MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE
MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

[Chicago] traveler | foodie | wonderer | wanderer Next ✈ : UP!

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Jose Marti Airport La Havana Cuba
Have you ever visited a second world, communist country? 
~~~~~~~~~~
Well, after growing up in the US, it has an incredibly different feel, and obviously it's another country, so the culture and the people, everything, is different. Over the past few days, I've been sharing the story of how I got in trouble in the Cuban airport! Concluding the story below ⬇️ 
~~~~~~~~~~
•We're finally moving forward through security, but it is SLOW going. It's taking forever and no one has any patience left. People are pushing and shoving, trying to cut in line and get through security faster. 
•Around 11:30am, I get scanned in and pass through the gate to the security check. Once I'm through, it's an even better vantage point for the massive crowds pushing towards us. Without thinking, I whip out my phone and take a quick video of the crowds of people at the airport. 
•I head over to security and throw my bags up on the belt. All of a sudden, someone from the military (yes it's military, not just standard TSA), approaches me and starts speaking rapid Spanish.
•I'm lost. My Spanish is fine for reading, or when spoken slowly, beyond that, NOPE. He angrily demands I hand over my passport immediately. I figured that much out. Then he starts yelling and gesturing at my phone. Finally it hits me. He's demanding that I delete the videos that I took, or he won't return my passport and I'll be in huge trouble. While he watches my like a hawk, i go to my gallery and quickly delete the videos. 
•I'm mildly panicking. Everyone was doing it! I didn't think twice. But as I'm being stared down by this soldier, all I can think is, "oh my God, I'm about to be arrested." However, once he watched me delete the videos (he kept yelling "basura! Basura!" -- thank God for 5 years of Spanish class), he handed over my passport and I was finally able to make it through security. 
~~~~~~~~~~
And that, kids, is why you don't video security checkpoints in second world, communist countries. Have you ever had an experience like this?!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you ever visited a second world, communist country? ~~~~~~~~~~ Well, after growing up in the US, it has an incredibly different feel, and obviously it's another country, so the culture and the people, everything, is different. Over the past few days, I've been sharing the story of how I got in trouble in the Cuban airport! Concluding the story below ⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ •We're finally moving forward through security, but it is SLOW going. It's taking forever and no one has any patience left. People are pushing and shoving, trying to cut in line and get through security faster. •Around 11:30am, I get scanned in and pass through the gate to the security check. Once I'm through, it's an even better vantage point for the massive crowds pushing towards us. Without thinking, I whip out my phone and take a quick video of the crowds of people at the airport. •I head over to security and throw my bags up on the belt. All of a sudden, someone from the military (yes it's military, not just standard TSA), approaches me and starts speaking rapid Spanish. •I'm lost. My Spanish is fine for reading, or when spoken slowly, beyond that, NOPE. He angrily demands I hand over my passport immediately. I figured that much out. Then he starts yelling and gesturing at my phone. Finally it hits me. He's demanding that I delete the videos that I took, or he won't return my passport and I'll be in huge trouble. While he watches my like a hawk, i go to my gallery and quickly delete the videos. •I'm mildly panicking. Everyone was doing it! I didn't think twice. But as I'm being stared down by this soldier, all I can think is, "oh my God, I'm about to be arrested." However, once he watched me delete the videos (he kept yelling "basura! Basura!" -- thank God for 5 years of Spanish class), he handed over my passport and I was finally able to make it through security. ~~~~~~~~~~ And that, kids, is why you don't video security checkpoints in second world, communist countries. Have you ever had an experience like this?!

Jose Marti Airport La Havana Cuba
Did you see my post yesterday?🤔
~~~~~~~~~~
If not, go check it out! It contains part one of this story... How I was almost detained in Cuba! Read below for part two⬇️
~~~~~~~~~~
•Now I'm stuck waiting it out in the airport, with no internet. I couldn't check my flight status or contact anyone about this huge hold up at the airport! It's incredibly hot because of all the bodies pressing forwards, and security is yelling trying to keep people back behind the lines. It's a hot mess. 
•Finally, some genius has the bright idea to start collecting people's passports and tickets. "AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 1234, PLEASE HAND FORWARD YOUR PASSPORTS AND TICKETS. We will check you off manually, and then return your passport." 
•And suddenly hundreds of passports are floating through the crowd. I'm looking at these people wondering if they're stupid? What a terrible idea. Surrender your passport and plane ticket to a bunch of strangers in the middle of what's essentially a mob, and then just hope you'll get it back? No thanks, not me. I decided to wait it out. 
•At this point, it's been nearly 2hours. People are starting to miss their flights, passports are going missing, it's chaos. You see people holding up cell phones and videoing the madness, the way one would video a concert. Naturally, for the blog, I decided to grab a video or two. No harm, no foul, right?
•Finally, I hear them calling for my flight. Instead of taking our passports, they want us to all make our way to the right hand side, where they got TWO computers up and running. I slowly make my way through the crowd and am thrilled to be getting closer to the checkpoint. 
~~~~~~~~~~
Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what happens next!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Did you see my post yesterday?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~ If not, go check it out! It contains part one of this story... How I was almost detained in Cuba! Read below for part two⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ •Now I'm stuck waiting it out in the airport, with no internet. I couldn't check my flight status or contact anyone about this huge hold up at the airport! It's incredibly hot because of all the bodies pressing forwards, and security is yelling trying to keep people back behind the lines. It's a hot mess. •Finally, some genius has the bright idea to start collecting people's passports and tickets. "AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 1234, PLEASE HAND FORWARD YOUR PASSPORTS AND TICKETS. We will check you off manually, and then return your passport." •And suddenly hundreds of passports are floating through the crowd. I'm looking at these people wondering if they're stupid? What a terrible idea. Surrender your passport and plane ticket to a bunch of strangers in the middle of what's essentially a mob, and then just hope you'll get it back? No thanks, not me. I decided to wait it out. •At this point, it's been nearly 2hours. People are starting to miss their flights, passports are going missing, it's chaos. You see people holding up cell phones and videoing the madness, the way one would video a concert. Naturally, for the blog, I decided to grab a video or two. No harm, no foul, right? •Finally, I hear them calling for my flight. Instead of taking our passports, they want us to all make our way to the right hand side, where they got TWO computers up and running. I slowly make my way through the crowd and am thrilled to be getting closer to the checkpoint. ~~~~~~~~~~ Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what happens next!

Jose Marti Airport La Havana Cuba
What's a moment of pure fear/panic you've had while traveling?😱
~~~~~~~~~~
I haven't shared this story yet, but I figured now is as good a time as any! I was almost detained at the airport in Cuba! I initially was going to share the full story in one go, but once I got it typed out I decided it'd be better to tell the story in parts. Over the next 3 days, I'll be sharing sharing I was almost detained in Cuba! Part 1 Below⬇️
~~~~~~~~~~
•I'm a big researcher. I plan everything down to the minute when I travel because I like to be organized and have a plan. I'd done the research. I knew that it was highly recommended to get to Jose Martí Airport in Havana at least 3-4hours before your flight departed because the airport is notorious for slow processing etc.
•My flight was at noon(ish) and so I decided I'd get to the airport no later than 7:30-8a, so that I would have plenty of time to get through security, find my gate, and have no concerns. 
•Well, I get to the airport around 7:30. The line is long, but not terrible! I get in line and and casually waiting. There is no internet or cell service (refer to my previous posts for more info on this), so I'm not even on my phone. I'm just bored, in a line. The line is moving slowly but surely. I'm not worried about making my flight. 
•All of a sudden, I'm TWO people away from the security checkpoint... It's now 7:50am. And we stop moving. Literally NO ONE moves for 20 minutes. People are starting to get antsy. No one knows what is happening. The bodies are starting to press forward, irritated by the delay. 
•Of course, no one speaks English. So I have NO idea what's happening. Finally, after a lot of eavesdropping, I gathered that the entire airport computer system was down. They weren't able able get into the computers, and so they couldn't let anyone past security!
•People are pressing forward. It's been an hour or more. We've gone from patiently waiting and sitting peacefully on the ground to yelling, and pushing forwards angrily, claiming we're missing flights. I'm at a loss. All I could think was, it's good I got here early.
~~~~~~~~~~
Can anyone guess what happened next??🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What's a moment of pure fear/panic you've had while traveling?😱 ~~~~~~~~~~ I haven't shared this story yet, but I figured now is as good a time as any! I was almost detained at the airport in Cuba! I initially was going to share the full story in one go, but once I got it typed out I decided it'd be better to tell the story in parts. Over the next 3 days, I'll be sharing sharing I was almost detained in Cuba! Part 1 Below⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ •I'm a big researcher. I plan everything down to the minute when I travel because I like to be organized and have a plan. I'd done the research. I knew that it was highly recommended to get to Jose Martí Airport in Havana at least 3-4hours before your flight departed because the airport is notorious for slow processing etc. •My flight was at noon(ish) and so I decided I'd get to the airport no later than 7:30-8a, so that I would have plenty of time to get through security, find my gate, and have no concerns. •Well, I get to the airport around 7:30. The line is long, but not terrible! I get in line and and casually waiting. There is no internet or cell service (refer to my previous posts for more info on this), so I'm not even on my phone. I'm just bored, in a line. The line is moving slowly but surely. I'm not worried about making my flight. •All of a sudden, I'm TWO people away from the security checkpoint... It's now 7:50am. And we stop moving. Literally NO ONE moves for 20 minutes. People are starting to get antsy. No one knows what is happening. The bodies are starting to press forward, irritated by the delay. •Of course, no one speaks English. So I have NO idea what's happening. Finally, after a lot of eavesdropping, I gathered that the entire airport computer system was down. They weren't able able get into the computers, and so they couldn't let anyone past security! •People are pressing forward. It's been an hour or more. We've gone from patiently waiting and sitting peacefully on the ground to yelling, and pushing forwards angrily, claiming we're missing flights. I'm at a loss. All I could think was, it's good I got here early. ~~~~~~~~~~ Can anyone guess what happened next??🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Which restaurant do you want to go to first?! ~~~~~~~~~~ Over the past 4 days I've shared more details about each of these restaurants in my posts! Make sure to go back and save this info in case you ever travel down to the Gulf!

Florida
Do you prioritize eating out and finding good restaurants when you travel??🍽
~~~~~~~~~~
Well, if you don't normally do this, I hope my posts over the past few days have encouraged you to start! I love traveling to different places and trying new restaurants and new food. 
~~~~~~~~~~
I only have 3 restaurants left to share with you... As always, make sure to save this post for your future travels!
1️⃣ Palmetto - Riverhouse Waterfront - The sunset picture I posted the other day was taken here! Come for the views, stay for the food.😍 I was blown away when the bread came with a dish of brown stuff... I dared my brother to try it because I was a chicken and he scooped a ton into his mouth! Instead of serving bread and butter plain, like a normal restaurant, this spot spices it up. They serve a sweet bread with an incredible cinnamon sugar butter. I may have eaten a whole loaf.🙈
2️⃣ Sarasota - The Farmhouse Doughnuts and Decor - MORE SWEETS. This spot stole my heart back in 2019! The biggest tip I have for this spot is to order the mini donuts and eat them then and there. These donuts donuts NOT travel well and are best served fresh! 🍩
3️⃣ Sarasota - The Daiquiri Deck - I had an INSANE short rib grilled cheese. I'm still dreaming about it! And tbey have an extensive drink menu + a really well-timed happy hour! A lot of places have an earlier happy hour because they're less crowded early on. Daiquiri Deck's happy hour was surprisingly still going when we sat down to eat at 6! 🍹
~~~~~~~~~~
Have you enjoyed learning about stellar Gulf Coast restaurants?! I hope so! And I hope I've encouraged you to plan a trip down to try them yourself.

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you prioritize eating out and finding good restaurants when you travel??🍽 ~~~~~~~~~~ Well, if you don't normally do this, I hope my posts over the past few days have encouraged you to start! I love traveling to different places and trying new restaurants and new food. ~~~~~~~~~~ I only have 3 restaurants left to share with you... As always, make sure to save this post for your future travels! 1️⃣ Palmetto - Riverhouse Waterfront - The sunset picture I posted the other day was taken here! Come for the views, stay for the food.😍 I was blown away when the bread came with a dish of brown stuff... I dared my brother to try it because I was a chicken and he scooped a ton into his mouth! Instead of serving bread and butter plain, like a normal restaurant, this spot spices it up. They serve a sweet bread with an incredible cinnamon sugar butter. I may have eaten a whole loaf.🙈 2️⃣ Sarasota - The Farmhouse Doughnuts and Decor - MORE SWEETS. This spot stole my heart back in 2019! The biggest tip I have for this spot is to order the mini donuts and eat them then and there. These donuts donuts NOT travel well and are best served fresh! 🍩 3️⃣ Sarasota - The Daiquiri Deck - I had an INSANE short rib grilled cheese. I'm still dreaming about it! And tbey have an extensive drink menu + a really well-timed happy hour! A lot of places have an earlier happy hour because they're less crowded early on. Daiquiri Deck's happy hour was surprisingly still going when we sat down to eat at 6! 🍹 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you enjoyed learning about stellar Gulf Coast restaurants?! I hope so! And I hope I've encouraged you to plan a trip down to try them yourself.

Madeira Beach, Florida
Have you heard of Madeira Beach?🏖
~~~~~~~~~~
This town is ~35 minutes from Tampa and is known for this tourist attraction, the boardwalk at John's Pass. Enjoy the sunshine and check out local shops, restaurants, and attractions, such as "Kiss a Gator."🐊
~~~~~~~~~~
Continuing on, here are a few more restaurants in the Gulf Coast/Madeira Beach area. Be sure to save this post for a future trip!📌
1️⃣ Madeira Beach - The Candy Kitchen - We lucked out. Our condo was right across the street from this adorable spot! They have literally every type of candy imaginable, plus they serve ice cream! I recommend trying their cookie dough pop!
2️⃣ Madeira Beach - Sweet Brewnette - This spot is a true gem! They have 700+ great reviews on Google for a reason. We stopped in on a whim, and I ordered a smoothie and a breakfast sandwich. My breakfast sandwich was ENORMOUS, and insanely delicious. My smoothie was also really good! They also sell local art and cute "Sweet Brewnette" tees and tanks.
3️⃣ St. Pete's Beach - Snapper's Sea Grill - Snapper's is way classier than the two above food stops! I had a delicious salmon dinner, and their brussel sprouts were really good! I've never had brussels prepared the way they do them, and I was highly impressed. Also, they brought out some AMAZING hummus. SO GOOD.
~~~~~~~~~~
Which restaurant would you want to visit first?! 🍽

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you heard of Madeira Beach?🏖 ~~~~~~~~~~ This town is ~35 minutes from Tampa and is known for this tourist attraction, the boardwalk at John's Pass. Enjoy the sunshine and check out local shops, restaurants, and attractions, such as "Kiss a Gator."🐊 ~~~~~~~~~~ Continuing on, here are a few more restaurants in the Gulf Coast/Madeira Beach area. Be sure to save this post for a future trip!📌 1️⃣ Madeira Beach - The Candy Kitchen - We lucked out. Our condo was right across the street from this adorable spot! They have literally every type of candy imaginable, plus they serve ice cream! I recommend trying their cookie dough pop! 2️⃣ Madeira Beach - Sweet Brewnette - This spot is a true gem! They have 700+ great reviews on Google for a reason. We stopped in on a whim, and I ordered a smoothie and a breakfast sandwich. My breakfast sandwich was ENORMOUS, and insanely delicious. My smoothie was also really good! They also sell local art and cute "Sweet Brewnette" tees and tanks. 3️⃣ St. Pete's Beach - Snapper's Sea Grill - Snapper's is way classier than the two above food stops! I had a delicious salmon dinner, and their brussel sprouts were really good! I've never had brussels prepared the way they do them, and I was highly impressed. Also, they brought out some AMAZING hummus. SO GOOD. ~~~~~~~~~~ Which restaurant would you want to visit first?! 🍽

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you ever seen this many flavors of ice cream in one spot?! 🍦 ~~~~~~~~~~ Check out my feed post from today to get some ideas of where to grab dinner before getting your ice cream fix at this spot!

Florida
Do you prefer the beach or the pool?? 
~~~~~~~~~~
Both times we went down to the Gulf Coast, our condo rental had a pool outside! I really loved having the option of pool or beach. I switched between them both, but I prefer swimming in the pool to swimming in the ocean. 
~~~~~~~~~~
I'm going to share a few more Gulf Coast restaurants with you today! Make sure to save this post for when you travel down there. 
1️⃣ IRB - PJ's Oyster Bar - PJ's was recommended to me by a friend and it didn't disappoint! They have so many different menu options. And make sure to check out their little gift shop before heading out!
2️⃣ IRB - Finish off your meals with dessert in IRB! Indian Rocks Beach is home to Tropical Ice Cream and Coffee, where they serve over 100 flavors of ice cream!
3️⃣  Indian Shores - Salt Rock Grill - OMG. This place is a bit of a splurge but ABSOLUTElY worth it. Make sure to make a reservation! We went at 5p on a random Wednesday with no reservation and we had to wait 45 minutes!
~~~~~~~~~~
So, what's your choice?! Pool or beach?!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you prefer the beach or the pool?? ~~~~~~~~~~ Both times we went down to the Gulf Coast, our condo rental had a pool outside! I really loved having the option of pool or beach. I switched between them both, but I prefer swimming in the pool to swimming in the ocean. ~~~~~~~~~~ I'm going to share a few more Gulf Coast restaurants with you today! Make sure to save this post for when you travel down there. 1️⃣ IRB - PJ's Oyster Bar - PJ's was recommended to me by a friend and it didn't disappoint! They have so many different menu options. And make sure to check out their little gift shop before heading out! 2️⃣ IRB - Finish off your meals with dessert in IRB! Indian Rocks Beach is home to Tropical Ice Cream and Coffee, where they serve over 100 flavors of ice cream! 3️⃣  Indian Shores - Salt Rock Grill - OMG. This place is a bit of a splurge but ABSOLUTElY worth it. Make sure to make a reservation! We went at 5p on a random Wednesday with no reservation and we had to wait 45 minutes! ~~~~~~~~~~ So, what's your choice?! Pool or beach?!

Florida
What's your favorite time of day?🌅
~~~~~~~~~~
If you'd asked me a few years ago, I would've answered "morning," without thinking twice. I've always been a morning person and loved getting up to start my day! Lately, I think my answer has changed. I'm really loving golden hour and sunset lately! 
~~~~~~~~~~
I wanted to take a few days to highlight some of the best restaurants we ate at on the Gulf Coast! 
1️⃣ I'll start up north and work my way down.. Tarpon Springs! You HAVE to eat at Mama's. You can't miss this restaurant right across the street from the docks. They constantly have people outside flagging down tourists to give out coupons. We loved this place so much we ate there twice! Highly recommend. 
2️⃣ Clearwater - You HAVE to go to The Columbia while in Tampa. We wanted to go to the OG location, but it was a bit more of a hike, so we went to Clearwater instead. The food was delicious and the service was amazing! Be sure to make a reservation if you want to dine here.
3️⃣ IRB - Crabby Bill's! This restaurant does a PHENOMENAL job with the social distancing measures and covid-precautions. The food is also delicious! 
~~~~~~~~~~
So... What is your favorite time of day?!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What's your favorite time of day?🌅 ~~~~~~~~~~ If you'd asked me a few years ago, I would've answered "morning," without thinking twice. I've always been a morning person and loved getting up to start my day! Lately, I think my answer has changed. I'm really loving golden hour and sunset lately! ~~~~~~~~~~ I wanted to take a few days to highlight some of the best restaurants we ate at on the Gulf Coast! 1️⃣ I'll start up north and work my way down.. Tarpon Springs! You HAVE to eat at Mama's. You can't miss this restaurant right across the street from the docks. They constantly have people outside flagging down tourists to give out coupons. We loved this place so much we ate there twice! Highly recommend. 2️⃣ Clearwater - You HAVE to go to The Columbia while in Tampa. We wanted to go to the OG location, but it was a bit more of a hike, so we went to Clearwater instead. The food was delicious and the service was amazing! Be sure to make a reservation if you want to dine here. 3️⃣ IRB - Crabby Bill's! This restaurant does a PHENOMENAL job with the social distancing measures and covid-precautions. The food is also delicious! ~~~~~~~~~~ So... What is your favorite time of day?!

Atlantis Bahamas
Have you been to Atlantis?
~~~~~~~~~~
This resort in the Bahamas is a total paradise! Located on an island it has pretty much to itself, this resort has everything you could ever imagine needing on a tropical vacation!
~~~~~~~~~~
Some highlights of this resort include:
1️⃣ a waterside THROUGH a shark tank! The sharks swim around you as you shoot through a tube in the middle of their tank. Insane!🦈
2️⃣ a VERY exciting lazy river! Unlike most "lazy" rivers, this is actually a "rapid" river. Experience mild rapids as you float down it! 🌊
3️⃣ a Predator Lagoon with an underwater tunnel that allows you to walk through the marine habitat and see the fish swimming around you! 🐡
~~~~~~~~~~
Which attraction would you want to check out first?!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you been to Atlantis? ~~~~~~~~~~ This resort in the Bahamas is a total paradise! Located on an island it has pretty much to itself, this resort has everything you could ever imagine needing on a tropical vacation! ~~~~~~~~~~ Some highlights of this resort include: 1️⃣ a waterside THROUGH a shark tank! The sharks swim around you as you shoot through a tube in the middle of their tank. Insane!🦈 2️⃣ a VERY exciting lazy river! Unlike most "lazy" rivers, this is actually a "rapid" river. Experience mild rapids as you float down it! 🌊 3️⃣ a Predator Lagoon with an underwater tunnel that allows you to walk through the marine habitat and see the fish swimming around you! 🐡 ~~~~~~~~~~ Which attraction would you want to check out first?!

White Pines Forest State Park
Have you ever driven your car through water??
~~~~~~~~~
At this state park in northwestern IL, you can do exactly that! A noteworthy feature of White Pines Forest State Park is the concrete fords that were put in to allow cars to drive across Pine Creek and access different areas of the park. 
~~~~~~~~~~
Be advised--these fords do sometimes close due to high water or dangerous currents! So if you do plan a trip to this park, just know that being able to drive through here is not always guaranteed. 
~~~~~~~~~~
But it is an amazing experience! And a bit nerve-wracking, too. This park has lots of cool trails and gorgeous picnic areas! Have you heard of this spot?

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you ever driven your car through water?? ~~~~~~~~~ At this state park in northwestern IL, you can do exactly that! A noteworthy feature of White Pines Forest State Park is the concrete fords that were put in to allow cars to drive across Pine Creek and access different areas of the park. ~~~~~~~~~~ Be advised--these fords do sometimes close due to high water or dangerous currents! So if you do plan a trip to this park, just know that being able to drive through here is not always guaranteed. ~~~~~~~~~~ But it is an amazing experience! And a bit nerve-wracking, too. This park has lots of cool trails and gorgeous picnic areas! Have you heard of this spot?

La Habana Vieja
Did you know that there is no cell service or easily accessible wifi in Cuba?🚫
~~~~~~~~~~
I took this photo while sitting on a bench in Parque Cervantes, my internet park of choice! In Cuba, the technology is behind. Wifi is not widespread and free, the way it tends to be in other places. Also, there is no cell service unless you're a local!📞
~~~~~~~~~~
So what do you do??? Well, it definitely isn't easy. First, you need to find somewhere that will sell you an ETECSA card. This ETECSA card will allow you to use the internet for one hour, at a public location (not specific to the card--you can go wherever there is ETECSA to connect to!). 
~~~~~~~~~~
ETECSA cards cost 1CUC for one hour of internet. It's approximately 1USD/hour. You go to an ETECSA store and wait in an endless line! Then you have to show your ID and tell them how many cards you want. You are allowed to purchase 3 per visit. They'll give you the cards and off you go!
~~~~~~~~~~
Once you have your ETECSA card, you simply scratch off the back to find the wifi login information. Then you can browse the internet for 1 hour! The nice thing is, is that if you don't need a full hour of internet usage, you can just disconnect and save the card for later. You don't have to use the whole hour at once!
~~~~~~~~~~
You can use the wifi in the ETECSA store or outside of it, or you can find a park! This is the most common option. Just look for clusters of people on their phones, and you'll know you've found an internet park! 
~~~~~~~~~~
Can you imagine not just being able to whip out your phone and have it work?! It was pretty crazy! ☎️

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Did you know that there is no cell service or easily accessible wifi in Cuba?🚫 ~~~~~~~~~~ I took this photo while sitting on a bench in Parque Cervantes, my internet park of choice! In Cuba, the technology is behind. Wifi is not widespread and free, the way it tends to be in other places. Also, there is no cell service unless you're a local!📞 ~~~~~~~~~~ So what do you do??? Well, it definitely isn't easy. First, you need to find somewhere that will sell you an ETECSA card. This ETECSA card will allow you to use the internet for one hour, at a public location (not specific to the card--you can go wherever there is ETECSA to connect to!). ~~~~~~~~~~ ETECSA cards cost 1CUC for one hour of internet. It's approximately 1USD/hour. You go to an ETECSA store and wait in an endless line! Then you have to show your ID and tell them how many cards you want. You are allowed to purchase 3 per visit. They'll give you the cards and off you go! ~~~~~~~~~~ Once you have your ETECSA card, you simply scratch off the back to find the wifi login information. Then you can browse the internet for 1 hour! The nice thing is, is that if you don't need a full hour of internet usage, you can just disconnect and save the card for later. You don't have to use the whole hour at once! ~~~~~~~~~~ You can use the wifi in the ETECSA store or outside of it, or you can find a park! This is the most common option. Just look for clusters of people on their phones, and you'll know you've found an internet park! ~~~~~~~~~~ Can you imagine not just being able to whip out your phone and have it work?! It was pretty crazy! ☎️

Strasbourg, France
Have you heard of the Strasbourg Christmas Market?
~~~~~~~~~~
It is truly one of the most magical places I've ever visited! Here are a few things you might want to know before visiting⬇️ 
~~~~~~~~~~
1️⃣ Unlike most Christmas Markets, at Strasbourg you actually need to go through a security checkpoint. This is because they had a shooting there one year and have really cracked down on safety!👮‍♀️
2️⃣ If you're driving, I highly recommend parking in the Parking Austerlitz garage. It is super easy to get in and out of, and is very centrally located.🚙
3️⃣ Try and get there during daylight! I only had a few minutes of daylight on my visit, so I didn't get to notice all the small details like I'd hoped to.☀️
4️⃣ The entire "island" is a blockaded off Christmas Market! Every street has something, make sure to explore super thoroughly! 😍
5️⃣ The Teddy House- I will share a pic of this iconic location later this week!!! If you want good pictures here, be prepared to wait. There is perpetually a massive crowd because this is such a huge draw.🐻
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Make sure to save this post if you're ever planning to visit Strasbourg!

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you heard of the Strasbourg Christmas Market? ~~~~~~~~~~ It is truly one of the most magical places I've ever visited! Here are a few things you might want to know before visiting⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ 1️⃣ Unlike most Christmas Markets, at Strasbourg you actually need to go through a security checkpoint. This is because they had a shooting there one year and have really cracked down on safety!👮‍♀️ 2️⃣ If you're driving, I highly recommend parking in the Parking Austerlitz garage. It is super easy to get in and out of, and is very centrally located.🚙 3️⃣ Try and get there during daylight! I only had a few minutes of daylight on my visit, so I didn't get to notice all the small details like I'd hoped to.☀️ 4️⃣ The entire "island" is a blockaded off Christmas Market! Every street has something, make sure to explore super thoroughly! 😍 5️⃣ The Teddy House- I will share a pic of this iconic location later this week!!! If you want good pictures here, be prepared to wait. There is perpetually a massive crowd because this is such a huge draw.🐻 ~~~~~~~~~~ Make sure to save this post if you're ever planning to visit Strasbourg!

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Did you know that Cannon Beach was once ranked among the world's 100 most beautiful places by @natgeo? 
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It was included on this list in 2013! Cannon Beach is a picturesque beach city on the Oregon Coast, about an hour from Portland!
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Here are a few things to do in Cannon Beach:
1️⃣ Attend or participate in their annual sand castle building contest!🛕
2️⃣ Visit Ecola State Forest.🏕
3️⃣ Get coffee at the Sleepy Monk! ☕
4️⃣ Stop for drinks at Pelican Brewing.🍻
5️⃣ Watch the sunset on the coast.🌅
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Have you heard of this city?

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Did you know that Cannon Beach was once ranked among the world's 100 most beautiful places by @natgeo? ~~~~~~~~~~ It was included on this list in 2013! Cannon Beach is a picturesque beach city on the Oregon Coast, about an hour from Portland! ~~~~~~~~~~ Here are a few things to do in Cannon Beach: 1️⃣ Attend or participate in their annual sand castle building contest!🛕 2️⃣ Visit Ecola State Forest.🏕 3️⃣ Get coffee at the Sleepy Monk! ☕ 4️⃣ Stop for drinks at Pelican Brewing.🍻 5️⃣ Watch the sunset on the coast.🌅 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you heard of this city?

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

My photoshoot didn't go exactly as planned... But I still love how the pictures came out! ~~~~~~~~~~ What do you think of the results? Would you have stuck with your plan if the weather wasn't what you planned and you were freezing?

El Malecón
Have you ever changed your plans because of the weather?🤔
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Head over to check out the reel I posted today and find out whether or not I changed my plans due to weather on this day! 🙈
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This spot is super iconic when it comes to Cuba! You can see the outline of the skyline behind me, and when you're standing here in person, you can watch the cars zooming down El Malecon. 🚙
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Do you want to visit this spot?

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you ever changed your plans because of the weather?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~ Head over to check out the reel I posted today and find out whether or not I changed my plans due to weather on this day! 🙈 ~~~~~~~~~~ This spot is super iconic when it comes to Cuba! You can see the outline of the skyline behind me, and when you're standing here in person, you can watch the cars zooming down El Malecon. 🚙 ~~~~~~~~~~ Do you want to visit this spot?

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Do you kayak?🛶
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If you like to kayak, you HAVE to kayak Lake Superior's Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This place was incredible and is one of my favorite travel memories. 😍
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The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is about an 8 hour drive from Chicago, but it is so worth the trek! You can take a ferry to a few of the islands, but we decided to stick close to shore due to time constraints and do this kayaking excursion which launched from Cornucopia, WI. 🏞
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They do a quick intro to kayaking and help you get in, and then you're off on your adventure! They make it so easy, and are so knowledgeable. Our guide even impressed us all by flipping his kayak not once, but TWICE! Such a fun day. 🤩
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Would you do this excursion?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you kayak?🛶 ~~~~~~~~~~ If you like to kayak, you HAVE to kayak Lake Superior's Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This place was incredible and is one of my favorite travel memories. 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~~ The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is about an 8 hour drive from Chicago, but it is so worth the trek! You can take a ferry to a few of the islands, but we decided to stick close to shore due to time constraints and do this kayaking excursion which launched from Cornucopia, WI. 🏞 ~~~~~~~~~~ They do a quick intro to kayaking and help you get in, and then you're off on your adventure! They make it so easy, and are so knowledgeable. Our guide even impressed us all by flipping his kayak not once, but TWICE! Such a fun day. 🤩 ~~~~~~~~~~ Would you do this excursion?🤔

Dignity (statue)
Ever wonder what happens when you have an 8 year old taking your travel photos?🤔
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The result is usually something like this!⬆️
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I wanted a good picture of me with Dignity, but he decided to get 75 pictures of me running towards Dignity trying to seize the "nobody is around" opportunity, and only 2 pictures (one super overexposed), of me smiling and looking nice with her.😂
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This statue can be found at the Chamberlain Rest Stop off of I90 in South Dakota! She is a 50 foot statue made of stainless steel. It is meant to depict an indigenous woman with a star quilt, a representation of respect, honor, and admiration in Native American culture. Dignity is definitely a most see in South Dakota. Such an incredible statue! 😍
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P.s. If you visit Dignity, don't just look at the front and then leave! Make sure to walk around behind her to see the star quilt.⭐

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Ever wonder what happens when you have an 8 year old taking your travel photos?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~ The result is usually something like this!⬆️ ~~~~~~~~~~ I wanted a good picture of me with Dignity, but he decided to get 75 pictures of me running towards Dignity trying to seize the "nobody is around" opportunity, and only 2 pictures (one super overexposed), of me smiling and looking nice with her.😂 ~~~~~~~~~~ This statue can be found at the Chamberlain Rest Stop off of I90 in South Dakota! She is a 50 foot statue made of stainless steel. It is meant to depict an indigenous woman with a star quilt, a representation of respect, honor, and admiration in Native American culture. Dignity is definitely a most see in South Dakota. Such an incredible statue! 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ P.s. If you visit Dignity, don't just look at the front and then leave! Make sure to walk around behind her to see the star quilt.⭐

Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
Have you heard of Indian Rocks Beach, FL?🤔
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Well, up until this year, neither had I! Spending a week there this November was such an incredible getaway, and so today I wanted to share 5 reasons you should visit Indian Rocks Beach! Make sure to save this post in case you ever decide to visit IRB! 📌
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1️⃣ It's less than an hour away from the Tampa Airport, but it feels like another world.✈
2️⃣ It's close enough to tourist hot spots, such as John's Pass and Clearwater Beach, but also isolated enough that you don't feel like you're drowning in tourists.👨‍👩‍👧‍👧
3️⃣ There are so many beachfront properties available for vacation rentals! Although IRB does have a main beach, if you rent somewhere further north or south, you'll have the beach pretty much to yourself.🏝
4️⃣ It's home to the "world's largest selection of ice creams"! You have to stop in this ice cream shop that has literally hundreds of flavors. It's a must!🍦
5️⃣ There are great restaurants! A few favorites were PJ's Oyster Bar and Crabby Bill's! 🍽
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Have I convinced you to head to IRB for your next beach vacation?🌴

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you heard of Indian Rocks Beach, FL?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~ Well, up until this year, neither had I! Spending a week there this November was such an incredible getaway, and so today I wanted to share 5 reasons you should visit Indian Rocks Beach! Make sure to save this post in case you ever decide to visit IRB! 📌 ~~~~~~~~~~ 1️⃣ It's less than an hour away from the Tampa Airport, but it feels like another world.✈ 2️⃣ It's close enough to tourist hot spots, such as John's Pass and Clearwater Beach, but also isolated enough that you don't feel like you're drowning in tourists.👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 3️⃣ There are so many beachfront properties available for vacation rentals! Although IRB does have a main beach, if you rent somewhere further north or south, you'll have the beach pretty much to yourself.🏝 4️⃣ It's home to the "world's largest selection of ice creams"! You have to stop in this ice cream shop that has literally hundreds of flavors. It's a must!🍦 5️⃣ There are great restaurants! A few favorites were PJ's Oyster Bar and Crabby Bill's! 🍽 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have I convinced you to head to IRB for your next beach vacation?🌴

Copper Falls State Park
Is this coppery brown water growing on anyone else? Or is it just me?😍
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When I first saw that the water is typically this color throughout Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, I was super disappointed. I wanted to see that crystal clear, turquoise blue water that everyone always dreams about. But now, I actually love seeing the water like this! I think it's so unique!🥰
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If you didn't know, the water is like this due to the tannins in the trees. They leach through the roots of the cedars and hemlocks into the water, giving the water this "Coca Cola" color.🍻
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Have you ever seen water this color before?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Is this coppery brown water growing on anyone else? Or is it just me?😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ When I first saw that the water is typically this color throughout Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, I was super disappointed. I wanted to see that crystal clear, turquoise blue water that everyone always dreams about. But now, I actually love seeing the water like this! I think it's so unique!🥰 ~~~~~~~~~~ If you didn't know, the water is like this due to the tannins in the trees. They leach through the roots of the cedars and hemlocks into the water, giving the water this "Coca Cola" color.🍻 ~~~~~~~~~~~ Have you ever seen water this color before?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

what people think I mean when I say my step-dad collects Santa... and what I actually mean!🎅 #santaclaus #santaclausiscomingtotown #santaclausiscoming #santacollection #christmasdecor #christmas #christmastime #christmasdecorations #christmasdecorating #santababy #merrychristmas #christmas2020

Viñales, Cuba
Do you like horseback riding?🐎
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As a kid, I was a huge horse girl! I did 4-5 different horse camps and one summer in middle school, I "worked" mucking out the stables to be able to ride. I loved it. 😍
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One of the things you HAVE to do if you visit Cuba is ride horses through the valley and mogotes of Viñales. This is an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Although my guide didn't speak any English, it was still an amazing tour. The highlight was riding the horses back at night, under a crystal clear, starry night sky.🌌
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Booking a ride through Viñales is super easy! I booked through Airbnb (there are so many options!), just so I wouldn't have to bring extra cash to cover the cost. However, most casa particulares will book it for you, or you can find someone in Viñales--almost everyone offers these guided tours. 📌
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Would you do this horseback ride?🐴

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you like horseback riding?🐎 ~~~~~~~~~~ As a kid, I was a huge horse girl! I did 4-5 different horse camps and one summer in middle school, I "worked" mucking out the stables to be able to ride. I loved it. 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ One of the things you HAVE to do if you visit Cuba is ride horses through the valley and mogotes of Viñales. This is an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Although my guide didn't speak any English, it was still an amazing tour. The highlight was riding the horses back at night, under a crystal clear, starry night sky.🌌 ~~~~~~~~~~ Booking a ride through Viñales is super easy! I booked through Airbnb (there are so many options!), just so I wouldn't have to bring extra cash to cover the cost. However, most casa particulares will book it for you, or you can find someone in Viñales--almost everyone offers these guided tours. 📌 ~~~~~~~~~~ Would you do this horseback ride?🐴

Winnewissa Falls
Did you know that Minnesota is home to nearly 150 waterfalls?🌊
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While it's a tiny number compared to Minnesota's 10,000 lakes, it's still nothing to scoff at! We visited Winnewissa Falls in July and had the best time. 😍
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I've gotta say. If Minnesota has 150 waterfalls and they all are like this, then I REALLY need to get back there! 😍
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Here are a few things to know before you go to Winnewissa Falls:
1️⃣ It's free! There is no cost to enter this park.
2️⃣ The trail is a super easy, mostly paved and level, less than 1/4mile loop trail. 
3️⃣ Winnewissa Falls is obviously the highlight, but make sure not to miss "The Oracle"!
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Have you visited any Minnesota waterfalls?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Did you know that Minnesota is home to nearly 150 waterfalls?🌊 ~~~~~~~~~~ While it's a tiny number compared to Minnesota's 10,000 lakes, it's still nothing to scoff at! We visited Winnewissa Falls in July and had the best time. 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ I've gotta say. If Minnesota has 150 waterfalls and they all are like this, then I REALLY need to get back there! 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ Here are a few things to know before you go to Winnewissa Falls: 1️⃣ It's free! There is no cost to enter this park. 2️⃣ The trail is a super easy, mostly paved and level, less than 1/4mile loop trail. 3️⃣ Winnewissa Falls is obviously the highlight, but make sure not to miss "The Oracle"! ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you visited any Minnesota waterfalls?🤔

Chicago, Illinois
I need your opinion!
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I have a ton of fun Christmas and holiday photos to share from my trip to Europe last winter! I'm debating how I should post them. Would you rather see all of the photos posted on consecutive days leading up to Christmas? Or should I change it up and parse them out by posting other content in between?! Leave your thoughts below! ⬇️
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This photo was taken on the L's Polk Pink Line stop!This is a totally underrated vantage point of the city's skyline. 📍
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Make sure to leave your thoughts on my holiday posts in the comments! ❤

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

I need your opinion! ~~~~~~~~~~ I have a ton of fun Christmas and holiday photos to share from my trip to Europe last winter! I'm debating how I should post them. Would you rather see all of the photos posted on consecutive days leading up to Christmas? Or should I change it up and parse them out by posting other content in between?! Leave your thoughts below! ⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ This photo was taken on the L's Polk Pink Line stop!This is a totally underrated vantage point of the city's skyline. 📍 ~~~~~~~~~~ Make sure to leave your thoughts on my holiday posts in the comments! ❤

Atlantis Bahamas
What are some of the most important things to pack when visiting Atlantis?🐚
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Read below to find out! After a week in Atlantis, I learned all about the best and most important nit-picky things to pack. ⬇️
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1️⃣ Good Shoes - I've said it once, I'll say it again! Atlantis is MASSIVE. Good shoes are so important, especially if you want to make sure to see it all!👟
2️⃣ Sunscreen - We ran out of sunscreen on day 3/4 of our trip... even though we brought a ton! The VAT and increased cost due to being on an island almost triple the cost of sunscreen... Atlantis charged 30-40USD for a tube of it! Make sure to bring way more than you think you need.💰
3️⃣ Same goes for all toiletries/grocery items. - Pack plenty! You have to leave Atlantis if you want affordable prices and even then it isn't much cheaper because of how touristy Paradise Island and Nassau are in general.💰
4️⃣ Reusable Straws - Not a necessity per se... But Atlantis uses paper straws. I'm all for paper straws, I think they're awesome. But when you're trying to sip a piña colada and your straw dissolves, it isn't so great. Next time I go, I am def bringing a reusable straw to avoid that! 😂
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Would you have thought to pack these things?🧳

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What are some of the most important things to pack when visiting Atlantis?🐚 ~~~~~~~~~~ Read below to find out! After a week in Atlantis, I learned all about the best and most important nit-picky things to pack. ⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ 1️⃣ Good Shoes - I've said it once, I'll say it again! Atlantis is MASSIVE. Good shoes are so important, especially if you want to make sure to see it all!👟 2️⃣ Sunscreen - We ran out of sunscreen on day 3/4 of our trip... even though we brought a ton! The VAT and increased cost due to being on an island almost triple the cost of sunscreen... Atlantis charged 30-40USD for a tube of it! Make sure to bring way more than you think you need.💰 3️⃣ Same goes for all toiletries/grocery items. - Pack plenty! You have to leave Atlantis if you want affordable prices and even then it isn't much cheaper because of how touristy Paradise Island and Nassau are in general.💰 4️⃣ Reusable Straws - Not a necessity per se... But Atlantis uses paper straws. I'm all for paper straws, I think they're awesome. But when you're trying to sip a piña colada and your straw dissolves, it isn't so great. Next time I go, I am def bringing a reusable straw to avoid that! 😂 ~~~~~~~~~~ Would you have thought to pack these things?🧳

Christmas
Do you have your tree up yet?🎄
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We picked out ours yesterday! My step-dad is a real tree fanatic... We visit at LEAST 3 locations every year before we find the ideal tree. He worked in logging for a few years when he was younger, so he is an expert in knowing which types of trees are best and spotting them from a mile away! He's also impossible to please! 🙄
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For those in the area, today I wanted to share a list of places where we like to go to get our tree:
1️⃣ Knights of Columbus - They have locations at pretty much every local Catholic church. These are pre-cut, but they're affordable! 
2️⃣ Oney's Tree Farm (Woodstock, IL) - This place is always hopping. The trees aren't cheap, but the experience is awesome! They have a bakery, often some sort of animal rides (not this year, though), and soooo many trees.
3️⃣ Bill's Tree Farm (Harvard, IL) - We stopped here for the first time this year. They had a few good trees, but we didn't find a winner. However, all the trees are only $55! Ideal if you are on a budget.
4️⃣ Grandpa's Tree Farm (Woodstock, IL) - We've gone here a few times! We didn't go here this year though, because after 3 stops, we were exhausted!
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Are you team real tree or team fake tree??🎄

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you have your tree up yet?🎄 ~~~~~~~~~~ We picked out ours yesterday! My step-dad is a real tree fanatic... We visit at LEAST 3 locations every year before we find the ideal tree. He worked in logging for a few years when he was younger, so he is an expert in knowing which types of trees are best and spotting them from a mile away! He's also impossible to please! 🙄 ~~~~~~~~~~ For those in the area, today I wanted to share a list of places where we like to go to get our tree: 1️⃣ Knights of Columbus - They have locations at pretty much every local Catholic church. These are pre-cut, but they're affordable! 2️⃣ Oney's Tree Farm (Woodstock, IL) - This place is always hopping. The trees aren't cheap, but the experience is awesome! They have a bakery, often some sort of animal rides (not this year, though), and soooo many trees. 3️⃣ Bill's Tree Farm (Harvard, IL) - We stopped here for the first time this year. They had a few good trees, but we didn't find a winner. However, all the trees are only $55! Ideal if you are on a budget. 4️⃣ Grandpa's Tree Farm (Woodstock, IL) - We've gone here a few times! We didn't go here this year though, because after 3 stops, we were exhausted! ~~~~~~~~~~ Are you team real tree or team fake tree??🎄

Christmas Market
What small businesses are you planning to shop today? #smallbusinesssaturday
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If you didn't know, Chicago traditionally holds a Christmas Market in Daley Plaza from Thanksgiving week-Christmas. This market is always packed with tourists and they have tons of fun vendors. 🇧🇪
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Because of covid, this event is not happening this year. However, you can shop the Christkindlmarket and support these businesses by shopping online instead! There are tons of great and affordable options. 🛍
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Have you heard of the Christkindlmarket? 🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What small businesses are you planning to shop today? #smallbusinesssaturday ~~~~~~~~~~ If you didn't know, Chicago traditionally holds a Christmas Market in Daley Plaza from Thanksgiving week-Christmas. This market is always packed with tourists and they have tons of fun vendors. 🇧🇪 ~~~~~~~~~~ Because of covid, this event is not happening this year. However, you can shop the Christkindlmarket and support these businesses by shopping online instead! There are tons of great and affordable options. 🛍 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you heard of the Christkindlmarket? 🤔

Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Do you do any Black Friday shopping??🛍
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It used to be my favorite day of the year. But last year I was in Europe, so I think that broke me of my habit (mostly). This year, because of covid, I'm honestly not planning on shopping at all today! 🤯
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Instead I will be completing a Harry Potter rewatch that I've been working through this week, and wishing that I was back in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. 😍
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Will you be shopping today?🛍

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you do any Black Friday shopping??🛍 ~~~~~~~~~~ It used to be my favorite day of the year. But last year I was in Europe, so I think that broke me of my habit (mostly). This year, because of covid, I'm honestly not planning on shopping at all today! 🤯 ~~~~~~~~~~ Instead I will be completing a Harry Potter rewatch that I've been working through this week, and wishing that I was back in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ Will you be shopping today?🛍

Lake Superior
What are you thankful for today?🤔
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Happy Thanksgiving! Are you doing anything big this year? I'm going to be having a get together with immediate family only!👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
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I am thankful today for a lot of things, but one of them in particular is that I was able to travel as much as I was this year, in spite of coronavirus. Sharing a hidden gem on Lake Superior today... This beautiful bay has no sand, instead, you can find reddish/purple rocks. Truly a neat spot! 😍
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Tell me something you're thankful for in the comments!⬇️

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What are you thankful for today?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~ Happy Thanksgiving! Are you doing anything big this year? I'm going to be having a get together with immediate family only!👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 ~~~~~~~~~~ I am thankful today for a lot of things, but one of them in particular is that I was able to travel as much as I was this year, in spite of coronavirus. Sharing a hidden gem on Lake Superior today... This beautiful bay has no sand, instead, you can find reddish/purple rocks. Truly a neat spot! 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ Tell me something you're thankful for in the comments!⬇️

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Have you seen bull kelp before?🐉
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I walked past this washed up bull kelp on Cannon Beach, keeping my distance because I had no idea what it was. The beach was full of washed up jellies and those freak me out enough... I didn't want to find out the hard way that the giant green snake-looking thing was some sort of oceanic monster that would kill me on my sunset walk!😂
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Further down the beach, an older woman asked me to take her photo. I took pics of her, she got some of me. We got to chatting and ended up walking back up the beach together. We came across this bull kelp, and she was shocked to learn I had never heard of it or seen it! Rita insisted that I get a picture with it. So here I am, holding bull kelp. 🪱
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After that, I did a bunch of research. Off the coast, there are huge fields of bull kelp just floating peacefully. The end without the hair (the end on the ground), anchors into the ocean floor, and it just sways around down there, until something (usually weather), forcefully uproots it and causes it to wash up on the beach. Fascinating! Did you know this?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you seen bull kelp before?🐉 ~~~~~~~~~~ I walked past this washed up bull kelp on Cannon Beach, keeping my distance because I had no idea what it was. The beach was full of washed up jellies and those freak me out enough... I didn't want to find out the hard way that the giant green snake-looking thing was some sort of oceanic monster that would kill me on my sunset walk!😂 ~~~~~~~~~~ Further down the beach, an older woman asked me to take her photo. I took pics of her, she got some of me. We got to chatting and ended up walking back up the beach together. We came across this bull kelp, and she was shocked to learn I had never heard of it or seen it! Rita insisted that I get a picture with it. So here I am, holding bull kelp. 🪱 ~~~~~~~~~~ After that, I did a bunch of research. Off the coast, there are huge fields of bull kelp just floating peacefully. The end without the hair (the end on the ground), anchors into the ocean floor, and it just sways around down there, until something (usually weather), forcefully uproots it and causes it to wash up on the beach. Fascinating! Did you know this?🤔

Trier, Germany
Have you ever seen that pyramidal shape with the fan blades on top (seen on the left) before?🤔
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This is a Christmas pyramid! They can be found in numerous styles and sizes throughout Germany and even the U.S. The Christmas pyramid is a German tradition. Originally, they would be hung from the ceiling in a German family's home. They were meant to ward off moroseness in the cold, dark, winter months. 🔥
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When I visited the Christmas markets in Europe, almost every market had one of these pyramids in a visible spot! Have you seen anything like this?🧐

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you ever seen that pyramidal shape with the fan blades on top (seen on the left) before?🤔 ~~~~~~~~~~~ This is a Christmas pyramid! They can be found in numerous styles and sizes throughout Germany and even the U.S. The Christmas pyramid is a German tradition. Originally, they would be hung from the ceiling in a German family's home. They were meant to ward off moroseness in the cold, dark, winter months. 🔥 ~~~~~~~~~~ When I visited the Christmas markets in Europe, almost every market had one of these pyramids in a visible spot! Have you seen anything like this?🧐

Badlands National Park
Convince me that this isn't what Mars must look like.🚀
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I'm still not over how insane the Badlands looked. 😍
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@badlandsnps is a national park in South Dakota. It is the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States, and it is full of unique geological formations and wildlife. If you visit, keep your eyes out for: badgers, big horned sheep, bison, ferrets, prairie dogs, bobcats, rattlesnakes, porcupines, and more! All of these animals can be found in the Badlands.🦔
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Have you visited this national park?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Convince me that this isn't what Mars must look like.🚀 ~~~~~~~~~~ I'm still not over how insane the Badlands looked. 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ @badlandsnps is a national park in South Dakota. It is the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States, and it is full of unique geological formations and wildlife. If you visit, keep your eyes out for: badgers, big horned sheep, bison, ferrets, prairie dogs, bobcats, rattlesnakes, porcupines, and more! All of these animals can be found in the Badlands.🦔 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you visited this national park?🤔

Tarpon Springs, Florida
Did you know that sponge diving is a thing?🧽
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In Tarpon Springs, FL, sponge diving was the most important business, generating millions of dollars, back in the early 1900s. Unfortunately in 1947, the sponge population in the Gulf was all but destroyed, forcing many sponge divers to pursue other careers. The sponges have since mostly recovered, and there is to date, a smaller but consistent sponge diving industry to be found in Tarpon Springs! 🤿
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Walking through downtown Tarpon Springs, you'll see. Sponges are everywhere! These historic sponge docks are awesome, because if you're lucky, you will get to see all these sponges and more! Make sure to walk past a few times. We didn't see them at first, then walked back past for lunch and they were there! By the time we left lunch, they had been moved. So, if you don't see them at first, try your luck at other times! ⏰
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Have you ever seen this many sponges?!🧽

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Did you know that sponge diving is a thing?🧽 ~~~~~~~~~~ In Tarpon Springs, FL, sponge diving was the most important business, generating millions of dollars, back in the early 1900s. Unfortunately in 1947, the sponge population in the Gulf was all but destroyed, forcing many sponge divers to pursue other careers. The sponges have since mostly recovered, and there is to date, a smaller but consistent sponge diving industry to be found in Tarpon Springs! 🤿 ~~~~~~~~~~ Walking through downtown Tarpon Springs, you'll see. Sponges are everywhere! These historic sponge docks are awesome, because if you're lucky, you will get to see all these sponges and more! Make sure to walk past a few times. We didn't see them at first, then walked back past for lunch and they were there! By the time we left lunch, they had been moved. So, if you don't see them at first, try your luck at other times! ⏰ ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you ever seen this many sponges?!🧽

Field of Dreams Movie Site
Have you been to the Field of Dreams?⚾️
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If you happen to be driving through Iowa, I highly recommend it! It isn't far off the highway at all. So easy, and a great stop especially if you have kids. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
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Some history:
⚾️Universal Studios built this baseball diamond on two farms for the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams.
⚾️The baseball diamond actually spanned two separate properties. Most of the field and the house were on property owned by one family! When filming wrapped, this family decided to keep it as a tourist location. The family who had the other side of the land returned it to farming. This only lasted a year before they also committed to being a tourist location. However, the two families were at odds for a long time over commercialization issues.
⚾️In 2007, all of the property was consolidated into one family (the family who initially kept it up). In 2010, they ultimately sold to who owns it currently.
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Have you seen this iconic baseball movie?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you been to the Field of Dreams?⚾️ ~~~~~~~~~~ If you happen to be driving through Iowa, I highly recommend it! It isn't far off the highway at all. So easy, and a great stop especially if you have kids. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 ~~~~~~~~~~ Some history: ⚾️Universal Studios built this baseball diamond on two farms for the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams. ⚾️The baseball diamond actually spanned two separate properties. Most of the field and the house were on property owned by one family! When filming wrapped, this family decided to keep it as a tourist location. The family who had the other side of the land returned it to farming. This only lasted a year before they also committed to being a tourist location. However, the two families were at odds for a long time over commercialization issues. ⚾️In 2007, all of the property was consolidated into one family (the family who initially kept it up). In 2010, they ultimately sold to who owns it currently. ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you seen this iconic baseball movie?🤔

Cuba
⬇️READ BELOW TO LEARN HOW TO GET GOOD PICTURES WHEN TRAVELING SOLO ⬇️
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I'm realizing I still have soooo many pictures from Cuba that I haven't shared yet! I know I've shared this info before but I wanted to share it again for any new followers. 📌
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If you didn't know, I traveled solo to Cuba in February/March of this year. Even though I was alone the whole time, I still have ridiculous amounts of pictures of myself there! How did I do it?🧐
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I got the photos from one of three methods:
1️⃣ Tripod - I got a mini tripod off Amazon which is great for quick solo shots with my phone!📷
2️⃣ Ask a stranger - tried and true, can't go wrong! Unfortunately in Cuba, English isn't super prevalent... So this may not be AS easy as it would be somewhere domestic just because you have to find someone who understands what you are asking and what you want. 📸
3️⃣ Airbnb Experiences - my FAVORITE. The best option if you want good pictures to be guaranteed. I paid less than $30 for each session, and in return I received 100s of photos of myself, a tour of different areas of Havana, and great company! If you can afford to do a photo experience on Airbnb, I highly, highly recommend it.📷
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Which option would you choose?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

⬇️READ BELOW TO LEARN HOW TO GET GOOD PICTURES WHEN TRAVELING SOLO ⬇️ ~~~~~~~~~~ I'm realizing I still have soooo many pictures from Cuba that I haven't shared yet! I know I've shared this info before but I wanted to share it again for any new followers. 📌 ~~~~~~~~~~ If you didn't know, I traveled solo to Cuba in February/March of this year. Even though I was alone the whole time, I still have ridiculous amounts of pictures of myself there! How did I do it?🧐 ~~~~~~~~~~ I got the photos from one of three methods: 1️⃣ Tripod - I got a mini tripod off Amazon which is great for quick solo shots with my phone!📷 2️⃣ Ask a stranger - tried and true, can't go wrong! Unfortunately in Cuba, English isn't super prevalent... So this may not be AS easy as it would be somewhere domestic just because you have to find someone who understands what you are asking and what you want. 📸 3️⃣ Airbnb Experiences - my FAVORITE. The best option if you want good pictures to be guaranteed. I paid less than $30 for each session, and in return I received 100s of photos of myself, a tour of different areas of Havana, and great company! If you can afford to do a photo experience on Airbnb, I highly, highly recommend it.📷 ~~~~~~~~~~ Which option would you choose?🤔

Roughlock Falls
What has been one of your most magical travel moments?
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While it may not be somewhere far away or exotic, this was one of mine. Roughlock Falls is truly magical, and having the place to myself during a sunrise made it extra special. 
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There is no admission fee, and this is a super accessible area! The roads to get here are dirt or gravel, and not the easiest to traverse, but it is so worth it. I was shocked when I pulled up and the park had this gorgeous boardwalk and nice paved sidewalks everywhere else. 
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Truly such an incredible place! Have you heard of this spot?

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

What has been one of your most magical travel moments? ~~~~~~~~~~ While it may not be somewhere far away or exotic, this was one of mine. Roughlock Falls is truly magical, and having the place to myself during a sunrise made it extra special. ~~~~~~~~~~ There is no admission fee, and this is a super accessible area! The roads to get here are dirt or gravel, and not the easiest to traverse, but it is so worth it. I was shocked when I pulled up and the park had this gorgeous boardwalk and nice paved sidewalks everywhere else. ~~~~~~~~~~ Truly such an incredible place! Have you heard of this spot?

Blue Earth, Minnesota
Can you spot me?🔍
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The Jolly Green Giant is 55.5ft tall, approximately 11 times my height! Located just off the highway in Blue Earth, MN, this is a great quick stop to stretch your legs! 🚶‍♀️
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In 1979, the town of Blue Earth learned it was going to be bypassed by I90. The radio station owner decided a giant statue would lure tourists off the highway! He received approval from the Green Giant company (which had a local factory), but no funds. This statue was entirely funded by locals! 💰
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Unfortunately, there was a hiccup. He got the statue built and funded, but no one was willing to sell or donate land that was adjacent to the highway! The statue was ultimately placed a mile from the highway, making it hard to see unless you know what you're looking for! 🔎
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Have you heard of this statue?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Can you spot me?🔍 ~~~~~~~~~~ The Jolly Green Giant is 55.5ft tall, approximately 11 times my height! Located just off the highway in Blue Earth, MN, this is a great quick stop to stretch your legs! 🚶‍♀️ ~~~~~~~~~~ In 1979, the town of Blue Earth learned it was going to be bypassed by I90. The radio station owner decided a giant statue would lure tourists off the highway! He received approval from the Green Giant company (which had a local factory), but no funds. This statue was entirely funded by locals! 💰 ~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, there was a hiccup. He got the statue built and funded, but no one was willing to sell or donate land that was adjacent to the highway! The statue was ultimately placed a mile from the highway, making it hard to see unless you know what you're looking for! 🔎 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you heard of this statue?🤔

Michigan Technological University
Do you have any younger siblings?👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
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My brother started his freshman year at Michigan Tech this year, and I'm loving it because it gives me a reason to go visit a place I love, the UP! 😍
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The UP is home to 3 state universities, one private university, and five community colleges! So crazy. I can think of 5 community colleges within a 50 mile radius of me, lol. What a difference! 😂
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Wanted to share some facts about Michigan Tech today:
1️⃣ Tech was founded in 1885 and was the first post-secondary institution in the UP.🏔
2️⃣ It was created in order to teach mining engineers to operate local copper mines. Today, engineering is still the biggest major at Tech!📈
3️⃣ The men's hockey team is D1... Houghton is actually the birthplace of professional hockey!🏒
4️⃣ According to Reader's Digest, MTU's campus is the safest in MI and the third safest in the whole U.S.! 👮‍♂️
5️⃣ The university actually owns a ski area called Mont Ripley! This means students can ski or snowboard for free! 🎿
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Have you heard of MTU?🤔

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Do you have any younger siblings?👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 ~~~~~~~~~~ My brother started his freshman year at Michigan Tech this year, and I'm loving it because it gives me a reason to go visit a place I love, the UP! 😍 ~~~~~~~~~~ The UP is home to 3 state universities, one private university, and five community colleges! So crazy. I can think of 5 community colleges within a 50 mile radius of me, lol. What a difference! 😂 ~~~~~~~~~~ Wanted to share some facts about Michigan Tech today: 1️⃣ Tech was founded in 1885 and was the first post-secondary institution in the UP.🏔 2️⃣ It was created in order to teach mining engineers to operate local copper mines. Today, engineering is still the biggest major at Tech!📈 3️⃣ The men's hockey team is D1... Houghton is actually the birthplace of professional hockey!🏒 4️⃣ According to Reader's Digest, MTU's campus is the safest in MI and the third safest in the whole U.S.! 👮‍♂️ 5️⃣ The university actually owns a ski area called Mont Ripley! This means students can ski or snowboard for free! 🎿 ~~~~~~~~~~ Have you heard of MTU?🤔

Strasbourg, France
Have you visited Europe during the holiday season?🎄
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This time last year, I was prepping for my first ever trip to Europe. I didn't have many plans, I just was going to see everything that I could see! 🎟
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Well, after a week in Europe, I had driven over 1250 kilometers, been to 13+ Christmas markets in at least 7 different cities, and visited 4 countries. It was insane. One of the most fantastic weeks of my life! You can read all about it on the blog. 📖
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Europe during Christmas is pure magic. Every street you walk down is lined with some sort of market or festival. It's incredible. This is Strasbourg--The Capitol of Christmas! 😍 I will never forget the night I spent wandering this French city. 🗼
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Do you like visiting Christmas markets?🎄

MAYSIE ◇ TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Have you visited Europe during the holiday season?🎄 ~~~~~~~~~~ This time last year, I was prepping for my first ever trip to Europe. I didn't have many plans, I just was going to see everything that I could see! 🎟 ~~~~~~~~~~ Well, after a week in Europe, I had driven over 1250 kilometers, been to 13+ Christmas markets in at least 7 different cities, and visited 4 countries. It was insane. One of the most fantastic weeks of my life! You can read all about it on the blog. 📖 ~~~~~~~~~~ Europe during Christmas is pure magic. Every street you walk down is lined with some sort of market or festival. It's incredible. This is Strasbourg--The Capitol of Christmas! 😍 I will never forget the night I spent wandering this French city. 🗼 ~~~~~~~~~~ Do you like visiting Christmas markets?🎄