Road Tested: StrideBox

Once upon a time, a few years ago, I started hearing about runner’s subscription boxes. Vic was a fan of StrideBox, blogging about them here at Scoot a Doot.

I’ve always been curious but slightly hesitant. I’m a creature of habit, I tend to stick with what I know works. However, how will I find out about new things that work if I don’t try?

You see my conundrum.

When StrideBox reached out to see if we’d like to check it out, I figured it was the perfect opportunity and seized the chance!

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First, a little bit about how the StrideBox subscription works, for those of you who don’t know. It’s a monthly service, which means that each month you get a box of goodies related to fitness/running that you may or may not have heard of before. Each box is $15 with auto renewal each month.

I was excited to dig into my StrideBox immediately! Honestly, I was surprised at how compact the box was but when I opened it, it was filled to the brim with products.

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I haven’t had a chance to try everything just yet but there are already a few clear winners. With fall allergies kicking my butt, I’ve been chugged tea and honey lately.

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Nature Nate’s is the real deal.

I’m also a huge ginger fan, which admittedly is a strong flavor, therefore I have much love for the Prince of Peace Ginger Candy (I haven’t tried the tea yet).

On the other hand, the Raw Rev Glo bar wasn’t one that I’d choose to add to my shopping list. In my opinion, it was dense and not very flavorful. But hey, now I know!

My long run is coming up and I’m planning on wearing my new belt – I’m loving that there are two separate zipper pockets. I’m always scared that something is going to fall out of my belt when I stuff things into one compartment. I’ll keep you posted of my thoughts on Instagram.

Have you ever tried a subscription box service before? Which one? Worth it? Not a fan?

Many thanks to StrideBox for the complimentary box to review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Scoot Stitches Sewing Tutorial – Race Shirt to Gear Bag

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I’m guessing you have a TON of t-shirts laying around. As runners, we accumulate them like we accumulate safety pins. That’s why I thought a tutorial on how to make a gear bag out of a race shirt would be a great Scoot Stitches first project. When I floated the idea by Meri and our Facebook and Instagram friends, they all agreed! So here is a super simple project that is perfect for the first time sewist, and is even kid friendly (with supervision and help, of course). I’ll let you know when I think up some ingenious use for the safety pins beyond the norm. 😉

This project is easy, it took me an hour, and honestly, I didn’t really measure  or get too exact on this one. And that’s the point, don’t over think it. It’s just a bag, keep it fun and have fun with it. if you mess up, who cares? You’ve got plenty of shirts in the dresser, right?

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Supplies: Race shirt, 1 spool of thread (if it matches in color, great, if not, it’s cool), scissors or rotary cutter, straight edge/ruler, straight pins, fabric marker or chalk, 1 three yard spool of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon, sewing machine, Stretch Sewing Machine Needles (see step 3).

Step 1 -Read these instructions all the way through before starting.

Step 2 – Cutting the Panels First, you’re going to cut your shirt to make the two panels for the bag. Here are two methods depending on the tools you have:

Scissors and Fabric Marker Method: Lay your shirt out flat making sure there are no wrinkles. Lay the ruler along one side, matching it to the seam and the top of the shoulder (see pics below). Draw a dotted line long the right side of the ruler. Using pins, pin the two layers together just inside the dotted line to keep them in place. Repeat this on the other side seam, the top just below the collar, and the bottom.  Next, cut along the dotted lines. After you have your rectangle shape, take out the pins along the top, but leave the rest in.

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Rotary Cutter Method: Line up your ruler as shown above, and cut along outside edge. Once cut, pin.step1aWhen you’re done, it should look like the photo below; all squared up and ready to stitch! **Note if working with a larger sized shirt, you may want to trim the sides and bottom to make a more narrow rectangle. DO NOT trim from the top, you need that extra fabric for a later step.

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Step 3 – Practice Stretch Stitching Make sure you are using a stretch sewing machine needle for this project, and adjust your machine to stretch stitch settings (refer to your manual, or use a zig-zag stitch if you don’t have a stretch feature). Using some scraps that you cut from your shirt, stitch some practice seams to make sure your needle is catching the bobbin thread and sewing properly. With the practice swatch on the left, I used the #75 stretch needles, and my machine was skipping stitches. After I switched to the #90, I got the results I wanted. The right needles make ALL the difference.

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Helpful Info!

Step 4 – French Seam A French seam will keep the fabric from unraveling on the inside of your bag.  With the wrong sides together, start stitching 3 and 1/2 inches from the top and stitch the sides and bottom with a  1/2 inch seam allowance (I use the edge of my foot for a guide).

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Trim off the corners and excess fabric. You should now have something that looks like a pillowcase. On the back panel, measure 2 1/2 inches from the bottom and mark that spot with a marker or a straight pin. Next, take your ribbon and cut 2, three-ish foot lengths (this is where I kinda eyeballed it). Match one end of each ribbon at an angle to the marks on each side and pin in place. I looped and pined the extra ribbon to the center just to keep it out of the way. Trim the ribbon so its edge lines up with the bag (I didn’t snap a photo of that, but you get the idea).

strapsNext, turn it inside out so that the shirt graphics are on the inside,and stitch the sides and bottom again just like before, only this time, do a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Stop stitching 3 and 1/2 inches from the top. When you turn it right side out, it should look like the photo below.straps3

You are almost done, can you believe it!?!? It’s starting to look like a bag, so pour some wine to celebrate your accomplishment! YOU ARE EPIC.

Step 5 – Make the “Casings” The casing is that part at the top where your ribbon is going to go through. Turn it right side out so the graphics are on the outside. Fold the raw edges over once, pin and stitch each flap. Repeat on other side.

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Then, using the ribbon as a guide, fold over the flap and pin, making sure it’s wide enough for the ribbon. Stitch as shown (note, you’re NOT sewing the ribbon in, you’re just making a pocket for the ribbon).

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Step 6 – Thread the Ribbon  Starting on the right side, fold the ribbon over once and pin a safety pin through both layers. The larger the safety pin, the larger the better, but even a bib safety pin will work. (Yay, we used them!) Feed the ribbon through the casing from the back to the front. Repeat on the other side feeding the ribbon from front to back.

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The last thing to do is to trim off the extra ribbon, fold over the cut edge, and stitch the loose ends as shown below.

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And you are finished already!

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Outcomes: You just learned three major sewing techniques!!

Drawstring bag construction: If you skip the step of sewing the ribbon to the bottom of this bag, then you’d have yo’self the basis for a laundry bag, make-up bag, evening bag, a washing bag for unmentionables, or whatever else you can put in a bag.

Casings are used in all kinds of applications from elastic waistbands to roman shades. Chances are excellent you’ll use this again.

Lastly, the advanced couture French seam. LOOK AT YOU GO. They are handy when you don’t have a serger machine, but are working with a fabric that will fray, causng your seams to come apart. That’s why we used it here. It encases the raw edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling at the seams. French seams are also handy if you need to alter the size of a garment. That’s why you usually only see a French seam in wedding gowns.

So that’s it for this lesson. I hope you enjoyed this easy project. Share your finished bags with me on social media, I’d love to see them! Tag your pics with #scootstitches.  If you have questions about the tutorial, you can email me at scootadoot@gmail.com.

Get out there and get crafty!

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Recipe Box: Foodball Edition

When I sat down to write today, I really wanted to follow up on Jenn’s post about the Broncos and share my love of football too… but since I haven’t run a race in many months, I needed a different angle.

Enter food.

Of course.

Now that football season is in full swing and fantasy teams have been drafted, every Sunday at my house has become Foodball day. Clay and I spend Sunday mornings cooking and preparing snacks for the nearly ten people that pile on our couch starting at 1:00 to binge on beer, chili, chips and sports. (To be fair, I usually get a workout in on Sunday morning, so that the laziness of the rest of the day doesn’t catch up to me.)

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He’s a Browns fan, but he humors me and cheers for the Packers, too.

The menu typically includes Clay’s Turkey Chili (which has no recipe… otherwise I’d share that with you today), Buffalo Chicken, guac, chips, some kind of dessert (last week I made Cleveland Brownies… get it?), pizza and other snacks. It ends up being quite a spread, but you need that kind of sustenance for 8+ hours of football viewing.

The chili is always a hit, but the sleeper favorite is the Buffalo Chicken. This shredded crockpot dish is a regular in our house because it’s so so so easy to make, and can be used in a lot of different ways. We like to put the shredded chicken on pizza, over salads, on a bun, in a wrap, or even eat it plain.

All you need is:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4)
  • Your favorite Buffalo sauce (we’ve used Frank’s and Wegmans brands and love both)
  • Ranch seasoning packet
  • Your crockpot. Duh.

Since we usually prepare our Buffalo Chicken for meal prep or parties, we typically use 4-5 chicken breasts, though you can just do 2-3. We usually go through a whole bottle of Buffalo sauce and a complete seasoning packet, but if you use less chicken, you just need enough sauce to coat and cover it a little. The seasoning can be cut in half, too.

Place your chicken boobs in the crock pot, cover with Buffalo sauce and Ranch seasoning, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. You can start checking it after about 4 hours to see if it’s cooked through and ready to shred. I shred it in the crock pot so the chicken can soak up more of the Buffalo sauce, and then I keep it on warm when we’re serving to a group. If it’s for meal prep, I’ll shred it, leave it to cool down a bit in the crockpot and then move it to tupperware and the fridge.

Serve with tortilla chips, rolls, wraps or on pizza!

What’s your favorite tailgating or football food?

Falling Into Fall Racing

What is it about fall that makes me want to run all the races?

Maybe it’s the lack of summer races (and ahem, summer training). Maybe it’s all this talk about PSL. Maybe it’s because these two handsome boys started school this week.

2nd and 6th graders in the house!

2nd and 6th graders in the house!

I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not the weather.

Because at the moment it is nearly 100 degrees. One zero zero. I’m making such a face right now, Mother Nature.

I’m working under the assumption that eventually Mother Nature will work things out and when she does, I’m going to be ready for fall racing! And in the meanwhile, I will try to remember my sunscreen.

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At the beginning of this week, I was signed up for just two. Run the Bridge 10k and the Philly half marathon (which, by the way, is having a screaming deal TODAY ONLY 12pm-8pm with pricing from way back in April when registration opened. Use coupon codes PM16FULL or PM16HALF).

And now I’m up to four!

I’ll be doing a 5k at my son’s school to later this month and the 10k in Atlantic City next month. #cantstopwontstop

Using the City Fit Girls plan that we used in the winter/spring, my training buddy, Chrissy and I are preparing to tackle all the fall races (or at least the ones I can afford)!

We thought it would be cooler by the ocean. We thought wrong.

We thought it would be cooler by the ocean. We thought wrong.

The first run back after not running all that much was exactly what we expected it to be: awful. It wasn’t fun, it was hot, and I’m pretty sure I was dripping sweat all over the boardwalk.

That said, I’m so glad that we did it. There’s always going to be that first run back and more than likely, it’s not going to be great. But it’s behind us now and we can move forward!

2016 has been pretty good to me as far as being injury free and I’m pretty stoked about that fact because it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that. However, I do have some time goals that I would like to hit and I’m hoping that the fall is when I’m able to accomplish them.

Clear skies ahead!

Clear skies ahead!

What do you have planned for the fall? Any tips for me as I head into the longer runs?

Race Recap: Denver Broncos Back to Football 7K

Something weird happened over the last few years. I started wearing more orange. I began paying attention when my husband was watching our local NFL team games. I found myself yelling at the refs for making shit calls against our guys, and screaming for joy when they won. Somehow, I became a football fan. You may have heard of my team, they won the Superbowl last year.

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My new Broncos hat. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear!

My family is just as mystified as I am at this development. It’s something I can’t explain or  make sense of myself. But, it’s happened, and so when I found out that the Broncos host a 7k (all hail John Elway) AND that the medal is pretty sweet, I invited a bunch of friends to join my team, the Happy Hoofers!

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We’ve got our bibs!

Waiting in our corral with a ton of other fans in the shadow of the storied Mile High Stadium was definitely a unique experience. We were #UnitedinOrange! It took a while for our corral to go as they were releasing waves every five minutes. We waited over an hour to start and were already pretty hot and thirsty by the time we got going at 9:30-ish. Still, we were excited to be part of the energy.start Collage

When we got the the first water station at mile 1, we were so happy! Until we were so sad. They had run out of cups, and we didn’t have bottles with us. We’d have to wait until mile 3.something for the next aid station. We really hoped they had cups! The course took us through the old Victorian neighborhood that surrounds Sports Authority Field (us natives will always and forever call it Mile High Stadium). I was too thirsty to get pictures. :-p Then we did a half circle along Sloans Lake before turning back toward the stadium to run onto the field!

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Running into the stadium through the Bronco head and being on the jumbotron was awesome but I wish they’d let us snap a few photos before they pushed us through. How often do I get to be on the 50 yard line of my teams home field. NEVER. That’s how often.

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Me and my sister on the JumboTron!

 

My goal with this race was to get some folks who might not ever consider “running” a race to try it out. I think for those who have never been to any kind of running race have preconceived notions about what level of fitness you need to participate, and how far a 5k (or 7k) really is. My friends where surprised that it wasn’t quite what they expected and they had more fun than they thought they would. Once folks realize they can do it at a pace they are comfortable with, they enjoy it. Not everyone has to be fast!

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They’re real!

I’m not sure I’ll do this one again. As much as I love my team, I felt the race organization could be better. The race didn’t start until 8:30 so it was pretty warm and it took quite a while for us to start. Not to mention, the water station ran out of cups before all the runners had left their corrals, and I saw far too many people cutting the course and cheating. It’s 4.3 miles for Pete’s sake, does one really need to cheat???  I call shenanigans!

It was a success, though, because my group tried something out of their comfort zone and they had fun! They are all so proud of their medals and of themselves! My sister-in-law had such a good time, she’s already signed up for a Christmas 5k, and I hope this is the start of a new hobby for her. I couldn’t be more proud of her! Kudos, Toni!! <3

All photos courtesy of my wonderful husband. Thanks, Honey!

 

What Fall races do you have planned? Who’s your team? I want to know below!

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Danke Switzerland!

Last Friday I shared our Germany adventure and today I’m back with the Switzerland portion! Guys, Switzerland was absolutely incredible and I’m anything but neutral about it. (See what I did there?)

My husband, Jay, has been visiting Switzerland for many, many years. Without me, much to my dismay. Granted, he was there on business. And granted, he wasn’t able to do much in the way of sightseeing, but still! We made up for that in spades on this trip.

Our hotel was in Lenzburg and it’s where Jay considered home base when he’s there on business. It had a great view of Castle Lenzburg!

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We grabbed lunch at the courtyard restaurant in the hotel before hiking up to the castle.

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony

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Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Girls and boys, yes. Sorry dragons.

Sorry dragons.

We took it easy the first day because we had a big journey planned for the following day! Why? Because we got the golden ticket! (Shout out to Gene Wilder, may he rest in peace.)

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This golden ticket had little in the way to do with chocolate but did include a boat ride, cogwheel railway (at times a 48 degree angle!), aerial cable car, and panorama gondolas. We started in the city of Lucerne and took an hour boat ride to the base of Pilatus.

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There was some down time before we were able to take the cogwheel railway up to the peak of the mountain but we had lunch and entertainment.

The majority of the time we were on our excursions we heard more German than anything else (which makes sense, of course). However, our ears perked up on the cogwheel railway where we sat with a few members of the Cleveland Orchestra. We spent the ride chatting with them and checking out the views.

Up we go!

Up we go!

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Once off the cogwheel railway, we climbed to one of the higher points.

I can’t fully explain the feeling once we reached the top of Pilatus. We were surrounded by clouds and it felt as though we were touching the sky.

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After we returned back to the city of Lucerne, we did get our handmade Swiss chocolate at Max Chocolatierour golden ticket was truly complete!

The following day we took some time in the morning to visit the Swiss division of Jay’s company, which was fantastic. It was wonderful to put faces to the names and one of his coworkers even drew a map for us to follow while we visited his hometown of Zurich.

Zurich was my favorite of the “big” cities we visited. Driving there was a bit daunting (thankfully, I wasn’t driving!) but once we got situated, it was absolutely gorgeous.

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I think what I loved so much about Zurich is that we had no agenda. We wandered through the streets, visited a few churches and towers, and took in the sights.

The view from Grossmunster.

The view from Grossmunster.

That evening we had a reservation at restaurant blindekuh; this was something that we had been planning since the very inception of our trip. It is a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness.

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So much of our vacation had relied on our sense of sight. Experiencing great heights and views, as seen by the photographs. However, this was completely different. We had to rely on our other senses, which became hyper focused. Our waitress, Laila was visually impaired, as was all of the wait staff at blindekuh.

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Once I got over a mild panic attack after being lead into the darkness (not exaggerating – there was a moment I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay), I got a sense of where I was in the room, where Jay was in the room, and somewhat of what was going on around me. It was a bit jarring because the majority of the conversations around us were in a different language but Laila spoke English, which helped immensely.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

For the record, carrots and radishes have a very similar texture and I’m still not sure which one was in my salad.

I had a pasta dish, Jay had chicken (which was slightly more challenging), and we let them pick our ice cream because we weren’t quite to the point where they gave us an entire mystery meal.

The following day was another “easy” day – we spent more time in Lenzburg before heading to Hallwyl Castle in Seengen.

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Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.

Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.

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That evening we enjoyed an incredible dinner at Jay’s boss’ home. His family was gracious and lovely and really liked giving me alcoholic beverages.

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The following day was our last full day of our vacation and we had big plans. We drove 2 hours to Grindelwald, primarily to do this.

A tip from me, if you ever go there… don’t wear a dress unless you like constantly doing the Marilyn Monroe pose. I had shorts on underneath my dress but even still. It was breezy!

Breezy but worth it!

Breezy but worth it!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better last day on First Summit.

Next time I’ll do that!

We’ve been back home in New Jersey now for a week and with school starting for my kids on Wednesday, I’m back to being mom, cook, home project doer, and all the other responsibilities that were forgotten for just a little while on our vacation.

It’s good to be back with the experiences that I was exposed to while in Germany and Switzerland. They won’t soon be forgotten!

Happy Labor Day and enjoy each other.

Adventure Is Out There!

I am of the firm belief that when you go on vacation for any amount of time you come back home with a renewed sense of self and purpose. You see things differently when you’re on vacation. You notice little things that you might not otherwise. And when you return home, it carries over into every day life as you slide back into the routine.

Jay (my husband of 13 years and only #relationshipgoal for the past 19 years) and I have always enjoyed traveling and visiting new and different places. We don’t get it do it nearly often as we’d like because as you’re probably well aware, travel is not exactly cheap. At least not the way we do it. But we have had some incredible adventures!

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2000 – cruise while we were in graduate school

2004 - Spain selfie on a legit camera (check out the blonde!)

2004 – Spain selfie on a legit camera (check out the blonde!)

Babymoon cruise while pregnant with my second baby.

Babymoon cruise while pregnant with my second baby.

Our most recent adventure has been years in the making. Yes, years.

Practically since we’ve been together Jay has been traveling to Switzerland (and in more recent years, Germany) with his company for business trips. I’ve heard countless stories about these countries, drooled over pictures, and gotten many souvenirs – usually of the chocolate variety.

The stars aligned this year and it was finally my turn to go on holiday (doesn’t that sound so European?) with him. We haven’t had the opportunity to travel alone together for awhile; it was really awesome to spend 10 days of Schmoopy time together.

During our visit we hopped from Zurich airport to Germany for 5 days and back to Switzerland for 5 days. On our way back to Switzerland we took a brief, unexpected drive through Austria. It amazes me how you can do that in Europe!

But enough of me prattling on, you want to see pictures, don’t you?

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Our first day was spent at Mainau Island, which is a Botanical Garden off of Lake Constance in Germany. Our main goal this day was to stay awake. It was not easy but the scenery definitely helped!

All tomatoes shall be grown!

All tomatoes shall be grown!

That's not an optical illusion, you can see right through the butterfly's wings!

That’s not an optical illusion, you can see right through the butterfly’s wings!

After finally sleeping and getting over jetlag (staying awake the first day really did help), we visited Bavaria to see Castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.

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From the window of Castle Hohenschwangau.

From the window of Castle Hohenschwangau.

Hanging in the castle garden.

Hanging in the castle garden.

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The hike between these castles was about 20 minutes long and we hoofed it back and forth between each. Although it was gray and raining much of the day, the views were spectacular!

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Castle Neuschwanstein’s design and architecture largely inspired both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella’s castles in Disney. Rightly so!

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Our home base in Germany was Ravensburg and after driving to visit the Castles, we decided to do things around the city on our 3rd day. Ravensburg is home of Museum Ravensburger, an interactive museum dedicated to puzzles and games.

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I made a friend!

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Since we were hanging around our “home turf” and Ravensburg is known as the city of “towers and gates” we decided it would only be appropriate that we visited the Blaserturm, located at the center of town.

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Well done, Ravensburg!

Well done, Ravensburg!

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For our final full day in Germany, we decided to drive to Munich. It wasn’t exactly close by but Jay had heard about the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the center of town and he was really looking forward to checking out the show.

From there we spent the rest of the day walking around the city, shopping for souvenirs, and taking a riding tour on a double decker bus. When we were in Spain we used them a lot to get from point A to B to C and decided to take advantage once again!

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Marienplatz

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As we were traveling to Switzerland the next day, we decided to make it an earlier night, eat locally in Ravensburg and hang out back at our hotel (Hotel Obertor).

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Next up, Switzerland! But that will have to wait for Monday’s post. See you soon, world travelers!

Where have you traveled lately? What is on your travel bucket list?