Posts Tagged ‘mugs’

Central/Eastern European souvenirs

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This most recent trip to Europe allowed me to revisit some places I hadn’t been to in 9 years and also check out new places that have been on my wishlist. It was a lot of fun and I got some gifts along the way to remember each place by!

Our first official stop was Praha (Prague). There were so many artists, musicians, and crafters to be found everywhere. In one of of the shops, I got my first souvenir – a little metal cup. One of the few that wasn’t a glossy finish, which appealed to me.

teal metal cup with owl designs

I liked the matte look and the funky owls!

Then as we were walking across Charles Bridge, perusing the various vendors, I saw a guy selling these adorable paintings! I just had to have one since he had such a fun style and had cats in each piece. This one is perfect because it has the cat couple, plus two extra cats – just like me, Panda, and our cats.

original artwork of prague with cats and hot air balloons at night

I loved that this incorporated cats and had cute little hot air balloons.

Next up was Warszawa (Warsaw), where we explored a massive park and the Neon Muzeum, all the while eating peirogis. I managed to add to my growing collection of TOUS jewelry (this is the 4th piece) and find some local folk art. I’m very happy with the usefulness of the giant coaster, which will be good for putting pots on.

tous onyx bear necklace from warsaw

When we saw a TOUS store at one of the shopping centers, we couldn’t resist. I finally got something from the onyx collection I’d been eyeing!

brightly-colored coaster with roosters and flowers

I originally saw a tote bag with a similar design, but I have so many bags that I was determined to find this look and feel on a different product.

Then we were off to Wien (Vienna) to fulfill my long-awaited dream of seeing the Spanish Riding School. We also went to tour one of Mozart’s homes and the Haus der Musik. When we came across the stalls by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, I found the opportunity to get something with the word “Vienna” on it. I liked the handmade nature of these glass cups that are perfect for holding a tea light.

glass cup for candles with colorful stained-glass scene handpainted on

We had just a few Euros left, but I really liked this one because the name was easily visible (unlike the others where Vienna was along the bottom). We had to pay in a combo of Euros and dollars!

After that, it was down to Split in Croatia. We enjoyed exploring the city of Split, where I found the amazing backpack that is perfect for my needs. We spent a whole day going up to Krka National Park for the waterfalls (freezing cold water, but totally worth it!). And of course, we just had to go out to Hvar Island to check it out. My favorite was going over to Palmizana, a smaller island off of Hvar.

drawstring backpack with elephant design from split, croatia

All pockets open and close with a magnet, which I love. There are side pockets inside as well as zippered areas inside and on the back. All sorts of storage options!

box of lavender buds and essential oil drops, plus bonus pouch of lavender buds from hvar in croatia

Apparently there are lots of lavender fields in the area, so at Hvar I got this adorable box filled with lavender buds. There’s a bottle of essential oil inside as well, to help enhance the scent with a few drops every now and then. The lady kindly gave me a pouch as a bonus.

Finally, rounding out the trip was Budapest, with fantastic views from the Buda side. I loved getting goulash nearly every meal and we got to relax at the Szechenyi thermal baths. Up at Citadella, I saw a tower of mugs (think Christmas tree shape, except everything hanging is mugs) and knew I had to get one. I wasn’t crazy about any of the color combos, so I waited to find them again elsewhere until I decided on this funky one.

giant polka-dotted mug from budapest

My ladybug mug, as it will be known. It’s really a bowl with a handle and I can just about stick my entire face in it.

So these are all the items I have to remind me of this super fun trip to Central/Eastern Europe! I tried to get things I would use and not just stuff to put on a shelf. There’s so much more that I would have liked to have gotten, but that will have to wait for next time. 🙂

Escape Monthly November: Arizona Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy birthday to my mom! It’s nice to have it around Thanksgiving, since that often means seeing her on or near her birthday. Before the holiday weekend, I received my most recent box. Check it out!

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly november arizona box products showing escape monthly november arizona box info card escape monthly november arizona box info card opened with fact sheet showing escape monthly november arizona box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

At first glance, there are some cool items here and I immediately gravitated towards the mug. Normally I would have liked the bath puff type thing but that was overshadowed by something I find even more useful!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Tucson – I’ve only briefly stopped by Arizona before and never been to Tucson, so I should add it to my list of places to visit. At some point I expect to live in SoCal again, so then it wouldn’t be too bad of a drive to go out there.

Arizona Sun Lip-Kist lip balm – Haha, I like that this is “kissed with lemon” and the tube looks like it. I’ll save this in my growing collection of lip balms. It feels like something I’d want to use in the summer!

Arizona Sun bath and shower gel – I like that this is paraben and sulfate free, though the green color is odd. Since I don’t use shower gel much (more of a soap kind of girl), I’ll see if the husband wants to use it. I got a whiff of it and it had a very unique scent I couldn’t quite pin down. Aloe, maybe?

Route 66 travel mug – It is a surprise that this is my favorite item? It shouldn’t be. I just love things I can use that also look nice. This will be perfect in the coming winter months, so I can bring some hot water with me in the mornings.

blue mesh bath puff – Won’t this go well with the shower gel? This will come in useful when Panda needs a replacement. It’s quite dense so I’m sure it will work up a very good lather. Their little description about all things blue was a fun way to tie it all together.

Cowgirl Chocolate dark chocolate truffle bar – I’m always down for more chocolate! Lately I’ve gotten some really good ones from boxes, like the one from the last Escape Monthly box. I’m excited to eat this one too.

Phizz – I’ve never tried a fizzy tablet before, but I really should have had this before traveling for Thanksgiving. The stress of the travel and the change in climate must have gotten to my body, because I had a cold sore breakout. Ick. So now I will have one and hope for a speedy recovery! Next time I’ll need to remember to take it before traveling. I’m surprised that the pill looked rather pink, but then it dissolved into a dark orange color, sort of like orange soda. The taste was sort of like a watered down Gatorade.

turquoise necklace – I doubt I will wear this since I don’t really use much jewelry, so I will probably trade this or gift it to someone. I do like that it’s hardcrafted and showcasing Arizona’s state gem.

My wish for an Asian destination didn’t come true this time, but I did like learning a bit more about Arizona. Maybe I’ll be inspired to drive Route 66 there someday! Which products from this Arizona Escape Monthly box do you like most? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

European goodies

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Panda and I had a fun time on our tour of Europe and came home with some great items! Most of our focus was on eating local food, seeing the historical sites, and exploring the cities – but I still managed to bring back some things.

bags of pasta, bottle of olive oil, and bar of chocolate from italy
In Italy, I insisted on finding some fun pasta. I had an amazing Milka bar that then prompted the purchase of this giant one. And that bottle of olive oil came from our dinner meal, where the restaurant explained that oil olive is best enjoyed fresh, so when you purchase bread and oil, you get your own bottle to use. Anything unused can be taken home.

chocolate bars, bamboo utensils, mug, hot chocolate powder, and gingerbread from france
In France I had to get something from the Eiffel Tower, as I’m wont to do when I go. Lately I’ve been into unique mugs, so this one with legs caught my interest. At Versailles we had lunch at Angelina and I saw a loaf of gingerbread with honey that sounded good. At Orly airport there was an amazing shop of treats (mostly candy, just the way I like it). I found flavors of Toblerones that I never heard of before! The Oreo Milka looked too good to pass up and the guy kindly offered a discount on the hot chocolate tins, which are gifts for the folks who helped watch the cats while we were gone. Finally, we ate at Exki in the airport and I was a total sucker for their bamboo utensils and grabbed at set to use at work.

empty glass yogurt jars and tea forte tea bags
At the hotel in Paris, they had adorable yogurts in glass containers that we rinsed out and kept, along with fun tea boxes.

sauce bowls, tous earrings, shot glass, and drinks from spain
In Spain our big purchase was the Tous earrings, which is a brand Panda loves because of the cute bear designs. They’re Spanish, so we were hoping for a good selection and were rewarded with not only that, but excellent prices as well. It happened to be located in an El Corte Ingles shopping center that offered a loyalty card for 10% of your purchase value towards the next one. The amount earned from the earrings was exactly enough to get the three sauce bowls – perfect since I’ve wanted that sort of thing for a long time. Then the points earned from that plus 0.45€ was enough to get that shot glass for my collection! Love the bonus items we got. 🙂 The two drinks were from the hotel.

swedish chocolate bar from germany airport
On our way home we had a few more Euros left and one of the only things that we could get for 4,20€ or less was this bar of chocolate (from Sweden, nonetheless)!

365great Day 53: tea

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 53: tea
It’s a bit chilly and dreary today and nothing comforts me more than a nice cup of tea. Not only is it great for your health, but there are so many tasty options to choose from! I prefer loose leaf teas or tea bags with full leaves (not that crushed stuff). You get the best flavor that way and there’s something rather rewarding about watching tea leaves unfurl. I feel more connected to my drink that way. Cupping a piping hot mug of freshly brewed tea is almost healing in itself. Drinking the tea enhances that experience and inhaling the gentle scent brings a smile to my face. It’s so soothing and relaxing to drink tea – you should really take a moment for yourself each time and connect with some inner peace. A drink that can bring on tranquility like that is pretty great.

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