Next Big News

So the news is out.

As of June 12th my feet and toes will hopefully begin a long and arduous process (metamorphosis?) of returning to look like, well, feet and toes – as opposed to what they currently are: nubs; gnarled, veiny things that are sometimes just as painful as they appear.

No more! Goodbye callouses. Hello pedicures. Lots of them.

But all silliness aside, I’m 25 days away and it’s getting real people.

I can feel the emotional water-level rise with every day that seems to melt away like the snow on our Northwest mountain ranges. And I know that the closer I get to the finish line the faster those days will seem to slip through my fingers. It’s like trying to hold a rushing river. Yeah. Doesn’t really work.

And it’s easy to get swept away by Emotion’s swift current. One moment I’m excitedly thinking to myself “Well that’s the last time I’ll have to deal with that!” and then the next my eyes are watering up with hot tears. There are just so many things I’m going to miss.

So if there’s one thing I could ask for over the next 25 days are you prayers. Prayers that I don’t get swept away. Prayers that I can be as present as possible, savoring each moment of this gift I’ve been given. Prayers for a heart that overflows with gratitude and joy no matter how hard it is or how much pain I’m in. Because Balanchine’s Square Dance is not easy. My toes can attest to it.

Okay enough of the serious stuff…

“So… What’s next?” 

I can’t tell you how often I get asked this question. And I’m not gonna lie, I often struggle with knowing how to answer it.

But here’s one answer: Europe!

Ryan and I are traveling with my mother and father-in-law to Italy. It’s their first time and literally a dream come true for my mother-in-law. We’re so excited!

We’ll spend 10 days exploring Florence, the Cinque Terre & Venice, eating incredible food, visiting Ryan’s best friends Brad & Sylvia and swimming in the Med. Then it’s Ryan’s turn to cross off one of his bucket list destination: Corfu, Greece. Just he and I will be getting away for a week of Adriatic beach time and sunshine, while Mike and Carolyn (my in-laws) explore a little more of Tuscany and Rome.

Bucket list for the McEliece’s. Check. But what about mine?

Here’s my next big news: I’ll be having an extended European vacation. Sika’s Solo Adventures.

Yes. You read the right. Solo. For almost 3 weeks.

Excited? Nervous? Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

And have I already started to pack? Maaaybe… More like dreaming, or er, well distracting. Pretty things always soothe a sad heart. Check out my itinerary and outfit ideas below:

For the plane ride… A very LONG plane ride…

One word: Comfy. I need to thank the person who made it fashionably acceptable to wear sweatpants once again. These joggers from Gap are the perfect blend between pant and pajama. The New Balance sneakers are my all-terain vehicle so to speak. And planes are always freezing! This Zara sweatshirt will come in very handy.

Finding Florence

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I’m trying really hard this trip to pack light. Clearly this blog post is quite contrary. But there are two items that are actually essential (and my husband demands I adhere to them): a small(ish) cross body purse & good shoes. I’ve had my eye on this bag from Anthropologie for quite a while. And strangely enough the best summer walking shoes I’ve found are, wait for it… Old Navy Sandals. No support but so nice on those cobblestones!

Hiking Cinque Terre

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I tried hiking this in a romper, bikini and flip flops last year. Not the best idea I ever had. This year I’ll come prepared.  Lightweight plaid shirt from Old Navy & shorts & tee from J-Crew Factory.

And we’ll definitely be doing a little sun-bathing too… Cover-up & bikini via Anthropologie & shades from Free People.

Exploring Venice

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Venice. It’s truly enchanting. And while it’s a tiny island they sure do jam pack the people in! Closed-toed shoes make me feel a little better about the pigeon poo & lagoon water and offer a little more support when you clock 15mi in search of Venice’s best gelato. No joke. We did this. Moccasins by Minnetonka & shirt & shorts by J-Crew Factory.

Swimming in Corfu

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Ryan’s grandpa Ray traveled all over the world with Boeing. And when Ryan asked him of all the places he went to where he’d like most to return he answered “Corfu.” Ray went home to be with Jesus this December and so Ryan and I are really excited to explore this island that captured his heart, while spending some time together relaxing. Most likely on a beach. There’s a beautiful one just right outside our hotel. Swimsuit & Hat from Anthropologie. Shades from Urban Outfitters.

Roaming in Rome

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My Roman Holiday. I’ll confess. Rome was never on my list. I’m serious. And yet the more I thought about which cities (that I’d never been to) I’d like to get lost in – Rome kept popping up. Maybe it’s just that I subconsciously want to be Audrey Hepburn… This linen jumpsuit seemed fashionable yet comfortable enough to walk around this ancient city. And it, along with a scarf or this kimono (all the rage lately!) solves the church dilemma – having your knees and shoulders covered when visiting. Learned that one the hard way last year…

Poised in Positano

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I first heard of this place when I was, I don’t know, 11?, watching Only You with Marisa Tomei & Robert Downey Jr. They take this magical drive along a perilous coastal road in a convertible to Positano situated snuggly between the rocks & sea. It’s a bit of a glitzy resort town, but I’m okay pampering myself a bit. Forget the LBD for dining out. I’m all about red! Found this little red dress at Zara along with the sandals too. The clutch is from Anthropologie. Surprise, surprise!

Playing in Prague

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 Prague has been on my bucket list for years. I can’t wait to meander along the streets admiring all the untouched architecture of this beautiful city. I might even catch a classical concert! For an outfit that will transition nicely from day to night, I found these delightful culottes? gauchos? Not sure what they are other than comfy. And I thought I’d pair them with a slight crop top because, well, I’m still young enough to get away with it. The sandals are from Zara, and I’m obsessed with this Cameo Ring I found on Etsy.

Celebrating in Sardinia

Cityscape, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Lastly Sardinia… Cagliari & Villasimius to be exact. Part city. Mostly beach. My two objectives: a scouting mission for me and Ryan’s next vacation (as this island has our names written all over it!) and place to reflect on and blog about this trip. And nothing says “Jessika” than a great dress and scarf. The off-the-shoulder look seems to be as popular right now as the kimono. But I couldn’t decided between the chambray and the red eyelet! Both are so darling from Ann Taylor Loft. And a great scarf can add a pop of color and double as a shawl for the evenings.

It’s gonna be the trip of a lifetime. I’m excited to have so much time, just me and my Papa God, to explore His beautiful and diverse creation, celebrate all the work He’s done and is doing, and talk and dream together about the future. And hopefully I’ll return with a better idea of what the long-term “What’s next” is.

I’ll keep you posted!

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