My epic week of apartment hunting in Spain

apartment hunting in spain

Apartment hunting in Spain was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had in a while. This past week has been full of ups, downs and surprises. I cried and was grumpy at times. And I laughed because well, you have to. But yesterday night I found my piso (apartment) and all is well. The epic saga lasted about a week and I thought I’d re-account it here.

It all began one week ago last Thursday. First of all, let me just say that that seems like over a week ago. Perhaps the stress of not knowing where I’d live made the week seem to drag on forever. However it was one week ago that I was on a bus from Malaga to Granada. Malaga is the big Spanish city on the coast with an International airport. Hence, that was where I flew into. Granada is less than two hours North by bus. So I arrived and checked into my airbnb. Ah, I have arrived!

So in Spain a majority of people live in apartments. Most have 3-5 and maybe even 6 or 7 bedrooms. Yes, you can get your own place to yourself and pay usually at least 100 euro more a month, or you can share and pay as little as 140 euro per month. This option means you have your own room but share a kitchen and bathroom space. Not only did I want to share, but I wanted to share with Spaniards. As most of you know, I speak Spanish as a second language. However I didn’t really, really start speaking it till about two years ago. Furthermore I figure that if I’m in Spain, I want to immerse myself as much as I can. I can surround myself with English speakers in the US, after all.

I reserved an airbnb because everyone STRONGLY recommends that you don’t agree to a piso before seeing it in person. You never know because photos can be deceiving. So thus, I booked an airbnb for 5 days.

Now most of you who know me know that I like to plan ahead. Also, my biggest personality strength and flaw is that I choose not listen to negativity. I had heard from past language assistants and read on blogs that the piso hunt was tough. Everyone is looking at the same time and you have to do it in … Spanish. Whenever I hear that something is challenging, I always think “well there just must be another way.” In this case, I thought exactly that. I was like “well if I come to Spain with plans to view like five pisos, one will work out and I’ll just move in!” Oh how I wish it would have been that easy. It was not.

So I start in maybe May or June looking at apartment listing websites. Sure, it was way too early. But I love looking at the pictures and I was just imagining my life overseas. As the beginning of September approached, I started reaching out to people. I made a little ad on one website in Spanish saying that I was looking to live with Spaniards near my age. I got a lot of responses. I felt good and I felt prepared. Then I decided to circle around with those people a few days before leaving to see if they still needed roommates. Two of the four had already rented the rooms. Oh well. It’s not like I ever said “save it for me!” I just simply told all of them I would come see it when I arrived. So that left me with two that were still available. I still felt great about it and truly felt that one of the two would work out.

So that Thursday I viewed the first one and like everything except the fact that it was a tad farther from the city center. I viewed the second one Friday and liked everything about it. It literally checked off all of my boxes for what I wanted in a piso. I would have had three Spaniard girl roommates ages 26, 27 and 32. It was centrally located. It was just a nice, cozy place. The girls seemed very nice. I told them right then that I wanted it. It seemed as though they were like “well we need to talk to the girl who is moving out and let you know when you can move in.” But perhaps I misunderstood … I am communicating daily in my second language after all.

So because I thought I had a piso, I spent Saturday and Sunday relaxing. I walked around Granada and ate tapas. I simply relaxed. I thought I would check back in with the girls Sunday afternoon. When I did, they told me they had more people to come see it and that they would make a decision after that. I was crushed. But I knew I couldn’t just wait around. So I went back to my airbnb and cried. Then I dried my tears and got on the computer. I must have sent out like 20 whatsapp messages to people looking for roommates. I got a lot of people telling me that the room was already rented. However little by little I got responses. At the end of my night, I had four viewings planned. It seemed promising.

The sh*t show

That next day was ridiculous to say the least. The first viewing was an apartment super far North. The interesting thing was that the listing was for a piso in the center of the city. However she told me the rooms she had available were in that neighborhood up North. When I arrive, I send her a whatsapp message. She’s 30 minutes away in a pueblo (small town) and will be 30 minutes late. I had a seat and started looking around. I was just like “lets be real … I’m not going to live here.” I didn’t want to waste her time, so I cancelled.

Piso two was AMAZING! It was in a neighborhood slightly south of the city but super accessible with lots of shops, restaurants and other things. I would have had one roommate age 25 and a dog. Her dog was adorable too! Oh and it had a beautiful terrace. It just seemed like a very chill situation. I liked it but had two more viewings that day. The second viewing was in that same neighborhood. I show up and there’s a 9-year-old child. The woman never put that she had kids in her ad! Like not at all. It turns out she’s a sweet Honduran house cleaner with two kids ages 9 and 15. Her brother sometimes stays in the apartment too. But the fourth room they have they rent out. While she seemed nice, I just was not interested in living with a family. However I left it open as you just have to in the piso hunt. You just don’t want to be completely out of options. Also she said she would pass my number along to people wanting English lessons … win! The fourth one of the day was cancelled. I guess they had someone they liked enough that they didn’t even feel the need to meet me. Disheartening? Yes. But life goes on.

That evening I return to my airbnb to continue looking at listings. As I’m sitting in the kitchen, I get a text from a girl who is looking for a fourth roommate. She seems super cute and fun. She tells me that she is not interested in ANY Spanish roommates because she loves living with foreigners. She loves practicing English and learning about different cultures. I think “wow, this could be really good. This could be it.” So I agree to go see it.

First of all, it was a hike. Like it was not central at all, but had the same price as pisos in the center of the city. I arrive and all looks good. There’s a Spaniard, a girl from Portugal and an Italian. Oh and it had a BEAUTIFUL view of Granada. Honestly, if it was closer to the city center, I would have taken it right then and there. But it was far and expensive. So I said thanks and as always, kept it open. After all if I couldn’t find anything and that was an option, life could be much worse. I’d rather live with them than the Honduran family anyway.

As I’m walking back from that viewing, I get a message from a girl named Pilar. Except I’m still getting used to Spanish names and I assumed Pilar was a guy. Now I know Pilar is a girl’s name. She was like “I saw your ad. I’m 28 and live with my dad. We have a room free.” My dad is super low-key and chill, so I thought it was worth checking out. So I agree to meet them on my way back.

As I enter the apartment, there’s cat stuff everywhere. I forgot to ask about cats! I myself am super allergic and it’s usually one of my questions as I’m acquiring information about an apartment. But I figure since I’m already there, I might as well have a chat. I’m invited to sit on the couch and chat with her and her dad. Her dad was nothing like mine (apart from the whole my dad being an American thing). Her dad is 71 and seems to be one of those older people who just says whatever they want. One of those people who knows that the outlandish things they say and do are part of their charm. I’m convinced that certain types of people exist in every culture. This is a perfect example. He mumbles on about the financial crisis in Europe and has a weird fascination with my hands. Apparently they are big and nice looking. He keeps saying things that make her go “papi!!” out of obvious embarrassment. I’m thinking this one is a no. Apparently they have found an apartment and just need a third. I’d have my own bathroom. I’m still not convinced. I figure I already have a dad and didn’t move to Spain to get another. However like the Honduran woman and the far away apartment, I left it open. Like “oh I’m looking at other places but I’ll let you know.”

The next day I view a few more and start/stop writing a message to the girl with the dog and terrace. I wanted her piso but for some reason was hesitant. I then get a message from Pilar that her dad is going to an old persons home and she wants to live in the center of the city. She wants to be my roommate. While that was an odd switch up, I was open. I still viewed like maybe one or two more that day, and chatted back and forth with Pilar. It was nerve wracking and I often felt a tad sick. What if I found nowhere?

I just had to keep on keeping on

Yesterday was crazy. The first place was just like rooms to rent and it felt like a convent. I will say though that one of the rooms was huge and tempting to just take. The landlady made you sign a contract (not super common in Spain). I honestly felt like it was just a boarding house.

The second place I didn’t even end up seeing. I arrive and send the landlord a whatsapp message. I hear nothing back and have a seat on the bench in front. At least I have a bench! I’ve gotten real good at silver linings in all of this. She comes out about 10 minutes later with the girl and is like “se alquilada! Lo siento!” The chick took it right out from under me! What in the heck? It probably sucked anyway. So I just said thanks and continued on my way.

I was super hungry, so I stopped at a cafe and sat in the corner. I start to cry … all by myself in the corner of a cafe. Folks, this is also a part of the expat life. It’s not all sunshine, rainbows and Instagram updates like you might think. Sometimes you just feel so helpless and alone.

The piso

A girl had started messaging me on whatsapp that morning and I just had a different feeling about it. Like perhaps that was the one. I also more or less straight up told her that I had been searching with minimal luck since last week. I said if I liked it, I would want it. She seemed okay with this and it made me happy. Also she was 29 like me!

That evening I decided to be happy no matter what happened. I changed clothes, touched up my makeup and started smiling. I sat in a courtyard and people watched. I browsed shops. Even though it sucked to still be homeless in Spain, I was in Spain! I also told all my friends to pray/send out good vibes for me.

Eventually it was time to view the piso. Upon walking in, it just felt like home. The place just felt clean and well taken care of. My room would be small, yes, but with lots of closet space. I would also have direct access to the balcony and a trundle bed! All there of the roommates were from Spain just like I wanted. I just had a good feeling and said yes. And like that, it was mine! The hunt was over.

Things I realized

  • People won’t always be direct with you. If you tell someone you want it and their response is “we still have other people coming to view it,” it could mean just that. Or more often it means they want to keep roommate searching. If they were enthralled with you, they would have just let you have it then and there.
  • Next year, I may just put more money down up front for my own 3-4 bedroom and then do my own roommate searching. Then I control the conversation instead of the other way around.
  • Panning ahead in Spain is just not a thing. My plans were more or less for nothing.
  • If you have a bad gut feeling, just don’t do it. One guy wanted to offer me a free room in exchange for “english lessons.” Oh and and he would give me massages. Yeah, I turned that one down.

Other odds and ends

  • The girl with the crazy dad’s new piso wouldn’t have been ready until November. But she said I could live with her dad until then. Yeah, no. That was my last last last resort. Who knows if November would have turned into December and so forth.
  • I may hang out with some of the people who’s pisos I viewed. Thats a plus. And lord knows I need friends in a new place.
  • I finally got a response from the girls in the second piso I liked so much. They chose another girl. Go figure.
Continue Reading

Guest blogger: Shelbee and the Little Green Dress

little green dress

Hello, everybody! My name is Shelbee and I write the blog Shelbee on the Edge. I am so excited to be guest posting for Nina today as she is getting herself settled in Spain! I am an over 40 stay-at-home mother of two boys and two cats. I also am an Army wife. We currently are stationed at Fort Drum in the northern reaches of New York State where the summers are short and the winters are long, cold, and very snowy. I decided to start blogging during my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan last year as a means to reclaim some of the sanity I have lost trying to raise these boys in the midst of this extraordinary military lifestyle in this curious climate of the North Country!

little-green-dress-2

little-green-dress-3

little-green-dress-4

My blog provides a welcoming forum for like-minded women and mothers to stop by to give and receive support and helpful insights into surviving this crazy, beautiful life. I discuss topics such as Army life, parenting, fashion and style, and mental health. In my little space, you are free to express yourself without judgments and showcase your own unique style without fear. Here’s hoping we can all find our own individual voices in each area of our lives. While I may teeter on the brink of sanity (and midlife), I still find ways to hang on and feel fabulous in the process! I would love it if you would stop by for a bit and feel inspired!

little-green-dress-4

little-green-dress-5

little-green-dress-6

I have been following Nina’s blog for about a year and I so love her style and all of her fabulous dresses. I was so honored back in June when Nina asked if I would like to collaborate with her and 5 other bloggers on styling our Little Black Dresses. You can read Nina’s post here and my post here. I was equally excited when Nina reached out to me again and asked if I would guest post on her blog while she is making her big transition. Of course, I was more than happy to oblige in helping out a fellow blogger. And the only request she had was that I style a dress! Fortunately, I had this adorable little green number just hanging around begging to be worn!

little-green-dress-7

little-green-dress-8

little-green-dress-9

I bought this dress on a crazy last minute shopping trip in search of a semi-formal dress (you can read about that craziness and see the semi-formal dress I chose here). During the insanity, I spotted this dress and I have always wanted to have a little green dress. There was one left, it was my size, it fit perfectly, and it was 50% off. So, of course, I took all of that as an omen that this dress was meant to be mine. The fate of said dress was confirmed when I styled it for this post and my husband’s jaw hit the floor! We are now planning a special date night specifically to showcase my little green dress! (But you all saw it first here!)

little-green-dress-10

little-green-dress-11

little-green-dress-12

The dress is sleeveless which you cannot tell (obviously) because I layered a cardigan over it. There is a criss-cross pleated detail at the neckline that doesn’t seem to lay quite right. It was super annoying to me, so I added this adorable black and white polka dot cardigan which I think created a vintage feel. I was digging that retro vibe, so I stuck with it and mixed up some other black and white patterns in my accessories. My thin belt is white with black speckles (the dress came with a skinny nude belt which pairs perfectly with strappy nude heels). And I am loving these black and white plaid kitten heels! I wore green drop earrings and a vintage initial bracelet on a green leather strap. Other than the flower in my hair, I don’t think it needed any other accessories.

little-green-dress-13

little-green-dress-14

little-green-dress-15

Well, except for my umbrella and sunglasses! It was one of those rainbow kind of days when we photographed this dress. You know, the days when you need both sunglasses and an umbrella. Because the sun is in your eyes when you are facing one way and the dark gray clouds are threatening you from the other direction. But every body knows that you cannot appreciate the sun without a little rain! And you cannot have a rainbow without both!

little-green-dress-16

little-green-dress-17

little-green-dress-18

I hope you all enjoyed my little post and maybe found some outfit inspiration for a rainy day. I wish Nina all the luck in the world in her new adventure and I know she is going to be just as fabulous in Spain as she has been in Cincinnati! Thank you so much, Nina, for sharing your space with me today on A World of Dresses!

little-green-dress-19

little-green-dress-20

little-green-dress-21

Outfit details:
*This is not a sponsored post and I have not included any affiliate links herein.

Dress: Dress Barn (No longer available).
Cardigan: Elle for Kohl’s (from last year).
Belt: Target (old).
Shoes: Payless (no longer available).
Umbrella: Target.
Bag: Very old.

That’s all I have to bring you from the edge! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have!

Continue Reading

Guest blogger Ada: My Summer of Dresses

Today we have our second guest blogger of the week. Meet Ada! I will say that one of my favorite things about being a blogger is the community. As I settle into life in Granada, I do not have to worry about new content. Thanks ladies!
Hello. I am Ada, the blogger (and mom) behind Elegance and Mommyhood a blog on my every-day style as a mom and as a busy housewife, with a few office outfits every now and then. I am so happy to be guest-blogging for my friend Nina today. I love her style and her dresses. I wish Nina the best of luck and lots of fun in Spain. She will paint Spain – stylish –  with all of her pretty dresses. Like Nina, I own a lot of dresses (over a hundred) and wear them a lot. My daughter Vivian is 3 and a half and she is my special guest on my blog, often. Like mommy, Vivian wears a lot of Dresses, too. 

Since the official first day of Fall was yesterday (September 22nd) I wanted to say a Farewell to Summer by recapping my 12 Most Favorite Dresses that I have worn this Summer and talking a little bit about each outfit. For each outfit, I will also include some advise on how to style each dress for Fall.

 

summer of dresses
Dress: Xhilaration (Target).
This Summer I wore a lot of Little White Dresses. I kicked off Summer by wearing this Gorgeous Dress in late May and having my mini me matching me in her own off-shoulder little white dress. This dress has some crochet around the hem and it paired so well with those light beige/nude espadrille wedge sandals. Add a long cardigan in brown, camel, gray, black, navy or honey and this dress would be perfect to transition now.


summer of dresses
Dress: Who What Wear (Target).
Original Post.
I don’t have many Midi Dresses but this Summer I changed that and purchased this Gorgeous Black+White Floral one. The material is such a breezy chiffon and I love the wide ruffle on the hem and the see-through part. I can see this with block-heeled booties (any color really: camel, black, burgundy, brown, navy, red, cream, royal blue, olive, gray), a denim jacket and the same bag for a great Fall-transitioning outfit.


summer of dresses
Dress: Merona (Target).
Original Post.
This Summer I also wore a bunch of Maxi Dresses. I didn’t used to own many Maxi Dresses prior to this year. This beautiful macrame-neckline cobalt one was one of my Summer buys this year and I loved it. I dressed it up with faux suede coral pumps yet kept it casual with an orange fedora. I would keep that fedora to style it for Fall (since the orange is a great shade for Autumn), take off the belt, add a cozy grandpa cardigan in magenta, burgundy or mauve and wear my leopard flats. Leopard looks lovely with cobalt and any shade of  burgundy.


summer of dresses
Dress: Merona (Target).
Original Post.
This is my only kimono-sleeve dress but I kind of want another one (ideally in red). This one has a cool, unique white floral print. Coincidentally this was the LBD I wore to participate in celebrating Nina’s Birthday this year and as you can see by the collage above I styled it two ways for day and night. At work, for Fall I would add some bright tights (in red, burgundy, rust or mustard) with some black suede pumps or black suede booties.
summer of dresses
Dress: Sami+Dani.
If you buy a LWD, make your first one an eyelet one. An eyelet white dress is pretty much the definition of Summer, fashion-wise. Now this one has a mosaic-patterned eyelet design on the bottom hem, the sleeves and on the hem of the top part (since it is an overlay style). I wore this recently to work with pops of color: fuchsia and teal, and got a lot of compliments. Because of the longer sleeves, the dress will be easy to wear September thru November. Try it with a denim jacket, a BF cardigan, a black moto jacket or a camel leather jacket. Also for shoes try it with knee-high boots, dessert booties or wedge suede booties. 


summer of dresses
Dress: Merona (Target).
Original Post.
This hi-lo maxi in a vibrant shade of coral-red is one of the ones I wore on my July Vacation this year. My sweet girl Vivian wore one of her favorite dresses: this pink floral+striped dress with her flower thong sandals. Now, I definitely think this is a typical Summer dress but adding a cropped jacket, a shrug or little cardigan to it, with some nude flats or even a bootie, would make it great to style it in September or October.

summer of dresses
Dress: Ann Taylor.
Probably my most favorite LWD I purchased this Summer. This is perfect because it is in a popover shirt-dress style, with an A-line midi skirt, the nicest, most comfortable breezy poplin cotton material and the best part – the back. The top back of the dress is all in eyelet. Again one of those Dresses that is more Summery (hello: eyelet) but I would add cognac accessories to it, a tan blazer and a plaid blanket scarf for Fall.


summer of dresses
Dress: 3 Hearts (target.com).
Original Post.
OK, so this outfit already has some Fall elements in it, because you know white sneakers are perfect all year long. By the way I love wearing sneakers with dresses. What I would change for Fall is swap the denim vest for a denim jacket, tie a little bandanna scarf on my neck and keep the same sneakers or another pair of white sneakers or even a pair of black Converse.


summer of dresses
Dress: Wal Mart.
Original Post.
As you have seen from this post, a lot of my dresses come from Target, so many budget-friendly options out there. Every now and then I will find an everyday, great casual dress at Wal Mart, like this olive midi dress which I added the floppy navy hat too (it was needed for all that sun). Olive is a huge color for Fall so this might be the easiest one to transition yet. I would keep the olive+black cuff, add my olive booties and either my denim bomber jacket or a leather jacket. This Fall I added a merlot-colored leather+suede jacket. That would look gorgeous over this olive midi dress and so would a black moto leather jacket.


summer of dresses
Dress: Spenser Jeremy.
Original Post.
How much I love this bright, bold floral scuba dress. The vibrant pinks, purples and turquoise pop! Pairing it with my Orange Saddle Bag was a great idea. I wore this to work this Summer. For now I would actually keep the gorgeous-hued orange bag and wear some classic burgundy or black pumps instead. I would add a tailored black blazer to it. If it was too cool, I would add some semi-sheer black tights, too.


summer of dresses
Dress: Who What Wear (Target).
Original Post.
I went for the sporty, athleisure vibes with this gorgeous eyelet LBD. Love the midi length. Once again I paired a dress with white leather sneakers. For a Fall casual day, I would go with a monochromatic head to toe black look: my black leather sneakers, a black cross-body bag and my black leather moto jacket. Talk about a chic and edgy mom.
summer of dresses
Dress: Xhilaration (Target).
I think in your collection of white dresses, you should have a maxi. This one is in a light and comfy gauze material and the chest area is embroidered in light tan/gold. As you see, I styled it with a very cozy, over-sized light tan cardigan. The red accessories added some bright color pops and the laceup style of my flats and the layered necklaces, made this look a little Bohemian. I would keep the same bohemian look with a couple of simple switches to transition it to Fall. The cozy grandpa cardigan over the dress and I would swap these red suede lace-up flats for my cognac suede laceup flats, just a very simple switch. I could probably add a big cozy scarf to it too, something in rich reds or in tones of purple.
Thank you everyone for reading and to Nina for letting me take over her blog, today. Hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane with some of the dresses I have worn this Summer and how I plan to transition them into Fall. I invite you all over to my blog Elegance and Mommyhood. I also run a style linkup on Thursdays so I welcome you to join it. =) The latest, brand-new linkup can be here. I can also be found on PinterestInstagramBloglovin’, and Facebook. Thank you and have a great weekend!

Were linking up here today:

Elegance and Mommyhood

Friday

Nancy’s Fashion StyleJeans & a TeacupClaire JustineRachel the HatA Poketful of Polka DotsForage FashionFashion Should be FunSincerely PaulaShelbee On the EdgeBirdie Shoots

Monday

Birth of a Fashion BloggerSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeFizz and FrostingStill Being MollyBeauty by Miss LMichelle’s PaigeNot Dressed as LambMahogany Closet, Color and Grace, and Not Dead Yet Style

Tuesday

Live Randomly SimpleSandy a la modeTwo Peas in a BlogI Do deClaireThe Fashion CanvassWalking in Memphis in High Heels and Elegantly Dressed & Stylish

Image Map

 

Continue Reading

Guest blogger: Sarah and 5 fall colors

Hi everyone! As I am moving overseas to Spain this week, I decided to ask some of my favorite blogger friends to help me out! Sarah will be the first of three guest bloggers this week. Check her out!

Hello, A World of Dresses readers! I am Sarah and I blog over at Bows & Clothes. I am a Christian who loves chocolate, shoes, makeup, music, and Jesus, not in that order. At Bows & Clothes, I share fashion trends, style ideas, beauty tips, and my life adventures. You can get to know me better here. I also co-host a weekly link up on Monday’s called Grace + Lace. I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Who’s ready for fall?! I know I am! Today, I am sharing with y’all four colors that are simply amazing for fall.

1. Pumpkin Spice

This is beautiful dark orange color that I have affectionately named Pumpkin Spice because frankly, I don’t know what to call it. It is a gorgeous dark orange, brownish color. Whatever you call it, it is amazing and I know I will be wearing it non-stop this coming season.

four fabulous colors for fall pumpkin spice burnt orange dark burgundy marsala maroon olive green mustard yellow






*note: each of the pieces in all of the product widgets are shoppable and do contain affiliate links.

2. Olive

Last year, I purchased a military jacket, and I literally wore it every single day. I love it! Olive is a super big color for fall this year. I have seen so many pieces in the color olive green. Olive goes with seriously every color and I am so in love with it.

four fabulous colors for fall pumpkin spice burnt orange dark burgundy marsala maroon olive green mustard yellow

 




3. Burgundy/Maroon

This color was super big for fall last year, and it has come back strong again this season. I love this color and it looks good with every skin tone. It’s rich and dark and fantastic!

four fabulous colors for fall pumpkin spice burnt orange dark burgundy marsala maroon olive green mustard yellow

 




4. Mustard

I have never been a big fan of yellow, and I don’t think it looks very good on me, however, I actually like mustard, and it doesn’t look half bad on me. Mustard is the perfect fall transition color because it is slightly bright, but also really fall-ish.







What color for fall are you going to wear? Which of these is your favorite?


Thanks so much, Nina, for letting me guest post!
Continue Reading

The Granada story and leaving

Granada story

Hi everyone! I have not written as many posts as of late. That is because I am moving to Spain tomorrow! Like tomorrow in the early afternoon, I board a series of flights which will eventually land me in Málaga, Spain. I am currently staying in a hostel in Chicago with my bags all packed. And let me tell you … it was hard to figure out what to take and what to leave behind. A fashion blogger preparing for a year of living overseas … that’s some entertainment. But I made it and am happy with what I brought.

I also realized that I never told you guys why I made the switch from living in Jaén to living Granada. So here goes.

My Granada story

I am teaching English in Spain for a year (and maybe a few more) through a program sponsored by the government. They take everyone on a first come first serve basis and placed you at a school all year long. You give them your preferences on where and how big of a city, but they kind of just do what they want anyway. So I ended getting my first choice location: Andalusia. I however got placed in a small town rather than a big city like I had asked. I’ll admit that I was crushed and also just worried about how I’d get to work and out of the town if I wanted to travel. So I e-mailed my school.

They responded right away and told me it’d be best to live in Jaén, a city of like 115,000 about 35 minutes away. So it was doable. I began keeping an eye on apartments and in general was thinking about life in Jaén.

Then in August my ride to and from school changed because the one teacher I was going to ride with switched schools. Another teacher was commuting from Granada, so that became an option and I jumped on it! Here are some reasons I’m excited to live in Granada

  • Many bars offer free tapas if you’re drinking
  • Flamenco dancing
  • It’s 250,000 vs. 115,000
  • It’s closer to the beach
  • It’s beautiful
  • EVERYONE says amazing things about it

So folks … I’m living in Granada. Yes, this will mean a longer commute but that’s okay! More time to practice Spanish. And … guys … I’m going to live in Granada!

The last days

I wanted to round up some photos from my last days here. It’s been fun and real.

Granada story
mmm Eli’s bbq

Granada story Granada story

dsc_0715
My best friend!
Granada story
quick Tennessee trip

dsc_0740

I’ll have a whole weekend in Tennessee post coming soon folks! The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Spain!

Continue Reading

My 5 Poshmark dresses

poshmark dresses

If you have ever seen one of my looks on the blog and wanted it for yourself, now is your chance! These are my 5 Poshmark dresses. I must say, I just love the Internet. There are so many things that exist now that did not exist even 5-10 years ago. Poshmark is one of those things.

You all are familiar with a consignment shop, right? You gather up clothing you no longer wear in a laundry bin or garbage bag, and see what they will take. Depending on the shop, some can be rather picky. But at the end of the day, the nice thing about a consignment shop is that you get cash back from the things you longer wear.

Poshmark is basically that consignment shop except you are the one selling the items. Each Poshmark user downloads the app onto their smartphone or tablet, and has their own profile called a “closet.” When you want to list say that cardigan sweater that’s too small or those sandals from last season, you simply click the sell button. It asks you to snap a few clear photos of the item, describe and list all the pertinent information such as size, brand and color. You can follow other closets and they can follow you back. You can share items. The more active you are (think almost like the Instagram of online consignment), the more traffic you will drive to your page and thus the more sales you will make. And the best part is that you can do all of this in your pajamas (and I have poshed in them a few times … guilty).

The main reason I joined Poshmark several months ago was because of my move to Spain. Call me crazy (especially since I’m a fashion blogger), but my goal is to pack light. Don’t get me wrong … I still plan to bring many of my favorite dresses because they are such a part of my everyday style. However with all the planes, trains, taxi cabs and buses I’ll have to take once in Europe, I wanted to bring what I could easily walk around with. So Poshmark seemed like a great option to get rid of the things I knew I wasn’t taking.

Also if this has made you think of all the clothing you could sell on Poshmark, you totally should go ahead and join! In fact, if you use my code JRFRW, you get $5 towards any purchase on Poshmark!

Without further ado …

My 5 Poshmark dresses

5. The skater dress

This lovely dress was one I found on sale at Love Culture and only wore a few times. While it happened to be a small, it still fit me. While I have enjoyed wearing it, it’s one I do not necessarily need. Thus it is up on Poshmark.

Poshmark dresses

This dress initially appeared on the blog right after New Years. You can read the post here. Looking back, it seems like so long ago in my blogging career. It’s a size Small and you can view it on Poshmark here.

4. The LBD

Let’s be honest … I have way too many little black dresses. This is one I bought on a whim from Forever 21 and only wore a few times. I had also bought a size Large because … well I don’t remember why. But it’s always been a tad big on me.

Poshmark dresses

This nice, velvet material will be perfect with winter fast around the corner. Also notice my big toe in the bottom, right corner? Hehehe. It’s a size Large and you can view it on Poshmark here.

3. The blue sparkly dress

Now I really REALLY liked this dress. However it is just a smidge too small on me and therefore at times uncomfortable. I told myself that everything I’m bringing to Spain has to be comfortable in addition to being functional. Sadly, this one did not make the cut.

Poshmark dresses

Poshmark dresses

I found this at Charming Charlie almost two years ago. I had been invited to a Christmas party with a blue theme. It was perfect. It’s a size Medium. View it on Poshmark here.

2. Another little blue dress

I have no idea why, but I seem to be getting rid of all my blue. With this one, though, I do not wear too many frilly necklines anymore. It’s still very cute, though.

Poshmark dresses

This was found at Old Navy. It is a size Medium and can be viewed on Poshmark here.

1. Yet another … little blue dress

This one was actually featured on a post several months ago. I was in Florida and just had to do a photoshoot in the beautiful outdoors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this dress. I just will not have a need for lots of sundresses during the winter months in Spain.

Poshmark dresses

Poshmark dresses

This dress initially appeared in my post entitled 5 Reasons you need a little blue dress. It is a size Medium from Charming Charlie and you can view it on Poshmark here.

Feel free to shop these or any other things in my closet. Everything I make from Poshmark funds my big move overseas. And don’t forget … if you’d like to join Poshmark for yourself, make sure you use my code  JRFRW to earn $5!

Linking up here today:

Wednesday

Jersey Girl Texan HeartShopping My ClosetPumps and PushupsThe Pleated PoppySydney Fashion HunterThe Mummy ChroniclesCappuccino and FashionPosh Classy MomLiving on Cloud Nine

Thursday

Elegance and MommyhoodDoused in PinkCurly Crafty Mom,

Friday

Bright on a BudgetKT Cup of TeaDella DevotedThe Closet by ChristieLife in LeggingsStyle ElixirTwo Thirty-Five DesignsA little Bit of EverythingLiz AdventuresHello HappinessNancy’s Fashion StyleJeans & a TeacupClaire JustineRachel the HatA Poketful of Polka DotsForage FashionFashion Should be FunSincerely PaulaShelbee On the EdgeBirdie Shoots

Monday

Birth of a Fashion BloggerSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeFizz and FrostingStill Being MollyBeauty by Miss LMichelle’s PaigeNot Dressed as LambMahogany Closet, Color and Grace, and Not Dead Yet Style

Tuesday

Live Randomly SimpleSandy a la modeTwo Peas in a BlogI Do deClaireThe Fashion CanvassWalking in Memphis in High Heels and Elegantly Dressed & Stylish

Continue Reading

My mint green dress and thoughts on leaving

mint green dress

Today is Wednesday. In just two weeks, I’ll be either in the air or on a layover somewhere in Europe. Spain is actually getting close and real. It’s both scary and exciting.

For those of you who do not know, I’m moving to Spain to teach English. All summer I thought I was moving to the city of Jaén. Instead I’ll be living in Granada and plan to tell my lovely e-mail subscribers the whole story this Friday. Speaking of, have you subscribed to my Spain list? I’ll be sending out two e-mails a month with exclusive posts about my Granada and Europe experience, travel tips, travel deals and lots of beautiful photos. You will not want to miss out. Click here to subscribe.

Anyway, so the look I’m going with today is my mint green dress. I found this on Poshmark. I’ve actually been poshing a lot lately as I cannot take all my clothing with me to Spain. Honestly, packing lighter is better. They have most of the same things we do here and I know I’ll shop over there. So for now, I’m getting rid of dresses, shirts, accessories and a few scarves. You should definitely go take a look! Any money earned on Posh funds all my big moving expenses.

I initially downloaded the app back in I want to say April or May. This dress was so stinkin cute and from Modcloth. Modcloth dresses are normally $60 or more. I got this one for $25. That’s one of the coolest things about Poshmark. If you like a certain brand, you can follow that brand and find things on there. Like it’s great for people who love more high end brands like Kate Spade and Michael Kors. For me, I love looking for Modcloth stuff on there.

My mint green dress

mint green dress

My favorite thing about Modcloth are the vintage looks they create. I can spend hours on their website searching through their dresses and shoes. It can be addicting. My favorite thing about this dress was the neckline.

mint green dress

This is the only thing I’ll be buying from Poshmark for a while. As I said before, I have so much that I need to downsize (ps. you can shop my closet over there on the sidebar!). I know that I’ll still be left with having to leave things behind.

I have goals …

The other day, I wrote out a long to-do list of all the things I need to do before I leave. I’m sailing through it but still know I won’t be able to think of everything. That is okay. I need to keep reminding myself that all will be okay. I’ll arrive in one piece. I’ll find a wonderful apartment and I’ll have the time of my life. It’ll be one of the best and most challenging experiences of my life. I’m ready, or so I tell myself.

In short, I’ve learned that life is also about goals and self growth. One of the things I dislike about myself is my disorganization. I see it all over the place with my blog. I set a schedule and then I don’t stick to it. There are a million things I want to do and then don’t. I see it in my car and in my room. And I’ve known for some time now that it needs to change.

It’s happening

So right here on my blog, I’m proclaiming that I will be better. I want to note that better does not mean perfect. In this new chapter of my life overseas, I’ll be more structured with my life. I’ll run more regularly, keep a tidier room and stick to a better blogging schedule. I’m so excited to see where it takes me. And if I fail a few times, that’s okay.

mint green dress

mint green dress

mint green dress

Do you like turning over new leaves? What are some of the biggest changes you want to make in your life?

*This post contains affiliate links*

Also photos were taken by Paige Dunn. Check out her work on Facebook here.

Today I’m linking up here:

Wednesday

Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Shopping My Closet, Pumps and Pushups, The Pleated PoppySydney Fashion HunterThe Mummy Chronicles, Cappuccino and Fashion, Posh Classy Mom, Living on Cloud Nine

Thursday

Elegance and MommyhoodDoused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom,

Friday

Bright on a Budget, KT Cup of Tea, Della Devoted, The Closet by Christie, Life in LeggingsStyle Elixir, Two Thirty-Five Designs, A little Bit of EverythingLiz Adventures, Hello Happiness, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Jeans & a Teacup, Claire Justine, Rachel the Hat, A Poketful of Polka Dots, Forage Fashion, Fashion Should be Fun, Sincerely Paula, Shelbee On the Edge, Birdie Shoots

Continue Reading

5 Reasons to miss that summer sundress

miss that summer sundress

I’m going to miss my summer sundress. As someone who wears dresses basically every day of her life, year round, you go through your phases. Tonight I was invited to an online Lularoe party and opted for a dress with longer sleeves because I was picturing myself getting up in the morning in Spain in like January. I’ll put on my tights, favorite boots, maybe a scarf and definitely a jacket. The sundress days will be gone until next year. And I’ll admit it, there’s just something about sundress season that I long for each year.

Several months ago, my brother was in town and we went out for sushi. I was LOVING everything about my look. On a whim, I had ran my straightener through my super straight hair and created curls (perhaps it was the whole not having washed my hair that day thing). My pink lipstick and green jewelry were color coordinating with one of my favorite sundresses. The ensemble was simply easy and comfortable.

miss that summer dress

Why I’ll miss that summer sundress

5. I’ll miss the convenience

When you put on a sundress, 90% of your outfit is complete. Except for your shoes, everything else is basically optional. If you don’t feel like wearing earrings or you don’t think you have a necklace that matches, it’s all good.

In the winter, you have to find tights and a sweater. You have to make sure they go with the outfit. While I do enjoy that part of accessorizing, I will at times miss the simplicity of my summer sundress.

4. The accessibility

Okay, so I’m basically an open book when it comes to bodily functions. I mean, we all do it, right? Sundresses make for the easiest bathroom runs ever. You’re in, you’re out and you’re washing your hands maybe a minute later. When I’m out with friends at a restaurant or bar, I’m all for whatever will get me back to my group fast enough.

So basically … urination is my number four reason. Let’s be real here.

miss that summer dress

3. The breeze

Summer can get quite hot. However each summer I remind myself to be thankful that I’m not a woman in 1832 because those petticoats would have been terrible. I’ll gladly take my sundresses. I really do think they keep you cooler than shorts and a tank top. And depending on the material, you can stay quite cool.

2. They are incredibly easy to dress down

There are some dresses that just sit in my closet. I often feel like I can only wear them if I dress them up. However sundresses are the ultimate casual dress. Those black sandals that you see in these photos have been my go-to sandals all summer. I always like to buy one pair that goes with everything and wear them all summer.

If you want to put some heals with your sundress, you can also do that too. They can be dressed up or dressed down.

1. They can be as boldly colorful as possible … and white!

Sundresses come with no color restrictions. And I mean it’s not really that the other seasons have them, you just wear a lot less bold prints in January.

However in the summer, you can be as bold as you want. So thus … this dress. Enjoy!

miss that summer dress

miss that summer dress

miss that summer sundress

miss that summer sundress

miss that summer sundress

Ladies are you going to miss your summer sundresses?

Today I’m linking up here:

Friday

Bright on a Budget, KT Cup of Tea, Della Devoted, The Closet by Christie, Life in LeggingsStyle Elixir, Two Thirty-Five Designs, A little Bit of EverythingLiz Adventures, Hello Happiness, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Jeans & a Teacup, Claire Justine, Rachel the Hat, A Poketful of Polka Dots, Forage Fashion, Fashion Should be Fun, Sincerely Paula, Shelbee On the Edge, Birdie Shoots

Monday

Birth of a Fashion Blogger, Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Fizz and Frosting, Still Being Molly, Beauty by Miss L, Michelle’s Paige, Not Dressed as Lamb, Mahogany Closet, Color and Grace, and Not Dead Yet Style

Tuesday

Live Randomly Simple, Sandy a la mode, Two Peas in a Blog, I Do deClaire, The Fashion Canvass, Walking in Memphis in High Heels and Elegantly Dressed & Stylish

Wednesday

Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Shopping My Closet, Pumps and Pushups, The Pleated PoppySydney Fashion HunterThe Mummy Chronicles, Cappuccino and Fashion, Posh Classy Mom, Living on Cloud Nine

Thursday

Elegance and MommyhoodDoused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom, Jaymie Ashcraft

 

Continue Reading

How to avoid fees flying Spirit

avoid fees flying spirit

Several weeks ago, I was getting out of an Uber at the Portland airport.

“You don’t have much,” commented my driver looking at my backpack, the one and only backpack I brought on my journey.

“Well one of my life goals is to screw Spirit Airlines out of the money they try to screw out of us. It was nice meeting you!” I said.

I left him laughing (which I always love making people laugh). However with this trip, there was a lot of truth to that statement. The thing with these budget airlines is the price you initially pay is often not the price you pay in the end. The word budget can be deceiving unless you are smart about it. And in this post, I will show you how.

I had flown not only Spirit Airlines but Allegiant and Frontier in the past, and knew that added fees is what they do. However one of both my best and worst qualities is that I ALWAYS think there is another way. With everything. I’m always on the hunt for the creative alternative and Spirit was no different. “They can try, but they will not succeed,” was basically my mantra and thought process as we prepared for the trip.

Below you’ll find some of the most common ways travelers end up with surprise charges when flying on a budget airline such as Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit or Ryanair.

Also I created a budget airline checklist. You’ll want to download and print this handy thing. You’ll have it ready to check off next time you fly.

1. Your boarding pass

I’ll be honest. Airlines such as Delta and American have spoiled me. When flying on any major, non-budget airline, I just print my boarding pass at the gate. It’s one less thing to worry about in the stress of preparing for a trip and those kiosks are so user-friendly.

When flying on a budget airline, do not print your ticket at the airport. These airlines love to tack on that fee. With Ryanair, I read that it’s 40 Euros. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Spirit charges $10 and Allegiant charges $5. I’m sure Frontier charges something too. Here are a few tips to avoid this whole thing:

  • Check to see if the airline has a free app. Most do. You can oftentimes check in on the app and some airlines will issue you an e-ticket on your photo so you don’t even need to print a boarding pass. Just make sure you download the app with an ample wifi connection before getting to the airport. When I flew Allegiant, I was not that smart about it.
  • If you have access to a printer, print the passes at home.
  • Are you traveling and need them printed? Check with your hostel or hotel. The hostel I stayed in in Portland offered printing for 50 cents a copy. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than $5.
  • Don’t have access to a printer? In the US, Fedex Kinkos can print them for you for like 15 cents. I’m sure there are similar printing places in other countries too.

But whatever you do, make sure you check in before arriving at the airport. Many let you start the check in process 24 hours before your flight.

2. Your baggage

My friend Cece and I opted to avoid all baggage fees. We did not even pay one. How did we do that?

Well you see, there’s a tiny loophole to the whole paying for baggage thing. These airlines would love for us all to pay for our bags at the gate. They make more money this way, of course. And if they can’t get us at the airport, they want us to pay for bags online.

However there’s another way (see, I told you this is my thing). What they want you to gloss over is that you can take one personal item free of charge. On Spirit, it can be no taller than 16 inches, no wider than 14 inches and no deeper than 12 inches. In other words, just the size of my purple LLBean backpack that I’ve had since high school.

If you’re only going on a shorter trip, I urge you to look into this option. I was able to fit everything I needed for a 5-day trip in my backpack.

avoid fees flying spirit

I packed light but smart. I loaded up on small bottles of shampoo and conditioner at Target. I also bought a travel tooth brush case.

To save space, I wore my bulkiest items on the plane. So the Chuck Taylors and jeans were worn while the sandals and dresses were packed. I rolled up my clothing for ample space.

avoid fees flying Spirit

avoid fees flying Spirit

If you are smart about what you bring, you totally can fit your whole life in a backpack for five days.

If you are flying on a longer trip where you need to take more baggage, paying online in advance is the way to go. It is much more affordable to do it online.

3. Seats

So this is a fly at your own risk sort of thing. You are not obligated to buy your seat but they kind of make you feel like you have to. If you don’t, you get assigned a seat at the gate. I almost did not get on a Frontier flight once because of this.

Reserving your own seat usually costs between $6-$25 or so. Yes it sucks to have to pay more. I always just buy my seat to be safe. Perhaps it’s the one fee I’m a sucker for.

No frills at it’s best

If you want food, you’ll have to either buy it in the airport or on the plane. The seats are not anything ridiculously comfy. It’s more or less a bus with wings. However if you keep these things in mind, you’ll save money time and time again. In fact, I made you a little checklist. This is your budget airline checklist. It’s just the thing to use next time you fly any one of these airlines.

Have you flown on one of these budget airlines? If so, what was your experience?

 

Continue Reading

What we wore in Portland part 2

wore in Portland

Today we are wrapping up our posts about Portland, Oregon with the second edition of what we wore in Portland. My packing was very light and minimal, so I ended up packing lots of dresses. Cece packed light as well. These are the outfits we wore on our last day. I wore my favorite (and only) pineapple dress and she wore some awesome striped shorts she found at a vintage store. We went down to a little spot by the river to dip our toes in and catch some rays of sun. Afterwards, I was told I looked red. Go figure.

What we wore in Portland (last day … sad)

wore in Portland

I scored this dress on Zulily. How many opportunities do you have to wear a pineapple dress? It has become the perfect bathing suit cover up. Its comfortable and easy to slip off. I decided to pair it with a simple red statement necklace that I’ve had for years, some bright red shades that I found on the trip and the black sandals I’ve been wearing all summer. Each season, I seem to buy one pair of shoes in a neutral color such as black or brown and wear them with everything. This season was no different.

wore in Portland
God my hair was all over the place that day

wore in Portland

wore in Portland

wore in Portland

wore in Portland

wore in Portland

wore in Portland
I look like I’m trying to be a model here. That’s funny.

What Cece wore in Portland

wore in Portland

I am just loving these shorts. They are so much fun and can go with all sorts of things. They’re definitely one of those finds that you can get a lot of wear out of.

wore in Portland

wore in Portland

wore in Portland
nature
wore in Portland
Because naturally you do a bridge by the bridge

wore in Portland

So this outfit was from the day before but it is also awesome!

What do you like to wear when traveling?

Also linking up here today:

Monday

Birth of a Fashion Blogger, Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Fizz and Frosting, Still Being Molly, Beauty by Miss L, Michelle’s Paige, Not Dressed as Lamb, Mahogany Closet, Color and Grace, and Not Dead Yet Style

Tuesday

Live Randomly Simple, Sandy a la mode, Two Peas in a Blog, I Do deClaire, The Fashion Canvass, Walking in Memphis in High Heels and Elegantly Dressed & Stylish

Wednesday

Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Shopping My Closet, Pumps and Pushups, The Pleated PoppySydney Fashion HunterThe Mummy Chronicles, Cappuccino and Fashion, Posh Classy Mom, Living on Cloud Nine

Thursday

Elegance and MommyhoodDoused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom, Jaymie Ashcraft

Friday

Two Thirty-Five DesignsNancy’s Fashion Style, Jeans & a Teacup, Claire Justine, Rachel the Hat, A Poketful of Polka Dots, Forage Fashion, Fashion Should be Fun, Sincerely PaulaBirdie Shoots, Shelbee on the Edge

Continue Reading
1 2 3 18