My winter dress style and a linkup

winter dress style

Today I’m very excited to show you my winter dress style! Yes, I wear my dresses all through the winter. I love dresses as we all know and it would make me sad to have to stop wearing them when it got cold. So I thought in today’s post, I would do two things:

  • Show you a dress I wore in the summer/fall re-styled for winter
  • Show you a few hacks to stay warm (as ladies, I know this is likely the biggest reason you think you need to pack those dresses away as soon as the temperature starts dropping)

Also today I am excited to be co-hosting another linkup. These days I seem to be co-hosting a lot of them, right? Well linkups are one of the first ways I really met and connected with other bloggers. I have learned so much from all the other fashion bloggers I regularly link up with. And I must say, they are all so nice! So why not co-host? Today’s linkup is called Start the Week Stylish. It’s weekly hosts are Michelle’s Pa(i)ge and Northwest Blonde. The theme is “winter chic.” And if you’re a fashion blogger, feel free to go ahead and link up with us below! Join the party!

Continue Reading

A reflection on 5 months and linkup

reflection on 5 months

Hi everyone! Today I’m very excited to be co-hosting the Thursday Fashion Files with Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom and Jill from Doused in Pink. I have been following their blogs for at least a year now and have linked up with them countless times. As I have transitioned from just blogging about to fashion to blogging fashion and travel, the times I can link up are less frequent. But I, of course, am always excited to when I can!

So for this post, I thought I’d do a little reflection on how I’m doing. I thought it would be fun to mix some photos in from the different shoots and outfits I’ve worn over the past five months.

reflection on 5 months

5 months ago I packed my bags

The date that I arrived in Granada, Spain was September 23rd. It seems like yesterday and forever ago. I can now say I’ve done something completely new: spent more than a month in a foreign country. Before coming to Spain, I’m not really sure what I envisioned my life here to be. I was coming here to teach English and had known several people who taught English through the same program. However they were in different regions than me. In the end, I knew no one who had lived in Granada before. I just knew it was a city people raved about. And after living here for five months, I can see why. If you’re planning a trip to Spain, you have to add Granada to your itinerary.

Before I came, I anticipated the Spanish being hard and the travel being easy. And weirdly enough, it has been the exact opposite. Oh and I thought it would be hard to find enough private English lessons to teach for extra money. I ended up filling up my schedule within a week and even had to turn someone away because our schedules didn’t coordinate. One of my friends who taught here before had told me “I don’t think you realize how much in demand you will be as a native English speaker.” And he was so right.

reflection on 5 months reflection on 5 months

I guess I already had my initial language shock

I was anticipating a lot more frustration with Spanish than I’ve had. Like I was envisioning a moment where I’d just feel so very overwhelmed. I remember sitting in my private hostel room my first morning in country flipping through the TV channels and thinking “this is my life now.” Then I checked out and was able to maintain a conversation with the front desk employee. “Hmmm … must have been a fluke,” I remember thinking. Then I went through the next few weeks being able to carry on conversations with everyone I met.

In short the reason this happened is because I spent the last year working a bilingual job in the United States. I spent 40 hours a week for the last year speaking Spanish every day with my clients from Latin America. What the job forced me to do, more than anything, was find a way to express myself. Most of the time these clients spoke little English. So if I couldn’t say it exactly, I had to find a way. And I also learned some tricks and tools to get me out of awkward impasses. So moving to Spain and speaking Spanish felt like taking a gondola halfway up the mountain and getting off to hike the rest of the way up. Did I have a leg up? Yes. Do I still struggle? Oh of course! It’s my second language, after all.

And then traveling. As we all know, traveling takes money. Basically, I just don’t have the money to be gone every weekend. I have checked off less countries than I would have liked but when I start to get down, I remind myself how lucky I am to have seen what I have seen. I am lucky to have this experience. And at the end of this year, I will have seen a good number of new places. And lastly, I feel like this experience is both living in another country and traveling. If I’m gone every weekend, how can I really get to know people in my city?

reflection on 5 months reflection on 5 months

You just feel really different a lot

I of course anticipated this a bit. However being the outsider just weighs on you way more than you think. While I can express myself in Spanish, I still feel like a language barrier exists a lot of times. I chose to live with Spanish roommates to practice my Spanish. And while they are all nothing but nice people, I sometimes just feel out of the loop. They all come from the same culture and therefore can just relate to one another easier. It makes sense and it’s just the same with my American friends I’ve made over here. When you share a common language and culture, you just get one another quicker.

Or people will just make assumptions about you. Or like in a group setting, I might not talk as much because it’s my second language and I get labeled as cold. Also, American culture is just less touchy than Spain. So I’m not necessarily the one to initiate a hug with a stranger. But I welcome this. And then there’s the just not being able to explain exactly how you feel different … but you just do. In the end, you’re just the outsider and it’s both cool and lonely at times. One thing is for sure: this experience will forever change how I treat foreigners in my own country. And I urge you all to do the same with any foreigners you may interact with. You might have to flow down your talking speed or explain something you thought was common knowledge. Keep in mind that they’re trying their best.

reflection on 5 months reflection on 5 months

And then you meet people who just don’t get it

On one hand, how can they entirely if all they have ever known is Spain? But I feel like I just run into this and it can frustrate me. This weekend for example, I was talking to the boyfriend of a friend’s coworker. A lot of shops in Spain are owned by the Chinese and he’s like “oh they don’t want to learn Spanish. Their Spanish is so bad.” And I’m just thinking “okay, do you even know any Chinese people? And how can you make that blanket assumption about all of them? And also, languages are hard! Do you speak a second one?” Or like I was on a date with a guy several weeks ago speaking Spanish the whole time. I have a bad habit of saying “well ..” and then speaking Spanish. It’s habit from English. And he gave me crap about that. I’m just again like “dude, you speak 1 language.”

Just overall, I will meet people who just do not understand. Some try to but a lot don’t. It can be frustrating for sure. I just try to think of how many people act the very same way back home. A lot, I’m sure.

reflection on 5 months reflection on 5 months

I’ve gotten used to not tipping

Waiters are paid a decent wage here and no one tips. This will be hard to get used to again back in the United States.

People pee on the streets

Yep.

Overall, the people are the best

So I will say that Spanish people are easy to talk to and get to know. They are incredibly direct. They do not beat around the bush. They think and act in the moment, and seem to have less of a regard for others in public than we do in the U.S. They also brush everything off and do not hold grudges to save their lives.

reflection on 5 months reflection on 5 months

I’m just glad to be here

I am just so glad I decided to do this. This will change me probably in more ways than I know right now. I get to travel and see new things all the time. It is truly amazing.

And now the link up …

Welcome to Thursday Fashion Files!

Welcome to Thursday Fashion Files with Jill at Doused in Pink and Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom! We are excited to have you here and would love to have you link up one of your latest outfits with us.

We are always looking for Co-Hosts for Thursday Fashion Files. If you haven’t signed up to Co-Host, but are interested, sign up by clicking HERE.

We now have a Thursday Fashion Files Pinterest board. We will be pinning our top two picks along with our own outfits for that week. Be sure to click HERE to join our new Pinterest board!

{INSERT YOUR POST HERE}


Thursday-Fashion-Files-650-graphic_Spring2016Follow Jill:

 
Follow Carrie:
Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+, Pinterest, SnapChat: @curlycraftymom
Link Up Guidelines:
1. Feel free to grab our button to display on your blog sidebar. Help spread the word and share about our link up community.
 
2. Follow your hosts. Leave a comment letting us know you are a new follower and we will be sure to follow back.
 
3. Share the love by visiting and commenting to at least three other blogs in the link up. 

Don’t miss out, sign up for an email reminder about our party:
 

Thursday-Fashion-Files-Side-Bar-250x250











 

 

 

Guest Co-Host:

 

IMG_3039

Nina from A World of Dresses is our co-host this week. 
Now let’s get linking!

 

 

 

 


Continue Reading

48 hours in Madrid

48 hours in Madrid

I spent a lovely 48 hours in Madrid with a good friend back in December. Of course Madrid being the capital city of Spain, I knew I would get there at some point this year. On my first trip to Spain (in June 2015. The one where I decided moving here sounded great), I barely spent any time in Madrid because I met my group a few days late. So I simply landed, went to my hostel and took a bus out to meet my friends in La Rioja the next morning. So I was excited to actually explore Madrid. I also read that Madrid had some awesome Christmas markets, so it seemed perfect!

How we got there

I live in Granada and went with my friend who lives in Jaen. We found a BlaBlaCar leaving Friday night from Jaen. It was perfect and way faster/cheaper than the bus or train. What is BlaBlaCar? BlaBlaCar is a ride sharing app that you can use to go all over the place. People that are already driving from point A to point B will post their journey. Then you go on and search where you want to go and choose who you want to ride with. Between larger cities such as Granada to Malaga, there’s normally at least 15 a day. I’ve used it a lot and have always been pleased.

Where we stayed

I’m a hostel girl as I love the social atmosphere and the low-cost. We found a nice hostel called Barbieri Sol Hostel, which is located right in the center of everything. In fact, we rarely had to take public transport because of how close it was to everything. Our double private room costed under 100 euros total, for the two of us.

Overall, I would give this hostel maybe a 7 or 8 out of 10. It was clean and comfortable. The staff was friendly. However we didn’t really meet too many new people and there was nothing super extraordinary about it. However for us, that was fine! We spent our days exploring!

The Christmas Market

After waking up Saturday morning and having breakfast, we made our way down to Plaza Mayor to explore the Christmas market. Plaza Mayor seems to be the big, central square of Madrid. The name literally translates to “old plaza.” I found a pair of ridiculous Christmas glasses there.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

I was sad I didn’t really get a good photo of my ridiculous glasses. Here you can see them. This photo was originally much larger and I cropped it down a bit here.

48 hours in Madrid

The free walking tour

I always suggest the free walking tours. They are the best if you’ve just arrived and want a feel for the city. We found a free walking tour in English that left from Plaza Mayor through New Europe Tours. Our tour guide was a nice American named Jovan who had been living in Spain for four years. He was very enthusiastic and entertaining. He definitely kept our attention the entire time. You can read more about him here. They also have tours available in Spanish (of course). This company also gives tours in 17 other cities including New York, Tel Aviv, Prague, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. Check out all the cities they are in here.

Here are a few shots from the tour:

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

The suicide bridge

This bridge is apparently famous because many people have committed suicide off of it. It’s formal name is the Segovia Viaduct. In the 1990’s the number of suicides spiked to 4 a month. Very crazy to think about.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

The Madrid Cathedral

After stopping at the viaduct, we headed over to the Madrid Cathedral. Yes, I do love my cathedrals. If I could sum up the Madrid Cathedral in one sentence it out be “ugly on the outside and stunning as soon as you walk in.” Like things don’t really match on the outside, but it gives it some quirk.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

Then woah

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

I loved all the tall ceilings and the general architecture. It was definitely a bit more crowded that other cathedrals I had been to. That’s probably a mix of it being Spain and the capitol.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

Plaza de Oriente

The tour concluded at the beautiful Plaza de Oriente and Jardines de Sabatini. It was here that our lovely tour guide gave us some interesting information about Spain. In the time period after World War II they went through something called the Spanish Miracle. It was roughly between the years 1959 to 1975 that the country went through a ridiculous economic boom. They went from 1 in every 100,000 people owning their own car to 1 in every 100. That just blows my mind.

He also told us that in the 70’s and 80’s, the crime rate went up. Thus when walking around Spain, you’ll see that most doors are barred and made of iron. Windows often have bars (pretty ones, though) on them. This is due to the crime rate. A few months later I went to Toulouse, France and noticed that all of their doors are made of wood. Then I remembered what I learned on my tour and it made sense. Oh, and by the way, Spain is totally safe now.

Here are a few shots from bumming around the park. I was loving my dress that day.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

Our final day

After some much-needed rest, we decided to just spend Sunday roaming around the city. We ended up in the Parque de El Retiro just roaming, shooting photos and enjoying the sunlight. It’s a really nice spot.

48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid 48 hours in Madrid

Have you spent some time in Madrid or Spain? Do you enjoy a good, free walking tour?

 

 

Continue Reading

3 ways to celebrate Galentines day far away

celebrate Galentines day far away

Long-distance relationships suck at times. You spend lots of time on the phone or Skype. You send lots of messages back and forth. And you absolutely cannot wait until you’re together again. And no, I’m not talking about a long-distance romantic relationship. In fact, I’ve never been in a long-distance romantic relationship, so I may not even have the right picture of what that looks like (sorry is it’s totally wrong!). No, I’m talking about your best female friends. Living life abroad for me means that my best friends live many miles away from me. With Galentine’s Day approaching on February 13th, I know I’ll be thinking of all kinds of ways that I can show them how awesome they are and how glad I am that they are a part of my life! It just gets a little trickier with an ocean in between. So I’ve rounded up five different ways to send them some Galentine’s Day love.

What’s Galentine’s Day?

I’m so glad you asked! Is anyone else here a big fan of Parks and Recreation? I basically have seen the entire thing. On this show, the main character Leslie Knope (played by the wonderful Amy Poehler) starts a new tradition with her female friends on February 13th. She rounds them all up and they have a pancake brunch. Here’s a little video of her explains it:

Several years ago, I threw a little Galentine’s Day party with a friend and we had so much fun! I think we had around 10 ladies total. Anyway, since that’s not a possibility this year, onto the ways to shower your lady friends with love …

3. The good ole postal service

I really love sending cards and letters to people. The good old postal system is a great and it allows you to get creative. I have a few options for cards and fun stationary items here.

That first one is chalkboard, which is my favorite. The second one is a nice, all-purpose set. This is good in case you don’t end up using all of them.

2. Good old social media

This option is perfect if your Galentine’s Day is a crazy busy day. After all, it’s not a national holiday … yet. So, you likely still have to work. Or perhaps Galentine’s Day completely skipped your mind and you’re reading this on February 13th. No worries! Thanks to social media, we can still send a quick shout out.

You can easily create an image collage in say Canva or PicMonkey. Or you can just upload your favorite photo of you and your friends to Instagram. You could post several times that day or just once. It’s really all up to you! I will likely do this because … why not?

1. Throw a Skype or Google hangouts party

This is one of my favorites because with Google Hangouts, you can literally video chat with like 3-4 people all in different places. This option is the best if you have a group of girlfriends who live in different parts of the world. Just find a time that works and do it.

Of course to get creative, you can even make it a little more fun. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make it a happy hour! Everyone brings a beverage and you virtually drink together.
  • Eat your favorite foods together.
  • Make it a theme and all dress up.
  • Watch one of your favorite shows or movies together.
  • Basically just do whatever you would do what you would do together …. via the Internet.

Galentine’s Day sucks when your besties live far. But hopefully this will help a bit. How do you typically like to hang with your female friends?

Continue Reading

Why I love the Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow cathedral

It’s no secret that Europe is full of historic churches and cathedrals. Since moving to Europe in the fall, I’ve explored my fair share of cathedrals. However the Glasgow Cathedral is the one that had me stunned. It’s the one that had me going “wow!!” What can I say … I’m stunned by old, gothic arcitecture.

The history of the cathedral

The cathedral was first stone built in the year 1136 while King David I was in power. The current structure that is standing today was constructed in the year 1197. It’s so cool to explore buildings that existed so long ago! It’s truly amazing.

The cathedral played an important role in the Battles of Glasgow in 1544 and 1560. The University of Glasgow originally held classes in the precinct of the cathedral. Now the University is located on literally the exact opposite side of town.

Continue Reading

Exploring old Granada in a dress

exploring old Granada

Last weekend, I spent the day exploring old Granada. For those of you who do not know, I live in Granada, Spain. I’m an American and I moved there to teach English. And I must say, I absolutely love it in Granada. Some days I catch myself taking it for granted. Then I walk to meet a friend for a coffee and am stunned by my surroundings. I live in one of the prettiest cities in all of Spain. It is simply amazing.

Last weekend, I teamed up with a friend of mine in Granada who volunteered to do my hair, makeup and take my photos (thanks Kat!). Friends like that are the best! Kat lives in the historic area of Calle Elvira.

Continue Reading

4 Glasgow local beer spots

Glasgow local beer

I drank lots of beer on my trip to Glasgow, Scotland. My trip to Scotland was planned rather last minute and to be quite honest, I had no real itinerary upon arrival. And I loved it that way. I prefer to roam and stumble upon things. In Glasgow, that ended up being beer. Everyone thinks of Scotch Whisky when they think of alcohol in Scotland. I did of course try my fair share of Scotch too. But the beer … that was quite the pleasant surprise.

I was missing beer

In my home country of the United States, we’ve really come to love beer. And no, I’m not talking about Budweiser. I’m talking about microbreweries. My hometown of Cincinnati has at least five that I can think of. That always blows Spaniards minds when I tell them that and the fact that a normal bar in the United States has at least seven different types of beer on tap. What can I say … we love variety.

Continue Reading

My winter look: a dress and boots

winter look

I recently realized that I have a classic winter look. Furthermore when you add in that my current wardrobe in Spain consists of what fit in my suitcases plus a few things I’ve bought over here, this look is one I wear a lot. Little booties seem to be very on-trend over here in Spain. So while I brought my own boots over as well, I often prefer these with a dress.

Continue Reading

4 Reasons Why Andorra has my heart

why Andorra

Why Andorra? Okay so you’re either asking me why or what as you start reading this. If you’re asking what, Andorra is a tiny country sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains. Nothing crazy ever happens there that would make national news and it is often left off of world maps. And I’ll admit, I really only learned about the country 4-5 years ago. And ever since, I’ve been fascinated.

So Nina, tell me more!

Oh I’m so glad you asked. Andorra is actually a principality and the only country where Catalan is the official language (Catalan is also spoken in parts of Spain, parts of France and one community in Italy. It is very similar to Spanish but is considered it’s own language. Think like Spanish and Italian … both different languages that share a lot of similarities). However Spanish and French are also widely spoken, as well as some English. I spoke Spanish my entire time there because I figured most people were more likely to be comfortable in Spanish over English (and because I hate being “that” American who asks for English everywhere).

Continue Reading

My winter wedding look collaboration

winter wedding look

When I think of my ideal winter wedding look, I think of something cute and warm. I always like to be warm and truly think that you can still look just as cute in the winter as in the summer. Furthermore, I think you can still wear your dresses all through the winter! As long as you have the right tights, shoes, scarves, sweaters and such, the cold will not be an issue!

I’m also excited to be collaborating with four other fashion bloggers from around the world. In the fall, Ada from Elegance and Mommyhood had approached me to be a part of the fall wedding collaboration. It was lots of fun and you can read about it here. So when she approached me about a winter wedding collaboration, I said sure! I had recently shot these green dress photos of a new photographer here in Granada. So it seemed to work perfectly.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 22