Thursday, January 23

What's a Girl to Pack

I love traveling but I've had an awful track record with packing; I either horrendously over-pack or atrociously under-pack and have nothing to wear! Over the past year and a half I have had to become a 1) light and 2) quick packer for last minute work trips, trips to Europe and spontaneous weekend getaways. 

After I returned from England and became an Ambassador, people (girls) always asked how I managed to pack my life into a suitcase! The best advice I have is to outfit plan and try on all the outfits! It sounds daunting but with a closest full of clothes, an iPhone and Pinterest inspiration boards it's really more organization than anything. 
While I'm waiting for my overnight flight to leave, I thought I'd post about what I packed for my little 10-day European vacation since a lot of people ask the best way to pack :)

10 Day Quick Trip to Spain & Portugal:

5 Bottoms --> 
1 lace skirt
2 jeans (cropped & ankle)
1 black trousers
1 colored denim
6 Tops -->
2 Sweaters
1 Basic White T-shirt
2 Blouses
1 Chambray 
Shoes (my downfall)
4 Pairs --> 
Aldo Boots
Steve Madden Flats
Blue Platform Heels
Madden Girl Wedge Heels
Accessories -->
3 Scarves 
2 belts
1 hat
3 sweaters 
 2 Dresses

Now a quick trip to California or a long-weekend in Florida, you can kind of get by with wearing 3 or 4 outfits and just winging it. Europe is a different story; especially because we're hitting a few different countries I wanted to make sure I had enough appropriate clothing for wine tasting in Northern Portugal, pounding the pavement in Madrid, seaside visits in the south of Portugal, and climbing the steep hills of Sintra…so I aired on the side of having plenty of outfits this trip! I came up with 16 outfits that can go from day travels to night clubs with a few simple changes.















Now that everything is packed and organized, all I have to do is have my phone in hand and I don't have to stress about what to wear that day- everything is already ready to go and allows me to enjoy every moment of the traveling adventures. 
Bon Voyage from the Traveling Cupcake!

Wednesday, January 22

The Traveling Cupcake

2012 was an incredible year of travel adventures:
London, Basingstoke, Bath, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Nottingham, Surrey, Stratford-upon-Avon…and all sorts of other little charming towns all throughout England.

2013 I stayed a little closer to home and traveled around the US: Charleston, San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, Yosemite National Park, Phoenix, Philadelphia,  New York City, Hershey, Lancaster County, Charlotte, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Raleigh, Hudson, Excelsior and of course the sandy shores of Wilmington called me home a few times. 
Have I mentioned I love traveling? 

I love traveling throughout the United States but there is something wonderful about going abroad. It's been about a year since I've gone out of the country and probably for the last 11 months the travel bug has been bugging me. It's time to go somewhere.


Someone asked me once why I love traveling and I wasn't sure how to explain it other than you get to be someone completely different when you're in a foreign city. There is something so therapeutic about being completely anonymous is a foreign city; no one knows who you are, where you came from, what you've been through, where you're going. You get to make memories, meet new friends, try new things and explore the surroundings in such a raw and natural existence. It's something I've never been able to harness anywhere else. Simply put, adventures are the best way to learn.

You learn what it takes to survive in a foreign city. You learn to adapt to a new culture and language. You learn to accept others. You learn how much you can withstand. You learn who you are. You learn what you want, you learn what you don't want. You learn that everybody is so different yet we all have a common ground. You learn that life is so much bigger than your hometown. You learn to be you and that…that is the most wonderful part of traveling this girl has learned.

So its time to pack up my life into a suitcase, book a flight, and head off to a grand new adventure. Here's to another adventure from, The Traveling Cupcake. 


Monday, January 20

Stop Looking

 I've been searching for answers and, in full disclosure, I'm a girl and read too much into 'signs'. When I was deciding on where to attend college, I felt like every billboard or bumper sticker was a sign from God that to where I was supposed to go! I'm not sure if it's a female thing or just a me thing, but I am notorious for desperately searching for an answer and sometimes making up my own answer. 
Questions about future career- TODAY show has a segment about relocating to Guam…maybe God wants me to move to Guam and open an orphanage? 
Questions about a future move- see 10 moving trucks in one day…God wants me to pack up and go. 
Questions about pursuing a dream- find 15 inspirational Pinterest quotes, God is trying to speak to me.

It always seems when you stop looking, that's when you find what you're looking for.
I've been looking for answers to so many things, and lately I feel like I've been overlooking to find God's answer. Maybe His answer is more of a quiet whisper rather than an in-your-face lightning bolt…exactly what this type-A girl doesn't want :) 

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart
Maybe it's time to stop desperately searching for my own answers and go back to listening for His guidance. 
Usually, when you stop looking, you find exactly what you need….His answers. 

Monday, January 13

Boom...Humble!

I accepted a new job in August that came about by God's hand. There really is no other explanation for it. I didn't even apply for the job really. I went in for an interview on Thursday, I got the job offer on Monday and started on Wednesday. I had less than one week to decide on what I was going to do, and in a moment everything changed. I was completely miffed as to why they wanted to hire me; I felt under-qualified, I really had no experience, the job technically wasn't even in my specific field, and I had no background in the financial realm. Yet they wanted me and made me an offer I just couldn't refuse. So I left my previously-known life behind and started a new chapter.

For about 4 months everything was going well. I was extremely busy and had little down time but was expanding my networking base, learning things I didn't know the first thing about (like equity lines of credit), and becoming a wiz at Photoshop, inDesign and Illustrator. Yet the last month and a half have been hard.
Things outside of my control and heck, outside of my department, have made it less than exciting to come to work in the morning. I was getting more and more down about driving the 40-minute commute to work every day. I was secretly on pins and needles about what the day would hold. It wasn't the stress or the high-demand area I worked, it was the never knowing how people were going to feel that day; were they going to be pleasant or down right mean-spirited to everybody in the building? Maybe I'm stupidly optimistic, as one of my professors told me once, but I truly felt everybody in the office had a kind spirit and genuinely cared for everybody else. Maybe not so much! Ha. 

Since Christmas I've really been struggling with down-right dread of the office. What was once a positive and supportive workplace had become gray and tainted with angry words and accusations. The strangest part was that it was all happening around me! I was never once involved in any cross words or heated debates, but hearing your boss get cursed at on a daily basis can bring down your spirit. 
One afternoon at lunch I just called my mom in absolute despair. I couldn't keep coming into an office that had so much negativity and hatred, it was killing my spirit! After a long talk with her, I sat in my car and prayed that God would just give me guidance to where to go next, it was the only thing I could do at that point. 
I went back to my office, turned on Pandora, clicked on the "Hillsong" channel and just prayed that God would fill this place with His peace and serenity and give me the strength to persevere through it all. 

It wasn't until today that I remembered doing that a month and a half ago; I had three separate people tell me how I changed their attitude at work. One guy told me that I must see the good in everybody because I always had a smile on my face. Another guy said that I was quite possibly the most cheerful person he'd known. Then a woman in the office came up to me and just said that she did something this weekend because of me. All within one day! I put the dots together and realized that God hadn't changed the work environment necessarily, but He had changed my heart and let me be a light to the office. Isn't that the most fulfilling thing a Christian can do? I can't think of a better compliment than 'you reflect the light of Christ'...even if they can't put their finger on why I'm so happy or always smiling; the thing is they can sense I'm different! The amazing fact is that I don't have to talk about God 24/7, but that my life and my testimony can be a reflection of His grace, forgiveness, love and acceptance every day of the week. 
And God just said -boom...humble!-


Sunday, January 5

1, 2, 3…JUMP!



Sometimes it feels like its never the right time. It never feels like the right time to quit your job. It never feels like the right time to take a trip to Europe. It never feels like the right time to start dating again. It never feels like the right time to move. Society makes us feel like it's never the right time to do what we dream of doing. 
Well guess what, there will never be the 'right time' to do it.

I had a friend disappoint me recently because they bailed on me because of timing. Well know what, life is always going to get into the way. Work is always going to be busy. The house is never going to have all those projects finished. Your family is always going to be demanding you in five directions. You're always going to want to have more money in your account. Life does not press pause for our dreams, we have to make them happen. So make time for them. There may be no better time than present to do what you've always dreamed of doing. 

Psalm 56:3 says "When I am afraid, I will trust in you". Sure it's scary to take a leap of faith and just go for it. Move across country. Take a trip. Change jobs. Date someone new. However there comes a point in time when you have to rely on God and your gut instinct, take a deep breath, close your eyes… and jump.