It’s Friday! The Friday before Christmas!
How did that happen?!
I can’t believe that in a little over a week we will enter 2018! Are you all ready?
I think that I have participated in the weekly photo challenge every week this year. This week asked us to share one of our favorite photos that we’ve taken this year. I usually participate on Wordless Wednesday. I didn’t want to share a photo that I’ve already shared on the blog without explanations as to why I chose it. I did, however, choose a photo that I had previously shared in Instagram.
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Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate. -J.R.R. Tolkien . . .Victoria Street is one of the places thought to be the inspiration for Harry Potter's Diagon Alley . . . #visualsoflife #exploretocreate #sonyalpha #archilovers #ihavethisthingwithcolor #visitscotland #thisisscotland #harrypotter #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #travelstoke #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #suitcasetravels #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #itsamazingoutthere #ipulledoverforthis #seekthesimplicity #darlingescapes #theglobewanderer #roamtheplanet #passportready #lifestyleblogger #lifeofadventure #edinburgh #scotspirit
Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland.
If you’d like to see the full-size version, here’s Wednesday’s post. Victoria Street is thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. I mentioned in the comments on Wednesday’s post that our reason for traveling this road was to visit the pink trimmed building. Everyone who heard that I was traveling to Edinburgh told me how much they loved it and that it would be a city they knew they would travel to again. My last interaction about my destination was with a newlywed couple. We were both on the flight from Roanoke to catch a connecting flight in Charlotte. The plane was late and they as well as I had tight connections and were worried about missing our next flight. Shared stressors are always conversation initiators, right?! They had been to Edinburgh and loved it and told me that I had to go to this place called Oink! The husband even had a picture of the street on his phone. I only knew that it was a street with colorful buildings and that it was in the pink building and they had the best pulled pork. The pig is displayed in the window and the sandwiches are served until the pork is gone for the day. It came so highly recommended that I had to visit. It’s a small place and was absolutely packed. We took our sandwiches and ducked into an alley (to get out of the rain) to eat them. I did think they were really good.
If I were basing favorite photos on an exciting find, I’d probably share this photo:
The door to the Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh that I happened to stumble upon and was so excited to see something that said Bedlam. I shared this door along with the entire building in my Doors of Edinburgh post.
Favorites of 2017.
I have so many favorites because this was a big year for me.
I left the country for the first time. First flying to Amsterdam and then taking the train to Paris. I traveled there with my husband and three teens in April. Six weeks later, I traveled to Scotland with my mother and aunt. I have done some hiking around the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have traveled to Carolina Beach to spend some time beside the ocean.
I bought a new camera, a Sony Alpha 7 II, opting to go mirrorless to keep the weight down. I have been frustrated my photography skills and at the same time in admiration at how they’ve grown.
I have hit the milestone of turning 40.
I have found what works for my body in a way of learning to love exercise. I had already found yoga, but this year I also found pilates. It is teaching me to appreciate my body more and work at decreasing the negative body talks I sometimes give myself.
I have found meditation and it helps me find a place of balance.
The kids finished up school at the beginning of the week. This meant I really needed to have all of my errand running completed. I prefer to order as much stuff as possible since I’m not a fan of crowded stores. I needed to order something for Miss Sunshine from Sephora (shhh…I’ll tell you what it was after Christmas). I couldn’t really order something from Sephora and not get a gift for myself too.
My plan is to eventually rotate into greener beauty, but I’m not willing to throw out what I already own. I didn’t have an eye cream and decided to remedy that.
Biossance Squalane Oil.
I had been reading wonderful things about Biossance Squalane + Peptide eye gel. The reviews I read were very positive as well. At the time of my purchase from Sephora (and they still have it as of my writing) there was a limited edition Biossance Squalane Superstars set that was the same price as the eye gel and included a full size eye gel. I didn’t really read much about the other two products prior to purchase.
When I opened it and saw the tiny bottle said Vitamin C ROSE oil. I thought “Oh no! I guess I’ll give that one away.” I can’t stand the smell of roses. They are beautiful to look at, but no thank you on the smell. I have a running joke with my husband about the ways that I must have died in a former life. One involves being hung (I can’t stand stuff pressing on my neck) and then buried alive (my claustrophobia involves not getting enough fresh air, not necessarily cramped spaces) with roses in the casket (I hate the smell of roses). If you think that sounds far-fetched, imagine my surprise when we toured Edinburgh, and I learned that exact thing (maybe minus the roses) happened to Maggie Dickson.
I opened the bottle and couldn’t smell anything so I thought I’d try it on. I could smell the rose as I rubbed the oil into my face and felt a little panicked. However, the smell dissipated rather quickly and I think I’ll be able to use it. I’ve only been using the Squalane + Peptide eye gel for about a week and so far have been pleased. I’m not sure if I see any noticeable differences yet, other than the fact that the winter weather isn’t killing my skin quite so much.
I shared some of my favorite memorable ornaments that hang on our tree in Monday’s post. I was super excited to find a few more decorations for around our house. We’ve been a little lean on the house decorations around the holidays because I wanted a certain type of decor. I’m a fan of bringing the outdoors in, so when we went to A.C. Moore to gather some paint for some projects Miss Sunshine has been working on, I was excited to find this garland of pine cones and twine balls.
I also found this wreath and the sign. And at 70% off, it became something that was within a justifiable budget.
I know some of you are looking at that and thinking…”I could do that”. And I bet you could. I envy your DIY skills, but they seem to have passed me by. I’m not giving up though. I’ve purchased some rope and a dowel to see if macrame will be my friend.
I’ll let you know how that goes.
If you DIY, what’s your favorite thing to create?
I have lots of songs that I love at this time of the year, but today I’m sharing the one that was my favorite as a child. I didn’t grow up in wealth and I realize a lot of people don’t. I also think that ideas of wealth are subjective. I don’t talk about it a lot because I worry that it could somehow be misconstrued as something negatively toward my parents. It was not. I had parents who thought I was amazing (and still do), who taught me a strong work ethic, who were always willing to help somebody out, and are amazing people.
One of the other reasons I rarely mention it is because people view things through different lenses based on their life experience.
I will never forget something said to me during an interview for a college scholarship. I was asked how it felt to not be able to go to do certain things that my peers could…like go to the movies. I was a senior in high school. I was 16. And I had no idea how to answer that question. It was probably one of the most uncomfortable questions that I had been asked at that point in my life. Did I not own designer clothes or not drive a brand new car? Yes. But, I did go to the movies. I had been working since I was 14. The cost of a movie (at the student discount) was less than 1 hour of wages. My only bills were my car insurance and keeping gas in my car. My car was 12 years old and the price I had paid for it (after saving for years and also slowly paying back my parents for the amount they had spent) was reflected by its age. I did not go without.
Never assume that just because somebody doesn’t have much, they don’t have enough or are unhappy.
That’s not to say I didn’t strive for more. I once held three jobs because I wanted “stuff”. I find myself in a different financial space than in my college years, but my past keeps me humble.
I always loved this song because the boy offered what he had to give. It didn’t seem like much to him, but it was from his heart. This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in gift-buying (I know that I’ve done plenty), but we should remember that the love behind it truly is the important part.
I’m not sure if I will be taking a complete blogging break over the holidays, but I will be much less visible.
If you are celebrating Christmas, I wish you a very merry one. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have a beautiful Monday. I wish all of you a wonderful and healthy New Year.
Let your light shine!