Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Roundup #2: Farewell February!

Oh man, it feels sooooo good to say farewell to February!  In general, it was just a blah month for me. It wasn't bad, not at all, just sort of meh. Even though it is the shortest month of the year, it felt like the longest for me, I don't know why. I wasn't too inspired with my posting, which is why I only posted 14 times: I believe it's better to go outside your regular posting schedule if you don't have anything of quality to post, rather than provide some poor content.

But now it's time to look back at my favorite things this month, just to prove that it was actually a good month after all and to get excited to welcome March:

1. Our road trip to Cartagena! That always makes me feel good, and meeting with my beautiful friends there was just what I was needing.

2. Little outings with this little bugger (which mainly consisted of ice cream and the pool!).


























3. Celebrating two months of marriage!


4. This video of baby Charlotte. I just can't get over it. I swear, out of the 25.000.000 views it has so far, I am probably responsible for 20.000.000


5. This drool-worthy slow-cooker balsamic honey pulled pork! Yum!

6. Hot Chocolate Cookies.  I repeat: Hot. Chocolate. Cookies!!! By Smells-like-home

7. This list of 25 things to stop doing by the time you are 25 is pretty rad. I confess, I am guilty of a couple of those ("staying up late watching netflix" and "grocery shopping while hungry"... although in all fairness, I am always hungry! ). Oh, and how I wish I was guilty of the "sleeping till noon on weekends"...!!
Also by Refinery29, this list of 10 signs that you are addicted to shopping sure gave me a giggle. (I may or may not relate to #1, 8 and 10... just saying...)

8. This "Explore Your Heart" watercolor print. Lovely words and lovely design.

9. This joke:
Source

Okay, be honest. Did you say "nunu" too?

10. The story of one red paperclip is too unbelievable! The vision of some people astounds me every day.

11. My hubby would be all over this recipe for Eggnog French Toast

12. I just love this outfit. Totally different from what I would normally wear, and quite preppy too, but I love it.

Source



13. Pretty flowers right outside my building:

























14.  There are some useful tips in these 100 little things travel has taught me, by travelettes.com

15. This oversized pop art print from A Beautiful Mess is gorgeous, and surprisingly easy to make! Love the statement and personality it would give to a room!

16. Finally, it wouldn't be appropriate that I finished a post about what I've been loving without noting that this is my ONE HUNDREDTH POST! Woohoo!  That sounds really, really awesome. Here is to many more!

Tell me in the comments what you loved this month!


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Friday Roundup: Food For The Stars

You might belong to the group of people who know the Oscars are this Sunday, and who love watching the whole thing and delighting over all the drool-worthy dresses. Or, you might belong to the group of people who love eating nice things from time to time. Or perhaps you just simply love to amaze your friends and family by creating something awesome in the kitchen. If any of these apply to you, then keep reading, because here I present to you a carefully curated selection of delicacies related to that tiny little event happening in two days' time:


1. STARS EVERYWHERE! from NotMartha
What could be more appropriate than food adorned with stars for a night full of, well, stars?
























































2. FORTUNE COOKIES COVERED IN GOLD GLITTER  by LaurenConrad.com
Nothing says Oscars and glamour like gold glitter!


















































3. POPCORN CUPCAKES by Sarah Scoop
Popcorn for the Oscars is pretty self-explanatory (if not mandatory), and in cute little cupcakes? yes please!



























4. OSCAR CUPCAKES by Hoosier Homemade
And even more cupcakes, for your tasting pleasure.



























5. OSCAR STATUE COOKIES by Bakerella
How incredibly perfect are these!? I would almost feel bad about eating them (almost!).



























6. BLACK TIE PARFAITS by Lifetime Moms
If you want something very different, elegant, yet easy at the same time, these parfaits are what you're looking for.



























7. TUXEDO STRAWBERRIES by Ziplist
The finishing touches of these simple strawberries really take them to the next level.






































8. BONUS VIDEO: OSCAR-RELATED COCKTAILS! By Martha Stewart
Because let's face it, no good party would be complete without a proper selection of cocktails, now would it?


Your turn now: are you planning on really knocking it out of the park on Sunday with some of these creations? Or are your plans leaning more towards the cozying up in bed with a big tub of good ol' Ben & Jerry's? (I may or may not be thinking to do just that....!)

P.S.: keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned, because there might just be another Friday roundup coming your way today... to make up for last week's one, and I felt like it was only fair to do two posts in one day after not posting for two days in a row.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How I Met Your Father




I am a "How I Met Your Mother" obsessed. After watching last week's episode, I started thinking about the story I would tell my kids in 2030:

Kids, it was the year 2009.
I had been planning this trip for quite a while now. I was the very first student from my university to go on the brand new exchange that had just opened up with a New Zealand university. At the time, I had a tendency to leave things until the last minute, and my student visa was no exception (as you know, now I am super productive and never ever procrastinate!). My flight was due to leave on a Sunday morning, and I received my passport on Saturday afternoon. All thanks to my mom who had coincidentally been in the city where they were processing my visa and brought the passport to me that Saturday.

Fast forward one week, and I was about to start my first class at the university. I was scanning the other students beforehand, you know, to find the cutest one and sit next to him. Then I saw him. Your father was there, leaning against a wall, apparently oblivious to the rest of the world. All chunky headphones and messy hair. I immediately knew I had to sit next to him.

Kids, you know your father can sometimes come across as talkative and sociable. That wasn't one of those days. When I introduced myself and asked what had happened the previous week, he bluntly replied with "I wasn't here.". I tried again, asking what his name was. "Sean" was his one-sentence response. So that's that, I thought. See ya! I'll sit next to that not-so-interesting-looking dude in the front row next week.

To my surprise, when the class finished your father approached me and said something about how the other campus was better or something. I think he knew I would have no idea what he was talking about. When I said that it was my very first class there and I had been in the country for less than a week (!), he immediately assumed the role of travel guide. We both had an hour break, and we spent it talking about Colombia and New Zealand and the university, his job, and our thoughts on climate change. Fine, maybe not that last one. But by the end of that short hour, I felt like I had known your father forever. I knew he was a guy I wanted to talk with for many more hours.

When I had to go to my next class, your father asked for my number. I gave it to him, without much hope that he would act on it. But that very night I was bored in my room, reading "Eclipse" when I heard that distinctive ping from my cellphone. I grabbed it and sure enough there was a text that read: "Hey it's your friend Sean. I am just at work and thought I'd text you.". It took me a second to figure out who he was, because if I am being totally honest, when he said his name in class I thought he'd said "John". (I know they sound nothing alike, but what can I say). When I finally realized it was the cute guy from class, my heart started beating a little faster.

I made sure that on our next encounter, I wasn't spilling barbecue sauce from my sandwich on my shirt. I cleaned up a little and he invited me for lunch. This may surprise you, but back then I was quite the fuzzy eater (hard to believe, I know, with me being a vegetarian and all) and your father considered not asking me out again for a moment. But I suppose he couldn't resist my foreigner charm and that's why all three of you are sitting here today (Tommy, who came only 14 months after that very day; and Isabelle and Olivia who came much much later).




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Monday, February 24, 2014

Wine Celebrations

Last week, my husband and I went out and celebrated wine...  oh, and our two month anniversary too, of course!
I put on my favorite LBD and bold fuchsia lips, and I was ready for our night out. We found a cute little winery with a very vintage vibe. I love discovering small, unconventional places that make me feel like I am somewhere in Europe. At this particular winery, I felt like I was somewhere in the Spanish region of Catalonia, thanks to the amazing selection of tapas the place offered, its rustic ambience, and of course their mind-blowing wine selection. I indulged in a ridiculously good salmon carpaccio, and Sean had the peppered beef with a side of fries (pictured).

Now that I think about it, it only seems fitting that we celebrated two months of marriage with something as sweet, timeless and elegant as wine... I mean, how can you go wrong with wine!?
(I apologize if that last line made you throw up a little in your mouth... I realize how sickeningly cheesy it was).




































However, the 'highlight' of the night was when my lovely hubby dedicated a song to me. For a second I thought it was going to be something along the lines of Ellie Goulding's Goodness Gracious (Goodness Gracious I can't seem to stop / Calling you up / Calling you up / Just to keep crawling to your arms). I am realistic, however, and know my husband isn't so much the smoochy-coochy (a word made up by me, BTW) type of guy. But I thought that maybe I would get something like Kanye West's Bound 2 (Close your eyes and let the world / paint a thousand pictures / one good girl / is worth a thousand b*tches). 

Wrong again.

Turns out my husband is a little more creative than that, and he went with "She Will" by Lil' Wayne feat. Drake. He insists that the song is about a strong-willed girl who isn't afraid to go after what she wants and it reminds him of me... Hmmm... really? I don't think that's what I got from the song AT ALL. Nonetheless, I do appreciate the sentiment. And truth be told, I like how he chooses to go against all convention and be romantic in his own quirky way. I am way too cliché (as you may have noticed), so I figure we complement each other perfectly.

Any ideas as to how we should celebrate month #3? (with minds out of gutters, of course ;-) )



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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Activities For Kids On A Budget

We hear it everywhere: having a baby is beautiful, and gorgeous, and demanding and overwhelming all at once. And yes, it is all those things, but something else it is? EXPENSIVE!  From having to buy more diapers than the number of surgeries on Joan Rivers, to the million activities they start undertaking as they grow older, a little human can take a major toll on your wallet!

However, as they grow they need to see and explore and discover and learn, so cutting out on their activities when the budget is small isn't a very good idea. It is during those times that parents need to make use of all their creative neurons and find dynamic, fun activities to do with their little ones without breaking the bank. This list I am providing below isn't exclusive to parents, though! If you are babysitting for a relative or friend, or just want to do something fun with the kiddo in your life (and even if you do have spare cash), here you can find some inspiration for different activities to do with them.

1. Go hunting for funnily shaped rocks/leaves/etc: Go with them to a nearby park (or even your backyard) and have a contest to see who can find the funniest rock or leaf or anything else you see there. Then try and see what it is shaped like (perhaps a dinosaur? a car? a bird?).
We are trying to find a rock shaped as another "plane" so mommy can fly too.




2. The classic fort: An oldie but a goodie! Make a fort in your living room out of pillows, blankets and rugs. If it is dark, grab flashlights and pretend to be camping there.
3. Create your own game of memory: With some paper or cardboard and some markers, a basic game of memory can be easily created. Make an even number of flash cards out of the paper, draw a simple picture (twice), face them down and spread them evenly on the floor and let the child turn them over and match them.
4. Prepare a concert: Go into your kitchen and grab an assortment of pots, pans, lids and utensils. Create different songs using them as your musical instruments. (Just try and not do it at night time - your neighbors might hate you after that!).
We didn't do a concert with this potholder, but we did have a puppet show!





5. Balloon Characters: This is a favorite! Firstly, make some papier-maché: cut some long strips of newspaper; make the paste with 2 parts of water, 1 part flour and a teaspoon of salt. Paint a layer of the paste on the newspaper strips and stick them on the balloon, applying even strips until you've built up a good, strong layer. Once all the strips are on the balloon, cover it with yet another coat of paste. Leave to dry for a couple of hours or if you can, overnight would be preferable because you want to make absolutely sure that the papier-maché has dried. Once it has, apply a base coat of white paint, and then enjoy painting all kinds of different designs and faces on it!
6. Mad Libs: There are hundreds of free printables on the Internet for hilarious mad libs for you to fill out with your kid. To make it even better, why not create your own version? One of you asks the question and the other one answers, and then read the final result. Then reverse the roles.
7. Bean-bag contests: A big hole in a cardboard box and some bean bags provide the setting for an awesome tossing contest, where the goal is to get the bean bag through the hole.
8. Have an election: Grab all of the child's stuffed animals (or cars, or dolls, you get the idea) and have an election to determine who shall be the Official President Of Stuffed Toys. Each of you can put forward your arguments as to why each toy shall/shall not be elected and then decide who will hold this very important title.
Turns out Mickey won this one because "he is the only one wearing pants". Fair enough!



9. Make a mud picture gallery: Make some mud with water and dirt, grab some cardboard or boxes that you aren't using, an old brush or toothbrush, and start painting!
10. Make Soup: Fill a container with water, go to your backyard/garden/nearby park and start finding "ingredients" to add to your soup. The mud from the previous point works wonders too!
11. Create a little house/room in a shoebox: Again, the more creative the better. Start filling the shoebox up with what you find: an old cloth can be made into curtains, for instance; a bed can be created by cutting a small piece of cardboard or with an old plastic container. A kid's imagination is unstoppable, so let them find ways to add elements to the room.
12. I spy clouds: If it's a nice day, take them out and play "I Spy" with the clouds. Find as many silly and quirky shapes with the clouds as you can and encourage them to do the same.
13. Good ol' time capsule: The shoebox becomes useful once again! Find stuff around the house that can be stored to be found "hundreds of years later".
14. Works of art: Dried noodles and popsicle sticks can be made into houses, picture frames, and a zillion more things! Ask what he/she wants to make, and help them create it out of it.
15. Create a construction site: If your kid has an assortment of diggers, trucks and cars, all you will need to create an awesome construction site is a big cardboard box that serves as the site, and diverse props such as sand, rocks, grass and maybe even some mud to create some pretend cement.
You can easily recreate this in a big cardboard box!





16. An alphabet tour: Perhaps I was way too nerdy, but I loved this as a kid! The idea is that you play with your kid to see who is the first one to find an object that starts with the letter 'a', then 'b', 'c' and so on. Educational and plenty fun!
17. Hopscotch: Another oldie but a goodie! If you don't have chalk, you can create the hopscotch out of lined-up pencils or whatever else you have on hand (which makes it great if you are indoors, too!).
18. Egg race: The classic! If you don't want to waste any eggs, little balls will do too. Put them on a spoon and race away!
19. Toilet paper rolls: Oh the possibilities! Binoculars and telescopes, for example. Or why not some cute bunnies or perhaps a castle? I think my favorite one, however, is this awesome car!
20. The Dress-up Box: Gipsies, fairies, pirates... they can all come to life with a few garments and a lot of imagination!

These are only some ideas that have provided hours of fun with my kiddo without having to spend any significant amount of money. The best part is I found that these activities aren't only cheap and easy, they are also very educational as they encourage lots of creative thinking!

On the next rainy day, stuck at home, be sure to come back to this list instead of gluing your kid to a screen and I guarantee you'll both have a blast!




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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tips For Moving With A Baby/Toddler

I always say that I struggle with change. That I like the status quo and drastic changes make me really, really antsy. But then I start thinking about it, and at least how things have turned out, my life has been quite the opposite. I have lived in six cities and three different countries, have moved houses TEN times in the last four years, and in the same period of time have done three big overseas moves (and plan on doing another one this year!). Whoa. Just writing that got me a little exhausted. So I don't think that exactly classifies as "reluctance to change", does it?

Now, however, I am definitely planning on settling for a good while. I have a three year old and I believe that stability is important growing up. The little dude has been with us in two of those three big moves I was talking about above, and he is about to go in his third one before his fourth birthday. I am not going to say that I am a bit of an expert when it comes to traveling with young kids; you are welcome to come to that conclusion on your own  ;-)

Hold their hands through the whole process. A strong sense of security is really all they need.



I know I covered one tip here, but traveling (and specially moving overseas!) with kids involves much more than just knowing what to pack for the flight.

Kids are much more adaptable than grown-ups but they also might have a hard time understanding why all of a sudden their life looks completely different. This has been key when we've moved before: ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible and that he doesn't get overwhelmed by all the "new-ness". One thing we do a few weeks (and maybe even months) before the big day, is start telling him that we are going to move to an awesome place where he will be able to meet lots of new people and do lots of cool stuff. That usually gets him excited to go and see this "new place" we are talking about, rather than anxious.

The first time we moved with him, he had just turned two. He didn't really grasp the concept that Grandma and Grandpa weren't going to be just around the corner from us anymore. However, we got to a wonderful home where his other Grandma and Grandpa ensured he felt comfortable and loved and happy. It was pretty stress-free.

I also make sure that we don't implement any other "big" changes right before or after the move. This would be asking too much of their abilities to understand that their environment and circumstances have changed. Case in point: Tommy was ready to be toilet trained right before our second big move, but we decided not to start properly training him until he was settled in the new place and used to his new life.

Getting used to a new place might result in your child acting out a bit. They might become more needy or clingy, and that is normal. You need to arm yourself with lots of patience: It is not easy for them to suddenly be pulled away from what they had known for most of their lives. Give them the time they need to adapt; they will eventually.

For me, providing an environment where the child feels secure is paramount. Reassure him that you are there, that you are not going anywhere without him. Sure, he misses some people, but at least his parents, - a general term I am using to describe the only people he really, truly needs; each family is different- are there for him, and that suffices.

Oh, and one last tip in case you are still worrying about the flight? be totally awesome and do your own version of this. Fellow passengers will be eternally grateful to you!




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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Two Months In Snapshots: My iPhone Photos

As I get older and wiser (?) I find myself kicking 15-year-old me for spending so much time obsessing over who was dating who, and not doing some actually useful things. Photography is definitely one of them. Now that I have a kid, I realize just how valuable it is to keep beautiful memories and to have something to remind you of all the lovely moments life is full of. Many of them and might seem insignificant at the time, but their true meaning only becomes clear much later, when we look back on them. That is why for 2014, my main goals are to enjoy the little things in life more, and to take a lot more photos of those things, so that I never fall in the trap of forgetting how wonderful life can be.

I don't take my "big-girl" camera wherever I go (I really should! naughty girl!), so I have started snapping away with my iPhone a lot more than I used to. These are some of the photos that I've taken with it in 2014:































1. My little brother, who left yesterday on a year-long exchange to China.  //  2. A 17th Century castle in the city of Cartagena.  //  3. A beautiful sunset close to where I live.  //  4. Tommy with one of my very best friends (whom he calls his aunt) and her boyfriend.




































































5. Me as a toddler. My mom sent it to me last week saying: "OMG! You look just like Tommy!". I showed it to Tommy, and he wouldn't believe me it wasn't him!  //  6. Another picture I took during that gorgeous sunset this week.  //  7. Another pic of Cartagena, where we went for a little roadtrip this weekend.  //  8. The Caribbean Sea in Cartagena.  //  9. I was walking around town and saw these two gorgeous ladies sitting on the side of the road, and couldn't help but take a picture of them through the fence of the park.

All photos have been taken by me with my iPhone (except, obviously, my toddler one). I have started using the Afterlight app to edit them, and love it so far!

I was never very good at this "taking lots of photos" thing, but I am quite digging it now... and although iPhone photos aren't the best quality, they are easy and practical when I don't have my proper, bulky camera around. So far so good in keeping my new year's resolutions! (Far better than the "lose 10 pounds" of last year!).



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Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Roundup: Love Yourself


























Coupled-up, single, it doesn't matter.
Today, unlike most companies insist on telling us (Hallmark, I'm looking at you!) shouldn't be about whether we are in a relationship or not. I am all for celebrating love, but not this kind of exclusive "Only couples celebrate today" love. I believe, today more than any other day, that loving oneself is a far more important journey. Not an easy one, I'll tell you that. Forgiving yourself and accepting your flaws sometimes proves a million times more difficult than forgiving someone else for their shortcomings. Living happily is directly related to how much we love and value our lives, regardless of our relationship status.

In honor of that, today's Friday Roundup is all about quotes that have stuck with me and remind me to love myself first:


1. "To love yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
- Oscar Wilde

2. "I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line."
- Lucille Ball

3. "If you want to soar in life, you must first learn to F.L.Y.  (First Love Yourself)"
- Mark Sterling

4. "People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder."
- Salma Hayek

5. "Let today be the day you love yourself enough to no longer just dream of a better life; let it be the day you act upon it."
- Steve Maraboli

Yes, it's supposed to be "You're" but still a lovely sentiment!
Source






















6. "Love yourself. You are the person you have to live with for the rest of your life."
- Unknown (to me)

7. "It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It is necessary."
- Mandy Hale

8. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched  - they must be felt with the heart."
- Ellen Keller

9. "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship."
- Buddha

10.  "How I feel about myself is more important than how I look. Feeling confident, being comfortable in your skin - that's what really makes you beautiful."
- Bobbi Brown







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Thursday, February 13, 2014

10 Tips For Getting Inspired

Niagara Falls. Taken by my mom. Edited by me.





































Sometimes I've been so inspired I could have written a book. Other times? I stare blankly at my notebook/laptop, write two or three words, scratch them, and repeat (last week, I'm looking at you!). But I love writing, so I have come up with ten tips to get inspired when inspiration seems to be holidaying in Bali, smirking at you through its sunglasses.

1. Pinterest is an obvious one, but an alternative that I actually prefer at the moment is StumbleUpon. It is as simple as selecting what your general interests are, and clicking the "stumble" button. This will show you a different webpage each time, relating to what you have selected. You'll find a ton of gems there, that's for sure!

2. Choose an area of interest (home decor, travel, fashion, sports, whatever floats your boat) and find a brand new blog/YouTube channel/Instagram account about that topic. For example, I got hooked on the Pottery Barn Blog when finding inspiration to decorate my home.

3. Read a book of quotes like this one. Reading other people's wise words can make you see things under a completely different light.

4. Think of someone who has had a major impact on your life, someone who completely changed it for the better. Write them a letter saying why they mean so much to you. Read it as many times as you need. Sharing it with that person is optional.

5. Make a list of ten places you would like to visit in your lifetime. Next to each place, write down the one thing that is drawing you there the most. Find the patterns. Another thing I do is think of my five favorite movies, songs, books, magazines and even clothing items and write down why I love them so much.

6. Stop thinking for a while. Play some of your favorite songs for a good half an hour. Then resume your activity when your mind has been free to wander for a good while.
(Extreeeeemely cheesy -but that's me-, a song that always inspires me is Gabriella's Song. I don't even speak a word of Swedish but God, it's a beautiful song, and for some reason I am always left with lifted spirits after hearing it). If you haven't yet, figure out what your song is.

7. Download the "Happier" app. It is full of people sharing what inspires them and what they are thankful for. Reading what has made someone else happier is not only uplifting and inspiring, but it will also help you appreciate the little things in your life that much more.

8. Read something you've previously written. Reading it with a different perspective on a brand new day can be eye-opening and inspire you to approach the subject in a different way.

9. Research some fun facts (Google is full of them!). You might find a fact that gives you that "lightbulb" moment. Finding out that, for example, you can rent a man in Japan for $10 an hour if you are feeling lonely might be what gives you your next big idea, who knows!

10. Finally, and there is no gentle way to say this, stop flicking birds and crushing candy (i.e. stop procrastinating!) and actually get in the mindset to do something productive.



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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wedding Footage And Cringe-Worthiness

Because I have been really naughty over the last couple of weeks with my posting, I have a bonus post for you guys today: my wedding video!

Last week we received it on the mail, and seriously, I could watch it over and over again. I love it so much! It conveys all the special moments of our day: the excitement previous to the event; the nervous bride getting her photos taken before walking down the aisle; the guests waiting; the vows; the love on both our faces; and of course, the party time!

What I have here is a short 3-minute trailer with all the highlights. The full video is about an hour long, with all the speeches and a lot more dancing that I won't bore you with. Hope you enjoy it!

***Oh, and by cringe-worthy, I mean my voice!  Seriously, I sound horrendous while saying my vows. Turns out, the week of the wedding I had a minor cold, and my voice got so rough! Luckily, on the actual day it was already much better but my voice wasn't fully back! I was trying so hard to sound "normal" that I ended up sounding childish and just plain weird. Oh well, a funny story to tell the grandkids...  so if we could just move past the funny voice... thanks!***

Anyway, so here it goes:




The song is "Hasta Mi Final" by Il Divo.




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25 Life Lessons

First off, I am sorry for having been so inconsistent with my posting. Prioritizing is one of those things that I pride myself on doing well, so that's what I have been doing these last couple of weeks. But hopefully, things will slowly roll back to normal and I can maintain the regular posting schedule.

With age comes wisdom and I am not old enough to possess any significant amount of it. However, that doesn't mean I don't have any to share, now does it? So seeing as I am 25 years old, I am going to share 25 life lessons I have learned so far. It wouldn't surprise me if some were completely outdated by the time I'm 40, or even 30, but for now these are my reality. Don't worry, I've tried to make them as less cliché as possible so you are not reading the same thing you have a million times before:

1. You will waste a lot of time in your younger years. Don't waste any more by regretting it.

2. You get to know yourself much better through the difficult times. That's when you cling like crazy to those things that truly fulfill you.




























3. Work towards living in a city you love. It will make all the little troubles in life seem much smaller.

4. Learning even just some basics of photography pays off: having great photos to look back to is priceless.

5. Keeping a budget is a great way to become organized with money. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be saving. Will power is what you'll need for that.

6. Travel as much as you can. Try and travel with friends at least once, too!

7. If you are going to be living in a new house for only a short while, try and still make it feel cozy and homely. You don't have to spend big bucks to achieve it!

8. You are never too old to find what it is that truly fulfills you. But start following that dream as soon as you figure it out.

9. Unless you are really wealthy, don't waste your hard-earned money buying high quality tops or pants. High quality handbags and shoes are a much more worthy investment.

10. Not all friendships will last forever. People grow up and take different paths and that's ok. Learn to forgive yourself for that, and instead make an effort to maintain those friendships that truly matter the most to you.

























11. Keeping a calendar with not only to-do's but also important birthdays and anniversaries will probably avoid one or two panic attacks. (Facebook isn't always super reliable with birthdays, you know!).

12. Make sure you have good cables for recharging flat car batteries. Mine was flat once, but I thought it was something else because the car didn't jumpstart with the cables. Three hours and a lot of freaking out later, it turns out it was my cables that were broken, not the car. Felt really smart after that!  (Not!)

13. Five years ago, my advice would have been "say yes to more things". Now, I think it is important to learn to say "No" when necessary without feeling guilty about it. For me this is a sign of maturity.

14. It is ok to fake some things such as: confidence (until it becomes a habit); being cucumber fresh when you actually have a killer hangover (hopefully not very often); and elaborate hairstyles (there are many extremely easy hairstyles that look like you've just spent two hours at the salon!).

15. False modesty isn't cute. It is downright annoying.

16. There comes a time when staying in with a good movie and a glass of wine is your idea of a perfect Friday night, instead of dancing the night away with a bunch of strangers that reek of something suspicious. That is fine too. There is a time for everything, so make sure you go through every stage, at least so you don't have that annoying "I should have done more of..." feeling in the future.

17. You will do many cringe-worthy things in your life. Try and find the funny side when you look back. (kind of goes along with point 1)

























18. Speaking of cringe-worthy, don't EVER ask the question "Are you pregnant?". Believe me, if she is, she will most definitely tell you at some point.

19. When you have a lot going on (and who doesn't), it can be pretty easy to fall into a rut (be it makeup, fashion, hair, dates, or general routine). That is ok, but life becomes more interesting when every once in a while you go crazy and, say, order a mocha frappuccino instead of a chai latte!

20. If Wikipedia was your best friend in High School, YouTube is your best friend now. For tutorials on everything from changing a tyre, making an iPad case from scratch, to making your own wedding bouquet, it is all there.

















21. Learning to apologize is key for long-lasting relationships. Learning to forgive is key for true happiness.

22. One of the easiest things to do is also the worst thing to do: taking things for granted.

23. The more difficult it becomes to balance friend and family time, the more paramount it becomes to our sanity.

24. The silent treatment stopped being effective Many. Years. Ago. Assertiveness is the new black, you guys!

25. Learning never stops. (For example: the rumbling noise from your stomach is called "Borborygmus". Bet you didn't know that!) There is always something new to be learned, so take as many opportunities as possible!





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