Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and the adventure completely changed my life. I ran through Tuscan vineyards and twirled in Parisian alleyways; I allowed the Roman sun to burn my face and let my teardrops fall in time with the crying clouds that filled the Swiss sky. I felt my heartbeat. I felt my blood pump. I felt completely alive. I tried to say, “Yes!” to every opportunity that presented itself, even if I normally wouldn’t oblige. I jumped off cliffs into the Mediterranean Sea (yikes!), bartered with street vendors in Milan, ate escargot, salsa danced with strangers and singlehandedly inhaled an entire large pizza on my first night in Italy. I learned so much about traveling, other cultures and was flabbergasted at the world’s natural beauty and how wonderfully creative The Lord is. Below, I have compiled 8 tips that are valuable to review before traveling internationally:
- Buy a Book: Just do it. Don’t rely on the internet for all of the information you need regarding your trip. If you have a book, you can read it prior to leaving and reference it at any time during your adventure regardless of wifi accessibility.
- Become Familiar with the Language: I’m not suggesting fluency, rather learning a few common phrases. The locals love it when you attempt to speak the native language and are often eager to help you when you stumble. Your willingness shows that you are not just a snobby American who thinks that English is the only language in the world.
- Pack Light: Oh my word. I am the queen of over packing, but I am so thankful that I restrained myself when packing for Europe. Why? Because then I had room for all of the clothes that I bought! In addition, no one will notice if you repeat an outfit!
- Take Advantage of Public Transportation: Busses and subways are amazing! Where I live, public transportation is not very popular, however I had so much fun mastering the public transportation systems in the countries I visited! The Parisian subway system is epic; it takes you anywhere and everywhere in a flash. So, research why types of transportation are popular in the city you will be staying in. Most often, it is cheaper to travel this way than by cabs.
- Make Friends: I am completely sensitive to “stranger danger” and the potential consequences of interacting with people that you don’t know, but I think that making friends when you are traveling is so valuable. This way, you can get the scoop on the most popular local joints. For example, when I was in Paris, I made so many sweet friends who told me where to eat, dance and shop. This added some wonderful authenticity to my trip that I would not have found otherwise.
- Eat, Eat, Eat: Taste anything and everything that you can get your hands on; don’t be afraid to try the delicious treats that are the classics of the area that you are in. You can always lose weight when you get home, but you can’t always eat a Croque-monsier. However, I find that there are infinite walking opportunities when traveling abroad and I typically walked off more calories than I ate!
- Pick Memories Over Items: How to spend my money was a daily toss up; typically the showdown was between a new outfit or paying to DO something fun. Always pick the latter. Clothes will go in and out of style, but you will always hold dear the memories that you create when you travel.
- Shine for Jesus: Everywhere that we go we are representing The Lord, so remember that no matter what country you are in you are a Christian first. Keep your heart open. Show grace. Show love. Shine.
Anyone remember life before everyone had their own smart phone?
Those days when no one could get in touch with you unless they called you on your mom’s cell phone? Seems like those were simpler times, easier times, more peaceful times. Times when you were so busy living that you didn’t care what was going on in other people’s lives and weren’t wondering what celebrities were thinking.
These days screen time is a normal part of everyday life. But is it healthy? And how much is too much?
There are so many ways to connect to the world via technology. Not only do we have laptops that can access the internet from almost anywhere, but now we have smart phones, tablets, and tons of other devices that put entertainment as close as our back pocket.
There’s nothing wrong with being entertained. I love television and spending time on the computer or playing games. But I just wonder, have we entered a different time? Are the old ways passing away and are we being ushered into a new world? A world where just sitting and peacefully resting is a thing of the past. Any spare moment is spent updating a status or checking a news feed. Always feeling compelled to look and see what is happening around the world and in our neighbor’s lives.
I don’t want to be so addicted to my cell phone anymore. Facebook apps, news apps, yahoo, twitter- what are we really taking in from all of this exposure to the world? On top of staying informed are we also taking in a bunch of junk we really could and should do without? I mean yeah, technology can help us to learn and stay connected, but it can also put us into a place where we become addicted to a quick stimulation from a screen to stay content. Or it can make us feel like a life lived online is more interesting than the one that is playing out around us while our heads are buried in a screen. Not to mention the mainstream news is usually filled with really depressing stories! We can’t exactly fix our minds on what is good, pure, and true if we are constantly being fed media that is always sad, mostly negative, and sometimes false!
Personally, I check my smart phone every couple of minutes! I mean, what’s up with that? Why do I feel so driven to check what is going on in other people’s lives? Or see if someone has left me a message?
Most of the time when we look on Facebook we see someone who is doing something we aren’t or has something we don’t, and that can lead us to want what they have or feel dissatisfied with what we do have.
Whatever happened to reading a book, playing a sport, going for a walk, just sitting, just talking, just living?Why are our lives so wrapped up in technology?
Are we too wrapped up in virtual reality and following other people’s lives that we miss the real beauty in our own lives?
Let me make a suggestion. For today, try to be aware of how much you depend on your smart phone as a part of your life. Maybe, put it to the side? Leave it in another room? Let it be…dare I say.. just a phone? Not your second brain, not your source of fun, not your BFF.
This is a challenge to not just you out there but to myself as well. I want to be free from my phone. Free from the web. Free from Facebook. I don’t want to feel the compulsion to know people in a phony and artificial way. If I do decide to use Facebook, I don’t want it to be something that I do more often than important things like quiet reflection, exercise, praying, cleaning, spending time with my son, etc.
I want to be so busy doing other things, the things that really matter and really change the world, that I don’t feel like I need to pause to update my status every five minutes.
Just thinking. Maybe you can relate.
Wow, what an awesome past few months it has been at QUITE! Since October, we have seen over 100,00 views, over 10,000 readers, and tons of great articles and awesome feedback on a weekly basis! We are so grateful for every reader as well as all of our dynamic make-it-happeners behind the scenes!
This week, we are excited to announce that our first print publication (Spring 2013) is now available!
Enjoy page after page of inspiring, all new content from our contributors as well as a great lineup of amazing people with great tips, stories, and so much more!
Here’s a sneak peak of some of what this issue includes:
- Exclusive interview with sister duo Harper Still – from the Bratz Movie to the GRAMMY’s, and so many places between, these sisters have something to say!
– Low Pressure Date Ideas for those romantic spring days!
- 3 Reasons NOT To Work and other tips to get you through your week
- New Music for the New Seasons
- Life changing stories from young women just like you
- Meaningful words from artist and blogger Casey Wiegand
- Gorgeous spring finds including The Shine Project
And so much more!
Our biggest dream is that QUITE will continue to grow with every issue and we want you to grow with us! Because of this, we are doing something that a lot of publications just don’t do: see how you like magazine by just purchasing ONE issue online. No subscription required! Click here for more!
Dieting can be a good thing when it helps you to get healthy, but there are also many very dangerous diets that can hurt your body and not give you the long lasting weight loss you are looking for.
This year, instead of skipping meals or popping diet pills, lose weight by replacing some of the unhealthy things you eat with natural and fresh options.
Food is the fuel that keeps our body going. When we put good in, we can usually expect to get good out.
One of the things that is so amazing about our world is that it is stocked with exactly the foods our bodies need to eat!
Before any Wal-Mart or Publix ever carried your favorite frozen pizza, people were literally living off of the land, eating only the food they could grow in their gardens and on their farms. The animals they raised provided good nutrition as well as many different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Nature gives us all that we need to have a balanced diet. However, in the world of today, we have many delicious choices that are also unhealthy. Processed foods are everywhere and fast food is dinner for most of us almost every night of the week.
Processed foods are any food that has been altered in any way from its original state. You can look at a picked apple and know that it is fresh from the tree, but a can of ravioli, although delicious, lacks the nutrients that your body needs to operate at its shiny best. In order to give canned or prepackaged foods a longer shelf life they are heated and cooled in different ways, as well as pumped with chemicals and fillers. Also, many processed foods have extra flavorings and sugar to make them taste better. All of these additions to the food take away from it’s nutritional quality and deprive you of what your body needs.
For a healthy diet, instead of limiting the amount of food that you intake each day to almost nothing, try replacing some of what you eat with fresh and natural foods.
Replace the chicken sandwich and fries with a salad with grilled chicken on top. Instead of ice cream or a Little Debby Cake for dessert, have some fresh pineapple or strawberries instead. The way I like to eat is- the closer a food is to it’s natural state, the better! Try to do as little to your food as possible when you prepare it as well. Don’t add too much sauce or salt, and don’t cover it in gravy.
You might think that it is difficult to eat this way, but in reality it’s not. There are many foods that are delicious in their most natural state.
Fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries and blueberries are sweet and can be eaten plain or mixed with a little honey, yogurt and milk to make a delicious smoothie. Veggies like carrots, and fresh broccoli can be a great snack with a little ranch dip on the side. A little salt and a drizzle of olive oil on some veggies and then popping them in the oven to broil for a few minutes can make them a crisp, healthy, delicious addition to your next meal.
Another healthy option is to replace some of the sugared beverages you drink with water. Excess sugar is linked to all sorts of health problems and definitely linked to weight gain.
By replacing some of the high fat and processed foods you eat every day with more natural and fresh options, you can diet safely and in a way that will give your body more of what it really needs.
If you have a green thumb, you will be gazing at your garden with pride in no time! Or you might be a little more like I used to be. I used to have more of a brown thumb. Plants came to my house to die. I would get them, put them out in the sun, and water them every day! Then they would fall down…DEAD.
I learned there is more to gardening than sunlight, water, and photosynthesis. So since I’ve gone through a lot of flower power struggles, I have compiled this list of tips to help you avoid the rough patches of gardening.
Did you know…
1. Plants can drown.
You would think water would be a great thing to give your plant. Our bodies are mostly made up of water so we drink it down all day! However, with a plant you are usually only supposed to keep the soil in the pot wet. If it’s wet, it usually doesn’t need watering! Daily watering isn’t required for every kind of plant either. Make sure you learn your plants watering needs and don’t just go watering it all willy nilly!
2. You should read the little tab with the instructions on it.
Yeah, that little plastic like thing stuck down in the dirt, it holds the key to your plant’s life. You need it, so don’t throw it away- even though it sort of looks like trash! You can find valuable information on it to help you take care of your plant. If the plant you are looking at buying doesn’t have a little tab, get help from someone working in the store on what to do to take care of your new plant friend.
3. Plants like sun, but not too much of it.
Plants are so finicky! They want water but not too much, they want sun but not too much. Usually plants need full sun (which is like 6-8 sometimes more hours of sun a day), sometimes they need some sun, but mostly shade, and sometimes they need to only be placed in the shade. You can’t put a plant that needs shade directly in the sun or it will burn up and die. Read the tab put in the plant to know its sun needs and make sure you follow them.
4. Plants might need a pot with a drainage hole.
Many pots for plants have drainage holes in the bottom so that the extra water doesn’t just sit in the bottom of the pot. If it does your plants can get what is called root rot. The roots need air and if you fill your closed off pot with too much water, you will drown them. Awesome, right!? So, if you use a pot with no holes in it, make sure you only water sparingly when the dirt looks dry.
5. There’s always next year.
Many plants will die and appear to be completely dried up and gone, only to return upon spring’s arrival the next year. Once I fried a plant and it looked horrible- too much sun I suppose. So I put it on the side of my house because it was well, unsightly. Little did I know that it wasn’t really dead! The next spring I saw a plant growing in that pot. “Surely this must be something else, some weeds that just happened to grow up in the pot somehow”, I thought. But it was the plant coming back! It was awesome. So, if you fail miserably this year with your plants, there is always the hope that they will be back to give you another shot next spring!
Field of flowers Photo by Miranda Hodgson [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons