The Traveling Cupkate

The Traveling Cupkate: Gluten Free Minnesota

Katlin Voigt

Anyone else think of home and think of food? I’m a foodie and grew up in a food loving family… literally, we showed our love through food! Every family function had a hot dish or bars. Sunday’s after church was always a potluck complete with “church lady punch” and a cold potato salad. Summertime was watermelon, corn on the cob, and fried walleye sandwiches…and don’t get me started about Millie’s cookies at the State Fair or the caramel apples from Abdallah.

However since being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance six years ago, the deliciousness of home hasn’t been quite as alluring. However, don’t fret! If you’re going to be in the suburbs of Minneapolis St. Paul, there are some good gluten free finds around. Here’s a quick guide to some of my favorite highlights to GF eating in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area:

Hands down, my favorite gluten free bakery I’ve ever come across in all my travels. I make MULTIPLE trips every time I go home. The entire bakery is gluten free so you’re in the clear and can drool at all the delicious looking treats and eat them all!
Muffins, scones, banana bread, cinnamon raisin bread, caraway bread, white bread, bread crumbs, stuffing, breadsticks, pumpkin bread, sandwich buns, lemon bars, brownies, pumpkin bars, cranberry bars, a half dozen different types of cookies, cupcakes, cakes, as well as pies, cornbread, granola, and my personal new favorite I found this last visit: donut holes!!
Don’t walk, RUN, to this place people.

French meadow Bakery & Café prides itself on fresh, organic and local. They have an entire gluten free and vegan menu to include things like:
Breakfast/lunch: Avocado toast, pancakes, French toast, waffles, hashbrowns, omelets and other breakfast staples like fresh fruit and eggs. They also have a coffee bar
Dinner: flatbread on a gluten free crust, scrumptious salads, almond encrusted walleye, fish tacos, gluten free mac and cheese and any sandwich on the gluten free bread

sourced from Google

sourced from Google
Save room for a sweet treat like a coconut macaroon, one of their rustic fruit tarts, a caramel chocolate brownie, a s’more, a scotch whisky pudding or a decadent rice krispy treat.

A historic home turned into a charming little tea room and restaurant, the Mad Hatter is just the perfect girls afternoon. I am an afternoon tea connoisseur. It’s one of my favorite splurges to do in a city. This is hands down one of the best gluten free afternoon teas I’ve ever had in the world. The best part? They imitate everything that is in a normal tea but only they make it gluten free. None of this “normal people get traditional English cream scone, honey-drizzled herb chevre sandwich, and a lemon tartlette and the allergy person gets a piece of dry gluten free bread and three store brought cookies”! 

I actually got two different types of scones, three different tea sandwiches, and four different types of dessert. The only downside? There was a $10 upcharge, which I think is a bit steep, but if you’re gluten free you know you just suck it up, hush, and be grateful you've got options. 

I love when a restaurant has a specific gluten free menu, it makes things a little bit easier navigating eating out. 

They're known for their wood fire grill, so stick to the fire roasted chicken, the grilled walleye dinner and the salmon. Great midwestern cabin vibe.

Crooked Pint Ale House (Chaska)
Chaska, a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis, holds a cool little gem for you. Literally cool! Where else but in Minnesota can you grab a pint and watch curling?! Attached to the Chaska Curling Center, the restaurant has an entire glass wall that you can watch people practicing curling! However if you're there in the summer, definitely get a table outside and enjoy the perfect Minnesota summers.

They menu is chalk-full of Minnesota classics like tuna noodle hot dish and tater tot hot dish but unfortunately none of that is gluten free. However they have gluten free buns so that opens up a lot more sandwich and burgers to you. Their salads looked great too though, so that's always a good standby. 

D’amico & Sons (Edina)
Finally, rounding out a place that holds a lot of memories. We'd meet here for family gatherings or lunch after church with my extended family. Five years ago they didn't have many gf options but luckily today they've upped their game! They have....drum roll please.... gluten free pizza crust, gluten free pasta, gluten free bread and of course gluten-friendly salads and soups.

sourced from Google

sourced from Google

sourced from Google

sourced from Google

Their a family-owned restaurant that has expanded but still holds that local Italian  feel. Get something to go, stop in and eat, just sit and enjoy! 

Happy GF eating lovelies! 

A map of all my favorite GF eats in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area


Gluten Free Eats in Myrtle Beach

Katlin Voigt

When I think of eating in Myrtle Beach, I don't exactly think of a plethora of gluten-friendly options. If you've ever been to Myrtle you know what I'm talking about: gigantic flashy light up crabs that say "SEAFOOD BUFFET" and underneath something like "192 options". Then right next door, a pirate ship that says "PIRATES BUFFET" and "193 options". Keep driving and you'll see another dozen seafood buffets and overly priced pancake houses. So basically, the town is gluten with a side of gluten.

On a recent trip with a friend to Myrtle Beach I did some research beforehand however and found a few cute gluten free options! No flashing signs, no buffets, no gaudy seafood decor - just cute, locally owned restaurants and cafes that offer some great #GF options.

Gluten Free Guide to Myrtle Beach 

Located half way between North Myrtle and Myrtle Beach right on North Kings Highway. Great location if you're staying in either locations of Myrtle Beach.

*** Always talk to your waiter about your gluten allergy and ask him to speak with the chef. They have several options for fresh fish you can get grilled with a sauce (make sure you mention you're gluten allergy in case they change their menu and start thickening with flour, but it was safe when I went in 2018).

GF Options
Fresh fish, grilled, with a pineapple mango salsa sauce or the white wine butter sauce
Ribeye steak, filet mignon 
Sides like vegetable skewers, rice, grits, and fingerling potatoes 
Flourless cake: they had a flourless chocolate cake when I went in 2018 but not sure if it's a staple menu item or seasonal

Located half way between North Myrtle and Myrtle Beach right on North Kings Highway. Great location if you're staying in either locations of Myrtle Beach. It's actually attached to Hook & Barrel

Anytime I can find some gluten free options for breakfast, I'm a happy gal. First off this place is adorable and has cute outdoor seating.

GF Options
They have gluten free bread! YAY! So they can make any of the breakfast sandwiches on the GF bread. Or you can get toast as a side with eggs, fruit, bacon etc. 
Steel cut oats and fruit
Yogurt and fruit
Smoothie Options (smoothie bar)
a wonderful café bar with yummy coffee drinks 

- Cafe de Paris

Located in Barefoot Landing.

If you're looking for a little cafe to grab a treat or coffee, or just a spot to escape a rainy afternoon on the beach this is your spot. 

GF Options
They have a selection of French macarons daily
Gluten free apple bundt
Coffee and tea selection

- Mr. Fish Cafe

Located in Myrtle Beach, off North Kings Highway 

We stopped here one night and got some sushi to go before hitting up the beach at night. 

GF Options
Sushi - sushi rolls, sashimi, nagiri, as well as other sushi appetizers like edamame  
poke (gluten free soy sauce)

Totally forgot to take a picture of our sushi before we devoured it, sourced this one from Google 

- Ocean Blu

Located at the Marriott Grand Dunes in Myrtle Beach 

If you happen to be staying at the Marriott Resort & Spa Grand Dunes, this is a poolside cafe and lounge. Although not a ton of great options, there are a few in a pinch and if you just don't feel like leaving the pool, it'll work.

GF Options
Cobb Salad
Casar salad no croutons  
Beach burger (no bun) 
Grilled fish tacos (no taco shells)


5 Places to go in England (besides London)

Katlin Voigt

Don't get me wrong, I love London. It's a sifted blend of cultures, history, modernism, art, and literature wrapped up into one charming (and large) city. However if you're going to England and are looking to do more than just stick in the city of London, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go. 

After living in North England and visiting many times since, I often get asked what are my recommendations of other places to see while on holiday. Hence I decided to create a list of some of my favorite spots in England that are - bonus - accessible without having to rent a car (if you're just not feeling brave enough to drive a car on the other side of the road). 

* * *

Town: Bath, UK

Length of Stay: 1-2 full days

Travel: accessible via train from London Paddington to Bath Spa here

Favorite things to do: 

  •          Touring Bath Abbey (free for inside, but pay the few pounds and do the private tour to the top- worth the incredible views)
  •        Tea at The Roman Baths
  •          Tour of the Roman Baths
  •        We did a private Jane Austen tour which was just absolutely incredible. It was a historian who now does tours and we did a whole tour around the region via car and we even stopped at an adorable pub for lunch.

 Looking for a place to stay? For absolutely luxury and the most exquisite breakfast stay at The Kennard or if you’re looking for something that is a bit more affordable I’d recommend the Windsor


Town: Windsor, UK

Length of Stay: 1 day

Travel: accessible via train. Two stations: Windsor & Eton Central or Windsor & Eton Riverside
Favorite things to do:

  • Windsor Castle. Don't short change yourself, this is fascinating and a stunning piece of history. You'll spend most of the day here (more info here)
  • Walk around the actual town of Windsor and enjoy the modern shopping in an old world village. Be on the lookout for famous spots like the Crooked House of Windsor
  • I had one of the best meals of my life in Windsor! It was a traditional Sunday supper where King Charles mistresses once lived and there are secret underground tunnels that went into Windsor Castle – Drury House Restaurant

Town: York, UK
Length of Stay: 1-2 days
Travel: accessible via train York Station 
Favorite things to do:
  •           If you’re heading up to Scotland this is a fantastic stop. York Minister is one of the most fabulous cathedrals I have ever seen, it rivals the madame herself Notre Dame! Do the tour to the top and on clear days you can see Scotland from the top of the tower.
  •           Stop for tea in the tea room Betty’s an iconic and historic tea spot
  • Spend time getting lost in the catacomb streets of York that is sure to transport you back to another time and place. Pie shops, tea rooms, cafes, wool shops, antique shops galore in this quaint little village. 
  • Take a tour (or a self guided walking tour) of the city walls 

Town: Newbury 
Length of Stay: 1 full day 
Travel: train + cab/bus - Newbury station (15 min cab ride), or Basingstoke (25 min cab ride) or Whitchurch (10 min cab ride)
Favorite things to do:
Highclere Castle

          If you’re a Downton Abbey fan then this is NOT to miss. However visiting here can be tricky and must be pre-planned. As noted on the website (here) they only have a number of "public" pre-reserved tickets and they are usually sold out months of years in advance. When I first saw this I was devastated and thought maybe I wouldn't be able to visit the background of my beloved show. But alas, hope was renwed when I email the Tourism center of Highclere Castle (yes, I'm that person) and inquired about visiting even though I didn't have a ticket.

Basically how it works is on public days (which isn't even day, so pay attention to their calendar), they have a select number of 'walk up' tickets available to purchase at the gate house. However once they're gone, they're gone. So my suggestion is get here as early as possible and stand in queue to reserve your spot. I was the first person in the queue (again, yes I'm that person) and I think they were either highly impressed or laughing at me because they let me into the grounds 30 minutes early. I literally had the entire state grounds to myself (minus the grounds keeper) and I was in h-e-a-v-e-n.

It's absolutely magical both inside the Castle and on the grounds. I spent hours in both and then ended my lovely Downton experience by stopping into the cafe and shop and getting a pot of tea and scone to enjoy outside in the garden. I had to pinch myself to really believe it was real. 

Town: Devonshire 
Length of Stay: 1 day 
Travel: train + cab/bus
Favorite things to do: 

  • Visit Mr. Darcy’s “Pemberly” a.k.a ChatsworthHouse Lord and Lady Devonshire still live there! It’s stunning. You can spend the whole day wandering the house and gardens. Make sure you check out the beautiful scenery outside and walk up to the small chapel. 
  • Make a reservation for afternoon tea in the lovely modernized carriage house


Table For One Please

Katlin Voigt

I asked for a table for one and the hostess halted for a second, "For one?" she repeated. I nodded. She seated me at a small table for two near the window and a few minutes later a waiter came over and said he'd bring me a water while I waited for my guest. "It's just me". He raised an eyebrow, smiled, and said "Oh sorry." I smiled back and started reading the menu.

I found a cute local spot for dinner. I went to the bar and pulled out a high top and sat down and smiled at the bartender. He slid a napkin and a wine list my way across the top and asked "accapella?" I said "excuse me?" and he simple asked if I was alone. Yup. 
Yup, I was alone.

In my years of traveling, mostly solo, I've become completely accustomed to doing things alone: going out to eat, working at a coffee shop, catching a movie, seeing a play, touring a museum, wine tastings, hitting up a bar, going for a historical tour. In fact, I'd venture to say sometimes I even prefer it. I relish in the quiet moments, my own timeline, my own agenda. When I first started traveling it definitely felt awkward to go out to dinner by myself; I was worried what others would think of me being alone. I was embarrassed to be solo. I didn't want to be that "pathetic" woman sitting by herself at dinner reading a book or that "lonely" girl at the movies who has no friends to hang with on a Saturday afternoon.

However as I became more comfortable and confident in myself I realized that its others who are awkward about my aloneness. Actually, I think my aloneness makes them uncomfortable! Has anyone else encountered this? It's like they don't know how to deal with me being alone... Do they acknowledge it? Joke about it? Ignore it completely? It's actually quite comical! 

It was while I was sitting at that coastal town bar when the bartender made a bad joke (because by definition accapella means singing without instruments in the background....which could be one person or a group of people. So fail Mr. Bartender. You should've asked if I was "monologue" or something...or maybe my sense of humor is abnormal), that I realized most people don't know how to deal with people who are okay with being alone. 

The thing is, you don't have to wait to travel to be comfortbable with being alone! You can go out by yourself in your own town. In fact, if you've never gone out to eat alone or seen a movie by yourself I sincerely encourage you to do it, you'll be surprised how much people really don't pay attention. Want to know a secret? We're a self-absorbed society. Shocker, I know. We're so wrapped up in our own thoughts of not being embarrassed or awkward that we often don't notice the people around us. No one is really looking at you. You should be so comfortable and secure in yourself that it doesn't matter if someone does think it's awkward. In my years of traveling I've never had anyone make fun of me (at least to my face ha) for being alone. Actually, I find that people are more inspired and inquisitive about my life than judgmental. So go out there girl and sit by yourself, eat by yourself, take yourself out for that drink or explore that new coffee shop. Be alone with yourself and embrace it!

So here's something from all us "solo-travelers" out there for those of you who don't know how to deal with our aloneness:
It's okay. 
We're okay. 
You'll be okay. 


Cape May: What to do Solo in the Off-Season

Katlin Voigt

In continuation of my no-plans-just-go weekend, I ended up in Cape May. I was in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes Beach, Delaware and discovered that they had a ferry that could bring me across the bay to Cape May. Naturally, I decided I must venture to this cute little town full of Victorian homes and sandy shores.

The ferry process was super simple. I pre-booked my car passage on the website for the exact time I wanted. They suggest you get to the ferry lot about 30 minutes ahead of departure which was plenty of time to check-in, park my car in the onboarding lane, and walk around. Due to the fact that I was visiting during the off season, the restaurant On the Rocks was closed. However there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the warm sunshine! Or you could stop inside the welcome center for a snack and a stop into the restroom before you set sail.

I watched the ferry arrive and then the attendant came over the intercom and told all drivers to return to their vehicles for boarding. A little man came around and scanned my ticket and within a few minutes we were pulling onto the ferry! Not going to lie- I was a little excited because this was my first driving ferry experience :) 

If you want more information about the Lewes/Cape May ferry, click here. I definitely recommend taking the ferry to get over to Jersey if you're looking for a lovely trip and mini-day adventure. 

Since I was visiting during the off season, it definitely wasn't warm enough to dawn by bathing suit and get a tan, but that's okay! I found plenty to do for a day trip to this charming little gem. 

First: lunch at Beach Plum

I can't rave enough about this adorable establishment. It's a cafe, shop, farm fresh grocer and just all together an adorable place to spend hours daydreaming and soaking up the scenery. 

I got a bite to eat and enjoyed it on one of the numerous picnic tables sprinkled around the grounds. Then I spent some time walking around to the chicken coup, the green house, through the gardens, and sitting by the fire. I even grabbed my laptop and worked a bit in the warm and cozy greenhouse with a glass of home-brewed tea! 

After peeling myself away from this freaking cute place, I headed towards 'downtown' Cape May. If you're looking for an address in your GPS, look for anything along Beach Ave. 

I rolled the windows down, but on "The Lucky One" soundtrack and weaved my way down the boulevard until I hit a dead end. After taking in the sights I doubled back and pulled off here and there for pictures of the grand Victorian queens that stood proud and tall along the boardwalk. Being a historical hopeless romantic, I could just imagine back in her hayday when Cape May was dotted with high society ladies in day gowns and men in hats. Sigh.

After taking (way too many) pictures, I got a coffee at a little cafe along the drive. I'd suggest Madison Bakery or Coffee Tyme at the Beach. Then take your treat and head to the beach and feel the cool soft sand shift and change under your toes. 

This is my happy place. This is my calm place. The sound of the waves crashing to shore; seagulls sqwaking, the soft breeze rustling the hair around your face. Pure bliss.

I brought a towel and a book with my coffee and just sat. Just be. It was a bit nippy in mid-April so bring a jean jacket or extra blanket for your shoulders, but the sun shone bright and it ended up being a wonderful and peaceful afternoon.

After dusting the sand off my feet, I spent the last moments walking down the boardwalk which will bring you back towards the main downtown portion. Or you could head in the opposite direction and go towards the end of the strip where it's just you and the Victorian ladies looking on fondly.

A stop in Cape May would not be complete without a stop at the heiress herself: the Cape May lighthouse. Though by the time I dragged myself off the beach it was closed to walk to the top, it was still cool to see and there's a small park next to the beach. 

Thus, just like that, my little day adventure was complete in Cape May. I opted not to get dinner here and instead hit the road and started driving towards my next destination. Off to another city, another day and another adventure. However, please go to Cape May, even if just for a day! You won't be disappointed. Cape May: a coastal town kissed with historical elegance and grace.


One day in Delaware: Quick trip to Rehoboth Beach

Katlin Voigt

We all have them: the crazy, busy, overwhelming, exhausting work week that makes you feel like you just completed a marathon by the time you get to Friday night. This week has been that for me. I’ve completed 10 major trade shows in 17 weeks. I had been planning and preparing for this big customer event at work that was enough to make me want to drink a bottle of wine by myself and cry in the corner of the room. Alas, it didn’t kill me! It actually went off almost perfect, and after countless hours and late nights and weekends it’s all over just like that. We finished in Washington, DC area on a Friday morning and I had three options:
  1. Drive home (about a 5-hour drive) and lay on my couch and not talk to anyone.
  2. Stay around Washington DC area and unwind
  3. Recharge the way I like to recharge: explore, discover, taste and feel a new city.

I went with choice three.

One of my bucket list goals is to visit all 50 states by the time I’m 30, so I have 4 years to hit the remaining 19 states I’ve yet to visit! I pulled up Google Maps and zoomed out and tried to figure out where I wanted to go. I instantly knew I wanted to be by water, which is where I get my ultimate recharge (why is the beach so calming and peaceful?!). I set my sites on two states I’ve yet to hit: Delaware and New Jersey!

In a completely unlike me fashion, I just got in the car and drove. No plans, no hotels booked, no itinerary or anything. I just drove from Tyson's Corner, Virginia to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and decided I’d figure it out once I got there.  I’m in the off season (April) so everything isn’t open, and the weather isn’t like play-in-the-water-tan-yourself-for-hours type of weather but it’s still peaceful and charming and a much needed escape after a crazy busy for months. I’m currently sitting on the ferry from Lewes Beach, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey and thought I’d share a quick little one-day itinerary for anyone else who just needs a random low-key, low-budget getaway!

I left Tyson's Corner, Virginia around 1:30 p.m. and drove the three-hour country road trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I’m not kidding, straight up country roads complete with cows, chickens, horses and bison (yes bison).

I booked a room using points (another one of my favorite travel hacks) at Sands Hotel and Conference Center which was built in the early 1960s. The rooms for sure need an update but they were clean and most importantly, it was right on the boardwalk and I had booked an ocean room with a balcony. After dumping my stuff in the room, I took off on the boardwalk and walked up and down the entire boardwalk.

The boardwalk is full of typical boardwalk-y things like arcades, ice cream shops, henna tattoo shops and so on, although most of it was closed since it’s off season here. However there were still a few things open including the (apparently) famous Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy, Grotto’s Pizza, and Fisher’s Popcorn. So naturally I had to stop for some salt water taffy and popcorn.
If you continue on down the boardwalk there are tons of cute homes to gawk at. I was surprised how busy the boardwalk was even in the off season. Tons of people were out milling about, jogging, walking, riding bikes, sitting on the adorable white benches that dotted the boardwalk, eating salt water taffy and kids running and playing tag. Honestly, I felt like I had walked into the pages of a Nicolas Sparks set (which is ironic since all of his books take place in North Carolina and yet it felt more like Delaware).

After walking the boardwalk I took off my shoes and got to feel the sand between my toes and instantly felt at peace and calm. I don’t know how long I walked, but I walked clear to the end of the boardwalk and beyond. Dusk was setting in and it was magical.

Although I could’ve strolled along the foam-lapped shores for hours my fingers and toes were getting numb from the cool crisp air and I headed back to the hotel and boardwalk area to find a place for dinner. Reluctantly I washed the sand from my toes and wandered the boardwalk to scout out my spot for dinner.

On the main strip by the center gazebo was this chic-looking place called Blackwell Hitch so I decided to stop in and grab a bite. They even had GF items denoted on the menu itself. They are known for their truffle fry flight and I’d highly recommend! Rosemary olive oil fries, truffle fries, and Old Bay® fries accompanied with dipping sauce. I’m a fry-connoisseur so I was happy as a clam!

After dinner I intended to head back to the hotel but got side-tracked by a beach town favorite: frozen custard! I even splurged the extra .50 for sprinkles!
Saturday morning I woke up in time just to miss the sunrise (oops) but spent two glorious hours on the balcony reading a book for fun (when is the last time you did that?!). I couldn’t have asked for a better morning curled up in my pjs, a great book and the sound of the waves kissing the sandy shores!

Check-out was at 11:00 but you can keep your car in the lot until 2:00 p.m. so I checked-out and then spent a while walking around the streets of the residential areas looking at the cute houses and finding lots of great cafes, restaurants and bars to add to my list for next time I return for a much longer stay in this charming little coastal town.

I have decided to take the ferry from Lewes Beach (10 miles from Rehoboth Beach) to Cape May, New Jersey so I made an online reservation for the 12:15 p.m. ferry online which was super easy and quick. On my way to the ferry this morning I stopped by The Point Coffee House & Bakery to pick up a gluten free blueberry muffin and a soy-milk latte before hitting the water.

For more information about booking your ferry passage across the Delaware Bay, click here.

Now here I sit, setting sail for my next little adventure. I can’t wait to see what the shores of New Jersey have for me, because the sandy shores of Delaware have been a welcomed and refreshing breath of fresh air.

One-Day in Snowy Montreal

Katlin Voigt
Montreal in February is not exactly everybody's dream destination, but if you can bear the bitter cold winds and the opious amounts of snow, then you can (actually) have a wonderful wintery adventure. Now I've been to Montreal a handful of times over the years, but my mom has always wanted to see this magical French province in it's white winter charm. We were on our way to Quebec City but still had time for a quick 20-hour stop over in Montreal, so I wanted to show her some of the highlights in winter. If you've only got a day, or even a long layover in Montreal, this is your quick guide to the city:

We drove downtown and managed to find a parking lot (parking is atrocious downtown, you're much better off parking and walking if possible or taking public transportation if you have a longer stay in Montreal). The first stop: Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. 

After our time through the Cathedral we walked down the main thoroughfare (Rue Notre-Dame Ouest) and debated about where to have lunch. There are tons of cute little restaurants and cafes down this thoroughfare; both local and chains like Subway, Starbucks and McDonalds. We ended up stopping at a little pizza shop called Pizzeria Bros. They make custom-order pizzas and they're ready in less than 10 minutes. If you go here...get the rose sauce, my mom still talks about it!
Oh- and they have a (pretty good) gluten free crust for all you fellow #gf foodies out there.

After stuffing ourselves with yummy pizza, we bundled up and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the streets of downtown historic Montreal. You'll want to stick to Rue Notre-Dame Ouest and down towards the river, this is the cutest area with old architecture, little cafes and restaurants and bars. Now if you come back in the summer, this area is dotted with outdoor tables and bustling with people. In the winter, it's a bit more quiet.

After a bit of wandering around the town, we decided to stop for a coffee and a treat at a little place I stumbled across about a year and a half ago. It's called Le Petit Dep and it's the most adorable gourmet grocer, cafe, coffee bar. I'll let these pictures do the talking! However, they have breakfast items as well as bakery items (gluten free and vegan options) as well as a coffee and wine bar.

We could have easily sat there the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed all the treats and coffee, but we had to start our 3-hour drive eastward to Quebec City for the Carnval de Glace! Hopefully, even if you only have a few short hours, you'll be able to enjoy Montreal and come back to explore even more of this charming European-American town. 

Solo Girls Guide to San Antonio Weekend

Katlin Voigt

Another solo adventure this weekend leads me to none other than the super underrated and chic city of San Antonio. I’ve spent a lot of time in Texas but never made it to San Antonio before, so this was my first trip to this funky little water city! Per usual, I booked this in on the back end of work conference so I only had a few days to explore the city. This was another #solotravel adventure as I couldn’t get any friends to buzz over for the weekend, but I’m beginning to actually prefer to be alone on my travel trips! Ha. You get to do what you want, when you want to do it, and cram as much stuff in at once.

If you’re a solo traveler like myself, out for a girls weekend, or just buzzing through the city, here is a quick little 1.5-2 day itinerary to explore some of the highlights of this funky town!

Since I booked this on the back end of a work conference, I just continued to stay at the Marriott Riverwalk. It was conveniently located to everything, so it was a good home base. It’s actually connected to the riverwalk mall, so if you’re in a pinch and need a new outfit or something, it’s all right there.  However if I was going on my own and planning this trip, I’d stay at Hotel Emma. More on that later.

Friday late afternoon I walked along the historic San Antonio Riverwalk. This is an obvious must when you’re in downtown San Antonio. Even though it was January, it was pretty mild so it was great to just spend an hour or so walking around the canals of the town. Careful, don’t get lost, because it all starts running into one another.

After walking around the riverwalk, I came ‘above ground’ and walked over the Alamo and actually went inside. It’s smack dab in the middle of the city. It was neat to go inside, although there isn’t much to see. I just did a self-guided tour and read the different panels along the way. My favorite part was walking around the grounds, it was peaceful and quiet considering it was off season. My recommendation is to hit the Alamo a few times throughout the trip. It’s literally a 5-minute walk from the Marriott and downtown attractions and it’s neat to see the different perspectives of dawn, afternoon and evening.

Next I did the typical tourist Riverboat ride but it was actually really fun! It was super informative and, being a history nut, I learned a lot about the city and the river and the history of it all. Definitely worth it! Make a reservation ahead of time at one of the booths though, because they fill up fast!

For dinner that night, I stopped at the oldest restaurant on the San Antonio riverwalk, Casa Rio. You’ve probably seen pictures of the outside; it’s known for its’ brightly colored umbrella tables that line the riverwalk. Typical Mexican restaurant complete with a mariachi band (that will make you pay to come and sing at your table).

Saturday morning I started out early and went for a drive to The Pearl area. On my way to The Pearl, I stopped by the Alamo at dawn and it was gorgeous. There wasn’t a soul around and the colors were beautiful.

After dawn at The Alamo I continued on my way to The Pearl area where I wanted to grab a coffee and a gluten free treat at The Larder which is a little gourmet food market attached to Hotel Emma. This is how I found Hotel Emma and it was SWOON-WORTHY! This is where I fell in love with this great little gem. So if I ever come back to San Antonio, this is exactly where I’ll be staying. It’s a mix of masculine and feminine. The fire, the burning wood smell, the iron work mixed with soft fabrics and luxurious leather. I could’ve sat there forever.

I got a coffee and a piece of gluten free coffee cake to go and then hit the road to visit the San Antonio Missions. Did you know there were more missions than just “The Alamo”?! There are the following:
- Mission San Jose
- Mission Concepcion
- Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Mission Espada

I made a little map and made my way through them. I’d suggest this order: The Alamo, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and then Mission Espada. Mission Concepcion was my favorite and truly was a humbling and spiritual experience. It’s so spacious and vast and cool inside.

Honestly that took me most of the afternoon because I just drove around and stopped at cool spots for pictures along the way. Texas is so beautiful, vast, and flat that you can see for miles in some places. It’s cool to get out of the city.

After spending a little down time at the hotel to get some work done, I got dressed and went to The Pearl again to Hotel Emma for dinner and drinks. The Brewhouse which is attached to the hotel had a great burger and brewery/wine bar which I grabbed a quick bite. But my favorite part was going into the bar area where there is a roaring fire in front of leather sofas, oversized chairs and beautiful iron work and long farm-style tables. I sipped a cocktail while enjoying the leather and earthy smells of the fire.

The next morning (Sunday) I again got up early and stopped by the Pearl area for a coffee before heading to the Japanese Tea Garden for a quick morning walk. It was a peaceful walk around the water before heading on to my little excursion: the natural bridge caverns! Caving was on my bucket list and I got to check that off this weekend. It was a bit of a drive, about 1-1.5 hours away from downtown San Antonio but I had a super late flight so I knew I could fit it in and still get back in time. So worth the drive! I did the “moderate” hike and was able to do it in jeans/boots and a sweatshirt. But my advice is wear layers because it was so warm and humid down there! I was sweating to death, ha. It was such a fascinating world under there, and I can’t believe it still exists. Bring water and your camera/iPhone because you’ll want to take tons of pictures.

Just like that, my trip to San Antonio was over and I high-tailed it back to San Antonio to catch my late flight out. Although a 2-day trip doesn’t do any town justice, it was a great highlight of the city trip and I hope if you find yourself with a short stay in this cute town, you’ll have as much fun as I did. Happy travels!


2017: The Year of Surrender

Katlin Voigt
Another year comes to a close. Exhale the old, inhale the new. As I reflect upon this year I am met with a mix of emotions. 2017 was chaotic, unexpected, adventurous, thrilling, exhausting and joyful all wrapped up in one beautiful, messy and unplanned package.

I am constantly amazed by the life God has called me to live. I did a few calculations thanks to one of my favorite travel apps (TripIt) and discovered I traveled:
- 45,161 miles
- 117 days traveling
- 49 domestic flights
- 7 international flights
- 5 countries visited
- 38 different airports
- 1 amazing year

It's been a pretty incredible year of #Surrender. Going into 2018, I hope to #invest in the Kingdom, myself and others. So popping a little bubbly and toasting to a brand new year, hopefully, full of airplane tickets and sweet memories that will last a lifetime.

Why to visit the Biltmore Estate during the Holidays

Katlin Voigt

It wasn't a tradition we intended to make, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite mother-daughter traditions. For the past few years we have found ourselves inAsheville, North Carolina during the month of December, and the number one thing on our bucket list: Biltmore Estate. 

Year after year, we return to this American castle with amazement and wonder. There is something exquisitely magical about this enchanting estate. I think it starts off with gingerbread-like entrance gate that shines bright like the North Star  Then there's the miles of windy drive you have to traverse to sneak a peek at the grandeur estate. The scenery is spectacular; wide open fields, pines that tickle the sky, trickling streams and wildflowers are the first to welcome you to the Biltmore Estate. After lingering minutes you finally see it: the tip tops of the towers and peaks that mimic the Blue Ridge Mountains behind it. There in all her glory is the stunning Biltmore Estate. 

I've been to the Biltmore at least a dozen times, in all different seasons, and I tell you I have yet to get bored with this beautiful place. Though I love the sweet tulips of spring and the vibrant colors bursting forth in fall, winter has to be my favorite. Two lions stand front and center to great you adorned with beautiful wreaths and gigantic red bows. As you enter the billowing doors, you can't help but be transported to a time gone by; a time where things were slower, simpler, less technology and more thought. A time where someone wrote hand written letters and the news came daily in the form of paper.

The entire house is adorned with Christmas decorations everywhere you look, from fresh garland to perfectly wrapped presents, it is the picture perfect Christmas. With over 50 immaculately decorated trees it may be hard to pick your favorite however what is definitely meant to be the most memorable is the 35 ft. Frasier Fir that stands tall and mighty in the dinning room for all to see. It's a spectacular display of holiday merriment that will leave you breathless at its glory.

Want to spend a perfectly blissful afternoon at the Biltmore? Here is my perfect day-trip itinerary for Biltmore Estate at Christmas:

1. Conservatory and outside areas

Arrive to the Estate early and spend the morning walking around the gardens, conservatory, and outside stable area. While the gardens are barren during the winter, the fresh air and mild Carolian winter days are always pleasant. There are paths and greenery to walk around as well as the beautiful conservatory with the most beautiful winter flowers.

2. Christmas tea at the Biltmore Inn

One of our favorite traditions is having a delightful Christmas tea at the Biltmore Inn. Just a short drive on the property will bring you the Biltmore Inn. Inside the entire hotel is decked to the nines in holiday merriment and a crackling fire and gigantic tree greet guests. Make your reservations in advance, as they always fill up! Bonus: They offer gluten free options for high tea.

3. Visit the inside of the House
You'll have to choose to do the house tour during daylight or candlelight. Both are beautiful for different reasons. I find that the daylight tour tends to be a bit less crowded personally. Either way, you won't be disappointed by the splendor of the home. Take your time and take it all in. 

What else is there to do at the Biltmore during Christmas, might you ask? Here are my top (5) suggestions on how to have the perfect Biltmore Christmas experience:

1. Take the Candlelight Christmas tour of the House. For more information about this magical event, click here.
2. Take a Candlelight Christmas Tour of the Winery. To book your tour, click here.
3. Take a carriage ride of the grounds. Click here for more information.
4. Do some Christmas shopping in the village shops
5. Have dinner at the Stable Cafe for a wonderful experience. Click here for more information on the dining options at Biltmore.

I hope that you get to enjoy the Biltmore as much as I do over the years. It's an experience that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. 

5 Reasons to visit Asheville during Christmas

Katlin Voigt

Are you need of a quick winter getaway for a little holiday cheer? Here are five reasons why you should visit Asheville, North Carolina this Christmas season.

5. Christmas decorations 
Downtown Asheville is always cute, but you can't beat this town during Christmas. Think traditional small town meets Appalachian charm! There are lights and garland and wreaths strung up all along the town. Biltmore Village specifically is about as charming as it gets.

Oh and while you're here, why not get the ultimate Christmas decoration- a fresh cut Christmas tree!

4. All the chocolate goodness
No stop in Asheville would be complete for the chocolate-lovers dream: The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Whether you're in the mood for gelato, cake, macaroons, cookies, or a drinkable truffle...there is soemthing for every chocolate lover here. Grab your mittens and be prepared to wait in line but oh it's oh-so-worth the wait. 

Extra bonus: they have gluten free and dairy free options! Yes!

3. Gingerbread galore 

The National Gingerbread Competition is held at the Grove Park Inn every year (going on 25+ years now). It's an amazing competition where talented artists from across North America showcase what they can do with gingerbread and boy, is it mind blowing. It's a spectacular showcase of talent and imagination.

Stop by the 10ft x 10ft gingerbread house in the lobby of the Grove Park Inn for a cup of ooey gooey hot chocolate and your own gingerbread man to munch on!

2. A time to reflect and unwind
As this holiday season approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle and miss the true meaning of Christmas. Asheville offers some great places to stop, relax, reflect and unwind. Whether you want to bring a book and sit by a roaring fire, take a yoga class, sip a cafe in a quiet coffeehouse, or take a refreshing nature walk, Asheville is the spot for you.

Bonus: Liberty House Coffee and Cafe is a cute little spot to read a book and sip an almond milk latte 

1. The Ultimate Christmas tree 
Probably my most favorite part of Asheville during the Christmas season: The Biltmore. I'm a sucker for all things European influenced, old fashioned and charming and the Biltmore Estate takes the cake for all three! The immaculately decorated rooms, the flickering candlelight, the romantic music that drifts from room to room... it is the most exquisite experience. Of course, the shining star in her Christmas display is the live 30+ ft. fraser fir tree that adorns the dinning room like a proud father.

Bonus: Looking for a taste of Christmas? Book a Christmas tea at the Biltmore Inn. Have a lovely four course tea while overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and inhaling the fresh aroma of pine and cinnamon. You won't be disappointed! 

I hope that wherever the holidays find you this year that you're met with lots of adventures, memories and joy.  


end of the journey

Katlin Voigt

Climbing a mountain is challenging. Sometimes I believe it's a harder mental battle than a physical one. They say that your mind will give up faster than your body ever will. Standing at the base of a mountain is daunting...thrilling...overwhelming...anxiety causing...terrifying. Standing at the base of a mountain and looking up, all you see is the work that you have to do to get over it. Standing at the base of the mountain is filled with doubt, questions and hesitations.

The funny thing about a mountain is that once you get to the top, you forget all those doubts, questions and hesitations. You've done it. You're at the top. You conquered the mountain. And all that fear, all that negative self talk, all that doubt suddenly turns into a emphatic, "I did that". 
I conquered the mountain. I survived. I made it. I can do this. The doubt turns into affirmation and the fears that once held you captive at the base are the exclamations of encouragement at the top. 

At the base of a mountain, it looks huge. Unconquerable. Untamable. A beast. Formidable. Terrifying. But at the top? Your perspective changes and suddenly everything seems very small. Remember the trails you were struggling to climb? Well now they're little rivers cascading down the slopes. Those rocks and roots that kept tripping you up? They're specs in your rear view mirror.

One of the best parts about climbing a mountain however, is sitting at the top and taking it all in. Stop. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Soak it in. This moment at the top, to sit and just be is the climactic ending to a journey that seemed unimaginable in the beginning. It's healing and therapeutic to just sit and be with yourself, your thoughts and your inner voice. Like Jackson Kiddard said : go to your fears. Sit with them. Stare at them. Your fears are your friend. Their only job is to show you undeveloped parts of yourself that you need to cultivate to live a happy life. The more you do the things you're most afraid of doing, the more life opens up. Embrace your fears and your fears will embrace you.

I sit on top of this mountain embracing the fear. The girl that stood at the foot of the mountain is not the same girl who sits on top looking at how far she has come. In fact, they're two different people entirely. The fears that held one back are the rocks in which the other stepped on. On the way to the top I've found pain and I've found healing. I've wrestled with questions and found answers. I've cried and I've laughed. Yet at the top, sitting here and looking out, I see new mountains ahead of me. But I know that just like this mountain, with a little gumption, a bit of faith, and a whole lot of God's grace I'll be able to conquer those mountains too and sit back and realize that they weren't as terrifying as I thought they were afterall.

Waiting for apple picking season: When waiting for God's timing seems like eternity

Katlin Voigt

The best apples aren't necessarily the easiest to get to. Have you ever gone apple picking? Have you ever noticed how the brightest and juiciest looking apples usually require some thought to access? The apples on the ground are the easiest to pick up, but take a closer look... some are rotten and have worms in them. Some are mushy. A lot of them are picked up and thrown back down because you realize they're rotten...they're not right! They're the easy ones but not necessarily the best ones.

I recently went apple picking with a friend and I was walking down the aisles and aisles of apple trees, trying to pick the very best ones, I had a sweet moment with God. I've definitely faced my share of discouragement when it comes to dating; to say it's been a difficult road would be an understatement. Sure I've been on dates with guys, but none of these men were men that I could see myself with long term. None of them were men of God that I knew would honor Him and honor me in a way that I have dreamed of my entire life. 

As I was searching for the best apples in the bunch, I realized that like these apples, God has placed me on the top of the tree and it's going to take someone who is going to take the effort to climb to pick. Trust me sister, I understand it can feel mighty lonely up at the top of the tree when you see so many of your friends going off and getting married and starting families, but don't give in to the easy attention.

The easy attention is just that, easy. It's easy to entertain a guy who says all the romantic stuff. It's easy to go out on dates with the hot guy who's just looking for a fling. But you weren't called for the easy path, your path is so much more than that. 

God has his best saved for up top. He has placed you in a place that takes effort to get to. It takes effort, persistence and perseverance to reach the top of the tree...but these apples are untouched by the ground and the bugs that occupy it. These apples are ready to be picked, longing to be picked but are patiently waiting because they know that it'll be worth it one day. So don't sacrifice yourself and your self worth for the small bread crumbs a man might feed you to fall off the tree. Wait for the man who is going to put his heart into pursuing you honorably, selflessly and in a Godly manner. 

The Traveling Cupcake's Guide to Glacier National Park

Katlin Voigt
So you're heading to Glacier National Park! It's an absolutely gorgeous park and honestly Montana makes me want to build my own cabin on some little remote hill and have a bonfire every night!! As a family we have been checking off the National Parks from our bucket list and with each one we become more legit hikers and less just an Eddie Bauer ad.

This was our first trip to Glacier so we weren't quite sure what we were in for. After a wonderful trip, I thought I'd share some of my suggestions and tips to help you plan your best trip yet. So here's a few suggestions if you're heading out to Glacier National Park... I hope help you plan your perfect Montana adventure!

Glacier National Tips: Where to Stay 

Flathead Lake, Montana 
- We stayed in Flathead Lake area which was gorgeous! We got to enjoy the lake several days and sit outside on our deck and watch the sunrise and sunset. It was about 20-30 minutes from Kalispell and about an hour to the entrance of West Glacier, so it was quite the drive into the park each day. 
We rented this gorgeous house in Somers, Montana (on Flathead Lake) and I'd highly recommend it! It had beautiful views and the house was beautiful.

White Fish, Montana
-If you're looking to be a little closer to the entrance of West Glacier, I would suggest staying in White Fish. It was a bit closer and also had more options for restaurants and shopping. We spent a day in White Fish and loved it, if we come back we will definitely stay in the White Fish area.

Glacier National Park
- If you're looking to stay within the National Park then you have a few options. If you're in West Glacier then I'd recommend Apgar Village or Lake McDonald Lodge. If you're going to be on the East side of Glacier than Many Glacier Lodge is the place to be.

Glacier National Park Tips: Hiking 

- Bring your own food, snacks, water etc. because there are few places in the park you can purchase these essentials.
- Layer layer layer. We saw every single form of weather except for snow while we were there in August. It can go from 80 to 60 pretty quick.
-Bring a rain jacket. Almost every hike we encountered rain at some point. Bring the rain jacket and save yourself later.
-Bring bear spray and bear bells. Although we never saw any bears on the trail, we did see several bears while we were driving around the park. We heard from several people that they had seen bears on the trails earlier. Be aware of your surroundings and try to make as much noise as possible.
- For suggestions on what hikes to do, see below.

Glacier National Park Tips: What else to know

-Be prepared for long drives once you're in the park. West Glacier from Apgar Visitor Center to Logan Pass it's a solid hour drive. It's a total of 2-hours to Many Glacier.
- DO NOT take the free shuttle after 8:00 a.m if you can help it (it will take you about 2-hours to get to Logan Pass otherwise). They have a free shuttle service from Apgar Visitor Center that brings you to Logan Pass but unless you arrive before the last Express Shuttle leaves at 9:00 sharp- you'll be on the slow boat. You're better off trying to find parking up by the Weeping Wall and hoofing it or parking at Avalanche Trailhead and catching the short sprinter van to Logan Pass.
-Logan Pass only has 1-hr parking and it's usually a stalking game to find parking. If you want to drive and just look around, go later in the day as it seems to be better availability of spots.
-One of the unique things we did on this trip was hiring a photographer (Elsa Eileen Photography) to take incredible family photos in the park. A few years ago in the Grand Tetons we saw a family doing a photoshoot and we've been dying to do it since. SO thankful we got these great memories and photos. Highly recommend her photography and the entire experience.   

Trail and Trip Suggestions

Day 1: Trail of the Cedars + Avalanche Lake Trail
Nice and easy, family friendly hikes. Avalanche Lake was stunning! We packed a lunch and ate once we got there.

Day 2: Lake McDonald leisure + Logan's Pass Drive
We spent the morning on Lake McDonald and then drove up to Logan's pass to check out the beautiful views (and stopped along the way for lots of photo opportunities)

Day 3: Hidden Lake + Highline Trail
The Highline Trail is quite a long trail, so we only did a portion of it before heading back to Logan's Pass area. This trail is definitely a fun one but if you have a fear of heights and drop-offs, mentally prepare yourself!

Day 4: Kalispell and Flathead Lake
We spent the morning kayaking an canoeing on Flathead Lake. In the afternoon we headed into Kalispell to bum around town, shop, and grab some ice cream.

Day 5: Whitefish 
We spent a fun day in Whitefish walking around town, stopping by Whitefish Resort to ride the chair lift, and grabbing dinner in town.

 Day 6: East Side Waterfalls
We got up super early and drove to the East Side of the park. We stopped along the way at several of the waterfall trailheads. 

Day 7: East Side Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Lake 
The highlight of our trip was Grinnell Glacier. It was a difficult and long hike for us (about 3.5 hours each way) but the views were absolutely worth it. You will traverse forests, fields, rocks, cliffs and waterfalls so be prepared for it all!

What I Packed for Glacier National Park

Katlin Voigt

For how much traveling I do, packing is definitely not one of my strongest gifts. When it comes to a work trip it's pretty simple on what to pack as I'll be in business meetings most of the day. However, when it comes to an actual fun trip + vacation I tend to either horrible underpack or outrageously overpack.  One of the techniques I've adapted to help this battle of the suitcase is to pre-plan my outfits. Yes yes, this may sound ridiculously type-A but it actually helps determine what you really need.

First, take I take out everything I want to bring: I either lay it out on my bed or in the spare bedroom. Then I bring out all the shoes I want to bring. My philosophy is to BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP!! Ladies especially, we can bring 10 pairs of shoes for a 5 day trip; so start building your outfits up from shoes to the head. 

Pick the first pair of shoes you know you need to bring and start building some outfits from there. My rule is if I can only wear 1 or 2 outfits with that pair of shoes, it's out (unless of course you know you're going to a wedding or a special event where you need heels- that of course is an exception). From there I just start building outfits and trying to reuse as many items as possible to reduce space and unnecessary items in my suitcase. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anyways- back to the matter at hand: packing for Glacier National Park. We went to Montana to Glacier National Park for an 8-day adventure. Here is what I ended up bringing to help give you an idea for your own packing list:

Shoes: 1 pair of hiking shoes, 1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of slip on Sperry's 

2 hats + 2 headbands

4 pairs of 3/4 length workout pants + 1 pair of workout shorts

5 sports bras + 1 (not pictured) normal bra

5 athletic tank tops + 1 athletic t-shirt

2 long-sleeved athletic zip-ups

1 insulated North Face + 1 cotton Nike hoodie + 1 rain jacket (not pictured)

2 scarves

1 set of PJs (brought both shorts and long pants) - forgot to take a picture

2 bathing suits + 1 pair of water shorts

3 pants: 1 pair of jeans + 1 pair of shorts + 1 pair of lounge pants

6 casual tops + 1 cardigan 

Socks + underwear (not pictured)

We went to Glacier in mid-August and the weather was still all over the place. The day time in town it was in the 80s and at night it would get down to the 50s and 60s. Yet hiking, it would be 70 one minute, raining  and cold the next, and then cloudy and freezing at the top of the summit. 

Check out my next post for some tips for your visit to Glacier National Park!

Job 10: The Truth in the Darkness

Katlin Voigt
When you start to question God’s goodness, what helps you redirect your thoughts to truth?

I get caught up in truth versus Truth. “truth” tells me that if I was 10 pounds skinnier I’d be happy. “truth” tells me that being bubbly and positive all the time will make me friends. “truth” tells me that I have to have those pair of shoes because it’ll fulfill me. “truth” tells me once I get married my life will finally begin. Well in case you need a reminder today ladies: those are L-I-E-S. it’s the world’s ‘truths’ but it’s not God’s Truth. God’s Truth says you are holy and blameless (Eph 1:4). Truth says you are loved with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3). Truth says that you are beautiful and your beauty comes from within (1 Peter 3:3-4). Truth says you can do it and He will help you through it (Josh 1:9).

These are some of the positive affirmations I have to tell myself daily [I have an index card full of ‘lies’ and ‘truths’ and constantly have to re-read them]. I’m convinced more than ever that Satan wants to kill our spirit of joy, because if we don’t have joy and love then we are not able to fulfill God’s command: LOVE.

When reading Job 10, we get a glimpse at the absolute despair that Job feels in his heart. I mean talk about a low point, he even says he loathes his very life (Job 10:1) and that he wishes he was never born (Job 10:18). I don't know about you, but when I get down and frustrated and just exhausted beyond repair, my attitude just goes down the toilet. I burn my toast in the toaster and suddenly I'm down this thought path:

- I burned my toast
- I can't do anything right
- I am a horrible cook, I can't even make toast
- I'm going to be late to work now
- I'm probably going to get fired because I'm horribly late
- I won't have a job and then I'll be miserable and penniless and have no prospects
- I'll be completely unwanted by an employer and a man because I don't have my life together
-I'm never going to get married

Anyone relate to Iris in The Holiday ... besides me?!

Wow. I went from I burnt my toast to no one will ever want to marry me in about 5 seconds. Our minds can jump from one thing to the next in a matter of moments and our attitude can go right with it. I find that I can relate to Job in chapter 10 here; I too go down the rabbit hole of pity and despair and it can get ugly. However, this rabbit hole is just a whole bunch of lies. Satan wants us to keep digging ourselves in these pits of lies because we cover ourselves up with darkness; and if we're covered in darkness it can be very difficult to see the light. 

I have challenged myself each week to memorize a new Bible verse. Trust me, not every week has been perfect and I haven’t memorized every single one but wrapping myself in God’s big T-Truth has given me an extra layer of armor against Satan’s attacks. This week’s verse is so incredibly fitting for today’s study:
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long” Psalm 25:5

If you’ve never challenged yourself to affirm yourself in TRUTH and LOVE, I encourage you to go pick up a pack of index cards, type them out, put them on post-it notes and set up a reminder on your phone to read these Truths over and over again. We must stand strong against the enemies lies ladies, because we are the army of God!

Job 9: Suffering but not Broken

Katlin Voigt

Job’s anguish and desperateness stirs a deep sense of pain in my soul. To feel so close to someone, to deeply love them, and they appear to turn their back on you. I think any woman who has experienced a heartbreak, break-up, or divorce can identity with the utter torment that must’ve been running through his soul like a virus. As women who are intricately created to be emotional beings, it’s no wonder so many of us can sympathize with Job. I find that when I’m in seasons of despair and anguish I will play that emotional head game that Job could’ve gotten trapped in: What did I do to deserve this? What offense did I commit against God? How can I ever survive? I am obviously unforgivable.

However my understanding of God’s character has transformed through our relationship. Like any relationship there are many stages: excitement, getting to know one another, contentment, ups and downs along the way, re-learning one another and so forth. I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I though like a child. I understood like a child. Now I am a man. I do not act like a child anymore” (NLV). My relationship has changed with God from being a ‘newborn’ Christian and therefore my understanding of who God is and our relationship. As I grow and my mind has expanded, I have been able to understand God in a whole new way…it’s almost like exploring a new city- every little thing is exciting and scary and wonderful!

When I was a child, I saw God as this ominous big fluffy cloud. Untouchable but present and evident. Through the ups and downs of my life I’ve seen him as a commanding authoritarian (do not do this, do not do that), a protector from potentially devastating situations, a supernatural healer, and even a loving dad-figure. Maybe you see Him in one of these ways right now. The thing is though, he isn’t one of these ‘hats’; he just is.

He is present (even when you don’t see him). He is protecting (even when it doesn’t feel like it). He is directing (even when you don’t know where to go). He is loving (when you feel unlovable). He is the healer (when doctors tell you nothing is wrong with you). He is a dad (to all sons and daughters). He is YOURS. He is yours, and you are His. Together you get to evolve and change your relationship. Who said there was a right or wrong way to see God? There isn’t! There is only one rule in this relationship,  and that is to L-O-V-E. Job had to go seek a mediator to understand God’s love for us, but we don’t even need to go anywhere- Jesus (THE Mediator) is in our hearts.

About Me

Katlin Voigt

I'm Katlin.
I'm a 20-something writer with a day job.
Scandinavian blood runs through my veins, which means you
can never have too much sugar or butter.
I daydream about moving to France.
My Bichon Frise, Abby, is my best friend.
I love Earl Gray tea.
I'm working on my first novel, note: work in progress
I love cupcakes, you can never be sad while having a cupcake
If it's on BBC, I probably watch it.
I'm a gluten-free connoisseur.
If it sparkles, I want it. 
I love to latin dance, even if I am as pale as snow.
I'm a daughter of the King.
I have a severe case of wanderlust.
I am the Traveling Cupcake.

Searching for Answers: Job 8

Katlin Voigt
Job 8: Searching for Answers

|| Job 8:5-7||

But if you will seek God earnestly
    and plead with the Almighty,

if you are pure and upright,

    even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
    and restore you to your prosperous state.
 Your beginnings will seem humble,
    so prosperous will your future be.

I don't know about you, but I constantly seek advice. When there's a decision at work I seek the guidance of my boss. When I can't decide on a life decision I'll usually call my parents for their insight. If I'm struggling with a relationship with a guy I'll call my best friends and have girl talk! It's just human nature to want the opinion and advice of others. 

In Job's situation, he was receiving unsolicited advice from his "friend" Bildad. Bildad and his cohorts were lecturing Job and giving him their opinion of why he was encountering such suffering and persecution. Bildad's advice here in 5-7 (in that context) is an insult to Job. Job was a man after God, a man who continually sought the Lord. Bildad and his other guys thought Job had turned his back on the Lord and felt they had the right (or duty) to tell him what was up. Although this was poor advice for Job's situation (he was living for the Lord and seeking God)...I think that this scripture serves as a reminder to us: SEEK GOD FIRST IN EVERY SITUATION. 

I saw a quote once that said "have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it" and it really made me think; how many times do I talk talk talk to friends/family/colleagues and never pray about the situation?! Ouch. I can recount many times where that was the case. Job 8 reminds me that if I want advice, if I really am searching for God's wisdom, I need to go to His Word first. If I want to know what to do, I need to pray boldly and intentionally. He literally has all the answers, all we have to do is come before Him, seek Him, read His Word, listen for His voice, feel the moving of His spirit. 

I know it goes against our human nature to do that, but as I've come to bring my prayers and decisions boldly before the Lord, it's become more and more second nature. Is there something you're searching for today? Have you talked something to death but haven't prayed about it? What are you waiting on God to answer? Take 5 minutes to write or talk it out with Him. Pray boldly and ask for His guidance. 

Job 7: Dealing with Suffering

Katlin Voigt
|| Job 7: 20-21 ||

If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
    you who see everything we do?
Why have you made me your target?
    Have I become a burden to you?
 Why do you not pardon my offenses
    and forgive my sins?
For I will soon lie down in the dust;
    you will search for me, but I will be no more.

Q: How do you respond to suffering when it enters your life? What stands out to you from Job 7?

To be honest, I don’t handle suffering well. I usually have two responses: anger or depression. I find that I become bitter and angry or else I become down and mope about. Not the most ‘Christian-like’ response eh, but it’s the truth. Sometimes as I’m walking through difficulty I get frustrated and annoyed at having to face yet another struggle, another issue, another adversary. I look around and others don’t seem to be struggling or suffering; their lives seem to be walking through fields of flowers and I’m rowing a boat in a storm. I’ll throw my hands up in anger and ask “why me God?!”.

Then on the flip side of that, I can get into the lows and sadness and sit in pitty-partyville. I feel so downcast and discouraged that I mope around a bit, disheartened that I’m left to face this struggle. It’s a very isolating feeling. I can get so in my head and wrap myself up in a cocoon of lies that is about as self-destructive as it is depressing.

For years I felt like I was suffering in this season called ‘singleness’. I felt abandoned on an island of solitude as my closest friends have sailed off on USS Marriage and I’m left looking for a ship, a boat or heck even a dingy!! Ha. Yet a message from Pastor Steven Furtick called “IT HAD TO HAPPEN” changed my entire perspective. As I’ve been standing longing on the beach looking off at the horizon, there is an entire island behind me that could use my attention. I’ve been so focused on being stuck on this island, but God didn’t abandon me here, he PLACED me here. He placed me in ‘singleness’ because there is a mission I need to accomplish. There is a task at hand, His purpose, that He wants me to fulfill. I can look at this season as suffering or I can look at this station as a mission. In the last few weeks I’ve decided to change the agony of my heart from suffering to the joy of learning and teaching moments of the mission.

My outlook has changed and hence my attitude has changed, but even more life-changing is the fact that my perspective has changed. My “suffering” is how God is using me in this station of life. I look at the struggles I face now as learning moments; I go in and ask Him “Alright God, what can I learn? Reveal to me Your purpose for this moment. Guide me through this moment because my strength won’t carry myself”. I know there is some heart-breaking and devastating suffering out there, but I hope this encourages someone that your suffering is not in vain. You are not stuck, you are stationed sister!!