A day trip to Toledo

day trip to Toledo

While I love the excitement of arriving at the airport, going through security (total sarcasm here) and boarding my flight to some exciting destination, I also love the fun of a simple day trip. There are so many places that we can explore within a 1-3 hour drive of us, wherever we are. I love taking day trips and where I live in Spain, there are so many!

Over Semana Santa, I traveled in Ireland and England for a little bit. On my way back home, I found cheaper airfare into Madrid. Since I’ve already been to Madrid several times, I decided to take a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a perfect day trip from Madrid as it’s a one-hour away. And it’s also a city that you do not want to miss. It’s full of so much history and things to see. And the architecture is very unique.

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Striped dress #2 and linkup

striped dress

Hi everyone! This has been a crazy week. Has it been crazy for you all as well? I feel like I’ve been like the little engine that could … or the energizer bunny. I just keep going going going. The weekend is almost here … and I am glad. A nice weekend in my home of Granada, Spain sounds amazing! Which brings me to this post!

As many of you know, I live in the beautiful and picturesque city of Granada, Spain (most of the time I just need to pinch myself). Last weekend, I met up with a new photographer who did an amazing job on some photos of this striped dress. You can read that post here.

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Spring striped dress in Granada

striped summer dress

Spring has sprung and I am excited. This is my third spring look of the season. The first spring dresses I showed you all were from my lovely day trip to Ronda, Spain. However for this shoot, I stayed right where I live … which is Granada, Spain. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself. How on earth did I get so lucky to live in Granada, Spain?

Last Saturday, I met up with Katarzyna, a lovely photographer from Poland. She was traveling through Granada to visit her best friend, a Polish girl who’s engaged to a Spanish guy who lives here in Granada. I love stories of couples from different cultures. However the way I found her was very by-chance. You know how Instagram has those ads? Half the time I just keep scrolling. However she made one several months ago that caught my attention. She put that she would be in Granada for a week and wanted to shoot engagement photos for a couple or two in Granada. She works in Poland as a wedding photographer and wants to be a destination wedding photographer. So I figured while I’m not in need of engagement photos, I’m always doing outfit shoots for the blog. So we connected and agreed to do a shoot. I was excited.

We met up in the center of the city and shot a few photos in different plazas and in front of fountains. Spain is never lacking for beautiful spaces. Then we ventured to Parque Federico Garcia Lorca, which is this beautiful park in Granada. It was simply amazing.

striped summer dress striped summer dress striped summer dress

spring striped dress

I love it when I just click with a photographer and we have fun shooting photos. That was exactly how this session went. I also find that if I’m having fun and and am feeling more comfortable, I feel better about myself in the photos. Any of you fashion bloggers feel that way? Like there are some photoshoots where I just look awkward … probably because I was feeling awkward that day.

striped summer dress striped summer dress striped summer dress striped summer dress striped summer dress striped summer dress

striped summer dress

spring striped dress spring striped dress

spring striped dress spring striped dress spring striped dress spring striped dress

Thank you so much to Katarzyna Pyrchała Fotografia. If anyone is ever in Poland and needs an amazing photographer, keep her in mind. This has been of my favorite photo sessions. She does amazing work!

The dress and jacket are from Aerostato, a cute little boutique in Ronda, Spain.

Today I’m linking up here.

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Hatters Hostel Liverpool for a bit

When I plan travel, I realistically need an entire night. I love all the logistics that go into planning your route, your accommodations and what you will see. I love comparing modes of travel, airfare and the like. That is exactly how I initially decided to come to Liverpool.

A friend of mine invited me to come to Dublin with her over Semana Santa. I found a Ryanair flight Malaga-Dublin for 20 euros. Great! Returning home, however, was looking quite pricey. It’s funny how that happens with Ryanair. So I got creative and started thinking about what other cities are near Dublin. It was my Semana Santa afterall (I teach English in Spain and Hispanic countries love to take the whole week off before Easter). I had time to explore. So using the GoEuro app (anyone traveling in Europe needs this app. It is amazing), I found a Ryanair flight from Dublin-Liverpool for just 16 euros! Liverpool has been on my list for a while since the Beatles are from there. So I said why not?

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4 things that supercharged my Spanish

things that supercharged my Spanish

I speak a second language and I love just about every second of it. For those who may be new to the blog, I am an American living in Spain. Before moving to Spain, I spent a year working a bilingual job at a non-profit organization in my city. However if we’re being honest, I didn’t really pick up Spanish until just a few years ago. While I most certainly do not speak the language perfectly, I spend a lot of my life in Spain speaking Spanish. I love it.

Life is funny, isn’t it? I get to see the language-learning process in reverse for me living here in Spain. I work as an English teacher here, so I’m constantly helping Spaniards improve their English. Often times I know their struggle because I have been there. Other times I find myself thinking “you know this is what really helped me over this hurdle or that. You really should do X thing.” So I thought I would share my tips on the blog. These tips can be applied to all foreign languages. So here are 4 things that supercharged my Spanish.

1. I stopped saying that my Spanish was bad

I find Spanish people saying that their English is bad all the time. And I just kind of want to scream, quite frankly when they say this. We all know that positive thinking can do wonders. If you always think that you suck at speaking your foreign language, will you really improve? One day it dawned upon me that I frankly never had time to think that my Spanish was bad. I got hired to work a bilingual job and thus I had to communicate the best way that I could. Many people who called the organization spoke no English, so I was forced to only speak Spanish. What I noticed I started telling people was that I did not have perfect Spanish. And of course they would always reply with “well of course! It’s not your first language.”

So language-learners, replace “my French/Spanish/German/Arabic or whatever language you’re learning is bad” with “my Spanish is not perfect.” You’re not telling any lies as your of course it’s not perfect … you’re still learning. For me, it helped me to think more positively about my Spanish and speak with confidence.

2. Not. Everything. Translates.

When I first studied Spanish, I worked with Daniel from Coffeeshop Spanish. He had a dinner at his house and I remember a fellow student saying “if I could just translate my thoughts.” I responded with “honestly, that’s never going to be a reality so you might as well just accept that.” Maybe that was harsh, but I like the truth man.

In Spain, I find Spanish people all the time translating everything. I will tell them some phrase in English and they will ask me what that translates to in Spanish. And the truth is, not even all expressions translate. Idioms and expressions develop out of cultures … and cultures are different. So of course such and such phrase from German will not have a similar one in Spanish and so forth. Also sometimes one thing is a verb in one language and an expression in another. Perfect example is kick vs. dar una patada. In English, we just use the verb “to kick” when someone swings their leg in order to hurt another person. In Spanish, they use the expression “dar una patada” which literally translates to give a leg. It would just be strange to directly translate that to English.

When I speak Spanish, I try to jump into the Spanish world as much as I can and think in the language. I try to learn words or phrases within the language. And I do not try to translate every single statement back to English. I couldn’t hold a conversation if I did that.

3. I put myself in situations where Spanish is the only option

I realized that a big reason my Spanish improved rapidly is because I was continually forced to “find a way.” Working at Su Casa, I was forced to speak with people who only spoke Spanish on a daily basis. You learn quickly when there is simply no option.

So because this worked so well for me, I sought out a flat with Spanish people who all spoke little English. We all just always speak Spanish to each other all the time. I wanted to be forced to speak the language every day here in Spain, so I figured Spanish housemates (vs. other English teachers) was the best way to ensure that I would speak Spanish daily.

4. I stopped believing the b.s.

Apparently it’s harder to learn languages as an adult. However I never let that stop me from pushing hard. Also people also want to believe that some are just more wired for languages. I honestly think that’s a load a crap. Maybe there’s a slight truth to that, but the only reason I think I speak decent Spanish is because of how much I immerse myself in it. When Spanish people are amazed that I speak well for only having spent 6 months in their country. So I explain that I spent 40 hours a week for an entire year speaking Spanish. That really is the only difference.

I think that language-learning is hard and of course people get frustrated. And so these things can be nice excuses. However if you believe them, they will hinder your progress. And that is no good.

At the end of the day

I do not speak Spanish perfectly and there’s still so much I could learn. However it’s most important to me that I keep my mind positive. That positivity will help you make tremendous leaps and bounds.

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My Primark spring dress

Primark spring dress

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite happy that spring has sprung! I love being able to wear my dresses without tights and I love busting out all the floral prints. So I was happy to find this Primark spring dress for only 8 euros!

As you may have seen on Instagram or my previous post, I spent this past Saturday in Ronda, Spain. Ronda is an adorable small town about an hour outside of Malaga. My friend Karla and I made a day trip out there from Granada. Like me, she also teaches English in Spain.

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Spring florals in Ronda, Spain

Ronda, Spain is officially my favorite pueblo in Spain. Everything about my day trip there was amazing. Where is Ronda, Spain? you ask. Well I’m glad you asked! It’s located in the southern region of Andalucia in the province of Malaga, making it easy to get to. Malaga is the big city in the south with the large airport. So if you happen to be traveling in Malaga, Ronda is an easy day trip to make.

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3 bridesmaid looks with Millybridal UK

The day that my best friend and I have talked about for years is just a few short months away. It’s absolutely crazy. Can you guess what it is? Yep, my best friend is getting married and I’m her Maid of Honor. I could not be more excited and happy for her. So today I’m showing off some bridesmaid looks from Millybridal UK, an online shop for bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses and other formal wear.

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Las Fallas: a festival of fire in Spain

festival of fire in Spain

Several weekends ago, I experienced the most “Spain” thing yet. It included large artistic creations, marching bands, food trucks and alcohol. It culminated with fire. Much like Burning Man, everything had to be burned. Hence, why Las Fallas are known as the festival of fire in Spain. The festival happens every March in Valencia, Spain, and this year I was lucky enough to go.

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6 Zaful dress picks

Zaful dress picks

Going shopping can be exhausting. You go from store to store looking for that one thing you want. Sometimes you find exactly what you’re looking for right away and other times you just wander. Then you come home with nothing. Shopping online is the perfect solution! And you don’t even need to change out of your pjs!

I recently stumbled upon Zaful, an online shop with hundreds of clothing items. Being me, of course I started with the dresses. These dresses just scream Spring and Summer. Can you tell that I am excited? I mean I live less than an hour away from the beach. I could not be more excited.

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