Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Texans Abroad | Rye, England

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Rye, England is the cutest, quirkiest town I’ve seen so far. When Taylor wanted to show me this small part of England last summer, I was continually surprised at the charming views and clever homes.

ryemapAn hour’s train ride there from Canterbury, we ended up in another county, East Sussex. Though now two miles from the coastline, Rye was originally at the head of a bay in The English Channel and was an important Medieval trading port.

Walking up the cobbled stone roads looking at all the historical homes felt like walking through a storybook. Picturesque Medieval and Georgian homes crawling with greenery, each carrying a clever sign to describe itself. I was so intrigued by this quirky feature of the town!

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Walking up Mermaid Street, I was completely amused with the funny signs on doors.

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“The House with Two Doors”

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“House with the Seat”

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Our day was quite filled in this small town as we found our way around to 900 year old church, St Mary,  Ypres Tower, and coffee at a lovely cafe. Home to many authors, illustrators and musicians, even Paul McCartney of The Beatles, apparently, I can certainly see where they gain their inspiration.

 

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The Parish of St. Mary Church, Rye

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Viewing the old bells at St. Mary Church that are still tolled

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Climbed to the top of St. Mary Church and walking out the diagonal door to see the views.

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Black cat of St. Mary Church

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Trying on a replica viking helmet at Rye Castle Museum (Ypres Tower)

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Original torture device in Ypres Tower, which was mostly used as a jail.


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TexansAbroad | Weekend Getaway to York, England

December was filled to the brim with lovely get-togethers, plenty of good cheer, and one big weekend trip to York, England. From Canterbury West train station, heading into London Kings Cross Station, we hopped aboard the third Virgin train we could find. Having been scheduled for a much earlier train, we had our tickets changed twice as we realized the extent of the crowds waiting to begin this cramped four hour journey. Waiting an extra hour and half put us on an empty and comfortable train where our journey could finally commence.map

Long train journeys are best planned out: a good book, some downloaded episodes of a fun TV show, and a packed lunch are our recommendations. Lunch is the most important part. After being crammed into the morning train to London–discovering there is only standing room left, with your backpack constantly hitting the arm of the guy wedged beside you and praying for a breath of fresh air–there is nothing more satisfying than knowing once you are finally out of London, tucked away into a seat, the simplest of pleasures-the sandwich-is waiting for you.

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Yorkshire Museum in the distance

Once we were settled into our hotel and enjoyed a short rest, flicking through channels on the television in hopes of finding a fun British show (we don’t have TV and rely on Netflix and Amazon. We don’t miss it, but the familiar comfort of channel surfing is always fun), we began our walk into the city centre

The first evening, other than a quick enjoyable trip to the Yorkshire Museum, was spent among the hoardes of Christmas market goers. We knew exploring a busy new city in the dark wouldn’t be the most fun, so we instead sauntered our way through the Christmas stalls, stopping for dinner and mulled wine at nearby food stands. Christmas markets are a new experience for us, though the concept is clear: to shop. York was our first big Christmas market: dozens of stalls filled with handmade scarves and wooden statues, soap and ornaments. We aren’t too interested in shopping while on trips, so we mostly made our way around a couple times, listened to some Christmas buskers and found our way back to the hotel.

 

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St. Mary’s Abbey ruins

The next day and a half we were able to experience more of York, taking photos along the way. The best part was stumbling upon the historic cat trail. Business owners would erect statues of cats onto their buildings to scare away birds and mice. There are two trails to follow, put on by two cat stores (one sold glass figurines, including cats and the other store sold cat accessories). We chose to follow the trail map made by the glass figurine store, which turned out to be riddles and clues that led us all across the city in search of cats. We photographed about 23 cats and saw parts of the city we wouldn’t have otherwise explored!

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St. Mary’s Abbey ruins, York, England

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Taylor taking a photo of the first views of the city

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Little Shambles, York. Medieval houses dating back from the 14th century

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Taylor standing under a lopsided building in the Little Shambles

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Walking along the York Roman wall. More narrow than Canterbury wall, but over two miles long!

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Dover Travel Video…and Bloopers

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I have begun making travel videos for our adventures abroad.  I love these videos and wrote about my basic plan for them last week.

Our trip to Dover last weekend was so fun.  After I made the initial ‘pretty’ travel video,  I decided to make a blooper reel as well.  In the videos I show you serene scenes of landscapes and buildings set to lovely music,  but in reality my husband and I are two dorks and our commentary is so contradictory to the lovely scenes you see.  Have a look!  And check out my YouTube channel for more #TexansAbroad funny and lovely videos!


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#TexansAbroad | Dover, England

Dover Castle Grounds

This past weekend me and Taylor took a 40 minute train ride to the coast to visit the town of Dover. Hopping off the train, we made our way through town in search of a map of Dover and breakfast.

There was nothing remarkable about the particular breakfast place we chose. It called itself The Mean Bean. It served strong coffee and cold pastries. It was rather early so the place was empty when we sat down. As we sipped our lattes and made a loose plan for our day, the coffee shop slowly began to fill up. Each and every customer greeted the owner with conversation and camaraderie. They spread themselves out amongst a few tables, but the conversation never stopped. A few patrons table-swapped to have more personal catch-ups with their friends. The place filled with laughter, British slang, and the smell of coffee. We had stumbled into a local establishment.

This was actually a major find for us. We love Canterbury so much, but between all of the universities and its only industry–tourism, you can’t just walk into any given place and be met with locals. This place was the real deal. It was wonderful and amusing and refreshing.

Dover was refreshing.

Dover, Kent Ocean

Dover still has quite the tourist draw, with its famous white cliffs, a major castle, and its lovely seaside location. But there was such a difference between it and Canterbury. We were thrilled to step away from the hustle of tourists in Canterbury to the slower paced Dover.

We had an amazing time hiking the cliffs, visiting the castle and eating like locals.

Dover, Kent white cliffs of Dover

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Postcard Collectors

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In Scotland we fell in love with several paintings at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Among many other artists, we were also able to see works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet. Not willing to spend too much money or sacrifice too much personal space on the train ride home, we decided to bring home post cards of our favorites as ‘souvenirs’. Then all of a sudden, we had a handful of postcards and a choice to stack them in a nice, neat pile on a shelf or display them somehow.  Display it is!

One of my very favorite wedding memorabilia were our RSVP postcards. We had our guests check yes or no (of course) and in turn write or draw messages of encouragement. I made all these into a cute book that I hope to always have with us.

427903_3741405863539_1404572106_nAnd I would love to add to our current postcard collection! If you have a hankering for snail mail, perhaps we could all be postcard pen pals? (Just let me know!) At any rate, I now have a fun wall of postcards with plans to expand as we continue to visit different places!

 


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25 Things I Want to Do While I’m 25

Happy Birthday to me! Sort of. Close enough. I’m turning 25 soon, which really doesn’t mean all that much to me. Yes, it is strange to think of myself as ’25’, but there will always be people older and younger, and I’ve always been okay with that. I don’t feel like I’m getting too old and I suspect I’ll always feel that way. Why stress on the inevitable? I can only hope I can let go of my hair color and can happily prove that there are laugh–not frown– lines on my face, when the time comes.

That being said, of course I want to grow old gracefully, which really puts sitting on the couch eating a plate of nachos as I type this into perspective….

There are some personal goals, resolutions and habits that I would really like to accomplish and add to my life. I want to live the adventure, not just by having the adventures, but by having a life filled with simple joys that make a memory and betters the ‘wholeness’ of my life.

I’m already working on several of these, and I hope to cross off as many as I can!

1. Learn basic french
2. Learn more about my DSLR camera; take better photos
3. Travel around England cities
4. Visit all the countries in the UK (Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland)
5. Understand watercolor painting
6. Sketch more
7. Get back into exercise
8. Learn to ‘be’, or as the Italian say ‘asolare’; pass time in a meaningless, but delightful way
9. Go outside more just to go outside (as opposed to walking to the corner store)
10. Read some classic novels
11. Make a habit of telling people how I feel
12. Dive into the Bible
13. Try out the odd vegetables in the store
14. Help strangers more often
15. Share more about myself with friends
16. Become more involved with church
17. Make better sleep habits
18. Don’t spend money on the small things, but remember the big things we could have instead (traveling)
19. Make peace with the past and allow the lessons I learned to change my perspective of the present
20. Send more snailmail
21. Complete a photo project
22. Listen to music more often
23. Invest in things that will forever be a memory of our travels, and worth carrying around for years to come
24. Complain less
25. Continue to work on the good habits I already practice but are still fairly new (drinking water, taking vitamins, good skincare regimen)


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The Bucket List Life

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We are halfway into January and I couldn’t be more excited about the new year! When I think about what I want out of this year for myself and Taylor, one word really sticks out: adventure. I’m so ready to make 2015 a year of travel, learning and creativity.

Taylor and I love going on road trips and have taken one every summer since we’ve been married, so I know we are suited to traveling. We’ve enjoyed road trips all throughout the southern states, took a trip to Belize to visit Taylor’s dad, and (obviously) made the move to England for school. As we were preparing for our trip across the pond, so many friends and family would go on about all the places we could visit; London! Paris! Scotland! And I would respond with “Oh, definitely,” because, of course, right?!

But despite all that, despite the love of travel and the “For sure, we’ll be visiting XY&Z,” the travel bug didn’t hit me until this January! And once it hit, it hit hard!

 

Last weekend we decided to take a Saturday trip to London to visit a couple of the famous London monuments. We spent the morning visiting Buckingham Palace, seeing the gates, the Canada Memorial Gates and the Victoria Fountain. We then visited Green Park and Hyde Park, as well as the War Memorials and the Wellington Arch. The afternoon was spent at Westminster Cathedral and The British Museum. (All of these places were free!)

Being amidst so many amazing historical monuments was what had me researching cities and countries in and around England that night. There are SO many wonderful sights to experience, rich with history and beauty, and now I want to see it all! From the shores of Whitstable–just a short bus ride away–to the Carpet of Flowers in Brussels, Belgium. 2015 will be the year we travel!

Our ‘plan’ is to travel often and travel cheaply! We want to take many, many Saturday day trips to the surrounding cities. Traveling in England will be inexpensive and most of the sights we want to see are free. Then there are the ‘big’ trips. We don’t know how many we’ll be able to afford, but the price of a bus or train, or even plane, ticket from London to many other countries is so inexpensive, we really don’t have much of an excuse!

I’ve created two sort of ‘wishful thinking’ lists of places I’d love to see, most of which are incredibly viable options! Pinterest has made my dreaming incredibly easy with beautiful photos and advice all rolled into a simple Pinterest Board. I can add to it as I please! I’ve also started a list of goals at bucketlistly.com. This website makes it simple to create a ‘bucketlist’ of places I want to travel and things I want to do. I also enjoy Bucketlistly because, once I’ve achieved a goal, I share a photo of that goal and it’s added to my profile! You can see my ‘achieved’ goals here: My Life Visualized.

Yes, this will be our year of adventure! And really, so much more goes into that word. I’d like to work on my photography, I want to paint more, I want to venture into creating videos…I expect that word will fit quite nicely in 2015, and we’ve already started making it a reality!

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