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When I go to a new country one of the things I like to do is go to a party supply store and fill a bag with party supplies to take home (proof here). Usually (like everywhere) it is cheap stuff made in China but every country has different versions that you can only get in that country. On our trip to Germany I stocked up on the offerings at the local version of Target.

What kind of souvenirs do you bring home when you travel?

  1. size too small

    February 22, 2011

    i like the idea of party supplies from different countries as souvenirs. and how fun are those heart balloons…

  2. JSR Photography

    February 22, 2011

    Fun! I always buy a piece of jewelry where every I go.

  3. Fashalina aka The Hyperbalist

    February 22, 2011

    Those heart balloons are adorable…I am so jealous of your new life in Paris. I think it's beyond wonderful and brave of you & Paul to take your two boys with you to a foreign place and just embrace the whole experience with open arms and an open heart and mind. You & your hubby seem like such practical, driven, go-getters who live life to the fullest. I can imagine so many people coming up with a laundry list of reasons why moving a family of four to Paris would be difficult or impossible or impractical, and you seem to have carried out the whole thing with such aplomb. You make it seem EASY– the paperwork and the packing and the whole finding-a-home thing and saying goodbye to friends & family and getting French ID's and learning how to grocery shop and exploring…I would be stressed out of my mind and you just seem like you were born for it. It's wonderful and I am truly inspired and hope I have the balls (!) to do something as awesome one day, with my little ones. Your boys will look back on this and think their parents were so freaking COOL for just up and moving them to Paris for a year. What a special, special experience for them, and you! And to be able to hop in a car and just…drive to germany! Here, you drive 5 hours and you've crossed some city lines, possibly a state line, depending where you're at. In Europe, 5 hours can take you from Spain to France to Germany. How amazing! xo

  4. Denise Laborde

    February 22, 2011

    With a Twitter title like "dirty secrets" I just had to hop on over and see. Lol.
    Ha, never thought of collecting party supplies on my journeys, but I'm not a party planner, I just play one on tv. Nah, seriously, I collect notebooks, notepads, pens, pencisl and stationary.
    I think the heart shape balloons are a major score.

  5. Kelly

    February 22, 2011

    I like to bring home all sorts of things! Pens, paper, make up, and books. My favorite souvenir was from when I went to France and I purchased two pairs of pointe shoes. One for practice and one for performing. It was so cool! I was able to speak French with the shop owner and my mom has the whole conversation on video.

  6. Luisa

    February 22, 2011

    Wait, which store was it? Lidl? I need those streamers. Thank you! A loyal reader in Berlin…

  7. The

    February 22, 2011

    Hi Jordan…first, bon sejour a Paris!

    The 1st, middle & last thing we do when we travel/live is head straight for the grocery store, even better if it is Target-esque. Not only because we are foodies and have 3 hungry boys under 8, but also because I firmly believe that it the heart of the culture! In Rome (college) I loved UPIM, in Paris (after college) we stalked INNO Montparnasse (sadly gone now), and now in Amsterdam (for work), we adore de HEMA. By the way, all good stores seem to have 4 capital letters 🙂

    I bring an empty suitcase and gleefully fill it with 1) Office supplies, stationery, greeting cards, magazines 2) Non-perishables like hot mustard, spices, cookies, and chocolate and 3) Baby clothes (and the occasional trifle for myself and hubby). Just thinking about it gives me wanderlust!

  8. Cupcake Carrie

    February 22, 2011

    I'm the same way!!! I just got back from a trip to Cali (i'm currently in Montana with SLIM pickings) and I stocked up at Ikea with straws, napkins and candles. I also got lots of cupcake liners from Michael's. SO fun!!!

  9. jennifer little

    February 22, 2011

    You should create a big cartel to sell your little fun treasures. You would make so many people happy by allowing us access to your fun finds!!

  10. Kate {domestikatedlife}

    February 22, 2011

    eek those heart balloons are so cute!!

  11. jmss

    February 22, 2011

    The heart balloons! So perfect.

  12. Miranda @ One Little Minute

    February 22, 2011

    What an interesting thing to buy in other countries! I'd never have thought of that. We opt out of typical souvenirs when traveling and instead choose one original painting from each location we visit (big trips, not weekend getaways!) It's been a fun way to use our money on wonderful memories that are always up and will last forever!

  13. Tina

    February 22, 2011

    I buy a fridge magnet from every country I visit – they don't take up too much space and our fridge becomes a reminder of all our travels.

    I also love to buy jewellery (rings especially), but only if I find something that I love.

    While visiting, one of my favourite things to do is trawl the supermarkets for new and unusual flavours of chocolate (that almost never makes it home!)

  14. Elise / Pennyweight

    February 22, 2011

    What a great idea!! I love love this… great finds.

  15. Molly W.

    February 22, 2011

    those heart balloons are so dang cute! i would've bought those for sure! man alive I miss living in Europe!

  16. Miss B.

    February 22, 2011

    ha! You know, I used those pink heart balloons for valentine's day here and they ended up looking like well, women's body parts.

  17. Julie

    February 22, 2011

    Love all those party supplies! If I find a lovely piece of art (even if it is more expensive) I will splurge for that. I also always look for pressed penny machines, I am a sucker for those.

  18. HollowSquirrel

    February 22, 2011

    I love small office supply/stationery stores — when I lived in Spain, I stocked up on awesome notebooks and files. I also love checking out pottery/every day dishes.

  19. Nikki

    February 22, 2011

    That is a fantastic idea. Now I just need to get to another country 😉

  20. lolafrenetica

    February 22, 2011

    Usually when i go to others states i visit the 99 cents tree stores and buy party stuff, i love them.
    Last time i was in my country, i bought so many party stuff. i like them so much cause it reminds me my childhood. I keep them for myself even thought i bought them to use them in parties. hehehe

  21. Maia

    February 22, 2011

    Postcards and Beer Coasters ~

  22. jen

    February 22, 2011

    i always buy a Christmas ornament. i'm not into knick knacks and displaying things, but once a year I can take out souvenirs from all our trips and display them for a month. it's perfect.

  23. ali

    February 22, 2011

    I am boring. I bring home the most generic postcard I can find and souvenir bags. Sometimes I buy a little something just so I can have the bag. Weird?

  24. debbie m

    February 22, 2011

    We get a Christmas ornament on each vacation. It brings back good memories as we get them out every year.

    I have a friend who gets a local cookbook.

  25. Jess

    February 22, 2011

    I'm loving the heart balloons! I'm having trouble finding similar ones here in Kansas City. How fun!


  26. Diane Zerr

    February 22, 2011

    I always buy an ornament for our Christmas tree. It's so much fun to pull out each ornament and remember where we bought it and the story behind that place.

  27. des

    February 22, 2011

    wow i love this idea. i usually collect business cards and get a dress for a fancy dinner, that way every time i wear i think of the first time i wore it.

  28. jaclyn @ thelateafternoon

    February 22, 2011

    the idea of collecting party supplies when traveling is incredible. i didn't realize how party decor differed across countries. i may have to travel to france just to get those cute heart balloons and confetti!

  29. Mom in Mendon

    February 22, 2011

    Cute finds.

    When I get to go to a foreign country I try to shop at hardware stores to buy an item or two that I can actually use at home. In Japan, I bought amazing yard clippers that always remind me of my trip.

  30. {jane}

    February 22, 2011

    that is a cute idea. i'm guilty too. however, most the time i/we buy little treats {candy} and inexpensive jewelry to pass out at home or keep for parties too!

  31. Ali

    February 23, 2011

    That's a great idea – I usually head to the Chemist and stock up on unusual soaps and other toiletries. They make me think of our trip when I'm home. And I am very sad we've now run out of Portuguese toothbrushes, because they were really good.

  32. Alexandra Steinmetz - Champagne and Chiffon

    February 23, 2011

    I wish I threw enough parties to warrant buying amazing supplies!

    Lately, I've been into collecting local cookbooks everywhere I go.

  33. cailen ascher

    February 23, 2011

    what great finds! i always love getting something that represents the culture i'm visiting…pashminas & a market basket in paris, leather purse from florence….

    great blog! i'm your newest follower : )


  34. marshmallowgirls

    February 23, 2011

    which store in germany did you go to?

  35. Christie in Jersey

    February 23, 2011

    For longer trips out of the country, I always look for Christmas ornaments, original art, and an accessory or piece of clothing that won't go out of style (jewelry, a scarf, cotton lounge pants, whatever). I never manage to find all three, but if I find one of those three things, I'm good!

  36. Lynette

    February 23, 2011

    what a fun idea! after living in Seville, Spain for a a few months I brought home a six pack of inexpensive glasses, called "tubos". In Seville, they were used at impromptu drinking parties in the park, and many of the small bars also served my favorite drink, a "tinto de verano" in them. Now whenever we have friends over during the summer, I make our version of the drink and serve it in these special glasses.

  37. Tuesday

    February 23, 2011

    I always bring back stationary supplies, kitchen treats and of course tons of make up and beauty products.

  38. Diana

    February 23, 2011

    What a great idea! I'm always drawn to cheap little knick knacks, but party favours are cute, useful and quirky. Love it!

  39. Where My Heart Is

    February 23, 2011

    Jordan you are a woman after my own heart – I always check out party shops too when traveling overseas. I also check the stationary stores for wrapping paper, ribbon, gift cards etc.

  40. Anonymous

    February 23, 2011

    chapstick… I love all the different kinds out there, and you can never have too many around the house.

  41. Georgie

    February 24, 2011

    Oh – what a fabulous collection! I am still excited about the streamers that you made last week. Which store was it in Germany? I am off there soon to visit friends and would love to pick up some of the heart ballons!

  42. Jenna {Jenna Sais Quois}

    February 24, 2011

    Those party supplies are incredible. I love the idea of picking up different craft or party items from your travels. I never would have thought of it, but now I think I'll make it a tradition. Thanks!

  43. sarah@boxwoodclippings

    February 24, 2011

    Of course postcards are a must, pretty enough to frame upon my return. I usually write on the back a letter to myself about the trip. I also like to try and nice scarf, basically coz a girl can never have too many. Both these items obviously travel great, since luggage space is always an issue with me.

  44. Cass

    February 24, 2011

    We bring home Christmas ornaments from our vacations. This works because our tree is eclectic, not "pretty" w/ matching ornaments. It's so fun to decorate the tree and remember all of the fun places we've been!

  45. Ruthi

    February 24, 2011

    Love this! I definitely need to start collecting party supplies….

    I actually just posted about what I get for souvenirs too!

    Check out the vintage lapel pins here:

  46. Alison @ Hospitality Haven

    February 25, 2011

    We buy a postcard and write it to ourselves and then mail it so we have a piece of mail from that country!

  47. Tonia Conger

    February 25, 2011

    If it's someplace special that I may not make it back to often I try to get one of two things; perfume or jewelry. Nothing too expensive of course. But if I fall in love with a perfume in a place (like I did in Paris in 1997 and Spain in 2006)then every time i wear that scent I am reminded of the place.
    If I can find a fun pendant or bracelet at a flea market that's also a great memory and something you can potentially hand down.

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