square some more and visiting Old Bridge, we decided to have a traditional German meal at Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus.

20181110_160759
Books, book, books! Everywhere!

Y’all, Andrew picked out this particular restaurant and I am so happy he did. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting and the menu has something for everyone! I opted for the white pork sausages and pretzel, while Andrew got I believe it was called the farmer’s platter. Both of our meals were incredible. Andrew’s meal (a hash mixed with blood sausage and pork sausage) was possibly the greatest thing I’ve had since moving to Germany.  The beer there is also amazing! I highly recommend if you are in Heidelberg, you have to try this place!

Maastricht, Netherlands (3 Hours from Ramstein Air Base)

Last, but for not least, is an interesting little town in the Netherlands. Andrew and I stumbled upon this place all because of a bookstore that Andrew discovered through some research. I will be honest, I can’t recommend places to eat in Maastricht. We had lunch and dinner there, but both places were just okay. I wouldn’t really recommend them, so I’ll instead share with you some of the places to visit!

We first stopped in Boekhandel Dominicanen. It is an old church that has been transformed into a bookstore and cafe. This place was insane! Andrew and I took our time here just browsing the book selection (they have books in English) and adoring the bookshelves effortlessly melting into the church’s arches. There is lovely cafe towards the back and also a record section on the top level. If you aren’t in the mood to purchase a book, I highly recommend you just stop in and witness probably the coolest bookstore you’ll see in your entire life.

20180811_130919

The last place we visited was the Bonnefantenmuseum. It is an unique art museum that was honestly something I have never experienced before. At one point, Andrew and I were in a domed ceiling room, laying on ginormous bean bags with strangers, staring at the hypnotic paintings splashed across the ceiling, and listening to calming music piped in from an unknown source. It was one of those “cool, but you had to be there to understand” moments. We could have spent hours in here. The museum has a mixture of contemporary and traditional art, so a little bit of something for everyone. The entrance fee was small, but the impact of this place is huge!

20180811_155625
One of my favourite pieces from the museum. It was all about the impact of the textile industry.

That’s all I got today y’all. I may update this blog with more trips as we take them. Where are your favorite places to take day trips? I am going to write a blog soon about some of my favorite places to visit in the South, so keep your eyes peeled!

Links to Websites

Yedo – http://yedo-sushi.de/

Gelat!oh instagram page -https://www.instagram.com/gelatoh.homburg/

Schlossberghöhlen – https://www.homburger-schlossberghoehlen.de/

Karlsberg brewery – https://karlsberg.de/

Luisenpark – https://www.luisenpark.de/

Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus – https://www.brauhaus-vetter.de/en

Boekhandel Dominicanen – https://www.libris.nl/dominicanen/history-of-bookshop-dominicanen/

Bonnefantenmuseum – https://www.bonnefanten.nl/en/

Advertisements

A Week in Prague, Czech Republic

20181225_185722

Hey y’all! I am back and ready to hit you with the details of our Christmas adventure in Prague. Better late than never, right? Anyways, I am going to switch up the style of this travel blog a little bit. Instead of giving you a play by play of our week, I am just going to hit the high points for each category (food, entertainment, tips) since that’s probably why you are here. So let’s jump right in!

Food

I am so hyped to talk about the best food we had in Prague. We had some tasty traditional Czech food, yummy craft beer and burgers, and quite possibly the best burrito I’ve had since moving to Europe. So where should you go?

Well first I would suggest Havelská Koruna. Be prepared to dive into some yummy Czech food that is insanely cheap. Andrew and I had a meat, side, dumping, and large Czech beer for around 7 euro each. This place is so close to the main square and offers a large, cozy seating section. Yes, it “cafeteria style,” but I promise you the food is spot on. Andrew and I actually went back for a second meal here, but sadly they were closed for the Christmas holiday.

Next on my list would be Fat Cat. I know, I know. Burgers…in the Czech Republic? I promise you that you won’t think I am crazy after you stop in and have a beer of their homemade beer and huge burgers. The atmosphere is chill and the staff is great! Andrew and I stopped here three times (we know what we like, what can I say?). We only actually ate here once, but stopped in for drinks the other two times. I can honestly say cherry beer might be a new thing I try from now on thanks to Fat Cat. If you are walking around the main square and want to pop into a nearby place that offers good food, craft beers, and good vibes, then you need to stop in the Fat Cat.

Lastly, I have to mention Cantina. Y’all, I know you probably don’t want Mexican food while spending your vacation in Europe, but Andrew and I have been deprived of good Mexican food for too long. First things first, make sure you have a reservation! This is kind of a given for any restaurant in Europe, but Cantina was slammed even during the early lunch hours. Honestly, I could go on forever about the burrito and margarita I had, but I won’t. Just take it from me that everything tasted delightful and I honestly would have eaten there 30 more times if I could.

Honorable mentions: Vinárna Puškin (traditional Czech Christmas meal) and Norbert’s Donuts (yummy hot apple cider and creative doughnuts)

Side note: Y’all don’t go to Prague and get the chimney cakes (pictured below). They taste fine, but, in my opinion, they are not worth the money (also it’s not a traditional Czech food).

20181221_192542

Things You Must Do

So now you know where to eat! I am hoping you didn’t come all the way to Prague just to eat though. Andrew and I were lucky enough to spend Christmas in Prague. He was insistent that we go to one Christmas concert during our stay. Of course I didn’t fight him on this (two high school band nerds here), but holy moly was it a task to pick which concert to go to! We ended up going to a wonderful concert in the Mirror Chapel. I seriously felt like we were transported back to a different century as soon as we stepped in. Pictures (below) do not do this place justice! The concert was lovely and the memories are something I’ll carry forever. Speaking of the Mirror Chapel, if you’re in that area you might want to check out Clementinum.

20181225_224412

Okay so prepare yourself because the Clementinum is something that I would do a million times, if I could. When you visit the historic building you get to see the Baroque Library Hall, The Meridian Hall, and the Astronomical tower. My favorite parts were of course the Baroque and the tower. Fair warning: you have to climb some steep, narrow steps to reach the top of the Astronomical tower. The view of Prague is worth it though (pictured at the very beginning of this blog). After you hit up these sights, give your wallet a break and head over to Old Town Square.

Andrew and I spent a good chunk of time in Old Town Square. It’s large, but nothing too intimidating if you have already gotten your Christmas Market feet wet at a previous market. Since it was Christmas time, the square was bursting with booths featuring crafts, food, and treats. Andrew and I loved walking around and looking at the variety of crafts while drinking hot apple cider. We also stopped by the stage and listened to some traditional Czech Christmas carols as snowflakes danced above our heads.

Honorable mentions: Charles Bridge and Astronomical Clock (pictured below)

20181221_200023

Tips

Alright some of these go without saying, but y’all some times you just need a reminder. Keep an eye on your stuff. I won’t go into details, but wearing your cross-body purse in front of you at all times and holding onto it while walking through big crowds is some times not enough. Only take whatever you’ll NEED that day with you when you head out. Lastly, try and blend in or at the very least, don’t stand out. Don’t make yourself a target by wearing something with “USA” written across it or wearing all designer brands.

The next thing I would be aware of is the city of Prague, like other major cities, has its fair share of tourist traps. If you do a quick Google search and look up Prague travel tips on YouTube (please check out Honest Guide), then you’ll see most of the stuff I am talking about. Basically, just be smart! You’ll be able to sniff them out.

20181225_223847

One last thing, don’t be afraid to venture off somewhere that the locals enjoy! Yes, we went to some of the more “touristy things” (like the John Lennon Wall pictured above), but we also went to a local cat cafe and hockey game. Are these going to be listed on every Prague travel guide? Most likely not because these spots are usually frequented by the locals.  Were they both fun and also not insanely expensive? Yes! I 100% recommend getting semi-lost in the city. Take a train somewhere not crawling with tourist and find something cool that not everyone and brother goes to when they visit Prague. I promise you won’t regret it.

Well, that about wraps it up for this blog post guys! Sorry it took me forever to get around to this particular post. Life got a little crazy (refer to Flirting Death blog post if you are little confused), but I am trying to get back into the swing of things! Andrew and I are planning on going to Ireland in a few months (I am so excited!) and then hopefully we are going to have some visitors from the states this summer. Anyone got some super cool super summer plans? Leave me a comment below!

Links to Websites

Havelská Koruna -http://www.havelska-koruna.cz/

Fat Cat Brewery and Pubhttps://www.fat-cat.cz/

Vinárna Puškin – www.vinarnapuskin.cz/
Clementinum and Mirror Chapelhttps://www.pragueticketoffice.com/en/

Not Getting Your Dream Job and Flirting with Death

20181222_124023

Wow. Hello! I kind of fell off the face of the universe for a second. Why? Well. The holidays were slightly chaotic because of our trip to the Czech Republic, but I also started substitute teaching at a local high school and the day before our trip I interviewed for a full time position at a different high school. Judging by the title of this blog, I am sure you can figure out that I did not get the job. Oh, and then there was the whole blood clot thing, but more of that later.

So what happened with the job? Well I got a call at 8 in morning and was asked how soon I could come in for an interview. I said, “Today.” I knew the circumstance as to why the school was looking for a new teacher and I knew they were in a time crunch. My interview was at 2 that afternoon. So I jumped out of bed and immediately began building my teaching portfolio. This was my first real job interview and I was determined to make an impression. After printing off a 27 page portfolio that I felt depicted my teaching experience, I ran and threw on interview clothes. I didn’t even know what grade I was interviewing for at this point, but I honestly didn’t care. I just knew I wanted to teach.

I drove to the store to grab a binder and page protectors. I felt like an author putting the finishing touches on their first masterpiece. This was my only chance to put my money where my mouth is since I do not have any teaching experience outside of internship and practicum. I grabbed a protein bar and water for lunch because I knew I was too nervous (and excited) to actually eat a real meal.

I walked into my interview, smiled, and answered the questions the best I could. I found out at the beginning of the interview that the job was for a 12th grade position
(one of the grades that I have always wanted). The principal told me it would be a few weeks before I would hear either way since the holidays were right around the corner. Overall, I felt okay about it. I knew I could have done better, but I also knew that it could have gone a lot worse. I walked out of the building and drove home.

Three weeks later and I sat in our home office and told Andrew I was sure I didn’t get the job and I was at peace with the decision. I had subbed multiple days at the other high school and began building relationships with those students. I just had a feeling it wasn’t my time to leave this high school. That night I got an email. I opened the email. “You have not been selected for the job. Good day.” I deleted it. Andrew and I were in the middle of cooking dinner and I didn’t want to tell him right that second.

We were almost finished cooking and I could feel the words of the email sticking in my throat. I just blurted out, “I got the email and I didn’t get the job.” Instant relief. He looked at me and I think he was waiting to see the next words out of my mouth, but I continued to stir the Chicken Tortilla soup in the pot and looked at him and smiled. I then said, “It’s okay, it wasn’t meant to be. My classroom and kids are out there somewhere.” Andrew comforted me and said I was right.

Fast forward three weeks later, I was struggling to get dressed due to swelling and pain in my calf. Andrew and I had just started regularly attending the gym and we both thought I had just overworked my leg. After five days, I had trouble walking up stairs or putting weight on my leg for an extended period of time. It was in the back of my mind that I may have a blood clot in leg, but at the same time I thought I was overacting and probably wasting everyone’s time.

I drove myself to the emergency room after work one day and refused to let Andrew leave work to come sit in the dimly lit waiting room just to receive news from the doctor that I was fine. After being taken into the main area of the emergency room and having an  ultrasound on my leg, it was confirmed that I had a blood clot in my left leg that was pretty intense. The doctor told me I was lucky I didn’t throw the clot to my lungs or else I could have died.

I sat on the hospital bed alone. I shook my head and acknowledged my discharge treatment before gathering my things. I ensured the doctor that I would tell my husband everything so he could help me if something happened in the next few days. That was the worst part though. I told Andrew that I needed him to help keep an eye on me the next few days as I started my medication. I was at risk for having a stroke or pulmonary embolism for the first few days after starting my medicine because it takes time for the blood to thin. That whole, “in sickness and in health” got put to the test and he was rockstar the entire time. I swear I am insanely lucky to even know this dude, let alone do this whole “life” thing with him.

Anyways, how did this happen? Well the doctors are saying that it was partially a random incident, but also potentially due a medication I was taking (cause we all know you may be thinking, “Girl it’s cause you are fat!”) It was actually my birth control, so y’all haters can just take a seat now. Haha. Anyways, always read you the risks associated with your medicine and consult a doctor if you are concerned with the side effects.

Here I am two weeks later and a thousand times better. I have to remain on my blood thinning medication for about two more months, just as a precaution. Other than that, its is the usual: listening to trap music, work,  and laughing at memes with Andrew.

572a6424
Photo credit: Frau Photography

So. What’s next? You know, I don’t really know. All I know is that I am happy and at peace with life right now. Andrew, family, and friends have been great and supportive throughout this whole ordeal. That’s all that really matters to me at this moment.

I’ll end this blog on this note: if you didn’t get the job it doesn’t mean you suck at your career field. It just means they were looking for someone else. Hold your head high, reflect on the experience, grow from it, and get back out there. I know that I learned a lot from my interview and now I have another copy of my teaching portfolio ready to go for another job interview. Also, listen to your body. I had a creeping suspicion that I had a blood clot, but didn’t want to “overreact” and make a big deal. Yeah, don’t do that. Always get a second opinion from a medical professional.

In other news, the Prague blog will be up on my blog really soon! I just wanted to give you guys a quick update on why I was gone for so long. No worries, ya girl is just fine. 🙂

Planning the Ultimate Vacation

pexels-photo-1051075.jpeg

Hey guys! It is officially the Christmas season and we all know that means everyone is planning vacations either for the holidays or the upcoming new year. I decided to go ahead and create a blog that would share some tips on ways to save time, money, and you sanity when planning your next holiday excursion. I’ll try to keep things general since I know some people may be planning a family vacation while others are looking for some tips to save some cash on their honeymoon. So buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride!

Book Ahead

I can’t stress booking ahead enough. The closer you get to your planned travel dates, the chances of not finding what you a looking become a greater risk. I suggest traveling to your destination in the off-season (what is the off-season in the destination you are traveling to? Google it!) if you want to not risk putting out money months ahead of time or rolling out the big bucks if you book a month or two ahead of time.

Here is a recent example where Andrew and I have learned the hard way about booking ahead: St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Andrew and I want to go to Ireland so bad! I have some Irish blood in me and my birthday falls on March 17th (yes, it’s the best), so naturally we really wanted to travel to Dublin during my birthday weekend. After looking at Airbnb 6 months in advance and seeing that most places were already booked or outrageously expensive, we have decided to more than likely delay our trip till some time in April. You live and you learn.

Sometimes you can swing a good deal during peak season, though. Andrew and I managed to snag a cozy apartment in Prague that is a twenty minute walk from Old Town Square during the week of Christmas. Was it stressful? Yes. Was it a hassle? Yes. Did we get the place we originally wanted? No. Are we going to still enjoy our trip? Yes ma’am we are. So consider your dates that you are traveling, what type of experiences you want to have at your destination, and if you are willing to be flexible to save some cash in the long run. These three simple steps will help you every time you plan a trip!

pexels-photo-408503.jpeg
Photo by slon_dot_pics on Pexels.com

Check Yo Self (and Prices)

Possibly one of my favorite tips. Why? Simply because so many people overpay for travel, lodging, experiences, and whatever else because they failed to do some simple Google searches. Please don’t be this person! One of my favorite things to do when planning a trip is to make a list with four categories: travel, lodging, experiences, and food. I will then add places (or modes of travel) to each category as well as an estimate of how much it will cost.

Why do I do this? Let me give you an example: Andrew and I are staying a twenty minute walk from Old Town Square when we travel to Prague. Why not just stay at the apartments that were still available five minutes from Old Town? Well, those were $50 more a night and smaller. Andrew and I have a public transit stop steps from our front door at the place we are staying. Public transit is very affordable in Prague. When you crunch the numbers, it just made more sense to me to stay at the apartment we booked instead of paying way more money to be fifteen minutes closer.

Make sure you crunch you number multiple times, overestimate how much you think you’ll spend, and weigh out your options. I can personally say that I will recalculate numbers a few times to ensure that I have the correct total so then that way there are no surprises. This is also why I tend to overestimate how much we will spend on vacation instead of underestimate. We always walk away from a vacation with money left over and that is completely fine! Lastly, be honest with yourself and what you are willing to do on your vacation. Maybe you would rather pay more for an Airbnb because you hate public transportation. That’s perfectly fine! It is is you vacation. Plan in how you want.

Plan, Plan, Plan

This should go without saying, but based off of some travel stories I’ve heard recently…I think some people may need a quick refresh on planning for a vacation. The one thing you need to plan for is the weather! I can’t count on one hand how many times people have posted on social media that they are taking a spontaneous trip to the beach, only to get there in the middle of a thunderstorm or hurricane. So be smart and check the weather for your destination at least a week ahead of time! You may have to be like Andrew and I and invest in a good winter coat. Make these purchases a soon as possible so you don’t have any surprise last minute expenses before your big trip!

Another important thing to plan for are accidents. Hopefully no one gets hurt on your vacation, but life happens. Check ahead and see where the closest hospital or urgent care is located from your destination. Also jot down the numbers for local law enforcement and emergency services. If you are traveling to a different country, this is an important step because their emergency services numbers are more than likely different than those of your home country.

pexels-photo-119777.jpeg
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Pack Light

Now that you have your placed booked, requested off work, and set up for a dog sitter to come by, it’s time to pack your stuff and head out on the road! Honestly, when packing my bags I tend to over pack. It has been the hardest habit for me to break. Your girl likes to have multiple cute outfits, you know? Anyways, it is important to not over stuff your bag so you can avoid extra baggage fees, have room for goodies to bring home from you vacation, and to not absolutely kill yourself dragging that luggage up the stairs to your Airbnb/hotel. Fun fact: elevators are not as common in Europe as they are in the states. So dragging bags through the streets and then up many flights of stairs is exhausting.

Don’t pack three extra outfits. You probably won’t wear them. I would say it is safe to pack one back up outfit, just in case of an emergency.

Set a Budget

This one is pretty simple: don’t blow your life savings while on your vacation. Andrew and I are very particular about what we are willingly to drop money on while visiting another area of Europe. We skip the t-shirts, key chains, and souvenirs. We prefer to pay for experiences like visiting museums, local shops, and restaurants. Honestly though, you can do whatever you want. Am I saying not to buy a $15 t-shirt and instead buy a $15 cup of coffee? Nope. I am simply saying that we avoid buying the touristy things because usually they aren’t locally made and tend to be overpriced.

Be Safe

Finally, please be safe. One thing Andrew and I do is google common scams that occur in our vacation destination before we go. Is this going to prepare you for every single type of scam out there? Nope. Although, it will probably help you spot some in the long run. Andrew and I have had people borderline harass us to donate money to their “charity” and I have heard people buying “train tickets” from people with appear to look legit and then they find out the tickets aren’t valid.

Recently we found out while traveling to a certain city, we needed to avoid the taxis in the main square because they tend to charge more than they are suppose to. Guys, I can’t stress this enough: if you get a bad vibe then follow your gut. You don’t have to be rude, but simply tell them, “No thank you,” and walk away. Always stay with your group or if you are traveling alone, make sure you send a general itinerary to a person you trust!

pexels-photo-297755.jpeg

 

Alright guys, that’s it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any tip you want to share, please feel free to drop them in the comment section! I am working on my day trips from Ramstein blog and hope to have it completed soon. Let me know what else you want to see from me! 🙂

Transitioning Into Military Spouse Life

pexels-photo-794576.jpeg
Photo by Wyatt on Pexels.com

Andrew and I just celebrated one year anniversary, so I decided to give you guys some tips that will help military spouses (or anyone considering becoming a military spouse) ease into the lifestyle a little easier. Now just a disclaimer: I am not an expert. This is purely just based on the experience I had becoming a military spouse. In this blog I’ll cover what it’s like being the significant other versus a spouse of a active duty member, PCS-ing tips, new base tips, and just in general advice that I wish I would have known earlier! So saddle up and get ready because its going to get complicated.

S.O. vs. M.S.

So you are a S.O. (significant other) to an active duty military member? Wonderful! Dating is fun. Dating an active duty military member is like a new, complicated level of fun. If you are dating, your member probably lives on base. Depending on the base, you can either get on very easily or pretty much have to jump through so many hoops that you can’t see straight. When Andrew and I first started dating, he was on one of the smallest Air Force bases in the United States. Thankfully, they were super chill about me coming on base and leaving my car in the visitor parking lot for a few hours. Andrew then TDY (temporary duty station) to a larger base and next thing I know I am basically having to prove I am not a terrorist and didn’t steal my car that I’ve owned for 5 years (not say this is a bad thing, but I was surprised at the change) every time I came to his base.

Overall, being a S.O. isn’t a bad thing at all. Just know that to the military, you pretty much don’t exist. So even though Andrew and I took turns seeing each other each weekend and I was pretty much the closest (geographically) person to him that could help him in an emergency, I would not be contacted if anything happened to him. I couldn’t just go onto base to see Andrew whenever I wanted. He would have to come off base to get me from the visitors office, leave my car there, and then drive me through the gate. He also had to go with me everywhere I went on base (S.O. don’t have I.D. cards, so you can’t be out running around base). Even though its not ideal, you get use to it. That is until something big happens, like your significant other gets orders to go overseas. Once your member PCS (Permanent Change of Station), you can’t “come” with them. By golly you can move to the same area that your significant other moved to, but you’ll just go through the same things you went through at the previous base (depending on how strict they are), unless you get married.

photo of bride and groomhugging
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Pexels.com

So you are a M.S. (military spouse) now. Congrats! You finally get a little more freedom. You need to go to DEERS and get your I.D. card ASAP. Also, if your member is PCSing soon then you need to get added to their orders ASAP. After you do all this, you usually get checklists that tell you how your life will unfold in the next coming months. Be sure to ask questions if you are unsure about something and always carry you I.D. card with you. Now that you are a M.S. you can access the commissary, exchange, and other services on base. You can also drive on base. Overall, you are pretty much allowed to go where ever you want on base without your member ( besides restricted areas of course).

PCS-ing Soon?

My first PCS was without my husband present and we were going overseas. So my experience may be wildly different from others, but overall I was surprised by how painless the process was. First things first: get your household goods pickup scheduled. I had the initial meeting in February, but didn’t schedule our pickup until May (because I was living in my apartment until then even though Andrew left in January). Afterwards, everything scheduling wise was done over the phone. I packed everything myself and moved all of our boxes into the common area (you don’t have to do this, but I will give you a few reasons why here in a minute). The only thing left for the moving crew to pack up was our furniture and bed frame. I personally would advise you to do your own packing because:

1. When we received our shipment in Germany we only had one mug broken (which obviously is a blessing when your hear other PCS horror stories).

2. I packed pretty much every box with a purpose and labelled them appropriately (the moving company listed every box as “clothes” on their paperwork, which I get probably doesn’t matter but I wanted to know to what I had packed).

3. It makes unpacking way easier because you know which boxes have important things that need to be assessed first and which ones can wait till the end.

I had been advised by other military spouses to treat my moving crew to pizza or have drinks on hand. Since I had the crew coming first thing in the morning, I ran to Krispy Kreme and grabbed a dozen doughnuts. Then I stopped at the store and picked up a six pack of Gatorade. I had coffee at the house I could brew, if the crew wanted any. Why do all of this? The crew really appreciated the gesture and said that not many people did that. Do I think they would of treated me any differently if I hadn’t of done that? Nope. Will I do it again? Yup. I just look at it as temporary insurance on our household goods.

Overall, the household goods portion was time consuming, but we were satisfied with the condition our things arrived in. So I can’t complain. The next big part of a PCS is the part where you travel to your new base. My assigned travel advisor worked with me over the phone to schedule flights that work best with my schedule. Next thing I knew I was packing my bags. On that note: check how much your baggage weighs before showing up to the airport. I saw people having to put on clothes over their clothes, in the heat of summer, just so their baggage met the weight for the airline.

pexels-photo-1288482.jpeg
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Usually you have to stay the night In Baltimore before you catch a military flight overseas, but I actually flew through the night. I liked this option better because I flew from Birmingham to Atlanta and then Baltimore. I chilled in Baltimore for close to six hours and then at eleven o’clock at night boarded my plane to Germany. The best part: I fell asleep on the flight close to 1 a.m. and woke up in Germany at 12 in the afternoon. So my body wasn’t super confused at that point. Fun fact: after picking me up from the airport, Andrew took me home and then I almost slept two days straight.

New Base, Who Dis?

Alright so the biggest transition that most military families make is moving to a new base. While I went on the bases in Columbus and Montgomery, I was never formally associated with the base. Ramstein is the first base that I have ever been affiliated with. So what exactly should you do if you are new on base? First thing I would do is just simply find your way around your base. While Andrew and I were sharing his car, I would drive around after dropping him off at work. It helps you get familiar with your surroundings and save the Google Map directions for emergency situations. After doing some driving around, visit a shop or two!

One of my favorite things to do if I am on base is to drop by the thrift store. First off you get some amazing deals and secondly you also just meet some friendly people. The thrift store or the Airman’s Attic can lead to volunteering opportunities and getting involved in the Enlisted/Officers Spouses Association (if that’s your thing). Lastly, the one thing that I have done to keep in the loop about stuff on base is just to check Facebook events, join Facebook groups, or read the signs posted outside of buildings. The BX and Commissary usually have events posted outside of front doors or throughout the building.

My last suggestion would be to go with your spouse to office cookouts and parties. I was so nervous my first cookout, but Andrew’s coworkers are the sweetest people ever and I go to basically every office function I am invited to now. By attending these parties, you not only get out of the house and meet new people, but you might find out about job connections or social groups. I actually found out that Andrew’s office has a spouses’ group while at a office function. I joined the group and have met wonderful people! So don’t be shy or afraid to get out there.

pexels-photo-1267696.jpeg
Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

Alright guys, that’s gonna wrap it up for this blog. If you guys have any suggestions or advice for spouses or family members transitioning into the military lifestyle, be sure to leave them in the comments below! Also, what blog do you guys want to see next? I’ll have another Netherlands blog coming soon and maybe a blog about planning trips (including tips and tricks that we use). So let me know down in the comments what you want to see next!

Dating Stories: I Can’t Make This Stuff Up

love couple sunset sunrise
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

We are officially moving into the holiday season! It’s a really exciting time because you get to surround yourself with good people, food, and make some memories. I know some people aren’t super crazy about this time of the year (which is a valid feeling to have) and it sometimes has to do with the fact that your great aunt Karen will not get off your butt about when you are going to start dating again, have a kid, or some other life changing decision (if you are a “great aunt Karen” and you’re reading this blog, then take a seat and chill out). So what do you do? Well, let me offer advice, stories that will hopefully make you laugh, and some encouragement.

“You do you.”

Y’all if my third graders that I tutored could tell you my favorite thing to say, it would probably be, “Minding your own business is a full time job.” My mom taught me that saying at a young age and honestly, it still rings true. Maybe if we spent a little less time worrying about what everyone is doing and just worried about ourselves, life may be a little easier. Now me saying that to a tattling third grader is one thing, but I don’t like the idea of saying that to someone who is struggling with relationships. Instead of saying that, I prefer to say “You do you.”

Why should you worry about yourself? Well sometimes when you are all wrapped in the idea of how you can find the next “the one” you are missing some pretty big opportunities. I won’t lie, I spent way too much time chasing after men who were not “the one,” shoot they weren’t even “the two” or “the three.” So my big advice is enjoy your alone time, find you a great group of people to surround yourself with, and make sure you are living your best life. When you start living for you instead of other people, you’ll be surprised who you will meet!

woman showing her hand
Photo by MIXU on Pexels.com

Stories and Other Things

Alright, so now for the part of the blog you are really here for: the dating stories. On a serious note, I am not going to reveal any names or anything. So pour you a drink, buckle up, and get ready to get all the details.

The Ghost

I have been ghosted a grand total of five times (if you are unsure what ghosted means, a quick google search with reveal the answer), not by the same person, but equally embarrassing each time. Anyways, this next story I am about to share is the very first time it happened.

I matched online with a guy that attended the same university as me. We messaged for a few days and then he asked for my number. I was pretty pumped because he seemed like a complete sweetheart. So after a few days of texting, he asked me to coffee. Of course, I accepted. We made plans to meet up the following Thursday at the Starbucks on campus. Thursday rolls around and I text him confirming our meet up time. He texts back that he is excited and I even got a winking emoji.

So I show to Starbucks (looking cute, but not too cute) and tell him I arrived and got us a table. 10 minutes go by, no response. 30 minutes go by, no response. I thought it was odd that he hadn’t texted back since he had been so quick to text back earlier, but chalked it up to his class be held over or trouble with parking. I start browsing social media and see that I have a new friend request from the guy I suppose to be meeting. I accept it cause you know, why not? 45 minutes goes by, still no response. I then wonder if something is happened to this poor guy. I text him, “Hey, Starbucks on campus right?” Nothing. It’s approaching an hour now and my patience is running a little thin since I have class at 8 a.m. the next morning. So I get on Facebook again and then I saw that he had recently updated his status. I. Was. Livid. He was obviously near some type of device and is well enough to update a Facebook status, but I can’t get a texted back? Childish. I gather my stuff and text him, “I have an 8 a.m. tomorrow, heading home.”

In my ten minute drive home, he blocked me on social media and never answered me. I guess great minds think alike because you best believe I was going to remove him from my social media, thankfully he finally saved me some time after wasting over an hour of mine. Lesson learned here: please, please, PLEASE don’t waste your time on these people. Also if you are this type of person: grow up and tell people you aren’t interested anymore.

 

The Overshare 

So I match with this guy online and we message for a few days. He seemed pretty nice, but I had some reservations about him. He just gave me a weird vibe, so I didn’t give him my number at first when he asked. Well after a few days of talking through the app we matched on, he asked me to dinner. I accepted because he appeared to be an intelligent, kind guy who seemed pretty interested in getting to know me. I brushed off my previous reservations as just me being over dramatic.

Fast forward to our date. I drive my car there because I am weird about getting into cars with men on the first date. I arrived at the pizza place we agreed on and he arrived a few minutes later. We entered the restaurant and I paid for my food and he paid for his. He did offer to pay for mine, but I insisted. We began small talk from outside the restaurant and it continued while we waited for a table to clear. I thought this was going to be a pretty smooth sailing date. Then we sat down. Next thing I know, this guy just starts spilling personal business that I would not share with someone even on the third date. I thought he was probably just nervous and maybe just word vomited a little bit. NOPE. He spends the next 30 minutes telling me things I DID NOT WANT TO KNOW. I tried to drop nonverbal cues that I was uncomfortable, but lets just say he was not picking up what I was putting down.

Finally, our meal comes out. I ordered a calzone and consider dropping food on myself or something to get me out of this situation, but sadly I was wearing an outfit I liked a little too much to sacrifice. I said a silent prayer that this guy would just stop talking and we could eat in peace. Nope. If you guessed that he then continued to overshare very personal business that I seriously didn’t want to hear while chewing food in his mouth, then you guessed correctly.

By this point, I’m done. I didn’t want to eat my food I paid for. I didn’t want to sit in this booth any longer. I have sat in silence for another 20 minutes as this guy has bragged about his business and trashed things that I had openly told him I supported. I really thought I was on prank show or something at this point. Finally the meal is over and I am thankful that I can leave. This dude then tries to get me to come to his workplace (Best Buy) and hangout with work buddies. A stroll through the flat screens sounds real romantic, right? I respectfully declined and told him I had other plans. We went our separate ways and he texted me that he wanted to meet up again the next night. I told him I appreciated the offer, but that I wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship him anymore. He then proceeded to call me a bunch of names and said he couldn’t stand the thought of spending another minute with me.

Lesson learned: Y’all, don’t stay in an uncomfortable situation! I had an easy out, but stayed around when I should of just left. Always text a friend or two before a date and tell them who you are meeting and where you are meeting them. Even consider having a code word you can send to a friend so they can call or know to come get you if the situation is really bad! I had ample opportunity to leave, but was trying to be “nice.”

 

The Blame Passer

The last dating story I’ll include in this blog is probably one of the ones I will NEVER forget. I had recently started dating this guy in high school. Soon after dating, I invited him to have dinner at my house and to meet my family. He agreed. Fast forward to my boyfriend coming to the house. He arrives, I introduce him to everyone, and all is fine and dandy. My mom and I were in the kitchen making my favorite, spaghetti, while my boyfriend made small with us as he sat at the counter.

Once we were finished cooking, we all sat down to eat. My mother, my sister, my baby nephew, my boyfriend, and I were all seated around our old, round kitchen table. I sat beside my boyfriend and sister, while my nephew and mother were seated across from us. We began passing the bowls of food around the table and continuing our small talk from earlier. As we begin eating, I noticed my boyfriend grew quiet. I figured he was just nervous. Everyone was eating, so naturally the conversation died down. A few moments of silence pass and then suddenly I hear the loudest noise. Yes, my boyfriend has just passed gas at the table. No one says anything, but then my boyfriend blamed my baby nephew for passing gas at the table.

Everyone just sat there in silence. I think more than anything, we were surprised he blamed it on the baby when it was obviously him. Someone interjected and brought up a random topic. We carried on with dinner like nothing had happened. Later on when he was leaving the house I mentioned it to him that pretty much everyone knew he was the gas passer, but he just played it off like it wasn’t him. When I came back in the house, I walked into the living room where everyone was sitting and my sister said, “Did he really blame his gas on my baby?”

If you guys take anything away from this story, I would hope it would be not to pass the blame because most of the time it will always come back around and bite you in the butt. Haha.

woman wearing white t shirt and blue denim bottoms
Photo by Chelsi Peter on Pexels.com

Your Time Will Come

Alright guys, I have a few other dating stories, but I think I will save those for another blog post. So I will leave you with this: as someone who has gone on horrible dates, great dates, and just okay dates, the one thing I have learned is that dating takes time. You probably won’t find “the one” on your first try.

Make sure you aren’t settling. After some of these dates, it made me question myself and my worth. Would I find a man that valued me enough to send me a, “Hey, I won’t make it tonight,” text? Would I find a man that would respect me enough to give time to share my interests during a dinner date? Eventually, I would. If you hold off and make yourself available to the “right” man, you both will flourish in ways you never thought possible. You both will grow, learn, and love. If you make yourself available to “right now” man, you will still learn things about yourself, but could miss out on so many opportunities and even end up regressing in your journey. Honey, worry about finding a better version of you and then you’ll more than likely find a good man along the way.

 

That’s it for this blog, guys! I really hoped you learned something or laughed while reading it. I love talking about love, relationships, and dating. Want me to blog about something else in one the topic of love? Comment down below! Also if you have any questions or want to leave some advice/dating story of your own, leave it down in the comments.

 

P.S. We officially booked our Airbnb for Prague! So I will be sure to take plenty of pictures for my Prague blog that will probably be up at the beginning of the new year! I am so excited!

How I Dye My Hair Red

IMG_20181014_155543_313
Long hair, don’t care vibes

What’s up guys? It is time for another beauty blog. I am pretty pumped for this one because I am going to finally explain how I dye my hair. I surprisingly get asked frequently about my hair and what formulas I use to dye it, so I decided it was time to sit down and write it out. Let me go ahead and get this disclaimer out there: I am not a trained beautician. I have been dying my hair by myself for almost 7 years now. I learned through trial and error and by watching quite a few YouTube videos. So please know that I am not a professional and that I have completely screwed up my hair a few times. Anyways, enough of that. Let’s move on to the good stuff! 🙂

Another disclaimer: Our bathroom lighting is not great, so I naturally decided to make sassy faces to make up for it. You’re welcome.

Supplies

So for my hair I use the following products that I would usually get from Sally Beauty:

  • Gloves
  • Dye bowl
  • Dye brush
  • Hair clips (I prefer alligator)
  • Brush
  • 20 vol. Developer (you may need a higher vol. though)
  • Winter time colors – Ion creme 7RR, 7IR, Hot Red Permanent Color Intensifier
  • Summer time colors – Ion creme 6R, 7RR, 7RC
  • Old shirt
  • Old towel
  • Mirror
  • Timer
  • Deep conditioner (optional but recommended)
  • Shower cap (optional but recommended)
20181101_163350
My supplies

Note on personal choices: My roots are strawberry blonde so that’s why I use 20 vol. developer. So if you have black hair hair, I don’t think you are going to be able to use the same formula as me. Also, you don’t have to blend three different colors. You can seriously only use one, but I third the creme ratio so it is still 1:1 with my developer. I use three colors because I simply like the tricolor combination better. I use different shades of red during the winter time and summer times because I tend to like to go darker in the winter time. This is a personal choice and not required. Lastly you can use Ion liquid, but I prefer creme because I feel like it is thicker and easier for a person to apply to their own head.

Note on dye difference: As most of you know, I recently moved to Germany. I haven’t been able to find Ion here so instead I use Lome Paris 20 vol. developer and Lome Paris dye shades 6.64 and 7.45. These products are pretty close to what I use in the states.

Process

First, make sure you are in a well ventilated room. When you start mixing the chemicals together, the smell can be slightly strong. Next I put on my old shirt and lay down an old towel. This is simply a precautionary measure because you think you aren’t getting hair dye everywhere…until you look around and your bathroom looks like a murder scene. After you get suited up with your dye shirt and gloves on, go ahead and gather up all your supplies and have them laying nearby. You don’t want to be halfway through dying your hair and then have to run around the house looking for something ( I have totally done this before).  Once you have everything laid out, go ahead and brush through your hair with a regular brush. Make sure you brush it a couple of times to ensure all tangles have been removed. Now that you are prepped and ready to party, lets get to mad scientist portion of this shindig.

20181101_164706
Safety first!

Now let me be clear: read the instructions your dye comes with! This is super important because I am unsure about your hair type, so what I tell you I do might not be the best option for you. Anyways, I use about 2 oz of each dye creme and then 6 oz of developer (double check your ratio in the instructions, but they are usually 1:1.) My hair reaches to the middle of my back so you may not need as much creme and developer as me if you have shorter hair. Next, then I squeeze my measurements into the bowl. Then I stir everything together with the pointy end of my dye brush. Once everything is stirred together, you will notice the color of the mixture gradually change. This is the chemicals in the developer and the dye reacting to one another and essentially making the mixture potent.

20181101_164632
My mixture right after stirring the developer and dye together.

I then sit the mixture aside and part my hair straight down the middle. I have pretty thin hair, so two sections is enough for me to work comfortably, but you can then split those sections in half if you want to work with less hair at one time. I unclip one of the sides and then grab my dye brush and swirl it in the dye bowl mixture. I begin applying the mixture to my roots like I am painting a canvas. I focus only on the roots and work my way from the middle of my scalp to my ear. I use the tip of dye brush to create smaller sections for me to apply the mixture to and then move finished sections to the other side of my head. I repeat this same process on the other side and back of my head. Be sure to do this in front of a mirror or have a friend come in and coach you through the sections you miss.

Next I move on to the main shaft and tips of my hair. I simply gather the hair to one side and gradually paint the remaining dye mixture on the hair with the dye brush. In between adding my dye to my hair shaft, I run my fingers through my hair to help evenly disrupt the dye. I repeat this process until my hair is fully saturated. Now that my hair completely covered in the dye, I grab my shower cap and gather all of my hair into it. I leave my hair in the shower cap for around twenty or thirty minutes and do not apply heat. Make sure you set a timer so you don’t leave the dye on for too long. While my hair is processing, I usually clean up my dye bowl and brush.

Aftercare

Yay! Time for the big reveal. After my timer goes off, I go into bathroom and rinse my hair with the coldest water I can take. This helps close the hair follicle and protects your color. After the water runs almost clear (heads up your shower water is probably going to be pink for the next few showers) I shampoo my hair like I normally would and then apply a deep conditioner. I just follow the directions on the deep conditioner packet. After I am done with the deep conditioner, I get out and blow dry my hair to confirm that I got the hair color I desired. That’s it! Not too bad right?

20181101_195753
My hair color in more florescent light.

 

20181101_195936
My hair color in more of a golden light.

Tips

I am going to leave you guys with just some quick tips and tricks that I have learned from dying my hair over the past few years. Be sure to check them out, even if you aren’t a red head!

  • Avoid hot tools (these fade your color quicker)
  • Cold showers right after dying your hair = longer lasting results
  • Hair oil is your friend
  • Red fades quickly, so I initially dye my hair slightly darker than what I want my long term color to be
  • Don’t dye your hair too often, it could damage your hair beyond repair
  • Reuse the same shirt and towel during your dye processes
  • When in doubt, just go see a professional

Alright guys! That’s it for this blog. Did I forget to mention anything? Comment down below and help a sister out! Also, tell me what color you would love to dye your hair! I personally really want violet hair, but I don’t want to go platinum blonde for it, so alas it will have to wait. 🙂

Links to products mentioned

Sally Beauty homepage – https://www.sallybeauty.com/