Friday, December 31, 2010

after a long hiatus

I'm back! Back in the states, back to blogging. My apologies for the super long hiatus, but it was really difficult to take any outfit pictures while I was abroad. Logistics become alot more involved than grab my tripod and run to my backyard.

I can not believe 2010 is coming to a close- another year full of memories, joys, sorrows, disappointments, triumphs. It has definitely been a year of immense growth for me. My time abroad has allowed me to become a more confident young woman, more self assured and worldly. I've learned that although people and places come and go, I will always have myself. It's always been reinforced to me that a life is measured through the relationships you build, but I think even more importantly it is the relationship you build with yourself. Because regardless of whatever, you will always be you- so it's best to start accepting that and learning to let yourself be enough. You can't expect other people to embrace you, if you don't.


It's very strange to come back home and find that everything is pretty much the way I left it. The difference is me. So here I am back to my backyard. There are still leaves everywhere as you can tell. One thing I missed while I was in Barcelona was the autumn leaves. Barely any of the trees turn and the leaves that fall aren't crunchy. They're slippery! I almost wiped out multiple, multiple times. A note to shoemakers: why don't you put tread on all pairs of shoes?! It's a crime, really.



Surprisingly, it's a really beautiful day out. I was comfortable in just this sweater. A nice change from the freezing temperatures earlier this week and last. I don't have any huge plans for the New Year's and I'm ok with that. Sometimes eventful isn't always a good thing. It is really strange to be back in MD though. In Barcelona, there was always something going on- tonight I would have my choice between zillions of bars and clubs. Here at home- it's ok, well I can either go to this house party, go out to dinner or watch a movie at home? The pace is definitely slower. Oh and not to mention, I'm not legal in the states. What an awful wakeup call- I miss mojitos already.


Tank: J. Crew Sale ($12!)// Sweater: Banana Republic// Earrings: Mom's// Scarf: Christmas gift// Jeans: Gap// Socks: Spain// Shoes: Tunnelbana Heel via ModCloth// Nail polish: Revlon, Minted


Ok so New Year's resolutions, gotta do 'em.

1 Don't be such a people pleaser. It's ok to consider what I want to do occasionally.
2 Keep up with this blog!
3 Scrapbook Spain photos.
4 Make Dean's List
5 Write my grandmother more.
6 Swim and go to yoga class! on the reg!
7 Keep things in perspective.
8 Speak Spanish! Speak Spanish! Speak Spanish!

Happy New Year everyone! Any exciting plans? New Year's resolutions?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

hitting the town


I am so happy today! It's Wednesday and I am only two classes away from being home free for a fabulous weekend in Amsterdam and Paris! Tonight we're having a family dinner for Thanksgiving with another family, the father is American, the turkey, dressing, pumpkin bread, the whole nine yards. Apparently the father is bringing a guitar because my host mom told him that I sing well and that we should duet together... oh boy. They're going to get some wine in me first- liquid courage, eh? I don't generally like to sing in public by myself. I get really nervous and embarrassed which makes it worse because I'm embarrassed that I'm embarrassed, you know how that goes- vicious cycle.

Anyway, wanted to spread my good cheer with you all! So, I'm posting some pictures from a few different nights/occasions from this past week or so in Barcelona. I've been wearing my boots pretty much non-stop. They're super comfy, versatile and warm- can't say that of my other shoe options here. My Keds died on me and my only other everyday wear kind of shoes are flats aka way too much skin exposure for this wind.


The first photo and the one above are from the same night. We hopped around the city from a packed bar to a really fun, semi-swanky club. I wore a black, long-sleeved cotton dress with waist tie, burgundy wine-colored tights, turquoise and silver earrings, a scarf (for warmth!) and chunky wooden heels. All in all, a really successful outfit. The dress is actually made of a fairly heavy material, so it kept me warm enough. It's a difficult balance to achieve in terms of temperature because it's really cold out especially when the wind blows, but it is really flipping hot in the bars and clubs (body heat is no joke!). So, scarves function well because you can take it off and tie it around your purse or stick in your bag if it's big enough. Tights are another must have because they give your legs some coverage, but are thin enough that you're not burning up in the club. And to be quite honest, the shoes aren't bad! Well I mean, they're heels and heels are always bad. But, I successfully danced in them all night without horrible consequences. The soles are rounded so that when you walk, the shoe just rolls forward if that makes sense. There is no hard edge on the bottom, it's all one curved piece.


The next set of photos are from a girl's night out this past weekend. We met up with some girl friends at Fairytale bar. It is just as it sounds! The decor is made to feel like you're inside some sort of forest, it's a really intimate environment. It was a great night of relaxed conversation and general fun.


My (failed) attempt at looking like a princess haha.

And then, last but certainly not least! We saw Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows on the 13th I believe. We tracked down a theater that played it in the original version with Spanish subtitles. I was like a little child on Christmas morning. When it ended, we were all like, ummm? It's only been a half an hour, where's the rest of the movie? Time flies when you're in Harry Potter world, I swear.



Largest popcorn of all time! And I'm proud to say we killed the entire thing before the movie even started. For some reason, we were all famished and just destroyed it. Super delicious and plus, less distractions during the movie. Just me and Harry :]

Wishing you all a wonderful, fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

fall color


My dad visited me for a week in Barcelona! We had a really fabulous time being super touristy and eating at delicious restaurants. It was so odd not being super cheap and actually buying drinks (aka water, it is uber expensive here). Just wanted to share a few photos of signs of autumn here. The majority of the leaves still haven't turned, so I got really excited about the few that have.



Thought the carpet of my dad's hotel was interesting and I like the colors of it with my flats. Was inspired by Rebecca of The Clothes Horse's flats' series.



Monday, November 15, 2010

in with a bang


I get bored with my hair really easily because it´s always straight and the same. It really is true that the grass is greener on the other side- I know so many people who say that they're jealous of my hair because it's straight and easy and I don't slave over a straightener every day. But, I would much rather have wavy or curly hair- I think it's gorgeous.

I've been thinking about getting straight across bangs for a while; so, decided to take the plunge!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

crema catalana


I've decided this outfit looks a little food inspired as well, so I'm going to run with it. Crema catalana is a cream specific to this region of Spain, Cataluna. They have CC flavored gelato, pastries, errthing to cure a sweet tooth. Side note: sorry that the majority of my photos are in my room. I know it's not the most scenic (i.e. towels in the background), but like I said- it's really one of the only places I can set up for self-timer.

This top is from my earlier trip to H&M. H&M is so, so huge here- they have them all over the place and alot of things are the more upscale, trendy pieces. They have long, evening appropriate gowns, furs (fake hopefully), in general more night life wear than I've seen in the US, but maybe it's because I haven't been to a major H&M like in NYC or somewhere like that. Anyway, I love this top, it's super floaty hence super comfortable.



It's hard to see in these pictures, but I'm actually wearing these legging pants; they are high-waisted with really cute military detailing. But, you can only see that part if I wear it with a shirt tucked in (coming soon, I'm sure).


Hasta pronto! :]


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hot cocoa


I've noticed in Spain that the Spanish women are really masters of the neutral, earth tone palette. It always looks elegant and put together without being boring. So, I've been trying my hand at this look which I think it well suited for fall.


Sorry this is a really weird angle, just tilt your head a little to the left. haha this is what happens when I try to create a makeshift tripod out of stacked books and other assorted objects. But, look! It's our doggie, Pongo. He's such a cutie. Kind of a wild child, he's only 6 months old, but we love him just the same. He definitely keeps life interesting, you never know what he's going to do next- eat your underwear? burst your black pen all over his white fur? sneak under your bed when you're not looking? But hey, what is life without surprise?

IMG_5352 IMG_5356

I really love the details on these J. Crew shorts, they're made of wool but have satin-like trim and a cute little bow in the front. They were kinda pricey, but I think it was worth it because they're really good quality and fairly timeless.


striped top, Gap// jacket, Ann Taylor Loft// wool shorts, J. Crew// scarf, Zara// tights, old// boots, Piperlime

Stay warm you guys! :]
xx. A

Monday, November 8, 2010

sheer joy


Just a short post, I bought this new top and wanted to share it with you! I'm loving these peachy, warm tones with neutrals- camel, browns and cream.



Top: Villa// Necklace: J.Crew outlet

Love from Barcelona xx.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cinque Torre, Italia

Copy of IMG_4998

So, my best fren' is studying in Alba, Italy this semester so we met up in Cinque Torre, Italy which is actually made up of five smaller towns. Cinque Torre is known for its hiking and breathtaking vistas, you hike in between the towns- depending on which two towns the hike varies from 3 hours to around 1 hour. Unfortunately, we had alot of rain and really only got in one day of hiking; but, it was gorgeous nonetheless. Italy is still Italy, even in the rain.

Also unfortunately, this weekend was a bad idea. I have a herniated disc in my back which I found out about this summer. But, I've had back pain for years and it's something that I've just become accustomed to, so I guess I push my limits a little too much because the pain is nothing new. So, traveling on the cheap means not checking baggage which translates to super heavy backpack. It's definitely doable to just bring a backpack for a weekend trip, but mine was really heavy because I was trying to pack warm things. It was much easier when weather was warmer and I only need a bathing suit, a couple shirts and a pair of shorts.


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So anywho, needless to say the backpack did not do good things for my back and hiking is also not neccessarily the prime activity for people with back problems. To add insult to injury, Sunday ended up being the biggest travel fiasco of all time. I was traveling back to Barcelona by myself and so, the physical and emotional stress of trying to deal with these situations for myself really put a strain on my back. The train to Milan (where I was flying out of) was an hour late, ended up on a train carriage with over 50 Italian guys my age who were all grabbing me and laughing and yelling things in Italian, had to pay 90 euros (over 100 USD) for a cab to attempt to make it to my flight, missed my flight, cell phone wasn't functioning, don't speak any Italian, get escorted out of security area by security (hahha that's actually a really funny part), eventually make it back to Barcelona in one piece, but barely.

To make a long story short(er) I had to go to the ER that Monday because I'd pinched a nerve and lost sensation in my arms and legs.

BUT! I don't regret going to Italy. It really is a beautiful part of the world, the people are very amiable and friendly. I always feel awful when I can't speak the language of the place we're I'm visiting because I think it's respectful to try to communication with people in their own language when you're in their country. It's like how most Americans expect people to speak English to them. So, I struggled through some shotty Italian/Spanish that I tried to make Italian and most people were really patient and cheery. And, not to mention the food!! Oh my gosh, the land of gelato is the most magnificent thing of all time. I had a three scoop cone with pistachio, hazelnut and coffee otherwise known as heaven. And then of course, pasta- I had pesto lasagna with bruschetta, so gooood. And of course, it was really great to see my best friend. It's nice to see a familiar face every now and again.


These photos are from Via dell' Amore which means Path of Love. It's a really romantic place, too bad I didn't meet the Italian love of my life there- maybe another time. So you're supposed to put a lock along this path to symbolize your eternal, lasting love for someone. If you put a lock here, it is like making a vow that you'll be with this person for the rest of your life. And if it doesn't work out, supposedly you have to come back and take it off.



Thought I'd leave you with this cute kitty:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

letting go



Hiya everybody,
Sorry that I've been a really spastic blogger. This past week was a mess- I ended up in the emergency room because of my back. I've known about this herniated disc this summer, but have refused to let it affect anything. Hence, I went to Italy last weekend to hike in Cinque Torre- bad idea, tons of walking, climbing, carrying a heavy backpack, rain. So, I got back to Barcelona and realized that I'd really done it this time. Anyway, to make a long story short- I'm on the road to recovery! It's been a little rough though trying to adjust to the differences in the medical system and being under the weather away from home.

Done alot of soul searching and things of that nature though. I had to spend long periods of time with just my mind for company which can often be a dangerous thing. I occasionally swirled into little bouts of panic. I really have control issues and everything was completely out of mine. The doctor told me to take everything one day at a time, I didn't know whether I'd be going back to classes or whether I'd have to go back to the US or if I'd be able to walk around the next day. But, I realize now that this was really a beneficial thing for me. In the end, we can plan for every single contingency but life is unpredictable. We have to learn to adjust and move like water around the rocks.


Sweater: Old, no idea?// Scarf: Vendor at my university// Boots: Piperlime// Socks: J. Crew


Monday, October 11, 2010

bows & birds


So, here I am writing this post because it's yet another way to procrastinate. Isn't it funny how you can think of one million other things to do rather than do the one that you need to? I'm a really effective, productive procrastinator though! If that makes any sense..

I apologize for the crappy-ness of this photo shoot location. This is the inside of my room in my host family's apartment. There are literally 43920432 beautiful places in Barcelona where I could take pictures but a) don't have my tripod b) even if I did, there's no way I could leave my tripod unattended for a second without having it stolen c) we're all so busy! Even if i find a photographer, it's hard to make time for it. But, I'm working on! Bear with me. :]

These shorts are a newly acquired purchase from H&M. H&M is SO big here, it's kind of strange- I'm not sure why it's so popular. But, the store where I bought these is 3 or 4 stories of just pure joy. I was so overwhelmed with beautiful stimuli- they have really elegant pieces like the higher end H&M kinds of things and some really cool trendy items like loose, boxy tops and knock out corset dresses. I bought two other things while on this shopping expedition, coming to a blog near you! But anyway, back to the shorts- I love, love these shorts. They're really different- a sort of silk like sheen, with girly details such as ruffling and overlaying panels of cloth and a little subtle bow in the front. I really love how lately designers have been vamping up shorts to carry over to night time or to a nice lunch date. Also, before I left the States, I bought a gorgeous pair of black wool and satin shorts from J.Crew, can't wait until it gets a bit colder and I can wear them!


Bow tee: ModCloth// Scarf: Urban Outfitters// Shorts: H&M// Tights: Boots: via Piperlime


So, this is what I wore today. Just an average day for me- class this morning at 9 AM (ALWAYS rough) and another at 3 45. It's such a drastic change for me living in a city, I'm a burbs girl. But, I love that I can walk to school in 10-20 minutes depending on how fast I'm booking it and that I can grab a metro literally 500 ft from my apartment and zoom around to another part of the city. Barcelona has a really excellent public transportation system, it's great. And way cleaner than the D.C. metro which is a plus!

Today was a bit nippy in the morning, but I love that crisp autumn breeze. It heated up towards mid-afternoon, had to take my scarf off and my legs were a bit hot, but now it's probably cooled down some again. I think we're in that transitional phase now. The mornings and evenings are cool, but the heat peaks in the middle of the day. Definitely missing the usual comforts and pleasures of fall on the east coast- the warm toned leaves, watching football over the weekends, drinking apple cider and carving pumpkins! But, I'm so happy and blessed to have this great experience here and I'm loving every second of it. Halloween has actually infiltrated its way to Spain and people dress up here I think. Have you guys started thinking about your costumes yet? Any amazing, mind-blowing ideas??

xx A.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

mirror, mirror

Just a couple pickchas, dropping a line. These are a few from the dressing room in H&M, it's four floors! And the selection is just ridiculous. Actually these are pictures of what I wore to go shopping, but I'll try to get some up soon of what I bought & hopefully, accompanying outfits.


Top: Gap// Scarf: Vendor on Barcelona's beach// Skirt & sandals: UO// Purse: DSW


Actually funny story about this scarf. So, there are these men that walk along the beach selling sarongs/scarves. It's actually illegal because none of them have licenses, but it's extremely popular. You can lay on the beach and have drinks, a massage, coconuts, beer, sunglasses and sarongs without lifting a muscle. They cater to all the tourists that come to Barcelona and it works! Well anyway, back to the story. One of the vendors sold this to a huge group of tourists- it was a big group of Europeans, we couldn't determine where they were from, French? German? But, they had a little circus going on- they were all getting massages and buying beers. They bought the sarongs just to use to lay on as towels and they were dudes, so I knew they really couldn't have cared less about what the scarf looked like. So, I asked the random guy who had this one if we could trade. The vendor haggled a Euro coin out of me for facilitating the trade even though I really didn't need his help.. but oh well. I ended up with this gorgeous Egyptian print scarf so I'm a happy girl! :]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

little black swimsuit

Spain 2010 145

So, I'm going to try to be a better blogger starting... now! I'm getting so super excited about autumn after seeing your all's photos. Fall is my absolutely favorite season and October is one of my favorite months because a) beautiful leaves b) my birthday c) Halloween. Those are good reasons, right? It's funny how the grass is greener on the other side. I'm here showing you photos of a tropical paradise while dreaming about autumnal breezes and apple cider! But hey, don't get me wrong- I am having a wonderful time over here.

The photos in this post are from this past weekend. I flew to Menorca which is one of the Balearic Islands off the Southeast coast of Spain. We managed to find a really cheap flight and an adorable hostel which was really more of a hotel than a hostel. I've actually yet to have a real hostel experience so far, but that is definitely not a complaint. I've heard that in real hostels you have to sleep with your purse across your chest clutching it because who knows what could go down in a room of bunk beds full of strange! Ayy!

Menorca is a small island with a beach town kind of feel. My friend Anna and I hopped around to the different "calas" which means coves and "playas" beaches. To me, the coves were probably the most stunning part. As you can see, the water is hugged on the sides with towering, jagged boulders and then at once, opens to the infinite expanse of the sea. It is truly spectacular!

This is the view looking back towards the inlet of the cove.

And this is the view looking out from the cove to the Mediterranean Sea!

So anywho, this is the newest addition to my always growing bathing suit collection. To me, it's the bathing suit version of a LBD, everyone should have one! I love that the bottom is cut like the bathing suits from the 50's, it's a pretty virtually flattering shape.


Please ignore my awkward facial expression? This is the only picture I have where you can see the cut of the bottom.

Ok I want to go on forever about other things, but I have to go and do some homework! Oui.

And thanks everybody for all the lovin'! It's nice to hear from you all over here. Little reminders of home. And I hope that you all know that you can travel anywhere too! If I can do it, you can too. There are so many ways to travel cheaply and smartly. Maybe I'll do a post about that? Thoughts?