Christmas in America Recap

We’ve returned to China, so that means I’m back to updating y’all on the blog! Welcome back!

Before I jump into more posts about our life in China and the upcoming adventures we have planned (yay!), here’s a brief recap about our time in America during the holidays! (You can read about the specific timing of our vacation HERE.) Sorry if this post is a little jumbled. We did so much in such a short amount of time, so there’s a lot to cover.

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During the months of November and December, I visited all my friends and family in Pennsylvania while Taylor was still working in Florida/China! Here are some of the things I did:

img_5091Kicked off the holiday season with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with my family.

IMG_53081Explored the city of Philadelphia with one of my best friends. You can read that post HERE.

6img_4692Snuggled with Bubba and Riley. a lot.

a.r. workshop spartanburg, scDrank copious amounts of coffee with friends.

img_5575Helped plan our annual Mast-Family Christmas party.

24135a05-5bd1-44af-b36b-1bc800d2a79c.jpgWhen Taylor met me in Pennsylvania at the end of December, he brought Maybelle along with him so she could meet all the other pups! I was in puppy heaven with three adorable yorkies under one roof.

Processed with VSCO with av8 presetimg_5764We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family, then drove down to South Carolina together on the 23rd. (We alternate Christmas each year.) While we were visiting the south for a month, here’s what we did together:

dsc_5855a.r. workshop spartanburg, sc-2Celebrated Christmas with Taylor’s side of the family.

img_6378img_6388Traveled to Dallas to watch the Clemson Tigers play in the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame.

img_6981dsc_5964Visited Charleston. Twice.

5img_6643IMG_6619.jpg4Processed with VSCO with g6 presetimg_6694Flew to Portland and drove down to Santa Clara, California to watch Clemson win the National Championship against Alabama! We saw the Redwood National Forest and Napa Valley along the way!

3Snuggled with Maybelle.

img_6808Watched a few Clemson basketball games.

2img_6896Participated in an A.R. Workshop for the first time. We made a lazy suzan for the house we don’t have. 🙂 This was a lot of fun though!

In total, I was in America for 3 months and Taylor was there for 1. We’re so thankful for all the friends and family we have who support us on this crazy journey and welcome us into their homes for extended periods of time. We were able to return to China feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the new year!

Gift Guide for the Traveling Man


I’m back with another gift guide! This time, it’s for the traveling man in your life! I had a lot of fun creating my last guide, so I really wanted to create another one. I think we all have a guy in our life who loves all things adventure, so any of these gifts would be perfect. Like my last guide, I’ve suggested a wide variety of items with different price ranges. I hope you enjoy!

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  1. Taylor swears by his zip-off pants. I know they may not be the most stylish for everyone, but he adores his. They’re perfect for long days of traveling when you’re not sure what the temperature will be throughout the day. They’re also perfect for visiting temples and other conservative places that require pants when it’s super hot out!
  2. A leather toiletry bag is a great gift idea because it’s practical. Just about everyone travels with toiletries, so it’s nice to have a bag to keep things organized.
  3. This is one of the more expensive items on the list, but they’ll get plenty of use! Taylor purchased the Sony WH-1000XM2 awhile ago and uses them almost every day. Something neat about these Sony headphones is the noise canceling feature, which is perfect for airplanes. You literally can’t hear anything when wearing them.
  4. Continuing with the leather trend, a leather luggage tag!! It’s classy and practical. I think it would be super cute to have it monogramed too!
  5. A Rick Stevens book is PERFECT if you know where they’re headed next! Rick Stevens is known for his travel knowledge, and you can always find the best information about any destination. This is great for someone who loves learning about new places too.
  6. A cozy beanie is always stylish and easy to travel with. You can never have too many hats!
  7. Taylor and I carry our whole lives in our passport wallet. We got ours on Amazon several years ago and it will be with us forever. It holds all our important documents, cards, keys, etc. When you travel internationally, you have lots of items that need to be brought along, and this makes things easy and functional.
  8. Backpacks make a great gift for any guy in your life! I’m pretty sure Taylor has a backpack for every occasion, and his traveling one has been to a lot of cool places. Backpacks allow you to keep your hands free. They also fit under the seat on most airplanes, classifying them as “personal items” on any airline.
  9. Rain jackets are those things you should pack for every trip, but never remember. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift. There’s nothing worse than wanting to explore a new place, but having no protection from the rain.
  10. A water bottle that can keep your beverage hot or cold is great for traveling! They’re easy to throw in that backpack too. 😉

I think men can be so difficult to shop for sometimes. I also hate looking up “great gifts for men” online and finding random stuff that nobody in my family would like. You can find the weirdest suggestions sometimes! I really think the gifts I mentioned are useful and would be greatly appreciated by any man in your life that loves traveling. xoxo

Christmas Spirit in Philadelphia

If you couldn’t tell already, I love this time of year. There’s so much to see and do, and it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit. Last weekend, I visited one of my very best friends in her new city, Philadelphia! This is her first Christmas in the city, so we were excited to get into the holiday spirit together. We set out on Sunday afternoon to experience all the Christmas cheer Philadelphia had to offer. It was rainy, but we made the most of it!

DSC_5868DSC_5921The first thing we did was visit the Christmas Village in Love Park! There were vendors set up in adorable little pop-up shops selling all sorts of Christmas goodies. They had food, ornaments, and other homemade items. If you’re looking for a unique, homemade Christmas gift, this is the spot for you! (As you can tell by the photos, it was packed.)



After wondering around for a little, we walked across the street to Dilworth Park’s Winter Garden. There were even more pop-up shops, an ice skating rink, and their giant Christmas tree!

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Even though it was rainy, the city was still pretty all decorated for the season. It was the perfect time to go, because I think the rain scared off some people! I can’t imagine how crowded it would’ve been during a nice day!


After walking around Dilworth Park, we walked to Franklin Square. They have a really cool light show that starts at 4:30 and it runs every half hour.



While we waited for the show to start, we ordered some hot chocolate and took some photos. 🙂


After finishing our hot chocolates and watching the lights (so cool!), we ordered an Uber and called it a day! The sun was setting and the temperatures were dropping. We had such a fun time exploring Philadelphia on a dreary Sunday. I think we’ll make this an annual tradition from here on! ❤

Have you been to Philadelphia during the holidays? What should we do next time?


Gift Guide for The Traveling Woman

I love this time of year!! The weather is cooler, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit. Can you believe Christmas is only 42 days away?! Personally, I’m a Christmas enthusiast, which means I’ve been celebrating since October. With that being said, I’ve made my lists, checked them twice, and have been on the hunt for the perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family.

When I was making my own Christmas list, I realized that I had a lot of useful items for traveling! That’s when I thought to myself, why not make a Gift Guide for the Traveling woman? The list I’ve created has a variety of items that work well for stocking stuffers, or a nice gift wrapped under the tree. I also tried to keep things reasonably priced. These gifts are perfect for anyone who enjoys traveling frequently, or for the woman who is counting down the days until her next vacation! Either way, they make my life easier when traveling the world, so I know they’ll be useful to you as well.

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  1. You can’t go wrong with a big blanket scarf, especially during this time of year! I love this item because it’s has multiple uses when traveling. You can wear it around your neck to stay warm, or you can use it as a nice blanket on the plane. Most long-haul airlines provide you with a blanket, but they tend to be small and low quality. A blanket scarf is easy to throw in your carry on bag and you’re good to go!
  2. A portable charger is a fantastic stocking stuffer for a traveling woman. You never know when you’ll need to charge your phone! Have a delayed flight and nowhere to plug in your phone? Now you do with this portable charger! You can never have too many of these.
  3. An adaptor can be super overlooked when packing! This is essential if you’re leaving the country. I don’t know about you, but when I first traveled out of America I didn’t know that the outlets were different! These adaptors will plug into any outlet in various countries so you can charge your devices. Thank me later on this one.
  4. Chapstick is such a simple, but highly desired stocking stuffer! My lips always get dry and chapped when I’m sitting on a long flight.
  5. A Kindle is the most expensive item on my Gift Guide, but totally worth it for any traveling bookworms on your list! A lot of people like to take a few books with them on vacation. I’m the same, but I hated carrying around books and wasting space in my carry-on luggage. Buying a Kindle revolutionized that for me! It’s also cheaper to buy books for your Kindle rather than a hard copy.
  6. A nice water bottle! You can’t get through security with it full, but you can fill it up once you’re through! A lot of airports have a built in filtration system now. It’s super easy to become dehydrated during a long flight, so you can ask your flight attendants to fill it up for you.
  7. A fuzzy sherpa pullover! These are all the rage right now, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t desperately want this for Christmas. This makes it easy to bundle up and stay warm while traveling. It’s a perfect layering piece!
  8. Can you tell I like all things warm and cozy? I love a good pair of fuzzy socks when I’m stuck on a plane or in a car. I feel so much more relaxed when I take my shoes off!
  9. Knockarounds are my favorite sunglasses! They’re very reasonably priced and amazing quality. These are the only sunglasses I wear! Sunglasses can break during travel, so you don’t want to take any that are super expensive.

I hope this Gift Guide gave you some inspiration for your upcoming Christmas shopping! I know I’d love any of these items under my tree! ❤ If you want to see a male version, I can have Taylor make one!