Friday, February 28, 2014

Before Our Honeymoon in Thailand

before honeymoon in Thailand
We have our passports all set for their (well, almost!) next stamp!
Just under six weeks from now, Nick and I will be taking off for our long-awaited honeymoon in Thailand! For those of you who have just started reading my blog, Nick and I got married on September 14, and immediately flew back to Sweden the next day. A full hockey season later, and we are about ready to go!

We decided to book our honeymoon in Thailand for several reasons. Because its the off-season, we have several weeks in which we can go travel and vacation. Who knows when the next time in our life we will have an opportunity like this? Secondly, the flights to Thailand are pretty expensive. For Nick and I, the flights are costing almost as much as our hotels- for the entire three weeks. And this is staying in 4 and 5 star places. You could really do Thailand on the cheap, not book any hotels, and just meander down the beach one you get there and find a place for super cheap. We elected not to go this route, as its our honeymoon and we'd like to know where we will be staying! Thirdly, we wanted our honeymoon to be something special, and not just a trip to Mexico (where we have both been before, where all of our friends and family have been, and where it seems like everybody goes!).

So, Thailand it is! After some researching, we decided to do East Coast of Thailand, as it is currently the West Coast's rainy season. We are headed to Koh Samui, which should be a great location! A beautiful island in the middle of the sea, surrounded by several other islands we can take day trips to. Researching Koh Samui, we should have beautiful beaches to lounge on, the ocean to swim in, and of course endless possibilities of snorkeling, scuba diving, and perhaps even deep sea fishing for us Nick. After our time in Koh Samui, we will wrap up the trip with several days in Bangkok.

I, of course, am excited about checking out the Koh Samui snake farm. Nick, not so much. Especially after I told him that there are over 170 types of snakes in Thailand, and fortunately only 50 of them are poisonous (I think if we hadn't booked everything, this may have cancelled the trip). Other than that, we plan on snorkeling, day trips, hopefully kayaking, hanging out with elephants and monkeys, running a 5K (call us crazy!). Has anybody else been to Thailand, Koh Samui, or Bangkok? What would you recommend to do- or to stay away from?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

7 Things You Gain From Greek Life

When I was in college, one of the very first things I did was go through formal recruitment and join a sorority, Delta Gamma. There were a lot of reasons why I  went through recruitment (and a lot of reasons I didn't want to!) but at the end, I pretty much fell in love and became a member for life. Because when you join a sorority, it changes you. Today, I want to touch on seven things you gain from being in a sorority.

Delta Gamma bid day
My first day as a Delta Gamma, with all of the other new members!
1. I learned great interviewing skills. When you go through sorority recruitment, it is an intimidating experience- you are interviewed by hundreds of women, for several hours, for several days. Then, once you join a sorority- you learn going through recruitment was the easy part. As a member, you practice interviewing and interviewing skills for a week, and then go into recruitment week "prepared" to interview hundreds of women. You learn to quickly filter them in your mind, as someone who fits the mold of a potentially great member and would fit in with the sororities goals and ideals. This greatly helped me this past year, when I performed on-the-spot interviews with hundreds of people- you learn how to initiate conversation and steer the interview to wherever you would like it to go. Sorority recruitment helped me as a manager be able to perform snap judgements on whether a person would be a good employee, based off just a short interview.

Delta Gamma recruitment
Part of our senior class before Pref Night at recruitment
2. Leadership Experience. In my sorority, I was the Vice President of Programming, the second highest office our chapter could hold. In this, I was in charge of organizing our calendar for the upcoming year: when social events would be held, initiation, fundraisers, recruitment events, and various other programming we were required to perform. And all of this had to also match up with the overall Greek calendar, and the University calendar. As the VP, I was in close contact with our President and the advising team, as well as a member of the executive board (all VPs), and nominating committee (in charge of helping select the incoming officers).

3. Time Management. Being in a sorority means you have to learn how to manage your time. In addition to the regular obligations of college life- classes, studying, exams, projects- you will also have numerous events to attend. Weekly chapter meetings, weekly officer meetings (if you hold a position), recruitment events, sisterhood events, philanthropic events, mandatory study hours, the list goes on. Add all of this on to holding down a job, and you really learn how to prioritize your time and manage it.

4. Social Life. Of course, this is one of the most obvious benefits of being in a sorority. Aspects of the social life associated with Greek Life include sorority and fraternity formals, date parties, exchanges, philanthropy events, Homecoming events, Spring Jam events, and of course recruitment events. The social life aspect of Greek Life is a great way to get involved on campus, meet new people, and make a large campus seem much smaller.
why you should go Greek
Before spring formal 2009
why you should go Greek
Before my last formal in 2011
5. Sisterhood & Lasting Friendships. Well this one is pretty easy. When I joined, we had about 75 members- by the time I graduated, we had around 120 members in the house. Not to mention the 145,000 living alumna and 15,000 current collegiates. When I got married this past September, 5 of my 6 bridesmaids had been in my sorority- coming from 2 different schools, and 5 different pledge classes. I would say my sorority lived up to our ideals across the country. This year even, as I was talking about my wedding after the fact with one of Nick's teammate's Mom, we discovered that she had also been a member of my sorority!

And this applies not only to my sorority, but also to ones across the country- having been in a sorority, I have met many women who mention sorority and it is easy to bond over the similarities and differences, and each of our experiences with the sorority.

Delta Gamma wedding
Delta Gamma bridesmaids!
6. Personal Development. Your achievements will be recognized by the chapter, in an number of different uplifting ways. At the same time, you will be held accountable for your actions and mistakes. There is always a sister there with you, and as a member of the sorority you represent not just yourself, but your entire chapter.

Why you should go Greek
before Graduation!
7. The memories! Good, bad, funny, sad, hysterical- they are all there. And will continue to be there. When you follow your house on instagram and twitter, and see picture being put up, you'll instantly be nostalgic. The first year after you've graduated, yep come bid day you'll probably be calling up your best friend (who more than likely was a sister) talking about how you miss it, but damn how recruitment sucked and your glad done with it!

why you should go Greek
Delta Gamma bid day 2010- part of the senior class!
why you should be in a sorority
The girls with our 1200 pound Delta Gamma pumpkin
Of course, these are just a few of the many reasons I enjoyed my time as a collegiate member, and just a few of the memories. I have traveled around the country with these girls. I have worked with them, at several different jobs. I've met new women with completely different perspectives as me. And I've been a member of something that is nation, and even world, wide. These are just my seven things you gain from being a sorority. Any women out there think of ones I missed?!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our Hockey Wedding

hockey wedding
Hockey Puck Table Numbers
Nicholas Angell wife

hockey wedding

hockey themed wedding
Nick, myself, and our sticks
hockey themed wedding
KHK jersey as a present for our ring bearer
hockey themed wedding
ring bearer's reaction!
 When Nick and I got married, our wedding almost centered around hockey. From the time we sent out our hockey-themed Save The Dates, until the day after the wedding when we traveled back to Sweden for his hockey career, it was on our minds. For Nick, the wedding was quite a whirlwind. We had moved to Sweden August 1. I went back to prepare and get the last arrangements ready in the beginning of September, but he stayed back to practice- and play in the first game of the season on September 12, way up North. The morning of the 13th, he woke up, hopped on a flight to Stockholm, then to Amsterdam, and finally to Minneapolis; arriving at about 3:00 PM. Just a quick 2 hours before the wedding festivities would start- and of course, with the time difference, it was already 10 PM for him. For Nick, it was fly home Friday, Rehearsal dinner, Wedding Saturday, fly back Sunday (I joined for this flight!) and he was only in Minnesota for 48 hours. Talk about a quick trip!

Our save the dates were one of my favorite parts of the wedding, just because it worked perfectly for us. As we both play hockey, it made sense to do a somewhat-hockey theme!

After the Save the Dates, it came into our table numbers. My Dad was amazing in helping, and created the table numbers for us (100% his idea, too!). I think overall he made 25 of these, one for each table. And of course, he had the foresight to make both a 7 and 11 for the head table (both my number and Nick's number). This is just one of the many ways he helped us for our wedding.

Of course, we had to get a bride and groom picture with our hockey sticks! It is one of my favorite pictures from the wedding actually, and the only one we currently have printed out and hanging in our living room here (thanks Mom & Dad!).

Lastly, one of the funniest moments of the day was when we gave our ring bearer his present. Nick had purchased a KHK jersey for him, and we were both excited to give it to him. However, as I was holding it out to give to him he ran and jumped into Nick's arms, apparently scared of the black bug on it!

There are just a couple of the details from our wedding! Hope you enjoyed them!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A New Journey Begins

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it's happening, and you're able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you're there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse. This post was inspired by a prompt from Sometimes Sweet.

I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone reading my blog, but a major crossroads in my life occurred approximately exactly eight months ago (minus one day). Eight months ago, Nick received a contract from Karlskrona Hockey Club. It was quite a busy day for us, as we evaluated the positives and negatives of potentially packing up our life and moving to Sweden for the year. This was the beginning of our journey, and the beginning of my personal expat journey.

See, for me, I had just started a new job a few months ago, that held the potential for an incredible amount of opportunity for me. Through this job, I worked in one restaurant for about three months and then participated in the opening process of a new restaurant. I conducted hundreds of interviews, hired staff, trained staff, and finally opened this new restaurant. I saw the successes, trials, and tribulations of opening a new restaurant. The company is a strong one, and at the time had plans of opening several more locations in the next several years. There was definitely room for growth for me there, and I was happy with the future outlook.

Nick and I were(was) also in the process of planning our wedding. I had the major details done- venue (complete with caterer), the dress, the cake (or cupcakes) bridal party selected, invitation list created, invitations ordered, and our hockey-themed Save the Dates ordered and sent out. I did all of this pretty much the first month within getting engaged, so just had the little things left. Which I had assumed I would have the entire month of July and August to complete. Picking flowers (who really cares about those?), selecting an officiant, and buying Thank You Cards were pretty much all that was left (or so I thought). 

I had a solid group of friends, who were always there for me. Some of them lived out of city, some out of state, but all them would be there for me in a heartbeat. Not only the friends, but also my family. One brother in college, one living a block away, and my parents as always close by. A wonderful bulldog named Lily, and a beautiful young kitty named Elfie.

So. Nick received this contract, and it was pretty appealing. Were we really prepared to leave all of this behind? To leave our jobs, friends, family, pets, and head across the world for an opportunity? To begin a new journey? To move to Europe?

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that we did it. In five weeks time, we prepared to leave and not come back until just before the wedding. And to be honest, its been a wonderful experience.

I'm living in a new country, for the first time in my life. Nick has returned to a place he loves. We have had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. This blog has begun. We've made new friends, and kept in contact with old ones. I've started learning a new language. I've started taking classes towards my Master's Degree. In the past eight months, I've learned more about myself than I ever thought I would in eight months. Being abroad has led me to have a greater appreciation for everything back home, but also to appreciate each moment and experience that comes our way. It certainly has not always been easy, or great, but it has been an incredible learning experience for us. Things are different now, but change is the only constant in this life. In the end, it has been worth it. I look forward to each new adventure on this journey!

ex-pat journey

Monday, February 24, 2014

It was Russia...

The Sochi 2014 Olympics are officially over! People won events and medals, countries were happy or sad. But at the end of the day, one of the events most vivid in my mind from the Olympics is the state of shock that athletes, country representatives, and the media went into over the state of…well, their surroundings. Very popular was the twitter hashtag #SochiProblems (just go check it out for yourself). Some of the complaints: dirty water that looked like beer coming from the faucets, hotel rooms not being finished, entire hotels not being finished, stray dogs running through everywhere, double toilets, not having doorknobs on hotel doors, the list goes on and on. People were shocked about the state of how "well put together" Sochi was for the Olympics.

Personally, I'm not surprised. What do you expect when you decide to host the Olympics in a country that is commonly known as a part of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) for being a developing country? It is not developed. It won't develop overnight. Had anyone even heard of Sochi, before it became a contender to host the Olympics? Sochi was selected as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics in July 2007. At that time, it had zero world-class sports facilities. Meaning, Sochi had six and a half years to build world-class facilities for each of the events taking place, not to mention rebuilding and creating the infrastructure necessary to host athletes, representatives, and the media. Lets look at the number from Sochi 2014 (originally found in CNN article here):

Cost: $51 billion 
Number of Athletes: 2,850 (plus 1,650 paralympians) 
Number of Security Personnel: 3,7000
Number of Media Representatives: 13,477
Countries Represented: 89 
Number of Countries Fans have Come From: 124
Number of Volunteers: 25,000
Total: a LOT of infrastructure & housing to build in 6.5 years

Sure, there may be ways to make this possible. But hosting the Olympics in a developing city, in a developing country- is it really that surprising how things turned out?

**Note: some people found their accommodations to be great, and thought things went very smoothly. However, I think to a majority of the world, people heard more about #SochiProblems and all of the negative aspects. Thus, what I'm commenting on. I'm sure there were nice places, and spots- but a majority of the publicity from Sochi was shock over some of the surroundings.**

Now lets look more at the price tag of these Olympics, an estimated $51,000,000,000. This is estimated to cost more than every single other Winter Olympics, COMBINED (Think Progress). The next closest was Nagano, in 1998.

With 51 billion dollars, you could make 54 thousand people millionaires.

With $1 billion, you can buy the Chicago Cubs, or the Toronto Maple Leafs!

For a cheap $945 million, you can buy A.C. Milan (hey football fans!)

For $1 billion, you can buy FIVE F-35C Lightning II Fighter Jets.

With $1 billion, you can restore the environment of the Gulf of Mexico.

With $1 million, you can provide clean drinking water for 50,000 people. (think about that one here)

With $3 million, you can provide food to 10,000 hungry children for 10 months.

With just $2 million, supply vaccinations for over 500,000 stray dogs and cats. (again, think of the relation).

So, what do you think here? Were the 2014 Sochi Olympics worth the price tag?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Either way, I win!

2014 Olympic hockey game

2014 Olympic hockey Sweden versus Canada

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, chances are you know the Olympics are going on. I also bet that chances are, if your reading my blog, you are aware Sweden is playing Canada in the Olympic gold medal game tomorrow. Which leaves me with a little bit of a dilemma in who to cheer for- Sweden, where I'm living, or Canada, who beat the USA?

I figure either way I win. If Sweden wins, everyone here will be unbelievably joyous and excited, especially in the hockey community. There will be a celebration going on late into the night. As soon as the game is over, Swedes will pile into their cars and circle the city, honking their horns continuously (trust me, I experienced this during every soccer, yes soccer, not football, win this year).

Therein lies the problem. Sunday night, trying to get to bed, the day before a game, and all Nick (and I) can hear is horns blasting throughout the streets. If I cheer for Canada, and they win, the city will be nice and quiet like usual, and we can get a peaceful nights sleep! Plus, hold that whole North American thing up high- and I mean, Minnesota is so far North its practically Canada.

Win or lose tomorrow (for either team!) I think I will still come out with a win!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Liebster Award

Well, today I was nominated by Lynsey over at Eternally Wanderlyn for the Liebster Award (a little blogging award thats been circling the internet. Rules at the bottom of my page!) With that, here we are with the rest of this post (and a little shot from last year in Mexico, because I'm missing warm weather and the beaches!)

Nicholas Angell wife Cancun

Eleven Facts about Myself:

  • My favorite number is eleven
  • The only reason I enjoy waking up before 9 AM is to go on vacation
  • This year I celebrated Thanksgiving with people from 5 different countries.
  • I've played hockey for 18 years
  • My favorite color is blue- really any shade of it. Perhaps after my honeymoon in Thailand I'll say its the ocean blue from Thailand. 
  • I got LASIK surgery this summer and now have better-than-perfect vision!
  • My favorite food since moving to Sweden is from the kebab place down the street. I always get the "kycklingtallrik" or chicken plate!
  • I went to Oktoberfest in Munich (the real deal!) last year and discovered I can carry SEVEN liters of beer at once!
  • My favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
  • My birthday is right around the corner, and as I was thinking about it I made a list of 30+ things I want to do before I turn 30.
  • I usually sleep with my feet sticking out from under the blankets.

1. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation! It would allow me to quickly be wherever I wanted in the world.
2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Staying away from career aspirations, because I'm still not quite positive- I would like to be a good wife to my husband, a wonderful mother, and someone my friends and family are proud of.
3. What fictional character would you choose as a best friend?
This is difficult, as I don't really have a favorite book and read a lot. I would say a character who has overcome adversity, because I think they tend to be good friends.
4. Who is your greatest inspiration?
My parents.
5. What movie would you want to live in for a day?
Well, when I was younger Legally Blonde was always my favorite movie. I wanted to be a lawyer and be just like Elle Woods!
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Anywhere that I'm with my husband is home to me!
7. How are your New Year's resolutions going?
You can read all about my views on New Year's Resolutions here, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job!
8. Which holiday is your favorite?
My favorite holiday would have to be Christmas. Its a day for me thats all about family, hanging out at home, and enjoying everyones presence.
9. What's your biggest fear?
Not being a person others can be proud of having in their life.
10. What animal would be your spirit animal?
Definitely a cat. I am a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, and love my baby Elfie more than anything!
11. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging when my husband and I decided that we were moving to Europe. It was originally a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now its just a great creative outlet for me!

With that, here we are with the bloggers I am nominating (I only have time to pick 3, otherwise I might have a doggy emergency in this apartment! Since I've come up short, if any bloggers would like to participate comment and I can gladly link you up!)

Questions for these bloggers:
1. What has been your favorite age thus far in life?
2. If you could travel anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be?
3. Everyone is supposed to have a 30-second elevator pitch. Whats yours?
4. When was a difficult time in your life?
5. Of all the places you have lived, where is your favorite?
6. What is your favorite cocktail?
7. What would you do if you won the lottery?
8. Where is your favorite place in the world?
9. Name one piece of advice you would like to share with the world.
10. If you were going to write a book, what would you call it and what would it be about?
11. If you could go back in history, who is one person you would like to meet?

The rules of the Liebster award:

1. Tell 11 random facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you
3. Choose 11 bloggers and link them to the post
4. Write 11 questions for those bloggers, so they can answer them
5. Go to their page and let them know you nominated them!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our Kitty Elfie!

Nick Angell wife
Just napping with Mom!
kitty wants wine
Can I have some wine, please Mom?!
crazy kitty
I'm Queen of the world!

kitty in snow
I don't think I like this stuff very much!
kitty eating popcorn
I don't want to share my popcorn with Lily! 
tortoise shell kitty

Nicholas Angell wife
Another nap with Mom- look how I've grown!
crazy kitty
Which doesn't belong?
Nick Angell wife
Mom's my favorite!
Kitty falls in bathtub
I fell in the bathtub!
Kitty and puppy best friends
My best friend Lily!
kitty and christmas tree
Here goes another ornament!
Nick Angell wife

Earlier in the week I officially introduced LilyMonster to you guys. Today, its time to introduce Elfie, better known as kitty! We got Elfie on November 11 (11/11) when she was just about four weeks old, and such a tiny little girl! We named her Elfie because 'elf' in German is eleven- so we just made it sound cute! Of course, because she was such a tiny little girl when we got her we have pretty much only called her kitty, and thats of course the name she responds to now.

Nickname: kitty
Age: about 1.5 years 
Birthday: not quite sure! October sometime
Favorite activity: annoying Lily 
Favorite food: popcorn!
Best Friend: Lily

Kitty is currently living with my older brother, Zack, while we are in Sweden. However, next year we are going to try and bring her with us! It'll be so nice to have a little munchkin running around here when Nick is gone. However, kitty has greatly been enjoying her time with Zack, making sure to keep him on his toes with her crazy antics. Some of kitty's new favorite pastimes have been drinking water from the faucet, chasing her tail in the bathtub, and knocking ornaments off the Christmas tree.

One of the hardest things about being in Sweden (besides being away from friends and family) is having had to leave our pets back home. They are each crazy in their own way- especially kitty- and great sources of entertainment and love! I can't wait to get back home to these two crazy munchkins.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Our First Look!

Last week, as Valentines Day rolled around, I realized something: I've been married for an entire five months now, and done exactly one post on Nick and I's wedding! Perhaps this is because after it was all said and done, I was busy with writing Thank You cards, and then just wanted a break from it all. To the point where I just now, finally, picked out the pictures that will be going in our wedding album from the photographer. So I figure its time to start a new series of posts on the blog- Wedding Wednesday! For this week's post, I'm going to post some pictures from our first look.

Nicholas Angell
Nick looking nervous!
Nicholas Angell wife
Almost there...
Nicholas Angell wife

Nick Angell wife

Nick Angell wedding

Nick Angell wedding

Nick Angell wife

Nicholas Angell wedding

Stonebrooke Golf Club wedding

Stonebrooke Golf Club wedding

Stonebrooke Golf Club wedding
Ready to go take more pictures!
"How do you walk in this thing?!" -From Nick
I love looking back at these pictures! I can look at them and see how happy both Nick and I are. It was so nice for us (and our wedding guests!) that we were able to do a first look during the day. It allowed our wedding guests to not have several hours of downtime while we took pictures, and it allowed us to get these pictures out of the way and enjoy each others presence! Another huge bonus for us was that it started raining around 4PM on our wedding day, so if we hadn't done a first look we wouldn't have been able to have outdoor pictures!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Introducing…the LilyMonster!

English Bulldog
The Lily girl!
English bulldog
Are you taking a picture of me?!
Nick Angell bulldog
I'll pretend to run, it'll look good!
English bulldog sleeping
What, you've never slept like this?!

Cool English bulldog
I'm WAY cooler than you!
Nicholas Angell wife
Just a normal nap time!
Nicholas Angell bulldog
supercute in her hot dog costume
with her new best friend, kitty!
just chewin' my keys 
hit of the party!
So today, I'm introducing you to the all-time cutest (so ugly she's cute!) bulldog in the world, my Lilymonster. Very affectionately named that (by me), but to Nick and the rest of the Angell clan she's just good ol' Lily. With that, here's just a little information on this beautiful pup behind the blog!

Nickname: The LilyMonster, Lilz
Age: almost 5 years old!
Birthday: May 4
Favorite activity: sleeping
Favorite food: apples and carrots

Lily is a bit of a world traveler, having lived in Frankfurt and Berlin in Germany, as well as Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota. Her favorite activity as mentioned is sleeping, edging out just ahead of eating. In our house, we have a couple of "words" we don't say: the F word, for food, and the S word, for squirrel. Nick and I were a little worried when we first brought kitty home that Lily would think kitty was a squirrel- but it only took a little adjusting and now they are best friends (mostly because they enjoy sleeping and cuddling together!)

Unfortunately, Lily was not able to join us this year in Sweden: airlines won't fly English Bulldogs anymore because of their breathing troubles (snub-nosed dogs). She will definitely have more of a presence on this blog once we are back in Minnesota- hope you enjoyed meeting the monster!
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