Category Archives: guestblogger

The Expat Life of Kate

Today I have a special treat for you all here at A Compass Rose.  My featured sponsor for October is Kate, from Diaries of an Essex Girl.  As a top sponsor for the month she gets to take over my blog for the day with a guest post.  I could not wait to share her post as soon as she sent it in as she talks all about her expat life.  I do not want to give any of it away, so I will let her take it from here! Thank you Kate for this wonderful guest post on life of an expat!

My Expat Adventures Hey friends! My name is Kate and I am a British expat who owns a blog called Diaries of an Essex Girl. I am not a run of the mill expat who has moved to X country but I am an expat who moves to a new country every 6-12 months. This means my life is constantly all over the place and my character is currently a mixture of British, French and German culture with a sprinkle of Greek & Dutch in there too.

I travel with my long-term boyfriend Daniel, who is my partner in crime and an all around top chap, we have a lot of fun traveling together and I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else. So far we have lived in 4 countries together (including England) – I have also lived in France – since we left England 1.5 years ago. It can be a struggle to get creative with telling your travel story due to it’s length or the amount you’ve told it, so today I’ve decided to share my story with you guys in pictures. I think the glee on my face in all of them tells you how much I love where we are at right now!
  amsterdam holland british expat couple diaries of an essex girlbritish expat couple zakynthos workers 2012

british expat paris versailles france au pair diaries of an essex girl 2012
british expat couple germany
As my current blog readers already know, Dan and I plan to move to Japan in mid 2014 and we can’t wait for the next leg of our adventure! Our adventures so far have been nothing short of eventful and I can’t wait to share even more with you guys as we continue!
To follow my adventures, you can keep track of my posts on Bloglovin or receive short and sweet bursts through twitter. I’d love to hear from you! Before I leave, I’d like to say thank you to Bonnie for having me over at her wonderful blog today and I love reading all about her life in my old home, it makes it feel a little less far away!

Elizabeth’s Expat Life in Thailand

Welcome to another Travel Tuesday here at ACR and I look forward to reading all your posts of wanderlust and travel in our link up today.  I have a special post for you which has been written by one of my sponsors this month and someone I feel blessed to call my friend.  One of the most amazing things about blogging is finding someone who may live on the other side of the world, but who is your kindred spirit.  Elizabeth is that person to me and today is taking over my blog to whisk you all away to where she is living the expat life in Thailand.  Feel like seeing more beautiful photographs of her life there then head over to her blog The Bradleys!

I am so thrilled to be able to write today on Bonnie’s inspirational site. You see, I am one of those fellow ‘third culture kids’ turned third culture Mums, as well as a British American. Bonnie and I have a lot in common, including the fact that we are both photo geeks and grew up in Asia and Europe. It is confusing (very) and can frequently lead to odd conversations with people ( ugh).

My family and I currently live in the Southern Thailand, on the beautiful island of Phuket. I started our family blog The Bradleys  to share our daily life as a family that values spending time together above anything else; we especially love holistic living/parenting as well as travel. Despite being a ‘third culture kid’ I had never heard of this term before I discovered Bonnie’s blog and TCK series. For 30 years I have struggled with my cultural identity, expressing who I am and where I am from to people. It sounds odd at first but when you think of how many countries across the world are filled with immigrants, in reality this is quite common. In fact here in Phuket, the local population isn’t 100 percent Thai but a mixture of Hokkian (Chinese) and Thai, which is called baba. I found this fascinating as I was ignorant on Thai heritage until I first visited Phuket Town and saw all of the Taosist temples and realized that there was a heavy Chinese cultural influence.

Our little 5 year old daughter Kaya is a fellow TCK and global citizen. When she was born, we decided we want to raise her outside of the US (living in LA for 8 years had taken a toll on us) and closer to where I grew up in France. My husband however, felt hesitant to move there and instead decided to take a job teaching ESL in Korea. The experience was interesting but my husband ended up coming home from work late in the evening, with more work to do before bed. It was exhausting. We ended up moving back and forth for several years until we came back to Phuket a few months ago. We’ve lived here for two years in total, with a 4 month stint in Scotland. Our intention was to settle down there permanently but due to changes in the spousal visa, we were forced to leave until the politics get sorted.

Phuket is a lovely place to live. Safe, excellent food, and permanent good weather ( well we do get a lot of rain too…), it’s been a lovely place to be based. This week is the vegetarian festival where the whole island adopts a vegan diet and street vendors sell vegetarian delights such as coconut icecream! The Thai culture is very respectful of foreigners and our daughter has several close friends that she plays with. She is also picking up Thai, which is fantastic. And yet, we are craving settling somewhere permanently, and we’re not sure Phuket is the right fit. With having family in the US, UK, and Canada, we’d like to be somewhere closer for them to come visit and vice versa. There aren’t many homeschooling families on the island, nor is there a close knit community for expats per se. The majority of foreigners living here year round are in their 50s and up.

Travel is an important form of education and we feel from the last 4 years of traversing the globe our family has experienced things we never would have if we had let our dreams get diminished. We had many set backs along the road to finding home, so to speak, and even though we haven’t found where we want to call home, we have picked up pieces of ourselves where ever we have visited. The world is filled with beautiful people looking to express themselves and find fullfillment. We share flaws and goals. We are more similar than different.

*images original to The Bradleys blog. Please get in contact if wanting to use anything from their site.

Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.

1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! 😉 
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.

4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

Best Week Ever/2

It has been a quieter week and yet it seems like so much has happened in a blink of an eye.  Yesterday was the Fourth of July, a holiday I have not celebrated in three years with living in England.  Perhaps if we had a bunch of American friends the situation would be different.  However since we live in a country to which America got its Independence from I do not really feel that excited about breaking out the American flags.  To be fair I feel more connected to England and my citizenship here.  However my patriotism to America will always lie with the military.  Since my husband, my father, and his father were all military men it really symbolizes what it means to be American.  With that said I did feel a little homesick yesterday.  I wish my mum and sister were here with us already and we could have done a BBQ at the park.  It makes me miss seeing the amazing firework shows on the fourth of July in Hawaii.  
1.  I love food. Clarification ‘good’ food.  I posted a few Paleo inspired recipes like my husband’s Courgetti and Meatballs.  I had so many responses about how delicious it is, which inspired us to make it for dinner last night.  
2.  I have been making a lot of smoothies this summer.  Mainly it is what I have for lunch.  While some days it can vary, the ingredients are basically the same.  Frozen berry assortment, a banana, spinach, coconut milk, and a tsp of organic cocoa powder.  
3. I met my husband for lunch on Wednesday at the Coffee@Camden cafe outside Bath, England.  The owner, Sara, recommended the Antipasto sampler and I was so glad she did.  I love to taste things and having small portions of such a variety of amazing foods was perfect for lunch time.  
4.  Saturday I continued with my Self Portrait challenge.  I was happy to see other participants this week and look forward to seeing what you guys come up with for tomorrow’s Self Portrait Saturday link up.
5. While looking for unused notebook to start organizing my blogging, I found an entry from my father before he died. It was from a baby shower we had after Ronan was born and I had completely forgotten about this message since it was written in 2005.  I was so excited to share this with both my sons.
6. Moving to Europe has been so amazing on my relationship with my husband. When we left the US we left behind the past and every day since has been better.  This week has been the best week.

7/8/9. This past weekend we did not do a whole lot, but sometimes not much is just perfect for a family.  We went to the pub just for desserts and wine.  We enjoyed the warm sunshine.  On Sunday we slept in and took it easy before walking along the canal into town.  We walked through one of the gardens in Bath that we had not visited before.  It is moments like this that make me really cherish our family time. 

10. Weekly Wishes.  I started Weekly Wishes this week with my friend Melyssa.  I talked about how I view my American accent in England, and why I am working towards softening it. 
11. I am continuing my #JaneAustenBookClub reading with my post about Sense & Sensibility and what I wore to Prom.  This week I have started Pride & Prejudice, a favourite I have read many times before.  
12. My photography post for the week focused on an Elopement shoot in Honolulu, Hawaii.
13. (not pictured) This Month’s installment of the Expat Diaries focused on the Cost of Moving
I have welcomed four new sponsors to my side bar this month and I wanted to introduce you to them today by spotlighting a post from their blogs.  Make sure to say hi and let them know how you found them. :) 
Luchessa, of Beauty Expression, is an advocator of good skin and has posted about a facial mist to protect your skin: Damage Protecting Toning Mist

Belinda, of Found Love Now What, is an newlywed expat living in Wales.  She opens up about her life and talks about how to let go of Expectations: ‘Letting Go of Expectations
Mrs. B, of World Traveling Military Family, is a military wife who has moved around a lot with her family and is headed to Germany this year.  She has showed you how you can repurpose books you can find at charity and thrift stores with: ‘Book Are Not Just For Reading
Jade, of An Invisible Crown, is an expat from Australia living in England with her husband.  She has traveled a lot and has some great advice for Traveling in: ‘Traveling For Long Haul
Q: Hope you have a great weekend! What has made your week the Best Week Ever?

Guest Post: Avoid Being a ‘Wanna-Be’ Photographer

H o w   t o   A v o i d   b e i n g   a   ‘ W a n n a – b e ‘   P h o t o g r a p h e r  

Hey, I’m Amanda, and I blog over at Living in Another Language. I love miss Bonnie Rose, and I’m constantly stalking her blog to see what new and exciting things she’s up to. Including her sweet photography skills.
Speaking of photography, is it just me, or is everyone out there claiming to be a photographer? —>CHEESIEST transition line EVER<—
If you think photography is in your blood, and all you see during big events are great picture opportunities, you are most likely considering becoming a photographer.
Due to the recent boom of picture snapping junkies (hey….I include myself in this category), the trick is to find something that makes you stand out in a crowd. What are your specialties-what do you like to shoot? Stick to what your passionate about. What you see, what interests you, what you envision in a shot DIRECTLY relates to what the final picture turns out to be.
I’m definitely not a professional. I spent the last 4 years going to photography classes, learning my ol’ Canon Rebel xsi like the back of my hand, reading photo tips, tricks, and tutorials online, until I couldn’t do anymore. Once my husband saw how passionate I was for photography he bought me my first real camera. A Canon 5D Mark II. I still drool whenever I see it’s name (granted now I’m using some of that saliva to drool over the Mark III). It was a late birthday/Christmas gift, and even after 7 months I STILL feel like I’ve barely tapped into it.
So how exactly do you go about becoming a ‘credible’ photographer and not just a ‘wanna-be’ (cause Lord knows we all hate that)? Fake it ’til you make it. Um wait. I seriously just gave that advice? No wait. Let me explain. Do your research. Study great photographers. WHY are their images so intriguing? Why will people pay thousands of dollars for a photo session with said photographer? Try to mimic the way they do things (OK this does NOT mean being a copycat. Mimic the camera angles, the lighting, the photo filters). See what you feel most comfortable with.
Also spend some time learning about post-photography editing. You may have scored the perfect shot, but even the most fantastic photo can be completely ruined by post-photography editing. I’ve pulled a few of my photos from throughout the years (mainly 2005-2009) that have been completely ruined by editing them wrong. Have a good laugh or head shake. My pain is your gain. Consider these the DONT’S of photo editing.
1. First of all, this is a SUPER old picture from 2005. I had just gone on a trip to Peru, and didn’t necessarily like this photo because I looked a little tired. So I edited the CRAP out of it.  TIP: If you don’t like a picture, scrap it, or don’t TRY to make it better by editing. Odds are it’ll still look bad.  This photo is over-saturated, over-exposed, and my teeth are overly whitened (why, just WHY). Along with WHO KNOWS what else.
2. The vignette  look. I have plenty of prime examples of this, but 99.9% of them were too embarrassing to show. If you’re wanting to make it in the photography world, stay away from vignetting as much as possible! I honestly believe it makes the photos look a little tacky. I’ve seen some photographers do great things with it, but leave it to those who know how to use it. :) I should also note that there are lenses out there that have a natural vignette to them. I currently own a Canon 28-105mm, and the sucker vignettes like none other. I have to go into Camera Raw to get it out of there. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it does nothing for my photo. The photo above demonstrates the dreaded black corners, as well as the over-exposed, bright (I need some sunglasses) look.
3. I suppose if you find yourself in an exposing ‘saloon girl’ dress, two guns in hand, and sitting pretty for a western photo shoot, you may expect your prints to come out with a sepia tone. After all, that is the old time look. However if you’re out with your girlfriends for a little masquerade party, you’re most likely wanting to keep it current. Maybe at the time I thought the sepia was classy. It just looks out of place…and rather…old. 
4. Selective coloring is a downright NO. just no. I’m not sure what else should be said about it, but it’s not in right now. It’s a fad that went out of style in 2004 (Ironically the year this picture was taken).
5. Don’t change the colors of the photo too much. I understand I was making the picture look like I was really chillin’ with Obama…but seriously? The photo looks terrible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little photo filtering. Or even color tinting a black and white. But when you do ALL of it at the same time? Your photo looks something like this. It’s as if your editing program threw up all over the picture! Stay away my friends.
6. Ok, this isn’t an editing error, it’s a picture taking error. Why? Well…what’s the purpose of this photo? What’s the focus? What am I supposed to be drawn toward? Don’t take pictures just to take them. Have a reason…trust me, your camera, computer, and tired eyes (from filtering through the good pictures and bad pictures) will thank you.
Ok. Now on to the good part. After learning from my past mistakes, I have licked my wounds and started over. The remaining photos below are the result.
Here are a few of my favorite photos I’ve taken in the last few months, and an explanation why I chose to edit them the way I did.
1. To be honest, I almost ditched this one. The exposure was all sorts of funky and I couldn’t get it to lighten the way I wanted without washing the details out. That’s when I decided to go the opposite way. Why not darken the photo and play on the natural highlighted parts from the sun? It didn’t take me very long to get it the way I wanted. I also applied a VSCO setting in RAW to get the faded yellowy effect.
2. I am all about experimenting with my camera and learning new things. I have about 5 hours to myself on Saturdays (the husband is out teaching), and I use some of that time practicing my love for photography. Unfortunately living in South Korea I don’t have many friends (aka photo subjects). I have loved the challenge to practice my skills on MYSELF! I recently did a tutorial on taking professional looking self-portraits here. 
I have this particular photo in both the black and white and color. I chose black in white due to the ‘mystery’ in the shot. It adds more of a timeless quailty to the photo and brings more focus to my face ( I was wearing a neon purple shirt which could be a little distracting).
3.I love this shot I took just down the road at Hakdong Beach. I love the way the sun is climbing down the mountain towards the beach. I love the old concrete dock. I love the wave breaking over the strange pebbles that overtake the beach. I didn’t have to do much to this photo: I increased the saturation and brought up the shadows a bit.703542_590600356149_105682454_o
4. To tell you the truth, I used a VSCO setting for this photo and did absolutely nothing else. If you haven’t played around with VSCO you’re missing out! When I first got it, I spent HOURS seeing what all the different settings did to my photos. I love how this setting not only added a warm color throughout the picture, but it added a soft fade which works really good with all the contrasting details, bringing the photo together. It also probably helped that the background of the Boseong green tea field was breathtakingly beautiful.
5. This is yet another self-photograph inspired by the natural light that was shining through my window. I decided on the soft sepia look instead of straight-laced black and white because it brought a warmth and intrigue the black and white didn’t. You’ll notice I didn’t dig too deep into sepia (like the #3 DONT above), because I didn’t want this photo to scream ‘antique!’
 6. This scenery at Seoraksan National Park, South Korea was breathtaking. I wanted to add this photo to the guest posting to show you the slight vignetting effect my lens has. I decided to leave it, because it somehow works with the photo, drawing you towards the center. For this photo I brought up the highlights, added some saturation, and a slight fade.
Well readers, thank you for sticking with me through my good times and bad (literally). If you’d like to see more of my recent work as well as discover what it’s like to live in South Korea as an expat, drop by my blog! I am constantly posting all sorts of weird things I discover on a daily basis, as well as any sort of domestic tips I’ve learned to make my life easier over here.
You can also check out my TwitterFacebook, and Bloglovin’! Please leave me a comment so I know you dropped by. :)

Blog Friends/1

We had a week of warm sunny days here in England only to have friday be cold and rainy.  As we had planned a bbq on the lawns behind the Royal Crescent, I was quite sad to see the rain clouds.  My smile has returned this morning with seeing the beautiful sunshine has returned for the weekend.  It looks like we will be returning to Monkton Farleigh for our first fete in England as expats.  I look forward to showing you photos and a recap from our adventures on our country walk today. 
Do not forget you are Invited to a Tea Party Giveaway!  Check out the link to yesterday’s post to find out how you can score the perfect gifts for a Tea Party from bloggers all around the world! 
I have some pretty amazing sponsors on A Compass Rose.  This month especially and I would like to take today to introduce you to a few of these ladies.  So without further adieu I please meet:

Hi, everyone! I’m Rachel and I write over at Postcards from Rachel, a lifestyle blog. I’m a former expat who loves to post about my family’s travels, recipes, DIY, my two dogs and everyday life. I’d love for you to stop by and say hello!
Hi everyone! My name is Tara and I am the sole person behind Starletta Designs, a handmade jewelry design business. I strive to make affordable jewelry using high quality materials like gemstones, sterling silver and 14kt gold fill. The pieces I create are always limited edition or one of a kind, as I am always creating new designs! I also write a blog; shockingly called Starletta Designs as well. The blog is a mix of personal and business topics.

My Etsy shop: 
Hi there, I’m Rachel, the blogger behind With Love, RachelI write about all of the things that make life wonderful, from adventures in traveling to fabulous shoes. I drink more wine than I probably should, I consider bargain shopping one of my talents, and I often think out my plan for how to survive the zombie apocalypse. I’m also training for my first ever marathon and sharing the challenges that come with it.

The Hi-Life & Love blog is a lifestyle blog about a Hawaiian girl currently living the mainland adventure with her island Marine.  She is a mom, a wife, a Tahitian dancer, and model.  Bella posts about fitness, aspergers, beauty, shopping, cooking, and all things Hawaii.  Guest posts from her teenage daughter and preteen son also are featured on the blog.  She is a military wife that has lived longer outside the mainland US in both Japan and and Hawaii.
The Nectar Collective documents my life as a California girl living and growing in Tokyo, Japan. 
I recently got a dog named Monja, who has a fetish for worn socks and is basically the sidekick to my silly and happy life. I write all about positivity, travel, love, dogs, DIY projects, and how we can each spread our unique nectar to the rest of the world. Come say hi, and have a bright day!

Thank you to these lovely ladies!  If you are interested in joining them on my side bar:

Sponsor – A Compass Rose

Tigerlilly Quinn & Bath Fashion Museum ‘Blate’

Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave and link and discuss, if you’d like. 

Last week I had the pleasure of going to the Bath Fashion Museum with bloggers Fritha and Lia.  The ‘Blate’ (Blogger + Date) is featured today on Tigerlilly Quinn filled with amazing photography by Fritha.  Please check it out to read more about the blate and leave a comment to say hi! 
I have included a few of Fritha‘s photographs for the post today:
Photograph belongs to Fritha of Tigerlilly Quinn
Photograph belongs to Fritha of Tigerlilly Quinn 
Photograph belongs to Fritha of Tigerlilly Quinn 

Q: Have you been on a ‘Blate’ before?  Which bloggers did you meet up with and what did you guys do?


*photographs found here belong to Fritha of Tigerlilly Quinn  © 2013 All Rights Reserved |