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Favorites of Firenze: Churches

Firenze, Italy is home to some of the world’s most beautiful churches. From their crown-jewel, the Duomo, to multiple smaller, equally beautiful churches tucked throughout the city, Firenze is largely known for their churches.

One of my favorite parts of living here is being able to pass by these churches and admire their beauty throughout my daily life. I decided to share some of my favorites with everyone else so you may see what I’m talking about. I will say that if you have quite a bit of time while you’re visiting the city that you should either go into these churches by buying a ticket (some are free) or by going to one of their masses.

Florence Cathedral, or The Duomo

IMG_1161.jpgThe Duomo is partly the reason I fell in love with this place. I did not do much research on my new home before moving here, so when I saw it I was all sorts of surprised. Each walk by this monumental church still amazes me every single day. From all the legends I’ve learned about it, actual history, and going to a mass, I fell deeper in love with the sky-piercing cathedral. IMG_3572.JPGIf you ever visit Florence I highly suggest buying the ticket for the Cathedral. To go in is free, but to climb the bell tower and dome, go into the ruins underneath the cathedral, go to the neighboring baptistery, and to go to the museum across the street you need a ticket. It is all included in one, relatively inexpensive price, and the tickets are good for 72 hours. My roommate and I climbed the bell tower at sunrise and the dome at sunset. It was honestly one of the best things I could have done for myself. You get to experience a whole new part of Florence (from the top) and you get to see why the Florentines are so dang proud of it in its entirety.

**I plan to do a full post on the Duomo and everything you need to know about visiting in an upcoming post, so check back later for that.

Santa Croce

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Another one of my favorite churches is Santa Croce. I’m one of the lucky ones because I get to see this church every time I go to class. This is only the second church I have gone to mass in since being here. I went on a Friday, so mass was held in a smaller chapel. This particular chapel was floor to ceiling marble, paintings, and statues. There was not a bare spot in this chapel. Although I got to see the inside of this church, I have not paid to see the rest of the church grounds which includes a bell tower and a courtyard. I can honestly say that if you have time and money to go in while you’re visiting that it might be worth it to you. If all you have time for is to see the beauty from the piazza you should still make time to see it.

San Miniato Al Monte

One goal of everyone’s while visiting Firenze is to usually visit Piazzale Michelangelo toIMG_2094.jpg see an amazing view of the city and a fake David statue. What most people don’t know is that there is another amazing, if not better, view from just a little bit more up the road at San Miniato Al Monte. Not only is the view great, but the church is also gorgeous. When you walk up the front steps you are greeted by a beautiful green and white exterior with a gold mosaic at the top. Once you turn around you have a great view of the mountains behind Firenze, the city itself, and the rolling hills alongside one of the old city border walls.

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One of the coolest parts of this church is that you could spend hours here and you would have no ideas just by looking at the front of it. The third time I went, I figured out that behind the church is a massive cemetery, and although this sounds very weird and kind of creepy is was not at all. There are dozens are chapels that look like tiny churches where people are buried that are decorated all differently. Some are decorated with beautiful mosaics while others different stones. It looks like a little city of chapels amongst gravestones. The property is massive and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

 

 

Sant’Ambrogio

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Photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com

In one of the more local parts of town, past Santa Croce, you will find the church Sant’Ambrogio. This church is very plain from the outside, so many might not know what lies within. This, to me, is more of a local style church. It is near the Sant’Ambrogio market, so it is easy for me to imagine and witness people going from a church service to the market (depending on mass times). I never would have known for this church unless I lived where I do. I am just down the street from the church, and I pass it on the way to my school restaurant. One random Friday I decided to take a look inside. It is free to go inside, and I encourage you to if you have the time. It feels a bit homier in comparison to some of the other churches mostly because it is. It is much smaller and houses some very beautiful works of art on the wall. The alter is not nearly as large as the other from previously mentioned churches, but it is still a good size. This is a little bit off the beaten path of the main churches, but take five minutes to visit it. You won’t be disappointed.

Still On My List

Despite having so much time in Firenze, there are still multiple churches I want to visit and masses I want to attend. On my list still is Santa Maria Novella which is beautiful from the outside, and I can’t wait to see the inside. Another is Basilica Santa Spirito. This one is on the other side of the river and is also a more simple, locals church. I need to make a trip to visit the inside and attend a mass. Basilica San Lorenzo, tucked behind the Duomo, is also a church I have seen from the outside but have not ventured in yet. They are on my list to see for the last weeks I am here.

The pictures alongside my descriptions don’t do these churches justice, but I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re ever in Firenze take the time to visit some of these churches, they won’t disappoint.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

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Moments in Firenze

Originally, I had a different post in mind. It was a day in my life while abroad. Since writing it (sorry it took so long) I have decided on a completely different, more pressing, topic. Time: it’s a very funny thing. You either have too much time, not enough time, people wasting your time, people begging for your time- the list goes on and on.

For me, I’ve always had this love/hate relationship with time. Most of my hate comes from my fear of it, more specifically how fast time seems to fly.

I am already in the last month of my study abroad experience in Italy. The time has flown by so quickly. There was so much I had planned for my time abroad, and there was so much I didn’t even know I wanted to do until I got here. I always say that you really can’t plan every day of life, and this place has truly taught me the reality of that.

Knowing I only have less than a month here is mind-boggling. I’m trying to use every second of my time here to do something I love or something new. Of course, I still have class and studying which takes up time, but all my free moments will be used wisely.

As for my weekends, I will spend them with the new people who have changed my life. The people who have been on this crazy experience with me. I will continue to find new places for me that are in fact not new at all. Exhibits, churches, memorials, statues- everything.

To think that a little over a year ago I started forming plans to come here. I don’t think I knew what was truly in store for me. I have fallen in love with people and places that I never even imagined possible for my life.

I’m going to leave this post with one of my favorite quotes:

Don’t count the days, make the days count,” -Muhammad Ali

So, here’s to making the rest of my seconds, minutes, days, and most importantly, moments count (more than usual)!

Ciao for now,

Krystal, With a “K”

Greece Island Hopping

Ten days, three islands, and one trip of a lifetime. My Greece Island hopping adventure has officially come to an end, so I thought it would only be fitting to post my latest travel experience with all of you.

I used a student travel company that I have mentioned previously, Bus2Alps, which did all of the heavy lifting for this trip. They organized the travel and much of the itinerary. Usually, I would follow everyone else’s advice to travel on my own because travel companies can charge you more, but due to not knowing anyone who I would want to travel to Greece with when I booked this trip prior to leaving for Italy in August, I decided I didn’t want to travel alone. There are pros and cons to traveling with any student travel company which will become evident throughout the rest of this post.

IMG_3046Our trip started with a bus ride from Florence to Ancona where we got on a ferry for 24 hours. Personally, I didn’t mind the “ferry” which was more realistically a small cruise ship. It was a long day of travel, but I did upgrade to a cabin where I could sleep for the majority of the trip if I so chose. This ferry was the first place that I truly started to get to know the other students traveling with me. This is by far the best part of traveling with a student travel company because you get to meet so many different people. From the ferry, we had a short bus ride to our first hostel in Athens.

I absolutely loved Athens. We got to do some shopping as well as historical stops. Thecolum Acropolis and the Ancient Agora. I was able to get into both of these sites for free with my international student I.D. Nothing was cooler to me than the thought of stepping on land that people from thousands of years ago, before Christ, had also stood on. I was literally touching columns that I had once seen as a little girl in my history books. It was a truly humbling and surreal moment to be able to experience these places and this city first hand. I also got my first taste of authentic Greek gyros in Athens as well as my first ever bubble waffle cone. Both are to die for, and I surely will never forget them.

 

bluedomeAfter a couple days in Athens, it was time to catch another ferry to the island of Santorini. Santorini is most commonly recognized by the eye-catching white buildings and blue roofs, and not to mention, Oía which is home to the most photographed sunset ever. Santorini was right out of a movie. Everything seemed so dreamlike. This island is also known for being one of the most luxurious vacation spots in the world, so I was thankful for my opportunity to see its Red and Black Sand Beaches as well as its famous sunset as a student. I was also able to visit the highest point on the island, at an ancient Monastery where I repped my home university, CMU. Aside from loving the sunset, I enjoyed Santorini’s other views and, of course, more gyros. We stayed in a town called Fira while in Santorini which was where a couple of my new friends and I found our favorite gyro spot that we visited four separate times in two days as well as a nice cliff bistro that featured an unforgettable view.

 

Our final destination for our trip was the island of Corfu. Of course, we had another day of travel to get there due to the distance from Santorini to Corfu, but it was totally worth it. Corfu was a completely different island than the other two. We stayed at the famous Pink Palace hostel. They were not joking when they say it’s pink- it looked like Barbie’s beach getaway. Here we got to relax under the sun on a very cool rock beach, make it to Corfu town, and experience the famous toga party offered at Pink Palace. This was definitely something I had yet to experience in life. Due to tourist season ending, the island seemed empty which I liked, but I would love to see this place at the height of the tourist season when the hostel alone can hold over 700 guests. My favorite part of this island was the rocky beach where I sat for hours searching for new rocks. It was eye-opening to see boulders that made up the beach becoming sand firsthand. No two rocks were the same. Nothing was more peaceful to me than looking for rocks with my new friends, stopping every so often to show off a new one or try to skip a flat one.

 

By the end of the ten days, I was beaten. It was a lot of traveling to islands that are not that close to one another. This is where Bus2Alps gets much criticism, and although there were extra costs (just like any another vacation), I give this trip a huge thumbs up. I loved the people I met, including the guides, and I can’t imagine trying to book these three islands on my own. This truly was an amazing experience that I will never be able to forget. I am truly blessed to have met such awesome people whom I hope to connect back in the states with.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

Bucket List Checkmarks: Oktoberfest

Ever since we were kids, we’ve had mental lists of things we have to do and the places we need to go. In the past few years alone I’ve checked off numerous places on my personal list, like Lambeau field, the Bahamas, California, New York City, and tons more.

As I’ve grown older and been blessed by my God with endless opportunities to travel and experience life, I’ve been able to add to my list.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to check off another place on my bucket list that I wasn’t aware was one it until I got to Europe. Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Although it was too short of a weekend, I had the time of my life.

I’ll try my best to quickly summarize one of the best times of my life: After what seemed like extensive and exhausting travel with late buses and hotel complications, I found myself begging that the fest would be worth our troubles. If only I had truly known what I would be in for.

We went to the actual event on a Sunday that started with the impeccable luck of finding a dirndl place actually open (stores in Germany aren’t usually open on Sundays). Once we got dressed and made the trek from our hotel to img_2540

Oktoberfest I couldn’t wait any longer. I have been to multiple large events, for example, the Houston Rodeo, but this, this was different. Carnival games, food, and people of all kinds everywhere.

There may be a catch to this in the fact that half the reason I had such an amazing time was that of the people I went with. I was lucky enough to take my close study abroad friends to meet up with my cousin and his friends. Endless pretzels, beers, and laughter filled the rest of the day. We chose to ride the ferris wheel that overlooks the whole festival and city, and if I could suggest doing one carnival type thing, it would be to ride the ferris wheel.

During the evening my friend Jamie and I  finally got our fix of Starbucks that we’ve been craving (because Germany has theIMG_0586 coveted coffee company that Italy doesn’t want) which helped me feel even more at home in the cool fall weather that was hitting the city. At night we wandered around Munich making our way to the Hofbräuhaus. Drinking beer in the original hall that made it through the World War II bombings is something I will surely never forget.

In the end, all day we acknowledged the fact that we were living in a bucket list moment. My heart was so full from being able to experience the fest with close friends and one of
my cousins who has been like a brother to me. I am definitely not taking Oktoberfest off of my bucket list, as I plan to someday in my future go back, hopefully with more family. Oktoberfest was one of the best days of my life thus far, and I can’t wait for the day I can go again with more of my favorite people.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

An Open Letter To My Pre-Study Abroad Self

Dear Krystal from a month ago,

Can you believe that you have lived in Florence for almost a month already? You have literally been planning this semester since December of last year. You formed the dream in your heart years ago, and today you are thriving here.

Isn’t it funny how life always finds a way to work itself out? Before coming here, you felt unsure about the decision to move across the world for almost four months instead of moving back to something you knew and were comfortable with. You had anxieties watching friends move back to school two weeks before you could leave. Italy was a gray area with no previous experience to base ideas on. You couldn’t imagine not being an hour and a half away from home let alone in a different time zone.

Again, life tends to work itself out, and now, more than ever, you are loving this life. IMG_6715With the help of your family, friends, and a whole lot of prayer, you settled in quite quickly. Isn’t it crazy how you started with nothing; no prior experience of places or food or culture, and now you are completely immersed in all of it every single day.

Just think about the first time you felt at home in this foreign city; when you saw the Duomo. You and your new roommates were trying to find an orientation building when you all of a sudden ran into it. How could you not have noticed the huge reddish-orange dome took up your whole view? You couldn’t help but fall in love with the city right then and there. You even make a point to see your Duomo once a day. It is hard to imagine that you once lived your life without this jewel.

Now the people. You have met people from all walks of life, different cultures and religions, and from numerous cities and countries. You have become close with strangers from class, and now you can’t imagine your life without them. Meeting people and hanging out with people who have the same travel bug as you have immensely motivated you to take a different street just because.

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Now that you know your surroundings, your favorite places to sip coffee, most delicious gelato places, and the best views of your coveted Duomo, enjoy every last second of it. Aside from learning about this place you are learning about yourself. Learning about a new culture while trying to take classes has given you a new sense of self and placement in this world. Don’t forget that breathless feeling. You are so blessed to be able to call this life yours. Don’t forget to live each day to the fullest, and to soak up every ray of sunshine.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

Florence Frenzy

Frenzy (/ˈfrɛnzi/): a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.

Just a little bit over two weeks ago I stepped off a plane in my new home, Florence, Italy. The first 24 hours of my stay were full of uncertainties, fear, excitement, and exhaustion. The lack of caffeine and sleep from traveling left me in a state of shock, and it wasn’t until I had my first glimpse of this Renaissance city’s crown jewel that I knew I was right where I belonged.

img_1056.jpgFrom the Duomo (the so-called crown jewel) to the people I’ve met so far, this city has already captured a huge part of me. I’ve spent most of my first days exploring both the touristy parts of the city as well as the more authentic side. I already have my favorite gelato and coffee places, knowing my order in Italian at both. I have totaled more than 300,000 steps since being here, and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Aside from exploring my city, some new friends and I adventured out to Cinque Terre.IMG_1079 Literally meaning five lands, this city sits on the northwestern coast of Italy. We traveled with a student travel company (Bus2Alps) to see three of the five towns. The best part of this day trip was the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso (town four to town five). The hike IMG_3805was difficult in the beginning, starting with virtually a straight climb up narrow, makeshift staircases, but the views on the mountainside made it all worth it. Once we got to Monterosso we made our way to the famous, fresh margarita buckets and then to the beach where we swam in the saltiest water I’ve ever set foot in.

My classes are unlike anything I’ve experienced back home in Michigan. I focused on taking classes that would count as electives here so that I could really experience Italy’s culture. IMG_2087The classes are once a week, but they are two and a half hours long each time we meet. I’m working on my Italian both in class and in the city daily. I’m learning about the history of Florence’s architecture in my ceramics class by using the same methods that early Florentines used when creating the city. I’m exploring the wine culture of Italy and discovering that I, in fact, do like some dry wines with two wine tastings each time we meet. I’m learning more about my personal camera and photography in general in my street photography class. Finally, I’m discovering the healthy lifestyle of the Italian people in and health and fitness class where we hands-on learn why this culture is so much healthier than ours.

As you can see, there is a lot that I am doing with my time here in Florence. I am in love with my life more than I ever have been before. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to make my dream a reality. I want to thank anyone who encouraged me to do this, and of course, I want to thank my family for love and support. I will try to keep my blog updated as much as possible with my upcoming travels and Florence discoveries.

Arrivederci!

Krystal, With a “K”

 

 

 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Italy!

The time has finally come for me to start my junior year as a Chippewa in a new country. This is something that I’ve been waiting for since December. I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain my emotions, but I don’t know if that’s even possible. Everyone is wondering if I’m excited or nervous, and, truthfully, it’s a little bit of both.

With every 60 seconds that pass, I am one minute closer to living in Florence, Italy for almost four months. It’s safe to say that waiting for this time to come was a true test of my patience (or lack thereof) because it has truly felt like forever. All of this waiting left me trying to fill my summer with friends, family, and loads of adventures.

I was able to visit one of my favorite places as well as hang out with some of my favorite people (one of my favorite places I visited is featured in this post: Mackinac and St. Ignace, MI). My long summer allowed me to work as well as meet many people for breakfast (one of my favorite activities). Aside from this, I had so much fun with my summer job where I meet some incredible people and made even better friendships.

From little adventures, like exploring a new breakfast place to big adventures, like road-tripping with my friends up north, I had a great summer. Looking back at everything that I’ve been able to do this summer, I realize that I’ve gotten to do a ton!

I know this was a short entry, but I’ve been extremely busy preparing for my trip in addition to working. I’m not sure when my next post will be, but I am sure that it will be posted somewhere in Italy. Ciao for now!

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Hello, beautiful people! It has been a week since I turned 20 years old, and it’s very hard to believe that I have been in this world for two decades. I thought about all the things that I have been through and everything I’ve accomplished in the 20 years that I have been on this earth. The list of things I have learned is almost endless, but there are certain things that have stuck with me more than others. That brings me to a narrowed list of 20 (more or less) specific things I have learned in 20 years, those of which I thought I’d share. In no specific order, let’s get into the 20 things I’ve learned in 20 years.

1. Life is Short

In the past five years or so I feel as if I’ve experienced much loss. Family members, beloved pets, amazing friends, and the list goes on. Some of these losses are people who’ve had long lives (in terms of human years) and some not even making it to 20 like me. No matter the case, people don’t live forever thus making life short. You never know if you’ll be granted another day, so why not live each day like it’s your last?

 2. Do More of What Makes You Happy

This kind of goes along with #1. Since life is short, why wouldn’t you spend more of it doing the things that make your heart happy?

3. Spend More Money on Experiences vs. Things

I’ve always loved traveling, going to concerts, and other extravagant things as well as shopping in general. Unfortunately, material things don’t last, but the memories I have from day two of Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert in Chicago will last a lifetime. I will always love buying clothes and decor for my living space, yet as I’ve gotten older, I’m more apt to spend money on the plane ticket rather than a new bathing suit.

4. Family is Forever

My dad has always told me this little saying, and for the longest time, I didn’t think much of it. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really taken this saying to heart as I spend an immense amount of time with my immediate and extended family. People think it’s crazy that at 20 years old my cousins are some of my best friends, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. Self Love is #1

Being a girl in this Instagram obsessed world, I am able to tell you everything I don’t like about my appearance in a matter of minutes. Although this will most likely never go away, I try to counteract these negative thoughts with all the things I like about myself making a mental list of things I could work on. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people, especially as young women, so instead of gawking at another woman’s tiny appearance I try to appreciate what I have that helps make me capable of the things I like to do.

6. You’re Not Always Going to be Right

This was one of the harder lessons that I have had to learn. I’ve always been extremely opinionated and willing to fight for what I believe. This isn’t bad, except that opinions don’t necessarily matter when facts can prove you wrong.

7. The Little Things in Life are the Most Important

Just a couple of days ago my friends and I spent our evening put-put golfing and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan. We all agreed that the simplicity of watching the sunset over the water all together was one of the most fun nights we’ve ever had. What about the times where you’re just driving around screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs? Such a simple thing makes me feel so full of life.

8. Get to Know Yourself

If you don’t know yourself when it’s just you hanging out alone, how do you expect to know yourself when you’re in a room full of people? I find it extremely important to know my morals, likes, dislikes, what makes me feel lonely, and more because everybody needs a little bit of alone time.

9. It’s Okay to be Sad

When I was younger I always felt like I had to be a strong person even in the worst of moods. I started to realize that missing people and missing certain times in your life is sad, so if I want to be sad for a little bit that’s okay. I always make sure that I don’t let myself wallow in my own sadness for too long, and talking about it can always help.

10. It’s Okay to Like Different Things Than Other People

This can sometimes be hard for young people, and it was for me. I always liked something or someone that other people didn’t. It took time to learn that just because other people didn’t like it or didn’t think it was “cool” doesn’t mean that I still don’t like it. In the end, it’s not about what other people like because if I enjoy doing something or if I like something then it doesn’t really matter what other people think.

11. Treat Yourself

I am a huge supporter of treating myself. My parents are very good to me, but every once in a while when I’m at school and it’s been a long day/week, I always treat myself with a coffee or a cookie from someplace on campus. I have to be extremely careful that I don’t do this too often otherwise it will become a habit.

12. Just Have Fun

If you’re not having fun why are you doing something? This is something I’ve had to ask myself so much while at school because virtually everything I do is in preparation for my future. If I’m not having fun creating content and writing at school then what makes me think I would want to do it for the rest of my life? Every day is a new adventure where new fun awaits.

13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Again, jealousy is natural, especially in this day and age. You know everything about someone based on their social media platforms, so it is so easy to get caught up in what you do or don’t have compared to someone else. This can be things someone has or how they look compared to you. Either way, it gets really tiring for you to constantly compare yourself to someone skinnier or someone with a bigger house than you. You will be much happier and healthier if you focus on what you do have, and if you do want to make a (healthy) change, make some goals. No one was created looking the same or born into the same life, so why are we always comparing ourselves?

14. Just be Nice

Seriously. I can remember some of the worst things I’ve said to people where I was so mean. Nothing makes me feel worse than knowing I purposely might’ve tried to hurt someone’s feelings. You may forget a lot as life goes on, but I don’t think you’ll ever forget how you made someone feel.

15. Expensive Things Don’t Define You

Things are just things. You can’t take them with you when you’re gone. Sure, I love shopping and spending money on things. I also like to treat myself with things, but having nice, expensive things don’t determine who you are AT ALL. Don’t judge how great someone is based on what they have; it doesn’t mean much.

16. A Handwritten Card Goes a Long Way

This is something both of my parents have always stressed to me. We live in a world full of ingenuity, so taking five minutes to write out a “thank you” or a simple “hello” could give someone that extra boost.

17. Relationships Are a Two Way Street

Since graduating and moving to college, it hasn’t been super easy staying in touch with some of my best friends. I can admit that I haven’t always been the greatest at it, even with the technology that we have today, I don’t always feel as connected as I could to a friend. In all my relationships, I find it important to shoot a message to them every couple of weeks or maybe once a month if I haven’t heard from them in a while. I know that peoples’ lives are just as busy as mine is, so sending a little, “I’m thinking of you, hope all is well,” text is a good way to keep in touch with friends.

18. Everything Will Be Alright

I don’t really know how or when, but it just will. Things that were so heavy on my heart for a full week somehow ended up working out. I really have no other answer other than prayer and hope because I promise, everything will be okay.

19. Tell People How You Really Feel

Anyone who knows me might say that I do this a little too much. Hear me out when I say I really am trying to not say everything that comes to mind. However, I still believe in telling people how you feel. If someone hurt your feelings maybe you should tell them what hurt your feelings and why. They might not have even known why your feelings are hurt. If you don’t ever tell someone you like them as more than a friend how will they ever know? C’mon people!

20. Just Be You, and Enjoy Life

Big number 20 is that I love my life. I’m the only person put on this earth with exactly everything I like or don’t like at exactly this age in exactly this town. It’s important to remember that we matter, and we were put on this earth to be ourselves. Enjoying life comes after you enjoy who you are and what you love.

Overall, I have learned more than just these 20 things in life, but these are most relevant to me at this time. I feel extremely lucky to wake up with the opportunities and the love that I do every single day. I have most definitely been jealous of people and maybe been a little mean, but the best part about life is learning something new every day. These 20 things are things that sometimes I forget, but I always come back to them in some way.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

Mackinac and St. Ignace, MI

One of my favorite parts of living in Michigan is that you can have it all. From cool cities to breathtaking nature spots, the only thing Michigan doesn’t have is an ocean. This past week I was able to make it to a place that makes Michigan one of the most unique parts of the United States; Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Just before crossing the “Mighty Mac,” or the Mackinac (pronounced MACK-IN-AW) Bridge, you can stop in the northernmost town in the lower peninsula, Mackinaw City. This is where you can stop to take in the bridge and snap a few pictures with it.

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Once you cross this magnificent bridge, you find one of my favorite little towns in Michigan, St. Ignace. This quaint little town is where my family and I spent countless summers, with the rest of my extended family. From playing in Lake Huron, visiting our favorite shops, watching fireworks, and eating too much ice cream, there was always something for us to do. There is so much history in this town as well as beautiful views, like the ones you see when you climb Castle Rock.

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My favorite part of this place is how small the town is the fact that it’s right on the lake. I could spend hours looking through the stones for different designs or flat ones to skip. If I’m not searching for stones I could sit on a bench with some ice cream and watch the ferries go from the mainland to the island and back. St. Ignace is one of the best places to relax with some of the nicest people around.

IMG_0852St. Ignace is also a place where tourists can stay before and after their visits to Mackinac Island. With the lack of cars and the excessive amount of horse-drawn carriages, this eight-mile island makes you feel as if you’ve just stepped into the past. There is a variety of cute shops, cool bars, ice cream shops, and out of the ordinary activities on the island that is fun for the whole family. You can stay on the island during the summer or winter, and some people live there all year round. This is another place that helps Michigan stand out from the other 49 states.

I feel so lucky to be able to drive less than five hours to this beautiful place almost every summer. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to take a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or at least to see the bridge and visit Mackinac Island to see the beauty and wonder that exists in the Great Lakes State.

If you’re ever in St. Ignace be sure to visit Indian Village and to climb Castle Rock for me.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

 

 

June Favorites

Another month has flown by for the year 2018. During that time, I found some items/things that I have come to love and use daily. My favorites don’t necessarily go together, but I thought that I would take a chance to share them with you guys. Let’s get started so that you guys too can (hopefully) love my favorites!

Happy Planner

Surprise to no one that I have once again bought another planner before even finishing

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This is the similar size to mine and one of the designs.

my last one. The brand is called The Happy Planner which you can find at a variety of stores and websites. I found my cute fruit, flower, and flamingo printed “Choose Happy” planner at Michael’s and couldn’t resist. At first, I couldn’t choose from the variety of designs because there were so many cute ones. I love this planner because it shows an overview of things coming up in the month, the whole month, and each day split into three separate sections. It’s also good for two years, so fingers crossed I don’t find another cute one before December 2019

Reusable Keurig Coffee Filter

As Americans, we use too much and waste even more. Some of our waste can’t be recycled and is currently rotting in places it shouldn’t be. One of these such items is a Keurig pod. I love coffee, and I like the simplicity of the Keurig. I was racking my brain for ways to cut back on my own waste, and that’s when I found Keurig’s reusable coffee filters.  Once you make the small investment you have to buy less coffee in general and, if you’re like me, you can bring home coffee that you tried and really like from your last vacation.

8mm (App)

Okay, guys. I’m not one to spend money on apps, but this app is amazing if you like the look of old cameras. 8mm Vintage Camera is a fun way to get your videos to look just like your grandparents’ when cameras first came out. I, personally, love to play around and Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 5.07.09 PM.pngtake video clips for my own fun putting them together later for a larger video. This app takes any videos you already took or you can take videos straight from the app and puts them into different types of old film. You can add breaks in the film and different borders. It’s an extremely fun way to look at life, and it’s the best app I have ever bought.

Crocs Sandal

For my latest summer job, I am required to wear all black shoes. I am a lifeguard, so I wanted some sort of sandal that wasn’t a flip-flop and didn’t break my bank. I was going

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These are the same ones I use almost every day.

to buy a pair of Chacos, but I couldn’t stomach the money before starting my job. That’s when I found a pair of Croc sandals at my local Meijer. They were more than half the price, and they are comfortable for long periods of time.

DesB Fitness Guide

I have already professed my love for DesB in a previous post (linked here), but this is specifically about the programs she created. I bought Fit In Six which is a six-week guide. I just love how it helps me know what my workout will be, and if I have any questions about a move I can look up her hashtag on Instagram. It’s helped me stay focused in the gym.

I know the list was very small, but I hope that you guys have found your own favorites for June. If you have anything you’d love me to try please let me know in the comments!

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”