Sweden

Part 1 of our 3 country European tour.

Sweden- Let me preface by saying this trip was a complete surprise and none of the family we were going to visit knew we were coming. This is family that we hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Two of my uncles that we visited lived here in the states with us while my brother and I were younger and then came here with their families. 3 of my grandmother’s sisters live here, the majority of their children and grandchildren. Lots of family to see in 3 days and since it was rainy most of the time we were there we didnt do much site seeing. HOWEVER, Im counting the days until our next trip! Hopefully soon because I miss everyone so much! You know how you meet someone for the first time and it feels like you’ve known them you’re entire life, yep that was pretty much everyone we met while we were there.

My brother and I always joked with our cousins here that we don’t look like them. We’re the darker ones and everyone here is super light. People have actually questions my cousin and I if one we’re really related and two how we’re related because she’s light skinned and Im dark, we just laugh it off and say yes we’re really related. When we met certain family members here, we were in awe of how much we resembled them and how my brother and two of our cousins could pass for brothers or triplets! It was crazy. Don’t worry the picture is in here to see for yourselves.

This is one of my uncle’s family that we stayed with while we were there. He lives out in the country area and its breathtaking. It reminded me a lot of Idaho when I visited a while back for work.

By the way, this kid decided to X the bottle on the first day we were there. Ill be doing a post about traveling with active toddlers later.

The sunsets here were magnificent. A photographers dream! But it also doesn’t set until 10pm. So theres that.

Jet lag at its finest.

Everywhere is so lush and green!

These are my uncles that lived with us in the states. Let’s just say that my uncle in the middle was shocked when he saw my dad.

Day 2:

We did a little more sightseeing on day 2, drove around and went to a couple of different places in between going from house to house.

Everything is very Scandinavian and so unique, every house looks different with the pointed roofs and colorful housing. The art history/designer nerd in me was really happy.

We went to a huge mall, turning torso and a local park that went on for miles. It definitely rained the entire day but we didnt care. Hopefully next time it won’t be raining.

This was inside the mall. Let’s just say our malls need to step it up. All natural and so lush. Think of the emerald city from the Wizard of Oz inside of a mall.

So my cousin, pictured below, his grandmother (dad’s mom) lives here in Sweden. We were all going to Italy at the same time but the day he left and go to Italy just wouldn’t add up. Well someone not only surprised his grandmother but surprised us as well and it was such a great surprise.

My beautiful aunts

Incase you were wondering, yes we grew up eating big family meals like this. Trust me its the best way to eat.

This kid is always in someones pantry.

Here’s the picture I was telling you about.

Day 3:

Day three was our last bittersweet day. The fist day was filled with happy tears seeing everyone and the last day was filled with lots of laughter, hugs and we’ll see you soon!

My dad meeting some of his cousins for the first time.

Until next time Sweden! We’ll see you soon!

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Jerusalem & Surda

For a little #throwbackthursday I am FINALLY getting a chance to sit down and share these images from our trip back in November (don’t judge me) with you all! This trip was such an amazing trip, I was able to go to places that Ive never been to before and experience Palestine in a way that I’ve never been able to before.

This country is so beautiful and there’s so much to do, our trip was definitely too short but I know we’ll be going back soon hopefully! We had such a wonderful time visiting family, touring the old city, drives through the village, shopping & so much more.

Here are some peeks at what we did while we were there.

This view is one of my favorites in the entire country.

Touring the old city at around 6 o’clock in the evening.

Some of the best street falafel I’ve ever had

Friday afternoon at the Dome of the Rock Masjid after Friday prayer.

I don’t know why we didn’t go in this time while we were there but I just wanted to soak up every minute while I was there so I don’t have many photos of our afternoons here.

Wailing wall

Hidden pathways are all over the old city.

This church in the old city is one of the most beautiful churches Ive ever seen. I could spend hours inside this majestic place soaking up every inch of it. I was an art history major in school and Byzantine art was my absolute favorite to study & well let’s just say I was in heaven walking into this church.

Friday afternoon shopping in the old city market

Our favorite spot to eat while we were out and about.

More shopping in Ramallah

Walking the streets of the village

Someone loved to play in the olive trees.

Going through these photos again makes me miss the motherland and I can’t wait to go again and have our little boy grow up in here, experience his heritage. Until next time!

xo

Rising Tide Society Leader

Im sure that you have seen me use the following hashtags lately: #communityovercompetition, #risingtidesociety, #tuesdaystogether #makewaves.

You’re probably wondering what in the world is she talking about?? What is Rising Tide Society? What is this Tuesday’s Together??

Rising Tide Society was created by 4 creative visionaries. They had a vision that creative entrepreneurs needed more. That we needed to get out from behind our computers and come together and not only get to know one another on a different level but get to work with one another and be apart of something greater. I spent last week in San Francisco learning all about Rising Tide Society from a leader standpoint. I have been a member for over a year and have loved getting to know every one in our local chapter. Anyone who will listen to me I will yack their ear off talking to them about it. The leader of our Houston chapter put out a call to have some people help her manage the group because if you don’t know Houston has one of the largest creative markets and it just keeps growing. We are finally changing from a strictly “oil & gas” city to a much more diverse city. Just look at all of our art & culture happening around us, it is amazing to see our city grow so much.

When Meredith put out the call I jumped right on it to help her lead our main group. She said no. She said no, I think you would be more amazing leading YOUR OWN group. Woah! Seriously?? I never would have thought I could be given an opportunity like this. Growing up we always knew I was a natural born leader, my family still jokes about it to this day how I used to sit everyone down in the garage and be the “teacher”. Never once in my school career did I want to go into education.

I accepted the position and took it on with so much pride and excitement! I have seriously planned out the next 6 months of meetups. Little overzealous but it’s okay! We had our first meetup a couple of weeks ago in January and it was wonderful! Everyone that attended vibed so much off of each other that I know we are going to do great things! I attended the conference because I was already craving more. Already wanted to soak up as much information as possible and I am so glad that I did. I met so many wonderful people and made so many friendships along the way. I got to hug & become friends with Natalie Frankie, our lead visionary and head of Rising Tide Society. I got to listen to Jenna Kutcher share her darkest moments and be vulnerable infront of an audience of 150+ people along with people live streaming in. I got to learn and grow as a business owner and as a creative individual. I felt something internally that Im not quite sure how to describe but I do know that it changed me.

Photo by: Laura & Rachel

I am so excited for what’s to come. I am so excited for the next steps that I am going to take here in the next few months. I can’t quite share all of the details just yet but just know this will not be the last time you hear about Rising Tide Society and about my involvement. I may be a brand new leader but I am so excited for the journey ahead.

If you are in the South Houston area, anything below the beltway- contact me and let’s chat about you joining us for our meetups. We meet once a month on a Tuesday and talk about various topics that we feel are necessary for our community that month. Creative entrepreneurs share the vision- BEING BOLD & BEING ACCEPTADE. We want you to be in an environment where you feel that. We want you to come out of your shell and be the creative that you can be. I am so very honored to be the Tuesdays Together, League City Chapter Leader. (that’s a long title for my business card) I cannot wait to share more with you.

NYC Part 2

Day 3 & 4, so amazing. Spent the days just getting lost and finding new parts of the city that we just love! Macy’s, Shake Shack (A MUST!), any flea market-you’ll basically find gold, Central Park, you never know who you’ll run into! Washington Square Park & then we said our goodbyes. Bittersweet bye but we are so ready to go back!

Until our next trip!

xo

NYC Part 1

What can I say, I leave a piece of my heart in New York every time I leave & this last time was no different. I loved exploring new parts of the city and adding new favorite places to my list. I loved the fact that even though this trip was a business trip, I got to enjoy it with my mama & my little one. We skipped all of the touristy items that we have already done but didn’t knock the ones that we haven’t. This will be a 2 part blog, as we did a lot in the city in a short amount of time.

Okay let’s start off with the first couple of days. One, there’s so much to do & to see in the city that I think if you lived there you wouldn’t be able to see it all in a lifetime. I still have places that need to be crossed off but hopefully that’ll happen with my two trips coming up in 2017! (I’m trying to figure out how to move us there, anyone hiring??, kidding-maybe..)

The first couple of days were perfect! Weather, no crowds, well behaved baby & all!

Day 1: Oculus & World Trade Center. Both so beautiful. You could spend an entire day here just looking at everything and looking at all of the various pieces of history that are now there.

Day 2: Take a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, walk down to DUMBO & take a picture in from of probably one of the most Instagramed spots in New York. Eat in Brooklyn-Yes eat in Brooklyn! Lizzmonade, Ignaziones, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Best view of Lady Liberty on a Water Taxi, probably one of the best touristy things we have ever done. Jane’s Carousel and any green area for kids to play. I was obsessed with all of the parks there and so was Qais.

To be continued…

Seattle

Man how I miss this place. I want to go back so bad, take my little family & travel to the coast. I love cities like this and like NYC that offer so much in a small radius. Lots of fun things to do and so much to see.

One thing I always recommend doing is a city, especially if you’re only there for a few hours is to get up early and spend you’re entire day out in the city exploring. I love Seattle and the little area of Pikes Peek. I could live there every day! I mean what more do you need other than fresh flowers, fish & spices!

Oh & the original Starbucks. Super tiny space.

Seattle Public Library-oh the architecture.

The Pier

The early mornings at Pike’s Peek

Freshly baked croissants

Trip to LA

LA, what can I say you impressed me more than I expected. When I first wen to LA in August I wasn’t really impressed and to be honest didn’t care for it very much. This last time was different. I enjoyed every bit of my stay and all of the people that I met.

There’s so much to do & so much to see that if you’re going be sure you get up early and enjoy every inch of the city. That’s what I did and it was worth every minute.

I stayed in the cutest Airbnb in the Griffith Park area. One great thing about it was that I felt like a local the entire time I was there because I was staying here rather than in a hotel, which is always a plus.

Great places to eat: Cafe Vida, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles & Urth Cafe- so hungry now!

Walt Disney Concert Hall. I could do a post just on this beauty. Its that beautiful!

SLUGBUG! NO TAG BACKS!

I love markets, flower & food. They are always so great to spend a few hours on a Saturday and watch the crowd move through it.

Sunset on Sunset is so perfect.

Thank you Walt Disney for always sharing your magic.

Newport Beach has the most magical sunsets. Just be sure to plug your nose if you’re sensitive to certain smells.

These colors are real, I promise!

Ill be sharing more past trips posts soon! Be sure to subscribe to be the first in the know about posts & happenings!

Off to NYC on Friday! Be sure you’re following on instagram & snapchat for our every day life -> @lululezu

xo, layla