It’s January 20th and I officially took down my Christmas tree. Finally!! It was such a great tree this year that I just couldn’t box everything up right away and was trying to delay the process as much as possible! My wreath is still up though…so that’ll be a battle for another day!
As most of you know, one of my best pieces of travel advice is “Pick one souvenir and stick with it!” My signature souvenir is collecting an ornament from every state or country I visit. My 2014 Christmas tree was FILLED with new ornaments that I absolutely adored and quite frankly, couldn’t stop talking about! I always forget all the amazing places I’ve been until I put that tree up and I’m instantly filled with joy and accomplishment!
This year I added Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Texas and two new Chicago ornaments (one for the Bean and the other representing a Beluga whale encounter I did at the Shedd Aquarium). I missed an ornament for Savannah, Georgia and I can’t seem to ever remember to grab one from Boston, even though I go multiple times a year!! Maybe 2015 will be my year to get those!
What souvenirs are you getting in 2015? What did you grab from your 2014 adventures?? Make sure to share your travel comments below!
There’s three things that December means to most Chicagoans: it’s absolutely freezing outside, there’s already snow on the ground (white or dirty black, both count here) and most of us are getting ready for full hibernation mode! Despite all this, I’d like to think that most of us are also really excited for the upcoming holidays (I know I am!). My multi-colored lights are lit and looped around my balcony, my Christmas scented candles are filling up my cozy condo with delicious scents of “Christmas Cookie” and “Gingerbread” and my little pup, Lilo, may or may not have her holiday sweater on (I promise that she picked it out herself)!
This is also the time that I get super excited about putting up my Christmas tree! It’s definitely nothing grand, standing at only 3ft tall, but it’s pre-lit and fake…so it’s efficient and doesn’t cause an automatic allergic reaction, which I consider a huge plus (Merry Christmas to me!). Another reason I love setting up my tree is I can finally display all my travel ornaments I’ve collected over the years, which leads me to a great piece of travel advice I will offer you…Pick one souvenir and stick with it!
The biggest question I get asked when people hear how often I travel is, “How can you afford all this?” It’s very simple, I don’t overspend. I budget where I can, and that includes all the tempting souvenirs that make your eyes glaze over when you’re walking through narrow streets or waiting in those endless lines at must-see museums. Don’t get me wrong, this was a hard lesson for me to learn too so don’t think I was exempt from falling prey to the beautifully displayed shop windows or the elderly man trying to sell me “locally-made” goods…we’ve all been there! But today is a new day for you! Pick something along your travels that means something to you and stick with it. For me it’s ornaments, but for you it could be collectable spoons, or shoes, or magnets, or a million other things. My sister buys Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Height’s’ book from every country in their native language. She’s a huge book lover and it’s one of her favorites, so it makes sense. She also buys ornaments, but since she’s my sister she gets a pass on two souvenirs!
Below are some of my favorite ornaments that are displayed on this years Christmas tree. Some are cheesy (Princess Sisi, Vienna-Austria), some were a splurge (Golden Pineapple, Oahu-Hawaii) and some were free (Wooden spoon from Budapest – free with purchase of paprika spice). There also seems to be a running theme of alcohol related ones, but no judging! Enjoy all the pics and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Evil Eye – Istanbul, Turkey
Golden pineapple – Oahu, Hawaii!
Representing the Alaskian pub crawl – Alaskian Cruise 2013
Wine bottle representing ‘Chardonnay Cottege’ wine trip – Paso Robles, CA
Drunk skeleton – Riviera Maya, Mexico
Princess Sisi – Vienna, Austria
Yellow Taxi Cab – New York, NY
Traditional egg ornament – Prague, Czech Republic
Gladiator – Rome, Italy
Wooden paprika spoon – Budapest, Hungary
Famous Water Tower – Chicago, IL
Beautiful blue-topped buildings – Santorini, Greece