• Life Is Short- Here’s How To Live Each Day To …

    Life Is Short- Here’s How To Live Each Day To The Fullest - SINCERELYKENZ
  • 3 Time Management Skills For Everyday Life

    3 TIME MANAGMENT SKILLS TO USE IN EVERYDAYLIFE- sincerelykenz
  • Trying Not To Try: Live Life Spontaneously

  • 72 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

    COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ

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Life Is Short- Here’s How To Live Each Day To The Fullest

Life Is Short- Here’s How To Live Each Day To The Fullest - SINCERELYKENZ

 

Whether we like to hear it or not, life is short. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. Before you know it, a new year has begun in what feels like just the short wink of an eye. 2017 got off to a bit of a rocky start for me. A really good friend of mine unexpectedly passed away, and it was a shock to the whole college community that we both attended as well as the best friends and family members lives that she had touched throughout her short 20 years on this Earth.

 

About a month or so after that devastating period of my life, Rob and I shipped ourselves off to Europe, where we spent a semester in Prague, Czech Republic. Our time spent here was fulfilled with memories that will last a lifetime and new friendships with people who we hope to stay close with forever. I recently took some time to reflect on how this year has been going, more specifically about my recent study abroad experience. The time Rob and I got to spend in Europe absolutely flew by. Our four months felt decimal and it feels like it was just yesterday when I was being dragged on to the plane (did I mention that I’m deathly afraid of planes???).

Time is a very valuable entity and it passes by extremely fast, way too fast. After taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging, I thought about all of the excuses that could be utilized as the backbone for my slight disappearance from the blogging world these past two months. But then I got thinking, and my thoughts brought me back to how my life has been going these past few months, and the idea that life is short. I should not have to explain my lack of blogging to anyone other than myself. Life is too short to be held up to these high standards that we inevitably fall short of sometimes. Yes, I had a blast in Europe, and yes I probably could have been blogging throughout the entirety of my time spent overseas. But looking back now and thinking about the time that I was in Europe, and my transition back to the states, I wanted to be living in the moment. I didn’t want my blog to be one of the things that was holding my back from spending genuine time with those who I appreciate, and care about, and had missed while I spent my semester overseas.

 

My point is, life is short. We need to stop wasting time, and accomplish the goals that we hope to one day achieve because life can be taken away from you sooner than you think. We waste so much time and I’m not so sure why. We choose to waste time, even though it is so valuable. Whether it is wasted time on your phone, or wasted time due to distractions and excuses, we need to be more conscious of how we are choosing to spend our time. Here are four things that might be holding you back from spending your time how you would like to:

 

Comparing Yourself To Others:

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, heck, we’ve all done it- the endless cycle of finding someone on a social media outlet (usually Instagram) and completely stalking every aspect of their life. Before you know it, you’ve invested 20 minutes of your time into someone who you probably know absolutely nothing about. This person most likely isn’t going to post about the negative parts of their life, and their social media outlet is probably portraying only what they want you to see…. only the good stuff. Instead of comparing yourself to others, and investing your time into people who you barely know anything about, you should invest time in yourself. Take time to pick out the qualities that you absolutely adore about yourself and work on being comfortable with yourself always. Deep down, you are a rock star, you just gotta’ know it and own it.

 

Justifying Your Wasted Time:

Off the top of your head, you can probably easily think of 5-10 things that you would like to achieve right now. Whether it is starting a healthy diet, working out regularly, maintaining a blog, or even starting your own business … you really want to achieve this goal, right!? Instead of thinking about all of the reasons why you can’t begin your journey to achieving said goal, think about how much time you’re wasting, and simply letting pass by while you justify reasons and excuses as to why you haven’t started yet.

 

Waiting Around For Something To Happen:

Most of the successful people in this world had to work their way to the top. Things normally do not land in people’s laps, and most people do not rake in millions of dollars overnight. If you know anyone who has either of these capabilities PLZ teach me your ways?! Anyway, you have to work towards what you want to achieve in life. And you most definitely have to work and push yourself a LOT if you want to make it to the top. Waiting, and thinking that something is going to miraculously one day occur to put you where you want to be, isn’t necessarily the best mentality to have. Rather than waiting for whatever it is that you want to happen, try hustling and working hard to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.

 

Create A “Reset” Button For Yourself:

Figure out something that will allow you to essentially, “reset”, for a little bit when things aren’t going the way you want them to. Whether you decide to simply shut down your computer for a bit, or take part in some sort of activity that allows your mind to run free for a while, figure out something that works for you. I personally love to get some fresh air or (naturally), eat a snack when I’m feeling over worked, over stressed, or just done with something that I need to get done all together. Going along with finding your internal reset button, make sure you know when it is time to stop working. It really doesn’t matter how you decide to measure this, but you need to know when to stop. Pushing yourself to finish something when you’re not really feelin’ it anymore, and just want to be done with it, is not going to produce results that you’re proud of.

 

What are your thoughts on time? Do you do anything to ensure that you are not wasting it?

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3 Time Management Skills For Everyday Life

Stress, it is really something, right? Stress affects everyone in different ways. Some people succumb to stress very easily (hi, that’s me), while others have the tendency to keep cool and vibe on with little to no stress or worries while doing so. Like I have mentioned in blog posts time and time again, my stress-o-meter is pretty weak. I’ve seriously got a wimpy, puny amount of things I can take before my stress levels sky rocket and lead me to either A) have a mental breakdown or B) run from my problems.

 

Most people would probably agree that being productive, and having time management skills can aid in limiting stress. The combination of these things can help contain stress levels to a minimum. I have been working on my time management skills since freshman year of college. Let’s just say that my skills are still not where they should be, and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever perfect them. But a girl can try, right?

 

Lately, I have been trying to better my time management skills. My blog has been pushed aside due to the stress I have had with everything else going on in life. In other words, my time management skills suck and I blame my poor time management skills for my lack of blogging.

 

Like anything else important in life, I headed straight to Pinterest to generate some ideas about time management, and how to better the minimal time management skills that I already (sort of) have. Here’s what I got:

3 TIME MANAGMENT SKILLS TO USE IN EVERYDAYLIFE- sincerelykenz

Try To Use The “Pomodoro” Technique:

The “Pomodoro” technique was coined in the 1980s. It is basically a way to channel your inner productivity and actually accomplish things through the use of time intervals. The way this works is kind of simple: you are to work with complete and utter full attention (this means no phone or other distracting gadgets) for 25 minutes, and then you are to take a 5-minute break. The catch, is that you can’t use technology on this five-minute break. Think grabbing a snack, or taking a quick walk rather than ending up stalking your friend’s-brother’s-mother’s-classmate’s-great uncle for what ends up being 20 hours when it was supposed to be 5 minutes. The technique calls for doing this twice, and then taking an hour-long break, where you are permitted to use technology. I haven’t put this technique to use yet but it seems quite enticing. I can totally see the possibility of getting a lot done by eliminating the use of a phone for a whole hour, but then being rewarded to use it for an hour. Side note: am I the only one who immediately thought of pasta when I first read the name of this technique? Pomodoro actually means tomato in the Italian language, so I guess that’s how I made the connection. Supposedly the man who created this technique used a timer that was shaped and colored like a tomato. You learn something new everyday folks.

 

Batch Related Tasks Together:

If you have a hefty amount of things that you know you need to get done, try batching some of them together. I guess the closest thing I can compare this to is a workout plan: if you are going to the gym for 6 days a week, usually you’ll split up the weekly days by muscle groups. For example, on Mondays you would be training legs and glutes, on Tuesday you would be training triceps and shoulders…. I’m sure you get the idea. So if you had some blogging work to do, some emails to check, some groceries to shop for, or errands to run, go ahead and group them by day. When I do this, I’ll delegate one morning to doing laundry, and thoroughly organizing/ cleaning my room, and another morning to blogging, checking emails, and going through my bank statements. Having set plans for each day of the week eliminates the possibility of wasting time.

 

Spend Time Each Morning Planning Out Your Day

The first thing I do when I wake up each day is whip out my planner and spend some time thinking about what exactly I want to accomplish on said day. This quick half hour of every morning sets the tone for my day and helps me gear myself to taking on the goals and tasks that I need to accomplish. I like to make smaller “to-do” lists for each day rather than lengthier “to-do” lists for each week. This takes some weight off of my shoulders when I’m feeling uber stressed and helps me to achieve small goals each day.

 

 

Do you have any time management tips? Let me know in the comments below! 

Trying Not To Try: Live Life Spontaneously

Hallo! Bonjour! Amsterdam anyone? Or Paris? I can take you there now! Well- sort of….

 

First of all, I would love to clear some smoke that is in the air. I can’t believe I have gone this long without posting on my dear lil’ blog. But life is life, and life gets busy- ya know? Having the opportunity to study abroad is something I’ll be forever grateful for, and is an adventure that has led me to create memories that I will genuinely never forget, like ever. However, traveling can be stressful! It’s tough to find a balance between traveling, a social life, my blog, as well as school work. Shocker, I know, but believe it or not studying abroad requires a bit of studying. With the combination of midterms in all of my classes last week as well as constantly being in and out of Prague for travel purposes I guess you could say I haven’t really had my “blogging mojo” lately. I’m very hopeful that it will come back in time, once life slows down a bit.

 

Speaking of midterms, Rob and I took all of our mid-semester tests two weeks ago. We ended the stressful week with a bang though, as we left for Amsterdam the following Tuesday! Rob and I have been to two different countries throughout the course of the past eight days which is pretty crazy when you think about it.

 

Our small adventure started off in the land of wooden clogs and pancakes- the one and only Amsterdam. After a long waited two and a half months, I was finally reunited with my parents. They came to visit Amsterdam for a week, and we met them there amongst my aunt as well as my brother.

We were in Amsterdam for only four days but they were all jam-packed thanks to the planning and preparation from my super fabulous mom. We spent some days exploring the city but also took a few to check out the areas outside of Amsterdam like Keukenhof and De Zoeker.

 

Keukenhof is Holland’s famous tulip … park? I’m not sure if it’s considered a park, but that’s the closest thing I can compare it to. It’s basically just a giant garden with pathways for people to walk through. Amongst the amazing landscaping and flowers, there are also areas to grab various types of foods and treats. We spent another day in De Zoeker and looked at a ton of windmills. These bad boys are massive and believe it or not, are the means of power for a majority of Holland.

 

After a farewell to my parents, my brother, Rob and I headed to Paris! Paris is a short train ride from Amsterdam, and I actually loved the city a lot more than I thought I would! I think it is safe to say that we squeezed every bit of Paris out of Paris. Does that make sense?

TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneously TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneously TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneously

The three of us make quite the trio and we actually traveled very well together. We were all ambitious to see what the city had to offer and thinking back, we all do a fair share of walking (try like 10 miles a day) without complaining… for the most part.

 

Taking on the famous elegant city with only a map and little to no wifi, we ended up walking for hours and hours each day. One of my favorite things to do in cities I’m checking out for the first time is to get lost within their streets. While we didn’t get lost, we did walk for a majority of the time we spent in the city, which to me, is equally as interesting as getting lost. The highlight of my time in Paris had to be checking out the cities amazing views from a ferris wheel.
TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneouslyTRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneouslyTRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneouslyAt first quite skeptical, my brother and I let Rob’s persuasive attitude get the better of us and we decided to take a ride on a ferris wheel in the middle of Paris. I’m still not positive if this is like a permanent thing or if it was just randomly placed by a bunch of carnies trying to make some extra cash. Either way, we surprisingly loved the ride and it was absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough to watch the sunset as we were on the ferris wheel. For a cheap 12 euro, it was definitely worth it.

TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneously TRY NOT TO TRY: live life spontaneously

We spent all of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday exploring the streets of Paris. Out of spontaneity Rob and I decided to cancel our bus home (13-hour bus ride back to Prague, ew) and booked a trip to Disneyland instead! We headed to Disneyland for one short day, but it was amazing and didn’t fall short of our expectations. How could it though? It is the happiest place on Earth, right?

 

My goal for this blog post was to talk about spontaneity but I guess I just got so excited about both Amsterdam and Paris that I totally got side tracked… oops.

 

Even though this is all coming from a spontaneous trip to Disneyland I guess my point is that life is too short to live in fear. Don’t be afraid of straying from your perfectly planned out life goals. We should embrace the perfectly imperfect aspects of life and do things on a whim, do things that make us purely happy and fill us with complete bliss.

 

Despite being deathly afraid of flying (we’re talking mental breakdowns before almost every flight), I still travel the world. I sing so loudly to Bruce Springsteen that I’m sure my whole dorm can hear me, I eat pastries for breakfast in Paris, dance my butt off at pubs in Amsterdam, and have somehow survived two and a half months in Prague without dying.

 

What most people don’t realize is that it’s these small little parts of life that add up to something that feels a little bit perfectly imperfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

72 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ

Copenhagen, what can I say? I love ya.

Rob and I spent the last few days amongst the Danes in Copenhagen, Denmark. We had heard a ton of amazing things about Copenhagen prior to actually visiting the magical land so you can imagine how excited we were to spend some time there.

After gathering a ton of recommendations and information on the lovely Cope from a variety of different people who had previously been, we had quite the itinerary planned out  for our short time there.

First, let me start off by saying that Copenhagen has hands down the best foods I have consumed in quite some time- and that’s saying a lot considering I spend a majority of my time eating.

Rob and I were advised about Copenhagen’s amazing food prior to our arrival there; so we were very eager to fill our palettes with delectable Danish food. Nothing fell short of our expectations and everything was absolutely delicious. And I’m not talking the standard delicious; I’m talking uber delicious, like literal make your  mouth water delicious.

Here are some of the food spots we ate at:

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The Union Kitchen:

This hipster-esque place was our first destination after our plane landed. We opted to get some brunch grub at this spot because it was recommended by a ton of people, and was right off of the famous canal in Nyhavn. Here, we got avocado toast with poached eggs as well as a waffle. I always feel so fancy when ordering poached eggs, these bad boys are totally a new fave of mine since I’ve been brunching my way across Europe. Anyways, our fancy-ass poached eggs were fabulous and the waffle was topped with yogurt and fresh fruits.

After my time spent in the city, I have learned that one food  Copenhagen has seized to create extremely well is bread. The bread that our avocado/poached egg was on was to die for. I’m talkin’ super tasty with an amazing texture. I’m not really sure how to describe the texture; it was just a really good one.

COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZCopenhagen Street Food:

Located inside of an industrial building on “Paper Island”, this was another hot spot that was recommended by a few different people. Copenhagen Street Food was probably one of my favorite parts of Copenhagen. Quite ironic how my favorite spot had to do with food, right? This industrial building is jam-packed with a crazy amount of food trucks, all selling fresh food from a variety of different ethnicities. Some of the ones that struck my eye were the British pancake truck and the Spanish tapas truck. Rob ended up getting a burger, which he claims is the “best burger he has ever had”, and I got a burrito filled with cactus (interesting, right?!) and potatoes. This was an awesome experience, and the whole atmosphere had a really cool vibe. There were actually bars inside of this giant building as well, and a ton of people were  outside sipping on drinks and eating delicious food along the water.

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Snails:

Okay, to be honest, I’m not sure what the exact Danish name is for these sweets, but we were referred to them as “snails”. I know it’s a bit of an odd name, just think about the awkward looks I got when I told people back in Prague about how amazing the Copenhagen “snails” were! I’ll admit, these Danish sweets were BOMB. I’m talking addictive, surgery, magical rolls of pure joy and fatness.

Rob and I sought out to find the best snails and ended up eating 2 every day we were in Copenhagen. As aggressive as this was, we ultimately found that Holms Bakery had in our opinion, the best snails. This bakery had the perfect texture to cinnamon to frosting ratio. I guess the best way to describe these sweets is something similar to a flattened out cinnamon role? A few that we tried had a flaky, croissant-like consistency while others were more doughy with thicker, fuller textures. I miss these sweet treats already and wish they were sold in the Czech Republic. This is a total must try if you ever find yourself strolling past a bakery in Copenhagen.

Aside from spending an unnecessary amount of money on food, we did some actual things in the city as well! Copenhagen is a crazy vibrant, and very trendy city. With that being said, there are a TON of amazing and fun things to do during your time spent there. Unfortunately, the weather did not side with all of our plans.  We did as much as we could with the conditions at hand.

Here are some of the things we did whilst in Copenhagen:

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Nyhavn:

The first and obvious thing we did in Cope was walk around Nyhavn. You really can’t miss this spot, as it’s basically one of the major areas that Copenhagen is known for. This is the area of Copenhagen that is probably in most of the pictures you’ve seen, with the colorful houses lining the canal! Rob and I actually thought about taking a boat tour along the canal, but the weather swayed our decision. We ended up walking around instead. Nyhavn is lined with cute cafes, shops, and ice cream parlors. We were advised that the restaurants in this area were a bit pricey so we opted to stick to coffee instead. You can’t go to Copenhagen without spending some time around this gorgeous canal. Fun fact: there are actually in ground trampolines around this area! These brought out my inner 12 year old and were a lot of fun.

COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ

Den Blå Planet:

This type of thing isn’t what rob and I usually do when we are exploring different countries, but due to the pouring, (might I add, freezing) rain, we decided to check out Copenhagen’s famous aquarium. This aquarium is said to be the second largest in Northern Europe. Tickets to get into the aquarium itself were a biiiiit on the pricier side of the spectrum but we did end up enjoying our time there.  I guess you could say it was worth it. If you have time to explore Copenhagen with no weather conditions holding you back I wouldn’t recommend going to this aquarium, just because the city is packed with so many different unique things that are probably a bit more exciting than an aquarium.

COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ

Freetown Christiania:

This was such an intriguing part of the city. Rob and I actually spent a huge chunk of time wandering around the trails that lead up to the center of Christiania feeling very confused. Christiania is actually a major hippie area of Copenhagen that has about 850 residents. It’s basically like a  little city inside of the city. We spent some time walking around this city’s three-mile radius, and it was awesome. I guess the best way to explain it is hippie?! I’m not really sure, but definitely, a very cool experience and I would recommend checking it out if you have the time.

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Rosenborg Castle:

This castle was breathtaking. It is actually the oldest castle in Copenhagen and has the most historical importance. Believe it or not, this castle was built in 1606 but was renovated to look like what it does today in 1624. The Danish Crown Jewels and the throne Chair of Denmark are stored in this castle. I can’t even imagine how heightened its beauty is during the spring when everything is super green and in bloom. The castle is surrounded by a ton of grass and gorgeous landscaping. Taking a walk through here was a very nice break from Prague, as it’s a very bustling city.

COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ COPENHAGEN IN 72 HOURS- SINCERELYKENZ

Amalienborg Palace:

This is where the royal family lives in Copenhagen. Surrounding this palace, are a set of four identical looking buildings. These are: Christian VII’s Palace: (otherwise known as Moltke’s Palac), which is strictly used for guest residencies,  Frederik VIII’s Palace: (otherwise  known as Brockdorff’s Palace), which holds the Crown Prince Family, Christian IX’s Palace: (otherwise known as Schack’s Palace), which houses and King and Queen and lastly, Christian VIII’s Palace: (otherwise known as Levetzau’ Palace), which is a guest house for the Prince and Princess of Copenhagen.

Tivoli Gardens:

I am so so saddened to say that the Tivoli Gardens were actually closed during Rob and I’s time in Cope! This amusement park dates back to 1843, and is actually known to be one of Walt Disney’s inspirations for the layout and look of Disney Land! The park is only open from April to September so we were a few weeks early 🙁 I have heard that Tivoli is an amazing experience and that you just ~have~ to go. I guess this gives me an excuse to venture back to Copenhagen in the future!

All in all, Copenhagen was an absolutely remarkable city. If you ever get the chance, I totally recommend getting lost in the streets of this unique area.

FEELING LIKE YOUR LIFE IS CLUTTERED? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN FIX IT

FEELING LIKE YOUR LIFE IS CLUTTERED? HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO FIX IT- sincerelykenz

 

Ever feel like your life is cluttered, messy, or just all over the place in general? I’m no professional, and I definitely feel this way more often than not. BUT, with that being said, I like to think that I have developed some pretty helpful coping mechanisms for when life starts to feel this way.

 

Most people feel the ups and downs of life’s rollercoaster every once in a while. In fact, it’s kind of hard to avoid. Life has a funny way of falling into place and then suddenly without warning, turning itself completely upside down.

 

As they would say in Prague: To je Život (happy to let you all know that I learned at least some Czech during my time living here thus far). This can be translated to, “that’s life”. I like this lil’ quote because it’s applicable to all the ups and downs that life throws at us. Not to mention that I feel like a super sassy local every time I say it.

 

Whatever it may be that is affecting your life in a not-so-positive way, just know that life gets cluttered for everyone at times, it’s inevitable.   Feeling like your life is messy is something that comes and goes like the wind blows- bad analogy… sorry.

 

Because this feeling comes and goes so often, it’s something that can be fixed by a variety of different things. For me, it’s always different. Rather than dwelling on what exactly it is that’s making your life feel cluttered, try to implement some fairly easy habits and mindsets to get your life back on track.

 

Here are a few of the things I tend to find myself doing when life gets a bit too hectic for me to handle:

 

EVALUATE:

I guess this could be comparable to any tough quiz, test, or confusing math problem. Think this is another bad analogy? Here me out…. Usually,we tend to take some time, and evaluate all of the different parts of the question before we dive in and actually try to solve it.

 

Spend some time with yourself and evaluate exactly what it is about your current situation in life that is either a) stressing you out, or b) falling short of making you happy.

 

I like to think of this as a puzzle: finding and piecing together the first few parts of a puzzle can only lead you towards completing the puzzle as a whole. I genuinely think that taking time to establish whatever it is that is throwing your life off track, and then further aiming to fix the issue can go a very long way.

 

CHILLAX:

Literally… chill out and relax- chillax.

 

One of the other things I tend to do when life starts taking its crazy, unpredictable course is chill out and relax. That’s right ladies and gents, I chillax. When the stress of life gets to be the slightest bit overwhelming, taking a few deep breaths and relaxing, for even something as short as 5-10 minutes helps a ton. When I’m chillaxin’, I usually stray from social media, pamper myself a bit extra, and spend some time doing things that bring my pure happiness.

 

 

PLAN AND SET GOALS:

Utilizing a planner as an organization tool when stressed is something that is quite obvious. With that being said, when my life begins to feel a bit out of whack I like to plan future events and things of that matter. Setting goals motivates me to work towards my current goals as well as establish my future goals.

 

EXCERCISE:

No I really don’t mean extra fries…it is scientifically proven that exercising produces endorphins. These lil’ guys aid in happiness and mood boosting. Burning calories and leaving the gym with a smile on your face is a win in my book. Going for a run is one of my favorite things to do when I need a bit of time to clear my mind.

 

SWITCH UP YOUR LIFE:

Ever think that your life might not feel right because it needs some adjustments? I guess this kind of goes hand in hand with what I had first mentioned about the idea of evaluating your life. If there are any specific things that are obviously impacting your life in a negative way get rid of them immediately. Life is too short to be unhappy.

 

What do you do when your life is feeling a bit hazy? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

48 Hours In Switzerland

48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ

About two weekends ago Rob and I went to Interlaken, Switzerland. All I can say is wow, just wow. I have never been surrounded by such beautiful nature in my life. It was incredible, and I still can’t believe it was real.

 

We went to Switzerland with the company Bus2Alps. The company planned our accommodations and transportation for us, which helped a lot. The staff members were really helpful and knew a ton about the area, which was also nice.

 

We took an overnight bus from Prague to Interlaken Thursday night. We left at about 8 p.m. and arrived in Interlaken at around 6 a.m. the following morning. I know it sounds crazy long, but it actually wasn’t that bad of a bus ride. Rob and I are used to traveling 5+ hours ever time we head to or from our home university, so long car rides don’t bother us very much.

 

Once we arrived in Switzerland its beauty amazed us, even when it was raining the first day we got there.

 

The company we chose to travel with offered a bunch of activities that you could do while staying in Switzerland. Some of these included night sledding, snowboarding, paragliding, skydiving, and things similar to that nature.

 

Rob, our friend Elise, and I opted to go kayaking on one of Switzerland’s famous lakes. This was definitely a big chunk of change but I am so happy we actually decided to do it. It was absolutely amazing.48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ 48 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND- SINCERELYKENZ

We kayaked for about 3 hours on lake Brienz. It was so calming, and the whole time we were surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains. The water was almost 100% clear and sososo blue. The pictures don’t do it much justice.

 

Midway through our yakin’ adventure we stopped to have tea and biscuits on one of the “beaches” on the lake. This was more like rocks at the shoreline of the lake, but still incredible. If you are going to splurge on one major thing in Switzerland, I would recommend kayaking 100%. Our guides were so insightful and took us to the best views of the lake. They genuinely cared about how we were doing, and I really enjoyed talking to them during our journey.

 

We also opted to do the free walking tour while we were in Switzerland. This was totally worth it. Our tour guide took us on a hike, and showed us some of the best views of Switzerland. He was funny and very personable.

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Something to keep in mind about Switzerland is that it is crazy expensive. I’m talkin’ 20 dollars for 1 small plate of mac and cheese!!!! Most meals were 20+, even if they were as simple as a burger and fries.

 

Because of this, we packed a lot of our own snacks. We really only spent money on dinner the two nights that we were there and some chocolate because duh, chocolate. The first night we grabbed dinner at a local Irish bar. Like I mentioned, we all paid $20 for burgers, but the meals were good! I would not say they were worth 20 dollars but the staff was very nice and the atmosphere was fun.

 

The next night we got dinner at another local restaurant. To be honest, I’m not even sure what the name was but the staff at this place were absolutely horrible so it’s probably best if I leave the name out of this post anyway. We came to this restaurant because we wanted to try Switzerland’s famous meal, Rosi. Rosi is literally hash browns and cheese. It totally wasn’t worth 25 dollars and I probably would have been much happier with a meal from McDonalds. Buuuuut, that’s life.

 

 

A majority of the things to do in Switzerland are outdoor based. Like I mentioned before, they were very expensive and weren’t exactly things you would do on a normal vacation. Because of this we opted to explore the town rather than spend more money to skydive or ski. The town of Interlaken isn’t crazy big, but still very cute. It consisted of a majority of souvenir shops and some places to eat. It reminded me very much of a ski town that you would find in Vermont.

 

One of the places that the town had was a place called Funky Chocolate. Switzerland is known for its chocolate, so this café was a staple for the town. This cafe was strictly business and didn’t mess around when it came to their chocolates. Because of the insane prices ($85 to make your own chocolate- no thanks!!) Rob and I split a hot chocolate and some chocolate covered strawberries. Although it was almost 10 dollars, the hot chocolate was probably the best I have ever had!

 

Switzerland has been one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited, I would go back one day and do some more exploring. The city was very clean and all of the people were so genuine and polite. If you have 20+ bucks to spend on every meal, and love the outdoors, Switzerland is the place for you.

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48 Hours In Berlin

48 HOURS IN BERLIN- SINCERELYKENZ

Rob and I spent last weekend in Berlin, Germany. Berlin itself is only about a 3 and a 1/2 hour bus ride from Prague. We were able to save about half the amount of money we would have spent on a plane ticket by opting to take a bus instead. We used the website GoEuro to find the best bus company that worked for us. This website is awesome because there are search filters which allow you to separate different bus companies by departure times, and prices.We ultimately chose to travel through the company EuroLines.

 

We arrived in Berlin at about 11 a.m. Saturday and headed straight to our first destination, the Brandenburg Gate. To get to the gate we utilized Berlin’s public transit bus lines- these were totally affordable (as most public transport is) and were very easy to get the hang of.

 

Saturday was seriously freezing, we were supposed to take part in a walking tour but had just missed it. Can’t say we were too upset about this though because it was actually painfully cold outside.

 

Berlin is a very “hipster-esque” city and is full of a variety of art. We spent most of our day Saturday exploring different art exhibits and galleries. I would totally recommend this as art is such a big part of Berlin’s history and culture. It was awesome to check out some of the different pieces that the city is known for. There are actually tours which focus specifically on the art in Berlin, and I have heard from numerous people that they are well worth the money!

 

Saturday night we explored the city center and went to a restaurant that a ton of locals go to (or so our research told us). Here we each tried some traditional German foods, including some German beer of course.

 

Sunday was a bit warmer than Saturday, so it was awesome to explore the city without worrying about frostbite on our fingers and toes. We opted to purchase hop on hop off tickets for the day. We really wanted to do a bike tour of the city, but most tours weren’t running due to the inclement weather conditions.

 

The hop on hop off bus tour was definitely worth it. Rob and I had always thought that these tours were a waste, but we actually found the tour to be awesome and very much worth the 17 dollars that it cost.

 

The bus tour operated through two different bus routes. The green line was geared more towards Berlin’s famous monuments and history, and the red line was geared towards some of the creative aspects of Berlin. While on the buses, there were guides teaching us about all of the monuments and histories behind them. The bus tour made it easy to get from point A to point B while learning a ton of history all at the same time.

 

The Berlin dome was probably one of my favorite monuments throughout the city. This thing is massive and pictures don’t do it any justice. After taking way too many pictures in front of this dome we headed to one of Berlin’s famous chocolate cafes. Here, we shared a waffle covered in chocolate and ice cream and DANG was it good.

 

I wanted to break down our weekend as easily as possible so that others could find this post helpful if they are looking to spend the weekend in Berlin like rob and I did!

EATS

Cafe Einstein– Got an amazing cappuccino here- yum yum yum!

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Maximilian’s– This is the traditional German restaurant that lots of locals go to. I got a traditional vegetarian German dish (mashed potatoes and grilled veggies topped with 2 fried eggs) which was weird but surprisingly delicious! Rob got a Schnitzel, which is a traditional German sausage/hot dog type of thing. This restaurant was reasonably priced and had a very comforting atmosphere!

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Primo Cafebar– This cafe was very modern and had the cutest lil’ atmosphere. We each got a cookie from here and they were awesome. Something good to keep in mind about this cafe is that they have free water! For those of you who aren’t aware, most restaurants in Europe charge for water.

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Distrikt Coffee– Okay this was by far my favorite food place in Berlin !!!! We went here for breakfast on Sunday and I was obsessed with both the food and atmosphere. This restaurant was “hipsterish”, and so was the menu. I got pancakes which came with berries, citrus butter, and powdered sugar. Rob got avocado toast with herbs and beets. My one recommendation for this cafe is to get there when it first opens! We got there right away and 10 minutes in every table was already booked.

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WHAT TO SEE

Holocaust Memorial– This is must see if you have the time to check it out. This memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs which were created to symbolize the Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. There is a list of 3 million names of those who were murdered that can be found at this memorial.

Brandenburg Gate– I would recommend getting here super early if you want some pictures in front of the gate with no tourists in them!

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Berlin Dom– This is an obvious must see if you are spending time in Berlin. This cathedral is massive and incredibly beautiful.  It is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough. There are many cafes and shops close to the Dom, as well as a cafe in the basement of the Dom!

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Mitte– We spent a ton of time in Mitte, Berlin. This is a part of Berlin where a lot of younger crowds hang out. This area consists of many different shops and cafes.

Checkpoint Charlie- Checkpoint Charlie was one of the major crossing points during the Cold War. It is actually called Checkpoint Charlie because that was the name given to it by the Western Allies. Around this checkpoint, there are a few informational exhibitions that are open to the public. I would totally recommend checking this out if you are interested in the historical aspects of Berlin!

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Berlin Wall Remains– It’s crazy to actually see parts of the Berlin wall that are still present in Berlin. Fun fact: all of the small holes and chips you see on these walls are actually from people who tried to steal parts of the wall and sell them!

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East Side Gallery- This was probably one of my favorite parts of our Berlin trip. It was so interesting to see the different types of art displayed amongst the wall. The only downside of this was that the wall had been fenced off! This obviously had been done to preserve the artwork but made the artwork look a little less unique.

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Berlin was such a unique city, I would totally recommend checking it out if you have the chance!

LIFE IS OUT THERE, BUT YOU WON’T FIND IT BY LIVING IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE

LIFE IS OUT THERE, BUT YOU WON’T FIND IT BY LIVING IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE - sincerelykenz

Definition of Comfort Zone:

1
: the temperature range within which one is comfortable
; the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity.

 

Cooped up in your home with a warm cup of coffee, a comfortable ambiance, and your favorite TV show streaming in front of you… sound familiar? It’s called a comfort zone- we all have one.

 

These little “comfort zone bubbles” are essentially keeping us away from what the world has to offer. I’ve definitely lived in my comfort zone for a majority of my life, and I rarely stray far from it. Since I have been abroad I have done and experienced things I could have never seen myself doing at home; all thanks to me being less fearful of what would happen if I left my comfort zone.

 

I have planned and booked weekend excursions with people whom I only met 5 days ago, I have stayed out until 4 in the morning with new friends for countless nights (jet lag helped a lot with this), I have savored foods that I normally would not even think about touching, and I have allowed myself to be innocently and purely happy without thinking about anything else.

 

I have tried my best to say, “yes” to everything, even if that calls for late night burritos and unnecessary money spent at dingy pubs and overpriced restaurants. I have made an immense effort to be in my cozy, comfortable, room as little as possible. The time I would have utilized to binge watch Netflix at home has been transformed to time being spent immersing myself in a new culture, and making relationships with people that I hope will last a lifetime.

 

I’m learning that straying far from my comfort zone is leading me to things far greater than I could have ever seen myself doing. I have been living a much more ambitious, and exciting life than I normally would have at my home university.

 

Straying from my comfort zone is leading me to achieve happiness and create memories that will stick with me forever.

 

Life is right in front of you, and it is filled with endless adventures, experiences, and possibilities. You won’t be able to achieve these things if you’re submerged in your home, consciously living life inside of your own boundaries. Fearing of straying from your comfort zone does no more than allowing life to pass you by.

 

I’m definitely not an expert, and I have only started living outside of my comfort zone two weeks ago. But, my advice to you is to say “yes” as much as possible and not let fear overpower the opportunities life throws at you.

 

The quote, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” is definitely true. Whether it’s launching your own business, or starting a new hobby that you’ve been itching to do for as long as you can remember, you should not let fear win.

 

 

STUDY ABROAD PACKING LIST

One of the big struggles of studying abroad is trying to pack. Lucky for you, I am here to help. Fitting four months worth of clothes, toiletries, and all that other junk that you utilize every day into suitcases that are limited by size and weight isn’t as hard as it seems. If I can do it, you can do it.

 

Like most programs, I’ll be abroad for both colder temperatures as well as warmer temperatures. Because of this, I had to pack cold weather items such as scarves and gloves as well as warmer weather items such as flip-flops and shorts.

 

As forgetful as I am, I figured that packing a few weeks early rather than one week before leaving was my best bet. Packing bit by bit a few weeks early allowed me to minimalize the chance I had of forgetting things.

 

I started three weeks before I left by simply going through the clothes hanging in my closet. From here, I sorted which clothes I needed to take, which clothes I possibly wanted to take, and which clothes I definitely didn’t need to take. Rather than folding up these clothes and packing them so early, I just sorted them to the left of my closet (leaving the clothes that I wasn’t bringing abroad to the right side of my closet).

 

The second week prior to departure I began to sort out the rest of my clothes. This included items in my dresser drawers and closet floor such as pants, shorts, and shoes. I didn’t actually go through the process of physically packing my suitcase until the week before my departure.

 

To keep my suitcase underweight, I packed only travel size bottles of my hair care products. I purchased full-size bottles of these products once I arrived in Prague. I also wore both of my coats, and my heaviest shoes on the plane.

 

To save space, I rolled all of my clothes up and tightly packed them into my suitcase. I also put smaller items like socks and underwear inside of my shoes.

 

Below is a PDF of everything that I packed for my time abroad. Feel free to utilize it if you need some help packing!

 

study abroad packing list

COFFEE TALK- STUDY ABROAD WEEK 1

 

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN DURING YOUR FIRST WEEK ABROAD- KENZIE NEGRON, SINCERELYKENZLast Sunday (or technically Monday, I guess) I arrived in Prague for a semester abroad. I’ll be studying abroad here for about 4 months. I took a six-hour flight to Dublin and from there, took about a two-hour flight to Prague. It was crazy to finally end up here because I have literally been planning this trip for what feels like forever.

 

After stepping out of the airport I immediately knew that Prague fell nothing short of what I expected. The whole city looks like a fairytale land and leaves no room for complaints at all.

After arriving at the airport we immediately were driven to the dorms that we would be staying in for the semester. I am living in Kolej Komenského, which is one of the two international dormitories. As far as the living spaces go, they are okay. Each room is equipt with a lil’ kitchen that contains a fridge, hotplate, and counter space/cabinets, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. I am living in a single room, and share my “suite” with another person who is in a single room as well. I won’t lie, the outsides of the dorms are a bit dingy, but the bedrooms themselves do the job just fine. I finally purchased a rug, and a plant to make my room feel a bit more “homey” and it helped a ton.

 

The dorms come with bedding and towels but kitchen utensils and pots/pans, etc. can be found in the community room. You can basically take whatever you need from the massive surplus in the “community room”. You just have to return the dishes after you use them. This isn’t a bad deal at all, as I was expecting to purchase all of my own pots and pans when I first arrived to my room.

CHARLES UNIVERSITY, KOLEJ KOMENSKEHO

Our dorm rooms are also extremely close to two different tram stops. Prague is essentially a walking city. However, destinations further along can be easily accessible through the public transportation tram system. I’m still trying to get the hang of the routes for these trams, but so far they have been extremely helpful for navigating the city.

 

Although I have only been in Praha (that’s Czech for Prague by the way) for 1 week, I definitely feel a bit more connected to the city already. Last week Rob and I spent almost every day exploring the “ins and outs” of the city and it has helped a lot. After a night of walking, we found out that our dorm building is a 5-10 minute walk from the Prague Castle, and Charles Bridge. I’m looking forward to warmer weather, so I can run down to the city center every morning and get some good ol’ fresh air!

Last week we also started our intensive Czech language course. Here, we learn the basics of the language and some important cultural aspects that the Czechs follow. What have I learned so far? First of all, Czech is a HARD language. I spent 10 hours (each day of class is 5 hours) in class, and one of the only vocabulary words I retained was Pes (the Czech word for dog). I also learned that Czech people don’t like to smile or make small talk.

 

In other words, you typically don’t ask a Czech person how they are doing, you don’t smile at a Czech person, and you don’t say hello to any Czech person whom you don’t know. I find all of this a bit tough, as I am used to making small talk with strangers in places as simple as the grocery store at home, BUT I guess this is something that I will become accustomed to eventually.

 

Another important aspect of the Czech culture is beer, or Pivo (wow, I’m surprising myself with the remembrance of this vocabulary word). Most Czech people have beer with almost every meal. I’ve noticed that it isn’t uncommon to see a Czech person causally drinking a beer during their lunch break. Beers are sold on the streets, in cafes, in restaurants, and even at McDonalds.

So far, Prague has treated me very nicely. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the semester has in store for me! Have you ever been to Prague? What did you think?!