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

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Posts by Category: Andrea

Andrea September 5, 2017 posted by

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue

It’s here!! OMG I am sooooo excited for the Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue, but first let me start by being really honest. Putting together a magazine over the summer was a bit of a b*&%@! Producing a travel magazine in the midst of prime travel time for our team, well let’s just say next year we’ll need to be WAY ahead of the game;)

However, my partner Keryn and I were able to kick it into high gear and fight through the stress, a few mistakes, and the chaos – making it all SO worth it. The Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue is a beauty, and I am extremely proud of it. This issue is the biggest yet, (80 pages) and it only keeps getting richer in content and substance. You may also notice that our logo is brand new too!

The fall issue of Twist will take you to Scotland not once, but twice. We have a special design + destination feature with Tea Collection, taking you behind the scenes of how the designers take the inspiration and culture of a destination and incorporate it into their beautiful children’s clothing line. Then continuing on in Scotland we have a great guide for traveling through the highlands with kids.  Then we have a special interview with a road schooling mom of four that gives you a better understanding of how road schooling actually works. There is a neighborhood guide to Chicago, an African Safari and my personal favorite, the Spotlight on India. We also have a very informative piece on how to snap better travel photos as well as travel safety tips, packing hacks, fall fashion and even a few fun fall recipes.  Oh and did I forget about the pre-season ski guide? Well that’s in there too…

Flip it, Read it and Share it! 

 

 

A HUGE thank you to everyone that contributed to this issue! 

What’s next for Twist!?

Well, for anyone that wants to know…. we will be launching the website soon and with the website will come a few changes on how you can view the magazine. Don’t worry, Twist Travel Magazine will still be available for free digitally but you will also be able to purchase a print copy!  Yup, a real life copy to hold in your hands and flip through with your morning coffee.  Starting with the winter issue you will be able to purchase single copies of the magazine, or sign up for a 1 year subscription and have the four issues automatically mailed to you! This is what we are working on now and hope to have ready just in time for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

 

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue
Andrea August 11, 2017 posted by

Princess Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace


Diana Her Fashion Story

Upon entering the first room of Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace, I literally gasped. It was like stepping into a princess’s closet in a fairytale. Except this wasn’t a fairytale, and these were the actual dresses worn by a real princess. 

August 31st marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. If you are like me, you’re probably thinking wow – it’s been 20 years already!? I remember her shocking death like most, but also because that following Spring I came to Europe for the first time on a study abroad program. The mourning of Princess Diana was still pretty prevalent all over Europe, and the world. While our group was in Paris we walked over the tunnel where the car accident actually took place, which still had flowers, candles and signs paying respect to the late princess. 

While in London for a few days I discovered that Kensington Palace was having a special exhibit to honor the Princess of Wales, Diana Her Fashion Story. I was not sure of all the details or how to even get tickets but I was certain I needed to see this. It turns out that the exhibit is included in the regular admission price when you visit Kensington Palace. I did not have a problem getting tickets mid week, but I would check online to reserve as I have heard that the weekends are selling out.

In the first room there were five of some of her most iconic dresses hanging in a clear glass case that allowed you to walk completely around admiring the stunning gowns. I walked around it three times, mesmerized by the design, the fabric and the elegance of it all. Next to each dress were small stands that had photographs of Diana wearing the gowns, the year she wore it and for what occasion. There were also special details about the design, the designer, or what she liked about the piece. The soft lighting of this first room and the unique lighting design almost made it look like lace reflecting on the glass. It was magical. 

“The outfits in this exhibition track her evolution as a princess, trend-setter, humanitarian and woman, who’s ability to connect with people still remains powerful today”

From the first room you walked through a few smaller sections, including one that had a wall of the design sketches, then onto another larger room showcasing even more of her clothing. Then in the final room there was a  large circular case filled with even more dresses, and all around this room were gorgeous portraits of Diana on the walls. This room actually made me a little sad, as I thought about her sons and how emotionally heartbreaking this exhibit must be for them. Simply stunning, and extremely well done.  

Diana Her Fashion Story is on display at Kensington Palace until February 2018, so if your travels are taking you to London I highly recommend you visit this stunning tribute to Princess Diana. 


Travel Tip:
Try to get there right at 10:00am when they open, before the rooms start to fill up with people.

I tried hard to get photos without people in the pictures but this was difficult because of the glass and and ability to walk all the way around the cases.

 

 

 

 

Princess Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace
Andrea August 9, 2017 posted by

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England!

Spending two weeks in England this summer was definitely not the typical beach holiday, but it was refreshing to escape the Barcelona heat. We went to England for two weeks because our kids were going to sleepover camp for the first time. We thought it might be wise to stay in the same country as them, just in case anything should go awry, but we also thought –  why not take advantage of this time and explore the English countryside.

We had a great time and looking back I easily came up with my favorite moments, all 20 of them!

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England

1. Staying in Notting Hill

We rented and AirBnB one block from the famous Portebello Road and it was a great location for our few days in London. We only had two days in London with the kids and we were not doing any major sight seeing, we just wanted to keep it chill. We just wanted to walk to all the cute cafes, cruise the Portobello market, and wander the adorable and very colorful Notting Hill neighborhood. And of course we had to step inside the Notting Hill Bookstore from the movie Notting Hill.

2. London Escape Room

We love doing escape rooms in all the cities we visit! We promised the kids we would do one in London before they headed off to camp. Harris found one of the top rated and best escape rooms in London and it certainly did not disappoint! This might have been our families favorite of all the escape rooms we’ve done! Time Run Escape Room

3. Seeing School Of Rock with the kids

We did not get theatre tickets in advance and seeing a show was not on the agenda at all. Which I regretted once we were in London and I remembered, oh right – we should see a show! While walking around Covent Garden it started to rain heavily, we jumped down in the subway station to head back to Notting Hill and there was a discounted theatre ticket booth. Clearly it was meant to be. I darted across the packed station and said “What cha’ got for tonight!?” School of Rock was a really high energy show and the kids loved it!

4. Drinking from a BBQ grill

Yes, you read that correctly. My (now very good) friend Katja literally just moved to London from Mexico City. As in like five days before we got there. She is originally from England, but has been living abroad with her family for over 10+ years. We had an interesting meal at a the Eclectic Diner in Notting Hill, then we went for a cocktail at Trailer Happiness, a funky little tiki bar. We figured we might as well keep up the hipster theme. We somehow ended up ordering a BBQ grill filled with booze to share. This is why Katja is now a very good friend, you do not share large BBQ grill cocktails with just anyone.

5. Dropping the kids off  for summer camp

Dropping the kids off at the St Pancras train station was a top highlight, not because I was getting rid of my kids for two weeks but because this train station is such a beautiful historical landmark!  I had never been to St Pancras Station and had no idea it was such a gem. But back to sending my kids away to camp for two weeks, for the FIRST TIME. We spotted the XUK Camp sweatshirts on the counselors with swarms of kids around them right away. We checked them in, hung out for a bit but then hugged and said our goodbyes. It was so bizarre walking away from them. My gut felt like it had been slightly punched. 

6. Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace

In honor of the 20 year anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing there is a special exhibit at Kensington Palace, Diana: Her Fashion Story and it is beyond GORGEOUS. Seeing this was an unexpected surprise. I did not know about this exhibit before we got to London and I still can’t even remember how I saw or heard that this was happening, but it was a MUST for me. I did this solo while Harris got some work done. This is on display until February 2018 so if you are in London I suggest you go! 

7.  Re-connecting with a friend from South Africa

We met Lole and her husband (who are from South Africa) in Barcelona while on a food tour with friends. We have remained in contact and randomly she was in London! She messaged me and we got together for dinner with her and her lovely daughter. It was so great catching up and talking about life’s twists and turns, but a highlight for me was hearing her and her daughter tell the story of them biking the famous Camino de Santiago through Spain. So funny.

8.  Harris being told he’s a “Wanker”

While driving from London to Peak District we had been on the highway for about 20 minutes and we were in the far right lane, then Harris moved over into the middle lane and a car zoomed passed us…

Harris: That guy just called me a Wanker!

Me: What, how do you know!?

Harris: Well he passed me and did this – Harris makes a hand jerking-off motion.

Me: Oh, is that the international sign for a Wanker!? LOL

Harris: I think so!

9. The Monsal Trail and biking through railroad tunnels 

The Monsal Trail was awesome! I am not a biker, I prefer running, but when in Peak District there are a variety of trails and Harris likes biking, so we biked. The Monsal Trail is a trail that used to be an old railroad that has been converted into a gorgeous trail that includes six railroad tunnels that you ride through. I absolutely loved biking through the tunnels, it was very cool. I had so much fun on this bike ride that I may have even agreed to bike with Harris back in Spain… maybe.

10. Pub Dogs & Pints

I had some favorite pubs while in Peak District and some not so favorite;) Two of my favorites were The Bulls Head (near Eyam) and The Anchor. The Bulls head was adorable inside and it came with the cutest pub dog named Jack! Not only was the pub cozy and the waitress friendly, but the fish-n-chips was SO good and it was literally the whole fish! The Anchor was my other favorite because they serve food all day and the staff was really nice and welcoming. This place felt like the being inside the belly of a pirate ship with even a rum room included.

The thing with the pubs in the peak District is, they are strict about their food serving hours – you better get there between 12-2 if you want lunch and 6-8 if you want dinner.  There isn’t much wiggle room and it was a little annoying. However, when we were late or behind the food serving schedule we went to The Anchor and they happily served us. Another pub that took us even though it was 2:30 was The Ashford Arms in Ashford on the Water, this was another stand out pub that had a lovely garden.

11. Tissington Trail 

Tissington trail was beautiful but just not as unique as riding through the railroad tunnels on the Monsal trail. However, the real gem of this trail was at the end when you reached the village of Tissington. We parked our bikes and walked around the town wandering into the most adorable vintage candy shop, browsed a beautiful home store and then stopped for some coffee and homemade fudge next to Tissington Hall, which is a gorgeous historical estate. This estate is popular for weddings and since it was a Saturday we saw a large group of dapper groomsmen getting photos taken. 

12. Peak District, pretty much ALL of it.

Never heard of Peak Distric?  Yeah most people haven’t. I actually read about Peak District in an inflight magazine, if you can believe that! Peak District is a national park in northern England and apparently the step sister to the bigger and more popular Lake District. Peak District is closer to London so it’s a bit more convenient and it is also a very easy drive from Manchester and Cambridge. It is well known for their hiking and biking trails but just driving around and exploring the the countryside stopping at all the small villages was fun too! I loved it here.

13.  The Sir Williams Hotel and Barry the local bar man

We were driving around looking for a place to grab a bite to eat and we suddenly came to The Sir William Grindleford and from the outside it looked adorable! When we drive to the back to park, the views were fantastic and they had a little garden area with picnic tables. I went in to make sure they were serving food and as luck would have it they were! We were met by the nicest staff behind the bar, which included a young college kid from North Dakota of all places, and Barry, who seemed to be the the permanent bar fixture. He was hilarious and kept us entertained while we ate. I also asked to see a room upstairs, because I am totally staying here the next time we are in Peak District. There will be a next time.

14. Our cottage in the Cotswolds

Adorable. I felt like frickin’ goldilocks (with one bear) ha ha ha! This cottage was the cutest and even came with one of those iconic country doors that you can open just the top half, a small detail but one I loved! This stylish little cottage was in the town of Cirencester – one of the largest towns in the Cotswolds, but not in a horrible way. It was nestled behind one of the main streets in town so we could walk out our door and walk to everything.  The funny thing was, it was sort of behind a Thai restaurant so when we would leave we would get an intense smell of Thai food. Ahhh, nothing like stepping out your door in the English countryside to smell Thai food!;) 

15. Getting my running back in the Cotswolds

I have not been running. My excuses – the end of the school year was crazy per usual, lots of friends have been visiting, traveling and the heat in Barcelona. Lame, I know. So the one good thing about the weather in England was it made for some great running weather. I also found a cute store that sold the coolest workout clothing so I bought myself a few fun pairs of leggings, which may have also inspired me to get my ass up and go running.

16.  The Hare Trail

I spotted a couple gorgeous sculptures of painted rabbits, so I googled. It turns out that there are 85 of them throughout the 28 villages in the Cotswolds and this is known as The Hare Trail. They are decorated by different artists and are on display from March – September, then in October they auction them off and the proceeds go to a variety of charities. I of course wanted to find all of them, but probably only spotted ten.

17. Meeting up with a high school friend in the Cotswolds

What are the chances that a friend from high school was visiting her brother that lives in the Cotswolds the same week I was there!? Slim to none, but it totally happened! We met up for a pint at a pub (naturally). I was also able to meet her brother, his beautiful dog and her sweet family. They had already been to Iceland, spending a few days in the Cotswolds, then heading into London and then onto Paris. Catching up with her was such a fun treat!

18. Reading an entire book in a day

This was a first for me. I have never read a book in ONE DAY. I am not the type to sit still for that long, my mind and body just does not do that. However, if you put me in a cozy cottage while it’s raining, apparently my body can be persuaded to lay around all day and my mind can get wrapped up in something other than being productive. Yay!

19. Arguing about eating pistachios while driving 

Have you ever eaten pistachios? Well if so, then you know that this is a two hand job. Have you ever driven a manual car with the steering wheel on the right side of the car? Then you know that this is also a two hand job. Therefore, it is not safe to crack open pistachios, navigate the roundabouts while driving on the opposite side of the road and changing gears. Period.

20. Visiting Oxford – Wycliffe hall

The icing on the cake! Oxford is about an hour drive from where we were in the Cotswolds and so on the last day we took a drive to Oxford, so I could relive my youth! 20 years ago I did a study abroad program called EuroSpring and we stayed at Wycliffe Hall on Banbury Street in Oxford. Our walk over to the hall brought back so many memories. We passed by all the pubs we would frequent and the park we would walk pass everyday. Whoa – this took me back, way back. That EuroSpring trip opened my eyes to the world – and I’m pretty sure it was then that I decided I needed to see ALL OF IT.

The place where my wanderlust life began…

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England!
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!