An Unexpected Floridian Adventure

An Unexpected Floridian Adventure

Hey, all! I just got back from spending two and a half weeks in Florida. Though I had planned to be in Fort Lauderdale for a long weekend of scuba diving, the rest of the adventure was quite unexpected…

Blissing out on the beach

Blissing out on the beach

The day before my flight back to Ohio, where I’m currently staying, I made an impromptu decision to visit a doctor in Miami. I hadn’t been able to hear out of my right ear for a couple of days and, though I had no pain whatsoever, I figured I should get it checked out. Thank goddess I did, because I ended up having an ear infection! The doctor said I couldn’t fly for at least seven days, otherwise the membrane would burst in my ear. (She also prescribed me antibiotics, which I begrudgingly took for ten days! I typically don’t even use medicines like Advil, so after taking that stuff, I’ve been popping probiotics and drinking kombucha like it’s my day job.)

Exploring the diversity of Florida

Shiva Vishnu Temple, Key Biscayne, and the art walk!

Anyway, though my extended trip was totally unanticipated, it was nothing short of AMAZING! The way the Universe opens up opportunities is so impressive. I was able to stay with wonderful friends the entire trip – thank you all again so much, I am grateful. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Miami and had some seriously awesome experiences!

For much of the trip, I was surrounded by talented, musical beings. It was pure bliss! We danced, laughed, and made music each night, until the sun came to greet us. Growing up, my life was bursting with music and art. I was in a constant state of creation and, though I still appreciate those areas, it’s not an integral part of my life anymore (Stay tuned for a blog post on this topic!). Being around artistic people made me miss it and question why I let it go in the first place. While swiveling my hips to rhythms of Bollywood, letting music pour through my smiling lips, and clapping my hands to the beating of my heart; I was in harmony with life and those around me. After this experience, I have decided to really cultivate this area of my life again – so, artists around the globe, let’s create together!

Lush forest greens.

Lush forest greens. (Can you see me hiding in one of the photos?!)

During my time there, I also gained a greater appreciation for Latin cultures! With exception of an Indian friend, every other person I hung out with was from Latin America.  The diversity was fascinating – my friends came from Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil, and Spain (this one sort of counts, right?)! I adored hearing stories of their traditions, experiences, foods, and lifestyles there. Though I was still in the US, the constant flurry of Spanish language and music made it easy to forget.

Snorkeling in Key Largo

Snorkeling in Key Largo

There was a beautiful spiritual and yogic element to my experience too. I attended my first official SUP yoga class, did acro-yoga in a park by the sea, and communed with talented yogis and yoginis for random yoga play. We also visited the Shiva Vishnu temple for the celebration of the appearance of Rama and went to see the breathtaking Jade Buddha.

Post-snorkeling yoga...on top of kayaks!

Post-snorkeling yoga…on top of kayaks!

Being in nature was so rejuvenating for me! Frolicking on the beach, splashing in the ocean, and basking in the sun was totally life-giving. As my Vedic astrologer friend explained to me, I have a deep connection to Mother Earth. I’d already known this about myself, but hearing it affirmed by the stars was pretty interesting. I can’t explain it fully with words, but when I’m not connected to Her – no matter if it is through the sea, a jungle, a river, or a forest – I feel disconnected from my life source. Little compares to experiencing the sun kiss my skin, the wind caress my body, and the earth’s electricity enter my body through my perpetually muddy feet! Living near the ocean, in the near future, will be so special for me. When scuba diving, snorkeling, and paddle boarding become regular activities, I will be one happy adventuress!

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Sleepy, little tiger.

Oh…and did I mention that I spent an evening snuggling with a baby tiger?

Suffice it to say, life is beautiful, sporadic travels are beautiful, and you people are beautiful. Trust that things will align for you, fellow adventurers, and they will!

Jade Buddha, a tiger, and yoga, oh my!

Jade Buddha and tigers and yoga, oh my!

 

Hipknoties Review: Convertible Travel Wear

Hipknoties Review: Convertible Travel Wear

When shopping, the main thing I look for in clothing is versatility. The two main reasons for this are saving space in my luggage and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Though many of us aren’t yet in the space to buy solely fair-trade, locally made items, there are little steps we can take toward that lifestyle. One such step is purchasing clothing that can be used multiple ways!

One multi-way product I came across this past year was Hipknoties. As soon as I saw the word “convertible,” I knew I needed to check it out. Though I own multiple pieces of multi-use clothing, I was still very curious about this one.   hipknotiesphoto

When I investigated more, I learned that the USA-made Hipknoties garments can be worn THIRTY ways! The brand, which has been featured on the Today Show and in Glamour Magazine, targets a diverse group of women and their mission is simple. They are “committed to inspiring & empowering women of all ages and sizes, by enhancing and simplifying their wardrobe experience with versatile, affordable and innovative garments & accessories, which complement all women’s figures and lifestyles.”

I was further thrilled when I spoke with the founder, Sarah Yonover, and she shared they that they are planning to release a small capsule of bamboo Hipknoties this coming April!

I bought my first Hipknoties earlier this year and it’s come with me on many adventures, throughout Europe and North America. It’s an absolute travel-fashion staple for me and I can’t imagine traveling without it!

How does it work? 

Basically, like putting your hair in a ponytail! When you purchase a Hipknoties, it comes with a  packet of clear bands. You use the bands to tie “knots” wherever you like. This means the garment’s sizing is quite customizable and allows it to be very flattering.

How can it be worn? 

Short Length -  Scarf, Wrap, Shawl, Bolero, Poncho, Vest, Top, Mini Dress, Skirt, Strapless, Halter, One Shoulder, Boat Neck, Children’s Dress, Casual, Office, and much more!

Medium Length - Scarf, Wrap, Shawl, Bolero, Poncho, Vest, Top, Dress, Skirt, Strapless, Halter, One Shoulder, Boat Neck, Sheath, Maxi Skirt, Casual, Office, and lots more!

Maxi Length -  Halter Maxi, Strapless Maxi, One Shoulder Maxi, Wrap Skirt, Bubble Dress, Formal Gown, Bridesmaid Dress, Halter, Style Vest, Maxi Skirt, Boat Neck Long Dress, Full Length Cocktail Dress, and so much more!

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What’s it made out of?

Fabric is made from Rayon and Spandex (Dry cleaning or machine washing on gentle is recommended.)

Is it a worthwhile investment? 

Abso – freakin – lutely! Travel gear can often be pricey, but this is one item that is definitely worth investing in and is actually quite affordable, considering how many outfits it provides. Depending on the length, a Hipknoties is between $60 – $75. I’ll tell you one thing, having to pay for over-weight luggage just a couple times will cost you more than that!

If you’d like to get your own Hipknoties, just click here!

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{Photo Credit: Hipknoties}

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Disclaimer: Yep, it’s an affiliate link! But I purchased my first Hipknoties long before joining

their ambassador program and I will only advocate items I actually support. ____________________________________________________________________

 

Switzerland: An Unplanned Adventure To Remember – Guest Post

Switzerland: An Unplanned Adventure To Remember – Guest Post

Note from Adventurous Andrea: I absolutely adore the way Ksenia and I “randomly” got connected! She’ll mention it below, but we met through Instagram and ended up linking up in-person while I was in NYC. She made me a delicious breakfast bowl, we chatted about travels, and shared our life philosophies. I am so glad that she had an exquisite time in Switzerland and greatly look forward to meeting again in person. Be sure to check out Breakfast Criminals for some delicious breakfast inspiration! 

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Switzerland: An Unplanned Adventure To Remember

A castle in Switzerland, hidden between snow-covered Alps, and surrounded by cheese factories – if you can think of anything that sounds more fairy tale-like, let me know. An owner of a book on Swiss castles, a cheese lover, and someone who was raised in Europe but hasn’t been back for years, I knew that it was time for a visit.

When booking the ticket, I didn’t know a single soul in Switzerland, yet this trip turned out to be one of the most connected, magical and eye-opening adventures in my 24-country traveler’s history.

Here’s what happened…

LOGISTICS

My parents had given me a ticket to Moscow, my hometown, to celebrate New Year’s eve with the family. I scouted Orbitz and Expedia to find a ticket with a stop anywhere in Europe that would cost as much as flying directly to Russia. The best deal was a stop in Geneve. Easy peasy, ticket booked!

ADVENTUROUS ANDREA

A couple of weeks before my trip (which was a big secret, as I was planning to surprise my sister by showing up at her doorstep in Moscow), I met Andrea. In the most random yet coincidental way possible. Andrea was in New York to, in her turn, surprise her family. The second that I posted a picture of New York on Instagram with, duh, #newyork hashtag, she happened to be looking through pictures with that hashtag. She offered to meet up. While my friends thought it was weird to meet new friends through Instagram, I knew that this wasn’t a chance meeting.

Somehow, the charming Andrea had just come back after spending three months in Lausanne, where I was going, and had been so busy that simply had no time to plan my trip beyond the airfare. After 2 hours of fun conversation that went far beyond traveling, I had the most useful tips on Switzerland that I could have ever gotten, plus connections with people that made my trip that much more special.

ACCOMMODATIONS 

I had saved up some AirBnB credit and booked a charming private studio that’s part of a bigger modernist chalet atop Mont-Pelerin in Vevey, a town between Montreux and Lausanne. The main house turned out to be free for the night I was there, and the incredibly nice owner let me enjoy it. If you’re ever in Switzerland with a group of friends or family, you MUST stay in this house. The view of mountains, lake, and clouds that seem close enough to bathe in, are like nothing you’ll ever experience.

For the rest of the nights, I was going to stay with family friends, and at a Buddhist monastery. Initially I planned to just visit the monastery, which I found out about from Andrea, but as soon as I saw that they have guest rooms, I was drawn to the experience of living in a holy place. All the way along I had thought that the the house and the monastery are in different towns, and that the move would require taking a train, but in the most amazing way possible, they turned out to be on the same mountain of the same town, Vevey.

MONASTERY LIVING

When I think of a monastery, what comes to mind is seclusion and disconnectedness from the rest of the world (i.e. no wifi). I couldn’t have been more wrong! There was even a Wii in the dining room, which kids of the visitors played after meals.

While I came to Switzerland alone, there wasn’t a single moment that I felt that way. Everyone I met at the monastery made me feel at home with their openness and warmth. They allow any visitors to participate in holy ceremonies and share meals (delicious Tibetan and Indian cooking) with the monks and the students.

While not a buddhist, I am very curious about the Buddhist way of living. I was lucky to learn the concepts of the philosophy firsthand from its followers.

I feel that something deep inside of me has shifted through this experience. You know how they say that everything that we hear, think, feel or see affects us, even if subconsciously? In a way that’s hard to explain, I feel like the buddhist teachings of non-selfishness are deep engraved in me no matter where I go from now on. If there’s one main thought that I can share, it’s this:

“Chérir le soi est source de toute les fautes et chérir autrui et source de toute les qualités et bienfaits.”

“Cherishing yourself is the source of all faults, and cherishing others is the source of all positive. “

Buddhists believe that you can only focus on the good in others, and notice negative qualities only in yourself, but only to work on eliminating them. Simple, yet a profound thought that will shift your life into a positive realm in no time once you adapt this way of thinking.

MAKING CROISSANTS, SWISS STYLE

How can visiting a Buddhist monastery result in a croissant making class? One of the students at the monastery turned out to be a baker and a pastry chef, and we happened to plan going to Lausanne for the same day. He needed to stop by his bakery to make croissants, and told me that I could come along if I was  interested. Is that even a question?! It had always been on my bucket list to go behind the scenes of a bakery, where it smells like heaven and only good things happen ;) I definitely got my dose of Julia Child!

FRANKFURT: AN EXTRA ADVENTURE 

While in Switzerland, I was hoping to have some good Glühwein (mulled wine), a European tradition that somehow never made it to the US. It never happened. So the universe orchestrated my return flight to be cancelled, which gave me a full day and night in Frankfurt, Germany. In one of its main squares, I stumbled upon a street market with local cheese, bread, beer, sausages and glühwein. Getting together at an outdoor market and getting drinks seemed like a perfectly normal way for locals to hang out even on a chilly winter day. Since I believe that the best way of getting to know a country is by having a local meal with local people, I grabbed a glühwein and a bratwurst and joined in, and it was a perfect finishing touch to my Euro adventure!

BOTTOM LINE

Never let anything stop you from traveling. Be open. Be curious. Learn new languages. Get lost in new cities. Try new foods. Be inspired. Have no schedule. Do what makes you happy. Get lost in conversations with people you just met. Forget rules. Be yourself. Believe that everything happens for a reason. Have an amazing year full of adventures!

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xo, Ksenia

www.breakfastcriminals.com

Instagram: @xenia_lova, @breakfastcriminals

A Look Back at 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Now that twenty-thirteen has officially come to a close, I can look back on it. I ended last year’s review post by saying, “I am so excited to see what 2013 holds and I plan to live it to its fullest!” I am thrilled to say that I have truly fulfilled these words! By far, 2013 was my most adventurous year yet. The year contained way too much awesomeness to cover in one post, but here are the biggest highlights…

I graduated from university! After spending a lovely three years living in the southern state of Tennessee, I received my degree in psychology. The mountains, forests, and people there will always hold a place in my heart.

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Graduation day

I backpacked in Costa Rica! On a whim, a friend and I took our one-way tickets and met in Central America. Seventeen days were definitely not enough in the country and I look forward to returning. The diversity of the landscapes is beautiful – it was great to be somewhere with beaches, forests, and mountains!

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Nosara, Costa Rica

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

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Sunset & horseback rides in Costa Rica

I moved to Europe! At the end of August, I packed my possessions, printed yet another one-way ticket, and headed off to Europe. I spent three months living in the countryside and then in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. My goal was to immerse myself in the country and I did just that. I formulated amazing friendships, discovered my favorite cafés, and truly felt at home in the city. I miss it dearly and have every intention of continuing my European romance.

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Bern, Switzerland

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La Sarraz, Switzerland

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Lausanne, Switzerland

I abruptly paused my Eurotrip – When I headed off across the pond, I didn’t have any date of return. Though I had no specific trip-length, I assumed it would be somewhere between one and three years. I had my flight booked to go do exchange work on the lovely island of Cyprus, when I made a big decision… I had gotten news that my uncle was about to pass away. I then started thinking more about the fragility of life and how not all my family members would be around at this time next year. After finding an incredibly cheap flight from Switzerland to NYC, where my immediate family was spending Thanksgiving, I made the decision to forgo my Cyprus plans and surprise them there.  Genuinely, my ego fought me hard on this decision. I had thoughts pop in like, “Wow, I was supposed to be here way longer than this. I wonder what people will think of my early return…” But then I centered myself and realized the only thing that matters is following my authentic truth. Though my trip is now on pause for a little while, it was completely worth it to spend the holidays with my family and be here with them during times of loss.

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Lake Geneva, Switzerland

I surprised my family in New York City - My parents and my little sister, who lives in California, were convening in NYC for Thanksgiving. Without knowing where I would stay for the week before their arrival, I purchased the ticket. I then started reaching out to friends in the city and was amazed how the Universe provided for me. A friend who I had not seen in years so kindly offered me a place to stay. Though we didn’t get to hang out much, due to his busy work schedule, I had an amazing place to stay right near Central Park! I was there for a week before my family arrived – I’ll be uploading the videos of the surprises here soon. After their arrival, I stayed in the city for another week and met some amazing individuals. Through Instagram, I got connected with Ksenia from Breakfast Criminals and Harry from A NewYorker Travels. I spent time with a nomadic Irishman, who reached out to me through CouchSurfing, and a lovely yoga teacher, who I was introduced to by a friend I made in Switzerland! I was also thrilled to finally meet Laura of Traveling Jersey Girl. We explored Central Park together and had so much fun getting to hang out in person. She is seriously such an angel and I highly recommend checking out her travel blog. Following my pattern of one-way tickets, I bought one to NYC and was totally open to staying there for a while. However, the Universe had a different plan and when I found out I had an immediate job offer in Ohio, I found my way back to my hometown. Currently, I’m working and saving up the money I spent during my impromptu trip back to the US.

Central Park, NYC, NY

Central Park, NYC, NY (Photo Credit: A NewYorker Travels)

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Grand Central Station, NYC

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After surprising my little sister!

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Wonderful friendships forged in NYC

I concluded my 2013 by spending a fantastic evening with a girlfriend in Columbus, Ohio! We decided to go all out and do the whole shebang at the Renaissance hotel downtown. It was a such fun and I’ve adored really getting to know her these past few months. I’m all for promoting my friends, so be sure to check out her studio, L-Yoga Flow, if you’re ever the Columbus area.

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New Years Eve 2014

Twenty-thirteen is going to be a damn hard year to top, but with new adventures already in the works, I’m incredibly excited to see what 2014 will be like! What I know for sure is that I’m going to be surrounded by amazing people, travel to exquisite places, and continue on my path of spiritual expansion.

Sending you all so much love and light and wishing you a happy new year!

My Bittersweet Love Affair with Switzerland

My Bittersweet Love Affair with Switzerland

I’ve fallen in love with Switzerland and now it’s time for me to go. I first laid eyes on the country three years ago and it was love at first sight. The snow-capped mountains, lush hills, and cities full of rich history captivated me. Though I only spent a few days in this beautiful land, I knew I had to return.

In August, I took my one-way ticket and came back to see if the initial thrill could turn into something more. Without a visa, I knew I would only have three months here, but figured that would have to do. I quickly settled into life in my little, Swiss village.

Every week that passed brought more experiences, more people, and more love into my life. Now that I’m preparing to leave this wonderful country, I feel myself wishing I had more time here. While I savored each vibrant sunrise, person I met, cuisine I tasted, wine I sipped, and laughter I shared…I want more! There are so many views I didn’t see, forests I didn’t explore, city streets I didn’t walk, and people I didn’t get to meet.

Just as when one wants to prolong time with a new lover, my mind has been filled with ways I could return here and continue my stunted romance. When I first arrived I was more reserved. It took time for me to open up, but now I want to explore this country fully. I want to know its flaws, strengths, nuances, and secrets. I want to learn its languages and memorize the city streets and mountain trails. But sometimes things aren’t meant to continue, at least for right now. Sometimes, the shortness of an experience is what makes it so sweet.

I’m sure when I’ve gone I’ll experience the common signs of romantic loss. I’ll sigh wistfully when my love is mentioned, I see a photo, or any random thing that reminds me of bygone times. I’ll long to hear the familiar lull of French-speaking voices (even though I rarely knew what anyone was saying), smell the scent of freshly roasted chestnuts wafting through the streets, and have my breath taken away by the beauty of the sun setting over Lake Geneva. But I know what will overpower this longing is the appreciation for having experienced all these things in the first place.

My romance with Switzerland so recently begun and now it’s quickly coming to a close. But as with all love affairs, if it’s meant to be, it will be…

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Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Years of babysitting and nannying have allowed me to spend a lot of time around children. Although I’ve changed my fair share of diapers, sat through many temper tantrums, and wiped away thousands of tears, I’m always left in awe of these little beings. Whenever I have a chance to really evaluate my interaction with children, I always come back to the same thought; adults can learn so much from children!

Somewhere along the line, we lose touch with our childish nature. While many people see “growing up” as a necessity, I see much of it as a loss. While some maturation is inevitable, I really think there are (at least) five areas that it can serve us to remain childish in.

1. Seeing the world as our oyster   

As children, we see the world as a place of endless possibilities! When asking a child what he or she want to “become,” a whole spectrum of answers are given. Often, the adult asking will quietly laugh and think to himself, “That’s so sweet, but one day she’ll realize that becoming a ______ isn’t really likely.”

Sure, there are some things that are a bit harder to bring to fruition (my life experience tells me I will probably not become a professional pole-vaulter within this lifetime), but I feel that most adults live in a world full of limiting beliefs. Sometime during the growing up process, “I can be anything,” turns into, “I can sit at a desk for eight hours a day and stare a computer screen.”

Be realistic, but let go of those limiting beliefs! If you are truly in alignment with something, it will happen.

2. Experiencing emotions fully

Children are such good examples of this. While their emotions may not always come at ideal times (e.g. a tantrum at a supermarket), they’re completely comfortable experiencing them. When a child is upset, you will know it. When a child is happy, she expresses it (side note: I can’t think of many things that are as beautiful as a children’s laughter). It’s not until adults start expressing disapproval that a children begin to suppress their emotions.

Awhile back, I made a video called It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. I made it because I had been struggling with a “need” to be always up-beat, positive, and happy. While I am a strong believer in the power of positivity, I also think it’s important to experience one’s emotions and not refuse them. If you’re feeling sad, give yourself permission to cry. If you’re feeling angry, really feel that emotion. If you’re feeling giddy, dance and twirl and laugh! Accept the flow of life and don’t condemn yourself or others for experiencing the full spectrum of emotions.

3. Releasing emotions

In the same vein, most children are good at allowing their emotions to flow and releasing them. If you’ve noticed, children don’t really hold grudges the same way adults do. If a child feels the emotion of sadness, he cries. But as soon as that emotion is gone, he’s back to neutral. As adults, many of us have a tendency to hold onto our emotions. We get caught up in them. Sometimes, we even become so identified with being sad, or angry, or happy, that we link ourselves with that specific emotion. When this happens, people can get trapped and revert to this emotion…even when there’s not a real reason to feel it.

One of my good friends has a quote, “You are the sky and your thoughts are the clouds.” For adults, most emotions are simply reactions to thoughts. When we view ourselves as a clear sky and our thoughts/emotions as clouds, it allows them to flow freely and be released.

4. Viewing life as a playground / feeling child-energy 

One of the most fascinating things about children is their ability to play anywhere! While some of this ability is being hindered by constant exposure to technology, children are naturally content to play with anything. Life is their playground and they are full of abundant child-energy.

As we get older, it seems like we develop a constant need for new/different stimulus. We’re no longer content to just sit and “be.” Similarly, we lose the element of play in our daily lives and get caught up in the routine of things. When we really tap into that pure child-energy and allow whatever we’re doing to be a form of play, life becomes blissful!

5. Respecting our desires / needs

Another one of my favorite things about children is how in tune they are with their desires and needs. When a baby is hungry, she cries. When she is happy, she coos. When she is tired, she sleeps. But when that same baby starts to grow up, adults gradually remove her natural instincts. Even if she’s not hungry, she has to sit at the table until she finishes dinner. Although she feels a strong need to get up and play and move, she has to sit at a desk all day.

While routine can be beneficial, I feel sometimes we’re doing ourselves a disservice by relying on it. Why eat if you’re not hungry? Why force yourself to stay awake if your body needs sleep? Why stay in an environment you feel uneasy in? Almost always, our first instinct is the correct one. Instead of shutting out your natural intuition, try tapping into it and see how much more in alignment you’ll feel!

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Sseko Designs Review: Convertible Travel Sandals for Women

Sseko Designs Review: Convertible Travel Sandals for Women

Deciding how many pairs of shoes to take on a trip can be quite a daunting task. It seems like there are shoes needed for every occasion! Walking shoes, boots, high heels, flats, flip flops, hiking boots, sandals…the list goes on! Because it’s so easy to over-pack in the shoe department, I am always on the lookout for shoes that can be used in multiple settings. Recently, I’ve found an amazing sandal option! What makes Sseko Designs’ sandals special – asides from their awesome mission to empower women - is their convertible and interchangeable straps!

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Not only are Sseko Designs’ shoes good for your feet, they’re good for womankind! These fair trade sandals are crafted by women in Uganda and the company has a powerful mission to empower women throughout Africa and the world. I don’t know about you, but when I find a company that has the product I need and it allows me to support a great cause, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot! While the soles of the sandals are all the same, there is a extremely wide variety of straps and over a 100 ways to tie the sandals! They’ve even added many accessories to make the sandals even more customizable.

Shoe:

  • handmade
  • crafted from genuine Ugandan leather

    Ssekos are great bike riding sandals!

    Ssekos are great bike riding sandals!

  • comfortable
  • micro foam layer
  • rubber outsoles
  • slight heel
  • durable
  • five loop holes for sandal straps
  • all soles for sandals are the same style

Straps:

  • able to be tied over a 100 different ways
  • extreme variety (everything from plain…to metallic…to silk…
  • to colorful patterns!)
  • tutorials on how to tie

Accessories:

  • handcrafted
  • many options
  • make sandals more customizable
  • Ugandan leather

So…the company sounds great, but I bet you’re wondering how the sandals actually hold up! 

I’ve taken these babies trekking around North America and Switzerland. Let me tell you, they’re amazing! The fact that I can change not only the style of the straps, but also color and design of them, gives me limitless possibilities. You can customize how they’re tied based on the style you’re trying to create and how much support you need for your activity. It’s amazing that one sandal can be casual enough to wear to a baseball game and (with a change of straps and maybe an added accessory) fancy enough to wear with a sundress!

While I don’t recommend using them to hike up a mountain, the sandals do just fine walking around cities for hours. The micro foam layer in the sole and the soft fabric of the straps makes for a comfortable walking sandal. The only drawback is that you do have to take the time to tie them. That said, once you do it once or twice, you could easily tie both sandals in under 30 seconds!

The sandals are priced between $39 and $59 (depending on the straps you choose), and you can get additional straps between $9.99 – $15.99. Although this may seem a bit pricey to some, think of how much more you would spend buying multiple pairs of sandals to suit your needs. Plus, spending a little extra is worth it if you’re trying to save space in your bag. Sseko Designs’ sandal’s durability, design, and customizable nature make them a great investment! To get your own pair, click here!

One sandal, many looks.

One sandal, many looks.

Liz, the founder, and her dear friends!

{Photo Source: Sseko Design’s}

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Disclaimer: Yep, it’s an affiliate link! But I purchased my first Sseko sandals  long before joining

their ambassador program and I will only advocate items I actually support.

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Shop Sseko Designs and empower and educate African women by purchasing handmade sandals, clutches and totes! Click Here

10 Things I’ve Learned About Switzerland

10 Things I’ve Learned About Switzerland

Today marks my one week anniversary of arriving in Switzerland. (In case you didn’t know, I bought a one way ticket and will be here until the end of November!) In honor of this mini-anniversary, I will share 10 things I’ve learned since being here.

1. Not only do lights turn yellow to indicate they will soon turn red, they also do before the light is going to turn green!

2. It’s very safe and trustworthy – many people I met didn’t worry about leaving their garages or homes unlocked.

3. At many gas stations, you pump and then pay!

4. In the villages, there are self-serve stores! I was shocked to walk into many little stores and only see a place to put the money that you owed for the items that you were taking.

5. Traffic violations are incredibly serious here – think getting a speeding ticket for going just 3 kph over and getting your license taken for a month when speeding 20 over.

6. In a lot of bathrooms, there are two separate buttons for flushing (depending on the deed)!

7. Traffic lights are not located on the opposite side of the road.

8. The Swiss really appreciate their quiet time. It’s banned to do loud work after 7 pm and on Sundays.

9. Everything closes early…very early. Shops start closing as early as 6 pm in little towns and you can forget running errands on Sunday. The weekend streets are bare by midnight, even in some of the more popular destinations.

10. A lot of cars take diesel and not gasoline. (I had to find this one out the hard way…)

 

Off on my adventure!

Off on my adventure!

Hello, Switzerland.

Hello, Switzerland.

Near to Lausanne.

The perks of living in the countryside.

The perks of living in the countryside.

The beauty of Lake Geneva.

The beauty of Lake Geneva.

 

Thoughts on My Upcoming EuroTrip

Thoughts on My Upcoming EuroTrip

I now officially have under two weeks until I depart for Europe! The Saturday after next, I will be boarding a plane to Geneva, Switzerland…and I have no idea when I’m returning to the US.

I’m filled with such a mix of emotions! Obviously, excitement and anticipation are coursing through me, but there’s also a twinge of sadness when I remember what I’m leaving behind. In the moments when the realization that I’m finally leaving “hits me,” I find myself giggling, teary-eyed, and wanting to jump up and down all at the same time.

Despite my excitement, the fear-based part of my mind is coming up with “what if?” scenarios. “What if this wasn’t the right decision? What if I should’ve just gone straight to grad school? What if I should’ve bought a return ticket instead of a one-way? What if certain members of my family become ill or pass away while I’m gone? What if something “bad” happens? What if my friends back in America become angry with me for missing all the weddings, birthdays, births, and graduations? Worse, what if they forget about me?” When my mind starts going down this rabbit hole, I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and look inward. When I still my mind and really settle into myself, I realize it’s none of the things I listed above that actually scare me. What really scares me is loss of control…the elusive unknown. While I would guess that most of my friends would describe me as spontaneous, there’s still a part of me that grasps so tightly to this false sense of control.

Rigidity causes things to break, while flexibility allows things to thrive. While I am a believer in the Law of Attraction, I find it funny how we are convinced we have such control over life and try so hard to hold onto it. I have this visual of a person clinging tightly to the “stable” trunk of a tree, yet failing to notice that the tree itself is floating down a river. Going down the river of life is ineludible, but how we navigate it is up to us. We can either struggle against it by kicking up stream, or we can go with the flow.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s not to live by the “what if” scenarios. I constantly encourage friends to just leap and remind them that the Universe is there to catch them,  post inspirational Instagram photos telling others that things are being orchestrated on their behalf, and share Facebook statuses telling people to follow their dreams. Now, it’s my turn. It’s my turn to trust. It’s my turn to embrace the unknown. It’s my turn to leap into life!

Flattr: An Easy Way to Support the Content You Love and the Creators You Appreciate

Flattr: An Easy Way to Support the Content You Love and the Creators You Appreciate

 

FlattrAt some point in time, all of us have watched a video, listened to a song, or read an article that really resonated with us. When this happens, we usually share the content on some social media network, leave a nice comment, and reference back to the source occasionally. That’s all great, but have you ever wished your could easily support the content you love or show the creator that you appreciate her work? I’m excited to share with you a platform through which you can easily support all of your favorite online content – Flattr!

Flattr’s system allows you to give microdonations, which make it possible to support multiple creators with a simple click of a button. You choose your total monthly budget and at the end of the month, your donations are divided among all the people you flattr’d. Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Flickr are just a few of the places you can easily flattr creators you want to support (click here for a full listing).

The flip-side to giving out microdonations to your favorite creators is that you can also easily receive flattrs! Simply install a flattr button on your webpage and connect your Flattr account with the services you’re already using to spread your content (YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.). Just like that, you’re opening your creative energy to the world and are ready to be flattr’d!

I’m a big proponent of sharing the love and supporting creative content. The beautiful thing is, everyone has a different idea of what “creative content” means! For some people, it’s hearing an original song for the first time and for others, it’s reading an article about a new software development. Although our tastes are so diverse, there is always someone who will see the creativity in your work.

So, get out there and start flattr’ing some stuff!

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As you can see, there is now a lovely Flattr button below each of my posts. Feel free to share the love and support!

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