DIY Week – Jar of Memories

DIY week

This week, the blog will be full of fun travel themed DIYs! These aren’t fancy or complicated – just simple crafts you can do with stuff already in your house to remember your favorite trips, moves, and homes. Today’s Craft: Jar of Memories.

A few years ago, for my parents’ anniversary, I collected notes from their friends and put them all in a jar. It was an easy, fun gift and they loved it! Here is a travel twist on a jar of notes…

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Whenever we travel, I save all of our ticket stubs, brochures, and any other trinkets I happen to pick up. They all get stuffed in my craft box for scrapbooking (or smashing) and when I get around to fishing them out, the leftovers remain. Enter the mason jar.

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I had a small mason jar on my dresser that was housing a long-gone pink rose so I quickly grabbed that. To get rid of any dust (and to remove the gross wilted flower smell), I sprayed some body spray on a paper towel to leave a sweet scent to mingle with my memories. If you wanted to make it more special, use a scent that’s connected with the memories in your jar.

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Next, I gathered up some of my “leftovers” from my craft bin. A post-card. Plane tickets. A concert wrist band. Whatever was small, unused and memorable. To create a cute front for my jar, I cut out some pretty flowers from a magazine and stuck that in before tossing in the rest of my memories.

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There are endless variations on this simple craft – collect encouraging notes for a friend, display all of your movie tickets, remember your vacations through post-cards. Have fun!

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Have you entered our summer travel accessories giveaway yet? To win Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd, EOS lipbalm, Vera Bradley, and more, click here.

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Summer Giveaway!

I’ve been so excited to update this blog a little and have been waiting for months to reveal all the changes. I know it might not seem like a lot, but baby steps baby steps. The beautiful new header was designed by Summer Harms. She was so patient with me and perfectly captured what I was looking for.

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To celebrate the blog’s makeover and the arrival of summer, I thought I would do Not of this World’s first giveaway! I put together some of my favorite travel accessories for your family road trip, mission trip plane flight, or just your metro ride across town.

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A good book is a must for any travel and if I could recommend one book besides the Bible, it would be Paperdoll.

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I always bring Vera Bradley with me when I travel and this little case is perfect for tickets, ID, money, and anything else you can stuff in there.

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I tried this lipbalm this past winter and loved its creamy and smooth application. Plus, it’s adorable.

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These cute hairbands* are from Grace’D Embroidery Designs, an online monogram shop run by an MK. You can find out more about the shop in this interview we did with Grace last month.

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Click on the above picture to enter!

{just scroll down until you see the same image}

Good luck!

*the hairbands pictured are not the ones the winner will receive. the patterns received will be blue chevron, yellow chevron, and a plain pink one from Grace’s new collection.

A Look Back

While I’m working on getting this blog back on a regular schedule, here are some of the most popular posts from the past few years. Whether you’re new or a regular, take a look around – there’s a lot to read! 🙂

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Saying Goodbye Well

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The Palm Project

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My Poppy Story

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Bologna Travel Diaries // New Beginnings 

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DIY Sweater

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A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day

Photo on 2012-08-15 at 18.55 #5

5 Things: the Culture Shock Edition

It’s been a fun three years on here so far!

A Travel Guide to Prague by Claire P.

travel guide to prague

Oh, where do I even start? The city of Prague is so dear to my heart that I don’t even know how to capture it in a few paragraphs. I will say though, that this is a city you need to experience, explore, and wander in.

The streets in Prague are magical. I live on the other side of the country, so only visit there once or twice a year, but every time I do, those little winding alleys and cobblestone roads are all I need to see. Of course, the Charles’ Bridge, Vysehrad and the National Museum etc. are more famous, but the heart of the city lies in the more hidden places. If all you were to do in Prague was walk, that would be enough to fall in love with the city.

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When you go to Prague, look up. Yes, look up! Every building is detailed, unique, and holds a story. Prague is also known as the “City of a Hundred Spires”. When you hike up to the Prague Castle and look down at the city, you will see why! Literally, hundreds of spires peek out of the city skyline.

As for favorites… I’m just going to list them for you!

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Restaurant:

– U Prince – this hotel and restaurant is located near the Astronomical Clock on Old Times Square. The food tastes good, but I love the view the most. Ask to be seated upstairs, because the outdoor terrace overlooks the square and gives you the best view of a sunset over Prague! It can get chilly sometimes, but they provide blankets for you to use.

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Shopping:

– There is one street between Old Times Square and Tyn Church where you can find shops with classic Czech crystal, ceramic figurines and models of the city, handmade puppets, and more. At the end of this street (towards the church) is a great shopping centre too called Paladium. Paladium looks like a beautiful old building, but inside it looks like a fancy mall!

“Street” Food:

– I don’t know if they sell these all year-round, but I know in the winter, they have street vendors with something called “Trdelnik”. Trdelnik actually originally didn’t come from Czech, but it has become famous there. It is a sweet pastry that is rolled in cinnamon and sugar, wrapped around a stick, and grilled. So delicious!

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To see:

– The world-renown Prague Philharmonic orchestra is at your fingertips if you’re in the city. I personally have never been to a performance, but I would love to some day! I’m sure they are amazing! (to visit their site about tickets: http://www.praguephilharmonia.com/en/prices.html)

To sit and linger:

– There are lots of amazing places to sit and eat a picnic, but my favorite are the ones that overlook the Vltava river. Pick up some food at a grocery store (like Albert, or Billa), and find one of many lovely parks in Prague. I also love people-watching in these places. People walk their dogs, run with friends, nap under a tree, or sit on the grass.

Things you should know:

– “Dobry den” means “Good day”, and people say it every time they go into a store 

– Bring an umbrella. It often rains in Czech, and can get chilly. You might want to bring a scarf and a coat/jacket too.

– When you’re done eating at a restaurant, place your fork and knife together, side by side (not crossed over each other) on your plate so that the waiters know you are finished. If you don’t do this, the waiters will still come, but not as fast!

– Most people in Prague speak English and will help you if you need anything.

– Public transportation is great, and fairly easy to navigate.

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This travel guide was written by Claire P. Visit her blog here.

*all pictures from Trip Advisor*

Click Click Click: Three Links of Encouragement #5

Happy Friday! Here are some articles I’ve read and loved in the past few weeks…

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A Month of Memory Helps: Truths About God by Judy Douglass…“So to help me remember what God has so graciously tried to teach me, I have devised short sayings as reminders of truths about God and His desires for my life.  Maybe some of these will resonate with you. There’s one for every day of the month.” Read the rest here.

Date a Boy Who Travels by Lainnnes…“Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the words, “vacation”, “all-inclusive”, or “resort”. Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.” Read the rest here.

180 Movie…this is not an article, but I nevertheless wanted to share it. It is a powerful short documentary about abortion, morals, and the Gospel. Definitely worth your time. Watch it here.

What have you been reading?

To Share or Not to Share?

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Conversation #1:

A TCK Friend: My friend and I are making macaroons this weekend!

You: That’s so fun! When I was in Paris for a conference last fall, I had these amazing macaroons on this little street across from the Eiffel Tower. You’ll have to share the recipe with me if it turns out well!

TCK Friend: Authentic French macaroons are so delicious! I tried some once in Thailand and let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience haha

Conversation #2:

Non-TCK Friend: My friend and I are making macaroons this weekend!

You: That’s so fun! When I was in Paris for a conference last fall, I had these amazing macaroons on this little street across from the Eiffel Tower. You’ll have to share the recipe with my if it turns out well!

Non-TCK Friend: Oh. That’s cool you were in Paris. That would be my lifelong dream to travel to Paris, or at least leave the country.

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Have you ever had those conversations? Talking about traveling around the world seems so natural when you’re talking with other TCK friends. But with non-TCKs? Not so much. 

I hate sounding like I’m bragging – because I’m not – when I talk about living in Italy and traveling around Europe. When I moved back to the US, I didn’t talk much about living overseas at all, not even to my closer friends from school or church. And while for some people and some conversations that was a good idea, for other relationships I wish I hadn’t kept so quiet. It gets a little lonely when you shut people out of your past, even if it’s for good intentions. 

So what’s the best way to handle speaking about TCK things? I think there are three important things to keep in mind that I’ve heard from other people: 

  1. Wait to bring up your experiences until the end of a conversation. Name dropping countries and experiences can shut someone else down…it can even make your conversation sound like a competition of who’s done what and been where. Instead…
  2. Engage with the person first. If you engage with that person and you’re interested in their story and their life and their experiences, it’s so much easier to share your own.
  3. Find people who want to hear your story. There are some people who will never understand or care about your life overseas. And that’s ok. You might never fully understand what it’s like for them to have never left their home country. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friends or you can’t connect – they just might not be closest to you. On the other hand, there will be people who care – about you, your story, your experiences. Find those people and let them in. 

How do you deal with speaking about unique TCK experiences?

 

A Guide to Frydlant nad Ostravici by Claire P.

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Dear travelers and dreamers, I’d like to tell you a little bit about two of my favorite cities in the world! The first, of course, is my hometown, Frydlant nad Ostravici, and the second is the wonderful Prague.

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Let’s start with Frydlant. I moved here when I was seven (on my 7th birthday, actually!), and though it’s a small town, there’s a lot to it. We moved here because the headquarters of Josiah Venture (the organization our family works with) is nestled in the beautiful Beskydy Mountains. Why else would you want to visit Frydlant besides Josiah Venture?

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Frydlant is located in a valley that sits right under the tallest mountain in the Beskydy. People come here mostly to hike Lysa hora and other surrounding peaks, to get away from the busyness of life. More adventurous people may enjoy the thrill of hang-gliding, a favorite sport around here. For the less daring, there’s also a tiny airport, where you can ride in a little airplane for a breathtaking view of the mountains.

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My favorite places to eat are Merlin and my house. Really, if you come to Frydlant, you can’t miss stopping by my house for a meal! Contact me if you’re ever here in the next 4 months, before I leave for college; I’m serious! If I’m not here to make you tea or coffee, there’s also a cute coffee shop in the centre, called Café de Mare. I would recommend their decadent crepes with nutella, and fresh fruit. Delicious.

Frydlant is perfect because it’s in the mountains, but the third largest city (Ostrava) in the Czech Republic is only 30 minutes away by car, and the second biggest two hours from here. In those cities, there are countless options for shopping, events and cultural experience. But those cities are also smoggy and crowded. Frydlant, on the other hand, stays quaint and quiet!

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Of course, the most beautiful things here are the breathtaking sunsets, the windy nights, the green grass, and the rolling mountains. God created everything so beautiful! I’m thankful to live in a place like this, and He creates something beautiful everywhere. Even your little town is special. You just need to look and keep your eyes open, and your head up!


Keep checking the blog for my travel guide about Prague! To come soon!

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Read Claire’s blog here.

Comfort Food

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Granola bars are my go-to item for travel. Really for anywhere. I always bring a granola bar with me. It’s yummy, it’s small, and it keeps me full until the next meal. When I go to a different country, I usually pack a whole box because you never know when/what people eat so it’s always comforting to know there’s a granola bar in your bag waiting for me. Comforting really is the perfect word for them. It’s laughable, but I realized this summer when I was in South Africa that it truly is comforting to know whatever happens to me that day, I can count on the fact that there is a granola bar waiting for me.

What is your favorite comfort food or item to travel with?

A Guide to Florence, Italy

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Recently, I was thinking about collecting travel guides from other blogs and having a page with links to all of them. But then, it occurred to me that we should have our own! I mean, this blog is written by girls who live around the world for girls who live around the world so it only makes sense to write our own travel guides instead of just reading other peoples’ guides. So without further ado, I give you a travel guide to my city: Florence.

What You Should See

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The Duomo: the Duomo was one of my favorite parts of Florence. Whenever I was in the city, if I could see the Duomo peeking above the sea of tile roofs, then I knew I wasn’t lost. It’s so beautiful and historic and comforting. Not only should you take a peek inside the church, you should also climb to the top. It’s steep, but definitely not the highest monument you can climb in Italy! The view is gorgeous and the climb allows you to see the beautiful painted ceiling of the dome and you can also see the amazing dome inside of a dome architecture.

The Uffizi: this historic art museum houses some of the world’s most famous artwork. When our entire family visited, we went on Christmas Eve and it was practically empty, letting us linger and gaze at our favorite paintings.

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Piazza della Repubblica: this quaint city square is the perfect place to grab some gelato in the evening and sit and simply enjoy being in Florence.

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Piazza della Signoria: another beautiful city square, Piazza Signoria is next to the Uffizi and houses the ancient “Palazzo Vecchio,” the current town hall.

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Ponte Vecchio: this bridge was the only one Hitler did not destroy on his journey through Florence because he thought it was so beautiful. Not that his opinion really counts, but the bridge truly is beautiful. The bridge is full of old jewelry shops with little houses on top. Worth stopping by to take a few pictures and window shop.

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Piazza Michelangelo: a beautiful piazza overlooking Florence. It’s perfect to watch the sun set over the city and there is a church nearby to explore while you wait for the sun to go down.

San Lorenzo Market: an open air market near the Duomo with cheap, but nice, purses, jewelry, tee shirts, scarves, and anything else you could want to take home from Florence for yourself or a friend.

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Fiesole: Fiesole is a small village overlooking Florence. My family lived in this small town when we lived in Italy and we loved it. It has several great restaurants, Roman ruins, an old monastery, a gorgeous view of Florence, and a forest with trails that lead you to the site where Leonardo da Vinci launched one of his flying experiments as well as a WWII lookout.

Where to Eat

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Il Gatto e La Volpe: a quaint restaurant in downtown Florence with amazing, authentic Italian food. Via Ghibellina 151r Santa Croce, 50122

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ZaZas: this restaurant is popular with American tourists, but nonetheless yummy and authentic. For more on why you should eat here, read this blog post by a lady who gets it.

Grom: a gelateria near Florence. Really, you can’t go wrong with gelato, but there are a few places that are a few notches above the rest and this is one. Lots of great flavors.

Hard Rock Cafe: I can’t believe I’m including this, but if you’re really missing some homey food and want a fun (and loud) environment, the Hard Rock Cafe is always a good choice.

A Few Things to Know

You can never go wrong using a Rick Steves travel guide book.

People really do say “mamma mia”

Italians are generally very friendly and ready to help

The bus system is pretty great and fairly easy to navigate

I’m not a coffee-drinker so that why I didn’t include any favorite coffee places, but really any gelateria or cafe that is not near a famous monument will have good options for both

Why I love It

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Florence feel like a hidden gem, tucked in between the hills of Tuscany. It is beautiful and historic. Loud and friendly. Peaceful and delicious. My time there was not a vacation, like many people assume. It was hard, but it was worth it. I hope one day you’ll spend some time in la mia bella Firenze!

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write a travel guide for your own city and send it to notofthisworld.r2 [at] gmail [dot] com