Tuesday, July 19, 2016

3 Things You Have To Do In Alabama (Guest Post)

I hope everyone is doing well over in blogland. As you can see, my posts are not very frequent these days since I'm on vacation. I am enjoying my time with my family in Poland so much. If you follow me on snapchat, you can see what we are up to through my far-too-frequent snaps. 

Today Sarah is here to chat with you about all things Alabama. I have been reading Sarah's blog for a while and she's just the sweetest! And she has the best recipes too!  

You can follow Sarah on Instagram at: sarahshaneyfelt

Hey y'all!  My name is Sarah and I blog over at Meet the Shaneyfelts!  

While Evelina is away on vacation, she asked if I would post about my top 3 favorite places to visit in Alabama.  Since I'm from Alabama and love my home state (and still live here!), I thought this was the perfect topic for me to write about!

It was hard narrowing my top picks down to 3 places.  Some may picture Alabama as a state full of rednecks with no running water (literally, someone said that to me one time), but we are far from that!  Alabama has some of the most beautiful scenery and friendliest people you will ever meet!

Onto my top 3...

ONE: You must experience an Alabama football game in Tuscaloosa.

I'm biased toward Alabama football since I was raised a UA fan and went to college there, but there's nothing like it that compares!  The University of Alabama prides itself on tradition and class, and a UA football game is just that.  

I loved attending games as a student.  I loved the tradition video that was shown each game 30 minutes to kickoff.  I loved listening to the band play.  Can you tell that I'm starting to miss it now?

 I think this was the Mississippi State game during fall 2010.

This was during my senior year when we went undefeated and made it to the National Championship in Pasadena--and won!  This picture was taken after the Iron Bowl (the Alabama vs. Auburn game).  We beat Auburn 26-21, and this secured our ticket to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

TWO: You must visit the Vulcan in Birmingham at night.

The city of Birmingham used to be known for its iron and steel production.  The Vulcan statue was erected in the 1930s as a tribute to the past.

If you can see from the picture below, there is an observation deck that you can take an elevator to get to and see the entire city.

I think the best time to go is at night since the city lights are shining brightly during that time. This isn't the best quality picture--and it was really windy--but the Vulcan at night is breathtaking!  And Birmingham is my favorite city--I could do an entire post on it!

THREE: You must visit an Alabama beach

Now this I know is not biased.  Hands down, Alabama has the most beautiful beaches.  Well actually, any beach that border the Gulf of Mexico is beautiful, but I'm partial to Alabama. 

There's just something about the sand that makes any beach bordering the Gulf--especially Alabama beaches--better than all the rest.  Trust me.  I've been to beaches on the Atlantic side and I've even been to beaches in Orange County, California, and I'm here to tell you that ours are the best.

This was from a family vacation last summer.  Can you see the white sand in the background?  It's like sugar!  Alabama beaches really are the best!

Alabama has so many great places to visit and this was just a teeny-tiny sample of a few of the things we offer as a state.  We have beautiful places to visit, amazing food, and super friendly people to greet you!

Friday, July 15, 2016

10 Best Travel Movies

Since my life revolves around travel so far this summer, I thought it would be fun to round up my favourite travel movies. I dowloaded a couple of these to watch while we sit in the airport or when we're already on the plane. The flight to Poland is 8 hours long so we definitely have some time to kill!

1.  The Terminal
We all know that Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of all time but not everyone is familiar with this gem of a movie. It's about a guy who is forced to live in an airport terminal due to political instability in his home country. It's cute and funny at the same time and I plan to watch it again very soon. Since it is usually recommended to check in 2-3 hours before an international flight, I am so very familiar with killing time in an airport. And this one gets bonus points for being set in JFK, an airport I have frequented on several occasions!

2. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
I looooved this movie when I was younger! It's based on a book written by Ann Brashares and focuses on four best friends that spend the summer apart. They each go on separate vacations but stay in touch through all their individual adventures. I remember relating to each of the girls in a different way. It's a must-see for teenage girls!

3. Wild
Wild is a movie about self-reflection and liberation. A woman spends 3 months hiking along the west coast of the United States and encounters many struggles and interesting people. It's based on a true story and the heroine is played by Reese Witherspoon, who got an Oscar nomination for the role. Definitely a movie to see!

4. Up In The Air
Up In The Air is another comedy-drama about air travel. George Clooney plays a frequent flyer who is hired out by other companies to terminate their employees. He is partnered with a young woman, new to the field, played by Anna Kendrick to whom he has to show the ropes. Many little travel tips are mentioned in the movie that could make travelling much more efficient!

5. Bridesmaids
Ok, so this is not exactly all about travel, but it has some amazing travel-related scenes. Since I am sure 99% of you have seen it, I won't recap the plot. One of my favourite parts is when Kristin Wiig causes a scene on the airplane. She is terrified of flying so the other girls give her a couple drinks to relax. So, so funny!

6. Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can is one of my all-time favourite movies. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the very talented con artist, Frank Abagnale, based on a true story. He impersonates many professions and at one point tricks his way into being a pilot for Pan Am. Definitely watch this one if you haven't already!

7. Eat Pray Love
This movie is similar to Wild in the sense that a woman steps out of her comfort zone and sets out on a journey to find herself and explore the world. She enjoys the cuisine of Italy, learns the power of prayer in India and finds tranquility in Indonesia. This story is also based on real life experiences. How do these women manage to drop their entire lives to embark on these journeys??

8. The Bucket List
This movie is about two new friends trying to cross as many things off of their bucket list as possible. They are both diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and one man is told that he does not have much longer to live. They travel the world and make the most of their time left together. This movie is about so much more than just travel, like most of the movies on this list.

9. Snakes on a Plane
I was trying to stay away from fear-inducing movies on this list but you can't not include Snakes On A Plane when talking about travel movies. I am a wimp when it comes to thrillers so I haven't seen this one but from what I have read, a bunch of venomous snakes attack the passengers of an airplane. If you want to watch this one, I suggest you do so after your flight.

10. Pan Am
Ok, I am cheating here. Pan Am isn't a movie but it was a very good TV show about pilots and stewardesses so I had to include it. It only lasted one season so it's a quick show to binge watch while sitting in the terminal or while already on board. It is set in the 60s and touches on all the stereotypes of the era and the profession.

What is your favourite travel movie?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Chick Pea Salad (Guest Post)

Hello hello! I am having the best time hanging out in Poland with my family and friends. Mike and I are exploring lots and I can't wait to share with you all about our trip when I get back. 

In the meantime, Emily from A Little Bit Of Emily here to share a delicious recipe. I can't wait to make this when I'm back home! It looks SO good and perfect for summer!

You can follow Emily on Instagram at: emilyanndunham


Hey all!  I am beyond excited that Evelina asked me to do a guest post!  She was kind enough to give me a few post suggestions and when I saw a favorite recipe was one of them, I knew just what to do!  

Today I will be sharing one of my very favorite summer recipes - chickpea salad.  

I discovered this salad a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.  It is one of my go-to lunches to take to work in the summer.  I like to eat it with some pita bread for a light lunch, and I also think it would be a great side for a cook out, or just for dinner with a piece of grilled meat.  

Chickpea Summer Salad


2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 small container grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of basil, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled


1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, mixing together.  In a small jar, combine dressing ingredients and shake well.  Pour over salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

I think the key to this salad is the basil.  One time I forgot to pick up basil from the store, and instead of running out, I just made do without.  Definitely was not as good!

If you plan on splitting up the salad for lunches or dinners, I suggest leaving it undressed until you are ready to eat it.  Refrigerate the salad, but store the dressing at room temperature.  

Evelina, I hope you are having the best time on vacation!  Thanks again for having me! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Dream Destination (Guest Post)

I recruited the very lovely Ashley from The Wandering Weekenders blog to chat with you guys today. Ashley is basically the queen of travel and has been pretty much everywhere. San Diego, Charleston, Portland, Fredericksburg, and LA are just a few of her most recent trips. I want her life! 

Oh, and she has the sweetest three-legged pup named Dart. If nothing else, click over to her blog to see Dart! 

Ashley was so sweet to agree to write a guest post for me while I'm off visiting my family in Poland. Her post below gave me chills when I read it because it hits so close to home!

You can follow more of Ashley's adventures on her instagram: @thewanderingweekenders


Hello Fortunate House blog readers! My name is Ashley and I blog over at The Wandering Weekenders. A couple of years ago my husband earned Companion Pass through Southwest Airlines which means that anywhere he flies, I can fly with him, for free. Needless to say, our traveling hearts got super excited, and even though we both work typical 9-5 jobs, we still find the time to travel, especially on the weekends.

When Evelina asked me to guest post while she was in Poland visiting her family, I knew immediately what I wanted to talk about, and as I'm sure you guessed, it's definitely travel related, it's my dream destination!
One of the things that I love about Evelina's blog is when she talks about her Polish roots and her Polish family. Knowing about where your family is from and their history and culture has always interested me so much, which is why I've always been drawn to The Czech Republic and Prague in particular. 

Before WWII, back when The Czech Republic was still Czechoslovakia, my great grandparents immigrated to the United States through Galveston, Texas and started a small farm in Blessing, Texas. My grandfather was actually the first person in his family to go to college, and through his travels for work he was actually able to go back and visit family members that were still living in The Czech Republic. He even spent time on ancestory.com and was able to trace our family tree very far back in Czechoslovakian history. So you see, it runs in my blood.

Because I'm mostly Czech (even if I'm really only a quarter Czech) the idea of visiting where my ancestors came from has always thrilled me. The idea that I might be walking where somebody that I'm related to might have walked hundreds of years ago is just so surreal and amazing to me.
I also kept on hearing about the beauty of Prague, and how during WWII Hitler refused to bomb and destroy the city because it was too beautiful. Today Prague still has that old world charm and buildings that are hundreds upon hundreds of years old that weren't destroyed during an atrocious war.
Last year we found out that our friends who are in the Air Force were being stationed in Italy for a few years. As soon as I found out, I started planning our trip to visit them, and you'd better believe that Prague and the Czech Republic are on our itinerary! I'm so excited to finally mark one huge thing off my bucket list and travel to my dream destination in September!
Thank you so much for letting me guest post Evelina! I hope that you're having a great time in Poland and I can't wait to read about it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Beauty Staples (Guest Post)

Happy Wednesday! I have a very special treat lined up for today!

Everyone, meet the gorgeous Carly. She blogs over at Carly Blogs Here (I love her blog's name!) and she's pretty awesome. I have recruited her to say a few words because I'm on vacation and I didn't want to completely jump ship.

She is my go-to for whenever I need a good book recommendation. Seriously. I think she's read pretty much every book out there! And on top of that, she has great beauty tips!

So without further ado..!

Hi Fortunate House readers! I'm Carly and was so excited when Evelina reached out to me to guest post while she's traveling. I love talking about my favorite beauty products, and summer is one of my favorite seasons so today I'm sharing my summer beauty staples.

For many of us the summer months mean hot and humid weather which can cause havoc on our skin and makeup. While my foundation stays the same all year, I do like to use a tinted moisturizer in the summer for lighter coverage. The Nars Tinted Moisturizer is the perfect balance of just enough coverage with a great finish, plus it has SPF 30!

Once the summer months roll along I can't wait to pull out my Nars Blush in madly. It's described as a tan pink with a hint of shimmer and almost gives a bronzing effect. My go-to summer highlight is the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in golden. I sometimes swirl the bronzer and highlighter together- or just stick to the highlight. It's a very gold highlight, but goes on extremely smooth and gives you a nice glow without looking glittery- if you prefer more cool tones there is a pink shade as well.

Year round I like to use the Urban Decay Setting Sprays, but they are definitely something I don't skip over when applying a full-face of makeup in the summer.

Beach Walk is the perfect summer fragrance-- and as the name suggest it smells perfectly beauty!

While it's impossible to pick one favorite nail color, this summer I've been loving Aloha From OPI from the Hawaii collection. It's described as a creamy coral, but somehow looks red, orange, and pink all at once.

What are some of your summer beauty staples? Do you use the same products year round or switch it up with the seasons?

Another huge thank you to Evelina for allowing me to guest post for her today! Find more of my beauty favorites (and a lot of book chat) at Carly Blogs Here or on Twitter or Pinterest.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Heading Home

I have mentioned a couple times that I have a very exciting vacation coming up. We are going to Poland!

Poland is where I was born and with the exception of my immediate family, the rest of my family members all live there. I moved to Canada when I was 6 years old and still remember a lot from before my big move. I speak, read, and write in Polish fluently. 

I love going home to visit my family members and friends. My relationship with them means so much to me and I miss them like crazy on a daily basis. We try to Skype, text, and email was much as possible but that's obviously not the same. 

The last time we went to Poland was two years ago and it was the first time I took Mike with me. I had a great time introducing him to everyone and showing him around. I have so many wonderful memories from when I lived there and when I used to visit for entire summers.  

This time we will have even more time to explore the country and spend time with my family. We stay with my grandparents and I love that I get to spend a lot of time with them. My favourite things to do in Poland is to just do the normal, everyday things with them. Cook, play cards, and spend lots of time chatting. 

As you may guess, I will be making family time a priority for the next little while. The blog will take a little bit of a backseat for a bit but I have some fun posts planned. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!

Happy 149th birthday Canada!

Today is Canada Day and BBQs, fireworks, and parades will be taking place from coast to coast. It's the first official long weekend of summer and it always means lots of fun times and celebrating!

Prince William and Kate Middleton visited on Canada Day four years ago!

Since most of my readers are in the States, I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about Canada.

1. Our Thanksgiving is on a different day! We celebrate in October instead of November. This has something to do with our colder climate and our crops being ready to harvest sooner. Here's a recap of our Thanksgiving festivities from last year.

2. Canada discontinued the penny in 2013. Prices are still listed the same but cash gets rounded up or down. So if something costs $6.42, you pay $6.40 cash. I'm still getting used to it.

3. "Eh" is definitely not as popular as the stereotype says it is. I very rarely say it!

4. People participate in something called a Polar Bear swim where you go into Lake Ontario (or any other large body of water) on January 1st. I will never.

5. Canada is a bilingual country. All signage and is English and in French and it is mandatory to learn French until Grade 9.

6. Basketball was invented by a Canadian!

7. Poutine is a national food and you HAVE TO try it if you ever get the chance! Fries + gravy + cheese = heaven.

8. 60% of the world's polar bears call Canada home.

9. Canada's post office receives millions of letters address to Santa Claus from all over the world every year. And they respond to each one as "Mrs Claus" in the addressee's native language!

10.  Canada uses British spelling, Celsius temps and the metric system.... sometimes. The road speed limits are listed in kilometres but weight is lbs.

So now that you're armed with a bunch of Canadian trivia, when are you coming to visit??

For those of you that live in the States, happy Fourth of July in 3 days! Last year we were lucky enough to celebrate both countries. Mike and I were in Pittsburgh for the Fourth last year and had so much fun joining in on the fun!

Either way, I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!