Free Holiday Facebook Covers from PDS

Do you ever get the "creation" bug? A need to just sit down and make something just for fun? I do. I recently made myself a new Facebook timeline cover and I had so many ideas that I ended up creating a handful to share.

I've posted them over at Priceless Design Studio along with simple instructions for downloading. There's a sneak peek below!

Free Holiday Facebook Covers from Priceless Design


California Girl

If you've been following this adventure, I'm sure you are curious where exactly it is that I'm living now. Since returning from Dominica I've been in the north-eastern part of Southern California.

SoCal is huge guys and if you aren't from the West Coast you may not realize that when people say they are from "LA" they really mean "Greater Los Angeles," which is made of 3 densely populated counties.

Southern California is geographically larger than England. {Wikipedia said so.}

But in one of those moments when you realize that the world is actually a little smaller than it seems, my dear friend Stacy and I discovered that I'm actually living in her and her husband's first apartment. Like, the actual unit! I knew this was the same complex as I was apartment hunting but with over 200 units what are the chances we'd end up in the same one?
Back in August, this same friend and her husband offered me a room in their home while I job-hunted, found, and saved for said apartment. Their kindness and generosity is a true  blessing, and something that I am incredibly grateful for.
So, for now, California is home once again.


I'm Alive.

Have I ever mentioned my perfectionist tendencies here on the blog? Even if I haven't, maybe you've noticed, or you know me well enough to know that I can't do anything half-assed or half-way. Honestly, I usually won't even start something unless I think that I'm going to do well at it.

What does this have to do with blogging?

I've thought about sitting down to write about a dozen times in the last month, but I just haven't made it happen. Probably because I know that I simply won't have time to make the post awesome.

I've gotten quite a few sweet emails and encouraging tweets from blog friends who say that they just want to hear from me. You guys make my day.

So, here I am :) Life lately has been a whirlwind. It's hard to believe that I've been back in the states for over two months and working for 6 weeks. I'm so lucky to be working at a job I LIKE!

Isn't my office set-up ridiculous? The photos are kinda crummy, but you get the idea. My work laptop is essentially floating above the desk! And having that extra monitor space is amazing.

It's been a big adjustment getting used to working fulltime again, after two years of not. I completely forgot how working sort of takes over your week days. In fact, I made you a little pie chart of a typical work day.

That "everything else" little chunk is where blogging goes. And if I can't make that piece any larger then I've decided that I need to lower my expectations of what a perfect post looks like here at Priceless Adventure. The truth is that writing is good for my soul, and if that means shorter 30 minute posts then that is what I need to do.

Thanks for sticking with me while I figure this whole thing out!

Any tips on managing a full-time job + blogging?


How to Change Your Twitter Header Image

Twitter profiles have a new look! Did you notice? That new area is called the Twitter Header and you can upload an image or photo behind your profile info.

To activate your header, you'll need to go to twitter.com and do the following:

1- Click the Settings Icon
{looks like a gear}
2- Click Settings3- Click Design
4- Click Change Header
{are you bored of clicking yet?}
4.5- Select Your Header & click open
{any image 1252×626}
5- Adjust the zoom of your image & click Save
6- Click Save Changes
And you are done!

But Wait, That's Not All! 

For a limited time only... just kidding! No, but seriously, that's not all. To get you started I made a few header backgrounds that you are welcome to download and use.

Just click on the one you want and then right click & "save image as" to your computer. Follow the instructions above to install your new Twitter Header!

If you end up using one of these, tweet me or leave a comment to let me know!


How Life Has Come Full Circle {or}

My 29th birthday to be exact. And even though my life is completely turned upside down right now with our transition back to the states, it's also worth noting how many things have come full circle.

I'm living back in Southern California in the same area I lived in when I first moved here. I'm working at the same university where I went to school, driving the same car, and still have many of the same friends.

If you had told me at 19 what was in store for me over the next 10 years, I probably wouldn't have believed it. But I know that I would have hoped that the people who mattered in my life then would still be around, and most of them still are.

In many ways it feels like the beginning again. I just started my second career and with only one income it definitely feels like we are living on a college student's budget. I'm having to re-learn the streets and freeways and figure out where things are.

This time around though I am older and {a little} wiser. And I have a partner and built in best friend to help me navigate {the husband}.

It might sound like not much has changed, until you factor in all that has happened since I was last here: getting married, buying a house, teaching school, moving to Dominica, living in a developing country, earning my masters degree, starting Priceless Design.

If you can't tell, I'm rather proud of what I've accomplished in the last 10 years. And at 29, I have a lot to still look forward to!


Working Girl

I am officially no longer a stay-at-home-housewife, I am now working full-time at an awesome university in their eLearning department! {my dream job!}

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me along the way, it was a long road through my master's program and the job hunting process. Your words kept me afloat.

I'm not quite sure how the new job is going to affect my blog posting. What I do know is that I'm not giving up on Priceless Adventure, and I believe that I'll have even more wonderful life experiences to share because of my new path. I promise at least one post a week in the beginning, and more as I get used to my new schedule.

Also, I'm not closing Priceless Design. I will still be taking on select projects to work on in the evenings and over the weekends. It just means a slower pace, and less projects. 

Do you have any good news to share?


Featured at Frock Files

Do you guys know Joy from over at Frock Files? She is a beautiful storyteller who writes about life lessons, recipes, and style. Joy is a rare blogger whose every post is both intentional and beautiful.

I love this quote from her about page,
Early on, I inherited the gift of functionality from my mom — does it do anything to make your life better? No? Then let it go. Yes? Then invest in it. In my life, I eliminate as much of the “extra” stuff as possible so that I can devote myself to the relationships and projects that enrich my life. This is the philosophy behind Frock Files.
When Joy asked if she could feature me on a Bright Lights post, I was super excited and honored to be featured. The ladies she has featured in the past have all been stylish and so well put-together. I hope I live up to their standard!

What are you waiting for? Go visit Frock Files to learn a little more about me & the products I love!


The Book Chat: eReaders vs. Printed Books

This week's book chat is discussing the merits of eReaders vs. Printed Books, and I thought I'd weigh in with my opinion. They both have their pros and cons.

+ lightweight, easy to carry, hold, and turn the page
+ can purchase books from home (or almost anywhere)
+ built-in features like dictionary and highlighting
+ can change font, color, size, orientation, etc.
+ iPad has backlighting for night-time reading

- when browsing to purchase, you can't "flip through" the pages
- not a great idea to bring to the beach or poolside
- have to be charged occasionally
- have to buy the eReader device plus books

nothing beats the feeling of holding, smelling & flipping through a loved book +
can be easier to scan multiple pages to find & re-read a passage +
have beautiful covers that can be displayed in your home  +
easy to pass on to friends and family members +

books can be heavy & hard to carry -
often carry a slightly higher price tag per book -

Are eReaders truly more "on the go" than printed books?
Is it really easier to share a book online than handing a friend a paperback copy?
I'm not sure.

What I do know is that I prefer each for different circumstances. It's so nice to be able to read in bed at night with the lights off, knowing that I'm not keeping Chris up. And it's really convenient to be able to find books online from home & start reading them in under 2 minutes. However, while I love how easy it is turn pages on an eReader there is no way I'd ever take my iPad to the beach. I even had a hard time bringing my kindle near the water because accidents happen (to me).

As a lifelong reader I never thought I'd enjoy reading from a screen. I bought a Kindle two years ago when I learned we'd be moving to an island that had zero bookstores. I discovered that it wasn't that big of a jump from the printed word to the Kindle's screen. My biggest challenge was finding inexpensive books online, as I'd always been a used-book-store type of gal. Then I discovered Calibre and how easy it is to share books with friends.

When I got an iPad last summer from my mom, I thought I'd never like reading a pixelated screen. Wrong again! I was shocked at how beautiful the screen was, and loved the backlighting and ability to change the size, font, and color of the text.

What's the verdict? As much as I love paperback books, I think if I could only choose one option I'd have to pick the iPad. Although it's an expensive little toy to carry around on a day to day basis, most of the time I read at home in bed and I love how easy it is to do that with my iPad and iBooks. In fact, I ended up trading my Kindle to a friend on the island and haven't really missed it.

I'm curious what your opinions are on the matter.
Do you have a preference? eReader or Print?
Did I miss any pros or cons?


Me, Myself & I :: Round 2

This is the first month that I've sponsored other blogs and I've noticed a few new faces around here. Good thing it's time for another About Me post!

If I knew I couldn't fail...

I'd run a marathon. Seriously, I suck-at/hate running, but I want to run a marathon! Or a half at least someday. A few years ago (by few I mean four - which might be more than a 'few') I did a sprint triathlon, which was hard but fun. I just am afraid that I couldn't do an actual marathon!

If I only had six months left to live...

I would probably freak out for several days: cry, scream, and throw things. But eventually I'd come around and enjoy time with my family and friends. I'd go on several trips visit Europe again and Cabo, and eat and drink every delicious thing I could get my hands on.

If a front page news article was written about me...

My biggest pet peeve...

Chewing noises, particularly ice-chewing! There is nothing more grating to my ears than listening to someone else crunch or chew..  especially the husband. Call me crazy!

Favorite Chick Flick

Hands down, my favorite chick flick is Love Actually. I know it's sorta a Christmas movie, but I'm happy watching it any time of year. It's one of the few movies I'll watch over & over again.

Giveaway from Priceless Design

I'm participating in 2 giveaways this week! You can enter to win a set of social networking icons OR 3 blog buttons from Priceless Design Studio at KV Confessions or Ruthie Hart.

Are you a new reader? Say Hi Below!


Back Back to Cali Cali

It's hard to believe that I've been back stateside for an entire week! My brain is slowly starting to catch up to the fast-paced life here in Southern California. Twice I've ordered the wrong thing at Starbucks because I felt rushed and I managed to miss my freeway interchange or exit a handful of times too.

I know I mentioned this last week, but it really is sort of surreal to be driving my car & walking around Target. Everything in the stores is so vibrant and colorful. And then everything outside is so brown and dry and covered with freeways and smog.

The one bonus though is that even though it's been over 100 degrees every day since we've been back the heat still doesn't compare to Dominica. I'm not dripping sweat/condensation because a) it's not humid and b) I have a car with an air conditioner.

In other news, things on the job front seem to be working out. I've had a handful of interviews at various places, and I go in for a final interview on Thursday for a University job that would be a career game-changer.

Transition has never been my forte, but I'm trying my best to keep calm and hope for the best! What a change it will be from stay-at-home-wife to full-time-worker.


Notes from Our Trip Back

Hi friends! Thank you to everyone who wished us well on our travels. It was a long, surreal day for me. I spent a good chunk of the morning furiously filling out the knowledge review quizes for my Advanced Scuba Diving Certificate, which I had procrastinated an entire year on doing.

note to self: stop procrastinating

I said goodbye to Clare {hardest thing I had to do that day} and prodded my husband along to finish packing. He was still going through papers & shoving things into his backpack at 3 hours before our departure time.

note to self: encourage husband to stop procrastinating

We made it in the knick of time to the airport, less than an hour before take-off. The airline agent had to call in to make sure that "Domestic Short Hair" was a real breed of cat. I may have said something along the lines of, "just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it's not a real breed!"

note to self: bite your tongue

Thankfully whoever she talked to on the other end of the phone agreed with me & she let us go through. Getting on the plane was no big deal, we pretty much just walked right on because we were so late. As we took off the thought hit me that I might never see the island again, and I couldn't stop the tears. The student sitting on the other side of the aisle said, "Aren't you a spouse? We should be the ones crying, not you!"  Which of course just made me cry even more!

note to self: avoid crying on an airplane, it's embarrassing

When we got to Puerto Rico, we had to take Adamcat through customs which took longer than it should have and resulted in one of those epic-movie moments where we ran through the airport & yelled "hold the doors!!" as the attendant was walking away. I wish I were exaggerating.

note to self: schedule longer layovers when traveling with a pet

The last leg of our journey was rather uneventful. Quick stopover in Miami before the long flight to California. All our luggage made it through, and we left LAX around midnight. Chris & Adam went to stay at his mom's and I spent the night with my sister.

Since then, things have been a whirl-wind! Driving my car again, getting a phone {just a cheapy}, job interviews, etc. I'm staying with a dear friend and her family for now until we get a few more things settled.

I still feel a little shocked and exhausted, sort of like my brain is struggling to comprehend the transition and to keep up with this faster pace. There are gonna be a lot of changes in store for us in the upcoming weeks and months, but for now it's one day at a time.


Why I Blog

I've seen a lot of posts recently about the purpose of blogging and why we do it. For me, it's been a way to keep track of a life changing experience that not too many American's get to have. I look back at the evolution of my blog, growing from a way to keep in touch with friends and family to an opportunity to meet new friends around the world.

I love that I have a mixture of readers from different periods of my life. Wherever we end up living for rotations or residency, I think I will be excited because chances are I will know someone from college, or a Ross spouse, or there will be a blog friend nearby.

Getting involved the blogging community was a way for me to still feel connected to the outside world, even from a tiny island. It helped me stay in tune with what was happening in America and find friendships with people from all across the globe.

Moving forward, I want this blog to be a connecting point. A way to keep in touch and to make new friends. I want Priceless Adventure to be a diary of the highs and lows and everything in between. I want to look back in another two years and again be so thankful that I kept track of our daily lives.

A lot can happen in two years, and after all..


Goodbye Dominica

Today is the day. We are leaving on a jetplane with 4 bags, 2 back-packs, 1 carry-on and 1 Adamcat. There are simply not enough words to express what my time on the island has been like. But what I do have, is a collection of favorite posts about my time on the island.

Only in Dominica I, II, III


Only in Dominica III

Well, it's finally here. Our last weekend in Dominica. It's time to pack our bags and say goodbye to everyone we have come to know and love on the island.

Chris has his last final exam on the island today. From here on out, he will be doing 2 years of hospital rotations. And for me, it marks the end of full-time housewifery.

Before we leave though, I wanted to share with you one more round of Only In Dominica..

do the gnomes have a sun tan...

does 2-Pac's cousin {1-Pac} own a banana hut...

or will you find President Obama gracing the hot sauce.

Only in Dominica does merely being competent get you a job...

will you find iguanas crossing campus...

or centipedes in your rum punch...

Only in Dominica can you get your bike washed at the car wash...

do you find inspirational messages on the backs of cars...

or can you listen to a didgeridoo band.

But Dominica definitely has the best slang ever...

and the best signs ever!

Through it all, I love this island in the sun. And I'll miss these "only in Dominica" moments soon. Living in a developing country hasn't always been the easiest or most convenient, but in the end it's taught me to laugh when things are ridiculous & to enjoy my surroundings, unique quirks and all.

p.s.  Clare did an Only in Dominica.. post today too!