Category Archives: culture

Summer Fete in Batheaston

Yesterday we attended our second fete for the Summer season and it will not be our last.  Though we almost feared the weather would have ruined this gem of summers in Great Britain. It was set to begin at noon but we did arrive until three because of the pouring rain.  Miraculously the rain stopped and we were able to spend the last hour of it partaking in all our favourite fete activities.  There was drinking of Pims, letting the boys spend pocket money on activities, checking out the goods for sale, and the eating of cakes and ice cream. The only thing we missed out was on a delicious bowl of strawberries and cream.  However in its place we got to watch a Maypole dance with local school children.  If that was not enough dancing for my boys, they also got to partake in dancing to Gangnam Style.  I left with a happy family, a full belly, and a camera filled with documented memories and a nearly dead battery.  All in all it was a lovely village fete and I look forward to our next one in two weeks time. If the photos below are not enough to get you to a summer fete this year, I took two videos posted to Instagram as well.  To which I have to say is a new feature I highly love. However since they do not allow embedding of videos yet, insert shameless plug to follow me on Instagram here.
** Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved –

Marriage, Inlaws and Cross Cultural Issues

It is official! My sister has finally booked her plane ticket which means my whole family will be for my vow renewal in about five weeks.  Granted ‘whole family’ means my mum and my sister.  I come from a very small family where both my grandmothers died before I was born and grew up with not a single cousin.  However if my dad was still alive you bet he would be here in a heart beat to support us.  I could not feel more blessed or more excited to see my kin.

Unfortunately I found out a couple of days ago that my husband will only have his father here to celebrate our ten years of marriage.  Despite years of rocky relationships with his side of the family we still have held out that change could happen.  That they would accept us a family. The problems all boil down to not meeting expectations and misunderstandings in our cross cultural relationship.  However you do not need a Third Culture Kid upbringing outside the US for this happen.  This could be the same situation with couples from families in different parts of the US with how vast and different the culture is through out the country.  

If you have been reading this blog for a bit you will know that I talk often about how life is not easy.  It is a valuable life lesson I work with my kids to understand.  We both come from families that did not talk and though there was lots of love lacked the intimacy.  It is something we have realised through our marriage and through what we want to change to be different for our kids. Marriage is not easy and ours took may pitfalls into a near divorce.  The silver lining is that life is also beautiful.  Through it all my husband and I are still married, are finally living in Europe, and are more happy now than ever.  To be celebrating ten years of marriage and to renew our vows in front of our family and friends is a big deal to us.

We, my husband and I, wanted this celebration to finally bring together the two families.  We can see how most of all the problems have arisen while on my in law’s turf.  My husband and I thought that having his family around my family and our friends and in our home country would help them assimilate to how our family works.  As a third culture kid and an American raised abroad there are many aspects of our life that they have not understood nor accepted.  From moving around a lot I know the easiest way to understand a new culture is to fully immerse yourself in it and get to know the people.  That was our hope from this summer.  I was finally excited to not have to ‘act’ a certain way or pretend to be someone we were not just when his parents were around because they live by different expectations.

It makes me sad for my husband.  Especially because I know how close he and my dad became and how proud he would be to support us.  I am also sad for our my kids. This is not the first time they have missed out on time with grandparents because of self imposed drama.  Last summer after a confrontation with my mother in law she left the state for several weeks, only wanting to return after I was back in England.  I wish I could say I am the root cause for it all, but it just happens over and over again. It is unfortunate.  However not all families talk about the problems.  They happen, no one addresses it and then they smile and act like nothing happens until it carries on into the next blow up. It is not healthy and though I cannot force my in laws to like me or to be here and support us I can share with you lessons I have learned from it all.

Just because it is different, it does not make it wrong. This is a sweet and simple statement from Disney’s Merlin animated film that I have used over and over with my in laws.  It is pretty much my go to answer when we run into differences in understanding about something.  If you just think about how big the world is, how many countries and cultures are within it, and how many different ways people live life day to day.  Not every one believes the same thing and it is okay. Would you go into someone’s house in a country across the world from you and preach to them about why their way of doing something is incorrect? Perhaps looking at close relationships the same way can help to understand those with different views. 
People Grow and Evolve. Yes it is true you cannot change a person, only they can decide to make the change for themselves.  People however do experience personal growth.  You cannot say that someone is a certain way or is a certain person because of something they said or did a decade ago.  We are also learning lessons continually in our lives.  However we are all also in different stages of our learning.  Just because you have learned the lesson on how to deal with personal conflict with others, does not mean someone else has learned it yet.  I have learned that instead of letting the hurtful words of other affect you, to be patient as they work through those important life lessons. This was something brought up by my friend Patricia this week. 
Don’t play the blame game.  This is a daily lesson I am helping my sons learn.  When confronted with why they are not ready for school, they are both quick to throw each other under the bus.  As adults I have noticed how the weight of exhaustion or stress can easily aid in placing the blame elsewhere.  I have learned the easiest way to avoid placing blame is to listen to the other person.  You might realize that they are really trying to reach out to you and all that it takes is deep breath and to be the bigger person. 
Don’t talk bad about others.  Most often from my experience people say the most cruel things about others because they are either deflecting from their own persona anxieties, stress, and hardships or because the unknown of the situation has them scared.  If people are saying bad things about you, sometimes it is best to just block them out.  Soon enough people will realize that they are spending more time bad talking about you than working out their own issues in their life.  If someone is constantly that unhappy there is a root issue that needs to be addressed.  I read a really good book years ago called ‘How to Be an Adult‘ which talked about how unresolved issues as a child can greatly affect our relationships as an adult.  
Life is short. Don’t waste your life on earth.  I wish I could have had just one day left with my dad to tell him how much I loved him and to say goodbye properly.  I wish I could have him back in my life so that he could be here this summer for our vow renewal.  There is nothing but death that would stop my parents from being here with us this summer.  The worse thing in life is to live with regrets and time is something you can never get back. 
You have to confront life to get past obstacles in life. Otherwise you are just running away from the problem. Confrontations are not fun, simple, nor easy.  But like ripping off a bandage, they have to happen if you want to heal wounds.  If you do not talk about things it does not make them go away. It only makes them fester and grow a toxicity inside you ready to blow.  When that happens it usually just makes the wound larger, it does not solve the problem.  You cannot run away from things or expect other people to speak up for you on your behalf just because you do not like it. If we as humans liked confrontations I think the word would be called something with a much softer tone to it.  The point is as an adult we have to learn how to confront others and how to work through problems.  We are all different and we may not always get a long but we can work through issues as adults. 
Be a positive person or get professional help if you are not. This lesson is what has made me indifferent to my entire in laws family.  You cannot change a person and if they are constantly upset, negative, angry, or putting toxic energy towards you than it may be a red flag that they are harboring much deeper issues.  If you cannot find the positive in people or in situations, perhaps it is time to seek out help.

Be Assertive.  I talk about things in my family.  I use things that happen in life and in current events to teach my children life lessons and to open up conversation. I do not believe in covering up the truth with sugar coated stories.  I really think the worst thing you can do is to not talk about something.  If I am having a bad day I would rather my husband know about it, than hope that he has magically gotten a sixth sense between when he left for work and when he got home.  You have to be assertive and act.

We have the power of choice.  You can choose how you act or react to situations.  I chose to Let Go when it came to things out of my control.  I also choose to be honest to my blog.  I love to take photographs and it is nice to be complimented on them, but I feel in turn I like to be open with my thoughts.  I think the worst thing is to be alone, to feel alone, or to have no one to talk too.  If you feel that way, feel free to talk with me as I have been there before.  It is through talking and through letting go that we can live life as adults and enjoy each precious day we are blessed with in our life.

Q: Have you ever experienced trials with families when it comes to different expectations or cultural differences?  How have you gotten through it?

Finding Happiness when Restlessness Strikes

Pleased to share with you that A Compass Rose now has over 300 followers.  Thank you for all the love and support.  Since there are quite a number of new readers I wanted to share this article that was originally a guest post at We Took The Road Less Traveled.  It contains my top list of how you can go about ‘Finding Happiness when Restlessness Strikes‘.  

Before I do let me give you a brief introduction about A Compass Rose.  I chose my blog name to reflect myself and my nomadic journey.  I was born in England to American parents and grew up moving around military bases in Europe until I was seventeen years old.  I am now thirty years old and I have yet to ever live in one place for more than three years at a time.  For the last two years I have been living the expat life with my family in England.  I am a Third Culture Kid (TCK), a military brat (and former military wife), an expat, and a global nomad.  
“But still the clever north wind was not satisfied.  It spoke…of towns yet to be visited,  friends in need yet to be discovered, battles yet to be fought” – Chocolat
I chose the quote above, a line from Chocolat, because it has always a chord with me.  I am always moving to a place, moving away from a place, or off on a trip exploring new lands.  I have been asked frequently if I can ever find peace in one place without having to move again.  To be honest I do not know the truth to that question.  I have said recently on my blog that I am the most content now in my life in England than I have been since we moved to the US in 2000.  However I have moved four times since relocating to England in 2011 and have only been in our current city since this past Christmas.  The metaphor of a north wind calling me to new places is quite the reality in my personal story. 

Finding Happiness when Restlessness Strikes

Whether you are a fellow nomad like myself or find yourself in a new land (currently or in your future) the urge to go somewhere else may arise.  For some this could be due to culture shock and wanting to return ‘home’.  Perhaps you have never moved outside your city but from reading travel blogs are aching to go abroad.  Whatever your reason may be for feeling restless I have compiled a list of ways to find contentment in your current location when the practicality of moving is not your best option.

With my husband, our sons, my sister Zoë, and my mum aka ‘Nonna’ at Christmas when we moved to Bath, England.

1. Go back to school. Enroll yourself into school or sign up for a workshop.  Sometimes all we need is a sense of direction.  Perhaps this means embarking on a new career path or finishing a degree.  Perhaps it is as simple as taking a night class for a new hobby you have always wanted to try.  Even just trying something completely new to step out of your comfort zone can be the difference of wanting to runaway and finding your new path.  My husband found his new path after the military by enrolling for a masters programme abroad in England. For me, now that we are here, I have wanted to take an adult ballet course or get back into horseback riding (a childhood passion I once enjoyed). The point is to expand your mind for learning and let the new opportunities and relationships that will occur from it take place. 

I work as a photographer but for a hobby I started taking weekly self portraits. 

2. Read a Book. I love to read because it is within a book that you can transport yourself to a new world or reality.  Tolkien has always been a favourite of mine since my dad used to read the Hobbit to me as a small girl.  Now I like to escape to the top of Solsbury Hill (ref to the Peter Gabriel song) outside my back garden and read when I need an escape.  Join GoodRead online to see what books your friends are reading or find a local book club that you can join.  The later could be a great way to meet new people as well.

Sharing my love of Harry Potter by reading it to my boys.  Their reward for each finished book is to see the film for the first time.

3. Learn a New Language. My only regret is not being fluent in another language.  I moved to often and too frequently between countries of other languages to become fluent in the country.  I have yet to stick with a language program to keep it up.  I am always trying to go back to learning Italian and have high hopes for learning another three languages. For me the struggle is not having anyone with whom I can practice a new language. Join a class, club, or group where you can practice your language.  Maybe find an online penpal through the blogging sphere that you can do language practice with through a Google Hangout.  It might just inspire you on a new vacation where you can really put that language study into practice. 

 By learning a new language you break down a barrier to be opened up to many more relationships.

4. Try a New Recipe. Whether you are a gourmet chef at heart or just try to not burn water when making pasta, you can find inspiration through cooking.  I find the best part of cooking is being able to share it with others so maybe plan a special dinner or host a small party.  Find a country or a theme to prepare foods around.  Maybe you once traveled to South East Asia and want to reminisce your trip.  If you find yourself homesick, take a positive turn and learn to cook something new from your home’s local cuisine. 

Last Autumn my BFF, though miles away, sent me her crust recipe and I made my first pie.

5. See your current location through new eyes. More specifically younger eyes.  Whether you have your own kids or are friends with those younger and shorter beings it can be a refreshing advantage point.  I honestly would miss out on so much if I didnt talk to my kids about what they experience in life.  I like to give my kids cameras and we will go out on a walk and take photographs.  Being able to see our surroundings through their eyes (and their much shorter heights) always opens my mind and heart to more than what I would normally perceive.   

Normally I would walk past a pile of leaves, but when out with my kids in London it became a playground filled with laughter. 

6. Play the Tourist.  It is really easy to take things for granted when you live somewhere.  The easiest way to see your current surroundings through a new light is to pretend like you are only just visiting for the first time.  Grab a tour guide book or go on a bus tour of your city.   Experience the places you have seen before and explore the places you have yet to have seen.  Perhaps there is a new restaurant that you have yet to try out. Or that museum you have been meaning to check out but have yet to go inside.  Grab your camera and document your day out.

My kids picked up local maps and guides from the rail station and we went off exploring. 

7.  Meet Somebody New. This is easier done when you are younger or enrolled in school. If you find yourself always at home or always around the same people, find a reason to meet new people.  Perhaps you signed up for a lecture or a weekend wine tasting.  Maybe you decided to volunteer in your local area.  Maybe now is the time to finally meet your neighbours.  However you go about it make new friends with people and see how it opens your world view. 

I (third from the left) attended a Live Blogging Show at Bristol Fashion Week and met new bloggers and friends. 

8. Fall in Love.  I have heard it said that if it was easy to fall in love, we would all be in love.  However falling in love can make a place you felt lost in become a place refreshed with purpose and give you a reason to stay.  Maybe you are already married and so you feel this option does not apply to you. There are many types of love and perhaps it is the right time to fall in love with a sweet animal from the shelter who needs a new home.  Or maybe you find a way to fall in love with your current city.  Life is filled with so much purposed when you surround yourself with love.  It could be as easy as just ridding your life of toxicity to find the love that already exists. 

I found my happiness by falling in love with my husband all over again as we experience the new life as Expats. 

9. Plan Ahead.  Just because you do not need to move or travel far away at this moment does not mean you cannot plan.  I get most excited about planning out my new adventures.  Sometimes its just comforting to pull out my travel book from the shelf and read through different countries I would love to explore next.  You could start a Pinterest board of places you would like to visit. Make lists of the things you would like to do or see in a certain area.  Talk to other bloggers who live in places where you would love to visit.  Visit my MAP of Expat and Travel bloggers to find those who live in certain countries and start following their journeys.

10. Go on a Mini Break.  While the definitions of a mini break can vary from person to person given your means and time allowances just getting a way for a little bit can help bring you focus.  Perhaps you are a busy mum who can only just get one day off to be pampered at the spa.  Or perhaps you are a couple who can escape to the mountains for the weekend. Whatever fits your lifestyle find a way to get a way from the normal day to day life to recharge your batteries. 

While living in Brighton we took a mini break to Lewes, where Anne of Cleaves had a house, and stayed at a luxurious B&B for our anniversary.

I hope you have enjoyed my top ten ways you can help ward off restlessness and that it helps you fall in love all over again with your current location, with life, and with those special to you.  

*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved |

Expat to Expat Q&A: Food

This is the second installment of Expat to Expat 
on the Q&A: Food
1. What is your favorite food tradition in your new country?  

The ‘Sunday Roast’ of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted or mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and sometimes stuffing. It like a less grand version of  Christmas dinner and my favourite thing to eat at the pub on a Sunday with my family. 

2. Where have you traveled to that you thought had the best food to offer?

Italy. Honestly I will nicely kick and scream before I have to eat Italian food in the USA because it 99.9% fails in comparison.  What I love about the food in Italy is that it is as diverse as its dialects so for example pizzas in Florence are like a cracker crust, pizzas in the birth place of Naples practically melt in your mouth.  Most of the food I have eaten in Italy (away from the touristy trap restaurants of course. Stay away from these as you will not only be over charged but it less quality) is made of simple but great ingredients.  Italian food in the US always seems to have to have something crazy with it like giant meatballs or chicken, crazy cream sauces, or covered in cheeses.  To be fair the best food and house wine I have had in many places in Italy has been in small hole in the wall restaurants or places where the locals frequent.  Plus any country that boasts gelaterias that carry a multitude of gelato flavours is great in my book!  

3. What is the typical breakfast where you currently live and would you eat it back home?

For my kids it is porridge made from porridge oats and with a little honey and cinnamon typically.  I actually grew up on this breakfast staple as well.  Here in England the typical breakfast is the traditional ‘Full English’ or a ‘Full Monty’.  This includes back bacon, poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages, baked beans, and a mug of tea.  If you are extra lucky your breakfast will include my favourite black pudding, which is a blood sausage, or bubble and squeak. Bubble and squeak is made by mixing mashed potatoes with any left over vegetables and fried.  I have to add that the bacon in England is not like the bacon you get back in the US. In the US it is thin strips and sometimes if it is on your plate it is more of a taste factor and less of a ‘fill you up’ factor.  Here the cut of bacon is thick like a slice of ham at Easter and the taste puts American bacon to shame. 

4. What type of restaurant, either style or type of food, do you think is lacking in your new home?

Mexican. By mexican, I mean the type of mexican food that can be found in San Diego, California where the taco shells do not resemble the ‘El Paso’ store bought brand but the home made round tortillas.  Also boasting very spicy options. Mexican restaurants are very few here and the one we went too looked like it was catering to Americans who needed a break from only ordering fish and chips at every meal. 

5. Do you think your home expat home has a food everyone should try?

Not a particular food, but that you must go to a curry house, a typical Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant or takeway. Their menus can be quite extensive, so feel free to try something new every time.  They are to England what mexican restaurants are to the USA.  It was actually one of the things I was most looking forward too before we moved to England. Perfect for those nights that you do not want to cook. 

Actually now that I think of it I think everyone should try Cassava, it is a large white root and large source of carbohydrates. If not cooked and eaten it is highly toxic. If cooked it tastes amazing and is a perfect alternative to a white potato.  It is one of my favourites!

6. What is your favorite dish to prepare that you would never have made back home?

Being that I have always moved and have not had a ‘home’ per se I do not know how to quite answer this question as an expat normally would.  However from an eating stand point, blood sausage is something both my husband and I thought was initially gross. I remember seeing this before and in other countries, like Germany, growing up in Europe.  However we have both had it here and have cooked it here for our breakfast at home and we love it.  Referred here as Black pudding, it is a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled.  It sounds revolting to me, however the way it looks prepared and the way it tastes, I would never had known thats what I was eating.  It is so tasty and a favourite with my sons as well. 

Also I have always loved ‘Beans on Toast’ which is not like american baked beans, but the English Heinz beans.  It is a favourite dish that is hard to prepare in the US because I have to find an British shop of imports.  Here it is a great staple especially for my boys’ tea. 

7. What is the oddest food in your new country?

In the neighbouring country of Scotland of the UK, I still find haggis to be quite odd.  Then again I have never tried it. Marmite is quite odd, but it is loved at home house on buttered crumpets or toast. 

8. If you could have a crate of one type of food sent to you from your home country, what would it be?

Hawaii and the food from the shrimp truck up in North Shore. 

9. What three foods remind you of summer?
Since we lived in Hawaii, which was like summer year round, these are the three foods that remind me of Summer:

  • Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. Though a soup, we ate this sometimes twice a week in Hawaii. It was also perfect cure all.
  • Fro Yo.  These were all over Hawaii and still popping up new chains while we were on the island.  I loved ordering the plain yogurt flavour and topping it with fruit, granola, and some mini chocolate chips.
  • Shaved Ice.  Especially the kind found in Hawaii that is not icy at all, but almost like eating finally grained snow.  You can get it there over beans and covered in condensed milk. 
10. What food from your new country are you surprised to enjoy?

Meat.  In California and Hawaii where my husband and I lived before we ate a lot of vegetarian or vegan options. I liked meat, but was not crazy about it.  When you read about how food is processed in the US, it really does not make you want to eat that much of it.  When we moved to England my husband, who already loves to cook, was really enjoying the ingredients he could find just at our grocery store or local butchers.  We now eat mainly paleo which is mostly protein/meat and vegetables.  I’ve probably eaten more meat in the two years we have lived in England than any two years in the last ten years I lived in the US. That surprises me and I’m still surprised how much I enjoy the way the meat here tastes.  Theres something to say about the ingredients you can get and how it can make or break a meal. 

Bonus:  Where was your favorite place you ever took a summer vacation to?

I did a vacation with my parents where we toured all over Europe using the trains.  One of our many destinations was Oslo, Norway and it still stick out in my mind as one of the most amazing and beautiful places I have ever been too in my life.  I remember getting of the train and stopping at a scenic restaurant outside to enjoy strawberries and sparkling water and loving our destination. I really look forward to returning there soon with my husband and sons. 

Found Love.  Now What?

Read the First Installment: ‘Weather

Culture Shock and Duck Dynasty

The video I am about to share with you is connected to a part of my life from 2001 – 2004 when I lived in the south of the USA. Culture shock was inevitable. Having a guy move from behind me to quickly open a door in front of me so I could go through was a new example in chivalry to me.  I remember being confused and shocked the first few times doors were opened for me.  Still it seems to be something that I have not quite experienced as much else where in the world.  On base in Hawaii I was  leaving a building a step ahead of Andy from the Bachelor (remember the Navy officer?). I was struggling with a door while carrying my baby and my shopping bag and thought he might help me with the door, instead of waiting for me to figure it out on my own.  Still to this day I just assume he was really stressed out that day or trying to not run into crazed bachelor fans as a reason for his  monetary aloofness.  It is just another facet of my life where its interesting to see how cultures differ and what is expected in one country may not be so in another.  

A friend shared this video of Willie Robertson, from Duck Dynasty, talking last year during chapel at Harding University. This is the school that I went to after high school graduation to pursue a major in theatre with a minor in missions. It is located in small town of Searcy, outside Little Rock, Arkansas. This is a town where I met my husband, where we got married, and where I gave birth to our first son. 

To be fair I do not usually mention Arkansas as one of the places I have lived in the US. No offense to any of my readers from ‘the Natural State’ because my Uni campus was like a whole other world inside. It is referred to as the ‘Harding Bubble’. A private christian university in a dry county (forbids the sale of alcohol) it was not the same college experience by those who may have gone to a state school for their college years.  Instead of fraternities or sororities we had social clubs, which were essentially the same thing without extreme hazing, drinking, or dancing.  My favourite thing about this school was its focus on missions as I grew up in small missionary based churches in europe.  Thanks to Harding I was able to do an overseas summer mission to Australia and through its connections to Let’s Start Talking, my husband and I went to Thailand. 

 I am a believer in fate and it is why I know my husband and I were meant to meet each other during my freshman year. I had found out about this university initially from other Harding alum as they visited my church in Italy, or stayed at our house, while spending a semester at one of the Harding’s overseas campuses. They have one in Florence and one in Greece and there always seemed to be someone sporting a Harding t-shirt or ball cap through out my time in Europe.  It is how I found out about the summer camp, near the university, that I attended during my high school years.

To bring this back to the video above, I have not yet watched the show Duck Dynasty.  The whole world of the south, the love of hunting, wearing camo to any occasion aside from military life, and sporting any clothing or head pieces that bare the American flag have always seemed a bit foreign to me. To the fact that the last time I was in the south at a Walmart I counted how many people were wearing camo as a game to pass the time.  To be honest if someone were to tell me they were taking me hunting my mind would be first to envision men wearing an outfit that included tweed plus fours, a waist coast, jacket and cap. Plus dogs would be acquired as well on the walk through the country.  Then again I lived in England twice as a small girl and grew up having photos of the royal family on my dresser. 

When my friend posted the video I felt inclined more to watch it because of my connection to Harding and I was interested to see why Willie Robertson had been asked to speak in chapel.  As I listened I found out he had attended Harding too and from there I was intrigued to hear his story.  I have to say it was his words, his heart, and his personality in the chapel presentation that has made me want to watch Duck Dynasty now.  Or at least to see a few episodes to see if the man I saw speaking at my university is portrayed the same in the show. From the words he spoke about being true to yourself, I would assume my presumption would be correct.  From talking to my mum, who likes the show, and thinking ‘ehhh, thats not really my cup of tea‘ to being surprised has made enough of an impression on me to write a blog post about it. 
Q: Have you seen this show and did you like or dislike it? Why?  Or share with me a moment you were surprised in another culture, from your former preconceived notions.



1. Baby Bound started off as a blog dedicated to one couples’ journey to start a family while living as missionaries in a third world country. Now, over two years later, this blog has shifted gears into documenting the happenings of a young family and their mission to find beauty and bliss in all the little things in life while taking pictures along the way.

2. Biziness is Casual is authored by a punk rock mama named Dani. She lives in Southern California with her fiance and baby girl. Her blog is a mash up of mom stuff, family adventures, fashion, music, art, tattoos, lifestyle, design, and more.

3. A Compass Rose is a blog about a Third Culture Kid (TCK) living the Expat life in England with her family.  She works as a photographer and owns a blog, A Compass Rose.  She writes about growing up nomadic lifestyle as a TCK, about being an Expat, about life in England, and her travels across the world.
4. Life of TOI is authored by TOI. The blog captures the beauty in the ordinary things that make her and her family happy. On the blog you can find her opinion on race, style, travel and the meaning of motherhood.

5. Lost in Travels is a blog about a nomadic couple. After Chelsea and Jeremy got hitched two years ago they started getting cold sweats every time they thought about ‘settling down’ in their hometown. So what did they do instead? Sold all of their belongings that wouldn’t fit in two 50-pound bags and took the first flight to South Korea to teach. Chelsea’s blog highlights their lives as expats in the land of kimchi as well as documents their world travels. 

6. Momista Beginings is a mommy/baby blog that was conceived shortly after conception of baby Mia (now a year old) to parents, Mama Misty and Daddy Dom. Misty is an art teacher for pre-K through the 2nd grade who loves to create, DIY, bake, cook, and take pictures. Dom is self employed in the landscape biz and loves his 2 dogs, the outdoors, hiking, camping, cooking, gardening and tending to their 21 chickens! A few features of the blog include weekly updates throughout Mama Misty’s pregnancy, a detailed and photo filled birth story, DIY ideas and tutorials, tried and true recipes, Misty’s art projects for kids, product reviews, occasional giveaways and plenty of photos of Mia, their family and their average adventures. As summer approaches, nerves are high over the idea of Misty staying at home with the baby instead of working. As their new lives as parents constantly changes, so does their blog along with them. Look out for Misty’s up and coming launch of her Etsy store, followed by more details of a hopeful photography business start-up to help this family stay afloat, in order to stay home with the baby. Things are about to get real interesting and they welcome all new blogworms to join in on the fun.

7. Ms. Nancy Pants has her head in the clouds most days dreaming of the day she will finally take the jump and become a nomad traveling to the unknown. Since she is stuck in her cubicle for now, you can find her discovering a different kind of beauty in the dry state of AZ. She is doing her best to become domesticated a good home maker and attempt new recipes, crafts, taking pictures of the world around her or attending a local musical festival on the weekends. Her mission is to develop a radical self love for herself and share that with others who are on the same journey.

8. Tales of a Young Mama is written by Darlene, a young (ish) mamma of two. Love of all things Swedish, photography, fashion, iced coffee, traveling the world and babies. She blogs about their every day life in Denver, Colorado, raising two bilingual babies (okay one is no longer a baby!) with some (mostly) healthy recipes and fashion posts thrown in. 

9. To the Sea is a blog by an attorey-at-mom, Tejana, former kama’aina, and expat living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She writes about fitness, parenting, travel, and life overseas.

And now for the givewaway! The winner will receive once month of free ad space on each blog listed above. The more entries you complete, the better chance you have at winning. Remember that the winner will be verifed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Travel: Ugly Tourists make me Uncomfortable

Today is the third day of May with the Blog Every Day in May challenge.  
Feel free to join in and if you catch this anytime through out the month feel free to just jump right in.  

Day 3, Friday: Things that make you uncomfortable

Traveling with or being around the ‘Ugly Tourist’ makes me very much uncomfortable.  Given that I stand out already with an American accent if you are an offender from the US of A, I will want to put as much distance between us as possible.  Coincidentally I have movstly lived in highly touristy areas giving me plenty of run ins with the Ugly Tourist.  While some can be outrageously obnoxious I have realized others are just ignorant to traveling outside of your country.  You cannot correct what you do not know to be wrong. Perhaps this will be enlightening to some to help you in your upcoming travels abroad. For the rest of you who want to run for the hills when getting too close to these un-savvy travelers, feel free to comment below with your own stories.  

I Feel Uncomfortable by Ugly Tourists Who…
…Will Not Try New Foods. 
They are the ones you find eating at well known fast food franchises instead of local cuisine. Or who ask for traditional dishes from their home country whether or not it is on the menu.  Personally for me to experience a culture you have to experience their food.  We had the opportunity to live in Hawaii for a few years which is rich in a variety of Asian restaurants. My sons still have a great love for dim sum, pho, pancit, and sushi to name a few.  However, we had people visit us who would not even allow us to take them to a restaurant that did not serve ‘American food’ (their quote not mine).  I grew up in a family that moved and traveled in Europe through out my childhood. We took a trip to Poland and ordered blindly off a menu and ate whatever came. I highly suggest putting the experience over the comfort because you can always eat at home what you would eat normally. 
…Who Expect Different Portion Sizes.
This may be more geared towards the ‘Ugly Americans’ opposed to tourists from other nations. It is no secret that many Americans are overweight and it is brought up in conversation with me by people here in the UK.  Food portions outside of America in other countries can be much smaller. Even when it comes to drinks you have to remember glass sizes will be smaller and without refills. If you are still hungry or still thirsty you can always order more. 
…Are Not Modest.
Many places that tourists go to visit when on vacation include places of worship.  However not all tourists are familiar with the modesty rules to go inside these places.  If you are female you more than likely will not be admitted inside if you are wearing short skirts or shorts and if your shoulders are not covered.  Some places also may request that the female covers her head with a shawl.  Last year in a  church in Italy I lost count of how many times our guide had to interrupt himself to stop a female tourist from coming inside due to modesty issues.  The best thing to do is to plan your trip and then dress accordingly to the day.  Some places will provide shawls that you can use to cover your shoulders, but you should not rely on that assumption. 
…Dress Like A  Slob.
Obvious to most you should really wear clean clothes.  However you really can stick out as a tourist by looking like a slob in context to the country you are visiting.  If you are traveling to Europe the rule of thumb is to wear well tailored clothes and only wear tennis shoes if you are going to the gym. That does not mean you have to wear a suit when on vacation. Just take a look online of what the locals wear in the country and dress to impress.  As a traveler you only get a first impression by locals when interacting in the country.  In this case appearances do mean something. 
…Brings Their Obnoxious Attitudes.
I dislike to point fingers but when I found out that the cast of the Jersey Shore was going to Italy I immediately cringed.  Having grown up in Italy twice I never met anyone who acted and spoke the way the Jersey Shore cast does, despite their Italian heritage.  Know that you are a guest in the host country and you will be watched and judged accordingly.  You are representing your whole country back home when abroad so be the best representation of it.  Dial down the personality as you resepect the country you are visiting.
…Do No Respect A Country’s History.
Those tourists who see things and then make remarks about how they have ‘old thing’s back home too. Or who bring up the past history and make very rude remarks or questions to the locals.  Tread carefully and do not compare your home country to the host country.  It is very beneficial to read up about the country before you travel.  It will give you a new found respect and make you more informed about the country instead of only knowing about the beach or party scene of that location.
…Feels Entitled In Their Host Country.
I remember being on my honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico and it was my husband’s first time out of the United States and Canada.  The US Coast Guard was there and we unfortunately kept running into them at the hotel or out in town. I say unfortunately because they were the young naive tourist type who spoke and acted very loudly.  We remember one such loud conversation they had with the hotel concierge about not getting the right room on the argument of ‘but WE are the US Coast Guard!’. 
…Criticizes Cultural Differences And Customs as Strange.
Remember that you are a guest.  People will watch and listen to you more carefully because of that fact.  Especially if you are in a group.  The slight comments you make when you dont understand the culture or find something strange, keep to the hotel room. You will not only be offending people and the country but coming across as very rude.  Just because something is different does not make it wrong.
…Speak Loudly To Non English Speaking People In English.
It does not matter how loud you talk or how loud and slowly you yell people will not understand you better. They will only understand how rude you are. I was in a 7-Eleven buying water in Thailand when an American family was talking louder and louder to the shop keeper.  At the point where their tone got angry as well as loud I put down my water and took my business elsewhere.  No one wants to be around that. 

…Get Frustrated With the Locals For Not Speaking English.
Which leads us to the next point of do not get upset just because the locals do not speak your language. While it can be frustrating and even a bit scary to not be able to communicate, keep your attitude in check.  It is not a written rule that everyone should speak English or which ever language you are trying to speak.  Take a breath and move on.
…Expect The Host Country To Be Like The USA.
People and customs differ from country to country. It can be easy to assume small things will be the same in the host country, so do not get frustrated when things end up being different.  I smiled kindly to a waitress after having a family member visiting asking for ice for her drink.  Do not expect to always find things like ice cubes, air conditioning, central heating, king size beds, flat sheets, english menus, etc when in the host country.  Further more asking for it or asking why it is not available is not the best way to act.  Accept the differences and focus on the perks of the host country.  
Whether you learned something or just shook your head in remembrance of an Ugly Tourist you have met let me know what you thought in the comment section below. 

Read about Day: |1|2|

The Eddie Memorial Surfing Invitational

My husband was stationed on Oahu, Hawaii from 2007 – 2011 after living in Monterey, California.  Really tough assignments right?  Though we had hoped to be stationed in Europe, I really cannot complain about where the USAF sent us during his enlistment.  When you live somewhere you can pick out the good and bad things about your present location.  Hopefully you focus most about the good and just roll with the punches with things out of your control.  In retrospect from our time in Hawaii I see the things that I did not like were all military related.  Everything I loved was based on Hawaiian culture, the island way of life, and the Aloha spirit.  
We sat on the beach and the scene was simple put: serenity.
A perfect example of what ‘Aloha’ has meant to me from my time in Hawaii is the camaraderie between people that is more like bonds between family.  I have never felt more accepted and more loved in a community that when I stepped away from the military world and got involved with the photography and fashion circuit.  People really do stick out for you when you need help. People come together to make something beautiful, instead of focusing on what is important for one person.  Hawaii itself is a huge mixing pot of cultures. What a beautiful world it is when people come together.  It made our departure from the island bittersweet to have to leave not just a beautiful location, but a beautiful spirit of people whom I still hold dear as my Ohana. 
Greg Long won the Eddie 2009/2010 surfing invitational. 
Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind.” – Lilo & Stitch

People still come together every year for a famous local boy from Maui, Eddie Aikau. Eddie was a famous surfer and lifeguard whose life was ended too short at the age of 31 in 1978.  A memorial surfing invitation was begun in his honour in 1985.  The Eddie only has happened eight times since its inception due to a need for the wave height of over thirty feet. The last time it was held was in 2009, while we were living on Oahu.
Super excited to say I have seen Kelly Slater surf in person.  Awesome.
It was a normal morning where I had just dropped off my oldest son at his preschool. We always listened to  Hudson and Scotty B on Star 101.9 on our drive back home to Mililani. On this morning the Eddie had been announced to take place and Hudson was telling us how crowded it was becoming at Waimea Bay.  It sounded like we had no chance of finding parking at this rate because the majority of the island was headed to see the epic event.  However I decided we should try anyways and my youngest and I made our way towards North Shore.  I do not know how to explain to you what we saw when we started getting closer to our destination   The best thing I could say it was like watching an exodus happen.  For miles cars were parked up the side of the highway with no open spaces for us to find parking.  People were walking the long distance on foot in groups towards Waimea Bay.  Several times I thought to just try to squeeze in somewhere, but then just kept driving.  I knew the closer we got the harder and less likely we would find parking.  However I remembered a gem nearby that apparently many other people had forgotten.  Otherwise I would not have been so fortunate.
Directly across from the Waimea Bay beach park is the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens., which on this day happened to have ample parking available for a small fee. Having my toddler with me on our improntu drive up I gladly paid the price to park.  We also enjoyed a nice lunch afterwards since we did  not plan ahead.  Remember sometimes the best plans are those that you make.  We had a really great time sitting on the beach and watching the surfers. It was my first surfing competition to witness and got to see Kelly Slater in person.  It was very chill, laid back, and a typical day at the beach in Hawaii.  Children and dogs were playing in the sand and people were talking with their friends. Oh yes…and the epic surfing competition.  I am so glad that I was listening to Hudson and Scotty B that morning or I most definitely would have missed out on  of the best days and memories I have from living on Oahu.  
With my son Maddox at Waimea Bay beach park for the Eddie 2009/2010
My tips if you get to experience the Eddie:
1) Bring plenty of bottled water, snacks, and appropriate items for sun protection. 
2) Get there as early and try parking at Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens
3) Make sure to bring your camera with zoom lenses.
4) If you want to get the best surfing shots you do not want to be sitting on the beach.  Theres some great look out points on the road up that I would recommend. 

The Eddie is sponsored by Quiksilver.