Tuesday Confessions: I’m a Bartering Queen!

IMG_8436Tuesday Confessions is back!! It’s been a few weeks but no worries it’s back and I’ve been dreaming of writing todays post for months now. Seriously! I remember standing in my kitchen in Central Asia taking pictures of my super successful purchases and just ooing and awing over the day I’d get to post them! Well friends, today is the day! With it being Central Asia week on the blog I figured what better time to show you! Before I show you my super awesome purchases, I need to tell you of how I have become this self proclaimed “Barter Queen.”

I’ve been to my fair share of markets, bazars, and “world markets” if you will. And from them I’ve learned that I know how to talk the talk and get what I want for a decent price. I have been to these types of markets in two very competitive and intense areas. I’ve literally had people grab my hands and pull me into their shops begging me to buy something. Believe me, it’s crazy! But outside of that I’m also able to spot a deal when I see one. I love taking my friends to these types of places and helping them to get what they want. Funny story, I was in a bazar in Central Asia, and three of the guys on my team really wanted a toaster and what do ya know, this savvy girl found one! And I was even able to get it down in price by about $10. However there was a tad bit of an issue so we had to return the toaster and then we literally went next door and got the exact same toaster for $10 cheaper than what we actually paid. It was awesome, weird, and super hilarious! So yes, I’ve bought things such as toasters, jewelry, scarves, dresses, tapestries, and even pipes! I love bartering.

The key to a successful barter is the poker face. You have to make the person who you’re buying from believe that it’s better for them to give you whatever item it is you’re trying to get them to sell you at the price you’re asking for. If they wont do it then you literally just have to say no and walk away. They then realize that any amount of money is better than nothing. Usually they will stop you, ask you to come back and from there they’ll usually go for half of what you’re asking for and you can negotiate from there. For me, I let them give me a price, and I just cut that in half and go from there. It’s definitely served me well. Any purchase I’ve ever made through bartering has always been a good one and I hope you agree.

Now it’s time to check out my favorite pieces that I’ve bartered for! They’re all so wonderful and I’m so sentimental with things so jsut thinking about ever losing or damaging one of these pieces make me wanna throw up. So it’s safe to say I don’t let many people touch these pieces or mess with them, because of my deep love for them. So I hope you enjoy them! Check in tomorrow to read a super personal letter that I’ve needed to share for a while!IMG_8449IMG_8452I wish i could say all those piallahs were mine! And check out those earrings! I got them for my grandma, and she loves them. i struggled to give them to her because though pink is no my color, I loved them so much.IMG_8456 IMG_8446This next shot, though it’s not of people is definitely one of my money shots this year! The exposure, the DOF, and everything was just right. So thankful for this crazy spot in my flat that elt in the perfect amount of light for these pictures!IMG_8445 IMG_8444That jar above has been a huge hit all around! Definitely one of my favorite purchases. Now my best gift I bought it this pipe! I got it for my sweet bestfriend! Her birthday was jsut a few days after I got back from Central Asia, and man did she love this thing. I’m so glad I know her well enough to know that she would’ve rather had a pipe than a scarf or anything really! Haha!IMG_8434 IMG_8429Matrushka dolls hold a special place in my heart, man! Come back tomorrow to find out why!
IMG_8442So yea, I’m a little crazy about my things, but boy, do I love them!

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Tuesday Confessions: I love Being an Aunt!

IMG_7360Today on the blog you will find some super sweet faces and deep kisses but they wont be between a couple deeply in love with each other, rather they will be of the sweetest little ham I know. World, today I am introducing you to my super sweet, and super fat nephew Brayden! This boy was born in June while I was in Central Asia so I first met him over a FaceTime with my sister. This boy stole my heart from day one! I remember crying those few tears when I first saw him through my phone and immediately lost it. I relized that for real I was an aunt. I was going to be able to kill him with auntie kisses and tickle him until he throws up (please excuse the visual). I knew that I was going to love it all, and man I totally have.

I remember the first second I saw him. I picked him up and would not put him down. I couldn’t stop saying how beautiful he was and playing with him. Because he’s seriously so handsome and just the sweetest boy ever! So last weekend when i got to see him for just a short while I had to capture as many pictures as possible! So I took him to the front yard with my siblings and grandma and got a few shots of him before I left to do my first engagement session. So I don’t have any fun quirks or antics to tell you about why I love being an aunt, because honesty, I just do. So please enjoy his cheeks and rolls and be sucked into the cuteness!IMG_7377 IMG_7366 IMG_7363 IMG_7374 IMG_7371Look at those stinkin cheeks!? I keep making the joke that I don’t know how he holds the face up cause his cheeks are so big!IMG_7369I love the way he looks at my sister! I’ve also never seen her love another person like she loves this boy. I’m so happy I got to capture a few images of them together. So beautiful!IMG_7368 IMG_7386 IMG_7391It’s disgusting how attractive my siblings are!

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Tuesday Confessions: I Suffer From Wanderlust

tumblr_m9qnsiVCvO1r6bsw8o1_500I must be honest right now friends there are few things that I will never not know where they are. Let’s be honest, there’s like three things, maybe. But one of those things is indefinitely my passport. Ever since I got that thing in January of 2013 I make it a point to know where it is at all times. If I don’t know where it is I freak out and will look for it and put it in a safe place immediately. That thing allows me to travel this world with reckless abandon, and that my friends is a ridiculous passion I have.IMG_2437

I’ve seen a ton of different definitions for this word, but the one that hits me where it hurts has to be the one I posted above, “An IRRESISTIBLE DESIRE to travel to understand one’s very existence!” That is what I love about travel is getting lost in the world I find myself. I have stepped on the ground of different countries and every time I have found a new and exciting piece of myself that I never knew before. though some people may disagree with this statement I know it’s abundantly true, I’m a simple person. I love not having a plan and just rolling with life’s punches. It’s freeing and redeeming and so so sooooo beautiful. Being somewhere new in the world, not knowing the language, or even what lies around the corner makes me thrive. It brings me joy unspeakable!

Since coming back from Central Asia this year my wanderlust has been on a rampage because right now I have no idea when the next time I’ll travel the world will be. It’s crazy to think that this year alone I have stepped on the soil of six different countries and been changed by each and every one of them, no matter how long I was in them. I have tasted and seen the goodness of life and I attribute a great deal of that to the beauty of being a world traveler. I am so thankful that I’ve been so blessed in my life to be able to do this and I am eternally grateful for that. Since reading the book, “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung it has also given me the beautiful assurance that I have the freedom to go anywhere in the world and do what needs to be done. It’s a beautiful truth that I must share until my dying day across every step of this beautiful Earth.IMG_4990

Now with wanderlust comes great side effects if not properly nurtured. Recently these side effects have been kicking my butt. So for that I’ve been trying to nurture this “disease” properly and I’ve come up with a few solutions. So if you suffer from this crazy disease as I do please try out some of the following:

-Feel free to allow yourself to look at pictures and reminisce. I have found that it does the soul well to look back on things like that and remember that what you experienced was so real! That’s one of the big issues with recovering from traveling or any major life experiences, we must remember that it happened and that it did impact us in one way or another. Another great way to handle this is to journal. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! If you think of it write it down, and believe me you’ll be so happy that you did later. For people who may have never traveled before and just have a deep desire to do so, do these same steps. Google search where you want to go, and journal about your desires!IMG_3274 IMG_4758 IMG_9290

-Give yourself the freedom to get excited about the things you’ve done. There may need to be some restraints in this if you get a little over zealous, so do it healthily! Don’t brag about where you’ve been, but rather share about the blessing that it was to go there. People will be more inclined to listen and enjoy it at the same time, as well as rejoice with you when you walk into sharing with a humble heart.IMG_9619 IMG_9568 IMG_8270

-Within the realm of journaling and sharing stories create “Headlines”. These headlines give you a storyline and that helps friends and listeners to be truly compelled to listen and enjoy what they’re hearing. I once had a director who told me about these things and man, was he right! He encouraged all of us to create a one-minute headline, five-minute headline, and for the adventurous a 15-minute headline. This allows you to gage what people want to hear and how much they want to hear. For example, people are going to want to hear about how you were changed and impacted on your travels. Where as they might not be so inclined to hear about the ridiculous things your team did that is made up predominately of inside jokes that no one else understands but you and your teammates. So some of my headlines have included, “The Final Push” which is a 15 minute long story about how I got the final push I needed to make the decision to apply to intern overseas, where I also have my 5 minute headline that I call, “Beautifully Broken Women” which is where I share about the women that I went to Central Asia with. Now, I don’t share the titles with people usually but when people say tell me about your team I think of the headlines I’ve created on my own and I think to myself, “Which one should I use?” These headlines are more of a self help thing.IMG_8130 IMG_8186

-Go to Barnes & Noble, or any bookstore, and just rifle through the maps and travel books. It does the soul good to see that even publishing companies care about the places that compel you to travel.

-If you know someone else is going to be traveling go ahead and ask them to bring you back any old thing from wherever they’re going. I’m currently wearing a scarf from the Dominican Republic that my sweet friend Krysta got me. I’ve never been there, nor do I have some deep desire to go there but just wearing it, knowing that it’s from a land that I’ve never been to relieves a little bit of my travel needs.

-Do things that you did wherever you’ve traveled. One thing that has helped a lot recently has been for me to brew a cup of my favorite Central Asian tea and sit on my porch and drink it with a good book and music that I listened to over there. It helps me to vividly picture the streets and the people that would walk by as I sat at the bus stop waiting for bus 29! Just like playing with kids and babysitting reminds me of the freedom I felt playing with the kids in Botswana! IMG_8689 IMG_2393

-Speaking of music, make a playlist of songs from the place you want to go to/have been to or even just songs that you listened to over there.

These are just a few of the things I’ve found helpful and healing in my intense pains of wanderlust. It’s beautiful and so relieving to remember my travels fondly. So go ahead, sip your tea, tell your friends what you’ve done, and most importantly REMEMBER THAT THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD WAS REAL, AND IT IMPACTED YOU IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE!IMG_9621

Happy travels my wonderful wanderlusters!World

Tuesday Confessions: Little Black Dress

Friends I remember sitting in my living room watching the Spice Girls and loving them to pieces. I loved their music, because at the time in the early 90’s it was the thing. I would stand on my kitchen counter and belt the words to every song. And I would watch the movies and be in awe of the glory that was the spice girls. I felt that a piece of me had a little bit of each of them in me. I was at the time the youngest of my mom’s kids so naturally I was always Baby Spice. Then I was into sports, and as it still stands true today I was super sassy so with those I encompassed both sporty and ginger, never quite grasped the scary one. That was more my older sister. But there was one that in my mind I could never be, Posh. Posh spice was the epitome of classic beauty in my mind. I thought she was gorgeous and so mysterious and there was one thing that held me back from being her!

THE LITTLE GUCCI DRESS!

That dress was the turning point that could launch me into being Posh spice, and living out my childhood dream. So from that, since childhood I have looked for two things, the perfect white dress (which I’m pretty sure I’ve found and am currently wearing) and the ultimate little black dress. I would always go to stores and search, and never would I find a good one. I hated it! That’s literally all I wanted and nope it never happened. Until one day last week!!! Yes friends I’ve struck gold!!! Or should I say black 🙂

Last week as I did some last minute shopping with my grandma before I headed back to Radford I found the ultimate, most perfect little black dress ever. This dress was insanely priced (in the good sense) and I had coupons. This dress is everything I imagined and wanted in my little black dress and now IT’S MINE! It has a nice fabric that is sleek and sexy, along with a killer lace neckline! This thing is literally perfect! And you’ll never guess where I bought it. This wonderful dress that at closing I got for less than $20 was from Costco! Yep, that’s right, i’m still dying at the fact that that’s where I bought it. But alas, this thing is awesome! So enjoy this little sneak peak of it, because lets be honest I can’t show you the whole thing!IMG_9782 Now all I need is a place to wear it!(wink wink)

Tuesday Confessions: I’m a One Tree Hill Junkie

one_tree_hill_pcYes friends I hate to admit it but since December I had been sporadically been watching this show but in the last week it has been nonstop! And I can’t lie I’m a little sad that I have the blessing of Netflix that I get to go through it all so fast, but at the same time I know that when it’s over it’s over. So here’s to hoping it’s an excellent ending. I’m currently ending season four and beginning season five so I still have plenty of time!

For those of you who don’t watch the show, honestly you need to just sit down an watch it! This show is great and has an amazing storyline. I can’t lie and say I don’t get nostalgic when I watch it, totally takes me back to my small town high school that essentially shut down for a Friday night football game, even if you team sucked! I see a lot of my high school self in the show. One person I unashamedly resonate with is the one ad only BROOKE DAVIS! Brooke and I just have a lot on common. Our insecurities and fears are almost identical, and she’s strong and brave and I love her. It’s funny because before I even started watching the show my sweet best friend Carlie would call me Brooke Davis and now I completely understand why!

So now I bring you my list of things that one Tree Hill has taught me, some of these are so serious and others are so ridiculous but they only lead me to love this show more. So here we go!

-No matter how late, or sketchy of a situation the person you need will always show up. Even if it’s 2am, on a back sketchy alley, when you’re preparing to do a drug deal, and the person hasn’t been seen or heard from in months.

-Everyone is secretly involved in a weird love triangle… EVERYONE, even Marvin McFaden! The true fans will understand that reference.

-Rental companies will totally lease to high school students without question. And even though they don’t have jobs they’re still able to pay rent and everything. It’s all just perfect.

-Clearly in the state of North Carolina people under the legal drinking age are able to buy alcohol everywhere and they just drink it in public. It’s totally fine.

-Some people are just purely evil. I mean down right evil and there’s no changing them. Granted I’m only on season 5 but Dan Scott is THE WORST! And I just don’t know that I can believe that he’ll ever change.

-Some friendships can and do last through a lot of things. One thing that I truly believe this show does well is show forgiveness amongst even the hardest of fights.

-One thing I reaalllllyyyyy love about this show is that it kind of makes fun of itself at times. Makes me laugh so freaking hard!

-Little old white guys are awesome and full of wisdom and even through their tough exterior their total teddy bears!! Gotta love Whitey!

This show is crazy good and right now I love it. It takes me back to a lot of my high school days and gets me all up in the feels. I’ve totally cried tons of tears while watching this show but I’ve also smiled and laughed uncontrollably. And fun fact:While writing this I’ve been watching One Tree Hill!

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Tuesday Confessions: Cooking Overseas

Happy Tuesday happy followers! This is just a whole week of new here on the blog and today is another new installment that’s coming to the blog! Tuesday confessions is my chance to let you in on some crazy things that I experience in my life. I’ll also be letting you in on a huge hobby of mine and a huge passion of mine and those include being overseas, and cooking! So, let’s get after it!

Being overseas is something I really, really love! Getting to live in and experience new things spurs me on and seriously energizes me like nothing else. Before May 2013 I had never left the country and since then I have now been to seven countries. Each one holds a special place in my heart and the cultures in each of these countries have really captured me. Now in going to all of these places I’ve also had to adopt in a lot of ways, one being in how I cook. That brings us to our confession for today.

COOKING OVERSEAS IS FAR FROM EASY!

This year going back to Central Asia I knew the food was something that I loved because it challenged me as someone who loves cooking. In this part of the world, to make something spicy simply means to add more “pepper”. It’s quite comical actually. My first summer in Central Asia I survived on eating out, but when I would cook for myself I would just make green beans and chicken “breast” but hey, I would doctor that chicken and those beans with any “spice” I could find and that stuff tasted like heaven! Now don’t get me wrong, I love the food in Central Asia. Seriously, so much of it is so good. There’s definitely some pickings that are not so tasty, but all in all I’ve definitely found some great picks over there. But, heading back for my second year I vowed that I would cook and that I would get adventurous with my cooking.

This year in Central Asia I had a roommate who had a few food restrictions and she’s become accustom to working with food and really doctoring things, and working her way through. So one night when two of our teammates were coming over for dinner we decided to spiff it up and make STIR FRY! So so so thankful that I had a roommate like her to help to make a delicious meal and serve our friends! So now, onto the confessions!

IMG_7803So naturally we start with all the ingredients, and let me tell you something there was no such thing as a peeler where I lived. So I probably walked out of this meal with 7 or 8 cuts. It was quite an adventure.

IMG_7812 IMG_7813 IMG_7814 IMG_7819IMG_7824 IMG_7822 IMG_7830We had ONE LARGE SKILLET to make everything in so once again the adventure goes on! But it was an incredible adventure!IMG_7826

IMG_8813None of this would’ve been possible without my incredible roommate, Soumya! She’s quick on her feet and when we didn’t have an ingredient or something else we quickly worked it out and found a new replacement! This meal was wonderful and I think our incredible team would agree!

IMG_7847Cooking overseas was definitely awesome and I loved it, and I’m hoping that my time of cooking overseas doesn’t end here. I hope it is something I’ll have to do for the rest of my life. So who knows five years down the road I’ll be writing a post like this but it will contain a story of me cooking crickets and frog legs!