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!

Mystery Christmas Box Exchange

Good Morning!

There’s 14 days until Christmas, and I’m trying to squeeze in all the Christmas blog posts I can! If you haven’t read any of my other posts so far, check them out! I wrote about the Christmas festivities in Philadelphia, and even wrote not one BUT TWO gift guides for the travel lovers in your life. If you need some last minute gift ideas, my gift guides would be perfect.

Anyway, back to today’s post!

Back in the fall, my fellow Christmas-loving friend Marissa and I were talking about how much we adore Christmas time and came up with a fantastic idea. A mystery Christmas box exchange! The goal was to each fill a box with Christmas goodies that the other person would enjoy, and then exchange them. Marissa just posted a video of her box on her YouTube channel (hello vlogmas!), so you can check her out here!! If you love all things Christmas and fitness, then you’ll love her channel. Make sure you watch and see what I stuffed her box with. 🙂

Here’s a sneak peak of her box! 🙂

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I had so much fun opening the Mystery Christmas box Marissa gifted me! It felt like Christmas came early! Before she filled my box, I told her my Christmas style was all things cozy and warm. She nailed it! The first thing she added to my Christmas box were two Bath and Body Works candles! She got me the Tis’ the Season and Blue Berry Sugar scented ones! So Christmasy! 🙂

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Next, she gifted me an ADORABLE Christmas mug along with a Starbucks gift card. Along with being a Christmas enthusiast, I’m a coffee enthusiast.

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Following along with the cozy theme, she added a pajama set and fluffy socks. I wish you could feel the pajamas through the screen because they are unbelievably soft.

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Marissa also added some festive red nail polish! Every woman needs red nail polish, especially during the Christmas season. The color was Big Apple Red!

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This was such a fun and unique spin on getting into the Christmas spirit! If you LOVE Christmas as much as we do, I’d recommend doing this mystery box exchange with your friends too! It’s so simple. All you have to do is set a price limit and a theme (ours was all things Christmas) and start shopping! The items in my Christmas box would also make fantastic gift ideas for any woman in your life.

I hope you enjoyed another festive post here on A World of Crazy! Make sure you check out Marissa’s YouTube channel to see the Mystery Box I gifted her, and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any upcoming adventures. 😉 xoxo

Marissa’s Channel: HERE

Mystery Box Exchange: HERE

Gift Guide for the Traveling Man

HO HO HO!!

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

Life Update: Our Plans for the Holiday Season

Hello!

I wanted to hop on the blog and write a short update about what’s going on with Taylor and I in regards to the holidays! As most of you know, Taylor and I flew back to America at the beginning of November. While I flew to Philadelphia, Taylor flew to Florida for work. A few days before Thanksgiving, Taylor hopped on a flight back to China! No worries though, he got to spend Thanksgiving with everyone else living in China. 🙂 These are some photos he sent me:

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Before the MLB booked any of these flights for us, Taylor and I sat down together and hashed out how we wanted to conquer the holidays this year! I could’ve flown to Florida with him, but really wanted to go home and see my family without buying a round trip flight from Florida to Philly. I also didn’t want to fly back to China before Thanksgiving and then come back right before Christmas. That’s a lot of long flights and time change! Although, now that it’s been over a month, I’m starting to regret not going to Florida with him for a portion of his stay. I miss him!

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His Christmas vacation starts in the middle of December, when he’ll fly back to South Carolina. Then, he’ll drive up to Pennsylvania to spend a week here with my side of the family. After that, we’ll drive back to South Carolina together, where we’ll spend Christmas. I hope this isn’t super confusing… even I get a little confused writing about it. 🙂

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I’ve been loving my time at home! I spend most of my days helping my mom plan for an upcoming Christmas party, taking photos, hanging out with Bubba and Riley, and helping my family around the house. There’s only 25 days until Christmas…just saying! 🙂

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Taylor is working hard and still adjusting to the 13 hour time change. I can’t wait to see him in a few weeks. We’re going to have so much fun celebrating the holidays together with friends and family, and of course catching a few Clemson games before the season ends!

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Let me know if you have anymore questions about our holiday plans and I’ll answer them down below. xoxo

 

Chinese National Day

Happy Chinese National Week!

October 1st was the official National Day of the Peoples Republic of China, and the country has been celebrating all week long! Every year, the country shuts down in order to celebrate together. The holiday occurs right after the Mid-Autumn Festival, but every few years the two holidays blend together and the celebration lasts a few days longer. We got lucky because this is what happened this year!

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Like the rest of the country, Taylor has been off for the whole week. We were debating on traveling somewhere cool, but we opted for staying in Nanjing to chill out. We just got back from Europe and we have a few trips planned in the near future. Our Chinese friends said traveling around the country at this time is absolute chaos anyway, and they recommended we stay in the city. We were happy to oblige! 🙂

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Our week has been filled with a lot of relaxing and some sightseeing around Nanjing. We’ve been talking about walking the city wall since we arrived, so we knew this was the perfect time to go!

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We paid 60 RMB total for the two of us to walk along the historical wall, which is 10 USD. Totally worth it!

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The Nanjing city wall took 28 years to construct and was finalized in 1366!!  Incase you’re wondering, that’s 410 years before America was founded!

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We couldn’t have picked a better day to explore the city wall. The air quality varies day by day here, and we really lucked out with clear skies! This city is so beautiful, especially when you can see the surrounding mountains in the distance.

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The good thing about living in Nanjing, is that it’s a very up-and-coming city. Most people who live here didn’t actually grow up here. During Chinese National Week, most families leave Nanjing to return to their hometowns. Because of this, the city wall wasn’t overcrowded and we could take our time.

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Below the wall is a huge park, which we visited during our first week living in China. It’s crazy how different I felt on this day compared to then.

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I filmed our day walking along the wall and some more about our day, and you can watch it on my YouTube channel HERE!

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Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with all our adventures! 🙂

Florence, Italy

Taylor and I are officially back in China, so that can only mean one thing. Our Italian blog posts are nearing the end! If you missed the first few posts, you can read them all here:

Zurich, Lugano, Lake Como, Venice 

The fifth city we visited was Florence! After we packed our bags up in Venice, we took another train and rode to our next destination. We really enjoyed taking the trains everywhere in Europe. It’s so much easier and cheaper than flying. Florence is located in central Italy, within Tuscany.

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I’d say that Florence is known for architecture and food. It’s here where we ate the best Italian food of our lives.

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The man behind all the travel plans. 🙂 I’d be lost without him…literally. He puts so much effort into planning our adventures together.

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If I’m being honest, Florence wasn’t my favorite city that we visited during our European adventure. We were still coming off a high of visiting Lake Como and Venice, and Florence was just okay in my book. I’m not dying to go back, and I really don’t know if I’d make an effort to return. I’m glad we came, but I wouldn’t spend more than two nights here. Like I said before, the food was INCREDIBLE, but that was the highlight of visiting Florence.

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When visiting Florence, you NEED NEED NEED to eat at ZaZa’s. This place was so incredible that we ate there TWICE. This is unheard of for us. The even crazier thing about this place, is that it’s ranked in the 200’s on Trip Advisor for some reason?? I guess there’s just so many places to eat in Florence that the competition is hard. The lasagna was the best I’ve ever eaten and so was the homemade gnocchi. Seriously. You have to eat here.

We also stumbled across a unique wine shop one night called DiVino. You purchase the bottle size you’d like (or glass) and they’d fill it up with whatever local wine they had available. The first time we went, we purchased a standard 750ml bottle and filled it with cabernet. Our total was 4.50 euro and the wine was delicious! We returned the next day and it was only 3 euro since we already had the bottle! Such a genius idea!

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I felt so uninspired to take photos here. I’m not sure if it was because taking photos of architecture isn’t my thing, or that museums are difficult to photograph, or if everything looked the same. Maybe I’m crazy? If you’ve travelled all over Italy, let me know your thoughts on Florence, because I’m really curious. I don’t want to hate on Florence because we really did have a good time. If art history, architecture, and good food are you’re thing then you’d probably love this city!

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If you do find yourself in Florence, you need to walk through the gardens overlooking the city! The view gives you an incredible lookout for miles!

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The second thing you need to do is go and see the David statue, which was created in 1873! One thing to note is that there’s the real, authentic David, and then there’s a mock David. Please make sure you go see the real one, and not the fake! You can find the beautiful marble statue in the Accademia Gallery. The replica is in the Piazza della Signoria.

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With an abundance of museums in Florence, your time there can get expensive! When we were deciding which museums to purchase tickets for, we both agreed that that Museo Galileo would be the most interesting. Taylor is all about science and navigation, so this was absolutely perfect! 🙂 Tickets were 10 euro each, and it took us about an hour to see everything. We had the best time looking at all the early maps and scientific inventions!

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That’s it for our time in Florence! Next stop, the beach!