Thursday, October 31, 2013

Baby Tiggers and Brave Cowboys

It's that time of the year again!





This is going to be Tommy's first ever trick-or-treating. Well, technically, when he was 1 1/2 months old, we did dress him up as Tigger, but he wasn't so much trick-or-treating as sucking happily on his pacifier and sleeping. So this is the very first time he actually knows what is going on, and is looking forward to it. I was just going to dress him up in his Superman pajamas, since my ever-so-rational fiancé mentioned that it would be a waste to spend money on a costume for one day. And it's not like we are the best DIYer in the world to go ahead and make one. But the kid was just so excited and curious about this whole ordeal, that I couldn't stop myself when he stared wide-eyed at a Woody costume.

So yes, that is what he is this year: my adorable little cowboy, boots and all. We will probably have a very, very hard time convincing him to take it off, he is that thrilled.


Oh, and the prize for best/most awesome/most creative Halloween decoration of all times? Definitely goes to the team who submitted this epic depiction of Anna and Christian for their office pumpkin decorating contest:






































Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Birthday iPhone!

Me and technology hate each other. Not because I can't use it or don't understand it, but because I seem to break every. single. device. I touch! True story. I won't even mention how many laptops I've had to replace... *looks around in shame*

This is the reason why I jumped onto the Blackberry bandwagon much, much later than everyone else. Yes, at the end of 2011 I still had a non-Smartphone. Then I got one, and it lasted around six months before something (can't remember what) started failing. See what I mean? Finally, exactly one year ago I got my very first iPhone, and my luck started changing. Suddenly I found myself really enjoying it. Maybe a little bit too much. After being stuck in the Stone Age for so long and only using my phone for texting and e-mails, I discovered a whole world of stuff I could do with this new shiny iPhone.

I spent countless hours playing with any app I could find. I even downloaded my local supermarket app, and made shopping lists and budgets! Seeing as this month marks one year since I've had this addictive little thing, I thought I would list the culprits: those apps that I spent way too much time using.





1. Pinterest
Duh!

2. Jigsaw Puzzle
Unlike my dad, I never particularly enjoyed puzzles. Until now. For some reason I can't stop solving countless of them, over and over.

3. Scramble With Friends
I never really liked Words with Friends, but became obsessed with its cousin, Scramble with Friends. I love challenging myself to find more words than whoever I am playing against.

4. Beautylish
As the name states, this app contains beauty articles, tutorials and tips, basically everything beauty-related. Makes for great light reading when you are out and about.

5. Jamie Oliver's Recipes
I can't cook. Like at all. But for some reason I find it interesting and not at all ridiculous to purchase the bi-monthly subscription (I think it's like 8 USD or something) to browse hundreds of recipes I am not nearly skilled to make. Since I got it, I've attempted ONE recipe (fruity ricotta pancakes with maple syrup) which actually didn't turn out all that bad. Maybe I'll find the courage again to make another one... which will probably be a cocktail or something.

6. Happier
Definitely an app I am loving at the moment. It encourages you to find little things in your day that make you happy, and keep them all in one place for when you need a little pick-me-up. Sort of a gratitude journal. It really really helps you put things in perspective and realize all you have to be thankful for.

7. Houzz
I can't keep track of time when I get sucked into this amazing world of home decor ideas. Kind of a more detailed, more tailored Pinterest, where you will find every single decorating style and a thousand ideas you would have never thought of, to start building the house of your dreams in your head (or even real life!).

8. Flipboard
Flipboard is the app you want when you need to vary your reads. It features articles about all sorts of topics, from recipes to the latest news, to celebrity gossip and scientific discoveries. You can just flip through until you find something that catches your eye, which will most likely be pretty quickly.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Grasshopper Debacle

Remember when I said here that my fiancé had seen me at my most exhilarated estate, and then I mentioned here how I've made him aware of all my weaknesses? Well, apparently I seem to think it was real fun, so I showed him yet another facet of me last night. Listen, I have strengths as well, don't get me wrong: I am very committed, passionate, caring, smart, etc... but I have the odd flaw here and there that is so ridiculous that I am just forced to write about it on here.

Like last night, for example.

It was a nice, relaxing evening. Sean was cooking dinner while I played with Tommy and read some books with him. Then it happened: a screeching, terribly loud noise that is one of the worse things I've ever heard. My first thought was that it was a dying bird, because it really did sound like that. I sent Sean to check what it was.

He came back two minutes later, with a nervous smile, and said: "Yea, don't come out there. You don't want to know what it is." If you've ever had a completely irrational, out-of-control fear of something, you'll know how I feel about bugs and insects (whatever you guys, whatever). So I immediately knew there was a frigging insect in my house making a terrifying noise, bad enough for my fiancé not to tell me what it was. He said it had gone under the fridge and there was no way of getting it out. Needless to say, I wasn't going anywhere near the kitchen anytime soon.

For almost a full hour it kept making noises every now and then, and I completely freaked out but wasn't allowed to make a scene because my fiancé would kill me on the spot if I passed on my "completely insane fear" to our child (I agree with him, by the way). I was trying so hard to keep it together, but on occasion the tiniest gasp escaped my mouth and my fiancé immediately shot me a dirty look.

Bedtime came, and Sean was putting Tommy to bed because I was on the phone with my dad. What I hadn't noticed is that he left our bedroom door ajar. All of a sudden, while deep in conversation, I spotted an UFI (Unidentified Flying Insect) out of the corner of my eye. That's when I completely lost it. It was the equivalent of finding out you've missed your favorite designer's sale. Or watching an insane guy with an axe getting closer and closer to you. I don't know how, but I managed to jump all the way from the bed to the bathroom, all the while screaming bloody murder. Oh, and still on the phone with my dad, who worriedly asked what was going on. When I told him, he was, how do I put this? "slightly" annoyed. Sean came a second later, and took the UFI out. After at least 10 minutes curled up in my bathroom, and several reassurances that he had gotten rid of the incredibly frightening thing, I dared to go out.

He later informed me the culprit of the whole disaster had been a grasshopper. Slightly less terrifying than what I was picturing in my mind (think those creepy rats from Quarantine 2), but still. I was in the dark! Right then and there I decided that Sean has got to include the following line in his wedding vows:

"I promise to stay by your side and get rid of every single bug threatening to end your life". Only then will I say "I do".





Saturday, October 26, 2013

Vintage Accessories

I am mostly modern and minimalist when it comes to decorating a house, but when it comes to decorating myself (read: jewelry) I have a soft spot for vintage items. I just feel that they have a wonderful charm to them; they are romantic, classic and sophisticated. They immediately add character to an outfit. Here is a collection of some beautiful vintage items, each with its own unique story to tell:






























Left to right from top to bottom:
Vintage Necklace from White Rabbit Designs  //  Vintage Beaded Purse from Little Tree Vintage  // Pastel Vintage Necklace from BogieBacall  //  Museum Treasure Bracelet from Ruche  //  Vintage Butterfly Ring from MelaniesFabFinds  //  Brushed 14K Gold Earrings from LilyEmme Jewelry  // Vintage Flower Pin from The Hokey Pokey  //  Vintage Scarf from Eclectic Shop  //  Another Vintage Scarf from Beta Accessories



Top 5: Movies That Moved Me

Don't worry, I'm not gonna go all Titanic on you. If it wasn't so cliché, I would definitely include it in this list because it really did move me; then again, it moved everyone who isn't made of stone, so I thought of adding five more movies that had that same effect (we shall call it "The Titanic Effect" from now on) on me:




5. Life Is Beautiful
I was ten years old when this movie came out, and I still remember being upset for days over why this didn't have a different ending... it was so close!  Every single element of this movie makes it impossible to forget: how unbearable it was for the mom to watch his son and husband get taken away to a concentration camp; the incredible sacrifices of the dad to shield his child from the horror they were living in; his marching in front of the son at gunpoint... it is all just too much to bear!






4. Toy Story 3
I may or may not have cried when I watched this the first time. It touched on so many issues, from letting go of your old life and embracing change, to the importance of cherishing true friends and staying close regardless of the distance. Don't judge me! Like you didn't tear up a little (or a lot) watching the opening sequence of Up!





3. The Next Three days
I literally lay awake in bed for almost the entire night after watching this movie. It just freaks me out a little bit to think about how easily your life can change overnight and become your worst nightmare, but more frighteningly, how someone else's decisions can affect it forever.






4. P.S. I Love You
This one is pretty much self-explanatory. It also didn't help that I happen to have a soft spot for Gerard Butler...






5. Sex And The City
Yes, this is on my list. But not at all because of the whole Carrie-Big debacle. The part that makes me cry my eyeballs out every single time I watch it is towards the end, when Miranda and Steve are walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. They make a promise to each other to leave the past behind and never look back. It is so emotional and full of that longing for each other that only true love brings. Yes, I am still very emotionally invested with those four girls...




Thursday, October 24, 2013

So, this guy sat next to me on a plane...

Last week I travelled to a conference in a nearby city. I arrived early, got on the plane, took my seat, and started comfortably reading my magazine. That was until the person that had the seat next to me arrived.

The first thing I noticed was his cologne. I am almost certain that he was running out of time so instead of taking a shower with, you know, water, he took it with his cologne. But I forgave the dude for that, no one wants to miss a flight.

He sat next to me, and a lady he was traveling with sat in front of us. When she did, he said: "I might fall asleep, so the first one to arrive wakes the other one." I thought to myself, "Hey, he's a funny dude, making jokes and stuff" but get this: he was actually serious. I know because of the lady's somewhat confused face, but I don't think he realized why she looked so puzzled.

He then sat down, and started singing to the top of his lungs. Not any song, either! Christina Aguilera's "But I Remember You" in a really high-pitched voice, no less. I literally bit my tongue not to burst out laughing.

So far, nothing major. But then he proceeded to turn his iPad on while we waited for the plane to take off, and started playing one of those games that have really annoying background music and sounds, and kept on playing until the stewardess asked the passengers to turn all electronic devices off during take-off and landing. Oh thank God, I thought, at least 15 minutes of peace and quiet. But no, how wrong I was! For some strange reason, this guy thought take-off meant the period of time while the plane is taxiing, because as soon as the plane actually took off, the guy turned the iPad back on! I kid you not. I could only watch in astonishment as he turned it on and started playing his annoying game again, at full volume.

But it doesn't stop there. Far from it! All of a sudden he stopped the game and started watching on YouTube this incredibly boring documentary about taxes of some sort, of course at full volume. I considered opening the plane door and jumping, but I didn't want to be the person who inconvenienced other passengers the most. It would be unfair to take that title from this poor guy who clearly had worked so hard to achieve it.

Source























I had the brilliant idea to take my headphones out and plug them in, and started listening to some plane music. But this guy, of course, insisted on using both armrests, and kept pressing the buttons of my music, constantly changing it or increasing/decreasing the volume... Help me God, help me! I counted to ten, breathed, and proceed to tell him: "Excuse me, you changed the station. I need to change it back". He removed his elbow for a millisecond, and then put it back on the exact same spot. The process repeated itself four more times, until I gave up and just let him keep changing the music with his arm; anything not to listen to a lecture about taxes!

Finally the one-hour flight, which felt like a flight from Moscow to Argentina, landed. I could not get off fast enough. I know there are a million stories out there about people on planes, but I have yet to hear of a passenger more obnoxious than this one! If you've had an even worse experience, do let me know in the comments, and maybe I'll cut the guy some slack.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, to have a gifted brain...

You know those times, when someone asks you something, and your response is nothing but a blank stare, and a growing sense of being the most unintelligent person alive? Wait, what's that? It hasn't happened to you? Well, then prepare yourself...

I came across this article last week about 15 of the questions Google asks their potential employees. Now, Google didn't get to where it is by hiring just average people. They need to ensure their candidates have a certain level of intelligence, and boy, do the make sure!

Some of the questions were not intended for an exact mathematical answer but rather for the thought process behind them, such as "How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?". The interviewee is supposed to carry out a rationale of estimating how many hours a piano tuner works, how long a piano takes to be tuned, and how many households in the world would have a piano that is tuned regularly. I get dizzy just thinking about it, but I do see its purpose.

Other questions have answers so simple that they are (at least for me, of average intelligence) incredibly annoying because I dwell on it for ages trying to figure out the answer. Such as this: "How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?". The answer? "10 USD per window". Ugh!!! I wanted to punch my computer screen right then and there. And that's why I'm not applying for the job of Product Manager at Google any time soon...

Source


Others, I smugly thought I knew the answer to. For instance: "How many times a day does a clock's hands overlap?". Well, I thought, at 1:05, 2:12, 3:18 and so on... so... 24 times, as each hour happens twice daily. Right? Wrong! It's actually 22 times: 1:05, 2:11, 3:16, 4:22, 5:27, 6:33, 7:38, 8:44, 9:49, 10:55 and 12:00, two times each. For the love of all that's pink!

source


One of my favorites was this one: "You have eight balls, all of the same size. Seven of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?". It seems an obvious answer once you know it, but I wouldn't have come up with it if my life depended on it: "Take six of the eight balls and put three on each side of the scale. If the heavy ball isn't in the group of six, you know it is one of the remaining two, and so you put those in the scale and determine which one. If the heavy ball is in the six, you have narrowed it down to three. Of those three, pick any two and put them on the scale. If the heavy ball is in that group of two, you know which one it is. If both balls are of equal weight, then the heavy ball is the one you sat to the side." Took the words out of my mouth! (yeah, right!).

I can practically smell my dad's disappointment when he finds out I didn't get the clock one right... or any other one, for that matter! These are the types of "riddles" he absolutely loves. Sorry dad!

There were 11 more questions on that article, but I don't want to make you feel even worse than you must be feeling already... or was it just me? Because if you were able to answer any of these, my hat off to you! What are you waiting for? start listing your skills and submitting a resume as brilliant as that brain of yours!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gray - Yellow Home Decor

I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with pink. If it was up to me, everything I own would be pink (except clothes, I do like to play with different colors when it comes to my outfit). But my room, for example, would probably resemble something like this:

This is SprinkleOfGlitter's bedroom, one of my favorite bloggers. This was love at first sight for me.






























However, I have a fiancé that would never in a million lifetimes let me do that. Shame. However, I was lucky enough to find a trend that fits both our styles perfectly: the contrast of gray and yellow is delicate and subtle, without being too feminine. It gives a very modern look to the home, but makes it feel romantic and cozy at the same time. We are both minimalist when it comes to decorating, which this trend matches perfectly, as a few, simple details bring any room to life. In short, I think this is the one for us.

Here are some examples of yellow-gray home decor:

WALL DECOR
1. Flowers and Chevron; available  here
2. Even more Chevron; available here  (Probably the most likely to be approved by fiancé)
3. A more delicate print; available here
4. Cute quote and design, also perfect for a nursery; available here

































HOME ACCESSORIES

1. Collection of pillows, from Zinc Door
2. Gray and Yellow bedding, from West Elm
3. Floral contemporary rug; available here
4. Chevron coffee mug, available here


































I think it is a lovely combination of colors, don't you?




Friday, October 18, 2013

Top 5: Brownie Recipes

Once upon a time, when people were going to throw a party, cook a recipe, plan a wedding, or just wanted some inspiration, they had to go to google, search several different websites until they finally found what they were looking for amongst all the information available. Then Pinterest came, and everything changed. All of a sudden, we had this world full of ideas, pictures and everything imaginable to draw inspiration from in one single place, and with the ability to keep it all nice and tidy in your own boards, so you can come back to them when you need them.

I remember when I was younger I had a cork board in my room, filled with photos, magazine pictures, and the odd quote. Now I have 24 boards on Pinterest that provide me with inspiration when I am not feeling very creative; some of the ideas we are going to use for our wedding, for example, are taken from there (with our own twist, you know, to make it "original").

One of the categories I like to browse the most is the food. I cannot cook to save myself, but I love eating, specially if it's something I am not supposed to (naughty Veronica!). Staying true to that, I am choosing here five brownie recipes that are in my opinion, the most scrumptious, decadent ones I have found on Pinterest so far:


1. Red Velvet Brownie Pie, from Crazy For Crust
For all of us fans of red velvet cupcakes, this red velvet brownie pie is nothing short of perfect. Full of chocolate chips and deliciousness, you can even add some whipped cream on top if you are feeling particularly naughty. For our American and Canadian friends, who are celebrating Thanksgiving pretty soon, this pie would be absolutely fitting. And for those of us who don't have Thanksgiving, we can still take a second and give thanks that there is something so delicious in the world for us to taste, because really, who isn't thankful for chocolate?











































2. Rocky Road Brownies, by Martha Stewart
My Kiwi fiancé is absolutely nuts for Rocky Road (pun intended). I do like it, but nuts and marshmallows aren't really my favorite thing. However, these brownies look so good that it might just be what it takes for me to be a Rocky-Road convert. Oh, and let's not forget that it's Martha Stewart who is providing this recipe!










































3. Strawberry Brownie Crumble, from It Bakes Me Happy
This has naughty deliciousness written all over it. I'm pretty sure I would have absolutely no problem eating this whole dish in one go, it looks that good. I think I would also add some bananas to it, to make it even yummier.




























4. Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Gourmandiseries
This recipe is originally in French, but you can also read it in English here. One of the things I like most about this recipe is how easy and simple it is. If you aren't gifted with the talent of cooking/baking, like me, you will most likely still be able to make these and they will actually taste good! amazing, in fact! This will probably be the one I start with, as it looks easy enough for me and I just can't wait to try those chewy cookies!










































5. Chewy Nutella Brownies, from Finding Silver Linings
I was saving the best for last: Nutella! Nutella and I have a very close relationship. It comes with me wherever I go: it has accompanied me in the cold months in Germany, in the lonely months in Medellin, in the stressful months in New Zealand... I can always count on it. Oh, Nutella... you sweet sweet guilty pleasure!... okay, weird praise over. But seriously, if I could only make one of these recipes it would definitely be this one. Just look how chewy these brownies look!









































Do you love brownies and chocolate and naughty food just as much?  (what a silly question, of course you do!). Do you have any more amazing brownie recipes I have to try?



Thursday, October 17, 2013

My (Pretty Much Nonexistent) Cooking Skills

With my approaching wedding, one of the things that keeps me calm is knowing that me and my fiancé know each other's facets like the back of our hands. He has seen me at my very worst, and my most excited; I have been there when he has been overwhelmed, and when he has been as calm as a clam (try to say that fast!). Most importantly, we know and accept each other's strong and weak points, and try to grow together.

One of my weakest points, which he found out about very early into our relationship, was my cooking skills. The very first time I stayed over, he made for me this incredible breakfast with poached eggs, sausages, toast, the works. The first time he stayed over? toast and... jam perhaps? Poor thing. But I just can't pretend to know how to cook. I am so useless. To give you an idea, last year while we were staying with my mother in law, I tried to help her out with dinner (big mistake!), and offered to boil some potatoes. How hard can that be? Who on Earth could mess that up? Me, that's who! Turns out I overcooked the damn things and we ended up eating mashed potatoes. Polite as she is, she smiled and said it was okay, "we love mashed potatoes anyway"... but the damage was done. I will always be the girl who can't boil potatoes!

On the other hand, I am lucky to be marrying a guy who is a cooking star. It appears that way to me, anyway; I suspect Wolfgang Puck would say I'm exaggerating. But he truly is: he improvises with whatever we have at home and makes fantastic, complete meals. He is the one to call me when I'm at the supermarket and instruct me on exactly what meat I should get, what ingredients, etc. For a short while he even made gourmet pizzas to sell, which were a great hit with family and friends. There never was any question as to who did what in our household: he cooks, I clean the dishes. No potatoes get overcooked, no one gets poisoned, no one burns the house down. It works like a charm.

When he cooks he is free and happy, and truly enjoys the experience. When I cook,  I spend half an hour staring blankly at all the ingredients, not really knowing where to start. In a very traditional country like mine, this is seen with shock horror, as the cooking is a "woman's role". And while I do agree that I need to expand my cooking portfolio further than noodles and sandwiches, the cooking role will always remain his and I guess we will just have to be a "modern couple" like that.

The only thing I have ever made that was acceptable: this Teriyaki Chicken and rice for my fiancé! I was (am) so proud of it, I snapped a photo with my iPhone (forgive the quality) and sent it to almost everyone I know. How sad.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Strange Soccer Effect

Soccer has a strange effect on me (in case the post title didn't make that clear). My fiancé would say that I hate it, don't enjoy it, roll my eyes every time he puts it on tv and grab my 50 Shades of Grey (I know, I still haven't finished it, what is wrong with me!?). For the most part, he is right. I can't stand to watch more than two or three minutes at a time of the sport.

However, something really strange happens every four years. When we are talking about the FIFA World Cup, I become a MAJOR fan. And by major, I mean that I will watch every single game passionately, scream, jump, bite my nails, memorize every single score, know EXACTLY how many points each team has and how many more they need in order to move to further rounds. Colombia hasn't even gone to the last four World Cups, yet I have always found a team to cheer for and watched just as obsessively.

The last time Colombia went to a World Cup I was nine, and I remember almost every single game (the important parts of them at least). That is how big this event is for me. Don't ask me why, it surprises me just as much because in every other match, be it UEFA Champions League or whatever, I have no clue which team is which.

After sixteen years, it was about time we made it to the championship again. I made a point of watching every game of the classifiers and cheer my country, and wait for a miracle. Last week, we were only two games and one point away from classifying. The game was against Chile. Two of our very best friends are Chileans, so we started a little Whatsapp war early on, which went something like "Is Chile ready to get their asses kicked by us today?" and "you chickens, with your chicken-yellow shirts" and all sorts of lame (and playful) stuff. Then the game started. Eleven minutes in and Chile scores a goal. The texts didn't take more than a millisecond to come. I glance angrily at my phone. On the twentieth minute, another goal from Chile. I get a little angrier. 25 minutes into the first half, and Chile scores their THIRD goal. Furious, I grab my phone and type "not watching anymore. Let me know if anything interesting happens". I literally leave the room, turn the tv off, and stop watching. So petty...

Almost an hour later, I turn the tv on, interested in the score since my phone has been awfully quiet. Imagine my surprise when I see that it is already 36 minutes into the second half, and Colombia has already scored two goals! And that's when I completely lose it. There is actually a chance that we might not be so miserably defeated, after all! I run and grab my Colombia shirt. I send smug texts to the Chileans. I ask my fiancé, screaming, if he is seeing what I'm seeing.

I have not been watching the second half for more than five minutes when there is a penalty in favor of Colombia. I am 100% certain that my heart is going to jump off my chest. I squeeze my fiancé's hand so hard I almost break it. The player kicks the ball.... and scores our third goal, seven minutes before the end of the game! I don't think my fiancé had ever seen me go completely ballistic before, until that very second. The bright side to this is that now he is going to marry me knowing all my different phases, even my gone-completely-insane-jumping-up-and-down-like-a-mad-woman one.

My mood went from being super grumpy, annoyed and pissed off, to an excitement level of around 18 -on a scale from 1 to 10- in the space of ten minutes. And all because of a soccer game. Go figure.



My fiancé has already expressed his concern about how frantic I will get when the Cup starts, if I felt so strongly about the classifiers... well, he still has a year to prepare... I cannot make any promises.

Does this also happen to any of you out there, or am I the only weird specimen that can only stand soccer when the match is related to the World Cup?



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Top 5: Pantone in Fashion and Beauty

I am hopeless at design. Just awful. But I do still become mesmerized by the wonderful world of color that is Pantone, and I do love incorporating different colors and experimenting with them in my wardrobe.

It was not an easy task, but I finally narrowed it down to five Pantone colors that have caught my eye, obsessed me, and now make up the biggest percentage of my closet:

1. Crimson
One of my favorite colors, as a good girly-girl, is pink. However, this Pantone color is a more grown-up pink, very close to red, that works perfectly for both day and night, and adds a stunning pop of color to any outfit to make it stand out.

A crimson accessory is the perfect complement to a neutral outfit to add that pop of color that will make it stand out, like this one from Sir Jack's







































2. Atlantic Deep
What I love most about this color is its ability to be combined in endless possibilities, giving your outfit a boost of elegance.
A gorgeous Atlantic Deep dress, paired with leggings is an easy yet chic option. This one is from Opus Fashion










































3. Emerald
This didn't win Pantone "Color of the Year 2013" for nothing: it is gorgeous and vibrant, but for me its biggest attribute of this color is that it is flattering for most skin colors and body types, so most women look amazing in it.
An Emerald accessory like this Marc Jacobs Paradise In Rio bag is a perfect choice to dress up your day attire and transition it into a fancy date look. 











































4. Acai
A must-have for Fall and Winter, Acai is a fun, vibrant purple that will brighten up a serious look without making it look childish. This is the fall equivalent of Crimson (which looks specially amazing during Spring and Summer).

I found this pretty iPhone case on Etsy, with light purple and Acai diamonds. Acai balances the light purple, making this iPhone case just the right amount of girly and cute.













































5. Pink Lemonade
I can't help it. I am a lover of all things pink, so here it features again, and this time, Pink Lemonade is a soft, girly pink which I am crazy about. It is sweet and flirty, and I try to use it as often as possible, incorporating it in subtle ways so I don't end up looking like a four-year-old.

This MAC Lipglass, which shares its name with the Pantone color, will be sure to add a sweet and flirty touch to your finished look, so you can channel your inner romantic.


























There is an entire world of color to explore, and a million ways in which they can be combined. If you want to check out Pantone's Spring/Summer 2014 Fashion Color Report, you can do so here. It is a collection of the colors predicted to become the highest trends of those seasons, so make sure to head over there and stay ahead of fashion.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Change Of Direction

I am a planner. I love making plans, picturing where I'll be in ten years time, daydreaming about what I still want to achieve. And lists. I make lists every single day, for the even the smallest things, or else I become an unorganized mess. I even sometimes make a list of lists I need to write. I guess this makes me a total control freak.

And it also makes me pretty darn naïve. I start picturing my life a certain way, and for some reason think that it will turn out just like that, when this couldn't be further from the truth. Granted, some of the plans I have made have come to fruition exactly as I imagined, but life throws at us all kinds of loops that make us change direction and completely redraw our life plan.

My mom always told me that I had to be a lot more flexible and less "square"; to stop planning so much and be more spontaneous, but it was never easy for me to do that. Last year, however, I learned that lesson the hard way.

Sean and I always had this plan that as soon as I finished my university, we would go back to New Zealand and settle there. Exactly one year ago, we did. We left our apartment, my family, my friends, Sean's job, and the three of us set out to start our lives there, convinced that nothing could go wrong.

We got there and immediately started applying for jobs. Sean got a job easily. Within two weeks he was already working. I on the other hand, wasn't so lucky. I was so sure I was going to take no time for me to get a job, and that anyone would be lucky to hire me. Why, only because I got good grades in college? because of my "awesome" cover-letter writing skills? Ugh! Guess what Veronica? Hundreds of other people have a ton more experience than you, got better grades than you and write better cover letters than you!

After five months and at least sixty job applications, I got the much sought-after job, only not in New Zealand. This job meant great opportunities, financial stability (which we were lacking), and kick-starting my career. And it also meant packing up and leaving everything behind all over again. It wasn't an easy decision by any means, but in the end we decided that we had to do it. The events that teach you the most in life are never easy: this decision taught us that "failure" is only in our minds. I did not fail only because I couldn't find a job in New Zealand; we have grown and learned and become more mature. We appreciate our jobs much more now. We know that sometimes life doesn't go to plan and that it's not the end of the world. I for one, know myself a lot better thanks to this experience, as I know that what defines me is not a job, but my whole set of qualities, skills, flaws and decisions. More importantly, I have finally figured out that writing is what I want to be doing every day and I am working towards it, which probably would have taken a lot more time to figure out had I gotten a job straight away in New Zealand.
In the words of a Disney character (again, forgive me for this, but cartoons constitute pretty much 80% of your life when you have a toddler):

"Well, that's the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream". And you know what, I definitely have found my new dream now...

Flynn Rider,  in "Tangled"



Monday, October 7, 2013

Pinterest Wedding Inspiration

Oh, Pinterest, you endless source of inspiration for everything and anything! You have again come to my rescue with the most gorgeous ideas for my upcoming wedding, and to thank you I dedicate this post to you.

Below are some of the pins I have found that I am dying to incorporate into my wedding:

1. DRESS
I always said I did not want a typical wedding dress, with a long train and larger-than-life veil. I wanted something a lot simpler, to go with our wedding theme and location, very tropical, very caribbean and laid-back. This dress below was the one that inspired the one I will actually wear. Mine is very different (of course, I wasn't going to ruin the surprise), but the general idea came from this one: (Thanks Pinterest!)

Picture from Style Me Pretty


























































2. SHOES
I still haven't decided what type of shoes I am going to wear yet... there are so many choices! I just hope the process will be as easy as it was with the dress... so here are the two styles that I am leaning towards the most so far. Both are completely different, so you will just have to wait and see which one I end up being inspired by:

2.1 I definitely love me some lace, and I think it is sweet and romantic to incorporate it in your shoes. The details in these shoes are so delicate, that when I saw them they went right up to the top of my wishlist:

Image from Style Me Pretty




















































2.2. I think sandals go perfectly with our wedding, and I adore this color. They definitely add a fun touch to the whole outfit, which is one of the things I am aiming for:
Picture from Style Me Pretty

























































3. DECOR
I don't want to ruin the surprise for those people reading this that will be attending our wedding, but here is a little snippet of the pics that inspired our decor:

My fiancé would definitely be in favor of this:
Source






























A cute, little advice box wouldn't hurt anybody:
Picture taken from Etsy





























Paper lanterns are a fun, versatile. touch that go with most wedding themes:
Picture from Glue Arts


























































4. FLOWERS AND BOUQUET
This is going to be a tough one. There are so many styles and options and colors and shapes available that I have no idea where to even begin choosing my flowers. I don't have a particular preference like say, lilies or roses. Most flowers if they are feminine, delicate and elegant will appeal to me. But here are some that I absolutely love, and my bouquet and flowers will possibly resemble one of these:

Image from Bippity Boppity Boo

Image from The Frosted Petticoat


Image from Style Me Pretty

Image from F J Flowers Australia


Decisions, decisions... but we are getting there. Exciting and probably overwhelming times await us until that evening on the 21st of December... it is getting so close!




Saturday, October 5, 2013

Top 5: Style Icons

There is a quote by Coco Chanel that I absolutely love, which goes "Fashion Fades. Only style remains the same". I like it because it reminds me that style is much, much more than just appearances. It is a way of being, made up of our attitudes, our essence and our way of approaching what life throws at us.

Style is staying true to yourself, without trying to be anybody else. The other day watching a Dr. Seuss movie (because you know, that's what you do when you have a toddler), something he sang (yes, the little cartoon, get over it) got stuck in my head: "Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you". It got me thinking, how many times in our daily lives do we do or say (or fail to do and say) something because of what other people might think? because we are too concerned with giving the wrong impression? I think that little quote shouldn't be in a kids film, kids know that very well, after all, but us adults tend to forget it often. We spend so much time in our lives pretending, that we waste the opportunity to be the best "us" we can be (and I do realize that sounded extremely cliché!). And I strongly believe that style refers to being just that, our very best version. Yes, fashion is great (I for one, love it!) but being comfortable in your own skin is far more important.

Below I have compiled a list of my favorite style icons and the things I love most about them, because I think that they truly know what being yourself means;  they know and accept their flaws and limitations and exploit their virtues:


1. Audrey Hepburn
Well, this one should come as no surprise: this woman is the epitome of elegance and class, but not in a fake, 'i-have-to-be-a-certain-way-in-order-to-be-liked' way. She never tried to please anybody but herself, and that is one of the reasons that her timeless sophistication is still coveted by millions of women to date.



2. Kate Middleton
The amount of pressure this woman must be under is certainly not easy to handle. However, she always manages to have a relaxed attitude towards it. So I got a somewhat-insulting nickname because my fiancé is waiting for the right time to propose? Ok, I have a boyfriend who is refusing to be pressured into an engagement, yay me!  So a thousand paparazzi are stationed right outside my door, waiting for a little human to pop out of my body parts? Alright, let's announce that he is safe and sound and gorgeous and get this over with! So the whole entire world is eagerly waiting to pass judgement on my post-pregnancy body? Well, here it is for y'all. Knock yourselves out! All the more power to you, Kate! Oh, and also, she always looks absolutely flawless, yeah, there's also that. 



























3. Ellen DeGeneres
Okay, this one might be a little biased, because I am a huge fan of her show. But in all honesty, she is so authentic and real, and encourages everyone to be who they really are. Like it or not, she is who she is and isn't afraid to show it. One of my goals in life is to have the level of confidence in myself this woman has. This is exactly what makes her one of my top 5 in my book when it comes to style:































4. Jennifer Lawrence
A woman that makes her own rules instead of following the pre-established industry trends is one of the most stylish things out there. She knows who she is and who she wants to be and she is not letting anyone change that anytime soon. And for a girl in her early 20s this is simply remarkable. I hope she never loses her 'if-you-like-me-great-if-not-see-ya-later' vibe. 































5. Melissa McCarthy
Hardly anyone is as comfortable with herself as this woman. She is anything but self-conscious about her full figure, and instead uses it in her favor in a number of ways. She doesn't take herself too seriously, as she knows there is much, much more to her than her exterior, which she constantly proves with her intelligence, a bubbly cheerful personality at all times, and incredible talent. If that isn't style, I don't know what is. 







































Who are your style icons and whose self-confidence do you admire? What does style mean to you?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Favorite Books, Blogs and Everything in Between

I love reading. And I love writing. And as uncool as I thought that was back in High School, I now have no shame in admitting these facts.

At the moment I am in a bit of a book-drought, if you will, as I am trying to finish Fifty Shades Freed, the last book from the Fifty Shades series (I know, I am a weird specimen, the only person in the world who hasn't finished it, yada yada yada). But I am nonetheless an avid reader and some books just stay with me long after I finish them, and some blogs I just can't seem to stop going back to every day. So let's get cracking, shall we:


BOOKS

1. The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
While I have been through stages in my life where I read a few self-help books, I don't particularly enjoy them. This book is far from that. Everyone is their own unique person, and it is not an easy task to learn to spend your life with someone who has their own set of qualities, flaws, likes, dislikes and personality. This book explains beautifully how everyone understands love differently, and how to learn to work with those differences instead of letting them pull us apart. As soon as I got engaged, my mum recommended this book for both my fiancé and I. We both read it and loved it, and try to apply what we learned as much as possible.
























































2. Orange Is The New Black, Piper Kerman
Can we just talk for a second about how awesome and addictive OITNB is!? I watched the entire season on Netflix in a 48-hour period and soon after, started experiencing a withdrawal syndrome... but managed to get my fix of Red, Taystee, Alex and Pornstache with this entertaining book (the real characters, at least). I haven't finished it yet, as I really don't want to be without them for too long until the second season is released.



3. Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert
Maybe there is a pattern here, seeing that my wedding is coming up, perhaps? This is also a story about, well, commitment and marriage. After her adventures in Eat, Pray, Love (which I also love, because I am cliché like that), Elizabeth Gilbert finally accepts that she might be ready to get married again. She starts another journey, this time exploring what marriage means for different people, and how culture and circumstances affect the way we approach it. A very interesting read with the same self-discovery tone as her best seller.

























































4. House Rules, Jodi Picoult
It was hard choosing only one of Jodi Picoult's books. She is my favorite author of all time, her books are always impossible to put down for me, and I always become way too involved with her characters. She makes me connect with them in a way no other author has been able to, and she always touches controversial and difficult issues from various points of view, which is something I love about her. In this novel she explores Aspergers syndrome, through the life of a boy who is only able to function when certain conditions are met and certain rules are established, and narrates the impact this has on his entire family.


























































5. The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
Together with Jodi Picoult, this is an author whose every single book I absolutely love. Like all of his books, this one also puts into question many of the "truths" we are certain of, it is fast-paced and full of twists. This is one of those books that when finished, you can't stop thinking about for days. In The Lost Symbol his iconic character, Robert Langdon, has yet another deep mystery to solve in order to
stop the secret to "enlightenment" from falling into the wrong hands.


























































BLOGS

1. Mamamia.com.au
I first discovered this Australian blog in 2009 when I was in New Zealand. I loved how Mia Freedman, its founder, talks about relevant issues from different perspectives and explores motherhood from opposite points of view. It has a huge, faithful community that provides the site with interesting discussions. Very excitingly, one of my articles was published on this blog, and you can go check it out here.

2. SprinkleOfGlitter
From the very first time I started reading this blog, I completely related to it. Louise is a lovely british girl with the most adorable little toddler girl, just a few months younger than my own little boy, and she writes about motherhood from the point of view of a mid-20-year-old, same as me. Also, she does incredible beauty reviews, both on her blog and her YouTube channel, which of course was going to keep me coming back. But her best feature by far is her confidence, she is so happy and satisfied with herself all the time that it's really inspiring.

3. Bubby And Bean
I am completely hopeless when it comes to home decor, design and crafts. That's why Melissa's blog captivated me with her simple instructions, clear details and wonderful tips on all of these topics. Together with great photography and inspiring stories, this blog is a pleasure to read.

4. What The Flicka
Felicity Huffman used to play Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives, and now she has taken to blogging with the same free spirits and humor that characterizes her. I specially enjoy her weekly questions in video format, as they are funny yet thought-provoking, and every week she features some of the best responses to them.

5. Song Of Style
Aimee Song is a fashion blogger with a sophisticated style that takes elements from both the relaxed vibe of California girls and the elegance of the ever-so-classy New Yorkers.  Her outfits are always impeccable and are a source of inspiration for any aspiring fashionista.




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