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2017 Girl's Trip

I've mentioned a plethora of times in my blog how blessed I am to have such an amazing family. My sisters are two people that I (a) look up to a ton and (b) enjoy spending time with! Like....all of my time. We hadn't been on a girl's trip in about 5 years, so we felt like it was about time. We went to Dallas to a trade show and shopped until we dropped (literally).

The best part is that we all understand each other's weirdness. And that takes a lot considering how weird I really am. We got the opportunity to go to Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco. If you're a fan of Fixer Upper, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Between Magnolia, Joy Macaroons, and Sprinkles Cupcakes (why didn't anybody tell me how good those are, by the way?), it was a pretty successful trip.  It was so much fun and I already want to go back!

Ma Boys

When I was a junior in high school, my family had the unique opportunity to sponsor some children from Kenya that were part of a group called "The Singing Children of Africa." They toured to the UK and then to the US to try to raise money for their school and families. This opportunity was one that I will never forget. These children were so happy when they had so little. At a fairly young age, I was extremely grateful that my parents provided me with the chance to learn about what I had and why it was so important.

These kids knew the actual definition of hunger.

These kids had homes made out of mud. Each time it rained, their homes would wash away and they would have to re-build.

These kids didn't know what a birthday was, nor did they know exactly how old they were.

If these kids had the opportunity to actually go to school, it was once in a lifetime and extremely rare.

These children would do everything in their power to succeed in life.

These children had lives that were so extremely rough on so many levels. Yet they were still the happiest kids I have ever met. They taught me how to be grateful. They taught me that I have more than most of the world. They taught me what happiness is: Happiness is simplicity.

A couple of months ago, my parents sacrificed so much time and efforts into getting these children here again...8 years later. Therefore, they weren't necessarily children anymore. I haven't cried those types of tears in awhile. Tears of happiness to see them. And then tears of sadness once they left. 8 years later, my African siblings truly taught me how to live and love. They reiterated that happiness is simplicity and that the less you have, the richer you are.

I hope to travel to Mombasa, Kenya to visit them soon! So, if anybody has any tips or feedback, please contact me.

A pretty matchless experience

I can't even tell y'all how proud I am to be writing this post. I have put it off for a few months because I don't even know how to describe how I feel. My oldest brother, David, made the decision to get baptized into the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on December 10th, 2016. This is something that I have dreamt about my whole life.

We drove down to Fresno and my dad baptized my brother David. I have never been to a baptism that was so incredible and had the strongest spirit about it the entire day. Though there aren't enough words to adequately describe how I feel, I am so so proud of my brother and the choice he made to follow Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for my family!

My nephew Joseph made the decision about a month before my brother did to also get baptized. It was super crazy how quick this all came about. I definitely believe the Lord is all about the right timing! My heart is so so full.

How to save money....easily

I've never been the best at saving money. Heck, I'm still not amazing at saving money. It's something that Mr. Schroeder and I are constantly striving to improve on. I felt the need to write about an app that has seriously saved us these past 6 months or so. It's called Qapital. 

Here's How it Works
You set up rules for your purchases and the app will automatically deduct amounts out of your checking account to save.

Huh? Every time I tell someone that they respond with, "Wait...give me an example."

My Rules
I only have two rules in place right now. Initially, when I setup the app, I didn't expect the huge impact that it actually had.

1. Round Up: Each purchase that I make, Qapital will automatically round it up $2. You can choose whatever amount you'd like for it to round up. Within 3 months, and using my debit card (I literally use this card for everything), I had saved over $500. It was something that I didn't even notice coming out of my checking account. It was nuts!

2. Break Habits: Now, if you're struggling going to Mcdonalds often....or Starbucks (ehh hemm...this is my struggle), you can make it so that Qapital actually takes an additional amount out each time you go. That $5 drink at Starbucks?'s actually gonna cost ya $15. It has allowed me to not only break bad habits, but to save money as well when I do cave in.

Download Qapital. Like, right now. I promise you won't regret it. Whether you have troubles saving money or not, this app will surprise you when you login and realize how much money you've saved over something you may have not noticed coming out of your checking account anyways!

Phuket & Phi Phi Islands

Oh. My. Gravy. Have I mentioned how huge of a dream the Thai islands were? Well, you're about to get a mouth full. I don't think Mr. Schroeder and I adventured here as much as we did in Chiang Mai, simply because we were too busy relaxing! After all, it's not quite a vacation if you're go-go-go- the entire time, ya know?  

Phuket was a dream. In fact, months later, and I'm still dreaming about it. I talked to a few people who went to Thailand and didn't even explore the islands. PEOPLE. If you're going this far away, you must explore the islands. The hardest part is choosing which islands to explore. Especially if you're like us, and didn't have, you know, a whole month to look around. The good part? You can't really go wrong. I mean, whatever islands you choose, it's going to be gorgeous. The only thing you need to be aware of is WHEN to go. We went late October into early November. We beat the crowds apparently, but the rainy season was just getting over.

First & Foremost....
You'll go to restaurants that have 100-page long menus. Why? Because they are trying to satisfy literally every tourist in the world. I love them for caring about us, but we'd suggest you just eat the freakin curry. Eat chicken curry with rice wherever you go.

Look at this piece of heaven! Pair curry with a bottled Coke, and your tummy couldn't love you more. I personally don't like spicy food (I wish I did). So if you are the same as me, don't say "little spice." Say "no spice." Ha! Even little spice was killing my taste buds. I'm a woos, I admit.

Get a Hotel on the Beach
This isn't necessarily difficult to do in Phuket. Because Thailand is so cheap, we paid about $35/night in a 5-star hotel. You can certainly go cheaper, but in my opinion, it's pretty fun to go all out live a little luxuriously (Can I even call it luxurious if it was only $35/night?). I suppose it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. A few of my friends had a goal to spend as little as possible. That's pretty awesome, too! We stayed at Chanalai Garden Resort. The beach was across the street and it made for a gorgeous view. I'd highly recommend it! 

Visit Bamboo Island & hire a freakin Gondola driver man
Bamboo Island is a part of Phi Phi Islands. It was gorgeous. My recommendation? Go early in the morning. There were so many tourists when we went. But it was still ah-mazing. I sorta fell in love with the gondola boats. If you follow me on Instagram, you were more than likely annoyed with all of my posts. But they are just so cute. And they are pretty obligatory for Thailand, don't ya think?

Monkey Island? 
One of my biggest to-do's while in Thailand was to go to Monkey Island. When we went, we were told that there were recent monkey attacks and people were getting hurt because they were feeding them. Freaky, ehh? The monkey's will also steal your sunglasses and belongings. Most people walked away wishing they hadn't gone. I was sorta bummed to hear this, but the boat we were on drove past an area with lots of monkey's. We threw food to them and they were jumping from all over the place swimming around to get the food. It was pretty entertaining! (PS, look at that water. Millions of heart eyes!)

Viking Cave
Viking Cave was really incredible to see. The cave was named due to the drawings that were found inside of the cave on the walls that resemble ancient viking ships. Apparently, the cave is no longer open for tourists; however, you can drive by it to look at it. It's north of Pilay Bay on the east coast of Phi Phi Ley.

Pileh Lagoon
This was probably one of the prettiest sights we saw while in Thailand. Photos just don't do it justice. It really was breathtaking. We snorkeled here and I never thought I'd see clearer water than Bahama Blue water. It's indescribable!

Maya Bay
One of the most famous islands in Phi Phi. It's where "The Beach" was filmed, if you've ever seen that! T'was gorgeous indeed. 

Rent a Scooter
I was anti-motorcycle before going to Thailand. We rented scooters (for $6/day!!!!) and rode around the island. It was honestly the best decision ever. I was a bit hesitant, but HIGHLY recommend doing this in Phi Phi. I'm not quite sure if I'd feel safe riding around in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, but it wasn't near as bad in Phuket...probably because the majority of the island is one lane each way. Trev and I had the funnest time breezing around and adventuring to different beaches.

Nai Harn Beach
I was lucky enough to have a contact in Phuket that I asked a few questions to. He let me know that a popular beach that's not crazy touristy that many locals go to is Nai Harn Beach. And the sunsets are incredible. Trust me. Rent a scooter. Drive to Nai Harn Beach. Fall in love. Make out on the beach, maybe. Ahhhh. There are also temples around the beach that you can explore. Restaurants and shops are fun to gander around as well. 

Big Buddha
We went on a scooter ride up the canyon to see Big Buddha. This was incredible. It's funny because the photos don't even show how large Buddha really is. It overlooks the island & is a MUST. Just be sure you're covered up. Because if you're like me, they make you put modest clothing on. I was oblivious and didn't do my research prior to going. It was a bit embarrassing but I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience the culture!

Karon View Point
This was another spot we stopped at while riding our motorcycles. It's a stunning viewpoint (where you can also hold some eagles, too!) Completely free and a must-do while you're there.

I would love to chat with any of you if you are planning on going to Thailand. It was a trip of a lifetime and I want to go again and again! The people are so friendly, respectful, and make you feel welcome (even if your beliefs don't line hemm...America needs to work on that). It was also an amazing little getaway for Mr. Schroeder and I. An escape from all of the health issues and garbage. Once we got back, we felt so rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything!