I'm just a girl trying to have a cup of coffee all around the world. This is a blog about travel, expat life and our adventures living an international lifestyle, with two kids and a dog.

Andrea Fellman of Wanderlust Living Travel Blog

Let’s Connect!





Posts by Category: Andrea

Adventure April 10, 2017 posted by

Winter Canyoning with the Tech 21 waterproof iphone case!

This past winter while we were in the French Pyrenees for ski week I was offered a chance to participate in something called winter canyoning.  Without knowing exactly what winter canyoning meant, I jumped at the chance to experience another wild and crazy adventure!  This would be the perfect opportunity to use my new Tech 21 Evo Aqua waterproof iphone case, because if you don’t have photos –  then it never happened, right!?’

What is winter canyoning?

According to our hosts at Adventure Creators, winter canyoning is much more than the physical activity you’d think it might be. Here’s their description of the adventure that awaited us.

“The biggest challenge in winter canyoning is psychological. It is after all counter-intuitive to immerse yourself in freezing cold pools of mountain water and to ‘go swimming’ when there are icicles hanging off the rocks! The rivers also run fast in winter so security is taken seriously by your fully qualified and experienced guides. This is not an activity to be taken lightly. Your first plunge into the icy water will take your breath away, but you’ll soon find yourself jumping from icy ledges into deep rock pools, abseiling down icicle-edged waterfalls and sliding down natural toboggans into the chilly waters below. This is an exhilarating and intoxicating activity like no other.”

That description either excites you or frightens the hell out of you. I was excited. My husband not so much. So I went on this activity solo.

Suiting up for Winter Canyoning

The week we were visiting the Pyrenees, they were having a bit of a heat wave, so my winter canyoning experience turned out to be more like Spring canyoning! This was nice, because even I was a little nervous about “plunging into freezing water.” While wild activities are definitely my thing, I’m not a fan of being cold.

My guide and I hiked had about a 15 minute hike to the rivers edge with all of our gear, then once we arrived we then started suiting up! I was literally dressed in a wet suit onesie, my entire body was covered including my head, only my face was seen! I was given rubber boots, gloves for my hands a helmet and of course a safety harness. I also had a backpack for ropes, some other gear and a place to put any of my personal items. 

The top pocket of the backpack is where I put my iphone that was safely secure in the Tech 21 waterproof case. I was excited to get some photos and maybe even take some video without worrying about ruining my phone, because when we came to the first waterfall I knew everything was about to get wet! 

My guide went over all the gear and how to handle the ropes and made me feel very safe. This was not my first time waterfall rappelling so I knew a bit about how to make my descent and I think he was happy that I was not new at doing these types of activities. Before I headed down the waterfall, these were the last few words we said to each other….

Me: So am I connected to you the whole time!?

Patrice: No

Me: Am I connected to anything?

Patrice: No

Me: Okay, this should be fine.

We rappelled down three waterfalls and my guide was very patient with me stopping to take photos along the way. We were in a narrow canyon with huge rocks all around us, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the river was rushing at a nice comfortable speed. The biggest challenge was not the waterfall rappelling but actually climbing over some of the big boulders in the water. Many of them were slippery so watching your footing was important. 

When we got to the point where the canyon opened up a bit we took our first plunge into the water and let our bodies just float down stream. I giggled like a kid and tried to just lay back and relax. The backpack was actually great for balancing on, as I tilted my shoulders and head back it was like a pillow.

Meanwhile, my iphone was in that front pocket and fully submerged in water! We stopped a few times along our journey so I could take photos and even shoot some video. The Tech 21 Aqua waterproof case is a great case to have for any adventures where you are in or near water. I would suggest testing the case at home as the directions say. We had a small hiccup installing the case properly so we were glad we worked that out before I went out into the wild to use it. The photos and video using this waterproof case turned out great!

I could feel the water against my wet suit, but I wasn’t cold. The water was refreshing, and it felt so amazing to just be floating on my back, looking up at the blue sky, drifting along so freely.  We had to swim to the side from time to time, and climb over more rocks as we floated along. In one section, we literally body surfed down a mini waterfall that had our bodies bumping into rocks a bit. I giggled again because it felt as if we were like human bumper boats! Then the river opened up again into a calm flow, and so we floated freely again.

Once we reached a pretty shallow part of the river, Patrice turned to me and said “we get out here”. I was a little disappointed because I just didn’t want it to end!

I sat in the river for a few more minutes to really pause and take a mental picture. I looked back at where we had just come from, I looked around at all the natural beauty one last time, took a deep breathe and got to my feet as I exhaled. We made our way up the hillside and back to the truck where we took all our gear off and shockingly I was completely dry! 

Check out my video of Winter Canyoning in the French Pyrenees!


Disclosure: This is a post in partnership with Tech 21 and I worked with the Adventure Creators for my winter canyoning in the Pyrenees. My epic experience is all my own and I share this with you to help you get out and have your own epic experiences!

Winter Canyoning with the Tech 21 waterproof iphone case!
Andrea April 7, 2017 posted by

Tweens and the business of Instagram

Nice through the eyes of a tween!

I let Mckenna take over the Twist Travel Magazine Instagram feed while we were in Nice for the weekend. She has a great eye for photography and editing photos. She also told me about the VSCO photo editing app and an Instagram layout app called Preview. Which lets you place your photos and come up with a visual plan before you post! Yes people do this, and I get into a little bit about the business of Instagram below.

I once heard Gary Vee say something similar to this; “If you don’t understand the hottest trend, social media or what’s happening online, just ask at 13 year old girl!” And this is so true.

I know that there is a balance of tweens and technology and when traveling and spending time as a family. However, this is one way that McKenna and I connect while we’re traveling. We both like to take photos, it’s a creative and fun, it also makes walking around cities a little more interesting for her. So here what Nice, France looked like through a tween’s eyes!

The Business of Instagram

As you may have read, I started a new collaborative family travel magazine called Twist, it’s definitely still in “beta” but with any business now, you need to have your business in the social media game. Love it or hate it, social media is not going anywhere and it’s where the people are. If you are in business, I assume you want to attract clients and customers. I also assume that you know one way of doing that is through community, networking and socializing right!? Well then you better be on social media being social.

Social media is not hard for me, I’ve been at if for a looong time and it’s fits my general personality. I am a social person offline, so being a social person online is not difficult. This is not the case for everyone and I get the love hate relationship with social media, I have to turn it off some days too. It can be VERY overwhelming and yes, sometimes down right annoying. But as they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

If you can’t handle social media for your business, then you should consider hiring someone to manage it for you. Yes, there are plenty of awesome people that understand online engagement and this can be hired out – carefully! Many of these people are social media savvy bloggers who have now turned all their experience and knowledge into a very lucrative business of social media management.  It’s a serious thing.

Instagram is a great business tool and it’s a great way to engage with people that you might be able to do business with, collaborate with or even learn a thing or two from! It helps continue your branding, spreads your message and gives you access to thousands of people!  I realize to most of you I am not telling you things you do not already know, but I guess my point is, that when starting a new business or an idea I am a very visual person. I need to SEE it in order to believe it. I create inspiration boards, and a single image can launch an idea for me.  I’m a person who loves color (which I have to tone down from time to time) so figuring out and playing with the Twist Instagram feed was a fun way to see what people like and respond to. With any new creative endeavor you have to make room for play.

Letting Mckenna take over the Twist feed opened my eyes to a different visual style. I also liked the fact that we had a kid who travels a lot showing people her version of our trip. We travel to show our kids the world, so why not let them show us how they see it!  

Obviously, we do not want to be too calculated in all of this “branding”, it should still feel like a person and a conversation, not just a machine cranking out content just for the sake of cranking out content. I don’t think Twist is trying to be the Encyclopedia of travel. And sometimes I go to those Instagram feeds that look too perfect and over styled that it actually turns me off. Those feeds are gorgeous and I appreciate eye candy (some call it#VisualPorn) from time to time, but I appreciate the real, flexible and not so perfect feeds and photos too. They bring it all back to reality, ya know!?

Okay so this post totally went in a crazy direction!

I did not intend to go this route, but it’s what came out today! 
If you ever wanted to get inside my head, you just did.

How do you feel about social media, Instagram, branding and all of the above!?

Tweens and the business of Instagram
Andrea March 27, 2017 posted by

Wanderlust Finds: For the love of Lavender!

Color Me Purple!

I am normally not a purple person. I tend to be more of a blue hue kind of gal. However, a few things have caught my eye this Spring and they all happened to be shades of purple. Maybe what started it all was buying orchids for my office a few weeks ago. I’ve never bought orchids, but I saw them at this little flower shop that I always pass and had to have them. Then when the new Tech21 Evo Gem iphone case landed on my doorstep I realized this color was just begging for me to recognize it! Whether it’s lavender, lilac, orchid or wisteria, I am just loving this color right now.

So here are a few fun things that I’ve found while circling the internet…

1. Coconut Blueberry Smash Pops

Aimee from Wallflower Kitchen is the author of Coconut Milk Ice Cream and she makes the most amazing vegan treats! I stumbled upon her blueberry pops and literally wanted to lick my computer screen! These seem like he perfect Spring treat, I may actually attempt to make these this weekend!

Coconut Blueberry Smash Pops

Tech21 Evo Gem iphone Case

Tech21 Evo Gem iphone Case

2. Tech 21 Evo Gem iphone case

This little gem came in the mail and I was like “ohhhh, fancy!” I immediately took off my other Tech 21 battery charging case, which I LOVE because it keeps me powered up, but whoa. This pretty gem just made me take off my battery life line, which is a serious situation. My son ran his fingers down the case and said “oh it’s like an optical illusion!” The fine people at Tch21 made the new Evo Gem for iphone 6/6s and the 7 and the 7 plus.

Tech 21 Evo GEM iphone case $40

3. Birkenstocks for Spring!

I am loving the suede birks for spring. Not only do these come in a palette of pastel colors but there is also a nice rose gold leather pair too! Here in Barcelona the weather is still a wee bit chilly but I’ve already been wearing sandals they are so much easier to slip on and much more comfortable for running around the city!

Birkenstock Lavender Suede Sandal $150


4. Pastel Pots and Planters

Okay, so this is not technically purple but the succulent is! I found this little gem of a store on Etsy (of course) and when I found this speckled planter I also found these other pastel pots! THis seller has a lot of great pots and things for your garden.

Aqua Speckled Planter $15

5. The most Gorgeous Watercolor Feather Paintings!

I need one of these beautiful feather watercolor paintings in my life, but deciding on which one or to to get will be so difficult. This artist has even more incredible artwork in her CanotStop shop over on Etsy. Some of the bird paintings also caught my attention.

Feather Watercolor Painting $165

Have I sold you on loving purple? If so, go buy yourself some orchids!

Wanderlust Finds: For the love of Lavender!
Andrea March 24, 2017 posted by

Life in Barcelona: Canela in the City!

Life in Barcelona with a dog

Life in Barcelona (with a dog)

I have been meaning to write a little update about Canela’s transition to life in Barcelona… and of course I will eventually write more about the exciting journey of getting our dog from Costa Rica to Spain (that’s a long story) but for now just take comfort in the fact that she is living it up and doing just fine! 

We started by taking Canela just up and down our street, Gran Via – which is a pretty major street but has a nice wide pedestrian section that runs down the center and there are bushes that run the length of this pedestrian path too. These bushes are now her personal bathroom and let’s just say, she’s helping beautify the city by fertilizing the bushes! In the beginning she would only walk about three blocks and then stop and turn around and want to go back, but eventually we got her to walk all the way to the kids bus stop (8 blocks away). 

On our morning walk to the bus stop we go past Placa de Tetuan, which is a small park in the center of a large round-about and then we head down Passeig San Joan, one of my favorite streets in the city. She got used to this walk pretty quickly and liked stopping at the park on our way back.

Saturday in Barcelona

Then on one particular Saturday morning Harris and I took Canela for a walk and a cappuccino. We wanted to see what she thought about sitting outside at a cafe and how she would behave!?

So we headed down the usual bus stop route and sat and grabbed coffee at one of my favorite cafes on Passeig San Joan, La Foga. It took Canela awhile to actually sit and relax, but eventually she sat and seemed pretty happy chillin’ with us in the sun. Once we left La Foga we wandered down the street in search of a pet store, we needed dog bowls and I wanted to buy Canela a better leash and collar that actually fit her.  

Life in Barcelona bakery Rimini Rimini
Stop at the Bakery

The one pet store that was showing up on my map was no longer there, so we continued on in the direction of home making a stop at the bakery Rimini Rimini to pick up some baked goods to take home for the kids. This is a cute little cafe for pastries, coffee, small sandwiches and even pizza.

Rimini Rimini – Carrer d’Ausiàs Marc, 31  (cross street is Carrer de Girona)

La Casa Antonia Burés

Stroll past famous architecture

With the donuts and strudels in hand we continued and passed one of my favorite buildings, (I have about 52 of them) the architecture in Barcelona is ridiculous. Seriously, I see a new building I like every day or I see the same ones and my mouth still continues to drop when I happen upon them again and again. I was curious to know more about this building so I did a little google search…

La Casa Antonia Burés is a residential modernist building located at Ausiàs Marc, 42-46 Barcelona. It was built between 1903 and 1906 by the architect Juli Batllevell and the contractor of works Enric Pi i Cabañas.  The house was made on behalf of Antonia Burés i Borràs and her husband, the textile industrialist, Llogarri Torrens i Serra. It is the most elaborate and successful work of Batllevell performed in Barcelona. (thank you wikipedia)

*And apparently Mr. Torrens says that the design of the facade of this building was actually a gift from Antoni Gaudi who collaborated with Juli Batllevell. 

Life in Barcelona Pet Store

Found a pets store!

After passing an architectural work of art, we turned up a street and then walked right into a pet store, it’s as if Perruqueria Canina just magically appeared! This little pet store is also a pet groomer, perruqueria is the word for hairdresser. We bought Canela two dog bowls, poop bags, a new leash, a pretty new polk-a-dot collar and a cozy little dog bed. We almost bought her a sweater, but I think I was getting carried away.

Perrugueria Caninia, Carrer de Casp (cross street Carrer del Bruc)

Barcelona is a very pet-friendly city and we see a lot of dogs here, and they are all so well behaved! Canela is sweet but a bit anti-social and not the friendliest. When dogs come up to sniff her the hair on her neck stands up and she growls, so we try to just keep our distance. She’s had a hard life before us, so it’s understandable. Not to mention, she just went from the back roads of Costa Rica to the bustling city of Barcelona. She’s adjusting well and um, just had the best Saturday ever!

Life in Barcelona: Canela in the City!
Andrea March 21, 2017 posted by

Devour Barcelona Food Tours: Wine & Tapas!

When you live abroad it’s always fun when friends visit because you get to play tour guide, showing them your favorite local spots, but it’s also a great opportunity to play tourist too!

When our good friends Paul & Krista came to Barcelona I made us a reservation for a wine and tapas tour with Devour Barcelona Food Tours. One of the best ways to get a feel for a city and quite literally a taste, is with a walking tour. I had actually stumbled upon the http://devourbarcelonafoodtours.com/Devour Food Tours in Madrid, when I was looking up things to do when we were in Madrid last summer, we never did take a tour, but I made a mental note that they also had food tours in Barcelona, Seville and now even Malaga. I’ve enjoyed watching the company’s success so I was excited to finally book a tour with them!

Devour Barcelona Food Tours

I booked us on a Saturday night tour that began at 6:30pm. We navigated our way through the narrow streets of the gothic area, passing the crowds outside the Picasso Museum and arrived at a little bodega where we would start the night! We immediately saw the Devour Food Tour sign on top of a wine barrel table and were greeted by a huge smile and hello by our tour guide Fintan. He was a ball of energy right from the start, so I knew we were in for a fun night!  We were joined by six other people, making our tour a total of 10, which was the perfect size. Our night began with a tasting of Vermouth and having the two traditional Catalan dishes; Croquettes with Jamon Iberico inside and Patatas Bravas. (If you are vegetarian, they will have other options available to you)

As we sipped our Vermouth we went around the table introducing ourselves to the other people in the group, we’d be spending the evening together so it was a nice icebreaker. There was a couple from South Africa, two girlfriends from Chicago and another couple from Maryland, but they lived for many years in Minneapolis, Minnesota (I always seem to meet people with a connection to Minnesota). Later in the night as we all started to get a bit more friendly, the husband told me the story about how the Mayo Clinic saved his wife’s life, and that he has so much love and gratitude not only the Mayo Clinic but for Minnesota in general. The other couple from South Africa were a riot and I am actually still in touch with her via social media and even email. That is the added bonus of going on these types of group tours, the interesting people you meet! 


Tasty Tosadas 

The second stop on our tour we walked a short distance through El Born and went to a beautiful restaurant called Eldiset. Here is where the food got interesting, Eldiset is famous for their mouth watering tostadas. Paired with each tostada was a variety of light wines, we tasted two different Cavas, a white wine and a Rosé. Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain and most of which is produced in the Catalunya region and many happen to be produced just outside of Barcelona. I have learned to love Cava since moving to Barcelona, it’s so refreshing and light. The tapas (or tostadas) we had were amazing! The first one was a tostada with grilled eggplant, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions and basil pesto. The second tostada had raspberry jam, blue cheese, shredded apple and crushed almonds. 

Gran Bodega Maestrazgo

Our third stop of the night was at Gran Bodega Maestrazgo. To anyone just passing by, they might think this place was a wine wholesale shop, but once inside and passed the large wine barrels and endless shelves of wine, there is a cozy little wine bar buzzing with wine enthusiasts. Now this is the place to go to start a night out with friends or buy some wine! I’m pretty sure there is not a bad wine on the shelf. In the front of the store Fintan had us sample wines straight from the barrel and explained bulk wine, blends and pricing. If I’m being honest, it was a this point in the night some of my retention of all the extensive wine info Fintan was giving us was also starting to blend together;)  

Our fourth stop was right next door (smart) to a tasting room. There was a long high top table filled with baskets of bread and a variety of jamón, cheese and olives. There were also four empty wine glasses at each place setting, which meant more wine. This is where we ended the night and Fintan had to eventually kick us out! I suppose this is the hardest part of his job, gently breaking it to people that the tour is over and that you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

I was so impressed by Fintan and his passion for wine, he was a fountain of knowledge and was a fantastic tour guide! The entire night was lovely, the only thing I might say is that I could have used one more tostada, because by the time we hit the fourth stop I was devouring the bread basket! I’d highly recommend this wine and tapas tour to anyone visiting Barcelona, it’s a fun night with excellent wine, good food and great company!

Disclosure: Totally not paid or comped. I was a regular human enjoying a night out with friends.

Devour Barcelona Food Tours: Wine & Tapas!
Andrea March 19, 2017 posted by

Running a marathon with Tech 21

This is a post in partnership with Tech 21, because they make a product I literally cannot live without.

When I told a friend of mine that I was running a marathon he said “Wow, that’s intense” to which I replied, “Yeah, well I’m kind of intense – LOL”  

Then out of curiosity I looked up the exact definition of intense; of extreme force, degree, or strength.  I also found some synonyms for the word intense  – fierce, extreme, exceptional, extraordinary, powerful, vigorous, heartfelt, eager, keen, enthusiastic, excited, animated, spirited, strong, energetic, committed.  

Yup. I’m intense.

Which brings me to my point – living life full of intensity means that I need people and products in my life that operate on the same level. I have been meaning to write about my Tech 21 Endurance Charging Case for months now, but I guess this is perfect timing since it literally just got me through a 5-hour marathon. It has succeeded at its job and then some.

My relationship with my phone is intense, to say the least. I travel a lot and take an obnoxious amount of photos, I work from my phone and literally run for hours with my phone. The Endurance battery charging case is intense and I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.

I used to bring those little battery packs and a cord with me, which was always so annoying, not to mention when I go for my runs I don’t want all that extra weight and junk in my waistband. I have used this battery charging case for my entire marathon training and it kept my phone charged for hours on all my long training runs. When I run I have to have music playing. I also have to have my Strava app running in the background to keep track of my distance. I’m so bad about leaving other apps open, which can suck your phone battery too.

Tech 21 Endurance Battery Charging Case

Once I put the Endurance charging case on my phone last year, it has never come off. Sure, sometimes I miss having a sparkly, hot pink (AKA stylish) case on my phone, but it’s not so pretty when your battery dies. I’d rather have battery life and not get lost, miss an important message or not be able to take photos any day of the week. 

The Tech 21 Endurance Case uses a safe Lithium Ceramic Technology that prevents it from releasing toxic chemicals, won’t cause your phone to heat up and most importantly is not flammable. The case is also made with a material called FlexShock, which helps protect your phone when you drop it, and trust me I have dropped my phone plenty of times! 

The Tech 21 Endurance case is only available for the iPhone 6/6s and you can learn more and buy it here.  I have no plans of upgrading my phone because I cannot live without this case.

Disclosure: As I stated in the beginning, I am currently working with Tech 21, but I honestly and truly LOVE this product.

Running a marathon with Tech 21
Andrea March 7, 2017 posted by

Twist Travel Magazine!

While I have been kicking back and “taking it easy” this last year…I found myself working on a few projects here and there, (I couldn’t help myself) I had to keep the creative juices flowing! Then something that has been in the back of my mind for a while resurfaced and I thought, well why the heck not – let’s see what happens!

As a mom who lives abroad, I eat, sleep and breathe travel, but I have been very hesitant to turn it into a job. I want to protect my travels, I am selfish with them. I do not want to ruin them by the added pressure of making money from them. It is why I have not turned Wanderlust Living into a content creating machine. However, travel is a part of me and I want to create another business that I love and am passionate about.

Twist Travel Magazine

So today I am launching a brand new digital magazine called Twist. This is a co-partnership with my very good friend Keryn Means from Walking On Travels. Twist is a collaborative family travel magazine that we curated with a team of family travel writers and lifestyle bloggers.

So here is the first pilot issue of Twist travel magazine.
I’m not going to even tell you what is in this beauty – you’ll have to click through and see for yourself!

Twist Tip: Click on the box in the lower right corner to go FULL screen – it’s better that way!



We will be publishing Twist quarterly. We are building out a website now and we have some pretty bad ass plans! Is it perfect right now? No. Is everything ready? No. But sometimes you have to JUST START. I hope you will follow along on this new creative endeavor.

And on that note –  I actually hope to write more about the in’s and out’s of building an online business from the ground up here on Wanderlust Living, because that is the one thing that always boggles people’s minds!! And if you’re gonna move about the world, you might want to know how to make money from anywhere, am I right!?

Follow Twist Travel Mag on Instagram

Twist Travel Magazine!
Andrea February 7, 2017 posted by

Barcelona marathon training update

Barcelona Marathon Training Update

I am over the half way point to running the Barcelona Marathon, I have about five weeks left before the big day, Sunday, March 12th. This past weekend I was not exactly feeling confident. In fact, I was sure I was hitting a wall, both mentally and physically. Physically I know I can run eight miles no problem, but I don’t feel like it is “easy”, so heading out to run a 15 mile run on Sunday morning –  I was a little nervous. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. I have ran only two 10 mile runs and one 13 mile run,  and I have missed some long runs die to my traveling.

So I set out earlier than usual, because I didn’t want this to take over my entire day and the earlier you get out in the morning the less awake you are to a) realize what it is you are about to do and b) you leave before you talk yourself out of it.

I made my way up to the top of Passeig San Joan to start, which is up hill and then ran back down toward the Arc de Triomf knowing that that would be a great warm up on my way down to the beach. I tried to not mess with my music or look at my Strava app at all, I just tried to run as relaxed as I could, taking in the beautiful Barcelona morning, It had rained a little overnight, the sky was clearing up and it was already 58 degrees!  There was hardly anyone on the streets, because the only people up at 8:30am on a Sunday morning are runners and a few photographers taking advantage of the incredible lighting. Barcelona is not an early morning city, 12:00 is very much still considered morning here.

Running earlier meant less traffic and the lights were not turning as much, or I could just run on red because there was no traffic coming. Once I got down to the beach I realized I was not the only one with a long run on the schedule. There were SO many runners out at this time,(clearly they wanted to get it over with too). It was nice to be surrounded by my people, which was also encouraging. 

Here are some photos from the first half of my 15 mile morning run… (because I couldn’t bear to stop to take any photos the last 5 miles) I love the way the sky and the clouds changed throughout the first part of my run. I can’t complain, my marathon training backdrop is pretty amazing!

I DID IT. And my time wasn’t horrible either.

15 miles  / 2 hours 48 minutes / 11:12 average pace per mile via the Strava app.

When I got home I collapsed onto the floor and told Hudson to get me some frozen vegetables for my knees and I said to Harris “I’m not sure I ever want to do that again!”

Of course I am really happy that I survived 15 miles, however the thought of doing 11 more is frickin’ crazy!! I mean, I like running, but if I keep a 11 minute pace – I will be running for almost 5 hours, and when you put it like that it sounds horrible!! That is a LONG time to be running. (My goal is to do it 4.5 hours)

Later that night I was prepared to feel like I had been hit by a truck, but after a burger and a hour nap, I actually felt fine. Monday morning I was bracing for a ton of soreness – but to my surprise I wasn’t too bad. So today I went out and ran a short 5 miler and hit my best time and it felt like such a baby run! I guess that is the point – to keep doing the consistent 6-8 mile runs, and then push hard for the longer runs, which then gives you the confidence to keep going!

That’s the thing with “thinking” I hit an eight mile wall, it was all in my head. Now I’ve proved to myself that 15 miles is possible, both mentally and physically. Believing I can do this is more than half the battle, as a friend said to me “Your mind will give up way before your body will” and it is SO true. This is such a mental game.

26 miles I’m coming for you.

Barcelona marathon training update
Andrea January 31, 2017 posted by

Run The World: Chamonix, France

Running in Chamonix, France

We went to Chamonix, France for Christmas to go snowboarding, but unfortunately there was a real lack of snow. However, it actually made for better running conditions for me! Since I am training for the Barcelona Marathon, I was worried about getting some runs in on our winter vacation, but since we skipped snowboarding some days I was able to run. {Sorry that the snowboarding sucks kids – but mom’s going running, see ya!} 

For me, running is the best way for me to really take in my surroundings.  I’m not distracted by what is on the itinerary, finding directions to where we are going, keeping a time schedule or the kids! Even if you are not a runner, I highly encourage you to make time to find a trail, walking path or street that allows you to look a little closer at where you are. I always find something that stops me in my tracks, literally.  

There is a fantastic walking path that runs along the L’Arve River that gives you some stunning views of Mont Blanc.Even though the entire mountain was not covered in snow, it was still gorgeous!  Especially on my way back while I was cutting through what looked like a small golf course, the field just opened up, the clouds hugged the top of Mont Blanc showing the beautiful blue sky. This is why I run. To see the world.

Running Chamonix France

If you are wondering, (how did you know where to go?). I didn’t. I always just set off not knowing where I am going, that’s half the fun. Seriously. I’ll occasionally look on my map before I head out the door and know the general direction I want to go, but for the most part I do no research and sometimes maps end up confusing me more. In Chamonix, the river runs right through the middle of town, so I knew there had to be some sort of walking trail along the river, so I just followed the river. 

I also take pictures along the way, which is actually a safety measure, so if I get lost or turned around I can find my way back. I also have my Strava app running, so I can look at that map too. If you’re not as adventurous as me, I did find this resource that has a bunch of helpful maps of Chamonix, France which includes not only town maps but hiking trail maps, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and even winter hiking/snowshoe trail maps.

Here is just some of what I saw while running in Chamonix, France. 🙂




Get out there – you’ll see so much more!

Run The World: Chamonix, France
Andrea January 26, 2017 posted by

Barcelona Boutiques: Lola Nomada

Lola Nomada

While shopping in Barcleona during the holidays I stumbled upon the coolest boutique called Le Studio, which is actually not only a boutique but the design studio for Lola Nomada. While I was running errands and shopping for other specific things that day I passed their shop and the beautiful curated collections of clothing immediately caught my eye. While Barcelona is filled with all the big name brands and typical shopping stores, I am much more interested in finding the Barcelona boutiques that offer more unique items.

Lola Nomada is a locally designed brand that was born right here in Barcelona. The two women behind the brand are Mayra Nor and Annabel Wiering. Mayra studied law in Germany, but has always had a big passion for fashion and branding. Annabel studied fashion management in Holland and has been working in the fashion industry for the last 12 years. Together with a small team in Barcelona they create the Lola Nomada collection. 

“As fashion creatives with a love for the bohemian lifestyle inspired by the urban, independent and confident women around us, we felt encouraged to create a fashion concept where effortless designs meet Mediterranian Chic.”

While chatting with the sales girl she told me that many of the fabrics used for their designs come from France and Italy. In addition to the the Le Studio in the Barcelona they have a small workshop where they create their designs and the larger quantities are made in Portugal. 

I fell in love with two shirts, the Sali Top for the fun collar and the Lina Top for the embroidered sleeves! All of the clothing is really well made and I loved so many of their skirts, but sadly I am just not a skirt girl.

When you come to Barcelona be sure to visit them, they are not far from the Palau de la Musica Catalana (which you should definitely see!) or you can shop Lola Nomada online.

I also loved their inspiration board they had hanging on the wall and this is what their clothing tags say: “A girl who wanders and a woman who dreams”  – I wish I would have thought of that 😉

Lola Nomada in Instagram #Lolanomada

Barcelona Boutiques: Lola Nomada