Mother’s Day gift guide

*post contains affiliate links, all opinions are 100% my own.

Hi friends & welcome to May!!! Can you even believe we are in the 5th month of the year? This is always a busy time for us as season winds down and play-offs begin. I wanted to share a few of my favorite things that I think every mom in your life will love. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th.

1. Revlon one step hair dryer –this is hands down THE best hair dryer on the market AND the price point is fabulous. You cannot go wrong with this gift for any lovely lady in your life.

2. Burt’s Bee’s gift set –this is a very cost friendly travel set for any mama in your life, especially the traveler. At just $10, you can’t go wrong and what mama doesn’t need extra skin and lip pampering?

3. Bamboo purse –these are all the fashion rave for summer 2018 and you can snag one for your favorite fashion forward mama bear. At under $40 you just can’t go wrong here.

4. Mrs. Meyers lavender candles –any moms you know that love a good soy candle with an aromatherapy scent? These lavender candles are wonderful and are 2 for $15, perfect gift for mama friends and family.

5. Loved by Hannah & Eli tee –when I first started shopping after I had Logan I wanted to feel comfortable and still fashionable. This shop was one of my first to fall in love with, and I know you will too. They sell tees ranging from unisex, baseball, v-neck, and tanks. They’ve also got mugs, hats, and accessories. There’s a few things on sale so grab your favorite mama bear something.

6. Aprilis bath bomb set –what mama bear doesn’t love a nice relaxing bath? This 6 pack is under $15 and makes the perfect gift for everyone on your list!

7. Moots clothing tee –if you follow me on any social media, you will know my love for Moots Clothing. This small shop and owner are nothing short of amazing. These tees are incredible quality and work with any shape and size. If you are looking for a fun gift for that mama in your life, look no further. You can also use code: “mootsfriend” for a discount at checkout.

8. Kendra Scott necklace –you cannot go wrong with jewelry and with this pendant coming in almost 40 colors, I am sure you will find the perfect one for the mama you love.

9. Fit bit watch –for all the health and fitness mamas out there, this makes the perfect gift. Not only do they come in several colors, they make the perfect accessory for the mamas trying to stay in shape and monitor their progress. Give the gift of health and fitness this Mother’s Day.

10. Younique makeup –whether you are looking for an eyeshadow, perfume, mascara, lipstick, foundation, or blush for that mama in your life, Younique has you covered. With a wide range of products for every skin type you are sure to find the perfect match for the one you love.

Germany trip

Good morning friends!

So happy to share our Germany trip with you all. We were on vacation Wednesday-Sunday and loved every single second. Traveling with a toddler can be quite difficult at times but over and over again I would choose “yes” to have him experience all these wonderful sights and people.

We flew in to Bremen which is a direct flight from Vilnius, Lithuania and only 1.5 hours. Perfect amount for a three year old. We landed in Bremen and took a train into Oldenburg to meet friends.

When Zo was playing in Germany we met the Paulding family and immediately clicked. I spent time with Kara while we were there and we have kept in touch ever since. It had been two years since I have seen them (Kara, her husband & their three kids) and we were due for a visit.

Being an only child, having 3 other playmates this week was absolute heaven for him. He talked and talked about those precious kiddos the whole flight home. This lifestyle comes with a lot of goodbyes and sometimes it makes this mama’s heart hurt, but I’m grateful for friends that will be forever buddies, even though the distance is big!

Germany is such an amazing country and if we had weeks to tour it all…we would, and we have! This trip we spent just in Oldenburg & Bremen. My favorites are below if you ever make it up north!

So glad we chose to make the trip, hang with friends, and enjoy one of our most favorite places on earth!

-Explore city center Oldenburg (take a bite at one of our favorite restaurants Vapiano for some Italian food)

-Enjoy brunch at Hafenhaus that overlooks the boat dock, if you are lucky you can catch a few boats! (Oldenburg)

-Waterfront Bremen has my favorites, Foot locker, Starbucks, and Primark for shopping.

-Train station Bremen: take a ride to almost anywhere in Germany and enjoy the views.

We stayed with friends in Oldenburg but I chose to do a hotel Saturday evening since our flight was so early and that cuts back about an hour of travel time and with a toddler, any time saved is precious! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express by the airport and it was fabulous. The room was very spacious, lots of TV channels for kids, and the best thing was the breakfast started at 4am. This was perfect for us since we had to check out at 5:30am and most places don’t have breakfast that early! I was able to take croissants and fruit to go, along with a delicious coffee. This made my little guy happy and full for the flight! It’s also walking distance to the airport so we just hopped on over to our gate easily. I also forgot toothpaste. Generally you would go downstairs and grab it but i called and informed them I had a sleeping toddler and they immediately said they would bring up some toiletries. Not only was the staff incredibly friendly, but they brought up what i needed and very quietly knocked on the door. May seem simple, but that gesture was just another way of them saying they heard what i said and listened!! This sealed it for me!

I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Bremen.

Until next time…

-Morgan

Let’s talk coffee—Best espresso blends to try

After spending most months in Europe since 2011 & drinking coffee daily, I have realized the coffee is just not as strong as it used to be…or was it?

Coffee Morgan? A blog post on coffee? YES!!! Guys, if you know me you are quite aware that coffee is my love language, besides that, I drink it often…daily…multiple times per day.

I was always being told that European coffee is better & stronger than coffee in the USA, but I just wasn’t seeing that. Maybe it was the brew I order from home, the Starbucks I go to at home, or maybe just the added things I put in my coffee at home. Regardless, since Europe is my 2nd home, I decided to do some digging to find myself the perfect espresso again here.

Here was my poll question on Instagram:

With the help of my lovely Instagram followers, I gave some different drinks a try.

1. Double espresso macchiato — 2 shots of espresso & a dollop of milk. Can be served in large or small cup.

—Opinion: Usually this beverage would come with less milk, I’m assuming since they gave me double the espresso, they doubled the foam? Regardless, this would usually just have a dollop of milk/foam at the top of the beverage. This was actually a decent tasting drink but nothing really special. I enjoyed the strong brew flavor and it actually had a hint of a fruity taste, maybe the blend. Won’t be ordering these much, but I’ve actually always loved a caramel macchiato from Starbucks at home. (This coffee shop uses Illy brand coffee)

2. Doppio {standard double} —- 2 shots of espresso, straight. Served in a small cup.

—Opinion: well that was strong!! No chance I wasn’t getting a burst of energy from this one, and while it was delicious and robust, it was a little much for a “relaxing” beverage. This could for sure be my on the go, need a boost before I pass out, beverage. But coffee with friends, curled up with a book, this isn’t the drink! Normally this drink is just 2 straight shots, she added a very thin layer of froth but I could hardly taste it. Not sure if that’s traditional in other places but it gave a nice touch I think.

3. Americano—- 2 shots of espresso with 6 ounces of water. Served in a tall mug or cup.

–Opinion: one word…yuck. Okay, I’m not really sure what the draw on this was. It’s pretty strong, obviously it’s just straight espresso, but with the water? Oh gosh….it was gross, that’s it. All I can say on that one, if you like it, please tell me how you drink it or what’s the draw for you.

4. Cappuccino—-alone this is traditionally served with a single shot, and this just hasn’t been cutting it for me. It was suggested that I ask for a double cappuccino, served with milk & froth. Served in large or small mug.

••since Cappuccino is one of my favorites back home in the USA, I tried it twice to see if this could be my go to here…answer? YES••

—Opinion 1: this was amazing! My favorite by far. It tasted just like my favorite cappuccino but more robust, so perfect. I spoke with the owner of the coffee shop and he said they use Extra Bar coffee from Italy, a mix of 3 arabica and 1 robust coffee. Perfection.

—Opinion 2: Holy moly this was strong! I had this cappuccino at one of my favorite coffee shops in the city and it was fabulous, really strong but still a good froth and taste. This might have been my favorite mix, I’ve always loved the taste of a cappuccino and I love it at home in the USA, so getting this flavor just right was awesome. I usually add a shot of caramel for flavor, which I’ll probably continue doing. I didn’t this time for the purpose of doing this taste test. (This coffee shop uses Kimbo coffee from Italy).

5. Home brewed strong Italian coffee—- Illy brand seemed to get the vote! But I went ahead and tried Lavazza & Kimbo as well which were both suggested brands that I could also find here in Lithuania.

—–Opinion: First I tried Kimbo for a few days as my morning brew. It was suggested by several people that live in Italy and they sell it where I am. The coffee brewed strong and the aroma was really nice. The taste was rich and intense with a little “Crema” flavor added. Kimbo comes from Naples, Italy and I absolutely could brew this daily, it was delicious. Next up was illy, I thought it tasted a lot like Starbucks medium roast back home (hope no one is insulted), it was not super rich, but had a hint of bold flavoring and it was smooth. I tried this for my afternoon brew for 3 days and although it didn’t have me wired on caffeine, it was pretty tasty. Lastly, Lavazza. I remember having Lavazza while in Rome, Italy and really enjoyed it. Their home roast has a hint of fruity tastes but it’s also bold and the aroma is super fresh. This was a morning brew for me for 2 days and I enjoyed it. My ranking for home brew is–

1. Kimbo

2. Lavazza

{although Kimbo + Lavazza is a close tie}

3. illy –although this was suggested to me as most popular, it wasn’t my favorite.

6. Flat white—steamed milk {a little} and a double shot of espresso. Served in regular size mug.

——Opinion: I actually enjoyed this blend. I could taste just a little milk & the coffee was bolder than I usually enjoy, still not my favorite but noticed a stronger taste for sure. (This coffee shop uses aroma gold coffee)

Bottom Line:

I received suggestions & thoughts from people in Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, the USA, and Slovakia who all said that they have found coffee weaker on this {east} side of the world compared to other parts of Europe like Spain, Italy, and France. I can’t speak for the coffee companies or the whole east side of Europe, but I have been to lots of Eastern European countries & have to agree with their opinion. From trying out different blends of espresso from local coffee bars I concluded that when I’m on this side of the world, I need to ask for a double. I need to ask for 2 shots of espresso in any drink that I order. Maybe it’s the brands they use here, the froth, or the milk. Either way, I’m happy to start enjoying these new drinks while I’m in these parts of the world! I think I’ve solved my “weak taste” problem and that’s awesome for this coffee lovin’ mama! 🙂

What’s your favorite brew?

Xo

Morgan