December 31, 2011

The Best Travel Babbles: 2011 Edition

January 2011

I finally opened up about what I like to call "Hockey Season-al Depression". I made Chicken and Dumpling Soup and Teriyaki Chicken Skewers from scratch. I found a roundtrip flight from Germany to Massachusetts for under 500 euro, flew home, and my Momma met me at the airport with a giant Dunkin Donut's Iced Coffee :)

February 2011

I tried on wedding gowns for the first time! I completed my first blog design. TJ and I finally went to check out the Hannover City Hall. We ran out of essentials about 4 weeks before the season ended. 
March 2011

Brutus turned two. TJ wrote his first Guest Post. And a bottle of wine wrote a Guest Post, too. I shared packing tips and tricks and figured out all of the paperwork needed to bring your dog back from Germany to the US. It was very bittersweet to leave Germany.

April 2011

My Paypal account was hacked! Teej and I finally went to see our wedding venue. I worked way too many hours - April was boooring.

May 2011

I received a really nice e-mail from a girl who wanted advice about her hockey playing boyfriend. I kind of felt like Dr. Phil. Have you heard of The Mayonnaise Jar Experiment? I published one of my favorite motivational and inspirational blog posts. I also put my crazy pants on and let everyone know that I Google My Fiance.

June 2011

July 2011

These Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes are amazing! So is this Jose Cuervo Margarita Cajun Chicken. I came clean about my Dunkin Donuts Addition. This month I realized it was important to enjoy the little things and the first of many breaks to come for TB took place. 

August 2011

I announced my retirement from hockey. I wrote a now interesting post about Golden Opportunities. This One's For The Girl's is the perfect girly pick-me-up for a troubling day. TJ signed in Texas 7 days after I announced my retirement. Lot's. Of Engagement. Photos. were on the blog. 
September 2011

This is one of my favorite posts. We booked our Honeymoon. September was a really busy month between packing, working, driving between MA and NY every weekend, and saying goodbye to our family and friends for our big move to Texas

October 2011

We had no internet for about 10 days when we first moved into our new apartment. I got sucked into the Pinterest obsession. I love this quote. Brutus wrote his first guest post. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip is my #3 search that lands on Travel Babbles. Remember to Make The Most Out Of Today
November 2011

I shared my healthy eating tips. I loved putting together this Handmade Holiday Guide. Meltdown #1 of hockey season #5 occurred. Brutus blogged about his first time at daycare. If you didn't read 7 Ways To Change Your Life in 7 Days you should now. I was hired for an awesome virtual travel agent position and shared about 20 different companies I've found that hire work from home. I decided to stop blogging.

December 2011

December was really boring on my blog but not in real life. I took a lot of time to visualize what I want in life and decided I'm auditioning for the DCC in May. I probably gained 82 pounds eating all of this yummy holidaze food!


Isn't it wild to reflect on the past 365 days? I mentioned in a post earlier this month that the days feel long but the years feel short. Can you believe that one year has already come and gone? What a beautiful and eye opening reminder to savor and appreciate every day as it comes in the new year. 

2011 was such a wonderful year to me, full of growth and change. I have so much to look forward to in the next year of my life and I'm excited to see what's in store!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and productive 2012!
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December 30, 2011

Foods Of The Holidaze


Mint Milano Cookies, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy cane


Pretzel Rods dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy cane

Deviled eggs. I mix my yolks with a little mayo, yellow mustard and dijon mustard. Delish!

You can never go wrong with cheese and pepperoni!

Five Layer Turkey Taco Dip

Ingredients:
8oz Cream Cheese
1 Taco Seasoning Packet
12oz Sour Cream
15oz Hormel Turkey Chili
8oz Salsa
Mexican Taco Sprinkle Cheese
Sliced Black Olives

Directions:
1. Combine cream cheese and taco seasoning, spread it into a 10x10 dish
2. Spread sour cream on top of the cream cheese/taco seasoning mixture
3. Pour and spread chili as the third layer
4. Pour and spread salsa as the forth layer
5. Sprinkle Mexican cheese as the fifth layer

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Sprinkle immediately with black olives
Served best with Scoops :)

Have you heard of the Christmas Pickle?



Why not mix in a little fruit?

TJ came home around 2pm on Christmas Eve Day after being on a 6 day roadtrip, and that kicked off our "last Christmas before we're married" celebration. We feasted like a King and Queen on Christmas Eve over a game of Monopoly, then we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Day brunch coupled with Elf, Home Alone, phone calls, and Skyping back home to our families.

The last few days have been a wonderful overindulgence of food and wine (calories don't count from December 23rd to December 28th in my book) but I am definitely happy this time only comes once a year and I can't wait for my food baby to go away!!

How was your holiday? 
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December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAHANAKWANZIKA





No matter what holiday it is that you celebrate, I hope that you are able to enjoy the weekend creating memories with your family and friends. Be safe in your travels and remember to be thankful for your blessings. 
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December 21, 2011

Dreams Are Just Dreams When They're Stuck Inside Your Head.

What do you see when you look inside your heart?
A little thought can walk a thousand miles and change your life. 
When dreams lead the way the impossible is suddenly in sight,
Every step you take just brings it all together
You gotta keep the faith when all seems lost forever.
-Dreams, by Diana Degarmo

While I've been happily traveling with TJ for the past 5 hockey seasons, this year was different right from the start. Instead of 'traveling', it quickly began to feel like I was simply.....drifting. 

I've always joked that we are a "packaged deal". Where he goes, I go.

But playing hockey is his thing. While it was fun for the past 5 years...here I am at almost 26 years old and I frequently ask myself - "Who am I?"

Let's see...I'm a fiance, I'm a daughter, I'm a sister, I'm a fur-mama, umm, I'm a blogger? 

But what makes me, me
What am I made up of? 
What do I want to do with my own life? 
What is important to me?

When you live for and follow someone else's dream, it's inevitable that you come up short on answering those questions. You find it almost impossible to define yourself. I shake inside when someone says, "So, tell me about yourself."

Reflecting on the past 4 years of my life, the days were long but the years were short. 

It became too easy to make excuses for myself, to convince myself that there were certain things that I couldn't see or be or do because of the "What If's"

"What if he gets that offer in Europe?"
"What if he doesn't get an offer at all?"
"What if he gets traded?"
"What if he has a career ending injury?"

But my life isn't a spectator sport like hockey is, and it's time to become an active participant in my own destiny. It's time to make a change before I allow another 4 years to go by. There is no simpler way to explain that change than by saying this: I'm focusing on me.

I've been making a conscious effort for the past few weeks to focus on myself in positive ways. What has this resulted in? My firm belief in Karma, and lots of big, exciting changes in my life to share.

It's true: What you send out into this world really is returned to you.

In addition to currently going through an extensive six week training program for my new career as a virtual travel agent, I'm so happy to announce that I also signed a one year contract to stay here in Texas for another job. I was flown in to Denver, CO last week to train for my Pure Barre Instructor certification, which I will continue to study and train for throughout the end of January. TJ and I mutually discussed and decided that if someone was willing to invest the time, trust and money in to me and my talents, then that is an opportunity that I simply could not let pass me by. 

Additionally, since I'm staying here in Dallas/Fort Worth - and the opportunity is knocking louder than ever - I've made the individual and now public commitment to audition for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in May. I know that many of you may think it's a ridiculous thing to aspire to be a cheerleader in life, but I whole heartedly consider being chosen as a DCC one of the highest honors that I could ever receive.

Why?

Because five years ago, if someone asked me to tell them about myself, I would have immediately began with:
"I'm a dancer..." 

The  word 'dancer' and all that it signifies sums up everything that I aspired to be before I allowed this hockey world to consume me: poised, elegant, athletic, graceful, hardworking, dedicated, ambitious, skilled, disciplined, devoted, passionate.  I lived and breathed dance, my college degree is in Dance. When TJ met me I was dancing professionally and choreographing Nationally award winning pieces. It mind boggles me that I was able to walk away from something that I lived for and everything that defined me...but love makes you do silly things :)

I'm excited and ready to invest my heart and soul into both the physical and emotional aspects of training for auditions, to present the best me that I can be, and to know who I am and exactly what I have to offer if I make it into the interview round.

So, what happens if TJ doesn't re-sign here next year? I honestly haven't given it much thought. I'm at a point in my life where I think it is very important to focus on putting myself first, and there is no shame in that. I trust that we'll figure it out together if and when we have to think about it.

And what happens to Travel Babbles? Well, I haven't figured that out quite yet. It makes me sad that I no longer need this blog the way that I use to, but it also makes me very happy that I don't longer need it like I use to. I'm still in the process of figuring out the road that Travel Babbles will take in 2012, and I thank you for sticking by me :)

What do YOU see when you look inside YOUR heart?


Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest 
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December 15, 2011

SANTA'S Official Reindeer Live Feed!


Hi Bloggy Friends! Life has been super busy in the world of me...I'll be updating soon...but for now I wanted to quickly post a fun website that I just came across...


This site is perfect to share with a young child, or if you're like me - still young at heart :)

Make sure to check in every night at 5pm EST as Santa goes live to feed Dancer and Vixen. 

How are your preparations for Christmas coming along? 
Are you finished shopping?
Have you finished decorating?
What's your tree look like?
Anything special on your Christmas List this year?
Is this a "first" Christmas with your baby, hubby, etc.?
Leave comments and links to share below!
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