Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ah! It's been a Month and a half since I moved to Germany and I am LOVING it. I absolutely love everything about the city that I live in, and the lifestyle that accompanies it. I have so much to share about my experiences, BUT WAIT.

MORE NEWS.

I am creating a new blog template, which means lots of planning and organizing. Once that is done, everything will hopefully be streamlined and easier to manage. I am hoping to have all of this done by the end of the weekend. In the meantime, take a look at my recent YouTube videos! :) Clicking on the video below should bring you to my channel. Feel free to SUBSCRIBE!!!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

{Traveling Through Scotland}: Tips and experiences!


I recently visited Scotland with a couple of friends. I have some tips and tricks from my visit that might help you!

I started my journey in a little seaside town called Aberdeen, which is on the northern shores of Scotland. It has such a rich history and I really enjoyed my stay while there. There is something so magical about little Scottish villages. I mean, the country's national animal IS the Unicorn after all! No lie!

I did a few fun things while I was in Aberdeen and also found some great travel cheats that I would love to share.

For starters, when you arrive in the UK head over to EE to pick up a sim card for your cell phone. You can find them all over the U.K.  As long as your smartphone is UNLOCKED they can get you a great deal on a prepaid phone plan for your trip. For £15 I have 250 minutes, 450 texts, and 13 GB of Data!!  YES you read that right, 13 GB. I got an upgrade that was available for free. It definitely was needed as my Airbnb didn't have Wifi! With that plan you can also call (not text) to the US. This is definitely the best option, unless you have an international plan. Even with international plans though, service can be sucky (as my friends learned with their phones). It can also be expensive. So why not just get a sim to use for your trip and save money!

I also used a texting/calling app called TextMe to text and call my friends and family who don't have iPhones. It's free, but you need to purchase (via $ or watching videos) credit to make calls. Texting is free though.

Dual laundry machines do NOT dry very well!!! Most people just hang their laundry even if they do have a dryer setting on their machine.

Since I knew I was going to be alone the first week, I had some things I wanted to do that I wouldn't have been able to do if I was with friends, most likely. I wanted to see the movie, Dunkirk which was really great! I also wanted to see what a British grocery store was like. The most different thing I noticed is that they don't refrigerate their eggs here! They keep them on the shelves. I actually completely understand that practice. Americans are some of the only people the keep eggs in the fridge.

I also wanted to go on a tour of Aberdeen. I found one that meets on Saturday's and Sunday's, 12 noon at the Mercat cross (pictured below). The 90 minute walking tour is completely free, but donations are requested after the tour is complete. Our tour guide, Guada was awesome. Side note: the animals at the top used to have wine that would pour out of their mouths in the 17th century. It was pretty much a wine free for all when the fairs would happen. Imagine hundreds of 17th century scots fighting for *free* alcohol. Yeah let that chaos set in.








I also recommend taking the time to look at your transportation options. I purchased a weekly unlimited bus pass for £15 and used that to get around for the 6 days I was there. If I purchased individual tickets it would have been £5 per day there and back. Public transportation there runs on time and very frequently, about every 10-15 minutes.

Image result for first bus aberdeen
via Google

I stayed at the Euro hostel in Glasgow. I will definitely be writing a positive review for them. My room had a bunk for two, however I was solo by request. It is clean, well lit/bright, and modern. The sheets and duvet cover are crisp and clean and the night life here has major potential, had I ventured downstairs to the bar. There were a ton of people 21-30 here, just from what I saw at check in, but I also appreciated that there were older people there too to balance things out. I definitely recommend Euro Hostel. It's pretty much a hotel! I had some friends arriving in Glasgow, so after I went and got them from the airport we all headed back to the hostel we were staying at. The 4 person room wasn't as nice as the 2 person room, not gonna lie! But it was ok for one night.




From there, we went to Edinburgh for Fringe Festival. I would highly recommend visiting if you are in Scotland during August. It was full of street performers, markets with shops, and good food and music, all free. They also have plays and dance performances you can buy tickets for, but we didn't want to, since we were planning on seeing a play in London.






 The festival wheel! It's a huge ferris wheel that lets you see the whole city. Like the London Eye but not as cool :)



Later we headed to Inverness to go Glamping. We were only there for one day, but this Glamping site was awesome. They had lots to do and it was really just a fun location! The bus brought us in and out of the campgrounds and unlike in the US, since we were in the Scottish Highlands, they just drop you wherever you want which is nice! Definitely check out the link I included. The owners were so friendly and accommodating.








Last we stopped in London. I had never been but my friends had both been mulitple times. I wasn't really into the huge tourist scene (Big Ben, Piccadilly etc.), but I wanted to see the market place. I ended up bartering for some great stuff! Some crystals (for a necklace I got in Scotland) and a cute scarf. It was worth the trip. We also took a ride on the London Eye which was AWESOME. I wasn't expecting it to be great, but it exceeded my expectations. The 4D experience before hand is a must see as well, and is included in your ticket. The ticket prices are quite high, but I recommend finding a coupon on the back of the cereal boxes they have in their grocery stores. You can save 50% of the price of 2 tickets which would have been worth it if I had known! Our AirBnB was also really nice.









Let me know if you have any upcoming travels! Although this trip was about my time in Scotland, I am now in Germany! Stick around for updates, and thanks for reading!


Xx

Natalie


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NEWS! I'm Moving To Germany!!?!?!



You guys! It took FOREVER to upload, but it's finally here!!

Make sure to SUBSCRIBE!! :)





Monday, August 7, 2017

{DIY}: EASIEST Pant Alteration EVER!

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I hope you have had a wonderful weekend. Mine was spent relaxing by the pool and getting some last minute stuff finalized. I also said goodbye to my love my little Moped for the summer. She has been re-homed. Ahhh the life of a Nomad. In a way, living the way that I do has helped me mentally, because I don't hold onto things with such vigor like I used to. I wouldn't call myself an ex-hoarder, but I definitely loved my things and was quite attached. As the years have gone by I have found that I am able to move on WITHOUT all of my things which is very convenient.

Anyways, today I thought I would share a super easy tutorial with you! I purchased a pair of pants from Target's  Knox Rose line. They looked so comfy on my coworker, and I had to have a pair. I owned 1 other pair of pants and I just had a feeling that these would FINALLY work for me! I have the lovely problem of having a smaller waist than my thighs so everything fits perfect in the thigh but is about 2 sizes too big in the waist. After cinching my pants and jeans with a belt for years I gave up and decided to stick with dresses and skirts, and stretchy pants, because the belts holding up my pants began to cause severe stomach pain. I literally haven't worn a pair of jeans since 2014. That's how bad it is. So, as you can see I was delighted when I put this pair on and they FIT SO WELL! They were also incredibly flattering. The only problem was once again they were a bit too big in the waist (which I found out as the day wore on).

I ended up finding an AWESOME no sew fix to altering pants which I had to share. There is a video on You Tube that better explains it, but I will do my best with the pictures I have to explain it here on the blog! Seriously guys, this was so easy that I went out and purchased a second pair in the same size, different color to alter them too.

No Machine Pant Alteration (Waist)

1. Pinch and Fold along the back of the pants and tuck the newly made fold underneath the belt loop.


2. Sew (by hand) the fold down under the belt loop, so that it is not visible, and continue to tuck and sew down toward the pant pocket. I've found that the key here is short tight stitches!!!




3. Sew BACK up the row you have just sewn and sew along the top of the fold to "seal" the crease at the top of the waist. This part is very important because it ensures that the fold remains flat and invisible.


see how flat it ends up being once you have sewn the top?

sew down the opposite side as well.

4. Tuck and sew any loose parts that you see that you want to improve.

It is really THAT easy. Of course, I used black thread, but if you match the colors it is even better. Now this is a quick, reversible no cut no machine fix, which will ensure that if you do need to let the pants back out it is a quick and easy process. It took me less than 10 minutes to complete. It is damn near invisible at first glance; it just appears to be fold going  straight down along the pocket seam. If you are picky about looks, you can do both sides so that it looks even. I didn't care, but note if you only do one side it will leave more space on the other side of the button/zipper which would be noticeable to the wearer (only). Like I said, I didn't care about that part.

I hope this tutorial helps someone!! Please checkout the video if you need additional guidance!


Xoxo,


Natalie

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Blog Direction!

Hey all you belles, travelers, foodies, and essential oil fans! :)

As you may have noticed, I have been slowly transitioning my blog! For those who have followed this blog over the years, you may remember that it started out as not one, but TWO blogs! One, faith based, and one personal. Well, the faith based blog was deleted due to my URL being stolen from me (GRRR)! I initially had transferred all of the posts to this blog, but have since deleted most of them. I decided that I wanted to keep this blog religion free for the most part. I love my faith but there are certain things that I have posted about in the past that I no longer agree with and I don't feel that it is right to have them publicly displayed, considering I don't agree with them.

ANYWAYS! I have a ton of new ideas and posts coming, as well as a new YouTube vlog channel! You can expect the first video to come out very soon, and there will be a lot of exciting new changes announced! As always, I look forward to hearing from you! If you have any comments or vlog suggestions/ideas shoot me an email: northernbellemn@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

{Care.Com}: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

                                                      Care.com Logo

                                             
Well hello old friends. And new! It seems like I haven't posted in a while now, but I am back with a very interesting post! I am writing from sunny Arizona, where it is about 85° and gorgeous. I moved back to Arizona after my Fall semester ended and am living with my dear old dad. He is getting older and really should have someone living with him and I am just trying to get my degree and be done with school already, so it works out for both of us! As you know, I have moved around a lot! Most of the time, I am able to find a job right away which is nice. But this time, it is different because I am in school full-time and can only work part-time. This means that my job outlook has gone down significantly. The one thing I have always been able to count on is my 10 years of childcare experience. It means that pretty much wherever I go, I can find some sort of work because of my experience and high ratings.

The main way I have found childcare gigs is on a site called Care.com. For those who don't know what it is, Care.com is a company founded in 2006 originally specifically to match caregivers with parents looking for childcare. Now, it is a vast resource for those looking for caregivers for their children, elderly family members, pets, and also housekeeping/cleaning and errands. I have been on the site for about 5 years. I have several positive reviews and a slew of families that I have worked for under my belt. I get anywhere from 3-4 emails a month from families looking to hire me. Unfortunately most of them I have to turn away because of the location, however I am currently working for 2 care.com families here in the valley. Whenever I tell people that I work with parents on the site, most people are surprised that I am able to find work. They tell me that they have never been able to get hired on the site, and that they never get replies to their applications. This blog post is hopefully going to explain why, once and for all, and help some people get hired!

I will go over some misconceptions and solutions.

#1: No one replies to my messages/applications

This is the number one complaint I get from people. Care.com rolled out a "premium" feature for parents and caregivers. They claim that it allows parents to see your profile first, and that you are 3x more likely to get hired. What they don't tell you is that if you don't sign up to be a premium member, often times you can't receive any messages or replies from families for applications that you have sent out. This is INCREDIBLY frustrating and also RIDICULOUS. It all depends on the site. I haven't quite figured out what it is the triggers the system because I have been able to receive replies off and on (so I continue to send out messages to parents occasionally). It's just bad business, and makes it hard to get work. Also, reviews are everything. Parents don't want to hire someone with 2 years of experience and no reviews. It just isn't going to happen.

#2: Parents are only looking for 1 or 2 days a week

Unless this is something that you are looking for, it can be really annoying to try and get hired for substantial work. A lot of parents only need 1 or 2 days a week and consider that part time. That isn't part time in my book, and it isn't going to pay the bills. Unless you can line up several different families with those hours, it won't be very worth it. I have started posting ONLY FULL TIME (or hours I am looking for) on my profile, so that I don't have low ballers contacting me for crappy hours. The nice thing is that there is a calendar on everyone's profile where they can post the hours they are available. This makes scheduling very easy.

#3: Overbearing/Helicopter parents

There are several different types of parents. The laid back parents, the do what you want parents, no TV parents, TV anytime parents, nerdy Harry Potter/LOTR parents (my favorite), LGBTQ parents, and religious parents. Then, there are the helicopter parents. When you agree to watch a child whose parents work from home, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the situation. I have had only 2 bad experiences with parents who work from home and were completely neurotic, and wouldn't leave me alone with the kid for more than an hour without checking on us. I realize that this is part of the culture (of both of the families). This is the thing: If a parent has hired you, they need to trust you unless there is something that you have done to betray that trust. I will NOT work for parents who don't trust me with their child. It is a slap in the face and makes my job uncomfortable and hard. It's also just annoying. You are your only advocate when it comes to self employed nannying/babysitting. You don't have an HR department or someone you can air your grievances to. I have ended relationships with a family because of this type of behavior, and it truly was for the best.

Some other helpful tips I could suggest is making one of the 30 second intro video which apparently is supposed to help you get hired more quickly. Also, making sure to reply to messages by the end of the day is very important. It can mean all of the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. Reviews are a requirement for me, no matter how I met the parents. Like I said, reviews are everything!

I really hope that this is a helpful post. If you have any comments or questions, please reply below! I respond to every comment posted.


Later,

xoxo













Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dying breed of "Real Men"? No such thing!

I recently read an article on Linkedin, and while I agreed with parts of it, disagreed with most. Here are my thoughts:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dying-breed-real-men-my-thoughts-article-natalie-warren?published=t

You can find the original article within my post. It is this kind of thinking that makes me feel at times we are regressing, and not progressing. Thankfully, our generation is not generally in agreement with this kind of logic!


Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on the post :)


Natalie