the best for bridesmaid dresses on sale

As someone who loves dresses, I’m always excited to discover new places to buy them. I’m even more excited to Simple Dress as they are all about dresses! They have a lot of bridesmaid dresses on sale. If you have a wedding coming up, now is the time to decide on dresses. If your bridal party is spread out across the country or globe, a website like Simple Dress can be one of your best options.

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Rosegal Christmas sale

Rosegal Christmas sale

This content was provided to me.

A Chrismas sale is always the best festival sale in Rosegal. But our dear Santa seems like he’s not paying attention to his own weight this year and is obviously stuck in the chimney! Help him through to get mysterious Rosegal gifts worth $50.

How can I help Santa?

Easy, click on this link and push him down. You are able to push Santa once per day and you can push twice if you share this mini-game.

What can I get from helping Santa?

Up to 15% and $7 off coupons are wrapped and prepared. If you push Santa hard enough, you might receive a special bonus present of a mysterious Rosegal product bundle worth $50!

What about the Rosegal Chrismas Sale?

Oh of course, how could we miss the sale? Especially a sale up to 70% Off!

Ladies and gents, 2017 is almost over. Rosegal will have brand factory new products coming up in 2018, so if you have any products that you wish to collect, this is probably your best and last opportunity. 70% Off and new deals every day (starts at Dec.14th). We are doing a cleanup right here right now! Fashion, clothing and accessories from all categories and for all seasons. Having some trouble with picking a 2017 Christmas present for your beloved one? No matter for male or female, Rosegal X-mas sale might as well solve your problem.

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Exploring Granada’s Albaicín

I live in Granada, Spain. I have to stop myself from taking that for granted. I am so very lucky to get to spend not one but two years in one of Spain’s most historic cities. About a month ago, I met up with a new photographer named Serena to do a photoshoot in the Albaicín neighborhood. Exploring Granada’s Albaicín is something that should not be missed when in Granada.

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The Ultimate Guide To Packing For Temperamental Weather

packing for temperamental weather

You’ve done your research. You’ve applied for your visa. You’ve booked your flight. Now’s the time to consider what you’re going to pack for your dream vacation. Often it’s as easy as checking out your trusty friend Google, seeing that it’s thirty degrees on average every day for the month that you are there and packing all of your favourite summer skirts, light blouses, t-shirts and shorts. However, if you’ve chosen one of those destinations where the weather is temperamental to say the least, it can be ridiculously tricky to decide what to pack. It’s known to rain but it can be mild or the days are balmy but the evenings have a distinct chill in the air. You have to hedge your bets. Take a look at how you can ensure that you pack the ideal wardrobe for the more unpredictable holiday destinations.

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A night out in Spain

night out in Spain

As I sit down to write this at 3:30 in the afternoon, I find myself in quite an appropriate state to write this blog post. Today is a holiday here in Spain, meaning no work. That also means that I went out last night. So I sit here still in my pajamas with an un-washed face and disheveled hair. I’m nursing a tiny hang over. I think the coffee is helping.

Going out here in Spain is quite different than going out back home in the United States. If you really go out, don’t plan anything around 10 a.m. the next day. You will likely come home between the hours of 6-8 a.m.

For the past year, I have always thought a diary-style post about a typical night out in Spain would be fun to write. Several weeks ago, my friend Carolina invited myself and some friends to have dinner at her house and then go out. I documented the entire night. Enjoy!

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The travelers gift guide

travelers gift guide

As someone who travels and lives overseas, I try (keyword: try) to not accumulate too much stuff. I have a life where I’m on the go from time to time. And in the end, another move might happen again at some point in the future.

It is true that there’s nothing too big, crazy or expensive that I want this Christmas. I’m sure many of you are similar to me in this respect. Or perhaps someone in your life travels often and doesn’t need a whole lot of things. So I decided to put together this gift guide perfect for anyone who loves to travel.

UncommonGoods has some pretty cool items. They’re a great place to find Christmas gifts, for example. I really loved how many practical things I found on their website. They also offer a lot of things that you can personalize. They offer a wide variety of unique items. Everything from jewelry (hint: something for your wife) to household goods to things for kids can be found on their website. I was excited to find so many cool travel gadgets.

About UncommonGoods

UncommonGoods strives to be a sustainable company in all that they do. They believe in creating a positive work environment for all of their employees. Their merchandise is often handmade using sustainable products. This might mean that the materials were recycled as well. They do not sell any products that contain leather or fur. They were also one of the founding members of B Corporation, an organization that sort of certifies businesses that are ethical. This way customers can know that the businesses they support are not harming the planet. Overall, it’s good to support businesses that sell sustainable products.

Anyway, back to the travel guide. Here are a few ideas of what to get that friend or family member who just cannot stop traveling.

1. The anti-theft backpack

travelers gift guide

I saw one of these several months ago and remember loved the idea. When you travel, you really have no idea what could happen. There are some parts of the world where you just need to exercise a bit more caution. Honestly, I have worried in the past about carrying a backpack for this reason. It can be easy for someone to just reach in when you’re distracted.

This backpack is absolutely genius. There’s ample amount of storage space and a place to easily access public transportation cards. I take the new metro in Granada almost everyday, so I know I would love that. It even includes a USB port to charge your phone.

2. The travel pillow scarf

travelers gift guide

Does anyone else use your scarf as a pillow already? I know I do. I have this amazing blanket scarf that I will wear on the airplane just so I can turn it into a pillow and fall asleep against the window.

Well now UncommonGoods has an even better idea. This scarf actually turns into a pillow! Absolutely genius. I also love how your wear it. While those neck pillows are great, sometimes it can get a little precarious to carry it around with all your stuff. However with this, you simply put it around your neck like any other scarf!

3. The collapsible water bottle

travelers gift guide

One of the most important things to do when traveling is to stay hydrated. When I’m not prepared, I just end up spending money on plastic water bottles. It’s also not good for the earth when you do this.

I love this product because it can be collapsed easily. You can stick it in a purse or a backpack, and refill it when needed. It’s absolutely perfect for airport security as well. You just simply dump out the water, collapse it and go.

4. The scratch map

travelers gift guide

Who doesn’t love to keep track of the places that they visit? I know I do! With this map, you can scratch off new countries that you visit as you travel. It also makes for a great decoration piece. The countries when scratched off become different colors. The map also includes interesting facts.

5. It’s a small world earrings

travelers gift guide

I am such an earring person. I have many pairs of dangly earrings. These are perfect for any woman who loves to travel. Furthermore, their color is neutral meaning that they would easily match with everything. That is incredibly important when picking what earrings you want to wear.

So there you have it! UncommonGoods has gift ideas for everyone.

This post was sponsored. However all opinions are my own.



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Women around the world: Paroma in California

Paroma in California

This week, we feature another travel blogger. Meet Paroma. Like me, she also lives as an expat. However she’s an expat living in my country. So here is a little Q&A about life, traveling and blogging. Enjoy!

Name, age, where you’re from and where you live now

Name: Paroma Chakravarty

Age: 38 years

I am from Kolkata, India and I currently live in San Francisco, California, USA.

How long have you been blogging?

It has been four years

Why did you call your blog “Year of the Monkey”?

I love to “monkey” around and see new places. So I decided to pick this name as I thought the year 2013 (when I started this travel blog) would be my year of getting fame and fortune, none of which happened hahaha.

Paroma in California

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I wanted a creative outlet and share my travel photos with friends and family.

How do you spend your days? Do you have another job outside of blogging?

I have a full time job as a scientist in a biotech company in the Bay Area.

What sets your blog apart from other travel blogs?

I write extensively about my city San Francisco, a lot about dining and food guides as well as traveling with dogs.

What do you hope that people gain from your blog posts?

I hope people get to eat some wonderful food when in San Francisco or other parts of the world, take more trips with their dogs and finally discover a different side to san Francisco, which tourists miss out on.

Paroma in California

Where do you hope to take your blog?

I hope to grow my blog into a profitable venture monetarily, at some point.

What advice do you have for other bloggers and people wanting to blog?

Be dedicated and consistent. Write good content and definitely invest in good photography.

What’s been your favorite place that you’ve traveled to? Why?

There are several. Istanbul, Turkey would be on top of that list because it was my first time traveling internationally and also because the city has such a unique feel.

What was your least favorite?

Las Vegas

What has been your biggest travel fail?

I had a day off during my work trip to Switzerland and I was so scared of traveling alone that I just stayed in my hotel room. I still regret not venturing out and exploring when I had the chance.

Where to next?

Central coast, California

What do you wish more people knew about where you’re from?

I am originally from Kolkata, India. I wish more people visited this city in the east rather than simply flocking to Delhi, Mumbai or places in Rajasthan.

What’s one random or odd talent you have?

Super random: I can make my eyebrows “dance” independently of each other.

Paroma in California

What’s your favorite color?


What’s your favorite food?

Anything Persian

Follow Paroma!

Blog Instagram Faebook Twitter Pinterest

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Lemon Rock: where everything happens

best Granada hostels

One day last fall, I stumbled upon the Lemon Rock Hostel and Bar. I believe it was a Sunday and I was in search of a place to do some work from my laptop. Somehow I had stumbled upon one of the best Granada hostels and it had a very cozy-looking cafe.

I quickly learned that the Lemon Rock was more than just a hostel. The Lemon Rock is a place enjoy good coffee, beer and food. It’s a place that Spanish people love just as much as the tourists. They host good concerts, dj sets and even language exchanges. In short, it’s a place you have to visit when you come to Granada.

I rarely ever write about my favorite Granada spots. I suppose when you live in a place, you can forget that it too has many amazing hidden gems. While I had been to the Lemon Rock dozens of times in the past, I had never really thought to write about it. It seems a little crazy to me as I love to write about hostels on here.

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Women around the world: Susana from Australia

Susana from Australia

Today we feature Susana from Australia. Like most of my blogger friends, I know Susana solely from the internet. We are in various Facebook groups and such together. I have always admired her style and confidence, so I thought I would ask to feature her here. Enjoy!

name, age, where you’re from and where you live now:

My name is Susana Lopes-Snarey, I am 44 years old and I was born in Portugal and live in Australia now.

When did you start your blog?

My blog was launched on the 16 January 2016. It’s almost coming to its 2 year anniversary! Can’t believe it I’ve been blogging for almost two years!

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How I learned Spanish in my country

Recently, I wrote a blog post about why Spain is a great country to learn Spanish in. I loved receiving all of your comments. I had lots of people saying things such as “yeah it’s really best if you can go to another country to learn and be immersed in the language.” While I do believe that that is one great way to learn, it’s not the only way. So I thought it was time to let you all in on a little secret.

I didn’t learn Spanish in Spain.

In fact upon arrival, I routinely shocked locals with how well I spoke after only a few days to a week in their country. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn. It was just a fact that after working a bilingual job in the United States for a year. I was comfortable having conversations in Spanish because I had been having conversations in Spanish in my own country for an entire year. Now these conversations were nowhere near perfect. I of course still made mistakes and had things to improve. We all do with a second language.

I want to tell you this story because I know for many of us, a move overseas is simply not possible right now. I don’t want you to think that all hopes of learning a second language are lost simply because you cannot make a move. So here’s my story of how I became fluent in Spanish while living in the United States.

It all started with a coffeeshop

It was 2014 and I had decided to spend a year volunteering in Nicaragua. While I had learned some Spanish in high school, I hardly remembered any of it and I surely could not form sentences. However I wanted to be able to communicate when I arrived, so I decided I would take a class or find a tutor.

One day, I was at my neighborhood coffeeshop. I was just browsing the bulletin board of flyers when I found a flyer for Coffeeshop Spanish. The idea was that they provided one-on-one tutoring in a coffeeshop. “Well I do need to learn Spanish,” I thought. So I tore the information off and sent them an e-mail. I ended up meeting with them once a week for the next six months.

Then I went to Nicaragua …

Coffeeshop Spanish provided me with a great foundation. However things were not easy. It was hard for me to understand. I was one of the weird and rare cases where I could speak decently well, but struggled to understand what was being said. Furthermore, the environment I lived and worked in in Nicaragua was very unsupportive. You can read more about what happened in Nicaragua here.

I also made the classic foreigner mistake in Nicaragua. All of the friends I made were native English speakers. It’s just often so much easier to find people who speak your language when in a new place. While these women were wonderful people, I wasn’t speaking Spanish with them.

Then life happened. Due to some personal, family things, I returned to the United States. As luck would have it, I landed a bilingual job coordinating an ESL program for Hispanic adults in my community. Su Casa Hispanic Center was having a hard time filling their AmeriCorps position for this role. I warned them that my Spanish was not perfect and that I was still learning. That really didn’t seem to be a problem for them. They were happy to have someone who was willing to try.

Like night and day

Su Casa Hispanic Center was the place where I really became fluent in Spanish. First, it was an incredibly supportive environment to learn and practice Spanish. This is incredibly important when learning another language. The more comfortable and supported you feel, the more confident you will be in speaking the language. Everyone on staff at Su Casa was required to be bilingual in Spanish and English. About half the staff were Hispanic and half were Americans. My wonderful Hispanic coworkers came from countries such as Peru, Mexico and Venezuela. They all understood completely if I struggled or didn’t understand as they had all been there with their English. And of course my American coworkers too could understand as they had all started from 0 at some point with their Spanish.

My clients were also absolutely wonderful. The majority were from Mexico and Guatemala, with other South American countries being represented here and there. If they called the office about English classes, the call would get transferred to me. I was their first contact with our education department. Even though I likely made lots of grammar mistakes and had an accent, I tried my best to be friendly and genuine. I think that they could feel that genuine warmth, even over the telephone.

I also got to know many of them in person as I was there when they came for English class. No one was ever rude about my Spanish. They were just grateful that they could call our office in their native language. They sincerely appreciated the effort I was making to communicate with them. After leaving that position, several of my clients have friended me on Facebook. They love seeing my photos of life in Spain and talk with me from time to time. It’s always good to hear from them.

I would say that around March I really felt fluent in the language. That was about 5-6 months into the job. I think too the work that I was doing really pushed me to speak as well as I could. It was just so cool to see what difference I was making in my community because I could speak Spanish.

learned Spanish in my country
Myself and my old Su Casa coworkers. Wonderful women

What factors drove me to fluency

I was surrounded by Spanish 40 hours a week. Even if I didn’t have many phone calls that day and it wasn’t a day we had English class, I heard Spanish everywhere. When I did speak Spanish, I often didn’t have the option to speak English. Most of my clients coming to English class for the first time knew only a few words or phrases in English.

When you have no option but to speak the language, you learn quickly. And I don’t mean you learn everything. What you learn are tools to communicate. You learn how to ask people to slow down or repeat things. You learn how to say what you want to say in a different way if you can’t say it exactly as you would in English. And you also learn to describe things if don’t know the exact word in Spanish. These are all tools I still use today when communicating in Spain.

I also stated above that I was in a supportive environment. One thing that Coffeeshop Spanish, Su Casa Hispanic Center and the country of Spain have it common is how well they have supported me in my Spanish journey. Everyone has been very encouraging with my Spanish, always reassuring me that I was doing a great job.

It’s all about YOU

The thing about moving to a country that speaks the language is that you still have to be intentional. Many people just assume that going there is enough. Well it’s not. As mentioned above, in Nicaragua all of my friends were English speakers. I wasn’t speaking any Spanish with them. There are English speakers I know where I live in Granada who only hang out with other English speakers. They all want to befriend more Spanish people, but are often intimidated at how to actually do it. Also Spaniards have this stereotype of moving to London and only befriending Spaniards for this very same reason. Upon arrival, they find it easy to just hang out with each other.

Think about it. If you live in Spain but have American roommates, American friends and speak English with your coworkers (since most of us English teachers work with bilingual teachers), how much Spanish are you really practicing? Other than ordering at a restaurant, not much.

Before I moved to Spain, I knew how easy it would be to find English speakers to befriend and to live with. And don’t get me wrong, I do have American and British friends here in Granada. While I never say no to a new friend, I knew that to make Spanish friends, I would have to be intentional. I would have to set up my life so that I was interacting in Spanish daily.

So the first thing I did was seek out a flat with Spaniards. In fact, I only looked at flats with Spanish roommates. I then made a point to do things where I would meet Spaniards and then pursue friendships with the people I met. As I wrote in my post about learning Spanish in Spain, once you do meet a Spaniard you like, it’s not hard to befriend them. They’re very open people who are always down for coffee, tapas or a night of dancing. Furthermore if they want to practice their English, it’s even easier. You can set up a nice regular exchange where you practice both.

What you can do

At the end of the day, learning a language is all about initiative. No one learns it for you. You are the one who puts in the effort. So here are a few ways you can learn and practice a language in your country.

  • Volunteer. In the United States, there’s a Hispanic population in virtually every city. Many people think Latinos only live in California, Texas and Florida. However this is false. I worked at Su Casa Hispanic Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. No one thinks that there are Spanish speakers in Ohio. Wrong. Simply search on google to find an organization in your community that helps the Hispanic community. Call them and ask if you can volunteer. I know in the case of Su Casa, we were always looking for volunteers. This doesn’t just stop with the Hispanic community. If there’s a significant population from a certain country in your city, there are likely opportunities to volunteer with them. In my city, we also had a lot of refugees from French-speaking African countries. There were organizations that worked with that population as well.
  • Join a meet-up. There are meet-up groups for everything these days. So, there are often meet-up groups to practice languages. If you cannot find exactly what you’re looking for, google it. Some cities might not use the exact website but might use something similar. Also lots of cities have sister cities all over the world. I know Cincinnati has something like seven. Perhaps your city has a sister city in a country that speaks the language you’re learning. You could get in contact with that committee or organization in your city to see if they do anything or know of anything. From a meet up, you could end up befriending someone to practice even more.
  • The internet. Guys we live in such a cool time. You can learn any language you want from the comfort of your own home. There are people all over the world that will teach you their language over Skype. I teach adults in Turkey English over the Internet and it’s amazing. Many of them speak very well and have never left Turkey. Here are a few websites to try: Verbling, italki
  • Youtube. A big part of learning a foreign language is listening. The more you listen to people speaking the language, the more you will be able to understand. You will even begin to hear the language more slowly and begin to think in it with enough immersion. There are youtubers from all over the world. Find a few that you like who speak the language you want to learn. Make a point of watching a video every day. I also want to shout out my favorite bilingual youtuber: Superholly. If you’re an English speaker learning Spanish, she’s wonderful. Also if you’re a Spanish speaker learning English, she’s wonderful for that as well!

learned Spanish in my country

Do you want it?

At the end of the day, I’m a big believer that only you can learn a language. No one can do it for you. You have to take the time to listen to the language being spoken. You have to seek out people to practice it with. Even in Spain, I had to consciously set up my life to where I would be speaking Spanish daily. I was the one who sought out Spanish roommates over American ones. I was the one who sought out Spanish friends over friends who spoke my language. I’m so glad that I did it because I now have such an invaluable skill.

If you want to learn a second language, the tools are there for you. It just depends on how much you want it.

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learned Spanish in my country

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