Wednesday, December 23, 2015

48 Hours in London

In my humble opinion, London is a severely underrated city. It may be because I've been known to apologize to inanimate objects I've run into and experience physical pain when I see someone drinking a cup of tea with the bag in and am thus convinced that I was actually English in a past life. It may also be because London has an incredible selection of food, theater, museums, parks, and everything else you could possibly want. Even though it's impossible to see the city in 48 hours, I've created an agenda with my absolute favorites. Grab your Barbour and Hunter wellies and prepare yourself for a weekend in London.

11:00 am // Stop in for a necessary post-travel sugar refill at Cereal Killer Cafe.

12:30 am // Head over to Notting Hill for a bit of exploration. Hunt for antiques and vintage clothes in Portobello Market or stop in one of the bookstores and hope you meet Hugh Grant.

2:00 pm // Eat your way through Borough Market.
#protip: Get the raclette and some of the wine cheese to take on the road. And go hungry. 

4:00 pm // Snag some stationery in one of Liberty's famous floral prints. Be sure to take a look around their vintage bag section (p.s. I'm accepting vintage Ferragamo clutches if you need to get one off your hands)

5:00 pm // Treat yourself to an absurdly overpriced martini in the very posh Dukes Hotel where James Bond's signature drink was created.
#protip: Be aware that Duke's (and many upscale bars and restaurants) do have dress codes. And for the love of God, don't get the Vesper if you're a lightweight. 

6:30 pm // Take in the sunset over London from the top of the Shard.

7:30 pm // Prepare yourself for the evening with a dinner with the it-crowd at Sketch.

11:00 pm // Head out for an evening on the town. If you're a fan of dance music/electro pop, try Fabric or Ministry of Sound, or you can try Boujis or Tonteria if you're wanting something a bit more swanky.
#protip: Be sure to check into club information before going out, especially age requirements (upscale clubs tend to be 21+) and cover fees. 

3:00 am // If you've done it right, you're probably tipsy at the very least and feel like you could dance for another 3 hours. Your only option is drunchies, so head to Brick Lane Beigel Bake, the Polo Bar for 24 hour full English Breakfast, or Duck and Waffle if you're feeling fancy.
#protip: Duck & Waffle actually fills up, so book ahead of time if possible and don't take your friend who is terrified of heights. 

10:00 am // Get yourself some well-deserved brunch at the Riding House Cafe.

11:00 am // Hit the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection to see nearly everything you learned about in your Art History class freshman year.
#protip: Admission is free but keep in mind that these museums rely on donations- give what you can.

2:30 pm // Pick up some tea, biscuits and preserves from Fortnum & Mason so you can eat them while watching Downton Abbey to give as gifts for your friends.

3:30 pm // Go for a full afternoon tea and don't skimp on the scones- try the Ritz for a splurge or the Wolseley for a more budget-friendly (but still delicious) option.

5:30 pm // Rent some of the city-share bikes and take a ride around Hyde Park to burn off some of the petit fours and cucumber sandwiches.

Honorable Mentions

Activities: The National Portrait Gallery, Cambridge (bus tickets are very cheap), The British Museum, the V&A, Harvey Nichols/Selfridge's, Hampstead Heath, any show on the West End (particularly Les Mis), Houses of Parliament
Food: Dishoom, Harrod's food halls, the Ivy, Chiltern Firehouse


Friday, December 18, 2015

48 Hours in Paris

As 27 million girls between the ages of 13 and 16 once captioned their insta in front of the eiffel tower, "Paris is always a good idea." While that may be one of the central tenets of basic betch-dom, it isn't untrue. Seriously, unless Paris is in the throws of an outbreak of the plague can you really think of a time when it wouldn't be a good idea to go? Now, you could live in Paris your whole life and still stumble upon something new every day, but I've compiled a 48 hour itinerary that hits some of my favorite spots in the city.

7:00 pm // Drop into Du Pain et des Idées for l'escargot chocolat pistache and a few other pastries then head back to your hotel room for tomorrow morning.

9:00 am // Enjoy morning pastries in your hotel room while mapping out your route for the day.

10:00 am // Head toward the center of the city and enjoy a walk through the Tuileries on your way to the Musee d'Orsay.
#protip: No pics allowed inside, sorry!

1:30 pm // Pick up some lunch at L'As du Fallafel to eat while you wander through the Marais district. Be sure to stop in the art galleries and boutiques where there are plenty of hidden gems to be found.
#protip: Merci, a boutique in the neighboring 3rd arrondissement, has darling bracelets that range from about 5-15 euros that make perfect gifts for girlfriends!

4:30 pm // Shop around (or window shop around) some of Paris' famed department stores. Must-visits include the Bon Marche and the Galeries Lafayette.

7:00 pm // Conduct your own tasting of Paris' best macarons. Pick up some of Pierre Herme's creative flavor combinations from his boutique in the Galeries Lafayette, then head over to Laduree on the Champs Elysée to try some of Paris' best known creations.

8:00 pm // Have a leisurely dinner at Le Bistrot Paul Bert.

12:00 am // If you're a Midnight in Paris fan, head to the steps of St. Etienne du Mont and hope you're magically transported back in time.

10:00 am // Start your Sunday right with a trip to Angelina for hot chocolate. You're on vacation, so chocolate for breakfast is completely acceptable.

11:30 am // Explore the Carnavalet Museum, dedicated to Paris' very long and very complicated history. 

1:30 pm // Pick up a baguette, some cheese, some fruit and a bottle of wine and enjoy a picnic lunch under the Eiffel Tower. 

3:00 pm // Continue on the museum trail with the Musee Rodin and its stunning gardens. 

5:30 pm // Stop in Shakespeare & Co, one of Paris' most iconic bookstores, and pick up a copy of one of your favorites with the store's stamp. 

7:30 pm // Now that you've completely tired yourself out from walking, stop in L'Eclair de Genie for an afternoon pick-me-up. 

8:30 pm // Head to Cafe de Flore for a last dinner. There will be tourists to be sure but plenty of locals as well, plus you'll be able to say you've eaten at one of Hemingway's favorite.
#protip: Try to get a seat on the patio and don't go if you have anywhere you have to be. 

#protip: The arrondissements are just zones of the city that were established when Baron Haussmann essentially rebuilt Paris in the 1800s. It starts in the center of the city with the first arrondissement, then they snail out clockwise from there. They're super helpful if you're lost, so be sure to know what arrondissement you're trying to get to!

haha hey MTV welcome to my crib!!!
Yasi "Humming accordion music rn?"

Monday, December 7, 2015

Finals Week Update + Playlist

Hey biddies!
We’ve been pretty serious on the blog lately, but in typical college student fashion I’m going to do a 180 and go from talking about the real issues in our society to complaining about finals. C’est la vie.
Finals week thus far has been ROUGH. The lady who works at Starbucks cut me off. I cried in the library. Oh, and did you know you can blackout from exhaustion? I didn’t. But then it happened.
I’ve never been one to listen to music while I study, but sometimes you just need a break. Here are a few song suggestions for every finals week situation you might encounter!
When you’re on your way to the library: Hall of Fame, The Script feat.
When you’re on your way back to the library at 11:30 pm: Turn Down for What, DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon
When you need some reassurance: Shake it Off, Taylor Swift
When you make eye contact with someone in the library at 3 am and you instantly bond because you’re both going insane: Shout, Isley Brothers
When you really need some reassurance: Shake it Out, Florence and the Machine
When you’re about to turn in a paper: White Flag, Dido
When you’re drinking your 11th cup of coffee today: Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
When you, like, REALLY need some reassurance: Believer, American Authors
When you’re in hard-core study mode: Chopin or Tchaikovsky
When you’re delirious at 3 in the morning: Come on Eileen, Dexy’s Midnight Runners
When you’re about to cry and need a pick me up: Honey, I’m Good, Andy Grammer
When you can’t even remember why you’re doing this: Bills, LunchMoney Lewis
When you leave a final and you know you didn’t do well: Turnin’, Young Rising Sons
When you’re headed to a final you haven’t really studied for: Let it Go. But this one.
When you’re almost there but can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel: Sugar, Maroon 5
When you’re done and couldn’t care less about your final grades: C’est la Vie, B*Witched
When you’re FINALLY FREE: Think, Aretha Franklin
Are there any finals week scenarios we missed or song recommendations you have? Let us know in the comments!
Kate “Not even sure how I’m still awake”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finals Week, as told by Gilmore Girls

YOU’VE MADE IT! IT’S LDOC! You’re overjoyed and decide to go out. Since it’s your last time going out for the year, you really go all out.

But while you’re at a party, the reality sets in. You have so much to do. You end up standing in a corner freaking out while that poor boy from your History class tries complimenting you to make you feel better while you’re just like
You call your mom for reassurance and she’s like Armed with your mother’s wisdom, you march out of that party and go straight to your room, where you promptly crawl into bed to cry to yourself

In the morning, you literally leap out of bed, ready to conquer the day. You go up to the counter at Starbucks for the 100000000th time this week like

Coffee in hand, you gear up for hard-core study time. That annoying kid from your least favorite class comes up to talk but you’re having none of it

You just decide it’s best to relocate to the particularly terrifying silent floor of the library because you’re just feeling like this and it’s for the best

By hour 6 you call your best friend like

She tells you you need to sleep

But you just argue back like

At this point you have a complete meltdown. You can’t do it! There’s just too much information and too few hours in a day! You have a good venting session, possibly yell and cry, take a nap (because you’re worn out from ranting), and then head back to the library.

After a long night of studying, you head to Starbucks. It’s closed, which is APPALLING. After all,

You are forced to go to your final coffee-less. Your annoyingly chipper classmate asks how you’re doing and you’re just like

You push through (barely), and your friends decide to go out to a celebratory dinner before you all head home. This is basically impossible for you.
As soon as you get to the restaurant, though, you’re like
You realize that you actually haven’t eaten any real food in days, so you throw caution to the wind and turn to the waiter like

And when you finally get back you and your friends mutually decide that this is the only acceptable thing to do because you’ve finally made it!

Good luck to all my peeps taking exams! Lots of love from me and the Gilmore girls. 
xoxo, Kate “SERIOUSLY why am I doing this instead of being productive”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

48 Hours in Rome

Thinking about the eternal city immediately brings to mind a rom-com sequence of some attractive couple strolling the streets with gelato, riding around on a vespa, and flirting over wine and spaghetti. We were lucky enough to get spend this past weekend in Roma together and, despite the tragic absence of Italian boys on vespas, our mini-break wasn't too far off. Filled with pasta, gelato and Lizzie McGuire references, our short visit was certainly a success. If you have only 48 hours in Rome, here are our suggestions (with accompanying playlist and movie recommendations):

Yes, we did this in broad daylight with people watching. 

Set the Mood

Roman Holiday
La Dolce Vita
The Lizzie McGuire Movie (duh)
Mambo Italiano, Dean Martin
Buona Sera, Louis Prima
On an Evening in Roma, Dean Martin
Volare, Dean Martin
Three Coins in a Fountain, Vince Guaraldi Trio


12:30 pm // Grab some lunch at Armando al Pantheon before visiting the Pantheon. 
#protip: Restaurants tend to fill up early on weekends so be sure to make reservations so you know you have a spot. 

2:30 pm // Make the trek over to the Vatican to explore the museums and St. Peter's basilica. 
#protip: There are a million con artists and pick-pockets near the tourist sites. Watch out for people who try to sell direct you to a ticket office away from the actual site or who wear slightly sketchy-looking ID badges- they prey on gullible tourists who can be talked into paying $50 to see the Vatican museums. 

5:00 pm // Explore the history of Rome in the Capitoline museums (bonus: you'll get great views of the city).

6:15 pm // Grab a cone of the white peach lavender or raspberry and garden sage from Gelateria del Teatro and walk around the Piazza Navona and take in the Bernini sculptures at sunset. 

8:00 pm // Enjoy a leisurely dinner at La Carbonara dal 1906 (obvious tip: order the carbonara) before stopping at Harry's bar for an after-dinner drink (or two). 


9 am // Stop in for a cappuccino and a cornetti from Cafe Sant'Eustachio before strolling over to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. 
#protip: Many museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, so if you happen to be visiting make sure to go then.

12:30 pm // Stop for lunch at Roma Sparita (and be sure to get the cacio e pepe). 
#protip: Be aware of the fact that a lot of places are closed on Sundays, particularly the authentic trattorias, so scope out schedules ahead of time. 

2:00 pm // Walk around the Trastevere neighborhood and stop at Gelateria dei Gracchi for something to snack on while you explore the Villa Borghese. 
#protip: Wear your walking shoes. Rome is big but certainly walkable and the best way to explore the city is by foot. I live and die by my supergas

4:30 pm // Have your tourist moments at the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps and follow up with visits to some of the Italian luxury brands (read: Missioni, Valentino and Ferragamo). Pick something up to take back if you feel like treating yourself. 
#protip: Prices on luxury brands are generally lower in their country of origin and non-EU residents can get a VAT refund on larger purchases, so ask for a form in store and you'll save quite a bit of money.

8:30 pm // Sample some authentic Italian pizza before you leave at Ai Marmi. 

11:00 pm // Pick up some cannoli from Ciuri Ciuri to take on the road so you can start reminiscing early about your weekend. 

And send us pics when you go so we can dream of strolls along the river and inappropriate amounts of pasta.
Yasi and Lexi

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Roman Holiday at Home

Hey biddies,

A little exciting news to brighten up your Sunday... we're having a giveaway! We're currently in Rome and it really has us thinking- with all the incredible food and fashion in Europe, why not spread the love? Maybe it'll be pasta from Italy, Belgian chocolate picked up in Brussels, tea from Fortum & Mason in London or a scarf from Paris. Even if you can't make it to Europe, some of our favs my be coming to you! The contest starts now, so get to entering and sharing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck!
Yasi and Lexi


Over here at Pacific and June, we love Halloween. Sadly, it isn't a super big holiday here in Rome, so when we heard about the Fairmont's amazing halloween party in San Francisco we were inspired to create an everyday outfit that is totally perfect for Halloween. What could be more perfect for a classic and chic hotel soiree than an oh-so-chic modern witch ensemble? We went for all black everything, easy pull-on dresses, and some fun accessories to pull together a boho-witch look.

Sadly we got a lot of our clothes over here in Europe, but you can shop some of our fav similar looks here:
Yasi // dress // booties // sweater
Lexi // dress // hat // boots 

Yasi + Lexi

Credits to the Fairmont Hotel Group for inspiring our Halloween look!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mad about Plaid

It is officially fall, which means it's time to break out the flannels and live in them until it's time to start wearing more layers. I've already talked about my moderate obsession with fall, so it should come as no surprise that I also love what should be considered the patron print of autumn: plaid. The best thing about it? You can wear plaid for nearly anything. A classic tartan sheath dress is perfect for holiday parties and family photos while a cozy blanket scarf is great for lounging or tossing over a casual outfit for errands. Here's a roundup of my favorite pieces:

Happy apple picking!
Yasi "Why is apple picking not a thing in Spain"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to plan the perfect trip

Tay and I are getting ready for a super exciting trip that is now less than 3 weeks away!!! As such, I thought it would be a good time to share our tips for planning an amazing vacation.

1. Sign up for flight price notifications in advance.
Websites like expedia and skyscanner will send you notifications every time the price of a flight you've been eying drops. Join their email list so you get updates on flights without having to check a million websites every day.

2. Be flexible with your travel dates.
Sometimes 1 or 2 days makes a difference of several hundred dollars. Be willing to leave on a Tuesday at 4 am or midnight on a Sunday and you'll get better airfare.

3. Know when to book a hotel and when to go with airbnb.
You can find some incredible deals on airbnb, especially in notoriously expensive cities like Paris and London. There are a lot of places in Europe (and around the world) that have hotel deals that are actually better- you can stay in 5 star hotels for less than $80 a night, so split with another person and you're paying the same price as you would at a lot of hostels.

4. Don't trust Yelp and your 20 year old travel guide. 
Consulting food and lifestyle blogs written by locals is a great way to see the city like a local. Do exhaustive research on restaurants beforehand. Who's writing the reviews? Is it tourists or natives? Don't just take pictures in front of every tourist site- try to find local spots that are known for their incredible view or amazing collection of ceramics.

5. Don't make an itinerary, make your own guide.
Research the opening times, prices, reservation system, etc. of all the places you really want to go, then mix and match as you see fit. This way you can stop and explore random side streets, antique stores, cheese shops, and whatever else you see along the way without missing your 'must do' list.

6. Travel during the off season.
Flights (above the equator) between October and April are about half of what they are during the summer months. Yes, August is a convenient time for a family vacation, but it often means that a) the city will be all tourists and b) you'll be paying a premium.

7. Make a list of all the trips you want to do and create a realistic budget.
This is a great way to help you save for travel with a specific goal in mind. Do you know that you really want to go to Morocco next summer? Set a loose budget and start saving now! Be realistic, though- don't convince yourself that you'll get a flight for $500, you'll survive on $20 a day, and the exchange rate will change drastically to favor the dollar.

And here are some of my favorite sites to help you in your trip planning. Happy traveling!
NY Times 36 Hours- A careful curated selection of activities and restaurants in (basically) every city.
Time Out- Great resource for everything from museums and attractions to shows and restaurants.
Skyscanner- Perfect for finding the lowest airfare possible.
STA Travel- Great student travel resource.
Rome2Rio- Compares different methods of travel to find the fastest and cheapest route.

Yasi "Got all my travel plans figured out for the next 27 years"

Monday, October 12, 2015

Do's and Dont's of studying abroad

Today is my 7th week abroad, which means I'm about halfway through my abroad program. I just got back from an incredible trip through Galicia (photos below!) and am trying to get through a million homework assignments before tomorrow. Although the halfway point is a little bittersweet, I have an incredible, 10-day trip booked at the end of my stay, a trip to Rome and possibly a trip to Berlin, so I'm so excited about the rest of the semester. I'm also feeling a little better adjusted now, so I thought I'd share some of the things you absolutely must do (and not do) before/during/after studying abroad.

what I'm wearing:

under the monochromatic rain gear:

sweater (old, similar here) // sneakers

1. DO study up on slang, holidays, and customs. 
There are books specifically meant for foreigners that explain the customs of the country in which you'll be studying and I'd highly recommend getting one. In Spain, for example, the schedule is completely different from what we're used to in the U.S. People greet each other differently, family structures are different, shops close in the middle of the day for siesta- basically a lot of things that caught me off guard when I first arrived. Read up before hand so you don't experience too much of  culture shock.

2. DON'T be afraid of making errors.
Admittedly, there are some people who will give you weird looks for using the wrong verb tense or who will roll their eyes while you struggle to convey a thought. Ignore them- they're just being rude and inconsiderate. Try your absolute best to speak the language and conform to local customs, but if you mix up similar verbs or mispronounce some complicated item on a menu, it's ok. Do you get annoyed every time a traveler visiting your home city misuses a word? No? Well then it's probably not the end of the world if you do the same.

3. DO bring your own peanut butter and granola bars.
Ok, a little silly, but hear me out on this one. I love trying new foods and being in a country where daily trips to cafes and tapas bars are the norm is amazing (not so much for my arteries, but they'll survive). That being said, traveling on weekends is exhausting and sometimes I just need a protein bar while I run through the airport. As much as I love patatas bravas, sometimes I'd rather have an apple with peanut butter or a salad. Some items (like nut butters and granola bars) are not only super hard to find in a lot of foreign countries, but they're really expensive. You may have better luck in bigger/more health-conscious cities, but stock up and bring your own for the semester because you will want them.

4. DON'T just do what you do at home.
I know so many people who go abroad with practically their entire sorority/fraternity and spend the whole time throwing up letters in touristy spots without ever trying to speak another language, talk to a local, celebrate a holiday, etc. At that point you might as well have stayed in the U.S., so actively try to immerse yourself in the culture and step outside your comfort zone!

5. DO give yourself some breaks. 
Stay in one night and watch Harry Potter with a tube of oreos. I know I just said not to do what you do at home, but being outside your comfort zone 24/7 is exhausting! I'm living with a host family, taking all my classes in Spanish at the local university, ordering my daily coffee in a different language, conforming to a schedule that's totally different from what I'm used to, and eating foods completely different than what I usually have. I have to be 'on' from the time I wake up every morning until the time I go into my room to sleep, and that's a lot. Go ahead and cut yourself some slack every once in a while- hole up and give yourself a taste of home.

6. DO enjoy every minute of it!
Studying abroad has ups and downs- sometimes you'll be looking around and thinking "How amazing is this?! I'm basically on a 4 month long vacation! I'm so ~cultured~ and sophisticated." Other times you'll be sitting in the library asking for a book on the economic requirements for entry into the European Union and trying to finish an 8 page paper on a novel by Miguel de Unamuno before you head home to a dinner that is so awful you'll have to pretend to eat and then have rice cakes in your room and you'll think "My life 100000000x worse than it would be if I was just back in the U.S. right now." Even so, living and studying abroad is an amazing experience and one that not many people have. Take everything in stride and remember that not everyone's entire abroad experience is "perfect", despite what their Facebook albums suggest.

Yasi "Is it acceptable to go to bed at 8:30?"

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Beauty Favorites

Hello lovelies,

As much as I love the cooler temperatures and the cozy sweaters that come with them, the change in season means a complete overhaul on my everyday beauty routine. I barely wear makeup in the summer because I feel like it just melts off my face anyway, but fall brings a new challenge- dry skin and flaky makeup. Here are my 6 top picks for the perfect, everyday fall beauty routine.

 1. AmorePacific Enzyme Peel
Dry skin means two things: flaky makeup and clogged pores. With skin that's already sensitive from the wind and the cold, traditional scrubs can just make the situation worse. I've been obsessed with this peel since I tried it in Sephora at the beginning of the summer. It does an amazing job at exfoliating without being as harsh on your skin.

2. Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer
I have suuuuper dry skin and tend to have normal breakouts which are exacerbated by the dry skin, but I've had a hard time finding a moisturizer that keeps my skin hydrated without clogging my pores more. When I'm in LA, I go to FaceHaus in Studio city regularly for facials, and my esthetician there introduced me to this moisturizer- total game changer. It smells amazing, really hydrates my skin, and has a probiotic to help control breakouts and balance my skin's bacteria. (bonus: it's all natural/organic!)

3. Clinique Chubby Stick Contour/Highlight
I hate the feeling of heavy makeup on my face, but once the glow of summer starts to fade I feel a washed out. These chubby sticks are perfect for adding a super subtle contour that adds a little dimension to your face without feeling heavy, requiring a lot of time or makeup expertise, or completely altering the way you look.

4. Tarte Cheek Stain in Glisten
Oh. My. God. This is hands down my favorite beauty product in my bag and has been since July which is saying a lot- I tend switch beauty products faster than I finish seasons of Gilmore Girls on netflix. Although it's officially a cheek stain, this is sort of an all-in-one. Dab a little on your cheeks and blend for a 'just got in from the cold' glow, then use your finger to apply as highlighter on your cheekbones and even as a base eyeshadow color (bonus: it makes the eyeshadows you layer on top last longer).

5. Lancome Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara
I've tried a lot of mascaras, and as much as I love the Maybelline's Great Lash and Benefit's Bad Gal, this stuff takes the cake. Admittedly I have pretty long lashes on my own, but this legitimately makes me look like I'm wearing falsies. Since I hate having a complicated makeup routine, this is great- with a few swoops of this mascara and some lip color, I feel like I'm ready to go.

6. Clinique Chubby Stick in Broadest Berry
Can you tell I'm a fan of chubby sticks? They're just so convenient and come in great colors so I can't help it. They have darling brights for spring and summer, but this berry shade is perfect for fall. They're also moisturizing and you can build as much or as little coverage as you want, making it perfect for anything for a quick run to the grocery store to your best friend's annual autumn party (which I really hope is a thing someone's best friend does).

Yasi "This might have lead to me adding $800 worth of products to my Sephora basket"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Everyday fall fashion

Although I'm not sure what the weather is like in the U.S., I think it's safe to say that autumn has arrived here in Salamanca. As much as I love summer, there's nothing quite like a cup of hot cider and a cozy sweater. Come fall, I like to keep things simple- a put-together looking but simple makeup routine, a few key pieces of brushed gold or rose gold jewelry, a splash of perfume (especially now that the weather is more favorable toward our, ehem, natural scents), and lots of texture-rich pieces in warm, autumnal colors.

I know after that schpiel you're probably thinking that I need to get a pumpkin spice latte and retreat to an apple orchard with my fellow fall-lovers, but I really do think there's a lot to be enjoyed this season! So go ahead, peruse my everyday fall staples while binge-watching netflix and enjoying a cup of tea.

Yasi "But in reality I'll probably be in sweats 90% of the time"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Travels, etc.

Hola, chicos!

After a two week long intensive course, 12 days traveling through the center and south of Spain, and 4 official days of classes, I finally have a free moment/charged computer/wifi! As such, I thought I'd share a little bit about my trip. We went to a million places- Ávila, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Mérida, and some tiny towns I don't even know the name of. There's so much to say that I'm going to keep it to a minimum and just share with you some of my favorites.

see: Guernica at the Museo Reina Sofia; Museo del Prado; Parque del Retiro; Palacio Real
buy: Something Real Madrid
eat: Mercado de San Miguel for tapas; Fit Food for a healthy pick-me-up

an actual candid as you can tell from my super cute expression!!!!
outfit details:
jacket // blouse (old, similar here) // jeans // sneakers // umbrella // bag (old, similar here)

see: The mezquita (officially called the cathedral); Barrio Judeo
buy: Prints to frame; tapestries
eat: Taberna Casa Salinas
pro tip: try Andalucían specialties including berenjenas con miel (fried eggplant with molasses), pescado frito (fried fish), flamenquín (fried meat roll thing), queso de cabra con miel (goat cheese with honey), and pisto con huevo (vegetables with olive oil and an egg), but don't let it fool you- there's tons of fresh food here and most meals don't consist of tons of fried food. Stick to one per meal and you'll be fine.

see: The Alhambra; the open-air mercados; hike up the hill to the bars overlooking the Alhambra
buy: A legit henna tattoo
eat: Restaurante Sevilla; almost any Arabic restaurant
pro tip: You get a free tapa with drinks!

see: Plaza de España; a flamenco show
buy: A ride on a horse carriage; a 30 minute session on the row boats in the Plaza; a flamenco lesson
eat: Restaurante Modesto

I'm off again but can't wait to write more about my travels!
Yasi "Averaging a cool 28,000 steps a day"

Monday, September 14, 2015

On Being Abroad: 2 Week Reflections

Ok, so really it's two weeks and a few days, but both my computer access and wifi have been spotty at best so we're just going to call it two weeks. Tomorrow I'm headed off on the first of several trips with my program, so I thought I'd take a little bit of time to reflect and share a bit of my abroad experience with you!

I'm currently studying at the University of Salamanca (the third oldest university in the world, which is pretty rad) and am participating in a full-immersion program. They take that promise very seriously- since I stepped off the plane, it's been all Spanish all the time. I'm living with a host family which certainly has it's ups and downs and all of my classes are in Spanish which can be remarkably challenging, but I've also learned a lot about the culture. Some of the things that stand out to me the most?

1. We (collectively as Americans) are really f*ing nice all the time.
Have you ever noticed how much we apologize when someone else bumps into us and we thank our waiter every single time they top off our water glass? Yeah, that doesn't happen here. The other day, my host mother held up a pleather, bedazzled purse that I personally thought was hideous and asked me, "What do you think?" I, like many Americans, would rather meet the same fate as that guy whose helmet broke in Gravity or be forced to live out my days as a Nickleback groupie than tell someone directly that I don't like their bag, I gushed about how lovely it was and how well it would go with her cardigan. She agreed and went so far as to tell me how much nicer it was than any of my purses. #cool

2. Apparently no one in the world else understands the art of subtlety. 
Ok, so the Brits do it even better than us, but no one understands the eye roll, the side-eye, the exasperated sigh, the tight-lipped nod, or any other social cue that is widely accepted as a form of communication in the United States. Trying to get somewhere in a hurry? No matter how much you stomp/huff/puff/cough, no one is going to move out of the way for you. My host mother is a genuinely horrendous cook, so I started buying my own cereal and leaving everything she made me on my plate, assuming she would eventually pick up on the fact that I hate 90% of the things she puts in front of me without me having to tell her that directly. The other day, she accused me of having an eating disorder because apparently that is the only explanation for me eating 3 bowls of Special K with berries (#NoKashiStruggle) and then not eating anything else for the rest of the day.

3. The U.S. is remarkable wasteful.
The average person here lives with far, far less than most people in the U.S. could even fathom. Our entire apartment is about the size of my 6-person dorm suite last year, I shit you not. In fact, my room here is significantly smaller than any dorm I've ever had. People take shorter showers, electricity is on a timer, and there isn't much new construction happening.

4. The U.S. is also really f*ing expensive. 
I went to a restaurant the other day and got a piece of Spanish tortilla (an egg and potato frittata sort of thing) and cafe con leche for $2.25 (after conversion). Do you know what I could get in the U.S. for $2.25? Like 1/4 of a stale bagel from Starbucks or a pack of gum. Here I got a MEAL. Right now there's an enormous festival going on, so 2 euros will get you beer or wine and a tapa at most of the restaurants in town. Yes, the dollar is slightly weaker than the euro, but the prices here more than make up for it.

5. Personal space? Who needs that?
LOL JK I DO. Seriously, you might be one of two people on a beautiful, wide sidewalk and that one other person will walk right. next. to. you. My host mom opens the door without knocking ever and has walked in on me multiple times while changing. People will stand so close to you that they are literally breathing down your neck. Personal space is just not a concept that exists here and it's killing me.

6. We get to cut ourselves a little bit of slack for not knowing more about the world. 
People love telling Americans how ignorant they are, yet the vast majority of people I've met in Spain are far more ignorant about anything concerning the United States. My host mother was INSISTENT that I lived through Hurricane Katrina because I'm from California and that Ohio and Florida have the most expensive real estate in the country. According to her, we're also suffering an attack of bird-sized bees. Other things I've heard? There's a ditch along the border of California so anyone trying to illegally enter the country will fall into it, Texas fought for their own independence during the Revolutionary War, and we eat corn for breakfast!

Also, all the clothes/stores are branded with English words that are either a) completely out of context or b) just poorly translated. There's a store that's just called "Very Nice" and another called "Pull & Bear", and if I had a dollar for every person I've seen in a t-shirt that says something like 'Sunset Boulevard' or 'State of Rhode Island' I could drop out of school to travel full time. Also, I'm pretty sure people accept Google translate as gospel here. Need evidence?

If you couldn't tell, there are quite a few things I miss about the United States. Whole Foods, people understanding what a vegetarian is, peanut butter, not having random people breathe down my neck while waiting to cross the street. Even with all those things, Salamanca is amazing. I've got to get up bright and early for Madrid tomorrow and for more trip planning (Lexi and I have a couple super exciting trips in the works!) so I'm signing off for now but am officially back on the grid! Can't wait to share more of my adventures with you.

Yasi "But my food vocabulary has improved dramatically so #silverlining"

Friday, August 28, 2015

A quick update from Yasi

If you haven't noticed, we've been  a little off the grid lately, and I'm here to tell you that we proooobably won't be posting for the next week or so. I'm actually writing this from my seat on the plane! I'm about to take off for DC, then on to Madrid. Since we're just getting settled into our school routines, it might be a while before we're able to start doing outfit posts, etc., but all is well here at P&J! Can't wait to get back to blogging (and can't wait to be in Spain).

Yasi "My flight has already been delayed an hour and we're still waiting"

Saturday, August 22, 2015

5 Tips for Americans Traveling Abroad

I leave for Spain next Friday and I'm literally counting down the minutes. Lex and I have been talking about studying abroad for so long and we both know that the next few months are going to be absolutely incredible. Admittedly, I'm a little nervous- my entire program is in Spanish and I'll be doing a home stay, so I've really got to dive right in. Luckily, both Lexi and I are pretty well-traveled so going abroad isn't completely terrifying. When traveling outside the country (especially in Europe), there are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Leave your preconceptions in the airport terminal. 
The French aren't rude, the Italians aren't perverts, the Brits don't have terrible teeth, and you're not going to be pickpocketed by every man, woman and child. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be aware of your surroundings, but try to go into your trip open-minded about the cultures in which you'll be immersed. The only things stereotypes will do is isolate you from the natives. 

2. Get off the beaten path. 
You might visit to every tourist site in a city and never really see it. Instead, go where the natives go- stop for a cup of coffee in a corner cafe, wander through little boutiques, and visit lesser-known historical sites. Ask a waiter or store clerk to tell you about their favorite places in the city because you'll have a much better experience if you explore like a local.

3. Learn to blend in. 
Yes, a pair of clunky tennis shoes would probably be comfortable for walking around, but you might as well wear a giant sign around your neck that says 'tourist'. A lot of American tourists decide that they need to wear athletic clothes every day, clutch backpacks tightly to their chest, stop to look at maps in the middle of the street, and speak very loudly. At that point, you may as well march down the street waving a giant American flag and singing yankee doodle. You can wear clothes that are comfortable and chic that will help you blend in- after all, you're trying to look like the average local looks on a normal day, not like you're running a marathon. I've found that a lot of those pickpocketing horror stories come from people who were wearing cargo shorts with crew socks and looking around as though they were clearly lost. Ialk with a little confidence (even when you have no idea what you're doing) and try to observe the customs of wherever you are, people will leave you alone. 

4. Do your research, but don't be obsessive. 
It's probably a good idea to write down the phone number and address of the nearest U.S. consulate in case of emergency, so just get a little notebook and make yourself a little travel guide and diary. Follow some blogs based in the city you're visiting, see if the NY Times has a '36 hours in' guide, and revisit some movies or books that are set there. Divide your notebook up into 'restaurants', 'museums', 'historical sites', 'shopping', and 'other', then identify a few places in each category that you might like to visit. Write down their hours and admission prices so you can plan a loose itinerary while you're there based on what you feel like doing. This leads me to my next point....

5. Learn to roll with things. 
There's really no point in making a strict schedule before you leave because you have no idea if you'll be in the mood to go to a museum for 3 hours early the day after you arrive. Until you're there, you don't know how you'll handle jet lag, what the weather will be like, etc. Instead of freaking out when (and I am saying when intentionally) you get lost because it throws off your agenda, just let yourself wander the streets of a foreign city and see if you find something that interests you. One of my favorite memories is getting completely lost at 1 in the morning in Paris with a friend and getting stuck in the pouring rain. Just take a deep breath, tell yourself that it is what it is, and enjoy whatever comes your way. 

That's my best advice! Traveling abroad is an incredible experience so enjoy every minute of it.

Yasi "5 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes until I leave for Spain!!"