The Darling Nomadess: 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Great American Road Trip: Chicago, Badlands, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, and Carhenge

There's something about a road trip that earns the excitement and attention from almost any American. Growing up, family vacations frequently revolved around packing up the car, hitting the open road, and enjoying America the Beautiful. Perhaps it is the sense of freedom that comes from escaping the quintessential small town into the vast beyond, the big cities, the quiet wilderness, and the kitschy Americana roadside stops.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Life Update!

Hello Darlings! Long time, no see! I promise I haven't completely fall off the edge of the earth (yet) and am alive and well. The last time I was able to post was back in July and even then, this summer was nowhere near consistent blogging! Now that I'm not working 80 hours a week, I finally have time to enjoy life outside of my career and pick back up on my favorite hobbies. So, what all has gone down the past few months? Here's an update and be on the lookout for more exciting content over the next few weeks as I ease back into blogging.

To say this summer was insane would be an understatement. As soon as I got off the return flight from Europe I hit the ground running with my job as a Front Desk Trainer and Supervisor with Cedar Point Resorts. In July, I was promoted to a Front Office Manager position at one of the resort hotels and fell in love with the hospitality industry, even with an 80 hour work week. Cedar Point's season has now ended and I've recently made the move from Ohio to Colorado to work as a Front Desk Supervisor with Vail Resorts. Thankfully, the hours will be a normal 40 hours a week and I have a ton of free time that I literally have no idea what to do with anymore. I've never had so much free time in my life!

Life Goals
My birthday gift to myself this year was my application for the US Peace Corps, a dream of mine since early high school.  Well, after an intense interview, I was accepted into the Togo, Africa program to serve as a Secondary English Education and Gender Equality Teacher, departing June 2016. I accepted the invitation, without hesitation after doing a lot of research on the Togolese culture. Togo wasn't really a place I wanted to serve with the Peace Corps (my top 3 choices were actually Peru, Moldova, and Costa Rica). I'm still extremely nervous about this opportunity, especially to get my financials under control for 27 months. With the recent move to Colorado (I'm seriously in love with the mountains now you guys) I'm also nervous that I may turn down this opportunity. I mean, I can always apply for the Peace Corps later in life and hope that I am accepted into a program where I do want to serve. While I really want to fulfill my life goal of serving with the Peace Corps, I also want to ensure that my heart is in the right place for it, you know? What if Togo isn't where I'm meant to be for the next 27 months starting in June? Ahhh, decisions...

Love Life
While I may have been working 80 hours a week, I did manage to find an hour here or there to go on dates. Working in resorts and living with your co-workers, there are bound to be a lot of hook ups and such going on in-between employees. It's just the nature of the environment, especially with all of us working together as much as we do. I wanted to date outside of the resort employee base, so I actually downloaded the Tinder app to hopefully meet some cute locals (insert your judgments here, go ahead). Well, I actually had a good success rate of great dates. However, I did have one bad date, and by bad date, I mean epically bad date. Blog post to come later this month. The story involves a car on fire. Get. Excited.

So what kinds of posts and stories would you be interested in hearing as we get this blog baby back up and running? Post your favorite blog post that you've written in the past few months so I can read it! I want to catch up with my blogging friends! I've missed you all! 

With Love,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vacay Everyday: Enjoy the Little Things

We all know that long days at work can be stressful, particularly if you work in the service/hospitality industry. I always try to keep in mind to celebrate the little successes and find that those motivate me throughout a long day. I guess that's why I love Palm Breeze's motto: "#VacayEveryday. It's all about taking a some time for yourself to reclaim your day and celebrate the independent, confident, and stylish woman you are. I think it's something we can all remind ourselves of because we don't give ourselves enough credit!

Personally, I try to #VacayEveryday with simple things like painting my nails, catching up on magazine/book reading, or working on this little blog. I also love going for a walk in the nearby nature reserve or hanging out with girlfriends, all while enjoying a delicious Palm Breeze sparkling alcohol spritz!

Palm Breeze sparkling alcohol spritz comes in two delicious tropical flavors: Ruby Red Citrus and Pineapple Mandarin Orange. It's a flavored malt beverage with a malt base, kind of like a beer, but it's the first drink of it's kind to unabashedly market to women.

Personally, I love the sweet and tangy Ruby Red Citrus flavor. For an extra kick for the extra tough days, I mix in a splash of moscato wine and a lemon wedge. Who doesn't love a pretty pink drink to match a new manicure and a relaxed attitude (and your totally cute summer outfit)?!

Life is all about enjoying the little things and I find that taking a moment to appreciate those small moments and successes definitely lifts my mood and pushes me through the rest of the week!

How do you #VacayEveryday, darling?

With Love,
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reverse Bucket List: 24 Things I've Done in 24 Years

So a few weeks ago I turned 21 for the 4th time (AKA, I'm 24 now). It was by far the best birthday I've had yet. My work friends celebrated with me at dinner and a few days later we celebrated again during a booze cruise (ahh, life on Lake Erie). It was an absolutely wonderful time filled with so much friendship. I can't believe just how much of an impact my co-workers have made on my life, even though we are only together for the summer season.

Rather than make another list of things to do (because we all have way too many of those), I'm going to celebrate what I've already accomplished in my short 24 years, no matter how silly some of the things may be. I meant to post this on my birthday but, ya know, life happens and I'm really trying to get back into blogging in August. Without further ado, here is my reverse bucket list.

1. Climbed a volcano
2. Travelled to 19 USA States and 13 Countries
3. Dyed my hair pink
4. Marched in a parade at Disney World
5. Assisted with tornado relief efforts in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
6. Fell in love (and back out of love...)

7. Dined with a sloth
8. Graduated from college (first in the family to do so, what what!)

9. Won a beauty pageant
10. Au paired in Europe and survived
11. Got married in Costa Rica* (funny travel story coming soon)
12. Learned more than one language
13. Helped a beached sea turtle return to the Pacific Ocean

14. Saw the coral reef while snorkeling in Costa Rica
15. Participated in a film crew in Los Angeles
16. Met Alexa Vega (you know, the Spy Kids girl?!)

17. Joined a sorority and am now an alumna
18. Completed over 500 hours of community service in my 4 years of college

19. Built 3 houses with Habitat for Humanity
20. Lived and worked in another country
21. Juggled 3 fire batons

22. Competed in 10 Miss Ohio/America Preliminaries
23. Applied to join the Peace Corps
24. Received a promotion at work (I'm now a hotel manager, never saw that one coming...)

What's on your reverse bucket list? 

With Love,

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Romper

Thanks to SwimOutlet for sponsoring today's outfit!

Romper: c/o // Long Necklace: ShoeDazzle // Short Necklace: old // Hat: Target

Confession: rompers are quickly taking over my summer wardrobe. To be honest, when this style first became popular a year or two ago, I was not a fan. Ask me now, and I am obsessed. They're so comfy and so easy. This tribal print romper from SwimOutlet is no exception!

While I probably should have ordered a size smaller, I'm still wearing this romper all the time. On my days off, it creates the perfect outfit/swimsuit cover up for the beach, hat optional. I also enjoy dressing it up for happy hour with a pair of cute neutral wedges and bright lipstick.

Do you wear rompers? How do you style yours?

With Love,

Monday, May 25, 2015

ABC's of Travel

A) Age you went on your first international trip:
At 20 years old I embarked on a 1 month study abroad trip to Costa Rica. It forever left me sick with wanderlust. This was my first experience with cultural immersion and I left craving for more. Since then, I haven't really stopped traveling whether it's traveling to various cities in the USA or countries in Central America and Europe. 
B) Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:
I always make a point to try the beer in each country I visit. The Golden Monkey in Santa Ana, Costa Rica is one that will haunt my dreams forever. 

C) Cuisine (favorite): 
Amsterdam! From sweet apple pie to savory bitterballen, lawd, what's not to like?! Amsterdam has an incredible international cuisine so there is a lot of different flavors and tastes to experiment with. Check out my Amsterdam food guide here
D) Destinations–favorite, least favorite, and why?:
Favorite: Oh, this is a tough one. I'm going to go with Florence. It's such a magical city. I can't even explain my feelings about why I love it so much. I just do. 
Least Favorite: This would be either Cahuita, Costa Rica or Los Angeles, California. I really ought to blog about my experiences in these two cities soon cause my experience was absolutely NUTS. 

E) Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: 
The 48 hours I spent in Pompeii, hands down. The ruins, the view from the Belfry, just…everything that happened in Pompeii. It was a good time in my life to experience a place like that.
F) Favorite mode of transportation:
My own two feet. Also, it sounds crazy but I really want to give hitchhiking a try at least once, hahaha!
G) Greatest feeling while traveling:
Those first few hours exploring a new area, smiling in awe of everything. Charming streets, adorable little shops, delicious smells floating in the area, the thrill of being somewhere new, especially after months of planning, is such a wonderful feeling!
H) Hottest place you’ve ever traveled to:
Costa Rica

With the Maya Chan Beach crew! 
I) Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?:
Maya Chan Beach. Last year a few of my Alpha Phi sisters and I decided to go on a week long cruise for our senior trip. After scouring some cruise forums, I learned about one of the cruise world's best kept secrets: Maya Chan Beach in Costa Maya, Mexico. For $75, we received all.the.drinks, a fantastic buffet of fresh food (helllllooooo quac!), access to kayaks, ocean chairs, massages, etc. It was seriously an amazing day and the service was just incredible. 
J) Journey that took the longest:
Time speaking it would be the journey from Cleveland to Rome in November 2014. However longest in terms of "when is this trip over" would be the RV road trip my family took to Disney World the summer before my senior year of HS. If you wanna talk about "my life is a sitcom" moments, that would be one of them, haha!
K) Keepsake from your travels:
While souvenirs are a pain to travel with, I want to fill my future home with treasures from my travels.
Rome: a wooden Pinocchio figure and Pinocchio stationary
Florence: Leather Diary
Pompeii: Wine Cork and Serving Utensils
Amsterdam: Wooden Clogs, Tulip bulbs, and Ceramic Windmill
Berlin: Nutcracker
Costa Rica: Wooden Cart Figure
Annnndddd a ton of photos, maps, and various memorabilia.
L) Let-down sight, where and why?:
Valencia, Spain. While the architecture at the City of Arts and Sciences is really cool, I was really underwhelmed by everything else. Also, this is the only city that I didn't do a walking tour in. After reading some blogs (not naming any names) that preach about avoiding tourist stuff and going local, I tried to see the sites on my own and hardcore avoid anything touristy for this trip. The entire time I just felt like something was really missing in Valencia. Perhaps it would have been better had I taken a walking tour to get a better grasp on the history and culture. Also, the interesting thing that I noticed here was that all the locals were hiding out in the Burger King and Pizza Hut. So much for avoid the American fast food and get to know the locals, anti-tourism travel bloggers. 
M) Moment where you fell in love with traveling:
I'm not sure if there was just one definitive moment but the summer after my freshman year of college was where it really began. That summer I travelled by plane for the first time to Indianapolis and Los Angeles. I think it was this summer that I truly learned on my own that there is so much more to the world than just my little hometown, college town, cabin in West Virginia, and Disney World.

First time using public transportation and stressing out in Los Angeles
N) Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
I haven't stayed in any hotels that are ostentatiously nice but I've enjoyed all of the hotels I've stayed in while in New York City. Also, I really enjoyed the Kyoto Grand Hotel & Gardens in Los Angeles. It's nestled in the middle of Little Tokyo and has a gorgeous rooftop garden that provides the perfect escape from hectic Los Angeles!
O) Obsession–what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
P) Passport stamps-how many and from where?:
I only have 1 stamp from when I went to Costa Rica. For some reason, I don't have any stamps from any travels in Europe. Not even an incoming stamp. I WANT STAMPS. 
Q) Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?:
Comdomerie in Amsterdam
R) Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?
Los Angeles.

S) Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling:
T) Touristy thing you’ve done:
Rockerfeller Center Tour in NYC and the "touch the top" photo at the Louvre in Paris. 
U) Unforgettable travel memory:
So many! Road tripping to Boston with my Little Emily, then-boyfriend Christian, and Fraternity Little Jareth. My first time seeing a sloth in the wild while in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Experiencing the craziness that was Los Angeles. Almost being the cause of a bar fight in Rome between a Swiss Army Soldier and a drunk Spaniard. Running away from my host family in Rome. Seeing the damage that natural disasters can cause first hand in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Watching the joy on a new Habitat for Humanity homeowner's face when she walks into her new home for the first time in Columbus, Georgia. 
V) Visas-how many and for where?:
1 visa for Germany. 
W) Wine–best glass while traveling:
Interestingly, I don't really have too much wine while traveling, I typically stick to beer, though I do love a good glass of wine. I guess while traveling I'm usually looking for something cheap.

X) eXcellent view and from where?:
View of Frankfurt from the bridge, Florence from Vecchio. NYC from High Line. 
Y) Years spent traveling:
In total, I've only spent 6 months of my life abroad and hopefully years to be added!
Z) Zealous sports fans and where?:
Cleveland Browns Fans in Ohio.

What are your favorite travel memories?

With Love,

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Goals

Well, it's time to get back on track! So far this year I feel like I have just been going with the flow of day to day activities with no real goal or motivating factor behind them. Because of this, I have been in this really weird funk and I'm trying so hard to get out of it. Perhaps this funk is from reverse culture shock or missing Europe but I'm back in the states for at least the next 6 months so it's time to focus on utilizing this time to my advantage.

This month I'm really focused on getting back in shape and blogging. I gained about 10-15 pounds while in Europe. I'm currently at the heaviest weight I've ever been and hate it.
If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I used to post consistently and then posted once every few weeks while in Europe. I would love to get my blog back on track and providing you with some quality content consistently again!

This month, I'm committing to:
+ Working out at least 5 days a week
+ Eliminate as much sugar and sodium from my diet as possible
+ Drink more water or hot tea (at least 3 water bottles per day)
+ Posting on this blog at least 3 times a week (hold me accountable, darlings!)

What are your goals for this month?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Travel Must-Haves

In case you haven't heard yet, I've returned to the good 'ol' USA! It was quite the last minute decision but with a quickly draining bank account, and a perfectly timed job offer, I knew it was time to return. I loved every second of my wild 5 month European adventure and can hardly wait to start traveling again...where ever that may be! 

I learned a lot about myself while traveling. One thing that stood out to me from the beginning: I overpacked. While I do think that I'm a much lighter packer than most women my age, I definitely packed too much! Even though I overpacked, there are 5 things that were the MVP's of my travels and items that I highly recommend you take with you if you are planning to go on extended travel!

1. Flipflops
If you plan on staying in hostels at any point in your trip, you had better bring your floppy floppies. Hostels, and even some of the cheaper hotels, may not have the best housekeeping staff so it's absolutely imperative that you wear your flip flops while showering...unless you like germs and the potential of getting athletes foot (ew.). Bring these to shower in, but please do not wear these out and about while sightseeing!

2. Outlet Converter
This is especially important if you're traveling through Europe! If you plan on bringing your laptop with you on your travels, I would recommend you also get a voltage converter, otherwise, you will kill your laptop battery!

3. Journal
Above are two of the journals I had during my travels. While the Notes one was for more of to-do lists, places I wanted to see, etc, I had filled one journal of my time in Rome and then purchased a gorgeous leather journal in Florence (above, below the Notes journal). Personally, I enjoyed reflecting on each day, and my thoughts on each place I visited. It's definitely something I go back and read to relive my memories and recall details of my trip.

4. Small Backpack
While I had a huge 60 Liter Backpack for carrying all of my stuff, I also had a day backpack for walking around the cities. I always carried a bottle of sparkling water or regular water, some food, and my camera. It also came in handy if I purchased any souvenirs! While in Paris, I would purchase a baguette from the grocery store near my hotel every morning and keep it in my backpack to munch on through the day.

5. Feminine Products
I'm so glad I did heavy research on Germany before I left. While researching, I learned that many women use tampons, just like in America, however, German tampons do not have the plastic applicator. Umm...what? I guess Germans are pretttttty comfortable with their bodies (or just super eco-friendly). Knowing this, I made sure to pack lots of my favorite pads and tampons into my backpack. My favorite brand has always been U by Kotex. Seriously though, my bathroom is well stocked with the little black boxes!

Now, YOU can receive FREE samples of U by Kotex's awesome (and stylish…if feminine products could be stylish) Clean Wear pads with 3D Capture Core! Who doesn't love free stuff? Sign up to get your FREE sample! 

What are your travel must haves?

With Love,

Liked this post? Here are some other posts you might enjoy reading:
10 Places to Visit in Europe in 2015
Wedding Emergency Kit
10 Reasons Why You Should Be High (On Heels, Standards, and Pearls)

Linking up with The Secret Bloggers Club.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

36 hours in Berlin

I love a good story and Berlin is a city that is filled with stories. From being the center of the Cold War and World War II to now being an up-and-coming place to be for exciting nightlife, Berlin is definitely a place that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. 

Berlin was always on the list of places I wanted to visit while in Europe.  The date for my visit was set in the my schedule when I found out Chloe from Wanderlust in the Midwest was going to be in Germany. While she was able to visit the city for about 3 days, I only had about a day and a half to pack everything in. It was a wonderful girls weekend and chance to dive deeper into Germany's history. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

4 Seasons of Style: Utility Vest

Do you have one of those articles of clothing that just literally goes with everything? You end up wearing it to it's death and are sad without it. For me, it's my utility vest. While it's no where near it's end yet, I'm surprised at how much I've worn it in Europe. 

Since it's debut on the blog in August, this vest has seen almost seen all four seasons.  It'y my go-to piece - it livens up any dull outfit, keeps me warm with layers, and it's incredibly versatile. Confession: I just realized that almost all of the outfits posted onto my Instagram in the past 6 months include the utility vest. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Photo Diary: Afternoon at Strausburg Grande Île

Being centrally located, Frankfurt has a lot of options for day trips. There's tons of castles in the area, a Celtic burial ground, and it's just a few hours drive to France. When the opportunity to road trip to visit Strausburg, a charming UNESCO World Heritage city, you bet I was the first one in the car. Strausburg has a lot of Germanic influence as it is so close to the France-German border which makes for an absolutely adorable medieval city. 

At 466 feet tall, the Strausburg Cathedral is the world's sixth tallest church. The gothic architecture left me in complete awe of the amount of detail on this "gigantic and delicate marvel" as described by Victor Hugo. For just a few euros, I climbed the stairs to the top of the cathedral to find a breathtaking view from the top. 

After the exhausting climb up and back down, it was time for a 2 euro Nutella crepe from a street vendor.

Have you ever been to Strausburg?

With Love,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What to Eat in Amsterdam

Thank you to Eating Amsterdam Tours for sponsoring today's discussion. All opinions are my own!

From Italy's delectable gelato and lasagna, sweet crepes in France, paella in Spain, and the savory schnitzels in Germany, it's no secret that Europe has turned me into a foodie. Amsterdam's culinary scene is quite underrated, and trust me, it goes far beyond just the rich gouda cheese and apple pie! 

When I discovered Eating Amsterdam Tours, I knew it would be a great addition to my New Years Week itinerary in Holland's capital. A collaboration was a great way to ring in the new year and celebrate The Darling Daily's second blogiversary! Since I was going to Amsterdam to celebrate my favorite holiday (NYE!), I purchased a ticket on the tour for Alex as a Christmas gift. Specialty tours are a great gift for travelers, by the way (hint hint, Sound of Music Tour in Salzurg for my birthday, anyone? ;p). Amsterdam quickly won my heart with it's tolerance, charming architecture, and have I mentioned the delicious Dutch food yet? 

Filled with excitement, we packed up our rental car around midnight and drove 6 hours overnight to the city. After finding a parking spot, I had a comfortable and restful 3 hour nap in the backseat (note sarcasm) before heading to Cafe Papeneiland, one of the oldest brown-cafes in Amsterdam, to begin the 4 hour eating frenzy!