I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.
One of my favorite things about living in Charlotte, North Carolina is that retailers from all over the world are eager to open up stores here, as they know Charlotteans have a sophisticated, global taste. Well, one of the world’s most renowned toy companies, Schleich®, happens to have its U.S. headquarters in the Queen City and during the months of October through January they have launched their first-ever standalone Schleich® pop-up store at SouthPark Mall. With a range of exciting upcoming special events and promotions for Halloween, Black Friday, and throughout the holiday season, there is so much fun (and loads of great savings!) in store for Charlotte-area families at this unique, hands-on imaginative play, and shopping destination.
Did you know that if you spend $25 at the store you will receive a free figurine?
The new store features an awesome fifteen foot Tyrannosaurus Rex — talk about a larger-than-life photo opp! There are red dinosaur footprints throughout the mall to help find him. My son, Joaquín, had no problem finding him while he was at the mall eating ice cream with his grandparents. He even decided to share some of his ice cream with his new dinosaur friend.
To celebrate Halloween this year, there will be an event at the store Saturday, October 27th from 1-3PM. Kids in costume will receive a free Schleich® figurine and they can also download an Eldrador Lava Monster or Ice Monster Creature Mask and wear it to the event by clicking here.
And, looking ahead to the holiday season, on Black Friday (November 23rd), Schleich® will offer a steep discount of 20-40% on select items at the store, plus treats and refreshments for visitors. Visitors will also enjoy 10%-off storewide all weekend long from November 23-25. Families can also pop on over to the Schleich® store to finish checking off their gift lists after their special visit with Santa.
Founded in Germany in 1935, Schleich® has been winning the hearts of kids and families across the globe for 83 years due to its high-quality, meticulously-detailed, animal figures (each still painted by hand) and innovative play sets. From wildlife to farm animals, dinosaurs to unicorns, and much more, these toys help bring to life a whole “universe” of play for children. Schleich’s thoughtfully designed products encourage creativity and imaginative play to help support children’s development. In today’s screen and technology filled world, it is a philosophy we can all get behind!
If you have been following My Beautiful Adventures for a while, then you know that I am half German and have spent much time in Germany. On my last trip there, I even visited several toy stores and I truly believe that the best toys come from Germany. I am constantly amazed at both the quality and innovation of German toys.
Over the next several months, I highly recommend stopping by the Schleich® pop-up store. We should feel proud to have Schleich® as our new neighbor. During your visit, I can promise you fun-filled activities and your kids will be the opportunity to act out their own animal-inspired adventures with some of the company’s signature figurines and play sets in the store’s “Playzone.” I hope to see you on October 27th, though I still do not know what my Halloween costume will be this year.
Whether your wedding is in a few months or a year from now, you need to learn how to plan the perfect event. For starters, this does not mean that you should plan it alone. Your friends and family are always there to help you along the way, not to mention yoursignificant other and potentially even a wedding planner.
Still, that does not mean that you should not learn how to be organized, as the only reason you may feel stressed is because youare leaving things to the last minute. Instead, book your venue in advance and hire a photographer sooner rather than later. The better one’s are often booked more quickly, but no matter what happens or what does not work according to plan, you need to remember to not stress about it:
Starting the planning process early will save you a lot of headaches later on, so it is incredibly beneficial to do. While you do not need to start putting things together as soon as you become engaged, you should set the wedding date far enough in the future so that you have months, if not at least a year, to start organizing the details for it. Moreover, getting more help is easier when you do it earlier rather than later.
Choose A Venue
Choosing a venue is an expensive endeavor, and the longer you wait, the less options you will have to achieve your dream wedding. You will first need to think about the type of wedding you want, naturally, and whether that is in a castle, barn, on a beach, in a church, and so on, as it will impact the ceremony itself and what follows. Remember to consult your partner as this is something that you should both agree on.
Hire A Photographer
This is going to be a day that you remember for the rest of your life, but no memory is strong enough to remember all of the details from the event. In order to immortalize it, you should hire a wedding photographer that will capture your day to perfection.
Do Not Stress
There are times when things go wrong, and it is simply a part of life. The important part is to not dwell on any of the stress, as it will only ruin what should be a perfect day. If the exact flowers you wanted delivered had to be switched, do not fret. Even if the cake ends up being banana flavored instead of vanilla, you should not be consumed by what goes wrong. Start adopting this mindset by looking at the positive side of any situation.
Your happily ever after wedding is more possible than you may even realize, and all you need to do is to start planning it earlier rather than later. In addition to what was already mentioned, you should consider putting together a checklist for everything that you need to do. That way, you can also cross off everything one by one, and it will give you immense pleasure when you realize that you are one step closer to that special day. You are marrying your true love and nothing should ruin your mood or your day, so do not let it!
Emerging trends in home décor are accented by a riot of color. Maybe it is a reaction to years of minimalism or a burst of self-expression forged as a response to the difficult times many are facing. Whatever the reason, more and more of us are experimenting by bringing color into our living rooms.
The Maximalist Movement
These trends are at their most vivid among those involved in the maximalist movement. A simple Instagram search for “maximalist” will result in a barrage of blinding color bursting from your mobile phone screen in the form of home interiors containing a veritable rainbow of colors.
The movement is somewhat extreme and whilst you may not be ready to join it just yet, there are a number of ways in which you can bring a little more colour into your life.
It is fair to say that great interior design looks to strike a balance within a space. Being bold with color helps to achieve this and can act to invigorate and inspire those who inhabit the space.
A great way to begin dabbling with color is to seek out some soft furnishings. Brightly colored cushions, throws, and blankets will help keep you cosy whilst at the same time bringing some warmth to your living room.
Another option is to invest in a large rug. Persian rugs, for example, come in a range of deep rich colors and can make for a stylish addition to a living space. Alternatively, a more contemporary design may provide you with a much more vivid option.
Paintings and Prints
Taking inspiration from some of the world’s most famous artists can also be a means of injecting some colour into your life. There are, of course, plenty to choose from for instance Pablo Picasso was famous for his use of color, as was Jackson Pollock, but the world is your oyster and so have some fun investigating what is out there – a trip to a gallery?
Alternatively, you could do it yourself. Creating your own pieces of art is super enjoyable, plus you end up with an original piece of work that costs very little to produce.
The Ultimate Statement
For the ultimate statement and a literal way of bringing color into your living space you could think about commissioning a stained glass window and again could seek inspiration from the art world – Gilbert and George perhaps?
Ecclesiastic it may be, but flooding a space with colored light can have a wonderful effect that is in constant flux as the light outside changes.
However you decide to do it, bringing a little, or a lot, of color into your living room can be uplifting, so start experimenting and have some fun.
Travel within itself is a great way to improve your life. You get to break free of the cage of daily living, you experience new things, and broaden your horizons. You get to learn about different cultures, religion, food, and people first hand and overall it is almost always a good use of time and money. But if you you travel for long periods at a time, you can actually go a step further and work on your self development even more. Here are a few ideas for ways you can essentially multi-task, using your time traveling to better yourself even further:
If you are a keen traveler, you will have visited places in the world beyond the typical tourist destinations. You will know that even in places that are booming with tourism, the day to day lives of the locals is a much different situation to the glitz and glamour of fancy hotels, attractions, and restaurants. Many places in the world are desperate for some extra help, and even if you believe yourself to have no major skills, your time and effort can still be used and will be appreciated. In third world countries, this could be teaching children basic english and numeracy skills. It could be assisting construction workers building orphanages or it could be helping on a farm. Volunteering abroad will genuinely help those less fortunate and is something that can really add value to your travel and life in general. See if there are any volunteering opportunities where you are traveling to and aim to spend at least some time helping out.
One of the biggest issues most of us have when it comes to travel is having the money to fund it. But when you are freelance, you can work from anywhere in the world. Freelancing can also allow you to be really creative and with so much inspiration around you from the place you are in, it will not even feel like work. You could write a blog or start a vlogging channel on Youtube documenting your travels. You could even work on a freelancing site, writing articles or creating some other kind of content for clients. You could do this in a couple of hours in the evenings, it would earn you money and build your skills while you are traveling.
Thanks to online study, again this is something you can do from anywhere in the world, right from your laptop. Whether you want to study for a degree in English literature or a masters in operations management, you can take your course with you wherever you go. Ideal if you travel for months at a time, it is flexible and something you can do in a free couple of hours each week.
When you are traveling, you naturally up your exercise. Most of us tend to be up early each day and are out and about on foot making the most of the day. And so it is easier than ever to shed excess weight and tone up. As long as you eat sensibly, you can use your travel as a way of improving your health and fitness. You could hire bikes, go on hikes, swim in the sea, practice yoga on the beach, and much more. Far better than hitting a sweaty gym back home!
The part of any home that is the most alive is, of course, the garden. The entire thing is a living organism in so many ways. The grass is constantly growing and can stay alive in some of the most harsh temperatures. The flowers and the plants are just the same, but perform more complex actions such as photosynthesis. They also attract other living things like the birds and the bees. The soil itself is crawling with bugs, insects, and different creatures that provide it with and also eat nutrients. Everything about the garden is moving, alive, and reacts to anything that happens to it. So, during the incoming fall, it might be a good idea to put your own garden to sleep for a while. Animals hibernate during the winter, so they can survive. They conserve energy and reemerge when the temperatures have risen once again and the ice and snow have melted away. Your garden could do this also, because if not properly cared for during the autumn and winter, large parts of it will die anyway. You can maintain a healthy garden or at least, make it ready to be vibrant once again if you protect it during the colder months now.
A little more extra
Plants and flowers are hit the hardest when cold winds arrive. They may be beautiful to look at during the spring and summer, but when autumn comes they begin to wither and die. One way you can keep them alive for longer and maybe even all throughout the fall, is by giving them a little extra food. Mulch is by far the best food you can supply them with during the colder months, as it is very high in nutrients. Mulch is made up of lots of different things which makes it so strong. It can be made up of rotting food such as vegetables, other plants and flowers, rotting wood such as bark, it can even be made up of newspapers, cardboard, wool, and animal manure.
Dig up the top layers of soil. Then pour the mulch close to the plants and flowers. Pack it in tightly and remember to even out the surface. Press it down with your hands to make sure it is as dense as possible. This will mean you will pour layers on top of layers of mulch to get things feeling solid. Remember that this will hopefully last for 4 or 6 months, so be generous with the amounts your use for each plant and flower. Then pour over the surface soil you dug up to protect it from the cold once again.
It has not really stopped
Plants and flowers die during the winter, because of a blockage on the soil. Frost is the enemy, it causes the surface to completely harden and so even if rain does begin to pour down from the heavens, the water cannot permeate below and get to the roots where it needs to be. Therefore, you need to combat the frost each morning.
Get up and one of the first things you need to do is pour water all over the plants and flowers. Then pour water on the soil to melt away the frost and the ice. The water will eventually penetrate deep into the soil and once again give the necessary hydration. You want to fool the plants into thinking that it is still raining. This will allow them to continue on and keep absorbing and drinking the water without slowing down the actions needed to do so. During the winter when it does not rain, plants will go into energy-saving mode, which means they will stop processes of absorbing water and nutrients because that in itself, takes energy. But, when you fool the plants into thinking that there is a plentiful supply of water, they revert back to normal again or at least as best they can. Do not give them water before night as it will freeze and at deeper levels in the soil when this occurs, can be fatal.
Lose the dead and dying
The fall is the best time to clean up your garden. Getting rid of the dead and dying is one of the best things you can do to make sure you improve the chances of survivability. Dying vegetation will pull the surrounding healthy vegetation down with it. You simply need to cut away the stragglers, so they stop taking away vital nutrients from the healthy parts of your garden. Therefore, you need to look around your garden and examine each plant and flower. Cut away the parts that are in the process of losing their color and becoming dry or perhaps brittle. Do not be so easily fooled by healthy looking flowers as their stem and small little spurts might be dying while the petals look fresh. To this effect, you should also pluck any dying petals of a flower also.
Any dead parts of the garden should be removed entirely. Be sure to check that the parts that you have cut off are not diseased. Faded color is one thing, but if you see spots or what looks like to be a changing of color, might be signs of an infection. If this is the case, you may need to dig up the entire plant depending on the extent of the damage. This is so sickness does not spread to the surrounding plants. Do not use the diseased parts as part of your homemade mulch. These need to be put into the garbage full stop. If parts that you have cut off are just withered and not infected, you can use them as part of your own mulch.
Remove the falling fall
Trees in gardens are the stars of the show. They are big, tall, and have a lot life to give. However, when it comes to the fall, they will strip themselves naked of their leaves. The leaves will be blown all over the garden creating a bit of a mess. Hence, there are many people who say raking up the leaves in your garden is a therapeutic task. On the other hand, they are also a hazard to your HVAC unit. Air conditioning units get clogged all the time by fall leaves, especially when it rain and there is a blustery wind that picks up the wet leaves and funnels them into the fan. If this does happen, you may need to call 5 Star Repair Services Inc. that can come at any time of the day and night and repair your HVAC. Thankfully, they have many years of experience underneath their belt and can repair any kind of brand that your house may be using.
To avoid this in the first place, you should collect up all the autumn leaves on the ground in your garden and pile them into bin bags. Just to speed up this process, you should hit the branches of your tree with a broom or long object of some kind. Sometimes there are leaves just hanging on by a thread, so loosening them to the point they fall by force means you will not have to come and collect them all over again in the future.
Many things that a garden normally does, continue on during the autumn and winter. They do slow down which can make us think they have stopped. However, plants just need to be fed a constant supply of water each day to continue living in the fall. They will lose their color maybe, but they will not die if you have surrounded them with fresh mulch to eat and cut away the dying vegetation that drags them down.