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Lifestyle, Travel

Christmas PJs & German Ornaments

I absolutely love this time of year, and particularly taking part in festive activities with family and friends. To me, this means curling up on the couch in my Christmas pajamas with a mug of hot chocolate. With our Christmas tree all lit up, of course. Decorating the house together, baking Christmas cookies, watching Hallmark movies… you get the idea.

My sister and I used to help my grandmother decorate her house for Christmas. We loved NeeNee’s collection because she’d spent years traveling and collecting handmade European decorations. Beautiful handmade wooden German and Russian ornaments and nutcrackers and dolls. My grandmother set aside collections for each of her children, so my dad has a similar (significantly smaller) collection of European ornaments. And when she passed away, my parents inherited several of the special pieces my grandmother displayed on her mantel.

Every year, I take special care with these pieces. I decorate our mantel like I would have decorated NeeNee’s, a winter wonderland of wooden dolls, wooden angels, nutcrackers, German smokers, and nesting dolls. And then there are the hand-painted European ornaments for the tree.

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Lifestyle, Travel

2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers: Under $100

I created a similar gift guide last year, and was excited to post a bit earlier this season so there’s still time to shop for family and friends! This gift guide is geared toward the people in your life who love travel. Much of my year involved travel, so I had quite a few gift ideas! The items featured in this travel-themed holiday gift guide include items / accessories that I own and use, or items on my personal wishlist! Best of all, the gifts I’ve linked are under $100 (and most are less than $50!). And there’s still time to catch the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts and sales.

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Fashion, Lifestyle

5 Pieces You Need in Your Fall Wardrobe

I love dressing for the fall season because I can break out my jeans, cozy sweaters, and booties. I love the colors of the season – rich browns, olive green, garnet. A few weeks ago, I listed 5 Instagram accounts to follow for “fall style inspo,” because these bloggers’ looks definitely inspired MY seasonal shopping. In this post, I’m recommending 5 pieces (both basics and “fad” pieces!) you need in your wardrobe this fall. I’ve included styling tips and links to each of the pieces I’m wearing, as well as alternatives at various price-points!

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Away Carry-On Luggage: Follow-Up Review

I purchased a piece of carry-on luggage from the Away brand just before I left for London. A few months into my trip, I wrote a review summarizing my thoughts about the luggage and the brand. At that point, I’d taken the suitcase on my international flight to London, as well as two weekend trips. It was enough to form an initial opinion, but now I have more to say after 6+ months of European adventures with my Away bag at my side.

If you’re interested in why I purchased the carry-on, be sure to read my original review. I wrote in depth about the multiple options (in size and color) offered by the brand, the features of an Away bag, and the price.

My Away carry-on is also featured in my post “What to Pack in Your Carry-On.” I wrote…

I love the matte finish and the square shape. It’s extremely durable. And I’m a fan of the two-sided interior – I was able to fit quite a bit in this bag.

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Best Banana Bread Recipe for the Fall Season

One of my favorite fall recipes is chocolate chip banana bread. I absolutely love the fall season for all the holidays and the excuse to make good food. My mom and I do a lot of baking for family and friends, and a seasonal bread makes for a great gift. Pumpkin bread and chocolate chip banana bread are our go-to’s, so I thought I’d share the recipe for those of you with a seasonal sweet tooth.

We’ve used Raechel Ray’s recipe for years. It never lets us down. I keep the recipe stored in Paprika, an awesome recipe manager app that I can access on both my computer and my iPhone. You can enter recipes manually, or paste a link to an online site and Paprika will do the rest.

When we make banana bread, we typically double the recipe (select “scale 2x” in the app and it will automatically calculate the new measurements). Our doubled recipe makes a large loaf and a small loaf, and sometimes we’ll freeze the smaller loaf or wrap it up as a gift.

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