Wednesday, January 29, 2014

{travel} madrid literary quarter walk

The best part about living in a big city is that you never have the opportunity to get bored. There is always a new neighborhood, street, and cafe to see! Although it caaaaan sometimes feel overwhelming when you try to decide on which part of the city you would like to explore that day. Rather than wandering around completely aimlessly, (although we all know that this is a favorite past time of mine as well) you can utilize a great app, called City Guide, to give you ideas for attractions, restaurants, and shopping around you.  The app even uses your GPS to tell you how far away you are from each location. The best part is that you don't need data or wifi for it to work! And in true TripAdvisor fashion, you can read reviews to help you narrow down your options. I feel like I should definitely add a little disclaimer right now - I am not at all being paid for this blog post by the TripAdvisor peeps. I just genuinely love this app and use it all the time. As you can see in the picture below, 31 cities in Europe currently have a City Guide, as well as 26 cities in North America. I always check to see if my next travel destination has one so that I can download the guide while I have wifi.

On top of being able to read reviews on the restaurants and attractions closest to you at the moment, you can also go on free walking tours. When you tap on the Suggested Itineraries  tab, it will take you to a screen with tons of awesome walking tours, options for "on a low budget," "Free Madrid," and "Madrid with family." Although I have utilized the City Guide walking tours in other cities before, I had yet to do one in Madrid so I decided to go on the "Literary Quarter Walk" after work the other day. It was a really great walk!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{life} getting personal

Hi lovely readers!

As I am in the process of giving my blog a makeover and *attempting* to blog more frequently, I figured I would start fresh and write a little about me post. No matter that this little blog has been around since 2010. It used to be filled to the brim with recipes, but has transformed over the years into more of a travel and lifestyle blog. However, I haven't been the best at opening up and getting to know y'all lately, or letting you get to know me. So without further ado, here are 20 fun facts about me! :)

I won the "Least Likely to Leave Florida" award during the senior superlative ceremony in high school. Ha! Look at me now! ;)

I have a very short attention span. Probably the reason for the millions of drafted blog posts just sitting in their sad draft state that probably won't ever be published. womp womp womp

I have never seen snow fall before. I've seen snow on the ground, and I've seen it flurry (once), but I have never seen a proper snowfall. ***you know you're from Florida when...

I decided to move to a foreign country to teach English on the day of my college graduation. Wasn't ready for all that real life nonsense.

I went on a double date with my boyfriend for the first time back when we were 16 & 17 respectively. It was completely setup by two of our mutual friends who were dating at the time. We were so awkward that the date flopped and we didn't speak again until we ran into each other at a bar during summer 2013. And then we started dating internationally. oops.

I always considered myself a huge English grammar nerd until I started teaching English as a foreign language. And then I realized that I don't actually know anything useful about grammar; only how to inherently use it. I have to study up on explanations before class sometimes! lolzzz

But I am very good at spelling. And when other people misspell things it drives me craaazy. Sorry y'all!

I am slightly terrified of horses, even though I think that they are absolutely beautiful. I had a bad experience with one when I was 7 and never want to ride one again.

I am also terrified of roller coasters, although I will gladly go ziplining through the forest, rock climbing, and white water rafting. Call me inconsistent.

Although I am typically quite mild mannered, I get very intense about Florida State University football. I'm sure you've realized this if you follow my twitter. ;)

I love to send an receive cards and letters, snail mail style. Bonus: it takes 7-10 days to mail a letter from Spain to Florida. How the heck long do you think it used to take people to communicate back in the 1700s and 1800s? I don't think I actually want to know...

I am not a fan of reality television. I'll watch it with friends but I won't sit down and watch it on my own. I'd much rather watch a comedy or drama... or SYTYCD.

I have been getting very interested in photography lately. I'm totally a novice, but I would love to pursue it as a real hobby.

I sometimes make lists filled partially with things I've already completed, simply so that I can cross it off of my list. Type A much?

I hated olives before I moved to Spain. Now I eat them almost every day. #olivelife

I am terrrrible at trivia. I once played a game of "guess the song or artist" with a friend at a bar and completely embarrassed myself. I think it is also worthy to note that I have a terrible memory.

I'm a complete girly girl, and will gladly wear a dress, lipstick, and pretty shoes every day, but I am also very low-key. I get my nails done maybe once or twice a year, have never colored my hair, and have never gotten my eyebrows done professionally.

I HATE the sound of cracking bones, especialllly when said cracking bones are finger bones. Ew.

I am running out of interesting things to say.

The end. ;)

Maybe I'll think of two more actually interesting things to say for numbers 19-20, but until then....

Comment below if you decide to write a list of 20 things about yourself on your blog as well. I'd love to read it and get to know y'all better!

xx Jen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

{travel} ávila, españa

I am taking a break with our current regularly scheduled posts on my road trip through the lowcountry in December to talk about a wonderfully sleepy little town an 1 1/2 hours train ride from Madrid. The guidebooks will tell you that the only things worthy of seeing in the small city in the Castile y León region of Spain is the old city wall, the cathedral, and the Convent of Santa Teresa., but Avila is so much more than these three sites.

Spend hours walking the old wall and take in the views of the gorgeous red tile roofs, the imposing cathedral-fortress, the windy streets, the locals drinking in squares, the serene Spanish countryside, and the snow-capped mountains.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

{travel} day 2 road trippin' USA... or at least the lowcountry

Today's edition of 'Road Trippin' USA... or at least the Lowcountry' is a really fun one! This might have been one of my favorite days of the entire trip, even though we spent much time in the car. Although we were sad to be leaving Savannah after such a short stay, we were really excited to get to Charleston. We decided to take the scenic route, US 17, with a few Southern Living & Heather recommended stops along the way. If you take anything away from my road trip blog posts, take these recommendations. Seriously. You will love it!

First Stop - Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is a wonderful little town just south of Charleston. It had that small town feel I love so much with the huge plantation homes and oak trees, but with lots of tempting shopping and highly rated restaurants mixed in for good measure. This city felt like a destination, where one could come to shop, play, and drink in the gorgeous views of the Beaufort River, but could also almost immediately feel like a local as well. It was picture perfect.

Monday, January 20, 2014

{travel} day 1 road trippin' USA... or at least the lowcountry

The day after Christmas came very quickly. I had a lovely 6 AM wake-up call to jolt me out of bed after an exhausting day of opening presents, cooking, eating, and drinking. But my adrenaline and excitement helped out a bit. I had been counting down the days until that day since before I left Spain. It was road trip time!!!!

My boyfriend and I decided to plan this trip so that we could spend lots of quality time together before I had to get on yet another plane to go back over the ocean again. We spent many phone calls discussing which cities to go to on our 5 day trip, and finally settled on Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston, and St. Augustine. It could not have been a more perfect trip! Especially since my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to see Corey Smith in Orlando on the last day of the trip. So now I'm adding Orlando to the list! I'm going to write up the Cliff Notes version of this trip in this blog post, but if you would like my entire (very type-A) document on all of our road trip stops, hotels we stayed in, and restaurants we ate at, email me --

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

{life} according to instagram

Happy, happy new year my friends. I'm 8 days late, but better than never right?!

My life has been a little crazy as of late. I flew home to Florida on December 4th and got my wisdom teeth out on December 5th. Then it was off to my brother's wedding a week later, and Christmas a week after that. The day after Christmas I got back into my traveling groove by going on the best road trip evaaa with my sweet boyfriend. Then it was NYE with friends & back to Madrid on the 3rd. EEK!

You think it would slow down a bit once I got back to my current home base, right? Except I had moved out of my apartment at the beginning of December so I wouldn't have to pay December rent while I was in America, so I had to apartment hunt right away. Luckily, I found the perfect apartment the day after I arrived. My life has been consumed with unpacking and decorating and food shopping and oh yeah, starting work again.

So now you know why my little blog has been very neglected. I have so much catching up to do. I haven't even blogged about my trip to Prague in November yet.... I suck.

Enjoy some beautiful photos of my new barrio (neighborhood) and other scenes from life lately.

Saying goodbye-