eating: schnitzel and strudel and croissants and cake. i’d like to say i’m missing healthy meals, but that just hasn’t caught up with me yet.

drinking: anything with elderflower in it.

wanting: time to stop so this trip doesn’t need to be over mid-month.

looking: out the windows at the Alps.

enjoying: absolutely everything.

crushing: on all the cute euro boys my grandma told me i wasn’t allowed to talk to.

waiting: on making future plans. i’m just living in the moment.

wondering: how i’ll survive without a pastry a day.

needing: a good recipe for apple strudel.

hoping: to continue this feeling of joy and happiness, bringing it into every part of life.

smelling: rain.

wearing: #allblackeverything and my cute new beret.

knowing: this is all temporary, and we need to enjoy it as much as we can when we can.

watching: German-dubbed television and all the sappy movies on netflix.

listening: to old Austrian couples speak.

noticing: love.

opening: myself up.

planning: the next great adventure. sister and i have already had the “hypothetically, where would you want to go to next?” talk.

giggling: over inside jokes with sister.

feeling: happy.

in april of 2017, i had to say goodbye to my little, beloved old car. she, Mabel to her close friends, treated me well. i had the option of buying a new vehicle, but knowing i needed to save for the incredible five-week trip i’m currently on in europe, i opted against shelling out a huge chunk of money on a car.

while i still think i made the right decision (this trip is what dreams are made of) it was no secret that i felt pretty lost without my own vehicle. while i navigated the public transit system in calgary like a pro, it’s no replacement for the freedom of being able to get behind the wheel any time to go any place. i was limited and on someone else’s schedule: two things i dislike.

thankfully, i’ve been friends with Ford Canada for years now. with an ever-changing lineup of new vehicles, i’ve slid behind the wheel of some of the newest cars and SUVs, loaded with all the bells and whistles. it’s an incredible luxury for me, knowing the bus and 17-year-old-car were what i was comparing it to.

in august, i got to take the 2018 Ford EcoSport for a week, and it allowed me to do a few of my favourite calgary and area things, on my own time.

inner-city fun

the first day i got the EcoSport, Jess and i took it for a spin in the city. our original plans were to go to Hayden Block for dinner – some of the best barbecue outside of the southern US – but when you have a new SUV crossover at your disposal, you need to make more plans that include driving.

after dinner, we drove to Made by Marcus for ice cream, then to the crescent heights lookout for a (very smoky) view, and finally to chinatown to stalk out some graffiti i had been trying to find for a while.

Jess played DJ since she has incredible taste in music, and having SiriusXM made it that much easier because we didn’t have to navigate around commercial breaks. we basically jammed to 90s R&B and hip-hop; is there anything better? the compact nature of the EcoSport made it so simple to park all over the city, and i never had to worry about parallel parking it, due to the backup camera and thinner body.

community-minded

having the EcoSport gave me the ability to donate clothing and home goods to a few charities around the city.

i had been wanting to donate to Making Changes Association for a few years now, but never seems to have enough to make a contribution i saw as worthy – now, i know even one thing helps. Making Changes is a vibrant organization that provides relevant programs and services to empower women in transition, giving them confidence as they establish themselves in their communities, among their peers, neighbours, and a new life. their Walk-In Closet provides women with a selection of work attire for their transition into the workplace and My Best Friend’s Closet provides teenage girls from low-income homes (ages 12-18) with a broad selection of fashionable and functional clothing to meet their school and recreational needs. my dresses, blouses, jeans, purses, lulus, heels, and accessories are now in much better homes, being used and appreciated by women across calgary.

the EcoSport’s trunk fit over six bags of clothing, and the unique swing gate with hideaway latch swings out like a regular car door for an added touch of style. it made the truck simple to open and close, too. my 5’5-self didn’t have to reach up on my tippy toes to try and close a back hatch.

miles of mountains

if i’m out on a joyride, you’ll find me in the mountains. in the week that i had the Ford Canada EcoSport, i was out in the rockies twice. the smoky haze of the wildfires and rain kept many tourists away, and gave Aaron and i the opportunity to search for the most picturesque backdrops. we pulled over a few times along the winding mountain roads to play in the rain and snap photos. the heated front seats took the chill out of us – enough so we could go get ice cream! let’s be honest, it would have never been too cold for ice cream.

i was sad to hand the keys back. small in size but big in capability, the Ford EcoSport was an SUV i could see myself driving longterm.

this post was written in partnership with Ford Canada. 

this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

i love autumn! the cool breezes, cute accessories like scarves and hats, seeing the leaves change and celebrating my birthday are always my highlights of the season.

this fall is a very special one and one i will always remember. i’m on a five-week european vacation with my sister. we haven’t seen any leaves change colour yet, but the cool breezes have found us in Austria – a welcome change from Hungary’s 30+ degree days. i spent my birthday eating cake for breakfast and dessert, and i’m all about the cute accessories.

packing for six countries and two seasons of weather proved difficult, but so far our choices have been the right ones.

here are a few things that have made travelling a breeze so far:

back it up.

a wheelie suitcase seems like the easiest way to pack for any vacation because you can just roll it beside you. you’ll think again when you see someone else attempt to roll a suitcase down the beautiful cobblestone streets of Paris. packing in a backpack has been the best thing we’ve done. we found packs that open like a suitcase, so you don’t have to shove everything in from the top and maximized space with packing cubes.

never miss a step.

we love exploring on foot. you get to discover so many more things than you would if on transit or in a cab. to make sure i was prepared to pound the pavement, i packed a pair of my most comfortable running shoes – fashion be damned. increasing the milage can be uncomfortable as our feet get used to different footwear. to help ease any discomfort, i wear my Dr. Scholl’s Comfort & Energy Massaging Gel Insoles, especially on longer walks to make sure i can comfortably keep moving without having to turn back early. these insoles are great for foot and leg fatigue, with gel waves that massage the most sensitive areas of my feet. in two weeks, we’ve already covered over 150km by foot, and there is no end in sight. 

eyes wide shut.

i had to try out many eye masks to find one i liked, but wearing one has been so helpful to maintain my regular sleep pattern. sometimes i’m sleeping on a couch in a living room or trying to catch a few winks on the train between cities, being able to put on an eye mask and keep out any light lets me fall asleep faster. thankfully sister hasn’t needed to elbow me for snoring on the train yet!

the right side of the bed.

there is absolutely no way i’m going to let a headache, muscle ache from carrying my backpack, or poor night’s sleep sideline my sightseeing. i keep ALEVE Nighttime on my Airbnb nightstand so i don’t have to worry. ALEVE Nighttime relieves my muscle aches and pains for up to 12 hours, plus it has a sleep aid to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. the small, oval caplets are in a compact container, making them easy to throw in a makeup bag or purse, so i’m not losing important packing room.


this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.