Guest Post: Hannah Margaret @ HM

Aug 31, 2012

Today I'm gonna introduce y'all to Hannah Margaret.
 She's a sweet little southern girl from Tennessee who is gonna teach y'all some French (with a few life lessons in between!)
Go check out her blog if you get a chance and send her some love! 

(Side note: I just realized all the posts I've been making for the past week and a half and been back dated and are all out of order! I tried to fix it, so I'm SUPER sorry to all the wonderful guest posters whose posts have been misplaced! Technology got the best of me!)

Why hello Dashboard Diary readers!

My name is Hannah Margaret, and I have a little blog corner called hm. 
It's a place to share my passion for life, travel and all things beautiful. I ponder and peruse. I stumble and stammer. I question and make claims. And all the while, I'm going to college, trying to graduate (on time), doing theater and going on local adventures. I spent my last semester (six months) in Canterbury, England. I settled perfectly into the English way of life, and also got the opportunity to go backpacking for a month. Out of all my travels, France stole my heart (second to the England, of course).  

I say all that because I want to share a simple French phrase with you that applies directly to my daily life. The phrase is joie de vivre, and it can be translated simply to mean the "joy of living". Furthermore, it expresses the overwhelming joy that can be felt deep in your spirit. Food, conversation, good wine, any wine ever, chocolate, a cool breeze, a landscape, a piece of art, a first kiss, any kiss, laughing and anything that makes your fingers tingle and your heart leap. That's joie de vivre.

For years I've said this would be the only thing I'd have tattooed on me, because it would be a reminder to enjoy the daily aspects of life. Treasures are hidden in your routine, you just have to find them.

I've been to France (seen above and below, yo), and I felt it there more than ever. The life there was simpler and more rustic, consequently leaving me leaving more fulfilled and joyful than ever. 
Go if you can.

So, your homework: take half the time you complain today and focus on the immaculate, intricate and wonderful details of life. Enjoy that first sip of your Diet Coke (guilty), soak in the sunshine to get a few more freckles and have another cup of coffee--because it's about the joy of living. 
It's about joie de vivre.

Thanks for letting me share a little tidbit, Emily! Have a marvelous weekend. xoxo, hm

Guest Post: Alex @ If, Ands, and Butts

Aug 30, 2012

Alrighty guys, today I get to introduce ya'll to one of the coolest Texans I know.
Alex is currently an au pair in Germany (ya know, just doin the coolest job, ever) and shares my love for beer, good food, and great music! 
I hope you love her as much as I do! 

Well hello friends, family, stalkers, etc. of Emily! She's out of town for a bit so I'm stepping in as a desperate attempt to keep y'all entertained. Y'all, see what I said there? I'm from Texas, aka the greatest state around and where Em is moving before ya know it.

But right now I am living in Germany. I was initially supposed to stay for a year, but here I am about to begin round 2 as an au pair while also doing a marketing position. Enough about me though, I am ready to tell you my favorite things about life in Germany (in no particular order).

1) Beer Festivals
Lemme tell y'all, Oktoberfest is talked up for a reason. This is the ultimate German party and you need to be a part of it someday. Imagine tons of happy go lucky people from all over the world united to sing, dance and drink freshly brewed German beer all. day. long. If you can't make it for Oktoberfest (which actually starts in September), check out one of the 100s of other beer fests that happen throughout the year. I highly suggest Frühlingsfest in Stuttgart or Munich, too.
Oktoberfest Munich, Hofbräu tent, September 2011
Frühlingsfest Munich, Hippodrom Tent, April 2012

2) Hofbräuhaus München

Not the beer, sorry Hofbrau, but I'm an Augusteiner girl. I am talking about the haus part of the world famous Hofbräuhaus. If you want to be assured a good time, include Munich (my favorite city ever) in your next Eurotrip and make sure to have dinner here. My best advice: grab a Maß and share a table with some wild Germans.
birthday dinner 2012

3) Acculturating

I can safely say I had never watched a soccer game in full until I moved to Germany. I can now say I have seen several, and own a jersey and was far too into Germany's journey Eurocup 2012 than I ever imagined. It is so fun to be abroad and join in cheering for a cause people are passionate about. Acculturating to me also means hanging out and making with natives and learning the language. German is tough, but I feel so rewarded when I realize mine is improving.

4) Parks & Gardens
When I think of Germany, I think of the color green. We get our fair share of rain, but it ensures that the countryside stays lush and beautiful. On nice days, locals pack the parks, bringing blankets, friends, booze and sometimes even grills to bask in the sometimes rare German sunshine.
Schlossgarten in my town of Karlsruhe - we spend every free moment here when the weather permits
Beer garden in the Englischergarten in Munich

You can literally get anywhere on a train, surpassing traffic and enjoying the view. I'm always still amazed by the complete lack of need for a car in Germany. Oh, and you can BYOB drink on the trains - now that's my kind of travel.
overnight train from Berlin to Copenhagen

Did I mildly entertain you? Missing Em blogging as much as I do? Stop by the 'ole bloggy and say hi, or 'Hallo' as me say in Deutschland.

For all you penny pinchers out there

Aug 29, 2012

This video may or may not have helped us save a lot of money at Lollapalooza

. . . and we met these little penny pinchers there too who got creative with a sunblock bottle.
I just can't understand how long it took to wash the sunblock taste out of the bottle.

Anyways, I take my National Physician Assistant Certification boards today!
Wish me luck!
Hopefully this time tomorrow I will be a PA-C!

Guest Post: Morgan @ Two in the City

Aug 28, 2012

I told yall Morgan would be back soon! 
If I could pick one blogger to be my personal assistant and write hilarious, awesomely intellectual yet so witty things to accompany all of my photos then I would without a doubt pick Morgan.
True blog love right here yall.

Hi Dashboard readers! My name is Morgan and I blog over here about my life with husband. We just moved to Chicago (from Atlanta) for Andrew's career, so right now I play housewife between yoga classes and job interviews.

When Emily asked me to write a guest post (my first ever, gasp!) I was thrilled of course. She wanted us to pick our own topics but some starter ideas that she offered were: travel, food, marriage. 

At first I thought I would go the marriage advice route - because she is getting ready to make those big forever vows, and I just made them a year ago - it seemed appropriate to share what I have learned in the last 13 months. But, after reading this brilliant lady's list of 15 ways to stay married for 15 years, I realized any advice I came up with would pale in comparison. Or, be sorely repetitive at best. So, for the greatest, most useful marriage advice I have ever read, go check that list. For why Amsterdam is my most favorite city in the entire world, continue reading here...

When I graduated high school as a big grown up 17 year old, I freaked out a little bit. Ok, obviously, it is a serious time of transition for everyone, but I felt like my transition was unusually overwhelming. I was: 
uncomfortably stuck between boyfriends  
(still pining over the old loser while pretending to be in love with the new loser)
confused and conflicted by a faith that I had never questioned before, 
angry at my parents, 
disappointed in the colleges I had chosen to apply to  
(All great schools, all acceptances, all with scholarship. Not a single one made me jump up and down.)
and frustrated that everyone (but me) had an opinion about where I needed to take my life. 

(None of that is really so unusual)

Against everyone's better judgement I said "thanks but no thanks" to college (for now) and moved myself to Italy, because adventure was the only thing I definitely knew I wanted. I stayed there until I got homesick (which took several months); that was my sign that I had finally put my priorities into the right order. Needless to say, I have been longing to go back ever since, but I do have a better head on my shoulders these days.

While I was living there my brother came to visit for a week in March. In a single week he wanted to see Rome, Amsterdam, and Prague. The amazing thing about Europe is that it is totally possible to do that! We spent a grand total of three nights in Amsterdam and I absolutely fell in love. No, it was not because of the coffee shops....although I do think those play a big role in why everyone there is so friendly and laid back. 

Here are 10 reasons why Amsterdam is still the best city, even if a tourist smoking ban gets passed:

1. You can take the most beautiful photograph you have ever taken. 
Get it framed, hang it up. These are the best treasures from traveling.

2. You can eat the most delicious (and funniest looking) hot dogs you have ever tasted.

3. You can ride a train into the most extravagant train station you have ever ridden into.

4. You can navigate your way using the most expensive city map you have ever bought. 
Seriously? 2 euro just to know how to get around?

 5. You can sit in the company of giants. Or at least in their chairs.

6. You can ride your bicycle everywhere. 
And you can ride a house boat whenever you are tired of riding a bicycle.

7. You can walk in a blizzard in the morning.....

8. ...and walk in the gorgeous park, in the warm sunshine, that very same afternoon!

9. You can see a hilarious American comedy show.
10. And, finally... amongst some of the cleanest streets you have ever walked, you can happen up the most disgusting bathroom you've ever photographed. Don't use it.

Thanks so much for having me Emily!! Can't wait to hear about your trips when you get back.

Virtual Tailgate: Mancakes!

Aug 27, 2012

I thought long and hard about a recipe to share for Kaitlyn's Virtual Tailgate link-up, but every single thing I thought of paled in comparison to one of my favorite recipes of all time:


Even though I've blogged about it before (don't judge me for recycling old posts) what sounds more perfect for a bunch of football loving Americans than pancakes made with beer and caramelized bacon?

We had a few bottles of Dogfish Head Festina Peche beer sitting around, so we figured it would be the perfect substitution for plain 'ol boring beer!

Feel free to use any type of beer you wish, and if you find a good beer that works great with the recipe, let me know, I'd love to try something new!
I once came across a maple beer, which has a lot of potential!

The first (and truthfully, the only step that matters) is the bacon.
The recipe calls for 8 strips, but who's really counting. 
We did a fewwww extra.
You know, some extra to taste test, in case any come out a little funny looking. 

Heat the oven to 350, lay the strips out on a foil covered cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes, flip the bacon, sprinkle with brown sugar, bake for 10 more minutes, flip, sprinkle, bake 10 more mins.

. . . and voila.
Magical sugary heavenly crunchy bacon.
There's truly nothing better than that.
In the universe.

The funny looking ones tasted FANTASTIC.
We were kinda tempted to just skip the whole pancake thing and just eat the bacon.
It was that good.
I recently learned brown sugar coated bacon is called pig candy.
Appropriately so.

Anyways, back to the cakes!
To make the batter you blend 2 eggs, 2 cups pancake mix, and 1 cup of beer.
Break the bacon up into small pieces and
then stir whatever you didn't eat during preparation into the batter.

 Then just cook them like normal 'ol pancakes.

. . . and then stack them up so they look super awesome and professional and pretty for their picture.

Then feed them to your starving man (with Steen's syrup of course!)

. . . and then your man becomes a realllllly happy man, requiring lots and lots of insulin!

You wanna participate in the link-up too? Just add your post below!

Tunesday: Dr. Dog

Aug 24, 2012

It is rare that you hear of a cover song that is better than the original 
(Britney Spears "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" is a prime example of what I don't mean)
After hearing Dr. Dog sing "Heart it Races" at both of their shows and not being able to find it on iTunes, I went to YouTube only to find what I thought was a hilariously entertaining version of it.
After some research I realized that the weird YouTube version was the original and it kinda grew on me.

The weirdness of Architecture in Helsinki's version is kinda cool. 

If you want even more magic then go here to watch Architecture in Helsinki's Take Away Show.

Guest Post: Kaitlyn @ Wifessionals

Aug 23, 2012

Today I'm gonna introduce yall to Kaitlyn! She is a super sweet blogger (with fantastic recipes btw) and just so happens to be moving to my favorite state in the country: Colorado.
Consider me super jealous. 
I asked her to share some marriage/relationship advice while I was out of town and she did just that, and she did it very wonderfully, might I add.
Thanks so much Kaitlyn! 
(. . . and be sure to check out her Football Tailgate Recipe link up she's hosting here!)

I'm so happy to be visiting today from over at Wifessionals. I recently got married in June and it was, hands down, the best decision I've ever made. And even though I love my husband so much it hurts, making the transition to be his wife was a lot harder than I could have ever imagined.

Now everyone comes from different life situations, so some of you may not find all of these things to be true in your case, but I'm just going to share what happened to me. I'm 25 years old. I've known I wanted to get married for as long as I can remember. I always felt that my ultimate purpose in life was to get married and have children. I believed (like a lot of girls) that I would meet my prince charming earlier in life and would get married right out of college. I was basing this dream on the fact my parents met when they were 16 and got married at 23. Well when graduation rolled around, there was no prince charming in sight. That forced me into making a life plan of my own and getting a big girl career. Now I will admit that there has been times in my life where I thought it would have been awesome to get married, right out of school, and be able to be a stay at home wife until I was able to be a stay at home mom...but that its not what happened. I got a salaried job, accompanied by real life bills, heath insurance and 401Ks.

So when Ryan walked into my life, that's what it was - MY life. I was completely independent, successful and proud of the little life I had built over the past 3 years. But I desperately wanted to find my true love and have someone to share everything with. So when Ryan proposed, it was the happiest day of my life at that point. I couldn't believe this dream I had had for years, was finally a reality. I was so excited and so into planning the wedding and our life together, that nothing was getting me down...until a few weeks before the big day.

No one warned me of the things that were about to happen. It started on my last day of work. Ryan found out 2 months before the wedding that we would have to move after the honeymoon. He was getting restationed to Arizona. I tried to find a job transfer, but because we were going to the middle of nowhere, there was nothing. My dad and I worked for the same company, so this particular afternoon I was signing offline for the last time and he decides to send me a note on instant messenger. It said, " final goodbye as you leave the company. Went by quickly. See you soon. Love Dad...." Well I started crying. And then I cried for an hour straight. It finally hit me that everything that had defined my life for the past few years was about to disappear. I was Kaitlyn A. I was a daughter and a sister. I was a quality engineer. I lived in Nashville. Now I was going to be Kaitlyn B. I would be a wife, and an Army wife at that. I would not have a job, I would be a domestic engineer (aka a stay at home wife).

I was used to calling my dad or family about everything. I knew they would still be there for me and always love me, but now Ryan was the one taking care of me. He's the one that would help me with my car or help me with finances. Switching to that mentality is harder than you think. Especially if you are super close with your family and your dad. But I moved forward and we got married and moved out to Arizona.

Once Ryan started back to work every day, I had a lot of adjusting to do in my new life. I had to change my name. That is a very complicated process. I plan to do a whole entry for my blog based around that. The last thing I changed was my voicemail. Re-recording it with my new last name sounded strange. Then I sat for over an hour and practiced signing my new name. Once I accepted my new title, I had to figure out how to make sense of my new career - a homemaker. For awhile, Ryan would come home and I'd say, "Today I cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed, did three loads of laundry..." I felt like I had to justify what I was doing all day. I felt like I was making a contribution when I had a 9-5, but it was harder to realize that Ryan really appreciated what I was doing at home too. He always has groceries, a lunch for work, dinner on the table and a clean house. He LOVES that. Yes, it was scary for me to think about the fact that we are on a single income and that maybe I'm not pulling my fair share around here...but Ryan has said time and time again, he loves me staying at home and taking care of all the chores he hates, and if I ever want to work or do something else, he would support me 110%.

Well there's nowhere to work out here, so for now I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. I'm a loving wife, I work my butt off every day at home and I take care of our little puppy - she's a handful!!

Now I don't know what your situation is. Maybe you'll get married or have gotten married and were able to keep your job. Good for you! Maybe you didn't have to move across the country like I did. You're lucky! But the point of this is, as the woman in the relationship, I think you have a lot more adjusting than a man does when you get married. Your identity changes - ::the majority of the time:: You have a new man in your life, you're no longer just your daddy's little girl. You get a new name, the name you've had for decades disappears. You may get a new career, your past titles and positions may not define anything about you anymore. You may even find yourself in a completely new world, like the Army life. 

So, SO many things can change when you get married - and it's ok to freak out. It doesn't make you a bad person or mean that you love your new hubby any less. It just means you're growing. You're letting go of your old life and welcoming in a new chapter. I will be the first to admit that it can be scary and confusing and it might take you awhile to find your new groove, but once I worked through all the adjusting I could not be happier or more blessed. I wake up every morning so thankful to God for everything he has given me and for finally bringing me my prince charming!

Happy Second Birthday Charlie!

Aug 22, 2012

Last year I blogged a little montage of Charlie's first year of life in honor of his first birthday
 (re-live that here)
This year I am too devastated that I am missing his birthday (yay for studying from 7am-8pm at a board review course in Chicago) so in an act of rebellion and frustration and sadness and many other dramatic words, I can't bear to post many pictures from Charlie's second year of life. 
Just kiddin.
There's no way I would miss the opportunity to post an excessive amount of pictures of the coolest dog in THE world.

Charlie experienced many things in his second year of life, such as . . . 
Our engagement

His first time swimming! 

His first time to Colorado (snow boots are most definitely necessary) 

Remember this video?


Him and Josh moved into a new apartment in Dallas

. . . and then chilled with some longhorns.

He did some yakkin with us in Arkansas

He most definitely did NOT get into the powdered donuts.

. . . or any of these

He played lotssss of dress up:

. . . but more importantly, he remained the cutest, sweetest, craziest pup with the most personality in America.

Happy Second Birthday Charlie!
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