my last thanksgiving for who knows how long…

Thanksgiving collage 

Sure, thanksgivng and holidays in general aren't my cup of tea but I love an excuse to take a day of work to spend with family!

We would take something old and tired and common — coffee — and weave a sense of romance and community around it. We would rediscover the mystique and charm that had swirled around coffee throughout the centuries.

                                                    - Howard Schutz, CEO of Starbucks









after staying up until 2am & getting up at 7 to get everything going my sister & I decided we earned a coffee break before everyone woke up and started to arrive.

    This was the highlight of the holiday for us!



In order to get a photo of the adults my niece took some photos for us but each of cut someone out so unfortunately my parents didn't make the cut but these are 3 of my sibilings & spouse's.


Yummy thanksgiving dinner… my favorites are turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy and stuffing.




My stepfather just about to carve teh turkey. (its an iconic photo & I wanted to be sure not to miss it this year) 





Josh & Squash

When my parents come into town they always bring a bunch of veggies & meats from the farm and I'm pretty sure this squash weighs as much as my nephew!

Rawrr !!!

I helped my littlest nephew (soon to be second youngest nephew :) get ready & he just couldn't not wear his little dragon costume, I certainly wasn't going to stop him, I mean seriously how adorable.


The weather here in utah was perfect we spent most the time outside.


A highlight of our family get togethers is the conversation. it varies from politics, reminiscing, books, movies and of course there is plenty of teasing!

 Right now its hard to say where I will be for the holidays next year, I only know I'll be here in Utah until April but after that I just don't know, maybe I'll be here for the holidays, but thats not really the goal… it would be nice to spend another summer here though

What are your top three highlights from Thanksgiving?

snapshot saturday: the magic kingdom

As I was collecting photos from my trip to Florida I ran into a dilemma.

I took this trip with ‘my guy’ at the time and his family and since then we have gone our separate ways but nearly all my photos have him and/or his family in them.

Do I post them because it was a fun trip with friends and just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean I want to hide photos from that time in my life OR do I not post them out respect for the lives we’re living now and not to stir anything up?

Have you run into this problem before? What’d you do? I stuck with the traditional approach of cropping them out, but still there a some photos I’d love to share but feel like its not my place to post them. 

Have any advice?


                   DisneyWorld in 2007 (notice my hair, its a good indication of those years)




After having done this blog I've also been able to notice that my travel style and the photos I like to take while traveling have changed.

It seems such a shame when I think of all the photos I missed or was too afraid to get (having to ask someone to take it, fear of looking stupid or having the group groan at the thought of taking a photo)

That version of myself is nearly all gone now, I have come to appreciate my photos and the stories I collect while traveling but even more so I've felt the pain of not having the shot I want & hate to think of all the things I've forgotten because I didn't document or journal enough.

Suffice it to say that I’ve learned my lesson & can’t wait to travel & document more effectively!



                                                                                                      Brother Bear


Of course it wouldn't be disney without a visit from the might mickey mouse!


As a grown up I always feel a bit goofy (ha ha get it?) taking photos with mascots and/or famous people. It's never been my thing but its lost its luster & authenticity I wouldn't bother posing for photos again unless it was a special circumstance.


What would you do to avoid the holidays?

its a given fact, I don't like holidays & what I do like about them is very limited.

 I prefer to travel over holidays and in 2006 I decided to board a plane to Europe and spent Thanksgiving in England & France. One of my better decisions!

On this day 5 years ago I was on a tour to see Stonehenge, Windsor Castle & the Georgian baths. Of course Stonehenge was my favorite stop on the tour but the other two stops were fun, interesting & I wouldn’t consider them a waste of my time. (although if time were of the essence I think I would not go to the georgian baths, I think i've seen enough like it that I've got the gist (I suppose that is true of castles, cathedrals and palaces too though)

HPIM0954Windsor Castle was so beautiful surrounded by the green countryside and fall colored leaves.


I have an appreciation for old weathered buildings, I so wish the walls could talk!













 This isn't as good a shot as I was hoping for but I love that it gives an idea of the area & countryside


I LOVED STONEHENGE. I know you don't need to be told how cool and intriguing Stonehenge is but you can feel a difference in the air just being there.














I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest but I remember being SO amazed at how close it was to people, honestly people drive past this everyday! can you imagine?


beautiful. if your ever in the area GO. Big sites aren't always on my list of go to's. I guess I figure they get enough attention & praise that it tarnishes my view.

stonehenge = definitely worth it!

 Have you ever been? What'd you think?

the 2 best things about thanksgiving (if you ask me)

America is on the eve of our infamous turkey day


I can see the allure, food, a day off work, football, home made food, family and lets not forget the aftermath that is black Friday. It doesn’t take much imagination to see why Americans invented this holiday, it almost seems to be the ‘essence’ of Americans.

Thanksgiving is not my holiday. Not that I’m a fan of many holidays, Thanksgiving being my least favorite & my birthday right next to it. I’ve been attempting to address this holiday on my blog for quite some time but each time I re-read what I’d written it felt more like a vent session. So I will limit my words and I will tell you my 2 favorite things about Thanksgiving.

1)      family. I may not be excited about today but I know once I’m surrounded with my family, kids running about, timers blazing, women bickering over spices & recipes, men (& the kids) trying to stay hidden from view to avoid being assigned a task, I’ll be smiling and forget all about the fact that I’m enjoying the holiday.

2)     the christmas tree.  this is the big one. Yep, the very BEST part about Thanksgiving, winter, the holiday hustle and bustle & Christmas itself is the tree. Weird right?

I am happy to report that this years tree is no disappointment, my tree is gorgeous!

Yeah… yeah… yeah… I know its early & before Thanksgiving but I feel downright fantastic about already having my Christmas tree up & my home all done up!

Here’s a sneak peak 

Christmas tree

I sincerely hope you and yours are having a marvelous Thanksgiving! Someones got to right? What do you love about turkey day?

love vs. money- consumption at a cost

Money & consumerism is a big worry of mine. Seriously though, I really worry about how the world thinks and understands about money & value as well as expectations. I waste my money (I know I do) on things I won't utilize enough to justify the cost but its a hard habit to break and often I'm not aware of when, why or how much I really waste.

Knowing people think this way, seriously or jokingly makes me wish I could share some of my experiences & maybe help ease consumerism in the world.

I read a post on girl,guy,globe about a couple who taught english in Thailand &  how it taught them to be happier with less that I found a lot of similarities with (minus living in Thailand).

We began to realise how accustomed we are to consumerism we’re so used to in the West. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the advertisements on daytime TV: Buy a new car! Buy a new iPad! Buy a new sofa! Don’t have the money? Put it on your credit card! Debt up to your eyeballs? We’ll help you pay it off! Michelle and I weren’t mean with our money and we didn’t make a conscious effort to save, but little by little we spent less and less on what we didn’t want and more and more on what we did. SCUBA diving, travelling, going out with friends, eating nice food and replaced the need for things like candy, satellite TV, fancy cell phones or new computers.

 I like to think I've always been a bit of a minimalist. Even when I was younger my siblings & friends tell stories of my frugality. example: I would buy a cheap surprise 'grab bag' of candy with several pieces rather than spending more on one single thing I knew I would like. attribute this to my frugality/ my inability to make small decisions but either way its been a habit of mine since I was young. Its come with a few lessons like getting something I sorta want for less than what I really want for more or quality vs. quantity.

In the past year I've really tried to focus my spending on things I expect to have for a long time or will pay for themselves through use. While taking a buddhism class this last spring I was given some new insights to money/wealth/and 'profitable spending'. While I am by no means as learned in saving or not spending as I'd like… I have recognized changes in how I look at consumerism and what is worth my time/money.

Dalai money

Have you ever seen the movie Maxed Out? I watched a couple years ago & found myself surprised at the reported numbers but at the same time not all that surprised. It layed some foundation of my monetary habits only to be further expanded upon. Keep in mind its one extreme of the financial spectrum but worth thinking & reflecting on.


Maxed Out – Trailer
Spike Full Episodes Spike Video Clips Spike on Facebook

ABC article on Maxed Out                                                                 Maxed Out website

I recently wrote a post on how some of my spending practices have changed, here.

I think it would be a healthy practice for just about anyone and something I would like to continue even if my expat life doesn’t last forever.


Last weeks post on happiness also kinda touched on the concept of love vs. money and was a HUGE factor in my wanting to earn a degree in something I loved and was passionate about as well as living a life doing what made me happy and excited to be alive.

I googled for quite a bit on financial articles & spending habits as well as tips for saving but didn't find much I felt was very helpful. Do you have tips, ideas, websites or articles you'd reccomend?