14 December 2011

If I were to have a Christmas List

Although I've saved for quite a bit to help pay for this trip (and all of the mini trips too) this semester in Spain would not have been possible without help from my family.  I am so incredibly thankful for their graciousness to make this trip possible.  With that said, this trip pretty much is/will be my Christmas for the next few years- which I am totally fine with.  I am so excited to be home with my family and celebrate Christmas how it should be celebrated- with the focus on the true meaning of Christmas. 

However, it's always fun to google pretty things, so if I were to have a Christmas list, this is what it would look like...

Non Clothing/Shoes/Accessory Items

1)  An espresso machine.  During the semester I work in a coffee shop, and I have grown to love a good latte in the morning.  But who can afford to pay $4 for one everyday?  
2) Photoshop.  So that I can edit pictures on my own and add effects without having to use something like Picnik... See below for further examples on why this would be helpful.
3) A cute mini-fridge.  The past two years, my room-mate and I shared her fridge.  But after studying abroad I am going to (hopefully) be in my own room, and need one for myself!
4) A vespa.  I think a light, non pearly blue is the color for me, but I certainly wouldn't turn any down.  Obviously, this is one of the more "dream on" type of gifts, but after my Vespa experience, they'll always have a fond place in my heart.  


5) A fur vest.  So maybe these vests were more "on trend" in years past... But it wasn't until this year that I realized how much I would actually wear one.  

6) Leopard Loafers.  So ugly, so cute at the same time.  I would love to wear these with some jean capris, a black blazer, and a statement necklace.  

7) This TOMS sweatshirt.  TOMS are one of those things that I was completely not attracted to until I received my first pair for Christmas last year.  It's safe to say that I'm now completely obsessed.  If you haven't heard about their movement, check it out, right now.  Such a worthy cause, and such an awesome sweatshirt- it even has hidden pockets!

8) Pretty brown boots.  I've been searching for the perfect pair to splurge on for almost 2 years.  I would love a tall cognac colored pair with just a tiny bit of detail- like these side buckles.  

9) Vintage big glasses.  While I love my glasses, I generally wear them for practicality.  While in Europe, I've noticed that most people treat glasses as just another accessory.  My favorite kind are some like these- tortoiseshell brown that are slightly vintage looking (kind of like, smaller Ray-bans with a tiny cat eye.)

12 December 2011

The Italian Adventure- Milan and Verona

Thanks to a week off of school, last week my friends and I had a glorious week long break in which to travel!  I know that we've done quite our share of traveling this semester, but they're all short little weekend trips, so it was nice to have a little longer to spend exploring somewhere new.  

It was kind of crazy listening to everyone's plans in between classes at school.  Almost everyone went somewhere, and those places ranged from all over the UK, to Amsterdam to Barcelona, to Paris, to Switzerland, and to where my friend Andrea and I finally settled on... ITALY!

To make the most of our 6 day trip, we spent time in 3 different cities- Milan, Verona and Rome- though Rome claimed the majority of our time.

Verona, a little town just south of Milan, is known for being the hometown of Romeo and Juliet.  When visiting the city, you can actually visit Juliet's balcony at the house belonging to the De Capellos (the Capulets!) 

Touching Juliet's breast is actually seen as a sign of luck... awkward....

From Verona, we trained back to Milan to spend a few hours taking in the gorgeoussss fashion district, as well as a few other sights.  

In front of one of the FIVE D&G stores in the area!

Prada Milan.  In Milan.  I die.

And the Duomo.  I would have loved to go to the top, but we were rushing so much!  Thankfully we had plenty of time in Rome.  That post is coming next..

Cordoba, Spain

As I previously mentioned, the group I'm studying abroad with (International Studies Abroad) not only serves as the liaison between the students and the International schools, they do lots of other things for us too!  One of the reasons I chose ISA was because (included in the base price) they organize excursions for us to go on throughout the semester.  All of them are in Spain, and while not all of them are overnight trips, they all include historic tours, free time for shopping and sightseeing, and advice on the best things to see and do.  Two weeks ago we went to Córdoba, Spain.  

Like many of the other towns we have visited, I had never heard of Córdoba.  It's not a huge town today, but at one point it was actually the capitol of Spain!  We just had a short day to see the city, and we spent most of our time in the Cathedral.  

La Catedral de Córdoba was actually built as a mosque.  Up until extensions were made on the mosque at Mecca, the mosque in Córdoba was bigger, which is not surprising considering that the inside felt bigger than a city block.  It was mindblowingly large.  Like many other mosques in Spain, it was converted to a church after the Christians took over the area.  The way they converted it was a little surprising though.  Most of the building is more or less the same.  There are added decorations and structural support, minor changes in flooring, etc.  Then, all of the sudden, there's a church, build right inside the mosque.  I tried to get pictures, but it's hard to describe without actually visiting.  The picture above shows the entrance to the church "section" among the arches.  

Although Córdoba wasn't my favorite city in Spain, it was really neat to visit.  After posting pictures onto my facebook account, one of my friends actually commented that he had just been studying the Córdoba Mosque/Cathedral in his history class!  

09 December 2011

Well Hi There, London

Another late post!  Three weeks ago, I went to visit my friend, Sara, who is studying in England for the semester.  I was only there for the weekend, which wasn't nearly enough time, but it was awesome to hang out with her and have some time in an English speaking country!

Also, when packing for trips I generally take into consideration what colors will look best with the places I'm going to be seeing.... Ridiculous, I know.  Apparently, it's become obvious enough that my friends can tell.  Oops?

Day One Outfit
Striped Tunic: H&M, €7
Cardigan: Stradivarias, €12
Leggings: H&M, $5
Boots: Madden Girl for Belk, $15

In Spain, breakfast is toast and coffee.  In England, a full breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoe and mushrooms, fried toast, and baked beans- Love!

Although they were totally fine with pictures, this was super intimidating!  My leg muscles around my knee are actually jutting out a little because I was so tense.  I thank the machine gun and the war vet for that.  Also, I didn't know this, but they wear thick gray coats over the red jackets in the winter.

Harry Potter!

Saturday, my only full day, we visited Windsor Castle, the Queen's weekend residence, which was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.  What a crazy mix of old, new and absolutely gorgeous! We also saw Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter at Kings Cross Station, and took in some sights. 

Day Two Outfit
Skirt: Forever 21, $10
Blouse: Banana Republic, gift from Greg
Cardigan: Old Navy, $12
Tights:, $10
Oxfords:, $50
Belt: Mom's, Vintage

The last day I only had a few hours to look around before heading to the airport.  We totally made it worthwhile though and visited The Tower of London, London Bridge and the Big Ben area for morning fog pictures.

Day Three Outfit
Jeans: Target $15
Top: J. Crew Outlet, $30
Sweater Thing: H&M, €15
Boots: Madden Girl for Belk, $15

08 December 2011

Thanksgiving and Lack Thereof

I almost didn't post this because it's a little behind, but the pictures were already loaded, so here we go...
Spain, along with the rest of Europe, does not celebrate Thanksgiving (therefore, Viernes Negro, Black Friday, means nothing here too!) However, since I came with an American study abroad company and I'm studying at a school for foreigners, Thanksgiving managed to weasel its way into Spain for us.  To start out with, our morning Spanish class had a Fiesta!  There was tons of food and snacks, juices, and even champagne for mimosas!  You know when your teacher drinks with you in a morning class that you're just not in America anymore.  

It was Lisa's birthday as well, hence the Spanish Birthday greetings!

My super awesome room-mate, Natalie, and our Thanksgiving outfits!

At night, our study abroad organization took us out to dinner... and surprised us with a full American Thanksgiving spread!