Enjoying Christmas when you’re far from home

I’m pretty lucky. I have a rich history of Christmas gatherings with my family. And my grandpa – well, he was basically Jimmy Stewart. Every Christmas the massive tree would be perfectly shaped and glittering from the window, luminaries would dot the sidewalk, a star in the attic would shine out, green pine and a fresh wreath would be on the porch and the red door would welcome visitors. When you entered the house from the bitter cold, you’d get the biggest, most sincere hugs from him amidst the warm, scratchy sounds of Lawrence Welk and The Ames Brothers’ Christmas albums coming from the record player. As you strolled further inside, the pine garland wrapped up the stairs and the dinner table decked out with the famous Christmas punch, honey-baked ham, cheese ball, sugar cookies, homemade cinnamon roll and dinner rolls, cheesy potatoes and more surrounded by glimmering candles.

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That one time I got smacked in the head by a glass… How to heal scars

This post is a slight detour from my normal travel and expat-based posts – more of those to follow after this post! But as this did happen abroad, I thought it was worth mentioning and it’s peppered with expat, mindset and skincare tips.

So if you follow me on Instagram, you know that during September, I looked like Frankenstein. I mean I do love me some Halloween, but it wasn’t because I was really eager for some pumpkin spice lattes that I was sporting stitches and scabby gashes. After celebrating the last night of the Edinburgh Fringe (the world’s biggest art festival) with friends, we went to a club and bar off the Royal Mile where towards the end of the night when I was contemplating leaving for my warm bed, I was accidentally smacked in the head with a thick tumbler glass. I turned to my friends complaining that it hurt and that’s when I saw their shocked faces while I tasted iron. Yep. That’s right guys – I had a head wound and in typical head wound fashion – it was a gusher. Read More

The birthplace of Halloween

I’ve celebrated 8 spooky Halloweens in Scotland. While its celebrations are less flamboyant than what I’m used to in the States (and I love me some over the top events – especially of the scary variety), there’s something to be said for Scotland’s understated acknowledgement of the holiday it invented. Read More

When homesickness & wanderlust collide

“We are torn between nostalgia for familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

– Carson McCullers

I’ve lived abroad for eight years. Travelling sends goosebumps up my body. Every time the plane lifts off my heart skips – not from fear but in excitement for the possibilities that await. And yet, despite how much I absolutely LOVE travelling this beautiful world, if I’m leaving Ohio, I end up in my window seat, using my thick hair to hide my face and I silently sob as the plane removes itself from the soil I grew up on. No matter how much of a grown ass woman – hashtag girlboss – I am, I’m still going to cry when I say goodbye to my mama because she’s awesome. I want to carry all my loved ones in my pocket to share my travels. And I don’t want to miss out on family and close friends’ big achievements and daily lives while I’m away exploring. Yet this is what happens. Read More

Adjusting to Edinburgh’s cold, dark days

It’s no secret that the UK is a rainier and less sunny island than those lush tropical ones down south. But I must confess, 22 year old me really wasn’t prepared for the amount of cold, rain and darkness that shrouded Edinburgh – even during its summers. Read More

Fringe nods to jazz and juleps

The two things you’ll miss as a traveller/expat are – family and food. And while you’ll meet amazing people and expand your palette, sometimes you just want the tastes and sounds of home. Although I spent the first 22 years of my life 1,000 miles away from New Orleans as a Midwesterner, now that I’m in Edinburgh, I miss being able to easily find mixed cajun spice and roulade sauce in supermarkets to give a kick to a meal. So when I heard that there was a pop up jazz and julep bar with American food up from London, my interest was piqued. Were the juleps going to be sweet and sassy enough? The food going to be spicy enough?

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Best cafes in Bruntsfield (Edinburgh)

This is the second post in an Edinburgh café series highlighting top cafes in Edinburgh’s various boroughs. It’s a collaboration between Yankee Doodles and Edinburgh photographer Martin Vrzal of @Pascalpics. All photos in this post are taken by Martin and you can check out his amazing views of the city on his Instagram.

In our first post of best cafés in Edinburgh, we headed to the Meadows. This time we’re passing Edinburgh’s Meadows to the southeast where you’ll find a bougie borough called Bruntsfield. Read More

Best of the Edinburgh fest for a weekend visit

IMG_4121Today the world’s biggest art festival hits Edinburgh’s gardens and closes for three weeks! The city’s population doubles in size as people from all over the world flock to the streets and the various festival venues. The streets are filled with performances and exhibitions, actors arrive at bars in their outfits post performance and bars and clubs are open late – 3 am and 5 am.

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Best cafes around the Meadows (Edinburgh)

This is the first post in an Edinburgh café series highlighting top cafes in Edinburgh’s various boroughs. It’s a collaboration between Yankee Doodles and local photographer Martin Vrzal of @Pascalpics. All photos are taken by Martin and you can check out his amazing views of the city on his Instagram. Read More

Cut – A sensory theatre experience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I’ve been spoilt with six Edinburgh Fringe Festivals on my doorstep and I’ve seen my share of comedies, dramas, performance art and acrobatic acts. Most have been entertaining, some moments have been impressive but very rarely has a show left such an impact that the feeling follows you through the following days, leaving you on edge, mulling through certain aspects of the performance. Read More