7 Unforgettable European Travel Moments

With true joy and pure unbridled happiness comes a sense of clarity. In this clarity, I realize in the moment that I am having an experience I will never forget. A wave of serenity washes over me, and a faint smile crosses my lips. Every worry and every ounce of apprehension is lifted, leaving only the profound realization that I am overwhelmingly content. They’re the moments you know you’re going to miss and the memories you feel nostalgic for while they’re happening. They’re your deepest treasures, and the ones you hope will never fade with age.

These types of memories can happen anywhere. The moment springs to your mind when you’re at your most comfortable, or your most vulnerable. There is no pattern to follow and you never know when it’ll happen — until it does. Like the greatest surprise, that clarity comes and you know you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. I often return to these memories, especially on the most mundane of days. They are an escape, a reprise from the dull and uninteresting. Memories are a companion I can always count on, and I can only hope I am allowed to keep them for my entire life. When I’m old and grey and my mind starts to go, I hope I can still escape to that night of laughs in Berlin, or those joyful tears that accompanied pizza and sunset in Italy.

Many great memories are made in places I consider home, but the most tantalizing ones have all happened while abroad. When you start to fill your passport with stamps, you also begin collecting unforgettable experiences. Being across the ocean, far from my comforts and usual surroundings, I find myself more often struck by just how beautiful the earth and life is. So, without further a do, here are the top seven travel memories my mind keeps wandering back to.

1. Watching the Sunset from Michelangelo Square with a Bottle of Wine

Sunset over Florence, Italy with a view of the Duomo.
Michelangelo Square is the perfect place to see a stunning sunset. Florence, Italy. May, 2019.

To say Italy is special may be the understatement of the century, only to be tied with the claim that Florence is charming. The way that city comes alive with culture and beauty is a spectacle to admire. This certainly isn’t a revelation — the art, culture and overwhelming beauty has a history of inducing Stendhal syndrome (also called Florence syndrome).

While so many parts of Florence offer irreplaceable memories, the one I may cherish most dearly isn’t technically one memory. It’s more of a routine my travel companion and I established during our five day stay there. Each night, we would hike up the steep winding roads to Michelangelo Square to watch the sun set over the city. Seeing the red rooftops glowing, and the walls of the Duomo reflecting an opalescent orange before disappearing into the night was, simply, magic. Even now, that image is easy to evoke in my mind and a familiar sense of calm washes over me.

Hands uncorking a bottle of wine.
Florence, Italy. May, 2019.

Each night we would make it to the square and crack a bottle of wine. Although it was a popular spot, the memory is still one of serenity. I see myself with a smile painted on my lips as bright as the setting sun, an unmatched joy in my heart, and a thrill for life that I’m still chasing. This isn’t some dramatic romanticism, it’s really just the profound effect Florence has.

2. Sitting Under the Eiffel Tower at Night

Face silhouetted by Eiffel Tower.
The way the Eiffel Tower sparkles leaves no questions as to how it’s captivated travellers for generations. Paris, France. February, 2019.

These first two memories are both common occurrences for the frequent Europe traveller. Neither of these spots are hidden or some well-kept local secret. But, the classics are classic for a reason. In a normal year, Paris welcomes more than 40 million tourists. For most, seeing the Eiffel Tower is near the top of their to-do list. Although the charm of Paris can be found down the smallest alleyways and tucked away in the tiniest cafes, the Eiffel Tower is an icon of the city. When you think of France, La Dame de Fer surely comes to mind.

On my first visit to Paris, two friends and I packed wine and cheese before catching the metro to Champ de Mars. We sat in the grass drinking French rosé and soaking up the Parisian atmosphere. It was a surprisingly warm February evening, but perhaps it was the wine or the thrill of being there that kept the cold away.

Eiffel Tower at sunset with flowers.
Paris, France. April, 2019.

It was already a beautiful evening, I had a good view and better company — I was counting my lucky stars. Then, as the clock struck the hour, my jaw dropped and my heart soared. The Tower began to sparkle — just as it did in every movie I’ve ever seen that takes place in Paris. The twinkle lights made a beautiful memory a perfect one. Seeing the Eiffel Tower shine so bright for the first time is irreplaceable. Each time I’ve been lucky enough to see the tower since has still been beautiful, but there is nothing quite like the first time.

The City of Light sure knows how to make an impression.

3. New Friends and Early Mornings in Dubrovnik

High vantage point of Old Town Dubrovnik.
Looking over the rooftops of Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia from the city walls. Dubrovnik, Croatia. April, 2019.

I truly love solo travel. I’ve been independent my whole life, I know what I like to do and I love being able to create a trip that only has to check off my own boxes. Eliminating the need for an itinerary to accommodate an extra person can really feel like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. However, there certainly are times where I wish I had a companion. When a hostel is full of good friends travelling in a pack, I can feel like the only person without a best friend by my side. Or, when a sweet cafe full of pairs catches my eye, I wonder if I have it in me to take a table for one. I know both those situations aren’t totally grounded in reality, the joy of solo travel is doing what you want when you want. So, yes, I did order an affogato to my cozy table in the cute cafe with an empty chair across from me — and it was truly lovely. But, the truth holds that sometimes the beauty of a new location gets crowded with the thoughts of being lonely.

In 2019 I spent four days in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The ancient streets and crashing ocean waves were a vision straight from my dreams. It was my first trip to a warm destination after spending a rainy and dreary winter in The Netherlands. The sun felt amazing on my face, and getting lost in the maze of alleyways and hidden shops was an amazing experience. But, alongside the explosion of gratefulness that life allowed me to explore such a stunning location, the hints of loneliness began to creep in. I had just spent a wonderful week with my family, and now I was alone in this beautiful city.

On my second day there, after returning from a day trip to Montenegro, I climbed the steep flight of stairs to the hostel I was staying at. I walked into my shared accommodations to find two girls chatting. They were quick to introduce themselves to me, and soon I was wrapped up in their conversation too. We shared travel stories, and one of the girls proudly showed off her collection of pressed pennies. It was such an easy conversation, and one I was so desperately in need of. I was invited to join them the next day to explore the city before the tour busses arrived. The plan was to wake up at 6 a.m., take some photos at the most popular spots, and then walk the famous city walls. It was like they had read my mind, they had planned the exact same morning I had intended on doing. I immediately agreed to going.

Sitting on steps in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik, Croatia. April, 2019.

The early morning came fast, but the three of us pulled ourselves from under our covers and stepped on to the cobblestone streets shortly after sunrise. Aside from a few delivery vehicles dropping supplies to local businesses, the streets were empty. There were no throngs of tourists winding their way down the streets, no queues to take pictures at legendary spots, and hardly another soul walking the city walls. We had a great morning. We laughed, we saw some stunning views, and we took such joy in the company of strangers. It was one of the most pure instances of human connection I have ever experienced — and it came to me at a time of such need.

4. Arriving in Dubrovnik Knowing Nothing About the City

Looking through a stone window to Dubrovnik
The gorgeous red rooftops and winding streets make the Old Town a charming area full of hidden gems. Dubrovnik, Croatia. April, 2019.

I’m typically such a planner, I treasure my agenda like gold. I love having a schedule and I take such pleasure in researching destinations before I arrive. My trip to Dubrovnik, however, was quite a different experience for me. I knew Croatia was supposed to be a gorgeous country and I knew I wanted to visit. While searching for flight deals out of France near the end of a trip to Paris, I found a super cheap flight from Nantes to Dubrovnik. Instead of doing my typical deep-dive into history of the city, spots to see and reading travellers reviews, I did a brief Google Image search. I saw images of the bluest sea crashing onto dramatic shorelines, and stunning sunsets painting medieval architecture. That was all I needed to convince myself to book the flight.

Once the flight was booked, I got a bus ticket to take me to Nantes and arranged for my accommodations in Dubrovnik. I read a couple blog posts about the city, but didn’t really get the chance to fully research my next destination. Three days later I had landed in Dubrovnik, with only the address of my hostel and a backpack full of well-worn clothes. Since my flight had landed pretty late, I decided to call an Uber to take me to the hostel. I typed in the address and was swiftly brought to a seemingly random spot near a bend in the road. In front of the car was a stone archway — one I would later learn was a part of the city walls originally erected in the 13th century. Sensing that this was as close to my destination as the driver could get, I grabbed my backpack and stepped out into the warm night and through the gate.

Dubrovnik streets at night.
Dubrovnik, Croatia. April, 2019.

It was like I had stepped back in time. I knew Dubrovnik was old, but I had virtually no other information about the city. I didn’t even know the Old Town was carless! Warm lights affixed to stone buildings lit up my route to my accommodations. It seemed like I had walked down four flights of stairs and up six, the weaving alleyways and steps made it feel like I was walking further into an impenetrable maze. Despite feeling lost and wandering alone at night, I had a big, goofy smile on my face. This city was like nothing I had experienced — I thought I had time travelled to a time before the invention of cars and skyscrapers. I was lost and happy beyond words, my lack of research had led me to this wonderful surprise. I climbed dozens of steps and backtracked more than once. But, the joy of finding new little streets to walk down and being bathed in a mix of warm lamplight and cool moonlight made every wrong turn all the more enjoyable.

This was the surprising start to a wonderful few days in Old town Dubrovnik. My time in that wonderful city still brings a wistful look to my face, I can recall so many smiles and beautiful experiences that have really cemented Dubrovnik in my heart as a very special place.

5. Walking Through Berlin With a Beer and a Kebab

A bar-filled alley in Berlin.
Exploring vibrant, creative Berlin. Berlin, Germany. March, 2019.

While I was going to school in The Netherlands my course had a mandatory field trip to Berlin. Since this was all a part of an assignment we had to turn in a few days upon returning, the days were mostly scheduled by the instructors. This meant walking tours, museums and art galleries all day long. Although I generally enjoy those types of activities, not having control over which museums or walking tours we went on made this trip majorly different than my other travels. Despite this, one moment remains stuck in my mind as a prime example of simple joys brought by new experiences and good company.

One night, after a day of visiting art exhibits and learning the history of Berlin, a friend and I decided to go on a walk around the city. She’s from Germany and was happy to be my translator and first point of contact for learning the cool things we had to do while in the city. One of the things she described as “a must” was getting a kebab after a couple drinks. Being vegetarians, we ordered two giant falafel sandwiches with all the toppings. We ate our big, messy sandwiches in the shop and continued our tour of the neighbourhood we were staying in. We stopped into a corner store to grab a couple beers, after paying and heading back out to the sidewalk we realized we had no opener. After a kind stranger opened our drinks for us, we started sipping our drinks as we wandered city streets.

Sunsetting against an old building.
Berlin, Germany. March, 2019.

This moment was so simple; food, company and drinks. But, despite the simplicity of it all, it was just so indescribably nice. Seeing world-renowned art, insta-famous sights, and historical landmarks definitely has its appeals. But, spending an evening walking through the city with a good friend is so special in its own right. I have no photos from this night, no way to visually transport myself back to that wonderful evening in Berlin. So, I must rely on this wonderfully simple memory. I can think back and almost feel the same smile creep on to my face. I can imagine my friends laugh and feel the cold beer pass my lips.

6. Coffee in a Smoky Vienna Coffee Shop

Vienna at sunset, looking down a pretty street.
Dubbed the most livable city in 2018 and 2019, Austria’s capital has a lot to offer. Vienna, Austria. February, 2019.

So many of these memories involve connection with another person. Sometimes that person is a friend I knew before reaching the destination, but sometimes the person I spent a memorable and amazing time with was a brand new friend. I have made wonderful memories with people I didn’t know before arriving in the city. Despite the connection not usually blossoming into a deeper friendship, their contribution to cherished memories keeps them in my heart. One such memory happened when I was visiting Vienna.

I decided to join the walking tour that the hostel I was staying at had organized. I hadn’t had any luck yet making friends at the hostel and hoped that maybe I would meet someone on the tour. I kept my eye out for someone I could chat with as we wandered the streets listening to the guide tell us about the history of beautiful Vienna. About halfway through the excursion, I began talking to a German girl who was similar age to me. She was easy to talk to, and after the tour ended we decided to go for a cup of coffee together. Seeing as she spoke the language, she had no worries about visiting a shop that was tucked back from the tourist centre, and had more of a “locals only” vibe. She led me through a maze of small streets before entering a small cafe.

As soon as I had stepped into this coffee shop, I was enveloped in a sense of comfort and warmth. The red velvet decor and dim lights made the space feel like a jazzy speak easy from decades past. I looked at the menu board and realized there was nothing named just “coffee”, so I took my new friends lead and ordered a melange. It was amazing. The coffee was so rich and smooth, it felt like the finest brew I’d ever had. The smoky atmosphere made it feel that much more special, it was very apparent I was in a coffee shop very unlike any in my hometown. At a communal table we sat with a local man dressed in a suit, who was sipping a coffee with one hand while the other held on to a lit cigarette.

Sipping a to-go cup of coffee.
Sipping a coffee at the train station in Vienna. Although not the fanciest coffee I have ever drank, it was very delicious. Vienna, Austria. February, 2019.

Although second hand smoke isn’t my idea of ‘charming’, something about this atmosphere made it feel so appropriate. For this one moment I felt like I was on the set of a romantic European film. Light music mixed with the cigarette smoke, creating an atmosphere of intrigue and an air of mystery. There I was, sipping the most amazing coffee, chatting with a new friend, surrounded by a cozy, foreign atmosphere.

Since my visit to Vienna, the city has banned smoking indoors. So, perhaps it’s nearly time to return and discover jazzy cafes without the second hand smoke factor.

7. Spotting Mountains for the First Time

Mountain range seen across a lake.
Mountains as seen from Hallstatt, Austria. Hallstatt, Austria. February, 2019.

I am certainly not alone in being absolutely mesmerized by the sight of mountains. Seeing the big, gorgeous formations dot the horizon is really a special kind of magic. The sight is so fantastic that I distinctly remember the exact moment I spotted a snow-capped mountain for the first time in my life. I was travelling from Vienna to Salzburg by train, and had my eyes glued to the window for practically the whole journey. As the train flew down the tracks at 200 kilometres per hour, I began to notice interruptions in a fairly flat landscape. As they appeared to come nearer and nearer, my excitement only grew.

I was filled with such child-like joy that I could not stop smiling. Around me, people were reading, working on laptops or napping. I couldn’t understand how someone could be doing anything else but staring at the gorgeous mountain range coming in to view. I was so ecstatic that I couldn’t stop snapping pictures, even though I knew the train’s high speed was making them all blurry. I just had to capture the gorgeous peaks from my window seat.

As my cheeks began to hurt from smiling so hard, and my unbridled joy kept growing, I started to understand more clearly why I was mesmerized. Seeing these mountains for the first time proved to me something I knew to be true — the world is full of sights that can take my breath away and reinvigorate my sense of wonder and amazement. I always knew this big, beautiful world had so much to show me, and this glimpse of jaw-dropping mountain peaks proved it. I was just starting my travel journey, and in that moment I knew I could keep chasing mountain tops and pursuing moments that would strike awe and wonder in my heart. The world is full of magic, and I’ve only experienced a little drop.

Austrian mountain homes on a foggy treed slope.
Hallstatt, Austria. April, 2019.

How amazing is the human mind? With the power of memory I can travel back to a specific moment and place in time. I can taste the wine on my lips in Florence, and feel the early morning sun’s rays on my face in Dubrovnik — all without leaving home. Life is a series of memories, and all I want to do is collect experiences to fill my hall of records. To see sunrises and sunsets, feel warm sand in my toes and snow on my fingertips, and to cherish each experience to the deepest extent.

6 Cities I Can’t Wait to Revisit

We are so deep into 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic that being able to travel feels like something from an alternate reality. Some borders may be open, but I could never in good conscience catch a flight given the current state of the world. My Pinterest boards are growing with ideas, and my desire to explore more of this beautiful world is growing exponentially each day. For now, I have to try to satisfy my travel craving by reminiscing on past trips. I find myself trying to relive my 2019 trip to Europe by scrolling through my photos, watching old Instagram stories, and digging through my bag of souvenirs.

While I have a list a mile long of places I want to visit for the first time, there are some cities I find myself longing to return to. So, without further ado, here are the six cities I just can’t get off my mind.

1. Florence, Italy

When I close my eyes, I can still see the sun set over the city of Florence. Memories of this glorious city are etched into my mind: eating gelato by the Duomo after dark, feeling the warm sun on my skin as I navigate busy streets, my first bite of truly exceptional pasta — each of these moments are little pieces that help create this profound longing to return. But, perhaps no memory do I hold more dear than seeing the sun set from Piazzalle Michelangelo. After wandering the city, visiting the galleries and gardens, there is no better way to end the day than with a bottle of wine and a million dollar view.

2. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Oh Dubrovnik, how I look forward to the day I’ll be back among the salty air, climbing hundreds of stairs, and finding dozens of beautiful buildings tucked away in every corner. No place has ever made me feel so far away from the rest of the world. After passing through the gates to this 16th century, walled city I was immediately taken with its charm and inviting character. The warm glow of lights illuminate the old streets at night, creating a romantic, contented atmosphere. With the sunrise comes the Mediterranean heat, and that easy-going tropical feeling, aided by the salty air emanating from the Adriatic Sea.

3. Bucharest, Romania

Despite knowing very little about the city, Bucharest was on my travel bucket list for quite some time. I have no clue when this fascination with the Romanian capital started or what caused it, all I knew was that I had to go. When my plane landed, I exited with no expectations and no real plan. What greeted me was a vibrant, eclectic city. I didn’t know what I would find endearing about Bucharest, but I soon realized that list would be longer than expected. The trendy coffee shops, artsy communities, and neoclassical architecture are just a few reasons why my time in Bucharest was so enjoyable.

4. Stockholm, Sweden

Before arriving in Sweden’s largest city, I heard that there were nicer places to go in the country. I was told Stockholm is nice, but Gothenburg was really nice. Since my trip to Scandinavia was already booked and carefully organized, I couldn’t exactly squeeze another city into the itinerary. If my sources can be trusted, and based off of how thoroughly I enjoyed Stockholm, Gothenburg must be amazing. Stockholm was the perfect mix of new and old, Gamla Stan had all the charm of historic Europe, while the newer city centre had the excitement of a modern, progressive metropolis. This city oozes arts and culture. While sipping coffee in a sweet cafe, I could envision myself founding a design firm and making Stockholm my trendy home base. I can’t wait to return to explore more of the islands that make up Stockholm, and to visit their galleries and independent shops.

5. Utrecht, the Netherlands

To say I miss being in Utrecht is an understatement. I long to return to the days of cycling the streets, shopping beside the canal, and lounging in the parks. Utrecht is often described as a less-busy, smaller Amsterdam, and while both cities have winding canals and charming facades, Utrecht deserves recognition in its own right. The city is alive with friendly people, exciting nightlife and lovely markets. Utrecht feels like a real city, one that is thoroughly lived in, and willing to welcome you warmly.

6. Tallinn, Estonia

  • Tallinn church and tree in afternoon light

Tallinn was another fun surprise. I often read everything I can about a city I’m visiting, I love to be prepared. This time, however, I only did some light research before catching the ferry in Helsinki, and travelling across the Gulf of Finland. Having scrolled some photos of the old town, I expected it to be beautiful. What I didn’t expect, was the immediate ease and comfort I felt wandering the cobblestone streets. I can really envision myself spending my days walking the town, popping in to new restaurants, climbing up to see viewpoints and relaxing in public squares. As much as I loved the long days of sunshine I experienced when I visited in June, I think my next trip will have to be during the Christmas season. This city is the storybook-perfect location for Christmas markets, and I can only imagine it looks even more magical covered in snow.

8 Money-Saving Ways to Live a More Sustainable Life

Two things we should all strive to save: our hard-earned money, and the planet!

Living a sustainable life can be quite the journey. It definitely requires changing some habits, possibly ditching some previously-loved products and, if you’re not careful, it can end up being a pricy switch. Marketing teams have sunk their teeth into the words “green” and “eco”, at times using them to justify slapping a hefty price tag on their products. But, luckily for us, there are ways to improve our sustainability that don’t cost any money. In fact, we can actually save some moolah by choosing the greener choice.

So, here are five ways to live more sustainably. These require no pricy initial investment, and will save you money right from day one.

1. Shop Second Hand

Thrift-shopping has been having a major moment. Well, I guess it’s been trendy for a bit more than a moment. Of course, people have relied on thrift stores long before secondhand was trendy. Whether it’s financially or sustainably motivated, thrift stores are a great option to save some cash and resist supporting fast fashion. Thrifting is also a sure way to find unique pieces, and there are few feelings as good as unearthing a glorious discounted gem.

second hand, thrift store shopping. flipping through the racks of secondhand clothing, shoes, boots, and other vintage items.
Thrift stores can be a treasure trove of unique and affordable finds to spice up your wardrobe.

2. Borrow Instead of Buy

The more things you start acquiring the bigger environmental footprint you make. Think of all the components that go in to, say, a carpet cleaner. Now, imagine instead of 20 people buying a carpet cleaner of their own, they all choose to borrow one. This waste-saving method can apply to any number of things, from cleaning equipment to power tools to books–there is often a way to save some money by borrowing instead of buying.

book sliding off a shelf, library loans
Show your local library some support by (temporarily) filling your shelf with borrowed books.

3. Drink Tap Water

Okay, this one seems so obvious I hesitate mentioning it. However, the bottled water industry is still very much in business, so perhaps someone out there needs to hear it: Bottled water is a SCAM. If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere with clean, potable water it’s time to ditch bottled. There are communities so envious of the opportunity to have safe drinking water running from their taps. Say no to plastic (and supporting an exploitative conglomerate…) and start drinking tap water. It’s a privilege.

sink tap flow of water filling a drinking glass
Save plastic bottles and some cash by drinking tap water.

4. Eat Less Meat

The animal agriculture industry plays a huge role in the production of greenhouse gasses. I would encourage anyone to read up on the industry themselves, and make informed dietary decisions. Even if you can’t go totally vegan or vegetarian, eating less meat is a valuable first step. Try Meatless Mondays, or, better yet, make plant based swaps multiple times a week! We’re all just doing our best, and reducing meat consumption is one of the best ways to help the environment. Contrary to popular belief, eating plant based doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of the newer products on the market are pricy, but traditional swaps (like legumes and tofu) can be way cheaper than some meat!

tomatoes arugula on bread for a delicious vegetarian snack
There are many delicious ways to eat your veggies, you can even go as simple as putting them on a piece of crusty bread.

5. Reduce Food Waste

When you use all of your produce, you prevent perfectly edible food from going to the landfill, where scraps break down in a way that releases green house gasses. Additionally, when food is wasted we are allowing all the resources that went in to food production to be wasted as well. Instead, get creative with your meals and stay informed about how long food has stayed in your fridge– so you can be sure to use it up before it rots. Shop smart, store food properly and save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

sink of fresh veggies being washed
Pre-wash your fresh veggies to make them an easier option when you’re rushing to throw a meal together.

6. Learn to Mend

Basic sewing is such a great life skill to have! Nowadays, you can learn practically anything on the internet. So, watch a video or read a tutorial so you can repair basic rips and tears in your clothes. This way, you can keep that pair of jeans out of the landfill, and you don’t have to buy a new pair.

spools of thread and buttons sewing mending
Make it your mission to learn how to do basic mending.

7. Reduce Electricity and Water Use

This is another one that seems so basic, but it’s worth repeating. Try to change your electricity and water consumption habits, to conserve resources and knock some dollars off your bills. Get in the routine of opening curtains instead of turning the light on, unplug electronics that aren’t in use, and be diligent with taking short showers. Small habits add up, and this is a great step in reducing your footprint.

red light on bar walls
Put the red light on electricity usage– AKA turn that switch off!

8. Reuse Containers

Instead of purchasing plastic containers to store leftovers, start reusing some of the jars your groceries come in. Glass jars (like from jams or pickles) are great because you don’t have to worry about the material degrading over time. Some plastics aren’t designed for prolonged use, but glass, as long as it’s washed properly, can be reused indefinitely. Repurposing what you already have is one of my favourite ways to live more sustainably, and stop myself from spending on unnecessary items.

Jalapeños jarred in a glass reused container.
Reusing jars is a simple and cost-effective way to store food.

Living sustainably doesn’t have to be over complicated, keep it simple so you can start today. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you to take a look at what steps you can take to help protect the planet– while avoiding some costs. Once you start incorporating these ideas into your life, you can start looking bigger, and figure out how you are going to make more changes.

12 Pieces That Prove Terrazzo is THE 2021 Trend to Watch For

Move over solid neutrals, terrazzo is here to claim the throne.

While I have always loved a neutral palette and simple designs, with how life has been going lately I decided I could use some COLOUR! As I was realizing my design preferences were changing to encompass the vibrancy and eclecticism missing from my everyday life, a sponsored post from W&P Designs appeared on my instagram feed. Like serendipity, here was an image of glorious drink ware that combined everything I have long loved with the style I was starting to gravitate towards. Thus, I was introduced to the beauty of the terrazzo print. It’s fun and colourful, while still maintaining clean lines and a classic feel. So, to all my colour-lovers and neutral diehards: read on! This list may just have something for everyone.

Note: These kind of posts are always ‘just for fun’ from me and all prices are listed in Canadian dollars. For items not originally listed in Canadian dollars, the current exchange rate at time of publication was used to calculate the price.

W&P Porter Mug

a cream-coloured, terrazzo mug shown beside it's accompanying box
Photo by W&P Designs

With the temperatures starting to drop, you’re going to want to take a hot cup of coffee with you while you brave the cold. At the very least, having a caffeine boost waiting for you will make your holiday errands a bit more bearable. So, why not keep your coffee in this chic mug? This silicone-wrapped, ceramic mug will brighten up grey winter days, and help you reduce your eco-impact by replacing disposable cups. It also comes in a great set with a matching bottle!

$34 from Nordstrom

Accent Lamp

A medium-sized table-top lamp with a geometric, terrazzo base and large Edison-style light bulb.
Photo by Anthropologie

2020 has absolutely been the year of staying indoors. So, while you’re stuck in your house you may as well jazz it up a little bit. This sweet lamp has all the colourful joy of terrazzo, while also keeping it interesting with a fun geometric shape. This would definitely look stylish on a bedside table, or use it to bring a bit of style to your home office. 

$88.40 from Anthropologie

Casetify Phone Case

An iPhone 11 case featuring a bold, colourful terrazzo pattern printed in plastic.
Photo by Casetify

The pretty pastels of this phone case definitely give it a bit of a pop, but are totally understated enough to go with everything! Not only will this case look cute, it’s been drop tested and made with shock-absorbing material. It’s available for Samsung devices and many iPhone models. A great option if you have a hard time finding case options for your older model cell phone!

$84.50 from Casetify

Neutral Terrazzo Coasters

A yellow, grooved, terrazzo concrete coaster is shown beside a stack of three matching ones in grey, red and blue.
Photo by Cocktail Emporium

I have been allabout adding pretty little accents to different spaces in my home. One of my favourite ways to do this is by accessorizing existing console or coffee tables. These hand cast coasters will look great in use or stacked. While the sweet colours are what caught my eye first, they definitely get bonus point for being light-weight and made from recycled materials.

$66 for a set of 4 from Cocktail Emporium

Canteen

A white, metal waterbottle featuring a colourful, geometric terrazzo pattern
Photo by Corkcicle

This is the collab I didn’t know I wanted. Corkcicle, makers of canteens that keep beverages cold for 25 hours, have joined forces with the cool and colourful creative minds at Poketo. The result is this fun bottle that will brighten every sip. There’s something about a chic water bottle that makes staying hydrated so much easier.

$54.99 from Altitude Sports

Globe Floor Lamp

A corded, stand-up floor lamp featuring a terrazzo base, brass post and globe light.
Photo by Crate and Barrel

Okay, so this is definitely something I would consider a splurge. But, how sweet would this lamp look beside a trendy sofa? While I won’t be able to add this to my home anytime soon, it is absolutely what I envision in my dream, cool girl, city apartment. The speckled terrazzo bottom adds just enough interest, while still allowing it to be a neutral piece that would complement many design styles. Terrazzo plus brass is a winning combination in my books. 

$449 from Crate and Barrel

Fabric Shower Curtain

A cloth, terrazzo printed shower curtain is featured in a white bathroom.
Photo by Simons

I love that this terrazzo pattern is heavy on the cool tones. I think blues look great in bathrooms, and the odd pop of light yellows and pinks still make enough of a statement.  I’ve owned a shower curtain from Simons for a number of years, so I can vouch that the quality makes this a total steal.

$20 from Simons 

Spiral Notebook

An emerald green, terrazzo printed notebook featuring a gold spiral binding
Photo by The Baltic Club

Ok, this might be my favourite thing. I am such a sucker for nice stationary, and this pretty notebook just made it to the top of my wish list. The emerald colour and gold spiral binding create such a classic look, and the terrazzo pattern definitely modernizes it. This notebook is 110 pages, and you get to pick whether they are lined, blank or dotted! 

$20 from The Baltic Club

Jewellery Stand

3 pairs of earrings and a necklace are neatly stores on a three-tiered jewellery holder, where the terrazzo base also acts as a catch-all dish.
Photo by Umbra.

Who doesn’t love a good dose of organization? Especially,when it looks as chic as this. What strikes me most about this jewellery stand (okay—besides that terrazzo base) is how intelligently it was designed. Each post has a double wire top, so you can store your earrings efficiently. The different post heights accommodate a number of necklace chain lengths, and the bottom dish acts as a great catch-all for whatever other bits and pieces you have. 

$35 from Umbra

Two-tier Stash Box

a pair of earring and a necklace are draped over an don two ceramic, terrazzo trinket boxes and its silver lid.
Photo by Urban Outfitters

These stacking dishes give such a clean, fresh look. The terrazzo is gorgeous, and looks so nice against the gleaming, silver lid. The dishes can be left stacked or separated for a cute display piece. I could see myself sticking all of my most-worn jewellery in these. I love a piece that is functional and still looks great left out on a night stand or dresser.

$44 from Urban Outfitters

W&P Utensil Set

Set of silverware held in a silicone, terrazzo case
Photo by W&P Designs

If you are packing a lunch for work, this cute utensil set would definitely come in handy. Utensils may not be the most thrilling thing, but having a set ready to throw in your lunch bag would definitely be convenient. If you’re anything like me and always forget your silverware, perhaps a set as pretty as this will make it easier to remember. No more needing to raid the office cupboards for single-use cutlery

$28.60 from Anthropologie

Removable Peel and Stick Wallpaper

terrazzo wallpaper acts as accent wall in home office
Photo by Wayfair

An accent wall can really elevate any room, especially when it’s as dainty as this soft-hued terrazzo pattern. As a bonus, this wallpaper is easy to remove if you ever decide to take your design aesthetic in another direction. The ease of installation and removal is just as appealing as adding these lovely pastels to your living room or home office. I can definitely see this wallpaper pairing splendidly with metallic accents. 

$91.99 for 24’W x 48” L from Wayfair

Cities and Their Soundtracks: 13 Songs to Fuel Your Wanderlust

Music carries with it a special kind of power. For most of us, we already have music rituals that we have cultivated throughout our lives. You know the songs to throw on after a long day at work, the tunes that will bring life back to a lazy hang with friends, and even the songs that will help the tears flow after a breakup. It’s safe to say that music is ingrained in our emotional habits. And speaking of emotions: 2020– amirite? While this year has been a total whirlwind (to put it very lightly), it’s important to still appreciate the comforts we can find in the ordinary.

While I’m sure many of us would love to catch flights and start exploring this big, beautiful world of ours again, it’s definitely not something I can do in good conscience. The feeling of having your passport and boarding pass in one hand while your other drags your carryon through airport corridors can’t be replaced. Nor, can the wonder of seeing a city for the first time be matched. Snapping pictures of landmarks, sampling local eats and chatting with locals as you wander aimlessly through winding streets are all experiences that can’t really be duplicated.

So, I make no delusions to believe the following songs will replace any of those real-life feelings that come with actually exploring these cities. But, at the very least, they make a good distraction from the same four walls I look at everyday. Perhaps you can find a bit of joy in putting these on, closing your eyes and seeing if it takes you anywhere. Enjoy.

Midnight in Paris – Roman Lewis

Get Transported to: Paris, France

Listen to feel: Carefree, young, and in love in the most romantic city in the world.

Notable Lyric:

It’s Midnight in Paris
Drinking wine on the terrace
Without a care it seems
And all of the stars they gleam
A little bit brighter

Montreal – Port Cities

Get Transported to: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Listen to feel: Like the coolest guest at a hip, Montreal house party. You can practically feel the warm glow of laughter filling a small rental apartment.

Notable Lyric:

You were dancing on the white lines of St. Catherine street
The silhouette sun burning colours in your eyes that I’ve never seen

Adelaide – Ben Folds

Get Transported to: Adelaide, Australia

Listen to feel: The eyes-wide fascination of an expat eagerly exploring the new place they call home.

Notable Lyric:

I can see their eyes around 
They’re pointed down 
They scan the spanning sidewalks 
Learning that there is no hurry 
Fuss or worry 
Adelaide

Vienna – Billy Joel

Get Transported to: Vienna, Austria

Listen to feel: Your worries begin to melt away. A good reminder to take it one day at a time, beautiful Vienna will be waiting for you.

Notable Lyric:

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

London Boy – Taylor Swift

Get Transported to: London, UK

Listen to feel: That beautiful blend of comfort and excitement. That feeling when somewhere you’ve never been feels immediately like home.

Notable Lyric:

They say home is where the heart is
But God, I love the English You know I love a London boy
I enjoy nights in Brixton, Shoreditch in the afternoon

Lost in Amsterdam – Möwe, Jonasu, Eskeemo

Get Transported to: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Listen to feel: The wide-eyed, wholesome joy found by walking in circles around a city you don’t know. The excitement that propels you forward, before you can even think of checking a map.

Notable Lyric:

Let’s get lost, lost in Amsterdam
Where it’s you and me together
Making trouble, making friends
Let’s get lost, lost in Amsterdam
We’ll be strolling ’round the canals and dance
Lost in Amsterdam

Oslo – Anna of the North

Get Transported to: Oslo, Norway

Listen to feel: A fire’s glow burning in your soul, light and airy while still being fully alive. Like a hug from your favourite person.

Notable Lyric:

From the start, Oslo
Light in my heart, red glow
Drink in bars, dance on the roofs of cars
In the burning streets of Oslo

Barcelona – Ed Sheeran

Get Transported to: Barcelona, Spain

Listen to feel: All the feels that come along with a night out with your most exciting friend. You know, the one that makes you sing karaoke and stay out way past your bedtime. Bonus: it’s a song even your mom will like.

Notable Lyric:

Come on and dance with me in Barcelona
Drinking Sangría
I just want to be in Barcelona

Place de la Republique – Cœur de Pirate

Get Transported to: Paris, France

Listen to feel: The piano keys and romantic French language overwhelm you with serenity and bliss.

Notable Lyric:

And our hearts, our hearts stayed in this sea

Et nos cœurs, nos cœurs sont restés dans cette mer

I ran along the Seine 

J’ai couru en longeant la Seine 

Hoping to find you, serene soul 

En espérant te retrouver, l’âme sereine 

On Yonge Street – Gordon Lightfoot

Get Transported to: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Listen to feel: The comfortability of a familiar scent or a warm cup of coffee on cold finger tips. Close your eyes to hear a Canadian icon take you to a rose-tinted version of Canada’s biggest city.

Notable Lyric:

Everywhere you go in a city by the lake
You’ll be sure and find it’s a case of give and take
Everyone you pass seems to wanna say hello
Even late at night when the streets are all aglow

Chicago – Frank Sinatra

Get Transported to: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Listen to feel: Like you’ve been transported to the past, but one where it’s all jazz and none of the bad bits. A feeling of invincibility as the tune distracts you from the horrors of the world.

Notable Lyric:

Bet your bottom dollar you lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago
The town that Billy Sunday could not shut down

New York City – They Might Be Giants

Get Transported to: New York City, New York, USA

Listen to feel: Like you are in a movie montage, flashing through all of New York’s most known attractions. Analogous to skipping down the sidewalk with your best friend.

Notable Lyric:

Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, Co-op City, Katz’s and Tiffany’s
Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State where Dylan lived
Coney Island and Times Square, Rockefeller Center
Wish I was there

Our Last Summer – ABBA

Get Transported to: Paris, France

Listen to feel: Nostalgic for memories you haven’t made yet.

Notable Lyric:

The feeling right, the Paris night
Did it’s best to please us
And strolling down the Elysee
We had a drink in each cafe

There’s nothing quite like a well-curated playlist to act as a companion through tough times. In this list I tried to mix the classics with some new finds, with the intention of transporting you to a new city, even if just for a moment. I chose songs that inspire me, and allow me to look hopefully towards the future. It’s a future full of excitement, adventures, and throwing myself into each moment wholeheartedly. Here’s to making future playlists for the memories that are yet to come.

If you want to hear more songs that will take you on an auditory trip, check out this playlist. It includes the songs on this list, and more are being continuously added.