My Life is a Map of the World

Ever find yourself deep in thought and then stumble onto some beautiful thoughts? Join me as I share a moment of daydreaming, joy and exploration…

This past weekend I found myself with a lot of solo time on my hands. Times like these are vital to my mental health and balance in life. And more times then none, they lead me to deep thoughts and discovered inner joy.

During a moment of reflection where I was bundled up in a cozy sweater, perfect for fall, and watching the leaves fall from the tree in our backyard, it dawned on me. It dawned on me that I am a small reflection of the world and that so much of what I do is inspired by the world. Let me dig a little deeper.

My birth certificate and current zip code prove my U. S. Citizenship but my ancestors give me the history of England, Scotland, Poland, Lithuania and Native America.

The man I love most is someone who descends from Africa and Europe.

My religion originated in the Middle East.

I own a dog whose breed was made popular by Germany

I like to carry out my skincare routine like the Koreans.

I like to drink coffee like the Italians.

I’m inspired by the natural aesthetic and use of make-up and hair care like the French.

I like to eat like the Japanese.

I dress myself and fill my home with furnishings that you’d find easily in Scandinavia.

These are all just a few of the things I value, love, am drawn to and want to know more about. And it’s in all of those curiosities that I find, that we find, how truly connected we are to the past, the present and the future. It’s in those things where we find connection to others no matter how near or far.

Who or what are you connected to?

-Kriss

A Journey for Two

Love is a wild journey! Come join us on the blog in celebration of our second wedding anniversary!

Today is the day before Jacob and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary and my thoughts currently are… how has it been two years already and, also, how has it only been two years?? Have you ever felt this about those things most precious to you?

These past two years have been the very definition of an adventure. We’ve traveled to two countries, ten states, woken up before the sun and crawled into bed long after the rise of the moon. We’ve danced barefooted on beaches, on top of mountains and in dirty kitchens. We’ve eaten both the finest cuisine and tasted our tears. We’ve shared in stresses, anxieties and fears.

I knew I loved you when I said “I do” but I never expected it to grow into something 10x more gorgeous, freeing, intimate, wild and true. My heart is bursting for the man who gave me his last name. It’s the greatest honor to carry this flame.

I cannot wait to see what the next year looks like for us in this journey and everyone it involves. We are incredibly thankful to our families, our friends and to you for supporting us, praying for us and being adventurous with us along this journey of lives well loved.

You are loved!

-Kriss

What’s a travel blogger to do during a pandemic?

Join me further into this new normal, this new season of life as I pick at what a travel blogger feels about the pandemic…

It is no surprise to anyone that the condition of the world is not ideal for someone who has a travel blog. So many times I have grabbed up my computer to type out my feelings, picked through past travel photo albums for inspiration or dove head first into Pinterest to daydream about the travels to come. But what does it feel like to live in a body meant for travel but has to sit still?

There have been times of pure boredom with thoughts of helplessness and being disgusted with the mundane. Times of creative bursts to change that mindset into distraction. But ultimately there has been a new found sense of grace for where I find myself and the world finds itself. During a moment on the couch, I found myself thinking back on rests after a long day exploring. During a moment on a walk, I felt a breeze that set me back on European streets. During a curbside pick-up, I remembered that amazing late night corner pizza shop. I know that we will all find ourselves able to do more of what we love in the future but this season is something to be thankful for.

This season is meant to allow us to slow down, to think about others, to be kind, to do what we can and pray for what is to come. I truly hope that you have found a silver lining to this season as well and that whenever we get those green lights at the starting gates, that we are able to rise to that occasion as well.

A Muggle’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

From foreign trips to local destinations, KrissCrossing Life Blog is adding amusement parks to the list of travel locations starting with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios…

A sunny morning in January seemed like the perfect day to visit Universal Studios and for this blogger, it was her first trip there! Walking up to the gates you will first walk through bag security and then to the ticket booth to purchase your pass into a fun and exciting day. Something to keep in mind if you are planning on visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will need to purchase two tickets to be able to enter both sides of Universal.

You need two because Harry Potter is split right down the middle, dividing the park into two sides. One side offers Diagon Alley and the other, Hogsmeade Village where Hogwarts Castle is. If only seeing one side of The Wizarding Wolrd is ok with you then you can pick which side by knowing that Diagon Alley is at Universal Studios while Hogsmeade Village is at Islands of Adventure. But if you want to experience the full world of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter then I highly suggest buying both tickets.

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On the side of Universal Studios, you have access to Diagon Alley and Kings Cross Station. We decided to enter the King’s Cross Station and board the Hogwarts Express, first thing. And what a start because after a short line and waiting period you are then standing on Platform 9 3/4! The Hogwarts Express isn’t just something fun to experience but it is, in fact, a ride! So sit back and enjoy the ride!

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To build the excitement of seeing the Hogwarts Castle, I highly suggest walking through Hogsmeade! Here you can get sweets at Honeydukes, purchase at jumper at Gladrags Wizardwear, grab a butterbeer at The Hog’s Head and any magical equipment that you may have forgotten at home at Dervish and Banges. My favorite purchases are below!

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Something that is a must for me and to many who visit the park, is getting our hands on some butterbeer! The positive bit of visiting the park around the Holidays is that they carry three kinds of butterbeers for you to try. All three are the original flavor but come in the option of hot, frozen or traditional. Because we couldn’t decide, we purchased all three! The traditional butterbeer was fizzy to me, almost like a pop or soda. The frozen butterbeer reminded me of a root beer float. And lastly, the hot butterbeer was oh so cozy and very much my favorite of the three.

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After drinking like a wizard or witch, you’re more than ready to finally see the Hogwarts castle! And man did we enjoy seeing it! The castle was true to the Hogwarts dreams that all of us Harry Potter fans hold. There were wrought iron fences to keep out muggles, towering hog statues snarling their tusks in your direction, peak after peak holding secrets- a true picture of nostalgia. Best part, however, was that the castle wasn’t just something to look at- it was something you could fully experience, yes even you Muggle!

Walking up the cobbled walkway towards the castle you’re soon entering the one and only Hogwarts. Once inside the school you are now waiting inline to ride the Forbidden Journey Castle Tour. But unlike other waiting line, you are surrounded by a dark, moody atmosphere with moving portraits, lit lanterns and sculptures and props inspired by the films. Some say that there are actual props from the movies in various parts of the park.

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Depending on how busy the park is and on your schedule for the day, you can plan accordingly for more rides or more wanderings. Because the day we visited was busy, we decided to head to Diagon Alley to explore the areas we had missed. Here you can make a withdrawal from Gringotts, find what wand calls to you at Ollivander’s, learn some tricks and a laugh at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes or buy your school robes at Madam Malkin’s Robes for all occasions

Speaking of Gringotts, this is an attraction that everyone looks forward to. The bank holds a indoor roller coaster that goes deep down into the mines but also exhibits the sinister stares of the dragon perched on top of the bank. But the bank is felt from any street in Diagon Alley. There is a rumbling deep down under the ground, snarls and smoke until the dragon lets out a roar of fire. The fire is so hot that you can actually feel the heat being breathed down upon you!

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Like every other tourist I always tend to get myself a little something. My souvenir from Harry Potter World was a chocolate frog to take home and enjoy with my Maraduer’s Map mug. Not only was the frog cute but it was also solid chocolate- and that doesn’t hurt. I got it too because I was curious who I would receive on the card inside. Turned out that I got Helga Hufflepuff aka my Hogwarts house!

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Like so many who grew up with a new Harry Potter book coming out each year, the thought of being fully submerged into that world was the ideal world. Whenever Universal announced their new addition of Harry Potter attractions to their park, I instantly added it to list of my must go places.

My biggest take away is that when you go that you choose a time where the park isn’t typically busy. We went at the beginning of January after the holidays were over and also whenever the schools were still on Christmas break. Aka the park was crazy packed! At points it was completely impossible to move around the mass amounts of people. This can end up being very difficult if you have little ones or are planning to go in a big group. So I highly suggest that you do your research of when is the best time of year to go for yourself and your fellow companions!


Next week on the blog we will continue with our amusement park fun and head on to all things Disney at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Please subscribe to get instant access to new blog posts and updates!

-Kriss

 

 

Holidays in the Tropics

From palm trees to Christmas trees, tropical places have both sandy paws and Christ in the manger. And at a time where cold winter weather has covered most of the United States, I think we all could use a dose of some Florida sunshine!

We know the classic image of Christmas where there is fresh snow fall outside and a warm, lit fire inside where loved one’s are gathered together and drinking hot cocoa. But what if instead of snow you have sun and palm trees? What if you have glasses of lemonade and not hot chocolate or cider? We’ll you’ve come to the perfect place to see what the Holidays look and feel like in those warmer climates. Welcome to Christmas in Florida!

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This year we planned to spend Christmas in Orlando, Fl. For someone who has never spent Christmas away from her Indiana roots, I knew I was in for some interesting events. But the thought of having Christmas without the possibility of snow or cozy sweaters, well that’s another story. To some this is the ideal situation but spoiler alert, it’s not all flip flops and tan lines!

One of the events we were eager to try out was beach life in winter. With swimsuits on, sunscreen rubbed in and towel in hand, we made our way to the beach. The temperatures were comfortable, the sun was warming but the water was… well lacking. I will admit I definitely went for a drip but it didn’t take long for me to go back to sun bathing.

Something I didn’t consider about our beach visit was the fact that there are tiki bars and restaurants all along the coast. We happily ordered ourselves some food and refreshing slushies. I was 100% in my happy place: good company, good food and complete detachment from unnecessary things.

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She likes long walks on the beach and limited sun exposure.

If beach days aren’t your kind of days then I highly suggest pulling up a chair, pool side. Luckily when we were in Orlando we stayed at Jacob’s parent’s house whose neighborhood has a gorgeous pool and lounge. The water was cold, maybe even colder than the ocean, but I didn’t mind because there were a generous amount of unused hammocks to take advantage of! Some of us swam laps, some read books and some, like myself, enjoyed the simplicity of just being.

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Once toweled off and dressed for the day, you can easily see the efforts gone to decorate every light post, archway and tree in pure Christmas splendor. The balance between the tropical feeling and the Christmas spirit is almost comical yet still makes its festive impact. So if you need to do some shopping for the holidays, expect to find Christmas trees, ribbons and bows, ornaments and stars while you are out and about.

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Shopping in Winter Park, FL is perfect for those who love locally owned shops filled with coffee, unique gifts, antiques, high-end fashion and good food.

If you are missing snow while on your stay, I suggest pulling up a cozy Christmas movie. Because even though it is still technically winter in Florida you won’t exactly get that kind of precipitation. You will, however, experience highs and lows where some days will be 80’s and sunny with others being 50’s and rainy. This makes packing tough but if you’re the type of personality that loves change, this weather was made for you.

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Featuring one of those cold and rainy days out on the patio with hot coffee and an unfeatured sweater moment.

For me and so many other’s who celebrate Christmas because of their faith in Jesus, making it about Him is everything to me. From preparing my heart to remember the true meaning of it all to praying over the individuals whose gifts I am wrapping to the activities I make sure to set time aside for. I love Christmas because it sets things back in their rightful place. By this I mean making time for family and friends, for giving and for finding peace because of His existence.

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We went as a family to the Christmas Eve service at Faith Assembly Orlando, Fl

To find feelings of magic, family and stillness while on vacation in a tropical climate, this trip was that much more meaningful and memorable. So, no matter where or how you celebrate, whether it’s warm or cold, celebrating the big moments in life will always boil down to who you spend it with. This Christmas will be one that I will remember for a very long time if not forever and I hope that whatever season you found yourself in this past holiday season, that you experienced some of that Christmas magic.

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Next week on the blog I am sharing a geek out worthy post! I am sharing my experiences from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Oh yeah! We are talking trains, broom sticks, owls, spooky rides and delicious brews. To get instant updates to new blog posts and news please subscribe to receive email notifications.

-Kriss