does anyone else think packing is the worst? but also kiiiiind of love it? no matter where the trip is to, or for how long, packing is daunting to me. i feel like i never know what i should take & i put serious effort & thought into it, probably too much effort & thought, but it's also fun. it makes you think about where you're going, what you'll be doing & what you'll need. plus, it makes the trip seem more real!

the other night austin took a break from doing his homework & came into our bedroom to find me sitting on the bed, clothes folded in stacks around me, with toast, a cup of tea, watching felicity... while i contemplated the serious thought of: "do i take blue & black jeans, or just black? do i need two sweaters, or just one...?" i was instantly embarrassed that he caught me in this state, mostly because i've been on a real felicity binge phase & he keeps making fun of me for it. he also made fun of me for my packing struggles, but before he left the room he said "this is like a cute night for you. watching your show, planning your outfits, having tea.." & ya, it was. i was loving it. the struggle is real guys. one minute i hate packing, the next i'm loving it.

one of my struggles with packing is trying not to over pack. i used to pack in huge rolling bags, filling it to the brim with all my own stuff. now i pack with two other people! my space has gone waaay down, so narrowing down my selections is key when packing... not that i always succeed. however...5 things i (almost) always make sure to pack are:

5 things

1// NAIL POLISH: i'm a freak & can't handle when my fingernails aren't painted & if they are chipped i constantly pick at it (i'm a picker. it's a problem), so i bring nail polish with me to repaint as needed.

2// IPHONE: to take countless pictures & videos on & to read on planes or trains (i really don't like this because i get strangely tired from it.. but it's easy for traveling), plus it's great to use for maps & what not when in a new place.

3// CAMERA: i have a canon rebel & i love it. i take it prettttty much everywhere with us. 

4// TOTE : having a bigger, lightweight tote is a key element for traveling. i can fit so much stuff in this madewell bag: diapers, snacks, toys, camera, sweater, jacket.... it's like a mary popping bag & i take it or a similar bag on just about every trip that i know we will be out & about on. it's important to be able to bring everything with me since i don't know when we'll be back at the hotel & this bag lets me do it! 

5// LAPTOP: when traveling with cedar we normally put him down in his crib & austin & i hangout in the bathroom for about 30 minutes while he goes to sleep (yay parenthood!), so i like to take the time to go through our pictures from the day. plus i need it to blog or for us to watch movies on while cedar is asleep!

so! do you have any specific items you love to travel with & can't go without? what do you make sure to pack? i'd love to hear!



i feel like this week is really dragging on because i keep looking forward to this weekend & next week. next week is semana santa (which is also austin's spring break) & my family is coming to visit! we are going to france friday afternoon to meet up with my mom & go around the normandy beaches for a few days & then flying to portugal where my brother, sister-in-law & nephew will meet us! i'm really excited for the break & to be with family, itll be so nice. i feel like last week never ended & i think it might have to do with austin having to be at school all weekend (more on that below), so a long break is perfect.

& on a completely different note: we have been subbing a sunday school class at church for our friend that just had a baby (by we i mean austin because i normally have to go with cedar to nursery!), & since austin couldn't be there i had to teach. i was pretty panicked since i don't speak spanish & the kids don't really speak english, but luckily there are two american kids in the class that are fluent so they translated what i needed & then i just had them watch a movie, cause i'm a really great teacher :) 

 anyways! this post is slightly random, but oh well! here are some pictures of the things that i see (almost) on the daily. a few of my favorite spots around madrid & some of the going ons in our life here. 
 from top to bottom

1// i pass by this flower shop every time we go to parque retiro & there's just something about it that i fall in love with every. single. time. it's adorable to me. sometimes, depending on the time we go to the park, i see the guy working in the shop setting the entrance up & i always like it. the people here take such pride in their shops & it really shows, especially in shops like this. it always makes me happy to walk by it.

2// madrid may not be known for their amazing architecture or anything, but it has it's good spots. this building is on my walk to a baby class/playgroup that i take cedar to & i always think the building is so pretty. i love all the fa├žades and balconies that are on most of the buildings here.

3// it has been pouring rain for about 4 days (except today), so cedar has been traveling in style with his rain cover. as you can tell, he loves it! haha jk, he doesn't mind it for the most part. it has a velcro window which is both convenient & annoying because he's constantly opening it & yelling "maaa! maaaaa!" whenever he wants something & just putting his hands out in the rain, but whatever.

4// i got this picture of austin pushing cedar yesterday while we were running errands. sometimes its a bit of a bummer being carless when it rains, it just takes so much more effort to be willing to trudge around from place to place, but it's also fun if you've got a good rain jacket & rain boots. cedar has definitely been restless though being cooped up inside the majority of the time, but we let him loose yesterday to run freely in the puddles & he was puuuuuumped! i swear i've never seen him happier.

5// austin had a school workshop this weekend so it was just me & cedar (which is my everyday life, so it shouldn't have been such a bummer, but i love the weekends when austin is here so i was still bummed haha). at first i didn't know what we would do because it was raining but i decided to venture out into the real world & take my little guy on a breakfast date. even though cedar is with me 24/7 i like to refer to our outings as dates, it just sounds more fun, haha. we went to my new favorite spot that just opened & is only two blocks away, so it's perfect! this is a verrrrrrry typical spanish breakfast, except the toast is generally served with a tomato paste rather than butter & jam. but cedar isn't a fan of the tomato so we get jam.

6// i walked in to find cedar sitting down in front of his books, pulling one out, flipping through the pages making "oohs" & animals sounds & then putting it back to grab another one. this kid kills me.

7// just cedar being pumped to go to bed with his panda bear & monkey that he has been obsessed with lately.

8// another thing i really love about madrids architecture is all of the color! the buildings are so many different colors, it's really fun. there are a lot of reds, creams, blues, yellows & white. it just adds a little something to the city, if you ask me.



confidence has been riding heavily on my mind as of late. part of the reason i even wrote this post was because i was worried about my confidence, the way i had been feeling had my confidence dangling by a string & as strange as it may sound, it terrified me. maintaing a level of self-confidence is a huge priority to me & i think it should be for everyone else.

i've been worried about my friends confidence levels lately. the other day, talking to one of my closest, dearest, oldest friends & i was shocked to hear how low her confidence level was. i honestly couldn't get it out of my mind & i still can't. this girl is beautiful, smart, so much fun to be with & such a great person, but there's a disconnect happening & she doesn't see it. i wanted to hug her/ squeeze her/ shake her/ mell at her/ cry for her & a whole lot of other things, & i did do some of them! how could she not see how amazing she is?! how can she not see herself the way i do, or the way any of her other friends see her? it broke my heart to hear her talking about herself in such a demoting way & i haven't been able to stop thinking about it since i spoke to her. maybe it's weird to worry about other peoples confidence levels but i do & it stems from a worry for my own confidence.

moving to spain threw an unexpected curve to my self-confidence. throwing myself into a new country, culture & language was more difficult than i initially thought it would be & i noticed fairly quickly after the move that my confidence was faltering from the move. there would be days where absolutely did not want to leave our apartment even though i knew it as better for both me & cedar to get out, but i couldn't do it. it was hard, really hard. i didn't understand anyone & they made me feel like an idiot when i couldn't speak spanish to them. i started to worry because like i said, maintaing a level of confidence is important to me & i worked hard get confidence. i hated the thought of it faltering so easily & i knew i needed to work on it quickly so that i didn't let it diminish, so i took control of the situation. i pushed my boundaries, i put myself out there, i've been studying spanish, i got a tutor & i make sure to leave the apartment every single day. it has taken time but i am comfortable in my skin here, i understand how the city works, i know the layout fairly well & i can actually understand people fairly well & am getting better at speaking spanish in response, it just take me a second longer to collect my thoughts. but more than that, my confidence is no longer dropping, but it's higher, i feel confident in myself & i wish that for all of you out there.

maintaining a level of confidence has been really important to me as i've gotten older. i wasn't always confident in myself & my abilities, i often would compare myself to those around me & wanted to be more like them. rather than realizing the strengths i did possess that my friends possibly admired, i focused on my faults & it was really tiring, not to mention a blow to my self esteem. somewhere along the road of life i came to peace with who i am as a person, what i want out of life & i started to see the good qualities i possess & the more i began to do this, the less i started to compare myself. it felt as though a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. this is not to say that i never compare myself to anyone, or that i think i'm perfect, because let's get real, i'm far from it. but i embraced myself, the good & the bad.

so for any of you that may not have confidence in yourself, in your abilities, in your looks, whatever it may be, this is for you. you are amazing, you are talented, you are smart, you are a great cook, you are a babe, you are funny, you are the best spouse/ daughter/ friend/ sister/ mother, & no matter what you think of yourself, there is always someone that is wishing they could be more like you. you inspire people just like people inspire you. maybe you won't believe me when i say that, but i know that it is completely true. people look up to you. don't be so hard on yourself, be confident & embrace who you are.

be proud & repeat this mantra all day every day: i am beautiful, i am strong, i am smart, i am enough. go confidently into the world! own it.



 TOP: anthropologie (similar) // PANTS: albion fit // PURSE: kate spade (similar) // SHOES: louis vuitton

the last few weeks have been SO warm here, it was unreal! it was kind of a trick though cause it's gone back to being cold, but spring is definitely edging it's way in & you can see it throughout the whole city. leaves are coming back to the trees, flowers are blossoming & people are outside all the time. it's so much fun, it's getting a totally different vibe here & i'm really into it, it's making me so excited for summer to happen... even though i'm sure i'll hate the extreme heat i keep hearing about, haha!

now that the days are getting longer, anytime austin comes home early from school we always end up on a walk aroudn the neighborhood. these afternoons are some of the best. sometimes we end up at a park, or going into a new store we randomly fine, get ice cream or hot chocolate. i love wandering around the streets looking at the different buildings & seeing what new places we can find, i feel like everytime we walk around our neighborhood i see something that i haven't noticed before... part of which could be because there is constantly new things opening! it seems like a lot of shops are re-opening for spring, they were open one week, closed & gutted the next, then re-opened & brand new looking. it's kind of crazy to watch happen! but it's also really cool.

p.s. happy st. patrick's day :)



my little cedar baby is not much of a baby anymore guys. he is growing like a weed, that's for sure. back in november when we first moved he could haaaardly reach the 0 & 1 buttons on the elevator & now he can reach 4 & 5! that's a lot of growth! everyday he is learning new things- words, animal sounds, tricks.. he's constantly doing something new & it is so much fun to see. he understands so much, i love that i can ask him to do something or get somethings & that he gets it, he can go & do it. he's currently really great at throwing stuff away & i love it! he thinks it's fun, i think it's convenient plus it teaches him what goes in trash & what doesn't, so it's a win win, haha. 

when he wakes up from naps or in the morning he has started to say "mama". he'll jump in his crib saying "mama, mama!" until austin & i go get him & one of my favorite things about it is when austin goes to get him & he says "dada!" so excitedly, like he didn't realize austin could get him. it is so cute. i love when i catch him all the time sitting on the couch with his books around him, trying to read, pointing at the different animals saying what they are & making the sounds they make. or when i walk in & he is laying on the floor with his pad of paper coloring, all on his own. i love that he just thinks that he should color or read without anyone telling him he should, it's so fun seeing what it is that he wants to do & that he does it on his own. i recently introduced finger painting to him & it's now one of his favorite things to do & my favorite part of it is when he goes "dip dip dip" every time he touches the paper, i think it's pretty adorable. 

these are just a handful of the moments that i never want to forget about, these cute, simple, magical moments that i get to share with him on the daily. i'm kind of obsessed with my kid, i'm definitely that mom, but i'm ok with it... cause he's pretty adorable.