favorite travel apps

It’s no secret that traveling is one of my favorite hobbies – and to that point, I have a slew of  my favorite travel apps that actually can make planning trips a whole lot easier!

From visits home to Texas, to backpacking western Europe, these five apps have proven to be incredibly helpful. Sharing in hopes that they can make things a little more convenient for any travel plans you have in the works!

Airbnb // Eric and I love using Airbnb when we travel. It’s an instant way to dive into the culture and local spaces of the place we’re visiting.

If you’re not familiar, Airbnb let’s people across the world put their homes, apartment, or even one of their rooms up for rent as a place for travelers to stay. The accommodations range in uniqueness, interaction with host, and amount of guests that can be accommodated.

We used Airbnb throughout Europe last summer, even twice during our week in Paris! Our first spot had the most beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, and the second was in the cute little neighborhood of Montmartre. Our host in this second space treated us to some much needed Mexican food at the taco shop he owned. His grandmother’s salsa recipe from Guadalajara served as the main inspiration behind it all.

favorite travel apps

favorite travel apps

Find Friends // Now this one is more just for fun. On iPhones you can share your location with family, friends, and vice versa. Find Friends pulls in the locations of those who have shared their location with you and drops it on a big map.

Last summer, when friends were traveling across the globe, it was so cool to see where everyone was. It’s also just a good way to make sure people you’re with get home safe once you split up.

Skyscanner // This app gauges prices for flights to a certain destination, in a specific time frame. You can enter in airports and dates, and it will list prices for flights available in order from cheapest to most expensive. There are filters for flight times, airlines, cost, etc. to help narrow your search.

I never solely go off Skyscanner, because it doesn’t incorporate any deals or sales on the market for the airlines shown. Instead, it serves as a great starting point to feel things out and decide what the next bit of research should be.

Hopper // I love Hopper. It’s like a friend that checks on flight prices every day so you don’t have to.

Hopper shows you a calendar with color coded days, letting you know when flights are the most expensive. You can then select dates you’re interested in flying on, the respective destinations, and Hopper will set up an alert.

favorite travel apps

These alerts pop up every couple days letting you know the lowest flight prices currently available for your trip, and the direction to purchase now or hang tight since lower prices are predicted. Eric and I have definitely been able to snag some great deals thanks to Hopper’s notifications!

Viber // Viber is a must for any traveler wanting to keep in touch with loved ones back home. Eric and I had our phones in airplane mode for the whole month we were in Europe. This app lets you call, video call, and text for free when connected to wifi abroad.

We used Viber to video call our families from Dublin on the first night in Europe and the night we got engaged in Paris. We texted them daily. Viber has come in handy with friends being abroad too. Basically, this app can help bring peace of mind and means no one has to stop talking just because they’re across the globe!

favorite travel apps

Man, all this travel talk has me wanting to dash off to plan a couple getaways for next year. Any favorite travel apps of your own I’m missing on this list?? Share ’em in the comments, friends!

Days By Day

4th of July

Happy FriYAY! Getting to sip coffee from my bed this morning because I’ve got Friday and Monday off in honor of 4th of July. Four day weekend?? Yes, please.

It’s no secret life has been pretty busy here in Chicago. It has also been totally wonderful. Chicago summers, man. Words cannot describe the way this city totally transforms to this magical place for this season. I mean, it’s always an amazing place, but all the humans just thriving in the sunshine and taking advantage after being cooped up in the colder months is something else.

This is actually from last Saturday when we played beach volleyball for five hours – not some far away beach where we went on vacation.

4th of July

With that, diving into this week’s Currently – new around here? You can see some past additions of this round up here, here, & here. 🙂

{Reflecting // On how wonderful June is}

I love November through January for obvious reasons – the holidays, my birthday, & our soon to be wedding anniversary months – but outside of all that, I think June is my favorite. It holds our Engageaversary, Eric’s birthday, the kickoff to summer, and will always bring back sweet memories of my first trip to Europe a year ago.

This June was especially fun, as it marked the one year anniversary of our backpacking memories and our first summer as real Chicago residents. I also was able to go home to Texas for some wedding festivities. Eric killed it at work – I’ve gotta brag, y’all – he was assigned lead engineer for a nuclear plant design project and has been traveling to the East coast.

All in all, lots to be thankful for as I look back on this month.

4th of July

{Missing // a book that you can’t put down}

I shared a few months ago that I finally gave into the idea of a Kindle, and I was loving it. I flew threw the first book – Bossypants (SO good) – I read on it. Lately, the book I’ve been reading hasn’t been the page turner I thought it was going to be…

In my opinion, one of the best feelings is when you just cannot put down a book, or get super excited to read it every moment you have a chance. I’m usually not one to abandon books, but I might jump ship here in search of something that brings that back for me.

That being said, anyone have a book they love and can’t put down?? With trips in the coming months and a beach to lay out on, I’m in the market for suggestions!

{Pumped for // Mini-getaway with my love!}

Last minute, Eric and I decided to take advantage of long 4th of July weekend with a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin. As Texans living in the mid-west for the first time, it still amazes us how easily you can just pop over to another state for a couple days.

We all know that’s likely a no-go in Texas. When we went skiing in Colorado with Eric’s family, we did the road trip over two days. The first leg was like 10 hours…and we hadn’t left the state.

Being the travel bugs we are, we love the idea of being able to escape to a new place for a mini getaway! Looking forward to lots of cheese and brews and exploring on foot. I’m really excited about a winery a little outside the city that we’re going to tour and taste at too. See previous road trip shenanigans below.

4th of July

Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend filled with your favorite people, fireworks, and all the yummy American food there is!

Days By Day

engageaversary

You guys. This moment was one year ago. I cannot believe it – my heart is still fluttering.

Today marks Eric and I’s Engageaversary! Is that even a word? I don’t know. Who cares! Any reason to celebrate, am I right??

But seriously you guys. Eric did an I N C R E D I B L E job planning this sweet surprise. I literally had no idea that he was going to propose on this trip, let alone propose in front of the Eiffel Tower.

engageaversary

Sure, we had talked about it a few months before. We knew we loved each other more than we ever thought we could love another human. We knew there was no one else we wanted to eat chips and salsa with, or run up to meet every dog in sight with, or spend hours upon hours laughing away at dumb inside jokes with. We knew we’d be getting married sometime in the next couple years, but I thought our engagement would happen towards the end of 2015 to be honest.

Once we announced it, it felt like everyone else knew though – so a big round of applause to family and friends who kept it a secret! That was one of my favorite parts post-engagement actually, hearing from some loved ones gush about how excited they were and couldn’t wait to celebrate with us now that the cat was out of the bag.

engageaversary

We’ve been so fortunate to have a wonderful engagement season of life. From traveling, to the move to Chicago, to starting real jobs, to figuring out this “adult” thing together – all while working to plan a special celebration of our love – has truly been a blessing. It’ll be just over a year and a half by the time we get married, and for us, the long engagement has been 100% the best.

engageaversary

I’ve blogged all about this incredible day and it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Did you know I had a dream the night before that we got engaged?? Crazy. Or that we were sipping champagne, as I gazed up at the Eiffel Tower for the first time ever in complete awe, just moments before? Or that the first guy we asked to take a picture of us didn’t know how to hold a camera straight…and the guy that captured the actual moment was a total rando??

I’d love to share all these details and more with you, because they mark one of the happiest moments of my life – check out the story right here! And if you might be new around here and are wondering what the heck is going on, you can check out our story too.

engageaversary

I get to marry my best friend in just a little over four months and I can’t freakin’ wait. Thankful for today, and the sweet reminder it brings of that blissful day in Paris one year ago.

Days By Day

our story

This Sunday not only marks a special day to celebrate all the amazing mommas around the world (Happy Mother’s Day, mom!) – but it’s also significant to me for a whole other reason. Eric and I celebrate four years of being together on Sunday! I can’t believe how time has flown, these past four years have been the absolute best. I could’ve never imagined love being so wonderful, or finding someone who loves dogs and tortilla chips as much as I do.

Um, something really cool about this actual very Friday?? It’s officially six months from our big day. Eeeek! That makes me so giddy inside.

I figured these exciting milestones were good excuses to finally share the story of how we met and started this shindig four years ago. Reading people’s “stories” is one of my favorite things on other blogs, and I was already writing it up for a wedding website, so it seemed only natural to make sure I shared our story on this little space!

our story

***

Before I jump into our story though, you’ll notice throughout the post I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from our engagement session with Feather & Twine. Kelsey & Talon (with us below) are unbelievably talented, kind, and such a beautiful example of what being best friends in a marriage looks like.  Fun fact: We both got engaged in Paris! We had a total blast chatting and laughing away – Eric and I truly felt as if we had stumbled across some long lost, close friends. If you’re familiar with Austin, you might recognize South Congress or the Mayfield Nature Preserve in our photos. We could not be happier with them…and are counting down until we get to hang out with this couple again!

our story

***

Okay, now let’s get to talkin’ love…

So the reason Eric and I have chosen to get married just outside Austin, TX is because the roots of our story start right in the middle of this wonderful Texas capital. We lived just three doors down from each other in San Jacinto Dorm on The University of Texas campus – I was a freshman and Eric was a sophomore. Talk about meant to be – he almost chose to move off campus into an apartment for his second year!

We were fortunate enough to have been placed on a dorm floor where a group of about thirty students became very close – some will most definitely be life long friends, and there are even a few in our wedding party! Eric and I first hung out as part of this little UT family, and instantly clicked. Neither of us remember the exact moment we first saw or spoke to one another, but I do remember all the girls thinking he was soooo cute – including me! I wasn’t going into our friendship thinking of anything more than just that though – a friendship.

We started talking and hanging out more and more on our own outside the group – grabbing breakfast before class, taking long walks to explore downtown, attending Sunday church service, etc. Pretty soon everyone was wondering if this was more than just two college kids being pals, but we were pretty content with being the best of friends we had become. This continued all the year.

Come late spring, as finals were approaching and summer was just around the corner, the romantic sparks and obvious connection were no longer deniable to anyone else, or ourselves. We had a conversation about it and ended up opting to just leave things as they were to avoid ruining our friendship…which looking back now, we both agree was so ridiculous haha.

Despite these talks, the easy and natural chemistry between us continued. A couple weeks later, I invited Eric to my Texas Lonestars’ Boat Party formal. Texas Lonestars is one of the female Spirit groups at UT – basically meaning it was a chill, awesome, fun non-Greek sorority for lack of a shorter description. I could go on all day about how the group was incredible and gave me life long girlfriends, but that’s a different story. 🙂 Anyways, Eric and I had a grand ol’ time that night cruising with friends on Lady Bird Lake.

You can take a total trip back in time with me with a little then and now below – I’m honestly looking at that formal picture thinking oh my gosh who are we?!? + feeling sad about how much we have lost our tan.

our story

our story

The very next day, after meeting up  for breakfast, we headed back to the dorm to procrastinate studying for finals with TV. It was right after this that Eric asked me to be his girlfriend. He claims our impromptu slow dancing to She’s Like Texas by Josh Abbott Band on the boat is the moment it all clicked, and he knew that’s what he had to do.

Sunday morning, May 8th, will mark four years from the moment that officially started it all…C R A Z Y.

We dated for the rest of our time at UT – supporting each other,  being ridiculous best friends, growing together and as individuals, and eating a copious amount of Tex-Mex.

our story

our story

kiss garden

After graduating from UT last May, we set off to backpack western Europe for a whole month as a graduation gift to ourselves. On June 15, 2015 in Paris, Eric got down on one knee right in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was the most magical, wonderful, best surprise ever. We had just finished a champagne and sandwich picnic, got a random man to capture the whole moment, and spent the rest of the day exploring the City of Love.

I’ve blogged about that day in France and it might be my favorite post ever. You can read it here and get all the details – like the fact that Eric carried the ring in his backpack for a whole TWO WEEKS prior, through three different countries.

our story

our story

our story

Eric is the queso to my tortilla chips and I’m so darn excited to spend my life laughing, loving, and adventuring with him. Let’s keep this countdown to 11.6.16 going! Happy Anniversary, love!

 

Days By Day

days by day

Happy February, friends! (How is that possible already?) Now bare with me as I revert back to 2015 for a very delayed reflection that was still super important to me I get down, even if just for my own memories.

January always holds twice the newness for me, due to my birthday that happens just a couple weeks after the New Year. With 2015, and now twenty-two years recently behind me, I figured a brief look at last year was still appropriate.

2015 was a year of self-discovery and some of the best moments in my life to date. There were big wins, big challenges, and big changes. I look back on all that happened and can’t help but smile – not because every single moment was plain peachy (even though lots were), but because now being on the other side of it all, I can see how much I’ve grown. I can see how those around me have grown. I can see how how things work out as they should through God’s plans that he has carefully and lovingly written out for us.

Taking time to acknowledge our hardships is important to me, because that’s life, and our happy-go-lucky Instagram posts don’t really give anyone a full picture. At the same time though, once I acknowledge these moments, I try really hard to grow from them and shift focus back to those happy-go-lucky, rose colored things – they are really what make our worlds go ‘round.

And with all this being said, I’m finishing this reflection (told ya it was brief) with a list of some of my favorite and defining events of 2015 –

Graduating // I’m not going to say my four years at The University of Texas are going to be the best years of my life, because with all the love, dreams, and adventures I’ve got within and around me, I know that can’t be true. That being said, those four years were pretty darn amazing. Meeting my best friends, my future husband, conquering projects we thought would end us, getting exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking that made me smarter…the list goes on.

graduation days by day

Traveling Abroad // Man, this was on my list F O R E V E R – and it was just as magical as I hoped it would be. 28 days, 4 countries, 5 cities. If you want to grow a lot in a little bit of time, travel. There’s just no better answer. A big goal of mine is to get the rest of this trip on the blog by May. Some highlights included learning a little bit of French, drinking a lot of wine, indulging in my love for history, and living out of a backpack. Oh and number three I guess…

days by day

Getting Engaged // I’ll hold this whole moment in my heart forever. I’m so glad that one of the first things I did when we returned from Europe was document this story. Eric and I got engaged in front of the Eiffel Tower on our first full day in Paris, halfway through our journey, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We’ve taught each other a lot, and I couldn’t imagine a better person to grow, love, and adventure with. Now counting down to the big day (11.6.16) and pretending we know how to plan weddings.

engagement days by day

Moving to Chicago // Eric and I have talked about how this is one of the best decisions we could have ever made multiple times. We love that amongst our family and friends, Chicago is our thing, and they’ve been so supportive of our big move. Just as wonderful has been settling in over these last several months, and making friends that have become our family here. Safe to say we love this city and the growth it’s bringing us.

chicago days by day

Vegas Girls Trip // I can have a more fun, less life changing one on the list, right?? Even though this trip was life changing in the fact that a getaway with the girlfriends is SO good for the soul, am I right ladies? Three dear friends and I jetted off to Las Vegas for a few days and lived like celebrities – limos and penthouses and dancing until the wee hours of the night were involved. It was fabulous and it just might happen again this year.

vegas days by day

I already know I’ll have some big moments coming out of this year and I’m pumped about them – now back to 2016!

Days By Day