Traveling with Airbnb!!

So you travel bugs…. Have any of you tried Airbnb yet? For those of you that don’t know Airbnb, you need to. Airbnb is going to REVOLUTIONIZE traveling! Airbnb is taking the concept of couch-surfing to the next level. You rent out a room in someone’s home like you would a hotel room. Now sounds awkward right? I was skeptical, but after trying it I don’t know that I will ever book a regular hotel room again!

When I searched for hotels for this visit to Encinitas, California I noticed the hotels had jumped fifty plus dollars. For a gross Motel 6 we were looking at one hundred and For 99$ we rented out this private entrance guest room. The room and bathroom had everything we needed shampoo and conditioner, fresh spring water, beach towels, and a fan. On Airbnb there were cheaper options, but I wanted a room with a private entrance and within walking distance of the beach.

Airbnb also has options to rent out entire homes for reasonable prices. In thailand and Brazil you can rent out entire homes for less then thrity bucks. WHAT… is right! Did that make you think you need to go to Thailand now or what????

My initial concern was the lack of privacy, which wasn’t a problem at all! Our hosts Chris and Ashley were very friendly and provided us with numbers to reach them and told us to knock for any questions. Other then that we saw them in passing as we did our own thing.

The benefit of using Airbnb is having the luxury of knowing all the local secrets!

Chris sent us a text each morning of our stay with all his suggestions for eating, activities, and must see areas. This is how we discovered the BEST fish tacos in this world, a local farmers market, and and an Indian coffee bar where we ordered this Cardamon Latte! All places we never would have come across on our own!!


Another super cool part of our experience was learning about the culture and history of Encinitas. Now keep in mind I literally don’t care for history at all. Chris talked about Yogananda (an enlightened mind) who lived and wrote life changing books about yoga, self realization, and meditation. I noticed the community was surrounded by not only a positive vibe but happy healthy people that I was drawn to. Chris and Ashley talked about “The vibrations” that bring us back to Encinitas time after time. Normally I would think it was a load of crap but the weird thing is, I am so drawn to Encinitas and the ocean and as I thought about that I wondered why and took that into consideration.

A cool place with such beautiful culture!

Another thing I considered as I listened to them talk about their lives and their culture there I remembered an experience I had the last time we visited. We visited Moonlight Beach early in the morning before we had to leave and it was foggy but I didn’t care. I got in by myself because the water was too cold for my husband. Anyways minutes after I got in it started pouring rain (If you know me you know I LOVE the rain) and the water calmed to soft waves. I floated and rode the waves in as the rain soaked my face and I was surrounded by fog . I can’t explain it but it was literally the most beautiful spiritual moment of my life! Sounds dumb but I swear.

Then of course this was the morning we left. Encinitas is once again mourning my departure! If you have the chance to visit Encinitas please do. Such a beautiful experience! Since leaving Encintas I’ve read a lot about self realization ,yoga, and eating healthy and I’ve tried to start on my own yoga journey. I’m hoping to channel some of their positive energy into my life and so far, I Love it! You can find inspiration to change and work on yourself anywhere but this time I found it using Airbnb! What a cool way to meet new people and to learn new things… I can’t wait to try it again!

Xoxo  Thanks for reading!



Best Travel Souvenirs!!

One of my favorite parts of traveling is finding the perfect souvenir.  Not only for myself, but for my friends and family. For me, a great souvenir can make me feel like I’m not still in Arizona for a moment. Isn’t that the point? We want to remember our travels and the feelings we had during them. These are my top four souvenirs that are fun to collect and you can do really cool things with them.

1.  License Plates. On our honeymoon they were selling these all over the island. We bought a couple to give away and a one for us. I used mine in my honeymoon shadowbox and it’s ADORABLE in there. It would be cool to start a license plate wall or to border a room with them!

This is my honeymoon shadowbox.



2. Shotglasses. Very fun to collect and such a cheap souvenir. We display ours on a shelf. When it’s party time bring them all out for everyone to enjoy! Different locations make so many cool and unique ones. On our honeymoon, we bought a ton of hand painted ones they were selling on the side of the road!


3. Coffee Mugs. This one is pretty self explanatory. I love my coffee. Every morning I drink it. When I pull out one of my mug souvenirs and pour  my coffee it literally makes my heart beat. I’m working on a wooden display in my kitchen to hang them on for all to see. My favorite!

4. Postcards. This one is pretty obvious and everyone already knows about it. But postcards are so perfect for scrapbooking , hanging on the fridge, or putting them in a photo album. Let’s get real, those pictures on the front are way better then you could do on your own!


My travel scrapbook!

Thanks again for reading ladies! Have a great week. I’m preparing for a vacation to the beach with my honey this weekend. Can’t wait!!!



How to put together your own Shadow Box


I am so in love with the idea of shadow boxes. They are such a cool way to combine memories and implement mixed media. I especially love to make shadow boxes with travel souvenirs. It’s a great way to get all your souvenirs together in one place.

When I look at this shadow box it just makes me happy.



This shadow box is from my very first trip to Oceanside, California. I immediately fell in love with this little ocean town. Mika convinced me we were going for a vacation. Little did I know my husband-to-be was planning to propose, on the beach with an airplane flying a banner. It was the most perfect moment ever!! So you see, this shadow box is important to me. Every time I look at it a thousand memories cross my brain. I believe that’s the point of a shadow box, to capture an experience so well, that anyone looking at it can feel as if they were there with you.

So in this shadowbox I have:

  1. A dried starfish
  2. A white paper doily
  3. My Jared ring box (with my first promise ring in it)
  4. An Oceanside postcard
  5.  A picture of “The Moment”
  6.  A picture months later “67 Days ’till I’m Mrs. Abatti”
  7. A picture the airplane company sent my husband of the area we were to be
  8.  A shell souvenir

The key to creating the perfect shadow box is balance and a good mix of different textures and items.



Each shadow box comes with a box of pins. Now obviously you cannot “pin” a shell to the back of your shadowbox. I decided on hot glue. I don’t want all my items rolling around when I move. I still used the pins to pin the pictures. Make sure before you start gluing you place everything for a trial run. Take a couple steps back and check your proportions. If something is bothering you and you’re not sure what, play around and switch everything around until it looks right.

This next shadowbox is from our honeymoon to Saint Martin. This shadow box was sooo fun to create. This time being prepared, I bought my souvenirs with the thought of making a shadow box when I got back.

The items I used here were:

  1. A real St. Martin license plate
  2. Some fun quilting pins
  3. 6 real pieces of sea-glass we collected
  4. 3 old rusty bottle caps we found
  5. My boarding pass
  6. A postcard
  7. The map we used to get us lost all over the island because we needed GPS (HA)

I literally am attached to each of these mementos from our trip. It was so fun finding particular items with the thought of making a display we could keep forever. I know with previous trips, I have my souvenirs in the most random places. What are we REALLY supposed to do with with all the crap we gather on our travels except hoard it???



If you are looking for a great shadow box I would start at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. The big ones range from twenty five to thirty dollars. The smaller ones are fifteen to twenty dollars. SO super cheap and doable and a lot of different color and style choices.

This shadow box was made for my brother Dustin, who just bought his first home. My mom and I created it with his manly decorating ascetic in mind.

We used:

  1. Hand cutout “HOME: letters
  2. Thin gold nails we had on hand
  3. White burlap fabric
  4. A picture of his house
  5. Tied twine and a decorative tag with his address written on it
  6. A google maps printout
  7. A small brown box from Michaels
  8. A key to his house


This box turned out so great! What a fun idea for celebrating and documenting a first house.

All over Pinterest we are seeing great ideas for shadow boxes. The baby ones are sooo adorable! Foot prints, hospital bracelets, little outfits, pregnancy tests, pictures from right after delivery, so many opportunities to make it your own!!


My next shadow box project will be from my wedding. A great way to save announcements, save the dates, bouquets, ring boxes, written lyrics, garter, wedding programs and wedding jewelry.

As you can see there are a million different directions you can go using shadow boxes! My dream project would be to create a shadow box for everywhere I travel to. But let’s get real, I travel too much and don’t have enough wall space. Anyways thanks for listening and happy shadow box making. I would love to see the beauties you come up with!!!

6 Books everyone should read right now

I’m an avid reader and I’m about to let you in on a secret that will literally change your life as a reader. Are you ready? Goodwill has 1-3 dollar books. All kinds of books, even newer books! When I found this out obviously it became a problem. I can be poor as dirt and still afford new books. This is my list of MUST READS. When I say must reads I know what I’m talking about. I literally bought all of these books at Goodwill so you’re welcome and happy shopping! After each book description I’ve put the amazon link where you can buy directly brand new.

P.S. As you read through my list you’ll find I’m attracted to more emotional books which is a good thing to know if your a happy happy reader. I like my books to make me feel something.


1.)  The Hour I First Believed (by Wally Lamb)

This book literally stopped my life in it’s tracks. It is one of the longest books I’ve ever read, but I truly could do nothing else until I finished it. This book is set in Littleton, Colorado where a husband and wife are employed at Columbine High School during the mass shooting that took place there in 1999. This book goes through a lot of their struggles at finding security and coming to peace with being a part of what happened to the people who lost their lives. Such a beautiful (but note disturbed) novel as it states a lot of facts that actually happened that day. Really though, read it now!

2.) House Rules (By Jodi Picoult)















You will find Jodi Picoult on this list twice because obviously I’m obsessed with her . This book gives you  true insight on what it would be like to raise or be a child with Asperger Syndrome, which is mild usually social form of autism. In this book an autistic teen’s tutor is murdered and he is blamed for it. It goes through his mother’s, his and his lawyers point of view. The book makes you think about the injustice of an autistic teen being in prison and also functioning in court. Such an interesting read!

3.) The Pact (By Jodi Picoult again)

jodi P

I love this one. Read it like ten times. It’s about two teens, Chistopher and Emily, who have grown up together being best friends as have their families. Once adolescence finds them they start having a more romantic relationship. So picture this: both teens are found at a carousal with a gun and Emily is dead. Chris said it was a suicide pact, but why is he still alive? Chris ends up going on trial for the murder of his lover/best friend Emily. This books keeps you wondering until the very end!

4.) The Gift (By Richard Paul Evans)


This book is my Christmas time tradition. Its not a really Christmasy book; you could read it any time of the year, but it has a great underlying message of love and service. It’s about a single man with Tourettes Syndrome who meets a woman and her two children. Her youngest child Colin has cancer. As the book goes on we discover Colin has the ability to heal people with his touch, but every time he uses this ability he gets sicker. His mom tells him not to heal so she doesn’t lose him but Colin can’t help himself; he always chooses good people who deserve it. I know healing powers sounds cheesy but I’m telling you it’s really a beautiful book.

5.) The Glass Castle (by Jeannette Walls)


The Glass Castle is such a strangely beautiful book. Jeannette and her three siblings spend their childhood skipping from desert town to desert town. Their father calls them “adventures” and often they are packing up in the middle of the night. The children quickly accustom to the instability of their lives, making new friends in new places (or not) and living out of their car. As their father’s alcoholism gets worse, Jeannette starts to realize this isn’t how normal people function. She plans to escape the toxicity she was raised in and make it on her own and eventually moves to NYC with her older sister. Eventually all her siblings come to live with them. This book is a coming of age story but super eccentric.

6.) Crank (By Ellen Hopkins)

I could literally talk about Ellen Hopkins all day. I see a new Hopkins book in Barnes and Noble and I’m tripping! Crank is a story about a good girl who tries Meth for the first time and decides she likes herself better when she’s dancing with “The Monster”. Upon arriving to stay with her Dad (who she is just meeting for the first time at 16) she realizes he is pretty disinterested. That’s when she meets Adam, who becomes her lover throughout the story. This is also when she creates “Bree”, her alter ego she becomes  when she’s cracked up on meth. Bree is opposite the girl she is. Bree is daring, slutty, beautiful and everything she wishes she had the confidence to be.  The story is written in a poem form which makes for a really quick read. Ellen has a way of writing that makes it feel like it’s you on drugs. Guarantee you’ll go through this whole series in no time!