2014


If I look inside my mind to review 2014 without the help of past blog posts or my instagram feed, the first thing that will always pop up are the memories of my very first trip to Ireland. I still think about it everyday and feel a burning desire to cry and smile at the same time because it was just such a wonderful experience (by the way, I've yet to taste butter and tea as yummy as the Irish make it).

2014 started a fresh new year (as most new years are) and I really had no idea what to expect as the previous year had been more planned out and honestly, a bit suffocating. 

This year was also made up of everyday moments filled with little details which I made sure to place utmost importance on (many nature walks and reruns of I Love Lucy).

I think of this year as being the year I baked and cooked more than Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray combined. I baked bread loaves and hamburger buns for the first time and it has quickly become a regular occurrence (right after this post, I intend to cook hamburgers for the last meal of the year).

I faced a lot of fears which I still replay in my mind to make sense of how I've handled everything. 

I learned to be very conscious of the moment and of my decisions and to live with more intention.

My drawing skills surprised me so much. I had never drawn with such focus before. It was a boost in confidence that I very much needed.

Every opportunity, I always had a camera with me but I was also conscious not to live through the lens. As soon as I got the perfect shot (which usually took like 253 times), I put the camera down.

I had many a pep talk with myself. I became my own best friend more than ever and actually came to accept and embrace that. I genuinely like myself. 2014 made me realize that life really is what you make of it.

And now, if I'm honest, I don't know if I'm ready for a fresh new start because 2014 was way too good to me. I want to soak it in for a while longer. But it's 5pm already and this post is being published way later than I had anticipated (thanks to an unexpected power outage). 2015 will be here soon. 

All I really hope for in the coming year for me, for you, for the people I know and have known, and the rest of the world, is for inner peace, good health, kindness towards others (seriously, people, let's all play nice- nobody is better than anyone), and simplicity. And a whole lot of bright colors.


Thanks for sticking with me. I hope you'll join me in 2015...
 
 

What I miss about shopping at Target


I grew up shopping at Target. I remember being about 3 years old and picking out a pack of Glitter Crayola crayons (which I still have, by the way) and a coloring book and feeling like the happiest little girl in the world. Every season, Target had something exciting to offer, always at good prices and always something more unique than Walmart. But now, things feel different and I don't find myself as attracted to Target as before. Could it be because everyone and their friend's uncle shops there? Could it be that most things are so cheaply made and overpriced? I'm not sure... but I do know, these are the things I miss about Target...

I miss the days when Target did not have Starbucks (don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of their baked goods) hogging up everyone's attention, but rather a simple little snack shop that sold really good popcorn, hot dogs, and unlimited amounts of free cups of water that you could refill yourself. 

I miss Target before every store became a Super Target- I don't want to buy my toothbrush at the same place where I buy my orange juice. I just don't, okay?  (By the way, don't EVER drink orange juice right after you brush your teeth...)

I miss their outside garden area even though I used to get so bored when my mom would drag me through looking at all the plants.

And I miss when they sold Christmas trees because that's where we would buy one more often than not. I would inhale that familiar pine tree smell like it was some kind of drug. The smell was always much more prominent because of the enclosed space.

I miss their stylish and affordable clothes before the designer collaborations became a thing. Even the Target brand (Xhilaration?) is now so ridiculously priced...

I miss always being able to catch the good clearance deals (the beautiful red sticker that brought so much joy) before anyone else but now that everyone shops there, the clearance shelves are always empty.

Issac Mizrahi- need I say more? His incredibly quirky but classy colors and designs were the first that ever spoke to me. He made me wish that I could be a fashion designer (he's the reason pink and orange is one of my favorite color combinations ever).

I remember Target had the hugest selection of Spice Girls merchandise back in the day. Those were some of my fondest memories. I waited weeks for them to restock the Posh Spice doll because they kept selling out of them. 

Oh Target, we've always been friends. But lately, you're acting like just an acquaintance.

November in the Sunlight




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I have been wearing this shirt and cardigan combination more than a normal amount already even though both came into my possession not even a month ago. I found the black shirt with swans on it at Target in the CLEARANCE, it was an online order that had been returned. I just knew I couldn't leave without it. It seemed like it was going to fit super long at first but turns out it was just right especially when I tuck it in. I love the loose and comfy feel of it and even if it's not 100% cotton (or even 1% cotton, for that matter- my only regret), it's quickly become a favorite. I will definitely be wearing more shirts from now on- somehow, they make me feel more put together (11 year old me would hate the fact that I'm admitting this).

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Djinn Djinn is also embracing the slight change in weather by wearing the sweater I got him last year from Dr. Foster and Smith. It fits his fat little belly just perfectly. If you look closely, you'll notice his leash has tiny little shamrocks on it. I got the leash in Killarney, Ireland. I was determined not to come home without a gift for him but it seemed to be a bit of a challenge to find gift shops that sold pet items. I found this leash literally the day before I had to leave and it was on clearance (clearance and sale items seem to follow me wherever I go but I'm definitely not complaining!) 

I got the blue flats at Penneys in Ireland (a store I had been wanting to visit because I've heard so much about it). It felt like a mix between Forever 21 and H&M. It was a nice store, probably not the best quality. I hope they don't bring one to the U.S. because that would take away the special-ness (that is a word in my vocabulary....), if that makes sense. I bought the flats as an emergency pair for a super, super good price (hello again, clearance) because my walking shoes got lost with my luggage and the Chelsea boots I had were starting to hate my feet.


Details: Cardigan- Forever 21//Shirt- Target//Jeans- Calvin Klein via thrift store//Belt- vintage//Shoes- Penneys (in Ireland)//Dog- Animal Shelter

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Exploring Ireland: the snapshots

Initially, I was going to divide each post with photos/commentary from each place that I visited in Ireland but then I was like, eh, ain't nobody got time for that! I don't want to bore you all with touristy spots that you've heard of a million times before. I've just decided to post some of my favorite photos in a total of two different posts, all randomized, all mixed in. And now, I shall let the photos speak for themselves...


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A piece of my childhood: S Club 7


After the Spice Girls and The Corrs, it's safe to say that S Club 7 was my absolute favorite group. But it wasn't until the recent announcement of their reunion tour (which, by the way, I'm super jealous of everyone who lives in the UK and has a chance to go) that I really stopped to think just how big of a fan I was (am). I, along with a trillion other kids who are undoubtedly all the same age as me now, fell under the S Club spell back in the day. Not an episode or album went unnoticed. I had the dolls (even the singing ones that would randomly start singing in the night). Tina was my favorite. I was also an avid member of both their US and UK websites during the time when computers were still relatively new and as a result, I pretty much associate everything I first learned on a computer with S Club 7. I even remember the S Club 7 message boards and that weird period of time when many fans were convinced they were in contact with the members of the group. I remember the supposed fan email address that was meant to be kept a "secret": it was vivasclub@hotmail.com and while it was convincing then, somebody had to have been awfully cruel to pull such a prank on us die-hard fans. But, it was all fun and games while it lasted.

After seeing their recent performance online at Children in Need and hearing of their upcoming reunion, it sparked so many great memories of my wonderful childhood. Now, excuse me while I go dig out every SC7 album I own and hunt down any episodes I can find on YouTube...

And, just for the record, my top 7 S Club 7 songs are:

-I'll Be There 
-Don't Stop Movin'
-Cross My Heart
-I'll Keep Waiting
-Stand By You
-Summertime Feeling
-Discotek (see, this should prove how much of a fan I was...this song is a bit hard to find)

P.S. I just remembered I bought a copy of their movie "Seeing Double" a hundred years ago at the Dollar store and I've yet to watch it! 



Djinn Djinn, the model




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Took Djinn Djinn on a little walk today to do an impromptu photo shoot because I have plans to enter his head shot in AAA's magazine photo contest. I haven't decided on a photo to enter yet but I've gotta say, the little guy is being a good sport about all this. He must've heard that the winning prize consists of dog treats.

October heatwave











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95 degrees the whole first week of October so far. I'd like a word with whoever is in charge of the weather department. ;) 



Outfit details- Dress: Jealous Tomato (nope, I didn't make that up) via TJ Maxx//Sunglasses: Forever 21//Boots: Dolce Vita via Marshalls//Bag: B Makowsky via Marshalls


DIY: a dog house for Djinn Djinn

I first saw THIS beautiful little Nantucket colonial-inspired dog house a few months ago floating around the web but had immediate sticker shock when I saw the price. I started brainstorming and with a little help from Pinterest, I became inspired to try to make a similar dog house with my own two hands. My dad also enjoys projects like this so I enlisted his help and in a matter of two days, we had completed the perfect little home for my rat terrier chihuahua Djinn Djinn. Below, is a picture of the dog house I loved so much but not enough to spend over $300 on!




I knew right away I didn't want a house made of wood because Djinn Djinn is an indoor dog and wood is just not really practical for inside (too heavy to move, might damage floors, etc...). I came across an empty cardboard toilet box (who knew a toilet box would be the ideal size for a dog house!?) and set to work creating a "masterpiece". I literally just used materials I had around the house and didn't need to buy a thing. Bonus: using the empty toilet box proved to be ideal because it has little built in handles which makes it super easy to move the dog house around when needed.

What I used:
Cardboard boxes of different sizes
Glue gun
Acrylic paint/Interior wall paint
Shelf liner paper with back adhesive (for the interior wallpaper)
Scraps of white cardboard (for window trimming)

If you're thinking of making a house for your pet, I'd encourage you to be creative and just make whatever shape of house you think your dog might like best (usually dogs like to be able to stand/or stretch out lying down so make sure it's nice and roomy and appropriate for the size of your dog). I originally intended to make one similar to the colonial dog house but it turned out more like one of those pretty little houses by the water in Amsterdam.

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I measured everything as well as I could though not perfectly. I get a bit impatient trying to measure- it seems like the ruler always moves! I knew that Djinn Djinn wouldn't mind if a few of his windows were a little off. ;)

I definitely felt more rewarded after I completed this little project. Not only did I save a ton of money, I also got to customize it just the way I thought Djinn Djinn would be most comfortable. It was also super fun to make. I have plans to add a little chimney, as well.

Have you ever made a house for your pet?

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Late afternoon fresh air



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It seems that this month, even though it just started, I am on a roll posting here at least 3 times a week. I have decided I'm really going to strive to post on Mondays and Fridays.

I have started reading for fun again (believe me, this is a miracle as I was completely put off with reading because of school) and also have been inspired to bake a lot of healthier recipes lately (did you know you can make chocolate pudding out of avocados and it tastes like regular pudding?). I have thought about sharing some of my baking adventures but, not gonna lie, at the last minute, I get lazy to photograph the whole process and make it look pretty (after all, I don't wanna post a less than Pinterest-worthy food photo). Not that it wouldn't be an enjoyable experience, but I just want to make sure I wouldn't bore you all especially since I know Americans have a different way of measuring ingredients and most of my readers are European. Is there a way to convert recipes? I'll figure something out!

P.S. These are my favorite shoes at the moment so I have a feeling they'll be making frequent appearances on here! 



Outfit details:  Everything except the shoes- Forever 21 (FYI, I don't really shop there anymore, these are old pieces). Shoes- ASOS

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every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name



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Now that it's August, all I can say is that the weather finally matches the month. I mean, the weather literally hasn't changed at all this year but if anything, the sun is just getting brighter. Normal people would be thrilled about this but I am actually very conscious of the sun and don't like to soak in too much. I like my skin to be all one color rather than patchy looking (as it usually tends to get when only half of my arms stick out or when I'm wearing strappy sandals). So, I'm afraid, in this outfit, that is why I look so covered up and dare I say, I kind of resemble a librarian (nothing wrong with that, I suppose, except, well, I kinda wasn't at the library...).

Getting off topic, but I just feel the need to point out how inspiring the song "Colors of the Wind" is. I  feel that it perfectly describes my surrounding environment and the way I feel about it. People have often pointed out to me that I easily and frequently reference many Disney movies in normal conversations. Everything just sort of reminds me of some Disney thing (old Disney, mostly- I'm afraid I'm not up to date with the likes of Wizards of Waverly Place and Frozen). I can't see a deer without thinking of Bambi. I can't go to a library without thinking of Belle. I can't think of mermaids without picturing Ariel and I certainly can't hear someone say "Let's get down to business" without wanting to chime in "TO DEFEAT the huns!"

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(Ignore weird sun spot on my face...)

Outfit details- Sweater: Target//Top: H&M (similar)//Sunglasses: Forever 21//Jeans: DKNY via TJ Maxx//Sandals: ASOS