The Newest Member of The James Gang

Posted on: January 15, 2017

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Taking a little break from our travel posts today to share some fun news! Carson and I mustered up the courage to buy our very own Moto after renting for a few months. We are real Europeans now and speaking of courage, Carson let me take her out for a spin this week around the city. Usually he takes the moto to school and I take public transit, but I wanted to give it a shot. I almost hit a parked car going off the curb (thank goodness I didn’t) and after a few thousand prayers I made it to class safely and confidently. Friends, I feel straight out of a movie zipping around in my pink helmet and I thank my lucky stars the Spaniards are patient with me! So…if this isn’t a good reason to come visit us, I don’t know what it is! I’ll happily take you around the city on this little beauty.

xoxo

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Chiang Mai

Posted on: January 13, 2017

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Hello friends! I hope this finds you well! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from our stop in Chiang Mai! If you visit Thailand, please put Chiang Mai on your list of stops! It’s a charming little city. :)

Chiang Mai suprised us with her charm and “hipster” feel and I loved capturing the small details. Coming from Bangkok, we marveled at the Grand Palace and its enormity, so it was a nice contrast to focus on the little things! I can’t wait to share our day with the elephants at Raantong Elephant Sanctuary so stay tuned. :)

xoxo

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Bangkok

Posted on: January 10, 2017

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We are home from our amazing trip to Southeast Asia! We traveled light so I’m back to my laptop and able to blog some of the million photos I took! I’m not joking when I say a million photos you guys, I just couldn’t resist! We flew into Bangkok to start off our adventure so that’s where I’ll start today.

We spent three days in Bangkok and it was the perfect amount of time. The Grand Palace and surrounding temples were breath-taking. Carson’s favorite was Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and I loved Wat Phra Kaew in the main Grand Palace complex. I could’ve done a single post for each temple we visited, but who has time for that?! :) Just kidding! I’ll happily email you the photos if you’re that curious! :)

We rode in our first “Tuk Tuk”, fell in love with mango sticky rice, battled jet lag, ate our fair share of pad thai, and mastered the art of bargaining. It was a good start to say the least.

I hope you enjoy a small taste of our adventure!

xoxo

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i lost my identity

Posted on: January 6, 2017

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I recently stumbled upon a Ted Talk while browsing facebook and it spoke to me in volumes. I’m not going to discuss it too much but if you would like to check it out you can do so here! Basically she spelled out everything I have been feeling lately and helped me feel valid in what I was experiencing. I also came across an article stating that our “online world” is a little too perfect, so I will let you behind the curtain a little bit today. With that being said, you’ve been warned and are free to read on or pass by. But I hope you’ll stay because real talk is important!

I’ve been tied to my title as a “dancer” for as long as I can remember and I find myself a little lost without it. My success, failures, struggles, and triumphs all existed in that realm and I’m not sure I ever had to find myself outside of that. Anyone seen the Disney movie Inside Out? If you have, you could say I have two really large islands. One is labeled “family” (self explanatory) and the other labeled “dancer” which contains everything else. So when Dancer island falters, so does the rest of my world.

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I would assume most of us go through this at some point but basically it’s a crisis of identity. Am I important without “I’m Jessie and I’m a Dancer”? Can it just be “I’m Jessie”? Is “I’m Jessie” enough? I’m not asking if it’s enough for you. I’m asking if it is enough for me. Can I feel accomplished, special, and proud of myself without that title?

You may be asking yourself, “why is she freaking out? she’s not done forever, and she freakin lives in spain! What a dream!” Your right. Spain is dreamy! I will agree with you there, but this is no vacation. Vacation is when you get to forget about your life and come back to it a week or two later refreshed. This is life my now. This is my everyday! This is where I want, no need, to find myself. Redefine what my day to day purpose is and what fills my cup. I strongly believe we have to fill our own cup before others can help us fill the last few drops.

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So begins the research. What are my interests and can I expand them here? Of course I can. What have I been itching to achieve that I know how the time and space to do so?  In what ways can I fill the need to create? It may be a good start to learn Spanish so I can easily grocery shop, or maybe I’ll take a course on our new fancy camera. The moral of the story is this….I’m a little lost and that is A-Okay. We have to be a little lost to be found right? What a chance I have before me to discover so many new ideas, hobbies, and skills i’ve never tapped into.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love and my new favorite Big Magic, quoted Jack Gilbert and his advice to his students saying: “He asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be know. Without bravery, their lives would remain small-far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.”

So bravery may be my word for life, not just last year. And brave I shall (try) to be!

xoxo

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10 ways to fake it as a European

Posted on: December 15, 2016

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The Spanish know how to live. I guess I could say Europeans in general have got it all figured out. Two hour lunches and long dinners with friends, weekend trips to the country, and a sense of calm that radiates from everyone. There is no hurried “lunch on the go”, streams of business men chatting frantically on the phone, or massive plates of wasteful food. I think they would giggle at us Americans and how addicted to work we are, the fact we take lunch at our desks, or eat plates of food the size of our heads. I’m also IN LOVE with European street style and how classy and bold everyone dresses. If I’m not careful, I’ll shop us dry 😉

so here’s a few tips if your going to pretend to fit in 😉

1. Wear dark colors and let your hair air dry (wham bam thank you sam).

2. Rock a pair of thick platform boots.

3. Eat a baguette like its your favorite piece of candy.

4. Show up late. #spanishstandardtime. (jk don’t be late but everyone here is!)

5. Drive a moto like you’ve done it since birth.

6. Bread, cheese, and chocolate are now your primary food groups.

7. Learn to exhale while walking past someone who smokes. And that’s everyone here.

8. Hold onto your valuables tight. You’re not in Kansas anymore.

9. Drink your beverages out of teeny tiny cups. #watershots

10. Live care free. No one cares how tall, short, fat, skinny, or purple you are. I can’t speak for all of Europe, but in Barcelona all is welcome.

xoxo

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Fira De Sant llucia Market

Posted on: December 12, 2016

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There are soooo many photos in this post because I simply couldn’t choose! Did you notice all those little logs with a red hat? They are actually a HUGE Catalan tradition! It’s called the “Caga Tio” and it begins with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). One gives the tio a little bit to “eat” every night and usually covers him with a blanket so that he will not be cold. The story goes that in the days preceding Christmas, children must take good care of the log, keeping it warm and feeding it, so that it will poop presents on Christmas Day! How cute is that? There is even a little song that goes a long with it! There are Caga Tio’s all over the city and I giggle every time we see one :)

I couldn’t contain myself with my camera and the beauty of this market! It’s a tradition here in Barcelona and it’s been around for 230 years! Europe contains so much rich history simply because of it’s old age. I love it. It’s magical. I even made a video and if you want to watch it you can see it here!

 I thought that this Christmas season would be hard being away from family and our usual traditions but this new home has surprised me! Thankfully we feel right at home with the warmth of the Spanish people and goodness of the other IESE students and partners. We’ll see if that good attitude holds till Christmas 😉

xoxo

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The James Gang Abroad [Christmas in Barcelona Video]

Posted on: December 10, 2016

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Christmas is magical in Europe and I didn’t want the Christmas season to pass by without documenting it! I’ll be the first to admit that I DO NOT like being in front of a camera but I want to look back in 20 years and cherish these memories! We are constantly stumbling upon gorgeous markets, lights, shops, and installations! The Spanish sure know how to enjoy the holidays! I hope you like it!

xoxo

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#Light The World

Posted on: November 27, 2016

 

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I’ve been so distraught lately with the Presidential Election, Standing Rock, Terror attacks in Syria, and the many other horrible things going on in the world I was so happy to stumble upon this service campaign from the LDS church! Not a better way to celebrate the holidays in my opinion! The world could use a little light and mankind could use a little love. I’m in… are you? Full calendar here!

xoxo

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let’s move abroad

Posted on: November 18, 2016

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If any of you keep up with me on social media you know that we relocated our lives to Barcelona, Spain. It didn’t happen as glamorous as my instagram feed makes it seem so let me catch you up. Back in the fall/winter of last year Carson started pursuing MBA programs and started the application process. We had a few other schools on the list along with IESE and decision time didn’t happen till this past April. We tossed around the decision to move abroad a few times, but once he got accepted we really had to think about it.  It came down to midnight the evening before decision was due and we finally made our decision to got to Barcelona for grad school. It was this exciting fantasy for a few weeks and then things got real really fast! The process of acquiring our visa’s was super long (if any of you need to do that, I have all the good tips) and stressful! After a ton of paper work and fees, everything came back go to go! We were clear to travel.

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We headed to Spain in August of this year and jumped right into things as soon as we arrived! We couldn’t move into our flat yet so we rented an Air Bnb while we waited for move in day. It would have been so nice to go directly to our place but it did give us a chance to see a different neighborhood filled with wonder before we settled in!

We took our two dogs with us (we couldn’t bare to leave them) and the process was surprisingly easy. We had to get the necessary paperwork together and I expected the Spanish policy to interrogate us at the airport, but we just walked out with dogs in hand. No one checked us!!! The gate agent in NYC asked to see the rabies paperwork and that was it! I was prepared to pull out all forms and put up my mom guard! Thankfully no such “mom” moment was needed and we headed on our way.

We had a few days to explore a bit before jumping into the IESE Business Spanish program. Two weeks of 6 hours a day of Spanish! Thankfully we had Sunday’s off but it was intense! Carson placed in a higher level than me thanks to his Portugese and I stared in level 2! It was a lot. New country, new environment, and straight into class. I haven’t had to use my brain like that since I was 18! As a dancer, I started my career right away and didn’t attend any further schooling. It took me a few mins to remember how to use that side of my brain. Lots of studying, one panic attack, and six erasers later, I survived it and passed to level 4! Woot!

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moving on…

Sadly it was then time for me to go back to the US for work. That was a tough decision because I wasn’t ready to give up my career as a Choreographer but I also wasn’t ready to leave Carson and our pups behind. I owe a HUGE thank you to each and every studio, dancer, and director that welcomed me with open arms providing me a space to create and be fulfilled. I NEEDED it. I didn’t think I did with this new adventure of ours but this choreography season was a special one. Sacrifice always makes the reward sweeter and I think it pushed me to do my best. Create quality work worthy of the time spent away from my little family. After 2 months and 10 days apart I headed home! 40 something pieces of work later and I was pooped! Time to sleep and rejuvenate!

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Oddly enough, that’s hard for me! I cannot seem to slow down and the idea of “taking time off” is so foreign to me. Due to Spanish law, I can’t exactly work with our type of visa so I technically am forced to take time off. I’ve got to find a purpose here for me. Dedicate myself to something so I can feel proud of me! I think that’s important. Carson will have his schooling that fills his time and I need to find my “thing” here. So…here is to a HUGE life change, living a little braver each day, and going #fullcheetah.

xoxo

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Anniversary Celebrations with Our Favorite Wizards

Posted on: May 17, 2016

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May 7th was our five year wedding anniversary and it really snuck up on us. Time has flown by, but our lives have changed so much since we said “I do”.  The hubs surprised me with tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s basically in our backyard and we were dying to go!

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Hogsmede is adorable. I felt like I was stepping into the movie. SO WELL DONE! We experienced Olivander’s wand shop and the many little wizards running around with new wands. I love that we love amusement parks. Well to be honest we are mostly Disney fans but Universal did a pretty good job with Harry Potter. Especially the main attraction at the castle. The queue itself was a t0ur of the Hogwarts Castle through Dumbledores office, Defense Against The Dark Arts Class, moving photographs, and so much attention to detail! It didn’t feel like we were waiting at all. The ride is the best part of the whole park. Its a mix of 3D graphics and real life roller coaster feel! I’ve never ridden anything like it! It did make Carson super sick. Poor guy.

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I know I said the ride was the best part, but the Butterbeer came in a close second. It’s a magical butterscotch/root beer concoction that’d I would go back for! We had a blast. The rest of Universal Studios is what it is but Harry Potter was definitely worth a visit! I have so much fun running around with Carson and these are memories I will cherish forever! I’m so excited for the next year and many more ahead for us!

xoxo

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