2016 Reader Survey Results

The reader survey results are in!

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to fill out the survey. I was blown away by the thoughtful, kind (and sometimes hilarious) responses. All of this information is so helpful to me in planning the future of this blog.

So what does this mean for you?

Travel, travel & more travel

I was thrilled to see that the Weekend Travel Guides are your favorite type of post to read. Travel is such an important part of my life, and I love sharing my photos and tips with you all.

In addition to the Weekend Travel Guides, you can expect to read more about packing light, traveling with kids, fitting travel into a busy lifestyle, and how to travel in style.

2016 Reader Survey Results

Minimalism & simple living

You all seem to be as interested in simple living as I am, which makes me so happy! 85% of you said that you would like to see more posts on minimalism, simplifying, and organizing. This is something that has been a passion of mine since I was a nerdy kid organizing my pencil drawer. I am so excited to start exploring these topics more on the blog.

Photography tips & tricks

Many of you commented that seeing the travel photos are your favorite. And there were a ton of requests for some tutorials on travel photography.

Ask and you shall receive my friends!

You can look forward to a whole series on travel photography coming soon. It will cover everything from cameras and lenses to editing and organizing all of your amazing photos.

2016 Reader Survey Results

Expat Life

Everyday life, house tours, style, challenges, parenting, schools…you want to know what life is like as an expat. Done and done. I will be pulling back the curtain and showing you the good, the bad, and the ugly of our life abroad. (Spoiler: It isn’t nearly as glamorous as you may think!)

The Weekly Digest

This is something I have been thinking about for months, and I was so encouraged by everyone that was interested.

The clunky old feedburner I have been using to deliver new posts by email hasn’t been working very well for a long time. (Pictures not showing up, weird formatting, and other frustrations.) I know a lot of you really like receiving posts by email so that you never miss anything, but I have finally found a better way.

Starting this week, you can sign up to receive a short and sweet weekly digest email. It will include links to new posts, as well as other fun perks that you won’t find anywhere else. Just one little email a week. Because no one likes a cluttered inbox!

Enter your name and email below and you will get your first weekly digest delivered to your inbox this weekend.

Your Questions

You all had some amazing questions! Many of which deserve an entire post of their own. (Or even multiple posts.) I will be doing a FAQ post next week covering the questions that I can answer in a paragraph or two. If you have any other questions that you would like covered, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thank you again, for your responses, your input, and your continued support of this blog!

Modern Travel Guides for Stylish Travelers

You may think you don’t need actual travel guides anymore, since you can get just about anything you need from a quick search on Google or Pinterest. But these modern travel guides are so beautiful and stylish, you may just change your mind!

Beyond just looking good, they are also filled with great tips on the best places to go and things to do in some of the coolest cities in the world.

Whether you like to have travel books around for inspiration, or you are planning a specific upcoming trip, you are sure to find at least a few you will want to have on your bookshelf.

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10 fun facts (that you might not know) about Vienna, Austria

The more time I spend in Vienna, the more I fall in love with this magical city. One of my favorite parts about living here is that I learn something new about Vienna nearly every day. Interesting tidbits about history, food, culture and more.

Here are 10 of my favorite fun facts about Vienna, Austria:

1. The Wine Capital

Vienna is the only capital city in the world to produce significant quantities of wine within its city limits. Home to over 1,700 acres of vineyards and 320 vintners, the Viennese love their wine. While the most popular are white wine varieties such as Grüner Veltliner, Rheinriesling and Weißburgunder, you can also find some nice reds.

The best way to enjoy the local Viennese wine is in a heuriger (wine tavern), or by walking along Vienna’s Wine Trail.

2. The City of Music

Vienna is often called The City of Music, or the World’s Capital of Music, as more famous composers have lived here than in any other city in the world. And 4 of the top 10 classical composers in history worked in Vienna between 1750 and 1825. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Johann Straus and Johannes Brahms are just a few who called Vienna home.

While in Vienna, you can visit the former apartments of many of these famous musicians, which have been turned into museums. And don’t miss The House of Music. Here you can “discover the fascinating world of sound and Viennese music in an interactive, playful way”.

3. The City of Dreams

Vienna is also called the city of dreams. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, lived and worked in Vienna for much of his career. During this time, he had a significant impact on the city, causing it to be known as the birthplace of psychotherapy.

The Sigmund Freud Museum is housed in the apartment where he lived and worked for nearly 50 years, until he was forced to flee Austria after the Anschluss.

4. The Imperial Menagerie

The Vienna Zoo, or Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is the world’s oldest and only baroque zoo. Built in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in 1752, the zoo was once the private menagerie of Emporer Franz Stephen and Empress Maria Theresa.

Tiergarten Schönbrunn now boasts over 700 different animal species and was voted the best zoo in Europe. Plus, with its original baroque architechture, it is also considered the world’s most beautiful zoo.

5. Austrian Croissants

The famous French pastry actually has Viennese origins. They are based on the Austrian kipferl, which means crescent in German. Bakers in Vienna made kipferl to commemorate Austria’s victory over the Ottoman Turks in 1683, their shape based on the crescents seen on the uniform of the enemy.

In 1770, when Maria Antoinette of Austria married King Louis XVI of France, she introduced her favorite pastry to France. The French made a few changes, and called it a croissant.

6. The Wiener Riesenrad

The Wiener Riesenrad, constructed in 1897, is the oldest still operating ferris wheel in the world. Located in the Wurstelprater amusement park, this is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions. For many, it is also a symbol of the city. It is perhaps most famous for its part in the 1949 film The Third Man, considered one of the greatest films of all time.

7. PEZing Allowed

Pez, the fun little tablet candies that we all know and love, were invented in Vienna in 1927. The name Pez is an abbreviation on the German word “pfefferminz”, meaning peppermint. Because the original PEZ candies only came in that one flavor! The dispenser was invented in 1949, designed to look like a lighter. Smoking was prohibited at that time, so the Pez slogan was “No Smoking – PEZing Allowed.”

8. The Snow Globe

The snow globe was also invented in Vienna. In 1900, Erwin Perzy, a fine instruments mechanic, was trying to improve the brightness of lightbulbs for a surgical lamp. But instead, he accidentally invented a snow globe. This first snow globe featured The Basilica of Mariazell, and was the catalyst for Perzy and his brother to open The Original Vienna Snow Globe shop.

Over 100 years later, they are still making traditional snow globes right in Vienna, all hand painted and manually assembled.

9. A City Divided

Like Berlin, Vienna was also divided into four parts after WWII, and occupied by the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. The first district of Vienna, the inner city, was administered by all 4 powers. The occupation, and division, of Vienna ended in 1955 with the Austrian State Treaty.

10. Vienna – The Best City in the World

Vienna has been voted the world’s most livable city for the last 7 years in a row. Taking into account such factors as political, social and economic climate, medical care, education, recreational opportunities, environmental conditions, infrastructural conditions, Vienna consistently comes out on top!

2016 reader survey

Hellllllo friends!

Many of you have noticed that there have been some changes going on around here lately. (Thank you for all the nice emails!) I have been publishing new content much more regularly, added in a lot more travel, and slowly but surely I’ve been giving the site a little facelift.

And now I need your help!

I want to make sure that I am giving you more of what you want, so I am sharing my first annual reader survey. It will only take a few minutes to fill out, but will help me immensely in planning what is coming next. And at the end, there is a place for you to ask me anything – it could be about travel, expat life, kids, DIY, etc. I will be sharing the answers to your questions, and the results of the survey in a couple of weeks.

Thank you so much for taking the time to fill out the survey, and for your continued support of this little blog ‘o mine.

See the results of the Survey!

Easy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift idea

Dreamcatchers originated with the Native Americans, became popular with the hippies of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and are now loved by just about everyone everywhere.

Have you heard the story behind the dreamcatchers?

According to Ojibwe legend, there was a spider woman known as Asibikaashi, who took care of all the children on the land. But as the Ojibwe nation expanded, Asibikaashi wasn’t able to reach all of the children every night. So the mothers and grandmothers crafted dreamcatchers for the children, using willow hoops, natural twine, and feathers. They would then hang the dreamcatchers above the beds of babies and children. These dreamcatchers were thought to filter out the bad dreams, only allowing the good dreams to pass through and reach the minds of the children. When the sun rises in the morning, the bad dreams disappear.

Cute, right?

So when my daughter started getting bad dreams at night, we made her a little DIY dreamcatcher to help her sleep. She is convinced it works, and only has bad dreams when she is sleeping in a different bed without her dreamcatcher. (We may have to make a travel dreamcatcher soon!) She loves hers so much, that we recently made another one for her little sister’s upcoming birthday.

How to Make a DIY Dreamcatcher

These DIY dreamcatchers are quite easy to make, but difficult to explain. The photos will likely help you much more than the written instructions. I have made 4 of these little dreamcatchers, and every one of them has turned out significantly different. I love them all, but couldn’t exactly replicate one if I tried. So embrace the personality of your own little DIY dreamcatcher.

Easy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift idea

You Will Need:

A note on choosing gemstones: For this DIY dreamcatcher I chose to use Amazonite, because they are thought to dispel negative feelings, aggravation, worries and fears, and soothe and calm the mind. These properties seem ideal to prevent bad dreams. But you can choose whichever gemstone resonates with you. Other gemstones to use include Amethyst or Selenite, which have soothing and calming properties that help promote sleep.

Easy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift idea

Instructions:

  1. Start wrapping the suede lace around the metal hoop, leaving a tail of about 6 inches at the top of the hoop.
  2. Continue wrapping the suede lace around the metal hoop, trying to keep it as tight and close together as possible.
  3. Once you get to the end, nestle the suede lace so that there is no metal showing. Both tails should be pointing up.
  4. Tie a tight knot at the base of the tails, right at the top of the hoop. Tie another knot at the ends of the tails. This will be used to hang the dreamcatcher.
  5. Tie one end of the embroidery floss around the suede lace knot at the top of the dreamcatcher.
  6. Bring the embroidery floss around through the inside of the hoop, over the top of the hoop, and back through the loop just made by the embroidery floss. (See the photos for clarification)
  7. Continue this motion around the hoop, until you have wrapped it around the hoop 12 times and are back at the top. Keep some slack in the embroidery floss.
  8. Do the same thing again around the hoop, but instead of wrapping around the outside of the hoop, you will wrap around the middle of the embroidery floss loop.
  9. Keep wrapping around and around, pulling a little tighter with each pass around. Add in the gemstones beads at any point during this process. (Depending on the size of the hole in your gemstone beads, you may need to use a needle to thread them onto the embroidery floss.)
  10. Once you have gone around as much as you want, pull the end of the embroidery floss to tighten the web and tie with a secure knot.
  11. Thread the embroidery floss through the loops at the top of the feathers. (Or tie them securely if your feathers don’t have loops) The add as many beads and you like on each string.
  12. Tie the feathers and beads onto the dreamcatcher loop evenly along the bottom.

DIY Dreamcatcher Tutorial - easy step-by-step instructions on how to make an Ojibwe Dreamcatcher

Customize Your DIY Dreamcatcher

The customization possibilities for this DIY dreamcatcher are endless. A few of the ways you can customize your dreamcatcher:

  • Use a bigger (or smaller) hoop.
  • Choose embroidery floss to match the colors in your room (or your baby’s nursery).
  • Use a different color natural suede lace.
  • Instead of wrapping the embroidery floss around the hoop 12 times (in step 7) wrap it just 8 times.
  • Choose natural gemstone beads with properties that resonate with you.
  • Add ribbons, yarn, or string to the bottom of the dreamcatcher, instead of or in addition to the feathers.

Easy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift ideaEasy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift idea

Make a DIY Dreamcatcher Craft Kit

Sometimes gathering the materials, instructions, and inspiration for a DIY project is too overwhelming. Having everything all wrapped up nicely would be such a nice treat!

Package up all of the materials to make a DIY dreamcatcher in a muslin drawstring bag, add a link to this post, and you have the perfect craft kit gift.

Easy DIY dreamcatcher tutorial - fun to make, easy to customize, and a great gift idea

If you like this post, you may also like:

DIY Mini Tassel Garland

The Very Best DIY Burpcloths

DIY Mini Notebooks

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