• Life

    New Year’s Resolutions – 2020

    Can you believe we started a new decade!? Amusingly enough, it took me until two days prior to New Year’s Eve to realize we were about to start the new ’20s! A lot of people dislike New Year’s Resolutions because they are so easily forgotten. Personally, I love taking time at the beginning of each year to reprioritize and set goals for myself! These are my goals for 2020: Run my first 10K Last year, I aimed to start running again.  Though I did run more in 2019 than in previous years, I still would like to run more frequently than I did.  My brothers and I agreed to sign…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Marché de Noël de Lille (Lille Christmas Market)

    Every year, Lille hosts a Christmas Market complete with a giant ferris wheel!  From the end of November until New Year’s you can enjoy Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city.  Marché de Noël de Lille is the largest Christmas market in Northern France!  Apparently this tradition is centuries old.   Grand Place A 164ft Ferris Wheel stands in Grand Place during the holiday season, in addition to a Christmas Tree and other decorations.   Riding the Ferris Wheel is absolute must – the views from the top are unreal!  Definitely wrap up if you’re going to ride the Ferris Wheel because it can be quite windy up there!   I rode the…

  • Travel,  United States

    Enchant Christmas – Washington, DC

    Enchant Christmas is apparently the world’s largest light maze and market!  It changes locations each year, and this year it is in Washington DC!  The event takes place in Nationals Park and is available until December 29.   Though tickets are a bit pricey, there are discounts for children, Seniors, Military, students, and family packs.  Be careful when selecting tickets and make sure that you select the correct city!  Enchant is also located in St. Petersburg, FL and Seattle, WA this year. I know the website says it is the world’s largest light maze, but I did not think it would be as large as it is!  It takes up nearly…

  • France,  Travel

    Paris at Christmas Time

    I recently posted about Paris in the fall.  However, Paris is especially magical at Christmas-time.  By mid-November, Paris is completely decked out for the holidays. The city is covered in lights and decorations, everywhere you go!  There is a ton to do in the City of Light near the holidays.  Here are some of my favorites: Galeries Lafayette As if Galeries Lafayettes wasn’t already stunning enough, every year it has a new Christmas Tree design.  The year I spent Christmas in Paris, the tree was made out of recycled paper!  The interactive window displays were all made with the recycled materials theme.  The tree was very intricate, with polar bears…

  • France,  Travel

    Strasbourg Christmas Market

    Strasbourg is on the eastern border of France in the Alsace Region.  This city has gone back and forth between being part of France and part of Germany, which has created an interesting blend of both the culture and the architecture.  Strasbourg is well-known for its annual Christmas market, or Christkindelsmärik.  The Christmas Market reopened this year with additional security due to last year’s attack. Strasbourg isn’t a large city, and the Christmas market is spread across town.  The best way to explore the markets is definitely by foot.  There is plenty of vin chaud / gluhwein (mulled wine) to help warm up!  There are also fires to stand by…

  • Travel

    Indoor Attractions in Ottawa

    I just went on my first international business trip! I had a training in Gatineau, which is just across the river from Ottawa. Gatineau is part of the Quebec province, while Ottawa is part of Ontario. Despite one side being francophone and the other side being anglophone, you will find both French and English speakers on either side! November is not the most ideal time to visit this area, because all the summer/fall attractions have closed but the winter attractions like skating in the canal don’t begin until December.  Already in the first week of November, the weather was FRIGID!  It’s nice to walk around and explore Ottawa, however, I…

  • Travel,  United States

    Skyline Drive in the Fall

    One of my favorite fall activities is to visit Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park! Skyline Drive is a scenic route atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching 105 miles long. This is the only public road through the park. Not only does Skyline Drive boast stunning views from Front Royal to Waynesboro, it also offers access to hiking trails, camp sites, picnic areas, and cabins. There are four entrances to Skyline Drive: Front Royal Entrance (off of 66 in Front Royal, VA) Thornton Gap Entrance (off of 211 near Sperryville, VA) Swift Run Gap Entrance (off of 33 near Harrisonburg, VA) Rockfish Gap Entrance (off of 64/250 near Waynesboro,…

  • Life,  United States

    Virginia Horseback Trail Ride

    For my fiance’s birthday, I surprised him with a horseback trail ride in Front Royal, Virginia!  There are a lot of stables in the DC area, but I decided to book with a stable in Front Royal so we could enjoy the mountain views without driving all the way to the Shenandoah area.   I looked at several different places before deciding on Double H Stables.  There are a lot of great options and each have pretty affordable prices for hour or 90 minute rides.  I mainly chose Double H for the convenient location off the highway and I thought the trails would offer great views.   I was nervous that the…

  • Europe,  Travel

    The Bone Church: Sedlec Ossuary

    “The Bone Church” or the Sedlec Ossuary is at the site of a former Abbey in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, a 50-minute train ride from Prague.  Train tickets from Prague are cheap and there is a local bus that travels from the train station to the church and through the rest of the city.  The abbey cemetery was a popular burial place because an Abbot was said to have sprinkled holy dirt from Jerusalem over the site in 1278.  Between the plague and the Crusades, the cemetery became overfilled.  The Baroque Gothic Style church was built in the 15th century and the remains of between 40,000-70,000 people were stacked in pyramids in…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    I Love Paris in the Fall

    I love Paris in the springtime.I love Paris in the fall.I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. My Grandfather used to sing me this song and replace Paris with Shelby. 🙂 Just as the song says, I love Paris all times of the year! It is my absolute favorite city. Until my teaching assignment, I had only visited Paris during the other three seasons of the year. Exploring Paris in the Fall with the beautiful changing leaves is something else entirely! Autumn provides great weather for exploring the city on foot (with a jacket of course), with significantly less tourists…