June 2011 archive

How to be a Travel Fashionista

If you are anything like me, then you like to dress up. For me, it’s an all the time thing. Nails done, toes done, eyebrows done, high heels, skirts, the whole works. It’s not extra for me to put so much effort in to my appearance because I’m the girliest girl imaginable and I actually enjoy it. I’m even wearing heels at 7am in the morning (Ask Erica and Shaun from OverYonderlust.com, they can attest to this fact). The whole dressing up/getting ready for the day process is very therapeutic for me and probably one of the things that keeps me somewhat sane.

But when it comes to travel, especially when it’s long term, we can fall in to fashion ruts. The same jeans, same shirts, same shoes can get pretty old, pretty fast. So here are my fabulous tips for all you gorgeous gals (and gents), to look your absolute best while you’re out traveling. Strut your stuff, oh ye fabulous ones!

1. Stick to Neutrals
If you stick to neutral colors while packing, you’ll be able to mix and match your outfits much easier. Don’t underestimate the power of black! Not only is it slimming, but it matches EVERYTHING and will instantly make you look a little more dressed up if needed. I usually stick to a black, cream, gray and white color scheme. Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall, neutrals are always in season. Sometimes I’ll add in a few pops of something pink (my favorite color!).

2. Scarves
I never travel without a scarf, even in the middle of summer. It always adds an extra punch to an outfit, and can easily be used as a shawl if it’s cooler. This is the time you can get a scarf with a little more pizazz to add to those black pants and cream colored top. Voila! Instant chic.

3. Accessories, Accessories, and More Accessories
I cannot press the importance of having accessories. Jewelry and sunglasses instantly add a flair of glamor to an otherwise ‘meh’ outfit. It can be something as simple as black, over sized sunglasses and earrings, or a really pretty ring. My ears aren’t pierced, so I always make sure to stack on the bangle bracelets or a big statement necklace. My favorite necklace is a giant gold chainlink beauty that I got in Greece. I never go anywhere without it, and I always get compliments. You can never have enough of those, right?

4. Just one pair of Killer Ass Heels
I know some people might not agree on the practicality of bringing heels on a long trip, but I say to hell with that. You can be wearing cut up boyfriend jeans, a flowy tank top…throw on some heels, and BAM. Instant hot bitch. I’m short as hell, so I prefer my heels to be sky high, but anything that makes you feel like a sexy goddess is great! If you’re planning on going out for a long night of dancing and drunken debauchery, invest in a pair of roll up flats you can easily stuff in your purse. Don’t be that skanky girl who walks barefoot out of the bar. No bueno.

5. Invest in Worthwhile Clothes
Don’t get me wrong, Forever 21 and H&M are great for budget (aka broke) fashionistas like me. But lets face it, one wrong wash in the laundry and some of those cute (yet cheap) clothes completely fall apart. Don’t waste your money on cheap clothes that won’t last; you’ll only end up buying more somewhere else in the long run. I know I don’t want to end up in Asia where my ass is too big for anything remotely resembling a pair of pants. So invest in worthwhile clothes you know are going to last you for your whole trip. Not saying you have to buy Chanel tweed pants and an Gucci dress, but you know, shit that’s not going to fall apart. My favorites are Joe’s Jeans, J Crew, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie. Gilt.com is an awesome site for high quality brands at greatly reduced prices.

So when you’re making that packing list for your next Round the World, week long, weekend long, or even day long trip, follow these tips! You’ll be the belle of the ball dahhhling.

Oh Shit, I Eat Plants

So, I recently became *gasp* vegetarian again.

I was strictly vegan for about 8 months when I first moved to Los Angeles…then Thanksgiving came around. I couldn’t bear the thought of eating Tofurky and vegan mac and cheese, so I slipped. And then it was just a downhill spiral from there. I got depressed, and ate my life away, gaining around 40 lbs in the course of a few months. And now, I’ve been trying to get back on track and lose the ‘depression weight’. I’ve been progressively eating healthier, first cutting out fast food, refined sugars and flours, sodas, coffee, etc. I watched documentaries on how much the Standard American Diet is affecting our lives, our health, and well being. So I made an executive decision to stop eating meat, again.

So now, I’m on a plant based, whole foods eating plan. No meat, and hardly any dairy or eggs. I guess you could say I’m vegan, but occasionally I’ll indulge in cheese or use eggs when making a recipe. I haven’t felt better! Now I’m not here to preach being vegetarian, because to be honest, I don’t really care what other people eat…unless it’s glass or couch cushion, then I’m judging you. If you eat meat, great! If you don’t, great! I love everyone. Do whatever makes you happy. But I know what has made me exponentially more happy, and that’s eating my wonderful plant friends. I have way more energy, my workouts are easier, my head feels clear, I’ve lost weight, and despite what people say, being vegetarian has saved me a LOT of money. I can’t cook meat for shit, but give me some squash, mushrooms, bell peppers, kale, spinach all damn day long and I can cook it. So on top of doing what I feel is best for my body, I’ve become a boss in the kitchen. Something about vegetarian cooking comes very natural to me. But here’s the kicker. What the hell do I do when I travel to Argentina, steak fucking capital of the world?

The thing is, I still like meat. I just don’t eat it for health reasons. It just makes me feel sluggish, tired, sad, weighed down. I’m not one of those people that’s completely repulsed by it, so that’s why I think being vegetarian will be something very hard for me to keep up on the road. Only because I’ll want to try everything! One of the most awesome things to do when traveling is to eat. Le sigh.

If you are vegetarian and you are traveling, give me your tips! Tell me where the plants are. And more importantly, tell me how to say “I don’t eat meat” in Spanish! :)

image via NatalieMaynor

Start a Revolution

Ever since I left my job and have started to completely redesign my life, I’ve been somewhat of a ‘revolutionary’ figure among my friends. *hair flip*

A co worker quit her job a month after me to pursue her dreams of getting her Ph.D.

Another friend left his job to follow his passions of being an admissions counselor at a college.

And another one of my friends JUST left his dead end job at a call center to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional dancer.

Now, I’m not going around preaching, “QUIT YOUR JOB, NOW! QUIT QUIT QUIT!”, because understandably, it’s not exactly possible to just leave a job on a whim. There are bills to pay and rent will be due. But I do believe in following your true passions, following what your heart is telling you to do. If you are working at a job that is stopping you from really going for your passion, then you need take a step back and evaluate what you need to do in order to make your passions light on fire. So, you in order for you to really pursue your dreams, you will probably have to really hunker down and save money. As an exercise, for a week, write down EVERYTHING you buy: gum, gas, lunch, that apple from the downstairs office coffee shop, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much money you are randomly spending. Before I really started saving for travel, I was spending around $80 to $100 extra dollars a week! I was buying lunch almost everyday, going out for drinks, getting expensive manicures. You might not be able to go out and get happy hour drinks with friends 4 days a week. You might not be able to buy those really cute shoes from Aldo. But you know what you will be able to do? Be really, truly, honestly and genuinely happy. Travel or shoes? Starting your own clothing line or an apple martini? Becoming a writer or that new handbag? See where I’m going with this?

There was a common theme between my friends and I. We all hated our jobs, we had passions that we wanted to fulfill, but we couldn’t see ourselves actually doing what we wanted. All we saw were cubicles, ringing telephones, crazy bosses, and occasionally drowning ourselves in an after work happy hour/therapy session.

Once I left my job, I obviously had to tell people why I all of a sudden had an endless amount of free time. I explained to my friends that life is too short, that we have to follow our true passions and dreams. If we aren’t doing that actively every day we are on Earth, then we really can’t be living to our full potential. Now is the time to press that pause and reset button, and start over.

The more I talked to my friends, I saw a light in them I had never seen before. They started shedding their unhappiness, their worries. We all talked constantly about our goals and dreams, what each of us were planning on doing with our new found freedoms.

But let me point out that it didn’t start out that way. I was TERRIFIED to tell anyone about what I was planning on doing. As you all know, quitting your job and planning to live in a different country is not the most conventional way of going about life. In my experience, nine times out of 10, most people will scoff at the idea and think you’re joking around. Some of my friends still don’t think I’m serious about traveling. These are obviously the people I’m slowly letting out of my life. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses, do a hair flip, and give a fierce ass goodbye walk. Let BeyoncĂ© shows us how it’s done.

I kept my blog a secret from my ‘real life’ friends, fearing that they would think I’m absolutely insane. I thought, here they were, with their perfect careers, seemingly happy at their jobs. But they weren’t happy. They felt the same exact way I did! It wasn’t until I told them about my blog and all of my plans that everything spilled out. They joined my revolution. And you can too!

So my task for you is to start a revolution. Don’t be afraid to tell people your goals and dreams. Don’t be afraid to tell people of your unconventional life. Don’t be afraid to share your blog with your friends. Don’t be afraid. Period.

Start a revolution and follow your passions.

Start a revolution and change the world.

Start a revolution and set this planet ablaze by fulfilling your dreams.

Start a revolution and BE HAPPY.

Trust me when I say that life is too short to be miserable. It’s my firm belief that we were put on this beautiful planet Earth not to be drones at a cubicle, but to be beautiful, gorgeous beings who are living life to our greatest potential EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Start a revolution. Today.

Starved for Creativity? Here’s some Fuel

Lately, I’ve been lacking that creative fire that I’ve been needing in my life. Yes, I’m saving money for my trip to Argentina, and yes, I’ve been looking at WWOOFING for a little bit this summer, and yes, I really do enjoy having so much free time, but I’ve been looking for a little more oompfh lately.

A few days ago I wrote a post about how I was feeling a little lost, a little impatient, and a little ungrounded. When I went to talk with my therapist, she made mention of the fact that I have a GREAT deal of free time, probably the most free time I’ve never had in my life, besides college summers. So much free time without a creative outlet or structure can be really harmful, especially to people like me who need to have some sort of structure in their lives. She suggested that I write down things that spark my creativity, things that get me energized, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you today. If you are feeling like you need a little creativity boost to help pass the time before your next big trip, look no further!

1. Go on a Walk
Obviously pretty simple, but it works wonders. Whether or not you work from home or in an office, take some time out in your day to take a walk. But don’t just walk mindlessly, really take in all of your surroundings, smell the air, look at the flowers. Say Hello to people you make eye contact with. I can’t even tell you how many new little boutiques and restaurants I’ve found just by being aware of my surroundings while walking. It’s also a good way to clear your mind and see things from a different perspective. It works everytime.

2. Join Pinterest
Pinterest my new obsession. Described as a virtual pinboard, you can make various ‘pinboards’ and add all of your inspirations to them or search other pinboards and see what inspires other people around the world. I have 5 different pinboards, one for fitness inspiration, travel inspiration, food and recipes, fashion, and interior design. Unlike Tumblr, you can actually find the source of the photos, which is really helpful when you want a recipe to that delicious cookie you pinned. So not only do you have awesome pictures to help spark your creativity, but you might even find a new website or blog to follow! To join Pinterest, you must request an invitation, but I received mine within 3 days of signing up.

3. Style yourself with Polyvore

Another one of my favorite websites to find some inspiration for my personal style is Polyvore. With Polyvore, you can create outfits, sets, and even editorial style clothing collections. Above is a set I just whipped up in like 10 minutes, but the possibilities are endless! You can make high fashion outfits, search by color and price. Each article of clothing, accessory, shoe, etc, is linked to the website where you can buy it, or just lust over it if you’re like me and not spending any money. It sort of feels like you’re shopping, without breaking the bank! Wins all around.

4. Write in a Journal
Yes, I do use my blog as a journal. I share a lot of really intimate information with all of my readers, stuff some of my friends might not even know. But there is nothing like actually writing in a journal. You know, with a pen and your hand. I keep a journal with my at all times; you never know when the moment of inspiration will hit you. There’s something mysterious, and even really sexy about writing in a journal. Something about writing your deepest, darkest desires and secrets in pen is really awesome. I usually write in my journal at night to reflect on my day. I also love going back and reading old journals, you never know what source of inspiration you might find!

5. Flex those muscles and DIY!
To me, there’s nothing more awesome at fueling creativity than a great DIY project. From making your own jewelry, to concocting your own recipes, to whipping up a delicious body butter, to turning those old pair of jeans into something new, a DIY project helps you come out of your comfort zone and create something especially unique. Nothing is more awesome than getting a compliment on your new necklace and getting to reply, “Thank you! I made it myself!” (you can add a hair flip in there for good measure). And the great thing about DIY projects is that it usually costs way less than buying something new! If you’re looking for some awesome and easy DIY’s projects, check out HonestlyWTF. The latest DIY friendship bracelet is to die for!

These are just a few of the things that light my creative spark. What do you do to help get creative? Share in the comments!

Keeping It In Perspective

I apologize about the lack of posts the past week, I’ve just been in a weird mood. With all the craziness that’s been happening this month, I feel like I’m lost. I don’t feel grounded. And it’s been freaking me out.

I’ve quit my job. I’ve moved into a new apartment with new roommates. I’ve gone to Vegas. I’ve stopped eating meat (again). But for some reason I’ve felt like I’m floating. I feel like I haven’t really settled into everything that’s happened. I’m in a transitional phase in my life and things are just…awkward. It’s like I’m going through Phase 3 of my Quarterlife Discovery. I went through the “I hate my life and my job :(! phase”, the “oh yay! I’m so happy I quit that job and regained my happiness! phase”, and now I’m at the “oh shit, what the hell do I do next?! phase”. Have you ever felt that way?

I had a breakdown about it a few days ago. Sobbing in Johnny’s arms, I tried to explain the best I could how I felt. I’m almost 25, I don’t really have a ‘career’, why am I doing any of this, my friends are making 409740985347 (rough estimate) dollars more than I am, so on and so on. What he said shook me like to the core.

“Baby, you just gotta put it in perspective. You’re going through all of this so you CAN pursue your passions and travel. No one said it would be easy.”

And he’s completely right. Sigh.

I quit my job because I was miserable and wanted to pursue my dreams of traveling full time. We decided to move into an apartment with 2 other people instead of our own place to save money to travel. I’ve gone back to a vegetarian diet because it’s what made me feel the most energized and healthy (not to mention my nails were super long and fabulous). I’m doing all of the things I should be doing in order to pursue my dreams. So what’s the problem?

Like anyone else, I have flaws, and one of them is always thinking about the negative. I’ve always been a worrier since I was a child. I have a tendency to over think things to the point where I freak myself out. I’ve forgotten about the real reason I’ve been going through all these major transitions. It’s to fulfill my passions, to travel full time, to quench this intense wanderlust I have. That’s why I’ve quit my job, that’s why I have roommates, that’s why I spend countless hours a day on travel blogs and websites. I just have to keep reminding myself that going through this weird transition in my life is a good thing. I’m not a loser just because I’m not going the ‘traditional’ life route. If anything, that makes me more awesome, right? Right.

Sometimes, you really just have to take a step back and put everything into perspective. And I guess having a really awesome boyfriend who listens to me cry a lot helps too ;).