My Chicago Winter Survival Guide

Winter in Chicago can be brutal. Lately its been extremely cold and my body and skin (it’s so dry) keep feeling the effects. In between working and trying to carve out some “hygge” moments,  I wanted to share some products that have been helping me stay warm, cozy, and hydrated! Check them out below:

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater

This facial mist smells lightly of roses. So not only is it a reminder of the springtime that we’re craving, but it also gives my skin the moisture it needs. It’s perfect for work and can be quickly spritzed on the face. I prefer this to having to apply cream and ruin my makeup for the day.  I found it on Amazon and it has a cult like following (over 3,000 reviews)! Its affordable ($7) and works !

White barn cinnamon spiced vanilla candle

Cinnamon is my favorite candle scent because it’s not overly girly. I love the gentle smell of this candle – the vanilla adds a cozy musk to the air, while the cinnamon is spicy. I’ve been told my house smells like baking cookies when I have the candle burning. I love it. Buy when on sale ($11) and stock up because this scent usually sells out fast at Bath & Body Works.

Fuzzy Blanket

I’m always curled under a soft warm blanket when I’m home on cold winter nights. You can pick up these faux fur blankets at lots of affordable places – I’ve seen them at Target, Home Goods, and online.

Earl Grey Tea

A warm cup of tea always does me good. Earl Grey is my favorite tea.  I have a future post coming on how I prepare it and Harney & Sons is one of my favorite tea brands. Their tea tins are super cute and good to reuse!

Lip Balm – Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment 

My sister bought me this for my birthday and I’m in love. I’ve been getting into lip color recently and this is a nice way to dive into using color without having to use lipsticks, which I find drying – not good for the winter. Use this and you’ll add some color and moisture to your lips this winter!

Neutral Blanket Scarf

Normal scarves just don’t cut it for me anymore. I am obsessed with extra large, blanket like scarves. I bring them out as soon as the air has a chill and love the extra warmth they give me. In the office when its cold I’ll use them as wraps, which is why I like buying them in neutral colors. This way I can just throw them on!

Warm wool socks

Underneath my winter boots I’m wearing warm wool socks – always. I don’t know how people just wear normal “white socks” in the winter. I always have to wear the chunky kind like these to keep my feet warm.

Exfoliator – Fresh Sugar Polish

My skin is always dry in the winter and this Fresh Sugar Face Polish keeps my skin feeling refreshed and smooth. I just discovered this scrub and its incredible. My skin feels the way it does after a facial – hyrdrated !I hope you try some of these and let me know if they help you through this winter. We have snow in the forecast here so I will be indulging in some tea, wool socks, and moisturizing ! Stay warm !

No portion of this post is sponsored.  However, there are a few affiliate links included. There is no extra cost to you, but I do receive a small commission on anything you buy through my links.  Thank you for reading and supporting My Petite Joys! 

DIY Rosemary Wreath

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

With the holidays now over its always a little sad to take down Christmas decorations – but there are a few things you can keep up! My DIY Rosemary Wreath is a great example of this and I’ll show you how to make it!

Over the holidays I made this DIY Rosemary wreath after having brought in my rosemary plant. To fit in my house over the winter it needed a serious hair cut. I was left with a ton of rosemary sprigs and googled creative ways to make the best use of this fragrant plant — there are tons of things to do but I settled on a wreath. To avoid only being able to use it for the holidays I made sure to not use any red in my wreath and instead used greens so I could easily transition this past December into the winter months.  It’s still fragrant today and is an easy, low cost DIY ! I love how slightly messy and rugged it looks while still being elegant.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

Rosemary Wreath Supplies
  • Rosemary sprigs — this is where things can get costly if you don’t have access to a rosemary plant, since rosemary sprigs can get expensive! If you can, find a rosemary plant and make use of it!
  • Sharp scissors or wire cutter
  • Wire hanger
  • Dark colored wire – I had this on hand from my DIY Chandelier project and was happy to find another use for this!
  • Fabric or ribbon – I always hold on to pieces of ribbon or bows from gifts that I get, they always come in handy for projects like this

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

Directions

1. Gather your rosemary sprigs – when cutting try to keep them at about four to five inches in size.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

2. Cut your wire hanger to remove the hook part and form it into the shape of a circle. From here you can use your regular wire to connect the two ends together to from a circle.

3. Gather two to three rosemary sprigs to create fuller bunches that you can then place around the hanger. You will snip small bits of wire and wrap it around  the rosemary sprigs. Make sure your wire is dark so it blends in with the green of the rosemary and does not stand out.

4. Continue doing this until your entire wreath is full ! Once you get the hang of wrapping the wire its very easy – and your hands will smell of rosemary for the rest of the day.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

5. To finish it off I added a green and cream plaid bow that I had on hand. It was festive for the holidays but could also be used throughout the winter months.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | www.mypetitejoys.com

New Year , New Goals, New Look!

Happy New Year !!!! After a relaxing and cozy winter break it’s time to get back to work and reality! I’m ready for the new year and can’t believe its already 2018. I’m looking forward to all that it brings.

In keeping with my tradition of writing New Year’s lists here’s another one for 2018.

Blogging

I really enjoying writing and taking the photos for this blog and can’t wait to keep this going into 2018. Through it I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful people. I love being able to share and create my small corner of beauty on the internet and hope it makes you smile. With that – I spent some of my winter break redesigning  the blog to look a little cleaner, fresher, and more me. I hope you like it and would love feedback ! 

 

Get Back To DIY

Last year I succeeded so well in my goal of being active and taking weekend trips that I wasn’t able to get to as many DIY projects. After all when you work full time there’s only so many free weekends to tinker around and try out new projects! 🙂 This year I’d like to do a bit more – I have an exciting new partnership coming up that will help me do this (more on this in the next few weeks!).  I’ve already scheduled out some ideas for the year to keep me on track. Let’s see how it goes!

Embroidery | www.mypetitejoys.com

Master Family Recipes

This year I want to spend more time with my loved ones and learn and document our cherished family recipes. My Babcia (grandmother) and mom are fantastic cooks so I’m committing to learning a set amount of recipes from them. It’s a perfect way to spend time with those who matter most.

Babcia | www.mypetitejoys.com

Yoga

Last year I wanted to devote more time to working out and joined Classpass – after months of having to coordinate my schedule every week to fit in classes I decided I needed something more routined in my life. Through Classpass I was able to find Bottom Line Yoga – a studio that completely fit my scheduling and location needs. Since September I’ve been going to yoga three to four times a week and its honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I feel better and the type of workout you get form yoga is exactly what my body craves. My resolution is to keep my dedicated schedule – it helps soothe my body and mind!

Relax

After reflecting I have to say that 2017 was a really hard year for so many reasons. I’ve had to use 2017 as the year of learning to breath through stressful and uncertain situations. I’m coming into 2018 knowing I need to learn to be accepting of life and its exciting uncertainty. It’s a life lesson everyone has to learn as they get older and as with everything all we can control is our attitudes – so with that I’m going to keep living with a smile on my face and an optimistic spirit in my heart.

Relax | www.mypetitejoys.com

Write

When I was younger I used to keep journals. I recently came across my old ones that go as far back as fifth grade up until college. Reading through memories and insights that I’ve long since forgot about was a happy walk down memory lane. I don’t want to lose that and want to take this back up again. I’ll start small but even writing at least once a month will fun to look back on in the years to come.

Bookmaking | www.mypetitejoys.com

I wish you all a joyful 2018 – may wonderful things come your way.

Homemade Kolaczki

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Kolaczki are a delicious cookie with roots in central Europe.  I’m not sure if it’s like this anywhere else, but its a big tradition for folks in Chicago to make these with their families during Christmas time so I decided to try these out on my own! They are so easy and simple – the cookie is made up of just four ingredients: flour, butter, cream cheese, and a preserve of your choice — that’s it! Read on to see how it went and some lessons I learned along the way.

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Ingredients
  • 1 stick of butter (1 cup)
  • Cream cheese (3 oz)
  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Jam flavor(s) of your choice – my favorite has always been raspberry so I made my whole batch with that. You can also use apricot, plum, or strawberry.

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a baking sheet with butter.

2. Combine the butter and cream cheese. Make sure that you remember to leave out your butter for a few hours so its soft enough to mix. Once the butter and cream cheese are combined – add the flour slowly. I just used my hands to mix since I didn’t want to take out my mixer. The warmth from my hands helped the dough mix together. Once everything is combined – chill overnight or at least for a few hours.

3. Rollout your dough on a floured surface. You want the dough to be about 1 cm thick – not too thin and not too thick. Remember it will rise in the oven!

4. I chose to cut my kolaczki into 2 inch squares using a wooden spatula I had on hand. Some folks  make circilar kolaczki , but I wanted to try the fancier folded type.

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

5. Add about a 1/2  teaspoon of jam to the middle of the square and then fold two corners together. Be careful and make sure you really pinch your cookies closed or else they’ll open up in the oven. About half of mine opened up so i’m still working on perfecting “my pinch!”

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

6. Put your cookies on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Depending on your oven it could take a little shorter than this so watch your cookies as they bake. Mine took a full 15 minutes to bake.

7. This recipe made me 20 cookies – once they cooled I sprinkled with powdered sugar and enjoyed!

I think I’ll start making these every year – they are so easy and simple but taste delicious. What are your Christmas cookie traditions?

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Homemade Kolacky | www.mypetitejoys.com

Christmas In Chicago

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite Chicago Christmas traditions – the city is always a festive place at this time of year and there are so many activities to enjoy. Below are some of my favorite traditions – some are old and from childhood, while some are new. I love my city at this time of year!

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Christkindlmarket Market

Located in Daley Plaza – this market is a delight for the senses and brings the wonderful European tradition of Christmas markets to Chicago! Walking around you’ll see gorgeous handmade ornaments and other holiday gifts from overseas. Even better is the smell of the food sold here — feast on tasty meals like cinnamon spiced nuts and potato pancakes while drinking hot wine.

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Holiday Shows

Every year Chicago’s theater district offers beloved holiday classics like White Christmas or A Christmas Carol. Even though we know it’s going to be the same stories and have heard the songs before- the interpretations are always fresh and new! Go buy tickets to your favorite show today!

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Holiday Windows at Macy’s (formerly Marshall Fields)

It’s an old tradition in Chicago to visit the historic Marshall Field and Company building on State Street and see the holiday windows. Each year there are different themes – one year I remember they did fairy tales and it was just gorgeous. Today the building is inhabited by Macy’s which continues this beloved tradition! Look how cute these little ones are as they look at the magical window scenes !

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker!

Speaking of new interpretations — I have to highlight Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker put on by Chicago’s famous Joffrey Ballet. It is absolutely stunning and envisions this classic tale in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The set design is perfect and magical – this year we are going a second time and are making this a new family tradition!

Christmas In Chicago | www.mypetitejoys.com

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone. What are your favorite Chicago Christmas traditions?

Introducing Landon Lacey & An Opal Necklace Give Away!

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

I can’t wait to share about my first collaboration with Landon Lacey! I don’t have too much jewelry but I do have a few pieces that I wear almost every day. Most of my pieces tend to be small and delicate, but always have a story and history behind them. The most sentimental jewelry that I have is a gold pendant of the Madonna and Child. It was given to me by my Babcia (grandmother in Polish) for my first holy communion and its become something that I wear everyday. It makes me feel close to my Babcia, and also to the Mother Mary, who is near and dear to our family.

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

I’ve been wanting to update this piece for a long time and make it a bit more modern. The pendant itself is very heavy and solid looking. I’ve been loving the look of layered necklaces and stumbled upon Chicago based jewelry designer Landon Lacey via Instagram. Once I saw her pieces, which are so delicate and timeless, I knew she was the right person to help me update my necklace! I reached out to Landon Lacey on a whim to see if she’d want to help and we met just before Thanksgiving to design a layered necklace to go with my pendant.

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

I’ve never gotten to help with the design of anything before, so making this bespoke necklace was so much fun! Landon has so many options and first gave me a new, lighter chain for the pendant that sparkles in the light. We then explored all the options she had to match with my pendant. We looked at moon stones, smaller gold pendants, and glass stones ! She has everything! When she pulled out a small opal pendant – I knew we had found the right option. Not only am I super close with my Babcia but we also share the same name, birth month, and birthstone – opals! We put everything together and voila – it was exactly what I wanted and made the combo even more meaningful.

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Landon also suggested two other pendants so I could mix and match to fit my mood – a dainty clear glass pendant and a greenish glass pendant. All of Landon’s pieces feature real 14k gold filled chains and genuine gemstones. Look how beautiful they are! Notice I have an extra opal 😉 — keep on reading to see how you can win it in my first give away!

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

I can’t wait to work with Landon again and I’m now a life long customer. We sat together for a good two hours and chatted like old friends – it was so relaxed and fun.

To celebrate Landon Lacey and share her beautiful work – I’m doing my first giveaway! The winner will receive the same beautiful opal pendant that I chose for myself. It comes on a dainty 15 inch 14k gold filled chain and features a colorful opal. To enter click the Rafflecopter link below and follow the directions. Each direction contains a link that you can click on to access our Instagrams and Facebook pages! You will be asked to:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you click the link above and follow the directions because its is the only way to enter the give away! 

The winner will be announced on December 12th via my Instagram (one week from today!). Here is a close up view of the prize!

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

Make sure to check out Landon’s website and start your holiday shopping with her. Her pieces are perfect for your sister, mother, best friend and are something they can wear everyday! Thank you Landon Lacey for helping me update my pendant and make it even more meaningful 🙂

Landon Lacey Jewelry | www.mypetitejoys.com

 

 

One Day Vienna Itinerary

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

A few years ago Vienna, Austria was voted one of the worlds most livable cities.  After spending time there I can definitely see why. It’s a gorgeous historic capital city that has seen a lot of history !  Ted and I had just one full day to enjoy everything this city had to offer. Due to unforeseen circumstances (see my An Unexpected Night In Warsaw post for details) our time in Vienna was cut short and on the plane ride there I had to react and make last minute edits to our itinerary. I’m happy to say that I’m pretty sure I made the right choices since Ted and I loved Vienna. Keep reading to see what we were able to fit into one day of sight seeing !

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

MORNING
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens – 

It was a beautiful sunny morning so we decided to walk to Schönbrunn Palace. Our hotel was just a few blocks away so it was a nice way to kick off the day and save on train fare. Schönbrunn was the summer home of the Hapsburg family. Its most famous residents include the Empress Marie Theresa and her infamous daughter Marie Antoinette. I had visited Vienna years ago when I studied abroad in college so had been inside the castle and chose not to take the palace tour since we had our time cut short. Schönbrunn is a lot like Versailles so once you’ve seen one 18th century palace you get the gist. Instead Ted and I ventured into the free gardens out back and they did not disappoint. We hiked up the massive hill and got a gorgeous panorama of Vienna that we took time to sit and enjoy.

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Hofburg Palace – 

After the gardens we took the Vienna Metro to the Karlsplatz stop and found our way to Hofburg Palace. I have to give a quick shout out to Vienna’s Metro map – its incredibly easy to understand and so well connected, it made traveling from point A to B low stress. Hofburg Palace was the official imperial residence and has been the heart of Vienna for centuries – its an expansive mass of classical buildings designed to impress. While here you can take one of the palace tours or just wander the grounds and take a break in one of the nearby cafes for some schnitzel!

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

AFTERNOON
National Library of Austria – 

Being the book lover that I am I try to make a visit to the National Library of every major city I visit. Vienna’s National Library is gorgeous and reminded me of the library from Beauty & the Beast. It’s on the grounds of the Hofburg Palace so it was very easy to get to. There’s nothing so beautiful as a giant room dedicated to books!

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

St. Stephen’s Cathedral – 

Just a quick walk from the Hofburg Palace (if you take the Metro, its located at the Stephansplatz stop) is the 14th century Roman Catholic church – St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I love medieval cathedrals built in the gothic style. They are so creepy and eerily beautiful. ! Unlike its German cousin, Austria has always been very Catholic, so Vienna is full of stunning churches from every era. However St. Stephen’s is the “original” and a must-see.

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

EVENING
Maria Theresien-Platz – 

We arrived here at sunset and had gorgeous views of Vienna’s famous Art & Science Museums. In the center of this square sits a statue of Marie Theresa herself – Vienna has had many rulers in its history but she is the one everyone loves to remember. She was the original #bosslady.

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Dinner at Ilona Stuberl – 

The best meal we ate on the entire trip was actually Hungarian food (making a mental note to add Budapest to our list….). The restaurant was called Ilona Stuberl and located on Braunerstrassesmall street, which is just off Graben. It was a tiny space decorated in a folksy style – but oh lord was the food incredible. The most amazing item is the Jokai Bean Soup . The soup was so good I couldn’t even take a picture of it because Ted and I scarfed it down so fast. For our dinner we had the Stuffed Cabbage and Lesco Chicken with Rice.

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Delmel 

For dessert we made our way to Delmel, Vienna’s most famous patisserie established in 1786. Have some apple strudel and tea – you won’t be disappointed. The ambience is decadent but the prices are reasonable!

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

So there you have it – a perfect day in Vienna – I utterly love this city and can’t wait to go back one day.

Vienna | www.mypetitejoys.com

Introducing Gathered Boutique & Workshop

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

We’ve officially entered the holiday season and with that comes the time for shopping and gift giving! In honor of this weekend’s Small Business Saturday, I wanted to celebrate one of the best stores to open in my hometown of Mount Prospect – Gathered Boutique & Workshop. Whether you’re looking for vintage pieces, locally made art,  or just want to take a fun workshop – Gathered has something for everyone. Last week I sat down with the owner Lindsey to learn more about the store and the story behind it.

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

The Story

Sitting with Lindsey I immediately got the sense that she is a creative spirit, a “doer” as I like to say! She has a background in teaching, comes from a craft loving family, and is a busy mom of four! Lindsey is passionate about about giving folks the opportunity to buy beautiful pieces for their homes and uses her talent and eye for the unique to bring locally sourced art (think handmade knits, baby clothes, purses, candles!) and antiques to Gathered, which officially opened in June of 2017!

Always a teacher at heart, Lindsey’s greatest joy comes from teaching others new crafts and skills. Lindsey does this through the workshops offered at Gathered, which make this store special. Since its opening, Gathered has become a place where people gather, create, and learn a new skill. Some of the classes offered so far include:

  • Painting
  • Cookie decorating
  • Jam making
  • Knitting
  • Hand lettering
  • Sign making

If you’re interested in taking a workshop  browse the classes and sign up here. You can even set up a private class for a party!

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com
You can take a class to learn how to make one of these signs!

So far I’ve taken two painting classes with my mom (who loved it!) and most recently a knitting class that literally had me in stitches. I went with my friend Jen and we met up with two older ladies and we just laughed our way through the complexity of knitting and how bad we were since we were just starting out !

The store has such a fantastic energy – last weekend I had the opportunity to take some photos of the store in all of its holiday glory! I was only there for an hour but during this time a steady stream of folks stopped in to shop and I even met two of the artists who were dropping off their pieces. It’s a place where people drop in to browse the beautiful and unique !

As you plan your holiday shopping head on over to Gathered and maybe I’ll see you at a workshop! Take a look at some of the goodies here and maybe you’ll find something for your loved ones and yourself ! Lindsey’s prices are very affordable and she has something for everyone !

To stay in the loop make sure you follow Gathered via Facebook and Instagram!

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com
The baby clothes and accessories at Gathered are the cuties!

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com
Gorgeous locally made jewelry!

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com
If you’re looking for vintage mirrors Gathered is the best stop – they are so affordable here!

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

Gathered | www.mypetitejoys.com

My Go To Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread | www.mypetitejoys.com

It’s pumpkin season and who doesn’t love a good pumpkin bread!? With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to share my “go to” recipe for pumpkin bread – it comes from the amazing food blogger Jenn Segal who blogs at Once Upon A Chef. Her recipes are fantastic ! As a former chef most of her recipes are original, so be sure to check her out ! What I love about her pumpkin bread recipe is that its vintage. It comes from a magazine that her grandmother read in the 1950s. Jenn has an image on her blog of the original recipe and you can tell its been well used. Its covered in all manner of cooking stains and grease. I love to think about how many people have used this recipe since it was originally published over fifty years ago – probably hundreds and now I’m sharing with you!

Image from https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/spiced-pumpkin-bread.html
Image Sourced from Once Upon A Chef – Pumpkin Bread

The key to this recipe is of course the pumpkin puree – I always use Libby’s. Now that’s it’s Fall pumpkin everything is on sale at the grocery store so stock up!

Pumpkin Bread | www.mypetitejoys.com

From a cooking perspective its super easy. You combine your dry goods with the wet goods and bake for just over an hour. Here’s a link to the original recipe for all the specific details.

Pumpkin Bread | www.mypetitejoys.com

This recipe ends up making two delicious loaves of pumpkin bread. One for you and one to give away as a gift. The bread is incredibly moist and keeps for a long time in the fridge. As for the flavor it tastes like Fall. The addition of the nutmeg and clove is strong here (which I love) but if you’re not keen on these spices you can add less or just take them out entirely.

Try this out and let me know how it goes – if you make any other dishes from Once Upon A Chef  let me know too – I’m still cooking my way through her recipes.

Pumpkin Bread | www.mypetitejoys.com

Pumpkin Bread | www.mypetitejoys.com

 

A Perfect Day At Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

I’m still riding high from the memories of our latest vacation. It was one of the best we’ve taken and I have so much to share! I’ve done some reflecting and hands down my favorite moment of the ten day trip was the visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. If it looks or sounds familiar it’s because you’ve likely already seen a representation of it if you’ve watched a Disney movie. This is THE castle that inspired Walt Disney and his imaginary world. Neuschwanstein Castle is a real life scene from Grimm’s fairytales!

King Ludwig II of Bavaria built the castle. He was a troubled king and a bit insane. But he had a true talent for architecture and incorporated his obsession with fairy tales into the castle’s interior design.

Sadly, Ludwig never saw his completed castle. He was killed (or murdered depending on who you talk to) before its completion. If you’re interested in learning more about that story you can read about it here on the official state site!

What makes this castle special is its location. The castle is in southeast Germany, the heart of Bavaria. The landscape is filled with rolling fields, picturesque farms, and towering Alps mountains. Ted and I visited in the first week of October. Lucky for us,  the changing fall leaves enhanced the area’s natural beauty and fairytale feel.

How We Got There 

Since we were based in Munich, Ted and I traveled to Neuschwanstein Castle with a tour company called Mike’s Bike Tours.  They took us on one of the best group tours we’ve ever been on. This is saying a lot considering Ted and I like to do a few each time we go on vacation. Why do I say this? They were on time (like everything in Germany), entertaining, provided informative commentary, and took awesome photos for their group.

Our tour guide loved photography and made a point to take us to the best spots for photos and took them himself since he knew how to get the light right. As someone who loves photos – I was impressed!

The tour started from Munich at 8:45 am. We met at the Discover Bavaria Shop, right across the street from the Hofbräuhaus, the world’s most famous beer hall. From there we took a coach bus through gorgeous Bavarian scenery. At this point of the trip I was exhausted but forced myself to stay awake because I wanted to take in all the sights. Look at how beautiful the mountains are!

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

We also got to bike along Bavarian farms and woods to get more of a feel for the area and enjoy some nature. This castle receives millions of visitors a year and most tourists spend up to two hours waiting in line for tickets to the castle. With our tour the tickets were pre-purchased and instead of standing in line we went on a bike ride — a much better way to spend the day. Look at how gorgeous the road that we got to bike on was – golden! In the background we had views of the castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

We biked to a beautiful lake nestled in the woods surrounding the castle. Look at these views! I’m a mountain girl at heart.

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

After all biking we enjoyed a hearty German lunch. After filling our empty stomachs we chose our method of getting to the castle:  bus or hike! Ted and I chose to hike. The hike took about 30 minutes, but during this time we ascended over 1,000 feet! It was steeeeep! Here’s a picture of a map of the castle grounds – I love the colors here. Even the tourist signs have style haha.

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

The Castle 

The magic of this castle is indescribable, instead I leave you with pictures. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The sun gave the colorful fall leaves a golden glow and the air was cool but crisp. One of the best days ever!

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com

Here I am – taking it all in and loving life! I hope I’ve convinced you to visit, you won’t regret it.

Neuschwanstein Castle | www.mypetitejoys.com