Capri on a Budget

Capri I love you - OSS

Capri, the island once home to Emperor Caesar Augustus’ summer home now inhabited by socialites in villas. It really is a special place with colors so vibrant it almost doesn’t seem real.

We visited Capri in early March, before the summer rush of tourists coming to get a glimpse of the famous Faraglioni peaks. Visiting Capri before the hoards of tourists means no lines to get onto the chairlift up to Mount Solaro and plenty of time to shoot the Mediterranean breeze with the locals. Continue reading

Visiting Switzerland

Switzerland is stunning. If you were to hold your hands out and make frame shape with your fingers and look anywhere, you’d have yourself a postcard perfect shot.
No exaggeration.


We took a short train ride from Rome, Italy to Brig, Switzerland for the new year. This three day trip was spur of the moment and since Anthony rarely gets three days off in a row we jumped at the chance to visit someplace new. These last-minute kinds of trips are my favorite though with no itinerary or schedule to follow. This meant some of the things we saw like the Aletsch Glacier, were a delightful surprise, but some things we ran into, like a 33 dollar burrito stopped us in our tracks!

I wanted to share some of my experiences so if you are planning a trip to Switzerland you will not be as sticker shocked as I was.

Staying in Brig

Brig is a sleepy little village and one of the first large train stops in Switzerland from Italy. It was a great home base for our day trips. A few miles up the road is the Brigerbad Thermal Spa. A pass was 24 Swiss Franks for a 3 hour visit. This, for us, was just enough time to get thoroughly relaxed but not too long that we got bored. Totally worth the visit if you are passing through the area. FYI: this spa does not provide towels and you must either rent one for 5 Swiss Franks at the front desk or bring your own (something we learned after taking a dip in the pool).

I totally recommend staying in Brig if you are in Switzerland for a short time. Between the trip up to see the glacier, visiting the castle in town, and hopping on a bus to see the nearby traditional village known for its saffron, it really is a great home base for day trips.

Swiss (29 of 30)

Brig’s Castle AKA the Stockalper Palace

A huge cost saver for us was that our hotel had breakfast included. Food is ridiculously expensive in Switzerland. I had no idea how anyone could afford to live here until I read this blog post which gave me a little better idea. While most of our budget went toward eating, having a breakfast included at the hotel and bringing snacks with us on our outings helped a little.

Visiting the Aletsch Glacier

This day trip from Brig is inexpensive and full of amazing views. From Brig, we hopped on the train headed to Morel. This trip was about 20 Swiss Franks a person and included one of the two gondola rides. This was definitely the biggest gondolas I have ever been on, but I wasn’t a bit nervous because the sweeping views were all I could think about.

We spent a little time in the resort area after the gondola ride taking pictures and people watching. From here we took the Gletscherbahn Moosfluh (gazoontite!) gondola to the glacier. This was less than 10 Swiss Franks a person, roundtrip. In total we were a little over 7,000 feet above sea level! As soon as you step off the gondola the glacier is right there. We just sat on the bench and looked at this wonderment hardly able to take it all in. After a little while the fog started to roll in and it began to snow so we stopped into the little cafe next to the lift to warm up. The girl working spoke a little English and told us on clearer days you can see the Matterhorn from where we were!

Switzerland is a beautiful country and the people are so kind. Definitely put it on your bucket list, and I recommend Brig as a great stopping point.








Allora, Andiamo

I am so excited to share this with you guys! My husband, Anthony, and I are starting a new vlog series about the different adventures we take and things we learn while we are living abroad. We’ve decided to call it “Allora, Andiamo” which is Italian for “then, we go”. Although we have only been abroad for a few weeks we have heard this phrase about a thousand times and thought it was fitting for our new vlog series.
The first video we have posted is our trip west to Wyoming and the Badlands. We took this trip soon after we minimized our belongings and packed up the rest to store at my Mom’s house in Wyoming while we got ready to move to Italy. Our trip was two weeks long and we saw some amazing things. I must admit that the Badlands is one of my favorite places in the world, it is eerily quiet and the vast views are so awe inspiring. It was great to see some of my family and have some downtime before our big move. We are so excited to be starting this new vlog series so we can look back on our travels for years to come (not to mention share them with all of you)! Hopefully you enjoy watching our first allora, andiamo video as much as we enjoyed making it!

How crazy is it that both Jamie and I both moved in the same month?! Our Sweet Somewhere is really taking on a new meaning this year, that’s for sure.


I’ve Moved to New York City!

Hello all! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to actually sit down and write a post on here, but there is good reason for this! A couple of months ago, my fiancé Scott got word that he would have the opportunity to receive a job promotion within his company, but this promotion would also require him to transfer to their Manhattan office. Well, long story short, the offer went through and we have officially been living here (Brooklyn to be exact) for almost two weeks now!

I've Moved to NYC

I can honestly say that we never even imagined living in this part of the country before, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. I’ve been able to explore some more of the city throughout this past week with my littlest brother who has been visiting us since we moved, and have found that I am loving this area more than I anticipated! My camera roll already has at least 500 more pictures on it.

Please know though that moving here wasn’t an absolute breeze. There were some ups and downs that we experienced before settling in to our Brooklyn apartment, and a large hunk of it was trying to downsize all of our things within our previous two bedroom apartment to a smaller one bedroom on short notice. Thankfully, Kate was able to give us some great advice and quick tips that she learned from downsizing her entire home before moving with her husband to Italy!

Another part to our move that proved to be quite stressful was the search to find our apartment while living in another state. We quickly learned how fast the market comes and goes out here and at one point, almost made the decision for me to stay in Virginia with my family while Scott would rent through AirBnB until we could find something! Thankfully this wasn’t the case, but I have gathered quite a bit of useful information for those who also plan on moving to NYC from another state and will be sharing more details on this in another blog post soon!

@jmeelin in NYC

Until then, here is a quick round up (pictured above) of my most recent Instagram posts featuring some of the places and things I have experienced so far while living in this amazing city!



Cut Your Closet in Half – 5 Tips to Get Rid of Extra Clutter!

As I am continuing to countdown the days until our move to Rome, things have been slowly falling into place. After multiple trips to the Detroit Consulate, I finally got my Student Visa in the mail three weeks ago and the hubs received his Italian Passport last week! We also held one successful yard sale (sorry no pics since I was a stress ball that day) in which we made $480! We are having another yard sale next weekend at my friend’s house on the other side of town in hopes to reach another clientele. After that, everything that is currently piled in my living room and hanging by a steel bar in my guest bedroom is headed to Goodwill because I do not have time to try and sell more (less than 60 days until our move people)!

Behold, a packing disaster! These photos are proof of my love for you readers because it is embarrassingly messy. I just keep telling myself that it won’t be like this forever since it’s really the only way I can manage. Anyway, if you think about it, our house is only a small two bedroom town home so really that big pile in the second photo is just a ton of stuff that we are selling and getting rid of (aka: stuff we’ve held on to for years but never actually used). Crazy, but I’ll admit that there may-or-may-not-be soccer cleats in that mess of a pile! I have not played soccer since the spring of 2006 and I’m pretty sure I would break a hip if I tried to play now! Yet, I have held on to these babies since. Goodbye total 90’s (now vintage)…hello life abroad!

On top of all of the boxed up knickknack stuff we are shedding, I have also proudly cut my wardrobe in half! If you know me, you know I am a fashion fanatic. But cutting it half had to be done, especially for my and my husband’s future sanity. Pictured above is a little less than half of my closet. I had already taken some of my nicer things to consignment shops to sell when I took this photo. Crazy, huh? Having gone through this now, I feel like I have learned a ton and can help you cut your closet in half too!

5 Tips to Help You Cut Your Closet Clutter in Half

1. Be in the right mindset. I started clearing out my closet a month before my first yard sale. Literally. I also have found that I work better in small doses, or, when I come to a realization of how much stuff I actually have and have to get rid of. You know that kind of mindset where you end up cleaning your entire bathroom, kitchen, and car PLUS do two loads of laundry just because you are in the mood? Yeah, this kind of mindset which in my opinion, doesn’t come around often or easily! You really have to give yourself some time ahead of the game in order to be sure that you can get everything you want to get rid of on time.

2. Give yourself a deadline. For me this was easy. By my first yard sale date, I knew that I had only one month to clear my closet plus the rest of the stuff I was hanging onto for no reason. If you are not moving like I am, but rather just wanting to clear out some of the clutter in your closet and basement, it is more likely to be done if you give yourself a date and stick to it.

3. If it is ripped or doesn’t fit, get rid of it. If you haven’t gotten that seam/button fixed, or the hem adjusted in the last six months, it is time to face reality: it just isn’t going to happen. When I started going through the bottom of my closet to de-clutter, I found a bag filled with clothes that had been either torn or missing a button (clothes that I had also been meaning to fix since ages ago). But to be honest, because I had given myself this rule, I made an exception and allowed myself only one hour to stop everything in my tracks so that I could fix two pieces that meant a lot to me and that I would never be able to part with. After sewing on a button to one and fixing a ripped hem on another, I then accepted these two pieces to the “keep” pile and rid myself of the rest of the bag. It is all about give and take I guess.

4. If you pull at it or it pulls on you, get rid of it. This tip goes along with tip #3. If I know I am going to wear a skirt that I am constantly going to have to tug down, or a button up shirt that seems to unbutton at the bust spontaneously, then I would throw it right into the “get rid of” pile. Also, if it was something I have had for years (like, since high school) and I felt like a high-schooler wearing it (i.e., short shorts, and/or a not-cute, outdated crop top that I still had lying around) then it also went into the “get rid of” pile.

5. Allow yourself a “try it out” day. This may be the most important tip that helped me to get rid of the mounds of clutter in my closet since it seems to be my biggest issue when trying to get rid of anything. Since I gave myself a month in advance to pare down my wardrobe, I decided to give certain pieces of clothing a chance before I officially tossed them in the “get rid of” pile. For instance, if I came across an old skirt, top, or dress and felt like “hmm, maybe I’ll wear that again” or even hesitated to get rid of it, then I set it aside. During the next week I told myself that I had to make an outfit work around the “maybe” piece or it would have to go into the “get rid of” pile. If I didn’t wear it during that week, then I wouldn’t let myself keep it. I at least gave my clothing a second chance and proved to myself that it really wasn’t going to be worn again. Also, if I did wear the “maybe” clothes and was self-conscious during the day while wearing it, I then got rid of it too since I knew I wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable again and would never pull it back out of my closet after the allowed test run.

And here it is…my closet after the clutter was gone! The top basket is filled with t-shirts that I wear and the bag below has purses and scarves. Don’t be completely fooled since I currently have my jeans, shorts, and pajamas in my dresser. I also am storing the coats that I’ll be wearing downstairs. Oh, and there are a few more things that are folded and sitting on top of my couch right now that I still need to put away. Okay, so I’m not completely saintly as this picture may depict, but I would say I did a rather good job in getting rid of my clutter and cutting my closet in half once and for all!