Iowa with the Cousins

fullsizeoutput_4a41This past weekend I took a quick trip up to Iowa to visit my cousins. They are the cutest little munchkins you ever did meet, and I am so glad I got to see them one more time before I leave for Germany in a week (!!?!). There’s something so incredibly special about spending time with family. I can’t even really put words to itโ€“ I’m sure you already know exactly what I mean. As I’m about to leave for a whole year, I am reminded of how much I love and care about my relatives. I think leaving for a while makes you appreciate home that much more. But I won’t get too mushy just yet, I’ll save that for the airport ;p Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!fullsizeoutput_4a42Estelle is hilarious. She has personality to burn and a deep, hearty laugh that makes me crack up every time.fullsizeoutput_4a44fullsizeoutput_4a46fullsizeoutput_4a47fullsizeoutput_4a48fullsizeoutput_4a4bEvelyn seemed so much older and more mature this time. She knew so many facts about nature and life and reading. I was pretty dang impressed.fullsizeoutput_4a4cfullsizeoutput_4a4eAnd Lars. This boy is a real stunner. He has this serious smolder that makes your heart melt.fullsizeoutput_4a51fullsizeoutput_4a52fullsizeoutput_4a54Taking the golf card for a spin.fullsizeoutput_4a55fullsizeoutput_4a56fullsizeoutput_4a57fullsizeoutput_4a58fullsizeoutput_4a5efullsizeoutput_4a5ffullsizeoutput_4a60fullsizeoutput_4a61Love the Iowa farm aesthetic. It definitely has a Scandinavian feel, which makes sense because this region is home to a large Danish-American population.fullsizeoutput_4a62fullsizeoutput_4a63The house my dad grew up in until the age of 10!!!! fullsizeoutput_4a65fullsizeoutput_4a66When I arrived, this swing did not exist. But by the end of the day they had just, well, constructed it! These people are seriously so handy and I admire them for it.fullsizeoutput_4a67fullsizeoutput_4a68fullsizeoutput_4a69fullsizeoutput_4a6afullsizeoutput_4a6bfullsizeoutput_4a6cfullsizeoutput_4a6dfullsizeoutput_4a6ffullsizeoutput_4a70IMG_9273fullsizeoutput_4a72Someone drank a lot of punch…fullsizeoutput_4a73fullsizeoutput_4a74Not sure what’s happening herefullsizeoutput_4a75fullsizeoutput_4a76fullsizeoutput_4a77fullsizeoutput_4a8ffullsizeoutput_4a90fullsizeoutput_4a91fullsizeoutput_4a92fullsizeoutput_4a95fullsizeoutput_4a96fullsizeoutput_4a97fullsizeoutput_4a98My grandfather’s name in the barn.fullsizeoutput_4a9cfullsizeoutput_4a9dfullsizeoutput_4a9efullsizeoutput_4a9ffullsizeoutput_4aa0fullsizeoutput_4aa1fullsizeoutput_4aa2fullsizeoutput_4aa3fullsizeoutput_4aa4fullsizeoutput_4aa5Have a good one friends!

Little Letter

IMG_6767Dear Succulents,
I tried not to buy into the succulent craze that has swept the nation in recent years, but I officially give in. You are SO cool. My friend took me to a succulent nursery the other day and I was amazed. I need to get some of you for my room in Germany.

Dear Rob Bell,
You are a great author and speaker. I’m currently reading your book “What we talk about when we talk about God” and it does not disappoint.

Dear Little Brother,
You are such a tease. I only got to spend a few hours with you yesterday before you were off again! But I sure to love the time we have together ๐Ÿ™‚

Dear Germany,
Two and a half weeks. I’m coming for you.

Dear Hair,
Not sure what to do with you these days. Any thoughts?

Dear Summer,
You simultaneously flew by and took your sweet time.

Dear Tattoo,
That’s right, I got a second tattoo. You look more and more beautiful to me each day. I hope I’m not getting too addicted to tattoos…;p

P.s. photo from the Grand Canyon this past June

San Francisco

fullsizeoutput_4997These past few days I was in San Francisco, where I met up with a friend from Frankfurt, Germany! She was attending a conference in the states, so we decided to make a little trip of it. We were lucky enough to stay with two of her friends, who quickly became mine as well. They were so kind to show us around the city and give us the royal San Francisco treatment. I’d been to the city twice before in my life, but it never gets old. It’s so artsy and unique, I could definitely envision myself there one day. I say that about a lot of places, but it’s true! Guess I’ll just have to live everywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ย fullsizeoutput_4998fullsizeoutput_4999fullsizeoutput_499afullsizeoutput_499bfullsizeoutput_499cfullsizeoutput_499dfullsizeoutput_499efullsizeoutput_499ffullsizeoutput_49ebfullsizeoutput_49a3fullsizeoutput_49a4fullsizeoutput_49a5fullsizeoutput_49a6fullsizeoutput_49a9fullsizeoutput_49eafullsizeoutput_49aafullsizeoutput_49abfullsizeoutput_49affullsizeoutput_49b0fullsizeoutput_49b1fullsizeoutput_49b2fullsizeoutput_49b3fullsizeoutput_49e9fullsizeoutput_49b4fullsizeoutput_49b5fullsizeoutput_49b7fullsizeoutput_49bbfullsizeoutput_49befullsizeoutput_49bffullsizeoutput_49c2fullsizeoutput_49c3fullsizeoutput_49c4fullsizeoutput_49c7fullsizeoutput_49c8fullsizeoutput_49c9fullsizeoutput_49cafullsizeoutput_49e8fullsizeoutput_49cbfullsizeoutput_49ccfullsizeoutput_49cdfullsizeoutput_49cefullsizeoutput_49cffullsizeoutput_49e7fullsizeoutput_49d0fullsizeoutput_49d1fullsizeoutput_49d2fullsizeoutput_49d3fullsizeoutput_49d5fullsizeoutput_49d7fullsizeoutput_49d8fullsizeoutput_49d9fullsizeoutput_49dafullsizeoutput_49dcfullsizeoutput_49ddfullsizeoutput_49defullsizeoutput_49dffullsizeoutput_49e0fullsizeoutput_49e6fullsizeoutput_49e4fullsizeoutput_49e5

A few more photos from the wedding

LEXA4564Lambert-99When the bride first stepped out of the bridal suite in the big “reveal”Lambert-229Hayley improving the family gene poolLambert-253Mama pinning like a proLambert-333Look at those handsome brothers of mineLambert-756The families together at lastLambert-790This is probably my favorite. What caption would you write?LEXA4908Shoot, that sun flare thoughPILA9373Lex and the Lotus Photography is so talented! I absolutely love the way they captured this special day. I can’t get enough. Honestly, these photos should be in a bridal magazine, don’t you think?!

Little Letter

IMG_7861Dear “Gilmore girls”,
I started watching you again for the third time and you never disappoint. But to be honest, I’m still a little miffed about the ending of the revival. I won’t spoil it here, but it sure was a cliffhanger and now I’m thinking we need another revival to satiate us.

Dear Quote,
The other day I heard, “No one hangs hard times on the wall.” That really spoke to me for some reason. It is so easy to assume everyone is fairing better than you at any given moment, but the truth is we are all dealing with the sadness and pain of life. You are never alone in hardship, ever.

Dear Paddle Board,
I enjoyed taking you out for a spin on the lake last night. But all those jet skiers were zipping around me making the water choppy and I had a hard time getting much of anywhere.

Dear Texas,
You sure are hot during the summer. Boy, just when I think it can’t get any hotter, it does! Maybe I’m a California weather wimp, but I still am not used to it.

Dear Coffee,
Just reminding you how much I love you. Never forget.

Dear “The Lilac Girls”,
Just started this new book and am already a fourth of the way through. Historical fiction is my jam.

Dear Germany,
Are you as excited as I am for my return on August 23rd? I sure hope so, cuz I can’t hardly think of anything else!

P.s. Photo from our time in Bar Harbor, Maine ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s Your ‘Vacation Mentality?’

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I recently read this article from the NYT entitled “How to Be Mindful on Vacation.” It really struck me, particularly this part:

Think of a vacation as a feeling within, rather than a chance to bring your hurried lifestyle to another place.

Often in the past I’ve been disappointed by vacations or trips because I didn’t check off all the items on my ‘To-See’ list. I get so caught up in being a successful tourist that I forget the original reason for the tripโ€“ to relax! Of course there’s a place for sight-seeing, but I always let it stress me out way too much. This article is a good reminder that vacation is more a state of mind than anything else.

I think that’s one of the reasons I love to travel alone once in a while, because I am more aware of my environment and willing to take the time to notice small details.

This trip I’ve been on for the past three weeks has been particularly nice because I went into it without expectations. That way, when something didn’t happen, I wasn’t disappointed, instead I could just focus on all the great things that did happen and turn them into positive memories. For instance, I didn’t go to any museums in NYC this past week, something I truly enjoy. But you know what? I did get to spend extra time in Central Park. And it was lovely.

I’m curious, what’s your vacation mentality? Do you struggle with being present on trips?

P.s. Photo from here

New York City

fullsizeoutput_48e9I first came to the city when I was ten years old, then again when I was eighteen, and now as a twenty-two year old. Every time, I am overcome with the realization that wow, New York really is something special.ย And I know we’ve all heard the stereotype of the “mean/pushy New Yorker,” but I can honestly say every interaction I’ve had here has been lovely. People have stopped to help me on the subway, point me in the right direction, or just shoot the breeze in the park. Thank you NYC!

Again, this place feels so European to me, and makes me excited to return to Germany in August. I can most definitely envision myself living here one day, we’ll just have to see where life leads! Below are a few photos if you’d like to see ๐Ÿ™‚fullsizeoutput_48f5fullsizeoutput_48f4fullsizeoutput_48f3fullsizeoutput_48f2fullsizeoutput_48f1fullsizeoutput_48eefullsizeoutput_48ecfullsizeoutput_48f5fullsizeoutput_48eafullsizeoutput_48f6fullsizeoutput_48e8fullsizeoutput_48e7fullsizeoutput_48e6fullsizeoutput_48e5fullsizeoutput_48e4fullsizeoutput_48e3fullsizeoutput_48e2fullsizeoutput_48e1fullsizeoutput_48e0fullsizeoutput_48dffullsizeoutput_48defullsizeoutput_48ddfullsizeoutput_48dcfullsizeoutput_48dbfullsizeoutput_48dafullsizeoutput_48d9fullsizeoutput_48d8fullsizeoutput_48d7fullsizeoutput_48d6fullsizeoutput_48d5fullsizeoutput_48d4fullsizeoutput_48d3fullsizeoutput_48d2fullsizeoutput_48d1fullsizeoutput_48d0fullsizeoutput_48cffullsizeoutput_48cefullsizeoutput_48cdfullsizeoutput_48ccfullsizeoutput_48cbfullsizeoutput_48cafullsizeoutput_48c9fullsizeoutput_48c8fullsizeoutput_4903fullsizeoutput_4904fullsizeoutput_4905fullsizeoutput_4906fullsizeoutput_4908fullsizeoutput_490afullsizeoutput_490bfullsizeoutput_490cfullsizeoutput_490dfullsizeoutput_490efullsizeoutput_490ffullsizeoutput_4910fullsizeoutput_4912fullsizeoutput_4913fullsizeoutput_4914fullsizeoutput_4915fullsizeoutput_4917fullsizeoutput_4919fullsizeoutput_491afullsizeoutput_491bfullsizeoutput_491cfullsizeoutput_491dfullsizeoutput_491efullsizeoutput_491ffullsizeoutput_4920

Boston

fullsizeoutput_489bHello there. How are you on these summer days? I’m writing this from NYC (!!) where I’m attending a conference. But today I thought I’d share a few photos from my afternoon in Boston, MA, last week. I fell hard for this gorgeous old city. Every building is a work of art. I especially loved the Beacon Hill area, with it’s tall brick row houses. And I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend from school for a cup of coffee. She is studying at a seminary near the city and I couldn’t be prouder. Below are a few snap-shots if you’d like to see ๐Ÿ™‚fullsizeoutput_489cfullsizeoutput_489dfullsizeoutput_489efullsizeoutput_489ffullsizeoutput_48a0fullsizeoutput_48a1fullsizeoutput_48a2fullsizeoutput_48a3fullsizeoutput_48a4fullsizeoutput_48a5fullsizeoutput_48a6fullsizeoutput_48a7fullsizeoutput_48aafullsizeoutput_48abfullsizeoutput_48acfullsizeoutput_48adfullsizeoutput_48aefullsizeoutput_48affullsizeoutput_48b0

Maine

fullsizeoutput_4864Ok friends, I know I rant and rave about everywhere I travel, but this time is different. I. AM. IN. LOVE. WITH. MAINE. There, I said it. This state is out-of-this-world beautiful. Everywhere I look I see stunning sea inlets, forest, islands, beaches, quaint little towns, fields of lupins, picturesque bridges. I’m kicking myself for not having visited sooner, and by sooner I mean every single summer for the past twenty two years. Yes, this place is absolutely magical. I’m 99% sure fairies live here because the flowers are GORGEOUS and the woods are definitely enchanted. Everything here is so much older by California standards, and I truly feel like I’m in Europe! I find the history of each building so interesting, and we even stopped by a cemetery with gravestone from the 1700’s! That means those people lived through the Revolutionary war…whaaaaaaaat? The European influence is just so much stronger here, and it’s making me excited for my return to Germany in two months (!!). My little brother visited his girlfriend up here a few weeks ago and was absolutely smitten (ahem, with Maine, that is), but I thought he was exaggerating. Well, I’m sorry Isaacโ€“ I know you read thisโ€“ because YOU WERE RIGHT. Maine is everything.

I’m almost speechless…but not quite. Below are a LOT of photos and descriptions of the places we went on the first leg of our East Coast trip if you’d like to see ๐Ÿ™‚

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