Uncategorized

The City That Never Sleeps

The City That Never Sleeps

Most week long vacations are relaxing and when you come back home you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. But there’s something special about New York that makes you feel invigorated and energized. That city just has so much personality it’s hard not to get swept up in it all. And one thing’s for sure, this won’t be my last visit to the Big Apple.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

That’s the Moment That it all Changed

Image

“Every person has moments in their life that define who they are. These experiences hold the power to change our lives forever. When you look back on your life, how many times can you say ‘that’s the moment that it all changed'”

I recently had to compose a digital story for one of my English classes and the above sentences were the opening lines. It was inspired by my recent reflections on my life. Lately I’ve been thinking about my life and how it has come to be. I often wonder about the exact moments in my life that led me to where I am today, because every day we make decisions. Tiny, insignificant decisions, but eventually those choices begin to add up, and compile, until we find ourselves at a completely different place than we were a year ago. And I’ve come to realize that every moment has grand significance. I want to be so aware of each moment as they are happening and although it might sound cliche, I want to live every moment as if it were my last. x. 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Pack for Backpacking in Europe, AND Still be Fashionable

Over Christmas Holidays, I got to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams: to go on a backpacking adventure in Europe. I have been fortunate enough to have gone to Europe with my family a couple years prior to this adventure, but this time was different. This time it was just my cousin and I taking on the European world. And all we had were the (small)bags on our backs. Now let me tell you, for someone who is terrible at packing light, fitting everything I wanted into a backpack was no easy feat! Oh and as an added twist, we traveled over winter break which means a lot of bulky items. Plus, I’m older now and my hand-me-down GAP pullover that was a staple when I was 12 was not going to cut it. This time, I wanted to look like I was at least trying to keep up with European fashion as well as staying warm AND packing light. Whew, it’s as if you have to have super human powers for such a task.

There is only a limited amount of space in that backpack, trust me, and you want to make the most out of every outfit. The key is to pack light and practical. Layering is going to be your best friend. Pack clothing that you can mix and match in order to spice up your wardrobe. Because otherwise you’re going to get tired of the same 7 outfits really quickly.

And another fact I can’t stress enough: if you don’t love it when you’re at home you’re not going to love wearing it in Europe. Don’t pack that shirt that looks cute on the hanger in the closet but doesn’t fit right when you put it on. You have to love every  piece of clothing in your backpack, because that’s all you’re going to be wearing for days on end.

I am proud to say I was successful in my packing light endeavors and I managed to sort of keep up with the stylish European fashion that surrounded me all the while staying warm. And I didn’t need super human powers to do so. I’ve decided to compile a list of the clothes I packed in case it is useful to anyone else embarking on a winter European adventure.

Where we traveled:

  • Rouen, France
  • Paris, France
  • Amsterdam, Holland
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Prague, Czech

We traveled during the months of December and January. Though we didn’t experience any snow, it was still quite cold. The number one priority is to stay warm. It’s pretty hard to enjoy every experience to the fullest if you’re shivering the entire time. The weather we experienced was mostly windy and some rain. But for two Canadians, we were prepared for the temperatures!

This was the first time I’ve traveled to Europe during the off-season, but despite the cooler temperatures, it was a wonderful experience. There are less crowds and things are usually cheaper, which everyone is a fan of, right!?

Clothing:

I tired to keep my clothing choices to rather neutral colours. It’s better to have a neutral wardrobe with a few pops of colour if you’re going for a classic look. Plus, I tend to wear a lot of blacks, whites, and browns as it is so it wasn’t hard! As an important note to keep in mind,  leave space in your bag for shopping and souvenirs. You will accumulate a lot of stuff along your travels and you’ll want to have space in your backpack for it! 

2 pairs of jeans – one blue and one black (make sure they are your most comfortable pair of jeans!)

2 pairs of leggings – one black pair and one print pair for those days when I wanted to spice things up

1 skirt – I brought a black high waist skirt to wear with leggings for those days I wanted to be a little fancier

1 dress –  I brought a floral print dress that could be dressed up or dressed down depending on the day!

1 pair of shorts – even though it was winter, I brought along a pair of dark denim high waist shorts just in case. But they can also be paired with tights which is what I did most of the time!

2 pairs of black tights – I wore tights often, plus they look super fashionable!

1 pair of long johns – long underwear, thermal pants, whatever you choose to call them! They came in handy for adding a second layer of clothing underneath to stay warm!

1 fleece zip up – I can’t stress how happy I was with myself for bringing a fleece sweater. I wore it with my jacket every day and it helped keep the heat in. Plus it can be easily taken off when you’re indoors so you can reveal your amazing wardrobe underneath

1 flannel plaid button down shirt – having a button down shirt is a staple because it can be worn on it’s own, or layered with other items of clothing. Also it’s good for adding a bit of colour to your wardrobe

1 jean button down shirt – this was one of my favorite items I packed. It’s perfect for casual days, but can be dressed up if need too (just please promise me you’ll wear it with leggings, don’t do the Canadian tuxedo thing where you wear jean on jean!!)

2 tshirts – I brought one black v-neck and a white scoop neck. These shirts are good for warmer days, but mostly I used them as the base for layering upon

2 tanks – I brought one black tank and a graphic tank (a Harry Potter one just in case you were wondering!) I mostly wore these under my button down shirts

1 nicer shirt – I brought 1 of my nicer shirts for going out. It could be paired with my skirt for extra fancy times.

3 sweaters – keep in mind, it’s winter so sweaters are you’re best friend on this trip! I brought a blue button down sweater (good for taking off if you’re too warm), an “ugly Christmas sweater” for those hipster days and a classic black sweater. I also bought a fourth sweater while I was there. These sweaters were wool and pretty bulky, but they saved me for sure. 

2 long sleeved shirts – the shirts I brought were thin, but could be layered under anything for warmth. I brought a striped shirt, which is a staple to your wardrobe because stripes instantly freshen up any wardrobe, and a grey shirt.

2 bras – 1 black,  and 1 sports bra for travel days where you couldn’t care less about what you were wearing

7 pairs of underwear – one for every day of the week! There are usually laundry facilities at hostels, or a laundromat nearby

7 pairs of socks – I brought four pairs of ankle socks and 3 pairs of wool socks (not only are they warm, but they look cute with boots too!)

1 pair of pj’s – I brought the long pants and long sleeve shirt kind of pj’s. It’s better to bring warm pj’s just in case

Jewelry – I tend to wear a lot of jewelry. For this trip I only brought jewelry that I don’t have to take off so I could sleep with it on and not have to worry about losing it. Also I suggest that you leave your favorite/most valuable pieces at home, you don’t want to lose them

Outerwear

It is important to have warm outerwear that you love, because most of the time this is what you’re going to be seen in. Below is a photo of what I wore pretty much every day when we were outside!

1 Headband – I brought a wool headband to keep my ears warm on those days that I had my hair up in a bun (which was pretty much every day in case you’re wondering)

1 Wool scarf – I wore my wool infinity scarf almost every day. It blocked out wind and kept me extra toasty

1 Warm jacket – in Canada my jacket would have been considered a fall jacket but it was just right for the weather we experienced. No need for your 40 below parkas, however make sure it’s a warm enough jacket that blocks out wind.

1 pair of wool mitts – I wore my mitts almost every day. I was so glad I brought a pair to keep my fingers warm. They could be easily taken off and stored in my bag if needed.

1 leather or jean jacket – though it was winter, there were some milder days and you don’t always want to be walking around in a bulky jacket. I had a leather jacket because it was better for rainy days

Image

Shoes

Shoes can make or break your trip. Most days are spent walking around and taking all of the sights in and the last thing you want is sore feet! So make sure the shoes you bring are well worn in and comfortable for long days of walking. The shoes I brought had good support in them, but it’s a good idea to think about bringing insoles if you want extra support. Oh and if you’re a shoe person, keep in mind you will be in shoe heaven when you are in Europe and will most likely buy several pairs of shoes!!

1 pair of boots – I brought my favorite pair of boots from Soft Moc. They were so comfortable and warm. Make sure they are also waterproof, because wet feet equal unhappy times

1 pair of black flats – to wear with tights or on a night out

1 pair of sneakers – I am a big converse fan so I brought a pair of my low top chucks. Just make sure that whatever you bring are comfortable!

1 pair of flip flops – you will thank me for this when it comes to showering in the hostels 🙂

Toiletries

When packing your makeup bag, keep in mind that you don’t need to bring the biggest bottles! I went to the dollar store and bought a variety of small plastic bottles to make my own travel sized things. I packed all of these things beforehand, but you can always replace them during your travels if you run out. Here are some essentials:

Shampoo and conditioner

Dry shampoo 

Toothpaste/toothbrush

Chapstick

Face wash/lotion

Body lotion

Body wash  it’s probably a good idea to smell semi good while you are traveling!

Scented perfume bars or perfume lotion – while we are on the subject of smelling good

Deodorant 

Razor

Brush/comb

Straightener (most hostels come with a hair dryer or you can usually rent one. Check the hostel websites if you are pre-booking to see what they offer)

Hair bands and bobby pins 

Makeup and remover

Medication – Tylenol, Advil, Gravol, Pepto are the basics (and any other medications you may need)

Travel towel/face towel (not all hostels have towels, check online beforehand)

Other

Purse or small backpack – for day use. I made sure the bag I brought was big enough to carry a lot of things.

Camera – it’s better to bring a good quality camera than regret those grainy photos after the trip. That being said, iphones are good for those quick snaps, but I strongly suggest a good camera for the majority of the photos you’ll take.

iphone/ipod – music is the number one saviour for those travel days. Also, if you are gone for a long time, you can talk with your phone provider for getting a special plan while overseas. I switched my phone plan so I could text/call home a few times. It’s also a good idea to have access to a phone for emergencies, just in case!

Earphones – don’t forget to bring these babies!

Chargers – for you phone, camera etc

Converter – buy an electrical converter beforehand in order to plug things in!

Water bottle – I bought a plastic bottle that could easily be folded and stored

Money belt – you can choose to bring one or not. I found the money belt useful for keeping emergency money and my passport close by.

Deck of cards – we made many friends along the way with our deck of cards. They’re good for long train rides and airport days

Journal/pen – even though there seems like there’s no time for journaling, it’s always a good idea to keep a record of your travels. It’s a good keepsake to have when you get home.

Official documents/tickets –  passport, ID, airplane tickets, traveler’s insurance etc.

And don’t forget to send postcards home! It’s always fun to write postcards to everyone back home when you stop for a break at a coffee shop.

I hope this list helped you with your packing endeavors. If you have any questions or stories to share feel free to comment 🙂  Happy travels all x.

This was inspired by another packing list I came across on the internet. Check it out to get even more ideas for your travels: http://herpackinglist.com/2013/03/fashionista-packing-list-backpacking-europe/

Categories: Lifestyle, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Holidays

Christmas is no doubt my favorite season of the entire year. I love the snow, the traditions, the family and friends, the food, the music, the movies, and the magical feeling that comes with the holidays.
This year I’ve strayed from tradition and I’m spending the holidays abroad. My cousin and I have been spreading the Christmas cheer in Europe this year and I couldn’t be happier to spend it in such great company!
What awes me every day on my European Adventure is that I know that as soon as I wake up I will be making memories that will last me for a lifetime. I am so lucky and so blessed to be spending the holidays with my cousin in this way.
I wish everyone happy holidays filled with friends, family, and memories. x

20131230-223015.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea and Flashcards

Tea and Flashcards

Doesn’t everyone start off their Monday mornings with a pot of blueberry tea (in an epic Harry Potter teapot made by yours truly I might add) and reviewing flashcards? If you don’t, you really should. It’s a really peaceful way to spend the morning. But whatever your Monday may be, I hope you’re having a lovely day! x

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Swear I Can Hear Every Heartbeat In This Place

I’ve had one of those evenings that is just so full of overwhelming emotion. But the good kind of emotion. I was watching So You Think You Can Dance and as usual it moved me to tears. Actually that’s an understatement, more like it moved me to full on ugly crying.

The dance starts at 1:00, but I encourage you to watch the first minute because the story demonstrated through the dance beautiful. The composition was inspired by the events at Boston, but the group focused on all of the positive aspects of the tragedy, the altruism and the kindness of those who helped in the aftermath.

I was really struck by this concept. Sometimes it can be so saddening when you hear of all the tragedies that plague our world today. It’s even more discouraging when you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. But that’s not true, there is always something. No matter how small the act, do not feel it is not enough. It truly is the little things that have the greatest magnitude.

Music,dance, words, these are the things that tend to inspire me the most. I thank the dancers who choreographed and performed this dance. The story coupled with Bon Iver’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” makes this piece exquisitely heartbreaking.

Categories: Inspire, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Wanna Stay Up All Night

Sometimes I wish I had the ability to stay up all night and not be tired the next day. I don’t really know what I’d do with all that time, but right now I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow so I could stay up and have the night to myself. The world would be asleep, but I’d be up cooking pasta in my kitchen while watching (500) Days of Summer, secretly hoping that even though the movie explicitly states it is not a love story, Summer and Tom will actually be in love and they’ll live happily ever after. Then I’d sit outside on my front lawn and look at the stars and feel so small. And as dawn approached I’d go inside and drink tea and make blueberry waffles and listen to Parachute. But even even if I did stay up all night, the reality is that I would probably just watch old episodes of The Office until I fell asleep on the couch. However, since it is a Wednesday, and since I am not a night person I’ll just go to sleep as usual and live out this dream in the daylight. C’est la Vie!

Categories: Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

~Why Are You My Clarity~

Image

I’m having one of those very content days. I usually spend a lot of my time thinking about my future because I am in a point in my life where virtually anything is possible. I’m not grounded anywhere, everything is literally in transit. Sometimes I find this very overwhelming, but right now I’m very content to leave things open ended. So I’m going to spend my afternoon sipping my Red Velvet London Fog and savor this moment in time.

Categories: Lifestyle, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Musings on Me, Myself, and I

I feel like a great deal of everyone’s time is spent trying to figure out who they are. And the thing is, I don’t know if we ever completely find out. I don’t think this means that we’re not content with who we are, but I think we spend a lot of time reflecting on ourselves and who we are. I know I’m definitely a person who does this. Most days I am extremely aware of who I am and what to expect from myself, but other days I surprise myself. Image

How can one surprise themselves? I mean we are in control of our own mind, so there should be no surprises. I guess this is where we grow. When we push ourselves, when we surprise ourselves, we grow. I think the reason why we can’t entirely predict who we are or what we’re going to do is because we are always growing. No one is ever completely stagnant.

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate – The 1975

This song has been the soundtrack to the past two weeks of my life. The 1975 has such a unique tone that I love, they are definitely worth a listen.

Categories: Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: