Last month the Mr & I travelled to Amsterdam for an early 15 year anniversary celebration. The whole trip was done on a whim which is so very not like me. I will say even though planning a last minute trip is out of my comfort zone, the actual trip itself was exactly what I needed. Getting there in itself was a miracle altogether. Just a couple a weeks beforehand I could barley walk let alone wear any shoes. I honestly thought a broke all my toes as my feet where blue and the bottoms were continually and painfully bruising. After some digging, my dr discovered my body was going toxic with B6 due to some genetic mutation that was rearing it’s ugly head. It was causing my liver to not function as well and shutting down parts of my body. Every dr appointment prior to our trip I kept on saying I was not cancelling this trip and my chiropractor put great effort in getting my circulation going. Alas we made it happen and I could not be any more ecstatic. As we were there I began to heal and counteracted the B6 with B2 and happy to say my feet are functioning again. Hallelujah. All that to say I know God was the one who truly made this trip happen and I am so grateful for my prayerful friends and my dr’s who take my health seriously. This trip was more than I could have ever imagined. It was cold, rainy and absolutely perfect. We walked miles on end soaking in all the architecture, landscape & culture. We ate well, broke out of ordinary routines and just enjoyed each others company.


We broke our trip into three parts. First we explored Amsterdam. The old streets, rows upon rows of homes, and the intermingled waterways left me dreaming of becoming European. We stayed at The Hendrick’s Hotel and it may be the best hotel I have ever been to. It was beautiful, had a wonderful breakfast, and the people were superb. We actually changed the last day of our trip in which we were in the countryside to come back to Amsterdam and stay in this hotel again. It really was that good. From Amsterdam we travelled to Antwerp and a few other surrounding cities as the train system is fairly easy to navigate. We already decided that when we do this trip again we will just stay in Amsterdam and train out if and when we want to explore new cities.


Our next leg of the trip was to Rotterdam. It’s what they consider to be the modern city and the architecture proved that to be true. I was just in awe over the blend of modern lines against architecture that was centuries old. We stayed in a Cube House which was rather fun. It was more for the experience than for luxury. The houses were close to the large indoor market which you get a glimpse of in the last image. It was a larger than life glass dome with housing, restaurants and an open air market. It is also where we discovered that Jamie Oliver has a chain restaurant called Jamie’s Italian and I am still dreaming of eating there again. They took my gluten allergy seriously and the food was the best I have ever had. We actually ate there three times, it was that good.


We then spent a day and a half exploring the countryside. We rented a car from the airport and took to the narrow roadways and soaking in all the sights. We were suppose to spend two nights in the country, but decided for our final night we wanted to be back in the city. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had an experience like this. I came home fully inspired and ready to adopt a slower life that relies heavily on experiences that are both big and small. One that savors moments instead of always skipping ahead. One that reminds me to take a big deep breath and even enjoy the rain.

*You can see more images and details from our trip in my Instagram Highlights.

Travel Essentials


Traveling for a mama is not always the easiest of tasks especially when you are leaving the kiddos behind. It takes countless hours of making schedules that are easy to follow, making sure the house is stocked with simple yet somewhat nutritious meals, finding rides for all the practices and games, etc etc. The list really does go on and on until I head out that door and leave all the worries behind. Surely my papa can handle all the things and if not I am sure they can figure it out, after all I do have a teen and preteen. For me, making sure the kiddos are all straight leaves me with wanting to keep my packing simple and light. The weather will be cool and rainy so the task is not an easy one. Although none of that matters, because I am most excited to celebrate our marriage doing our favorite activities, traveling, seeing the sites, and eating good food. Here are a few of my essentials that are coming with me on our trip to the Netherlands.

1. This wrap that doubles as scarf. It’s not too hot and not too cool. I love that I can use it as a blanket on the plane and also use it as a scarf for the chilly weather. Plus the price was oh so right.

2. These packing cubes help keep my suitcase organized and assisted with my goal of getting a weeks worth of needs in a single carry-on. We are doing a bunch of walking and I knew having a big suitcase would not be the easiest for me to lug around so I aimed for packing small.

3. This hydoflask goes with me everywhere. It’s small enough to toss in my tote and keeps my water cold for hours on end. Another bonus it also keeps my morning tea hot and I am less likely to spill it on myself as we walk the streets. Make sure to leave it empty until you cross security at the airport though.

4. Good reads. Traveling is not the same for me without a good book. It helps make my mind stop and rest. This year I downloaded these two on my ipad to alleviate some weight in my bag. I have become a enneagram junky and The Path Between Us sounded like a perfect read for our trip. Nothing like continually figuring each other out 15 years later. Good Riddance I downloaded simply because the cover caught my eye. Looked like an easy and fun read for the plane ride.

5. I am a straw lover. These silicone ones have helped cut down on waste plus they fold nicely into the hydroflask while shut. The texture takes some getting used to, but it is much better than relying on the plastic ones.

6. My sister loves Fits socks. They come in all different weights for warmth, dry quickly, and have built in compression. I honestly thought a sock was a sock until I started having feet issues and she let me try them. I loved them so much that I ended up buying a few for myself. These will be my lifesaver on this trip.

7. Nothing like tackling the wet streets of Amsterdam in a cute pair of rainboots. My regular size is roomy enough to pair with thick socks to keep my feet warm. I also added more comfortable insoles to keep up with the hours of walking we are planing on doing. I searched high and low for the perfect pair and wouldn't you know Target came to rescue. They are small enough to fit in my carry-on without taking up too much space.

TRAVEL: Gatlinburg


This past fall we took a long weekend and went to Gatlinburg, TN for much needed family time that took us out of our normal routines of everyday life. We stayed at our friends, Karla & Ray’s, air b&b and we are already looking forward to heading back for another adventure. If you know of Gatlinburg at all then I am sure you know it can lean towards the kitchy side which I am also sure you know is not exactly our vibe. That being said we also have two children who love playing putt-putt, laser tag and partaking in corn dog stands. Karla and Ray’s was a perfect sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle where extraordinary views could be taken in and nightly action movies be had. Our days were filled with hiking and all the things downtown Gatlinburg had to offer. We played and we laughed hard. We took multiple trips on the ski lifts with legs dangling, fears being overcome, and games of who can find the car first. Of course, our favorite part was a family of bears sighting. Don’t worry this pic was taken with our pro camera and zoom lens. All our limbs still remain. It’s amazing what just a few days can do for our family unit. Taking us away from the to-do list and reminding us that our times with our children is fleeting. I mean Ellie will have her learner’s permit next year, is your mind blown just as mine is? We want to be sure to nourish our relationships with all the time we have left with them by our side.

The Details…

Karla and Ray’s Gatlinburg Air B&B is full of inspiration. They are king and queen of making small spaces work for a growing family. They value experiences without sacrificing style. They documented the condo makeover on their blog and instagram, but I recommend taking time to read all the posts as they feature so many doable DIY’s and beautiful small space design. Plus they share sources which is always a plus. Not to be missed is the room their 3 boys share and this space they created for a shared girls room. They make me want to be a kid again and remind me to always have a bit of fun in design.

Living & Dining Area

The Kitchen

Master Bedroom side table DIY

A guide to Gatlingburg can be found here.

You can see what we were able to partake in on my Instagram Highlights here.

Karla & Ray also have a beach Air B&B perfect for a couples get away.

*Rather than making a whole post of my current favorites I am adding a rotating list every month to my footer. This month it is all about staying cozy and organized.

*One of my favorite shops, Schoolhouse Electric, is having a online dock sale! So many good finds, but some of my favorites are this table which we have here, this little wall light would be perfect by a bed, and these candle sticks could go anywhere.