May 2015 Recap

Friday, May 29, 2015

Starting this week I'm going to change up my weekly posting schedule to twice per week (Mondays and Fridays) with occasional extra posts going live mid-week. I've been a bit busy lately and I feel like my posts have been lacking, but limiting my posting to twice per week will help me to produce higher quality content. I've also been terribly bad about reading other blogs, one of my favorite things about blogging (that and meeting other bloggers from around the world!), so lessening my posting schedule should allow me to do catch up! Thanks for understanding!

Hello and happy Friday! I hope you have some wonderful weekend plans ahead and are looking forward to June. I've got a lot to share this month, so you may want to grab your beverage of choice before diving in. Make sure to catch the end of the post as I've got some big news to share :).

This month has been reasonably eventful in terms of the blog. I've finally purchased my own domain name: As usual, Amanda from In Another Language (Suitcase Designs) made the switch completely smooth and pain-free. Thanks Amanda! I'm also now co-hosting a month-long travel linkup called #REASONStoTRAVEL with Angie, SJ, Kaelene, and Margherita. Check back on June 5 to link up!

In the middle of May I also updated my collaborate options and editing services through In Search Of Edits. I often edit scientific papers, but am excited about expanding my editing to manuscripts, blogs, e-books, and pretty much anything else. If you are looking for more information just click over to that tab on the top of the page or send me an email at I've been very busy with editing lately and I couldn't be happier about it.

Still working on a logo with J...hopefully to be revealed soon!

May also saw the end of my first year of lecturing, and I'm so happy to have had such a cool opportunity to teach abroad. I've also spent countless hours in my new favorite cafe (Taste Map) working on a botanical publication that will be coming out soon. Publishing takes a huge amount of time and it always feels so great to be done.

My local adventures have been pretty few and far between this month though J and I did manage to taste test the three new Doughnut Shops - it was really hard work - I'm tellin' yah. Despite the limited number of local adventures I have managed to tick a few items off of my Lithuanian Bucket List including visiting Europos Parkas. Open Kitchen also began this month, so each Friday afternoon you can find me wandering the food stalls and enjoying outdoor picnics.

In June, J and I are heading back to the states for a month long visit our family. I'm really looking forward to some beach time and enjoying some of the foods that I've been missing. If you hear of anything interesting going on in CT, RI, MA, or NYC I'd love it if you share!

A white lighthouse in New London, Connecticut
Can't wait to be seeing this lovely view again soon!

Last but certainly not least, J and I have an exciting announcement - we are expecting our first baby in late August. We are very happy about it! :) I wanted to let you know that things around here (other than my less frequently posting schedule) won't be changing too much. I will continue posting about travel and local adventures and do not plan to write about lifestyle or baby-related things. I will; however, be joining forces with some other fabulous traveling parents to bring you a monthly series about traveling while pregnant/with a baby (new topics each month beginning in September...probably). I'm hoping that this series will highlight that traveling while pregnant and with a baby/child is absolutely possible.  If you would like to be involved in part or all of the series please send me an email at

How was your month? What are your plans for summer travel?

Spring in Vilnius - A Photo Diary

Monday, May 25, 2015

Starting this week I'm going to change up my weekly posting schedule to twice per week (Mondays and Fridays) with occasional extra posts going live mid-week. I've been a bit busy lately and I feel like my posts have been lacking, but limiting my posting to twice per week will help me to produce higher quality content. I've also been terribly bad about reading other blogs - one of my favorite things about blogging (that and meeting other bloggers from around the world!), so lessening my posting schedule should allow me to do catch up! Thanks for understanding!

We haven't quite shed our layers yet here in Vilnius, but with all of the foliage and flowers slowly starting to show their face I'm hopeful that spring is coming. All of the restaurants have put out their outdoor tables and the outdoor seats are full. There are even restaurants and cafes opening in the parks and the tourists have returned for the season (I love when tourists come!). 

Has spring reached your area yet?

Travel Reads - Spring 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

With the spring weather still slow to arrive in Vilnius I've been spending my time snuggled up reading at home rather than out exploring (so much rain!). Because of this, I've read some really wonderful novels that I wanted to have a little chat about my favorites. What have you been reading recently? If you have anything to recommend let me know in the comments below!

Shy Feet by Frances M. Thompson. Each short story that I read from Thompson catches me off-gaurd with her beautiful writing style, her use of words, and the surprise endings. I also love that her stories always seem to incorporate travel in some way making each story perfectly wanderlust inducing. Thompson is currently working on one new short story each month that you can get (for free!) by subscribing to her newsletter. I recently signed up for this newsletter myself and really enjoyed the short story, Balloons.

Excuse the personal plug, but for more newsletter goodness you can sign up for my Vilnius Expat Newsletter on the left side of this page.

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. I had been longing for this book since I first started seeing it pop up all over blogs and social media back in the fall. Luckily, #GirlBoss did not disappoint. I found this book incredibly motivating, clearly written, and would highly recommend it to girl (and boy) bosses of any age. I'm even thinking of using pieces of this book in one of my classes.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. This book turned out to be such a wonderful surprise when J picked it up randomly from the wonderful Pocket Shop book store in the Frankfurt Airport. He finished the book in a few days and I finished it shortly after. A Darker Shade of Magic is a thrilling fantasy novel that takes the reader through different, parallel Londons that have varying levels of magic.

For more of my recommended reads check out: Books that Temporarily Satiate Wanderlust and Books to Travel With. For what I'm currently reading check out Goodreads.

What have you been reading? What should I add to my reading list?

Tips for Choosing a Great AirBnB

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I've written about my love for AirBnB several times here and my search for more beautiful apartments continues, as I'm looking to book a place for a night in NYC and later this summer an apartment for my visiting in-laws in Vilnius. In searching for our past apartments J and I (he is the AirBnB apartment finding king!) we've learned a few tips and tricks for booking fabulous apartments that truly do make our vacation that much more special.

Before actually going onto AirBnB J and I think carefully about what we want from our accommodation. Do we want to be near restaurants or do we plan on cooking in the apartment? Do we want to be outside of the city or close to sites that we want to see? We also look for apartments that have WiFi and are close to public transportation. So, before checking out AirBnB think about what are are looking for.

Tip 1: Picking a location that suits your travel plans is essential to enjoying the apartment. We look for apartments that are near things we'd love to see, but we've also learned to pick apartments slightly away from popular locations as those can be loud. For example, we stayed in an apartment in Budapest at the famous Gozsdu Court, which ended up being so loud that we barely got any sleep during our entire trip. This was obviously a booking fail on our part - but can be avoided by carefully researching different locations. On the other hand, we stayed in a fabulous apartment in the Marais District in Paris. The subway was nearby to get us to other areas of Paris and the neighborhood was full of shops and delicious restaurants.

Tip 2: Photos are so important when choosing an AirBnB. We look to choose apartments that are comfortable, clean, and look secure. It is a deal-breaker when AirBnB hosts don't provide sufficient photos of an apartment. No way will I rent somewhere without being able to see a photo of the bathroom or bedroom!

A small but wonderful apartment in Copenhagen

Tip 3: Reviews are important when choosing an AirBnB that fits what you are looking for. Reviews can make or break the success of an apartment and we won't stay in apartments that have bad reviews. We also avoid staying in apartments without reviews; however, our favorite AirBnB yet didn't have any reviews, so this can't always be a deal-breaker. Also, we've found that AirBnB apartments that are owned by a company are less homey and are often missing essential items because no one has actually lived in the apartment before.

*The photos above are from actual AirBnB apartments that we've stayed in.

Do you have any other tips for finding apartments on AirBnB?

Doughnuts in Vilnius - A Delicious Food Trend

Monday, May 18, 2015

I love doughnuts and met my doughnut match when studying marine biology in Bermuda while in high school. Whenever I think of a doughnut, I think of those! Lately I've been craving the sweet, doughy goodness of a freshly baked doughnut. Luckily, Vilnius is following suit with the delicious food trend that seems to be popping up throughout the US and UK - doughnut bakeries!

First there was M Donuts, which you can't miss as they drive around in a huge truck that is very reminiscent of the Simpsons.

Then Donut Lab - my personal favorite (but still not the warm, cinnamon doughnut from Bermuda...mmm), located on A. Jaksto g. 3. They have a delicious doughnut that tastes similar to a Boston Cream - perfect for a late afternoon sweet fix.

And finally, Donuts Shop, which recently opened in the popular shopping center, Gedimino 9. Out of the bunch, these doughnuts are probably my least favorite because the frosting on top was just too sweet. That is certainly a good thing for me since I frequently stop by Gedimino 9 and really don't need to eat a doughnut each time!

Do you like doughnuts? Where can you find your favorites?

Europos Parkas - Statues in Nature

Friday, May 15, 2015

In attempt to see more of Lithuania I created a Bucket List for myself a few months ago. Slowly I've been ticking items off of my list, and most recently J and I accompanied some friends to visit Europos Parkas, which is an open air sculpture museum in the geographic center of Europe. Europos Park was founded in 1991 by the Lithuanian sculptor Gintaras Karosas and his works are featured prominently throughout the park. The park also features work from numerous other sculptors worldwide.

Remember, I am so not an artist (yeah biology!), so many of the pieces I just could not understand. Particularly confusing was the piece entitled, "Threshold," which looked to me like a bunch of logs on the ground in the woods. Obviously, I just didn't get it. However, there were some very cool sculptures, like the sculpture made of tv sets that has slowly degraded with time, the giant metal head, and the wavy wall pictured below (I can't remember the actual names of these pieces). Some of the sculptures fit in very well with their surroundings and really were magnificent.

I think my favorite part of the park though, was the creative playground (located near the restaurant). It had play items that I had never seen before and looked like such fun to play on. Even adults seemed to be enjoying them!

Do you have a local bucket list? Have you been to a sculpture park?

Horror at the Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Out of the many museums that I've visited in Vilnius, there are few that I'd recommend (actually, only two) and the Museum of Genocide Victims is one of them. This is the most informative museum I've visited in Lithuania and delves deep into incredibly tumultuous times in Lithuania's history. I also appreciate that the information in the museum is incredibly well explained and translated into several languages. 

In the basement of the museum there is an old KGB prison with 19 cells, guard rooms, and torture rooms. In another room there is also an execution chamber. I couldn't even bring myself to fully enter the execution chamber, or look at artifacts from those who were killed. The prison and torture rooms were particularly disturbing. I'm not going to comment on that any more, because I'm not eloquent and there is no way I could put my feelings into the appropriate words. 

If you're in Vilnius I suggest visiting the Museum of Genocide Victims for an understanding of Lithuanian history.

The Details: Admission to the museum costs 1.75 Euro and is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm. The museum is located on Auku g. 2 (off of Gedimino g).

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A Greek Food Bonanza

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sorry to those of you who follow me on Bloglovin'. I've been having an issue with my posts on bloglovin' and the bloglovin' crew replacing my blog with someone else's (and mine is now completely gone). I'm a bit frustrated as this is where the bulk of my traffic comes from, but hopefully everything will be sorted out soon.

Last week I wrote about an awesome new service for booking experiences (a perfect gift for someone getting married), gorgeous street art in Athens, and the colorful Uzupis Independence Day celebration, complete with a beer fountain.

Okay, after that little update of what's been going on lately, I want to chat about all of the delicious Greek food. After Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine, my favorite is Greek cuisine. Oh, it is just glorious!

First up, tsaziki sauce - a refreshing cucumber yogurt sauce meant for dipping meat. Another delicious favorite, perfect for dipping into tsaziki, is souvlaki - grilled meats like pork, chicken, or lamb that you should liberally squeeze lemon over. Yum, Greek salad, traditionally made with lettuce, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, peppers, topped with a big slice of feta cheese and dressed with oil, vinegar, and oregano. Now, lets talk lamb - stewed, sliced, or cooked over a spit it is all good. Another favorite of mine, both to cook and eat, is tiropita (cheese pie) made with filo dough, ricotta, feta, butter, and of course oregano. A variation of tiropita is similar, but made with added spinach - called spanikopita.

What is your favorite Greek food dish?

#CreativeLithuania: Uzupis Independence Day

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sometimes, living in Lithuania can be a challenge, so I wanted to focus on forgetting about the challenges and enjoying the positives. I've decided to start a monthly post (the second Friday of each month) on the more creative side of Lithuania. In previous posts I've written about Uzupis, which is truly a creative mecca. For this series I wanted to focus on creative events, unique aspects of the culture or language, and cool places that I find around Lithuania. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

If you would like to participate in sharing creative things about where you live, tag your photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter with #CreativeLithuania or #CreativeLocale. I'd love to see the creative side of every country!

This month I had a hard time deciding what to write about for my monthly #CreativeLithuania post. Finally, I decided to share the Independence Day festivities for Uzupis Republic. These festivities take place each year on April 1 (even if April 1 falls on a weekday) and include receiving an Uzupis Republic stamp (not actually recommended for your passport), decorations, and outdoor music. The highlight of the festival; however, is the filling of the Uzupis fountain with delicious, flowing beer! Yes, a beer fountain! 

This April 1 I was able to pop over to Uzupis on my way to work to enjoy the decorations and receive a 'passport' stamp (one of my LT Bucket List items). Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the beer fountain, but I certainly will make a point to see the beer fountain set-up and festivities next year.

What's been going on lately in your neck of the woods?

Street Art in Athens

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One of the complaints I heard about Athens prior to my recent visit was the amount of graffiti (I'm talking ugly tagging here) covering the city. From what I've noticed during my European travels, graffiti is prevalent everywhere, including on the tiny residential street that I live on in Vilnius. That being said, I didn't notice a higher frequency of graffiti in Athens compared to elsewhere in Europe. What I did notice in Athens was incredible pieces of colorful, bold, street art. I'm actually not even sure that I can pick a favorite out of this bunch. Can you? What is your favorite piece from this collection?

Which piece is your favorite? Do you like street art? Do you think there is a difference between street art and tagging (graffiti)?