Langkawi, Paradise On Earth

A week ago I started my solo trip to Malaysia. It took me 28 hours to get to the small island Langkawi which is located near the main coast of northwestern Malaysia.
Pulau Langkawi is the main island of an archipelago of around 100 small islands.

I arrived at the island in the evening and directly went to my hostel „Langkawi dormitorio“. I can highly recommend considering to stay there if you ever come to Langkawi, since the people are very nice, the rooms are clean, there is much space for your stuff and the location is great. There is even a rooftop bar on the house which you can visit and meet other travelers and locals.
That evening I already met really nice people, travelers from Perth Australia, South Africa and Ireland.

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The people I met have rented scooters and we went out for breakfast and had nice food at a small restaurant called „Smiling Buffalo“. This restaurant was great, they had different smoothies, Toast, Pancakes (the Mango Pancakes with coconut milk are amazing!) and fruit salads. I am very careful with fruit and only order fruit that you have to peel.
Always remember: Peel it, cook it or forget it!

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The view at the restaurant was stunning! 

After the girl and the boy from Perth left to Borneo in the morning, Anna (Ireland), Bianca (South Africa) and I went on our scooters and drove to a very very very nice beach at the top of the island, called „Tanjung Rhu Beach“. In the following two photos you can see our first stop, but we decided to drive a little further.

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Five minutes later we arrived at a little market where we saw a big a** lizard that was over a meter long. We also saw many monkeys on our way, they just stared at us and did not even move!
Well, we arrived at the market and I can highly recommend buying a coconut there, since they are delicious! We walked about two hundred meters at the beach and discovered this lonely beach:

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There were just some people who cleaned everything for a couple of minutes but when they left, we were alone and very happy! I cannot even describe how happy I was. The weather was really nice, which was a real surprise, since September is obviously not the best time to visit the east coast of Malaysia.

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So we just sat at the beach on our sarongs and enjoyed the loneliness, the sound of the waves and the sun.

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Unfortunately, Anna had to return her scooter in the afternoon, since she had to leave the following day. So she went back to the other side of the island and Bianca and I went to the Sky Cab and the Sky Bridge of Langkawi.

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As you can probably see, the weather was not as good as in the morning in the afternoon, but fortunately it was not raining. At the west coast of Langkawi, you will find something like an adventure park where you can buy a ticket for the Sky Cab, I think it was 55RM. You will find yourself in a glass gondola, driving up to a high mountain over the huge forest.

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There is a nice platform where you can look over the whole island, the view is stunning.
By the way, I took these photos with my mobile and none of these are edited!

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I really wish I had some pictures taken with my reflex camera, but I don’t feel comfortable taking my Nikon with me to the beach. But I made some nice videos with my GoPro which I still have to edit, hopefully I can upload some videos soon!

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At the top of the mountain there was the famous Sky Bridge. It was very windy but again, the view was amazing. It felt like I was almost able to touch the clouds which was apparently the case, since the mountain is really high.

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I love the green color of the forest
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The ocean. View from the Sky Bridge
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The cable car

After we went to these famous attractions of Langkawi, we went to a nice spot near Smiling Buffalo where we could see the sunset. If it is less cloudy, the sunsets in Langkawi will be very nice and colorful. You will probably be able to see amazing sunsets when the weather is nice and when it is not rain season.
The hostel we stayed in is located next to „Underwater World Langkawi“. Not far from the hostel, there is a restaurant which is open 24/7 where we had dinner twice. They offer really nice dishes and you can have diner there for only 12RM, which is very cheap to my mind.

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The next day, there was a monsoon. Nevertheless, Bianca and I went on a Jet Ski tour for 350RM for each of us. The waves were high but it was not very dangerous. It was kind of a private tour, since it was only us and two Malaysian boys who guided us. We were able to see amazing islands, jumped on the waves, enjoyed the speed of the Jet Skies and even went to a big lake in the middle of an island. After four and a half hours we came back, that was probably the biggest adrenalin rush I ever had. I caught many moments on my GoPro, hopefully I will soon be able to edit the videos and publish them here.

Make sure you always try to negotiate with Taxi Drivers, Water Sports people and of course on the market. Never exaggerate it but you should know that you are always paying more than the locals, which is fine for me.
I am really happy that I got to know Anna and Bianca, they are so nice and I really enjoyed my two days on Langkawi with these lovely people.

I hope you liked my little Langkawi tour post, let me know in the comments if you would like to stay on this beautiful island for a couple of days!

xx, Sophie

 

PS: 25RM equals ca. 5 EUR/ 6 USD/ 4.4 GBP

Airplane Thoughts

After five month of working and waiting, I am finally on my way to Kuala Lumpur, where I will start my little Solo Travel journey and later meet my friend in KL.
We will go surfing in Bali, exploring Thailand and later do some Work and Travel in Australia. As you can probably imagine, I am excited as hell. This blogpost is about my „Airplane Thoughts“ and my flight to Langkawi, an island in the north of Malaysia.

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Monday, 6:30am

I set my alarm last night in order to get up early because I want to say good bye to my brother. We have breakfast together, I am not hungry at all. He leaves at 7:00am we both cry but when he has to leave he just wipes his tears from his face smiles at me and takes the bus to school. He is such a tough cookie. I have a shower and go back to bed afterwards.

Monday, 9:30am

My mother wakes me up again and I am awfully tired. My muscles are sore and I could sleep for days. I finish my packing, we get in the car and drive to the Frankfurt Airport.
I slowly start to feel very sick. My head is aching, I feel queasy and my stomach hurts. My mother is laughing at me and tells me that this is just the excitement and that everything is going to be fine. To be honest, I was not excited at all the past few days. It all came very spontaneously.

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Monday, 12:45am

After we finally arrived at the airport I check in and say good bye to my parents. I also pass the security and wait at the gate for my flight.

Monday, 4:00pm

I finally get out of the plane, my flight had over 30minutes delay. I walk down the long hallways of London Heathrow and successfully pass the security. I have to admit that I am always worried when I go through the security zone, since I always forget electronic devices in my hand luggage. Very awkward. When I went to Texas I forgot my e-reader in my backpack and I had to empty my whole bag and they did various tests with my e-reader, that takes some time…
Another story, when I went to NYC, I accidentally wore a sweatshirt with small metal accessories on it. They treated my like a criminal.
Anyway, this is the reason why I am very happy that everything went right.
Additionally, I find out that they offer free non-sparkling water at the airport, so you do not have to buy expensive water and pay high money exchange fees.
I order a Starbucks but they do not have the size I want anymore, so they give me the larger size and charge me nothing for it. I wait at the seating area for my gate information and realise that I forgot to bring a travel adapter, very smart.

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Monday, 6:45pm

Still waiting for my gate to be published, I go to the Travel shop in the airport. I will definitely need a adapter for my chargers so I pick a worldwide adapter and pay 29,99£ (!!!!!) for it. Not cheap at all. My gate is still not published and I am looking for a shop to buy a bottle of water. I run down the hallway and wonder if one of these wheelchair assistants would let me sit in one of these chairs and bring me to my gate 😄

Furthermore, I feel a little uncomfortable in my sports pants, my running shoes and my huge sweater next to all these business people in their suits. However, I get to the point that I am a backpacker now and I decide that I have the right to wear sports clothes rather than business clothes, at least seven month in my life.

Monday, 7:00pm

Gate A10 c. I take the elevator to my gate and sit down. A flight attendant gives me a little feedback card with a link on it, she says everyone who gives feedback has the chance to win a special flight ticket. I kindly thank her and wonder how likely it is to win.

 

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Monday night

I can’t sleep. Fortunately there is a free seat next to me and I can put my stuff there.
After a couple of hours I finally fall asleep.
The flight was not that bad but I am very happy when we arrive at the airport. There is some trouble with the baggage, everything is different here and I have to take a train to get to the other part of the airport to grab my backpack.

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I have to take my next flight which is more difficult than expected. First of all I realise that I am at the wrong airport, luckily I find a french guy who has the same problem and we take the train to the other terminal. Then checking in, passing the security, waiting much longer than expected for my airplane, then I finally make it to Langkawi.

Well, it took me 28 hours to get to Langkawi, the flight was exhausting.
The pictures were taken in Germany, my brother took some photos of me again.

Stay tuned

xx, Sophie

Let the Cowboy rock – The Stockyards Championship

When I decided to go to Fort Worth, I was quite sure that I really wanted to go to a Rodeo, since we do not have anything similar in Germany.
Well, my host family made this dream come true and we went to the Stockyards Championship which is the only one year round rodeo in the world. The rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm at the historic Cowtown Coliseum.
If you are interested in the „Cowboy Life“, you will love the historic district in Fort Worth, as well as the Rodeo. Maybe you have watched this movie where a girl fell in love with a cowboy who had an accident and blablabla he wins the champoinship etc. etc. etc. endless love etc. – I had the impression, that Rodeos are exactly like that! I really loved it, especially because my host dad told me lost of things about it. I even wore real cowgirl boots and Levi’s shorts and a huge belt, I felt really texan.

Nevertheless, it is very controversial, if some rodeos treat their animals inappropriately. I have to admit that I am not really informed about animal rights concerning rodeos, some people say animals are tortured in order to become really aggressive during the show, other people say these prejudices are completely unrealistic. I came to the point that I think that buckling is a natural instinct, after the horse or the bull has bucked off the cowboy, they are brought back into the stable and get food and water. Consequently, one can argue that the buckling is conditioned and the animal associates buckling with food.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the Stockyards rodeo cannot afford criticism concerning animal cruelty, since the rodeo in Fort Worth is very popular.
To be honest, I don’t know, but I know that I enjoyed these two hours of my life because I enjoyed this „Texas feeling“.

What do you think about rodeos? Do you know anything about rodeos and would you go to the Stockyards Championship?

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Have a nice day,
Sophie

 

 

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Surf Camp Preparation & Travel related DIYs #2

When I was 7, I watched a movie about surfing. Since then, I always wanted to learn to surf. I already got my Wind-Surfing-License and went surfing in Turkey for two weeks twice. The header picture was taken in 2015 when I went to Turkey during the summer holidays.
However, my main goal was and still is to learn Surfriding without any sails or kites. Just me my board and the wave. This dream will come true in October, since I will spend a month in Indonesia, a three week Surf Camp will be included.

Today, I would like to talk about my Surf Camp preparation and also share with you my second Travel related DIY.
First of all, I pondered over a plan where every muscle will be trained effectively, in order to be in great shape when I will start surfing.
No, it is not about getting that „perfectly shaped bikini body“, it is about strength and endurance.
Consequently, I combined outdoor cardio with strength training at the gym.
I decided to give myself the opportunity to choose between swimming and running and I also split the training at the gym into „leg day“ and „upper body.“
Very simple but I got the most out of it.

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Since it is commonly known that anticipation is half the fun, I also followed this workout plan because it made me feel like I am already travelling at some point.
Of course the weight and the repetitions always depend on my physical condition but I always tell myself: „You already made it to the gym, now don’t waste the time – ROCK THIS WORKOUT!“

One week plan may look like this:

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This plan is my personal plan so you can adjust the weight and the reps. What I love about this plan that I do not have to go to the gym too often and do the same things. I also love switching between different types of cardio. Additionally, I can highly recommend to go swimming the day after an intense workout. Swimming relaxes my muscles and simply feels good!

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Anyway, you may have noticed that I included „Balance Board Training“ which leads me to my second Travel related DIY: A Balance Board for -you won’t believe it- balance training. Many surfers use this tool to be able to improve their balance and buy expensive Balance Boards. I really wanted to try this type of training but I did not want to spend over 100€ for it so I bought some stuff to craft my own board.

For the DIY Balance Board you need:

  • a piece of (birch-)wood 90x60x2,5-3cm (I prefer birchwood since it is solid wood)
  • two pieces of to support the board and to edge the area where the pipe rolls
  • a robust pipe with a diameter of ca. 10,5cm
  • an over-knee sock where you can put in the pipe in order to prevent the pipe from slipping
  • wood glue
  • a jigsaw
  • a normal saw
  • 10 screws that are not longer than 4,5cm (if your wood is 2,5cm thick)
  • a drill
  • a pencil
  • a tape measure
  • a yoga mat (optional)

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1. Decide what shape your board shall have and paint it on the wooden panel. I chose a fish board shape.

2. Use the jigsaw (CAREFULLY!! And read the instructions first!) to cut out the board. You can also use a normal saw but a jigsaw will save you a lot of time

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3. Measure the width of your board, is 50cm wide. Now you cut your pipe with a normal saw, it should be as long as the width of your board.

4. You can now put the pipe into your over-knee sock.

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5. Now you want to make sure that the board does not slip away when you step on the complete balance board. Consequently, we now cut two 5-7cm pieces of wood that are as long as the width of our board. (I hope you know what I mean, just scroll down to see what I mean)

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6. If you are happy with your wood pieces and your board you can use wood glue to glue the wood pieces to the underneath of your board. This step will make your construction more secure and robust.

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7. After the glue is dry, you can use a drill to fix your little „pipe barriers“. Make sure that the length of your screws is not longer than the thickness of your barriers and the board.

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If you want to, you can sandpaper the edges of your board in order to prevent scratches etc.. I would also recommend using a yoga mat and a bare or a chair to support yourself if you step on your board the first time. Please make sure that your muscles are warmed up to prevent injuries.
I am not a professional, I do not take any responsibility for your Balance Boards if you try this.
This DIY works for me, I am just sharing my ideas here. Please be careful if you try this, sine it can be very dangerous if you do not pay attention.

Although it may be a little hard at the beginning, Balance Board Training is very effective and you really get a surf feeling at some point.
It is also easy to use because at first it is just about standing on the board and preventing it from touching he ground, which is harder than it may seem.

Hopefully, you like this post and maybe you can incorporate parts of the workout into your workout routine. Please let me know what you think about this DIY and tell me if you have ever taken part in a Surf Camp.

Have a wonderful week,
Sophie

 

 

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Party in the USA 1995 – New York City

New York City is so far the greatest city I have ever visited. At the beginning of this summer I started my New York City blogpost series and today I would like to continue with a blogpost about my mothers New York trip.
In 1995 she traveled the United States with her best friend. They went to Memphis in Tennessee, went on a road trip in California and they spend some days in Boston and New York City. Stay tuned, she will probably write a blogpost about her road trip on my blog!

Anyway, she always promised me that we would go to NYC after my sixteenth birthday and that this trip would be my birthday present. However, we did not went to the USA together, since my school offered a field excursion and I took part in it.

Nevertheless, we both went to the same places in the city and it is amazing to compare our travel photographs. I hope you enjoy having a look at these vintage photographs, taken in 1995.

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Oh Central Park. We both loved Central Park. I already told you in my second NYC blogpost that I really enjoyed my bike tour through the park. I can highly recommend renting a bike, we rented our bikes at Central Park Sightseeing.

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Do you remember the pictures of Manhattan at night? My mother also climbed the Empire State building and took similar pictures but in broad daylight.

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The Times Square and the streets that surround the world’s greatest advertisement space. In 1995 the Times Square was already so colourful, I wish I could go back to NYC very soon. Today there are so many great stores near the Times Square, absolutely counterproductive if you are trying to live a more minimalist life.

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The Empire State Building, fun fact: My mother and her friend confused the Empire State Building with the Chrysler Building. They still laugh about it a lot.

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Wall Street Subway Station:Old NYC-12

I hope you enjoyed this little time travel.
Stay tuned!

Sophie

 

 

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Deep in the heart of Texas – The Fort Worth Stock Yards

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of texas.
Reminds me of – the one I love
Deep in the heart of texas.
The cowboys cry – ki-yip-pie-yi
Deep in the heart of texas.
The rabbits rush – around the brush
Deep in the heart of texas.
The coyotes wail – along the trail
Deep in the heart of texas.
The doggies bawl – and bawl and bawl
Deep in the heart of texas.

– George Strait, Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Howdy!

Hope y’all are alright and had a nice week.
Some of you may remember my last Texas post, where I already talked about my time in Fort Worth and picked out the International Leadership Academy as a central theme for my article. Today, I would like to show you some of the photographs I took in the Historic District of Fort Worth, the Stock Yards.

For those who do not know where FW, TX is, it is right next to Dallas:

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Visiting the Stock Yards is like time travelling

When I stepped out of the bus I really felt like I was in the wild West. Although they painted the faces of the buildings to a certain extent, it looked amazingly realistic.
Take your time and wander around the streets, visit the little cute shops, buy some good old Cowboy boots (combined with some nice Levi’s 501 it looks super texan) and enjoy the dry heat. Although it was really hot when I went to Texas (about 100°F/38°C), it was still in my comfort zone, since we had not to deal with humid air at all.

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The Fort Worth Stock Yards Station

Located in the heart of the Stock Yards, you will find this awesome place which offers you great souvenir shops and nice dining places. We went there in the middle of the week and it was not crowded at all, though I guess that it will be very crowded at the weekends. They even have a huge candy shop called „The Candy Barrel“ where you can
Additionally, there is a Beef Jerky Outlet and a record store which I unfortunately have not been able to visit.

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Going to a Rodeo

I know, this sounds a little stereotypical but going to a rodeo was one of the greatest things I did in Fort Worth. I can highly recommend going to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo which takes place every Saturday at 8pm.
I will probably publish a separate post about the rodeo very soon.

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The cattle drive

Something that you should definitely not miss is the twice-daily cattle drive that travels through the Historic District.

„Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.“

It was amazing to see these beautiful, well treated cows heading down the street with their majestically long and twisted horns. It is an amazing experience and also completely free.

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Stock Yards Museum and Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame

I really wish I would have had the time to visit the Texas Cowboy Hall and the Stockyards museum. Unfortunately, our time was running out since we only had two hours in the Historic District and we had to wait for our ice cream for like 30minutes.
Well done Sophie! But if you have already stood in line for 10 minutes, you probably won’t leave until you get your damn ice cream – (100°F!!!)
Anyway, the Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame is known to be really great. You will see old horse-drawn carriages, as well as typical western saddles and other wild West related things. 

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I hope y’all enjoyed reading my second Texas post. Please let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Texas and if yes, what did you enjoy most about your trip?

Stay tuned,
Sophie

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Beautiful Place by the Sea – Ogunquit, ME #2

Visiting Ogunquit, Maine was an incredible experience. I totally fell in love with the shore and the breaking waves. I was walking along the shore, imagining what my life would look like after graduating from high school. I remember setting a timer that counted the days until prom and it said something like 512 days. Now it is august and I graduated five month ago, I still cannot believe how fast the time passed by.
Two years ago, I was not even sure if I would even graduate. I was afraid of failing and I thought that the Abitur will be the most demanding and difficult accomplishment in life.
Well, absolutely not. I did not study very much for my exams (I don’t even know why), but in the end, it turned out that it was enough. Little effort, good results, happy Sophie.
Unfortunately, I totally messed up my Politics and Economics exam but not because I haven’t studied hard enough, I studied too much. Consequently, less is more!

Three cheers for Minimalism at all points.

Two years ago, I came up with the idea of doing one year of  Work & Travel in Australia after graduation. A year ago, I wanted to go to Uni as early a possible and planned to do Solo-Travelling in South East Asia for 10 weeks. Well, now I will do both. Even though I will not be travelling for 12 month, I am pretty happy with my decision.
I wish I could spend at least a month in every country I will visit in South East Asia but hindsight is easier than foresight.
When we booked our flights I thought that two weeks in Malaysia will be sufficient. Today I wish I would leave by the end of august instead of leaving in september.
Nevertheless, seven month are still a long time and I hope that there will still be some time for travelling after uni or between bachelor’s and master’s degree.

However, I am excited as hell. Currently, I am decluttering again and I already put all my belongings into boxes because I will hopefully move out next year. I love my family and friends but I think it is time to go and my journey will be the start of a new phase in my life.
It feels like I am trapped on a starting block. I want to jump into cold water and start swimming immediately, but the referee just says:

„On your marks, get set, get set, get set,…“

I am waiting for the „go“. The „go“ will happen in less than three weeks but I cannot wait anymore.

Oh and I am quite sure that you have already noticed that I have changed my blog theme. Well, this was an accident and now I have to figure out how to get my old design back or look for a new one that really pleases me. Very smart Sophie, very smart.
Always remember:

Never, like never (!!) randomly click on the „Activate new blog theme“ – button.

Actually, I just wanted to have a look at the Live-Demo.
I am counting the cost now.

Anyway, this is my little life update. I hope you enjoy my second Ogunquit photography series.

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xx, Sophie