Gorrion Hotel Istanbul

Because so much of my stay in Turkey depended on my accommodations, and because accommodations can be such a critical part of traveling, I’m launching a new hotel review feature over here. Because even though I travel without reservation, it’s not always without hotel reservations!

The Points Guy and his team just launched a new feature they’re calling the Layover Lowdown, a feature on airports and destinations where you’re most likely to get stuck between flights. I only wish they’d published this one a couple of weeks ago before I found myself passing through Turkey’s capital city and getting stranded for a day due to weather. Still, I made the most of my stay, and it was an amazing place to be stranded in!

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Try the World

You can buy a subscription box for anything these days – beauty products, wine, crafts, you name it – so all the offers out there can seem a little overwhelming! However, when my sister tweeted me a link to Try the World, a subscription box that sends you gourmet goodies from cities around the world, I had to check them out!

A subscription to Try the World gets you a cheerful Tiffany-blue box every other month that’s packed full with 6-9 full size gourmet treats and ingredients from selected cities around the world, curated for you by local food experts. You also get a handy reference card that tells you what all of your items are and give you a little of the story behind them and why they were selected, and a small city guide that tells you about the city your items come from, gives you some key attractions, and also recommends movies, music, provides recipes, and gives you lots of fun ways you can bring the full flavor of that city home with you!

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Sunrise Over Istanbul

My husband and I grew up in the era of They Might Be Giants, so you can guess what song we were both humming when I called him from my hotel in Istanbul {not Constantinople}. As ridiculous as the song is, though, it actually instilled in me a lifelong desire to see the historic city for myself one day, to see the minarets rising over the horizon and watch the whirling dervishes in their ceremonial Sama dance, to go shopping in the old bazaar and immerse myself in the richness of a bygone era.

Istanbul did not disappoint. When I found out I was going to be stranded overnight in Istanbul due to a snowstorm and flight delays, even though that would put me on the ground barely in time for my half-marathon back in the US, that’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been to be stuck somewhere.

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March Goals

Photo highlights from last month:

sunrise over Istanbul | horseback riding in Bangladesh | sunset in Dhaka

a walk in Turkish snow | my wine bottle air freshener | at the Old Bazaar in Istanbul

decorative Nespresso pods | Chinese New Year at the food truck rally | new stairs

It’s March already. March! This year is going way too fast for my liking – but maybe that’s because I’ve packed a ton of stuff into my year already. Just this past month, I flew around the world, visited a bunch of places that were totally new to me, ran a Disney half-marathon, did a ton of work on the house, and played local tourist here in Honolulu. I should be exhausted, but I’m more energized than ever!

Looking back at my monthly goals, which I never even glanced at once this month, I’ve asked myself again why I even bother to write them. I’ve wondered the same about my various bucket lists. I love lists, for one, but is that enough motivation to keep at them, especially if I don’t use them?

I still keep coming back to the idea of intentional living. I like the idea of living with purpose. At the same time, I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into a limited set of goals, and I don’t want to hang the idea of a successful month on getting them all done. I’m usually pretty good at keeping my goals separate from success – they’re just things to strive for, and I don’t really care if I complete them or not – but still, is that the best way to really get after intentional living? Or is it better to just try to be present in the moment, to be intentionally in that moment?

I’m undecided. But until I figure it out, I’m indulging my love for making lists.

Last Month’s Highlights

These are the posts from last month that you guys liked the most – thanks for visiting them!

February Goals

  1. Don’t die running the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. I can’t wait to recap this one – I’m still shocked that after being on a plane for 20 hours and then running a race not four hours after getting off the plane, on no sleep, I actually did pretty decently!
  2. Finish putting my costume together for the half-marathon. I wore a sparkly skirt. That’s a win, right?
  3. Finish my Oahu guide and post a downloadable version to my local tourist page. Nope.
  4. Finish sending out Christmas cards and gifts. St. Patrick’s day cards and gifts? Sure!
  5. Go to at least two more yoga sessions. Well, I did one in Bangladesh!
  6. Do at least one interview spotlight. Sigh.
  7. Post the stair revamp and an associated DIY tutorial. Stairs here, tutorial here!
  8. Start planning out and budgeting the upstairs bathroom renovations. We have a few ideas for this one that we may or may not get started on next month, travel pending!
  9. Start collecting materials for the upstairs bathroom renovations. I actually think we’re going to tackle the backyard retaining wall and picnic table build next.
  10. Start work on the kitchen breakfast bar. See above.
  11. Get packed and prepped for all my February travel. I even posted some tips!
  12. Organize and account for all my frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I have a pretty good spreadsheet that I use to keep track of things, since Award Wallet doesn’t cover United.
  13. Spring clean our house and go on another spring stuff purge. Scott did some of this while I was gone, but we still have a lot to do!
  14. Spring clean our storage unit. This month, definitely!
  15. Get my sewing kit organized so I can actually do some more sewing. Sigh.
  16. Go on a new Oahu hike. Nope.
  17. Work on a blog social media plan. I have a plan. Whether I enact it or not…
  18. Work on my Epic Blog Workbook. Yes! I have lots of themes, post ideas, and other plans that are coming together right now. Again, whether I enact them…
  19. Write a reintroduction post for new follows. Seriously, I see you guys and I love you all! Let me just acknowledge you here since I don’t know if I’ll get to this!
  20. Put together a new reader introduction page. Sigh.

March Goals

  1. Schedule my work travel for this month and pack appropriate gear – it’ll be cold.
  2. Finish my Oahu guide.
  3. Send out my Christmas St. Patrick’s day cards and gifts.
  4. Go to a couple yoga sessions.
  5. Start work on the backyard retaining wall and picnic table.
  6. Buy/make new cushions for the backyard furniture.
  7. Spring clean the house.
  8. Spring clean the storage unit.
  9. Organize the sewing kit.
  10. Create a new recipe.
  11. Try a new restaurant.
  12. Try a new Oahu activity.
  13. Go scuba diving.
  14. Put together a new reader introduction page.
  15. Write a review of international calling plans.
  16. Update my Trip Advisor reviews from this last trip.
  17. Finish posting my Bangladesh and Turkey photos.
  18. Work on a professional article about the Bangladesh trip.
  19. Recap the Disney Princess Half-Marathon.
  20. Work on my blog social media plan.

So what’s on your life, blog, or adventure to-do list this month?


Oh, and in case you missed it, there are a lot of other people who like sharing their goals for encouragement or accountability or whatever reasons, and you can find them linking up over here:


The Nectar Collective

Sunday Currently, vol. 55

Clockwise from top left:

  1. At the Old Bazaar in Istanbul, I felt like I was raiding an Indiana Jones set.
  2. I made it to Florida in time to run the Disney Princess Half-Marathon with my friend Sarah!
  3. After a half-marathon, you deserve a decadent chocolate banana caramel mousse thingy.
  4. Nothing like the ubiquitous window-seat wing shot to remind you you’re in coach.

So I flew around the world and ran a half-marathon and I should be exhausted, but instead, I’m more energized than ever! I might also be insane from lack of sleep. I can’t tell. In the meantime, here’s what I’m up to…


Reading…the thousands of emails, blog posts, social media messages, and the rest of the stuff I missed while I was running around the world, in and out of limited internet access. My international data plan is a great one, and gave me free data in Japan, Thailand, and Turkey, but didn’t cover Bangladesh!

Watching…The Blacklist. Again. You can learn a lot about negotiation and strategy from Red Reddington. He might skirt the bounds of ethics – when he’s not boldly jumping across those bounds and dancing a jig – but still, the man is extremely good at understanding people.

Wishing…I had the recovery abilities of my younger years. One of the frustrating things about being 35 is you don’t feel old at all, or like you’ve lost any energy…until you have to recover from a long trip, a long race, or a late night out, and you find you just don’t bounce back the way you used to! Translation: I’m tired.

Smelling…my caramel macchiato – my husband has become a master barista with our Nespresso, and he makes a damn fine macchiato. Also, rain in the air. We’ve been flirting with heavy winter/spring rains in the mauka {mountain side} of the island, but it just hasn’t materialized yet. Normally, we’re drenched by the rain by this time of year.

Planning…a few local adventures – beaching it up if the rain doesn’t hit, maybe taking the motorcycles on a ride around the island, trying a new place for dinner – and hitting the house with some massive spring cleaning.

Needing…to dig out all the tax documents that are not in the nice folders I have set aside for them in our file cabinet, but are instead in a massive pile on my desk.

Wanting…to find a good community service project locally that I can commit to regularly when I’m here and not throw off balance when I travel. I feel like I don’t spend enough time giving back, and I want to do something more than just throwing my monthly donation dollars at problems.

Cooking…prosciutto and mozzarella stuffed pesto chicken on spaghetti, grilled balsamic steak salad and crusty bread, and veggie, cheese, and chorizo stuffed acorn squash. I’m still loving all the fresh and spicy flavors I experienced in Bangladesh and all the Mediterranean goodness I experienced in Turkey, so those flavors keep popping up in my cooking!

Loving…being home, in our little tiny townhouse, surrounded by bright sunlight and fresh linens and happy cats. I love that we’ve turned this place into such a little oasis.

Posts This Week…

In case you missed them:

Weekly Reads…

The return of the link list! Here’s what I’m reading lately:

What are you guys up to out there? Share your Currently in the comments?


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