Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our First Ever Christmas Letter

Guest post: Mr. Austin Cornilles

2014 has brought adventure and change to our young married life.  We have experienced everything from malaria in Africa and altitude sickness in Japan to swinging on a trapeze in Mexico and walking through German Christmas markets in England.  Wherever we have been in our spectacular world, 2014 has brought Callie and I closer together.  Take a look at some of our most memorable moments during the past year.

During the first four months of the year, Callie continued to sell real estate in Utah.  Yes, she has her own Zillow page and her team was also honored with a regional award at her company’s award banquet.  All her hard work has definitely helped support us in all of my expensive endeavors.

In April, after four years in Provo – six for Callie – I graduated from BYU and was able to celebrate with my family and my in-laws.  A sensible person might imagine starting a reliable 9-5 job in the city where they and their spouse grew up, but I have different plans.  Callie never imagined where life would take her and her future husband while growing up in Portland, Oregon.

In May, we were able to go on vacation to Ixtapa, Mexico with the Russell family.  After a cancelled flight, a night in Mexico City, and lost baggage, we were able to relax on the beach.  Callie enjoyed the trapeze while I enjoyed playing soccer with the resort employees.  We loved spending time with family and seeing Julie dance the night away at the nightly parties.  After all the fun, we couldn’t forget to take a picture with our Rip City gear.

A few days after returning home from Mexico, Callie and I got on a plane for the longest traveling experience of our lives.  After spending a night in Dubai, we finally arrived in Accra, Ghana.  There, we worked for a company that trains small businesses in developing markets.  We experienced what rain is like in Africa, long tro tro rides through bumpy, dusty roads, the largest market in West Africa, sketchy currency exchanges, mosquitos, USA vs Ghana in the World Cup, our second anniversary, and cold showers.  Through it all, we met amazingly faithful and hard working people.  It would be an understatement to say we were inspired over and over again.

After returning home from Ghana in July, we were back on the airplane heading to Japan with the Cornilles Family.  My brother, Brennan just returned home from his mission in Taiwan, so this was our catching up time.  My dad got to see a man from his mission and my parents showed us where they used to live.  We climbed Mt. Fuji, swam in the Sea of Japan, visited historical sights, and took selfies with wild deer.  It was amazing to experience Japanese culture and spend time with family.

In September, Callie and I stuffed our lives into our suitcases and moved to Birmingham, England so I could attend graduate school.  Callie and I have made some great friends and feel at home in our new ward at church.  Callie is serving the young children in the primary and I am serving the young men.  We love learning new meanings behind British words and meeting people from all over the world.  Living in a big city with old architecture is something we thought you only saw in movies!

Callie and I feel extremely blessed to have been able to make so many new friends and travel to so many places this last year.  We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for everything we have experienced and look forward to the adventures 2015 will bring!

Merry Christmas!

With love, 
The Cornilles'

Saturday, December 13, 2014

England vs. America

People say not to compare, but I just had to do it. There are so many great things about England, and a few things we miss from the US. I'm a born and bred, hamburger eating, red white and blue American- so there are a few biases there. England is brilliant though, and we've only just begun here.

Let the battle begin!

Chocolate- Maybe it is because we are in Europe, but even the chocolate you buy at the local gas station is better than American chocolate.

Cheese- I have no idea why it's better here. It just is.

Toilets- This one is weird and probably TMI...apologies in advance. The water level in the toilets here are consistently quite a bit lower than in the states. Which is great for two reasons,
1) they use less water & 2) the diminished splash factor. Need I say more?

Customer Service- Hands down, America. We are very conscious about customer service in the States. Sometimes it can even be excessive or annoying, but not here. People just don't care as much. Lose a customer? eh... whatever. Call me spoiled but I am just used to a quality of service at shops, restaurants, etc, that people just don't provide here.

Public Transportation- Trains, tubes, buses, undergrounds, flying cars, teleportation... okay fine, not the last two. But honestly, you can get anywhere in Europe on public transport. It is amazing and efficient. Don't get we wrong, I miss having a car, but the PT is second to none.

Winter- Son of a nutcracker, it is cold here. It's a wet cold and you feel it right down to your bones. Geographically, Americans just have more options for weather conditions. It's a huge country. Go to Arizona or Florida and have a nice warm Christmas. England is an isolated winter island. I'm told it's only going to get worse come January. Eeek.

Variety/Choices- Since America is a melting pot of different people and backgrounds, we have tons of variety. We can go to the grocery store and have literally 30 different options for everything. You just have less to choose from here. I was beginning to enjoy the simplicity, until I couldn't find root beer.

Vocabulary- Numerous times since we've been here I have heard mothers asking their young children to behave by using the phrase, "Can you please be sensible?" I didn't even know the word sensible until at least middle school.

Time- Every second counts in America. We work from sun up to sun down. No stopping. No breaks. No fun. Too far? The english way of life is much more relaxed. It's lovely.

Location- A couple hours to Paris on the tube. Also, a short/cheap flight cheap to anywhere in Europe. England is prime location.

Sports- There is no contest. The two sports I miss watching the most are basketball and football. NBA, NFL, College Basketball, College Football. They only thing they have on us is soccer... aka: football. And I can't deny they REALLY have us there, but nothing beats a packed Moda Center in April. Am I right? Rrrrrrrrrrripp Cittyyyyy!

Side note. Our friends here were nice enough to lend us a mini tree!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


This year for Thanksgiving we got together with a group of Americans from our church. It was wonderful. I hope you all enjoyed the food day as much as we did.

In light of the season I would like to present a list of things I am especially grateful for...

Our Savior, Jesus Christ
Austin <3
Our families
Thoughtful friends
A home
Delicious food
Warm showers
Make up (ridiculous? Yes.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to do London in 1 Day

For my birthday my husband took me to London! We were originally planning on staying a night or two but we didn't want to bother with packing, carrying around luggage, booking a hotel, etc. We decided to make it a day trip.

For all you travelers with a layover in London or some time to kill- this is for you. There are so many amazing things to see, we didn't know if it would be possible to do in a day. I'm here to tell you it's possible.

I'M NO EXPERT! This was just our experience :)

We live in Birmingham, so for us it was easy. London is only a few hours away by coach or train. We decided to take the coach, since it's cheaper and we do everything on a budget. We booked the tickets with National Express the week before and went to and from London for under £30 total.

While we were in the city we decided we would use the tube (underground train) to get around the city. We bought an all day pass for £8. You can buy these at any station. You can also use the bus system if preferred. The tube system is just so easy to navigate, as newbies we went with that. Also, even with a pass you will be doing quite a bit of walking. Wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella :)

(Disclaimer- to see all of what we did in a day we didn't spend a significant amount of time at any one place. This was more of a surface trip rather than a deep dive. If you want more of a deep dive experience pick 2-3 attractions.)

Buckingham Palace (1)
You can pay to go inside and tour but we opted to take cheesy pictures outside and film the guards as they marched.

Westminster Abbey (2)
Absolutely beautiful! Again, you can pay to go inside but we just looked from the outside. We were not disappointed.

Big Ben (3)
It is a beautiful as it looks in the pictures. The detail is incredible.

London Eye (4)
We didn't ride it but boy it is a sight to see. Right on the river.

Trafalgar Square/ National Gallery (5)
The square is beautiful! Amazing statues and fountains. We did go inside the National Gallery and it was a treat! (Also,  FREE!) I wish I had listened a bit better in art history, because I know I didn't appreciate all it had to offer. Rooms and rooms of paintings from centuries passed. A few notables that I actually recognized- paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, and Da Vinci.

Tower of London/Tower Bridge (6)
It was Remembrance Day this past week, so they put 888, 246 ceramic poppy flowers in the moat at the tower to commemorate the fallen of the British military during WW1. If we had more time we wished would have gone inside the tower to view the Crowned Jewels. There we so many people there to see the poppies we didn't get great pictures, or even a good look at the bridge. Next time.

Herrods (7)
This department store is INSANE. I kind of felt like Jenny Humphrey on the Upper East Side. Gossip Girl reference... anyone? Couldn't afford anything in there, but it was worth the visit.

Apollo Victoria Theatre- Wicked (8)
The cherry on top of the cake. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you ever have time to go to a show, DO IT. This was my birthday present. Big purchase for the year.

Platform 9 3/4 
(Not shown. North of the map at Kings Cross Station)
Calling all Harry Potter fans! This was a little outside the route, but we just had too. Yep. We were super touristy and did this. Come on though, you can't go to London and NOT do this.

This was my first time to London so I wanted to see everything! Again, if you want a more in depth experience, pick just a few things to see. 

London in 1 day is possible people!!

Best Birthday Ever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gallery Wall on a Budget

Operation beautify flat continues with this gallery wall on a budget! 

Type in "gallery wall" on Pinterest and you get all of these AMAZING creations that probably cost a fortune.  I wish we were rolling in the dough but we just aren't. I'm not embarrassed to tell you that all of these frames are from Poundland (the Dollar Store for England). I am also not embarrassed to tell you that I made that flower out of plastic spoons and cardboard. I'm on a strict budget and that's how things get done around here!

I am not particularly experienced with Photoshop or other design programs so free printables are the way to go! Check out where I got my pieces from, below. 

Without further ado, here it is!

Excuse the poor lighting and photo quality. Amateur hour over here. You get the idea though.

Spoon Flower Tutorial here

"Choose Happy" print here

Chevron Arrow print here

Pineapple print here

"Love is a verb. Love is a doing word" print here

"Home is wherever I'm with you" print here (My dear friend Catherine made this for me. THANKS CATH!!)

I can't find where I found the "Be Kind" printable. But honestly, you could just make that one yourself.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Toast to the Whites

Today, is a very special day for this girl. Abby DeLawder, soon to be Mrs. Abby White. Although England has been wonderful so far, my heart is breaking because I am not able to be there for her special day. For this reason, I am going to write a little toast for Abby and her soon to be husband Mr. Patrick White.

First off, I have been around for Abby and Pat's journey from the day they met. At the time, Abs and I were doing an internship together in Salt Lake. We looked like this every single day. Cow & Jumbo 4 life...

 I remember hearing how fun and great this guy was so I told her I had to meet him! 
When we finally nailed down a day, it didn't go as planned. 
During one of the first conversations Pat and I had, we started talking about sports. 
(I'm such a dude sometimes)
I may or may not have told him to "go die" because he mentioned his devotion to the Lakers. Disclaimer: I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE TOLD ANYONE THAT. I CAN NOT BELIEVE IT CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH.
 I have since apologized, but our start was rocky to say the least. 

The next couple years their relationship blossomed, and they had their ups and downs. During the downs I was not a fan of the man who was hurting my best friend. 
I mean come on, friend code 101= be on her side, always! 
But look at them now.... they are beyond happy and I could not be more ecstatic for them!!

So here's to you Abs... Here's to you not having to spell your last name out ever again. To moving to the back of the alphabet. To always having a partner in crime and a date to everything. To having your best friend by your side forever. To finding the man of your dreams! To Mr. & Mrs. White!!!

Love you Abs. I couldn't be more happy for you two. Welcome to the married club! :)

Commence jokes about having babies. Too soon?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why you don't go running

Because you don't live in a place like this....
I don't mean to brag, okay fine, yes i do, but this was my morning run. 
England, you have my heart.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I love dreaming. It's a free adventure every night! Besides the point. The real point is, there is not one decoration in our entire flat. We couldn't exactly bring any with us, given our packing limitations. The bank account and the husband would also not appreciate it if I spent money on expensive decor. This left me with one option: make it yourself. Yay crafting, right?

I'm starting with our room. Over the bed to be exact. Nothing fancy. Super simple.

It's so so easy to make too! All you need is:

I found the actual letters for free here. I printed them off and glue dotted them to the colored paper. (Secret... I used glue dots to mount the clothes pins to the wall too).  I wish I had twine to hang the thing. I couldn't find any in the city and didn't want to order it online, so string worked just fine. I tripled it up so it was a little thicker on the wall. 

Honestly, easiest craft of my life. I love how it turned out!

Side note:
I listened to this song on repeat while making the banner. LOVE IT. Not sure if it's popular in the States, but I'm all about it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

How to Be Happy

Lately, I have been in a little bit of a slump. Why, you ask? But Callie, you have literally traveled the world and had AMAZING opportunities the past six months! How is the heck are you not happy?! Yeah, yeah. I know. 

Life has changed lately. I used to think that I was okay with change, that it was good. I still believe that change can be good. Change is required for progression, but change can also be scary and hard. I found myself writing in my journal this week, "I feel like I have lost myself a bit." That's a scary sentence. Hear me out though...  I had to quit my job, leave my friends, (miss my BFFs wedding... love you Abs) and move to the other side of the world. 

With all that said. Let me tell you that I found the answer to happiness this past weekend. 
(I don't know if I really found it, more like rediscovered it). 

I had a little help from a little thing called General Conference. Haven't heard of it? Well let me tell you all about it! Did you know that we have prophets on the earth today? God speaks to us through them just like he did with prophets of old, like Noah or Moses. General Conference is one of the instances we have to hear modern day prophets and their counsel from the Lord. 

One of my favorite talks was given my President Dieter F. Uchtdorf during the General Women's Session. He gave us a recipe for happiness, peace, and eternal life. I mean really, what else could you want?

"The Creator of the seas, sands, and endless stars is reaching out to you this very day! He is offering the grand recipe for happiness, peace, and eternal life!
To qualify for these glorious blessings, you must...
1) Humble yourself
2) Exercise faith
3) Take upon you the name of Christ
4) Seek Him in word and deed 
5) Resolutely stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places"
I needed to hear this. I was looking inward and not upward and outward. I can be happy when I serve others. I can be happy when I look to my Heavenly Father and trust in His plan. The answer is simple. I knew it all along. I had just forgot. Sometimes we need a little reminding from our loving Father in heaven, and that's okay!
Are you feeling down? Need direction or uplifting? You will find it here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Move to a Foreign Country

Brace yourself... it's a long one!

1) Pack your life in two suitcases
Okay, fine. Three. We payed the whopping extra $200 for two extra bags. This is not an easy task I tell you! Packing literally everything we need for the next year (maybe more) of our lives... stressful. We made it work though. Tips: roll your clothes. They fit better. Use every single ounce that you are allowed on that plane. WEIGH YOUR BAGS TO CHECK. Use those baggage cart things at the airport. You might feel like people are judging you for having so much stuff, but you will feel more awkward trying to lug around three suitcases and a backpack without it.

2) Settle in for a long plane ride
After our adventures this summer I feel like I could fly around the world three times and it wouldn't phase me. Things that help though: Spend the money and buy a donut pillow. It's worth it. Get a good book. Or two, or three. Fly an airline with personal TVs on the back of your seat. Just watch a couple movies, a season of Suits, and you are there! Wear whatever you freaking want on that plane. (I know some people have strong opinions about looking classy when you travel. Me? Forget that. Wear sweats and your nikes. Crazy pants and a t-shirt. Whatever is comfortable. 14 hours is a LONG TIME to be sitting in a dress.)

3) Research Research Research
I feel like we could have done this a little more thoroughly. I mean, they speak English in England but pretty much everything else is different from America. They drive on the left side of the road. They call underwear pants. Yeah... we've made that mistake a couple times. They don't tip at restaurants. The list could go on and on. Luckily, we've made some really great friends who have showed us the ropes. If we hadn't we would be struggling.

4) Find a network 
Whether this is through your job, community, church, or neighborhood, having a network of people is huge. We found this through our church. The people here have been amazing. We had someone to pick us up from the airport, somewhere to stay until we got on our feet, and even a personal chauffeur to drive us around at first. Seriously... what a HUGE help. We've already been over to a ward member's house for dinner, and made tons of friends. It's so nice to have a support group in a place that is so foreign.

5) Find a home
Whew! This one was a doozy! We have been looking online for months for a place to live before we even got here. We felt uncomfortable with wiring money oversees for a place we hadn't even seen yet though. We decided to just look when we got here. Ho-ly Cow. The market in Birmingham this time of year is crazy. A property would come on the market and 9 people would see it and want it that same day. Just be patient and resilient. Keep making appointments and when you see one you want do what you have to to get it. Since Austin is a student and I am technically unemployed we had to pay more money upfront for the rent. It was a bit of a pain, but if it meant we could have a place to live, we were in. We have finally found something and move in tomorrow! YES!

6) Find a job
Lucky for me, my visa allows me to work. I don't really have much to say on this topic since I am still unemployed! They use CVs here not resumes though. I'm applying all over the place so hopefully I'll find something soon.

7) Eat the food
Chocolate. British chocolate is $. There are little shops everywhere with fun new food. We love to walk around the city center and try new things. Food is actually not as expensive as I would have thought. It helps that we are in Birmingham and not London. I would say you can find lunch for $6-8, and a nice dinner for $10-15. It's pretty reasonable.

8) Explore and ask questions
Honestly, you kind of have to wing it for a while. We've done lots of walking around the city just to explore. We ask questions when we have them and almost always people are willing to help. We're excited to be here and look forward to learning more as we grow.

We haven't taken many pictures yet, but here are a few.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"The Beach"

I realize at this point people reading my blog (probably just loads of people) think we are the most spoiled individuals alive. Mexico, Ghana, Japan.... blah blah blah. Well disclaimer: here's yet another update on our ridiculous summer. In our defense though, this was just a mini weekend away.

Austin's family has an epic beachfront house in the Lincoln City area. Please understand though when I say "the beach" in Oregon, even in the summer, there's no guarantee there will be sunshine. Lucky for us, we a day or two CLOUD FREE. It was a wonderful few days of games, kite flying, yummy food, and family. YAY BEACH!


Flying Kites
First Timer ^^^

The Boys

Beautiful Sunsets

I promise our lives will now be relatively boring for the next month or so.