07 November 2012

Sweet Jesus! Fall Is Upon Us!

Finally!!! It's here...the season I wait for all year long. How does one celebrate such a wonderful time of year? The best way, of course -- a day on the town with a friend, caramel iced coffee in hand, shopping at Whole Foods (where we are apparently kale experts), and enjoying a new playlist while commuting from each destination to the next. Today I decided I wanted to do something fun with my wardrobe. And Voila! 
A fun, fall outfit for a fun, fall day. Thanks to Michelle (my trusty little photographer and fellow kale lover) for the wonderful photos. :)

    IMG_6161 ver2




Skirt, Scarf, & Necklace: Forever 21
Boots: Ross
Belt: Wet Seal
Shirt: Target

Happy Fall! 

05 November 2012

Baby Room Painting

My sister is due with her first baby literally any day now. Before I made the big move across the country to the Bay area in California, I made a quick and easy painting for my new niece's room. My sister painted the room teal and coral, and she loves Africa and giraffes, so I figured I would incorporate these two elements into my art. This is an extremely easy project for even the most artistically-challenged person. All you need is some paint, scissors, and an hour or two.
1. Find a cute cartoon-looking image that you want to use. I Googled "Baby Giraffe" and then made two copies, one large giraffe and one smaller giraffe. Print and cut out. 2. Tape the stencils onto your canvas and lightly trace with pencil. I decided to add some circles in the background, which I just traced the bottom of a bowl for. 3. Carefully remove your stencils and paint within the lines (which can be harder than you think!). 4. Let dry for about two hours and then use a paint marker, which you can find at most craft stores, to outline your image. I added in the details on the giraffe on my own, so feel free to add as much or as little details to the character as you want. My sister loved this and it was a unique, simple, and cute way to spice up my nieces room!

06 September 2012

Week Eleven (La Fin!)


Norway and Ireland


It's five in the morning and I am wide awake. FIVE IN THE MORNING AND WIDE AWAKE. Those two things should NEVER be allowed in a sentence together. But I arrived home from Ireland last night after 15 hours of travel and clearly jetlag has decided to have its way with me.

Since I'm up dark and early, I figured I might as well take this time to write my final outfit post. Continuing with last week's trend, I've made a series of top-fives about the last three and a half months. Therefore, this post is a bit longer than my previous ones and I do not apologize.

Top-Five Moments
1. The unexpected evening in Felixkirk, England ("population 30-40") where we stayed with a hitchhiking lift and his partner, went to the local pub quiz with them and another couple, and had wonderfully splendid conversations.
2. The impromptu dance party in the middle of a Polish highway.
3. The 2 days of stealth camping in a park 5 minutes from the center of (feckin') Bruges, Belgium.
4. "The best day ever" in Warsaw, Poland in which Kendall and I ate like kings for the price of almost nothing.
5. The 4th of July on which we climbed a mountain, made breakfast for dinner, and shared cocktails the size of my head, all in the company of some splendidly awesome Austrians.

Top-Five Hitchhiking Lifts
1. Ruth and Donna -- the ones who saved a horse in the middle of the road and bought us ice cream.
2. Tim -- the one who was going to raid a castle for his 21st and brought us to see his friend's 10 puppies.
3. The Swedish James Deans -- the ones who owned a caravan of four classic American cars in which we rode while listening to oldies and driving through the Swedish countryside.
4. The Translator -- the one who loved languages as much as I do and seemed just as excited as me to discuss the grammar and best words of various languages.
5. La Maman Belge -- the one with whom conversing in French didn't feel the least bit difficult and who, when talking to her two children on speaker phone, told them about how she picked up hitchhikers on a post-studies adventure and encouraged them to do the same.

Top-Five Cities
1. Paris, France.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland.
3. Berlin, Germany.
4. Warsaw, Poland.
5. Bergen, Norway.

Top-Five Countries
1. Poland.
2. Austria.
3. Ireland.
4. Sweden.
5. Norway.

Top-Five Songs
1. I Love A Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt.
2. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye.
3. That Thing You Do by The Wonders
4. Nosa Nosa by Micharl Telo.
5. Emmy-Lou by First Aid Kit.

Top-Five Pizzas According To The Country They Were Consumed In
1. Austria.
2. England.
3. Denmark.
4. France.
5. Scotland.

Top-Five Airlines
1. British Airways.
2. British Airways.
3. British Airways.
4. British Airways.
5. British Airways.

01 September 2012

Week Ten




Since I only have a handful of days left on my journey, I've decided to take a page out of Kendall's bookand create a top-five list of things that I'm looking forward to upon my return to the States:

1. Being in the presence of some of the spectacular people who have been missing from my life since May 16th. But, duh.
2. Not having to lug around my backpack. I overheard another backpacker on the start of this journey talking about how he had taken a long trip with only a backpack and how pit had kind of become a part of him and he almost missed it when his trip was over. I suspected it then, but I am certain now--he was some kind of crazy person. I am in no way attached to wearing my backpack and I'm so excited that after Wednesday I'll never have to strap it on again.
3. My wardrobe! In particular my maxi dresses and heels. But also anything that isn't streched, hole-y, or faded from being worn far too often during the last three and a half months.
4. The most recent season of HIMYM and pumpkin curry pizza. My day after I return to the US tradition.
5. My mom's pasta salad. I'm just as surprised by this one as you are. But I got a craving for it about halfway through my trip that I haven't been able to shake since.

24 August 2012

Week Nine




If it hasn't become obvious to you already, I'm starting to have to get quite creative to complete this outfit challenge: sweaters have become dresses and shirts have become skirts. And now, tutus have become shirts. This newest invention is thanks to my oldest sister (coincidentally, the giver of said tutu...actually the giver of an entire BAG full of colorful tutus for my most recent birthday. Best sister ever? Well, top 5, for sure.) who, well discussing my difficulty piecing together my remaining outfits during a recent Skype conversation, showed me how she wears a tutu like a shirt.

After putting together a tutu-shirted outfit for myself, I was unsure about whether I liked the whole ensemble better with or without my sweater and I emailed her asking for her opinion. Not only is she the giver of the most perfect birthday present--a bag of them--but also perfect fashion advice:

"For overall everyday chic, I prefer the sweater. The color and print on the bow in combination with the sweater gives it the perfect touch of ironically preppy, without seeming too forcefully ironic. As if you're saying: 'Psssh. You THINK I'm a nonsensical child for wearing a tutu, but if that's true how do you explain my dignified librarian sweater? Hmmmm?'"

Well? Clearly there's no explanation. Dignified librarian sweaters with non-sensical tutus it is!

20 August 2012

Week Eight




Socialist nightmare FTW.

That is all.

Oh, and, as always, God bless Ikea.

10 August 2012

Week Seven

France and The Netherlands

The Netherlands
The Netherlands and Denmark

Here's a fact: Vibrant orange henna-dyed hair is much much harder to coordinate clothing with than vibrant red hair. 

Here's another fact: Vibrant orange hair, though more difficult to properly coordinate overall than red hair, does go spectacularly with neutral colors (brown, cream, etc) as well as blue (but, duh, UF figured that out ages ago). Neither of which I have an extraordinary amount of on this trip. Not that I have an extraordinary amount of anything on this trip, really.

Looks like I'll just have to channel my inner Tim Gunn and make it work.

04 August 2012

Week Six

Switzerland and France


I hope you didn't miss my hair bow in the bottom middle photo. That is a result of my body deciding to wake me up well before my co-travelers leading to a morning spent pinteresting (because even across the ocean pinterest is still hands down the best way to kill time). One pin led to another, and I wound up learning how to make a hair bow with my own hair. I'd like to pretend it was uber difficult and I have awesome hair bow making skills, but it wasn't. And I don't. Mostly I just have too much hair and too much time on my hands. But I say that could be some sort of skill in its own right.

31 July 2012

I Promise.

It hit me, really hit me, when I was sitting along the Seine. I had had a perfectly pleasant day which included going to see the new Batman film (co-starring my future husband, JGL), french pastries and pizza (the best foods ever), and a stroll through my favorite area (Montmartre) of my favorite city (Paris). So, there I was, sitting next to the Seine with my two traveling companions and a bottle of wine in view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the night sky. That, of all times, is when it hit. The realization that I was exhausted and all I wanted was to hop on a plane back to the States, curl up in my own bed, have a good long cry and sleep. Sleep for a very long time.

Traveling can be exciting. It can be epic. It can be eye-opening and life-changing. But what they don't always tell you is that traveling can be exhausting. Really exhausting.

Every fews days packing up and moving to a new city. New people, new foods, new languages. Every few days searching for a new hitchhiking spot, a new way to get out of the city we just had researched getting to a few days before. Sticking out your thumb, knowing that you could be doing that for the next 30 seconds or the next 3 hours. The same conversations with each lift, the same worries (will I get dropped off in the right place? Will I be able to communicate with them even just the essentials?): the same routine but always different.

After doing that for ten weeks straight, I suppose it's no wonder exhaustion might set it. But no matter how reasonable it is, it's still not enjoyable. And not only because of how it makes me feel but because of how it makes me act. I'm grumpy and short with my co-travelers. I'm less warm, engaging and appreciative with CS-hosts and hitchhiking lifts. I laugh less and sigh more.

The truth is, sometimes I feel like I've entered some sort of survival mode. I'm preoccupied with figuring out how to get to the next place (or if we will get to the next place), what I'll eat that day (will it be something healthy, filling, within my budget, and palatable? Sometimes all and sometimes none of those things), where I'll sleep that night or in the coming nights if we don't have a CS host, and if we do, worrying over if we'll click and if conversation will flow naturally or if it'll just exhaust me. And, with this, I find myself just treading water, keeping my head above the waves.

Goodness, I sound awful, I know. So, don't get me wrong, I beg you. It's not that I haven't seen or done wonderful things, met amazing people, had experiences that I'll never forget. But when you enter this mode of survival, all you can focus on is what it takes to survive. Even as I write this, I'm wondering how I'm going to make it to my next destination which I spent 6+ hours yesterday trying to get to in the finicky Dutch weather and ended up barely traveling an hour and a half. On my own, at that, since I split up with my fellow travelers to spend an extra day with a close friend in Utrecht.

But here it is, while I've been trying to survive, I've forgotten to live. I'm so focused on basic existence I've forgotten how full of joy life can be if we let it. I've stopped feeling humbled and overwhelmingly thankful when someone stops at the side of the road to offer me a ride. I've stopped appreciating how amazing something like couchsurfing can be--the opportunity to spend significant time with, get to know, and learn from such a broad spectrum of people full of an endless range of ideas, experiences, and beliefs. I've stopped being in awe of the cities I'm seeing: the architecture, the culture, the history. I've let these experiences, which should be treasured, become commonplace and ordinary because of repetition and worrisome thoughts. In keeping my head above water I've forgotten how much I've always loved to swim.

Does this mean that I'll wake up tomorrow and be SO EXCITED about trying to make it to my next destination? That I will rejoice when I have to repeat the same conversations again and again? That I will begin to love being uncertain about where I might sleep that night? No. No, probably not. But I do want to sigh a little less and laugh a little more. I want to skip with joy when someone pulls over for me at the side of the road like I did the first time I hitchhiked. I want to awe when I see a beautiful building hundreds of years older than anything I'd see back home. I want to laugh at the unexpected instead of worrying about it, because sometimes unplanned situations can be just as hilarious as they are worrisome. Most of all, I want to appreciate and revel in the fact that I even have the chance to do what I'm doing when most people only spend their lives dreaming about it. I want to remember and rejoice in how blessed I am to swim, even in turbulent waters, when some people never even get to see the ocean.

28 July 2012

Week Five


Germany and Switzerland

The list of things that I've come to genuinely appreciate while hitchhiking through Europe is fairly predictable, such as access to free and functioning toilets, the guarantee of a warm and dry place to sleep, a good cup of coffee (ironically harder to find in Europe than you might think), etc. One thing you might not expect to make this list, however, but one thing that is most certainly on there, is my tutu.  

Let's face it, a tutu is definitely a non-essential when backpacking through Europe. Which is exactly why it has become such an essential for me. It's a completely frivolous item at a point when frivolous items are rare.  Every time I wear it, I feel delightfully fancy even if I haven't showered since who knows when and have been eating mostly apples and bread. But really, when something is made of that much tulle, how could it not be wonderful? Hm, maybe it shouldn't be so surprising that it makes my list.

24 July 2012

Week Four

Austria and Germany


The black skirt/dress (skiress?) is definitely my favorite clothing item that I brought with me. Mostly, this is because I can wear it a plethora of ways: in the first photo, it's a dress; in the second photo, it's a shirt (with pockets, at that!), and in the last photo, it's a skirt. On top of it's wonderful versatility, it's also super comfortable (and therefore has become my staple hitchhiking outfit) and it doesn't wrinkle. I fear that I make my other clothing feel inadequate with the amount I wear this skirt. But maybe if they got their act together, I'd wear them a little more too.

14 July 2012

Week Three

Czech Republic and Austria


I hope you all are noticing the awesome tan lines my sandals are giving me. And by awesome I mean slightly unfortunate but mostly hilarious.  

Being that I just drew your attention to my feet, you probably also noticed my footwear-less ensemble in the last photo. After spending the morning climbing a mountain in Austria, all I wanted in that moment was to eat breakfast for dinner and drink cocktails the size of my head all while wearing a comfortable, footwearless outfit. Really, was that so much to ask for? No, no, it wasn't. Which is exactly why that's what I spent my evening doing.

12 July 2012

Apple Chai Bread

Gotta be honest, I wasn't planning on posting any recipes while traveling. But I found myself at my friends' house in Germany that just so happens to be stocked with many of the things that are necessary, and the very things I've been lacking, to bake (sugar, vanilla, bread pans, an oven? Kinda difficult to bake without those things. I mean, I'm good, but I'm not that good). In spite of my previous intentions to be recipe post-less this summer, all the proper baking products, and chai tea and apples to use up, I couldn't not create this recipe. And I couldn't not share it with you (I'm too kind, I know).

The paths have been crossed

Apple Chai Bread
Makes one loaf of bread
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 medium apple
2 chai tea bags
1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

The crumbs have gone away and the way is lost

Steep your two chai tea bags in 1/2 cup of water.

Melancholy phantoms eye our skin

Core and chop the apple coarsely. I prefer not to peel them, but if you feel otherwise feel free to do as you wish. I'm not the boss of you and your apples (though, sometimes I probably like to think I am). You should end up with a heaping cup of apples.

Poison apples falling with the wind

Combine the apples, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla. I read in a different recipe for apple bread that this helps release the juice from the apples creating a moister (more moist?) bread. My bread did turn out deliciously moist, but there's no telling if it's because of this step or not. You could be daring and try to do it otherwise but if your bread turns out dry then don't say you weren't warned.

Hear the sigh of the trees: those who enter here never leave

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then add in your apple mixture and chai tea.

And the rangers stream out of their cabins

Transfer batter to a 8x4 loaf pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until you insert a knife and it comes out clean.

They are the hunters we are the rabbits

Maybe we don't want to be found

Guten Appetit!

08 July 2012

Week Two


Czech Republic

Ok, ok, I confess! Iworeapairofmyfriend'sshortswhichclearlyarenotincludedinmy20items.

Whew, glad I have that off my chest. Now, I know you might be thinking, "it's week two and she's already cheated at her own game! How can I ever learn to trust her again?" My apologies might seem weak, but I do have a legitimate explanation that I hope will suffice. You see, it just so happened that on that day every other article of clothing severely needed to be washed. This is also why I wore the same shirt (which is technically a skirt) 3 days in a row in Czech Republic; it was the only things that wasn't wrinkled/stretched/dirtied beyond wearability.

Do I have your forgiveness? I promise to try better next time. Cross my heart.

06 July 2012

Vegan Taco "Meat"


This vegan taco meat/spicy meat sauce was a serendipitous experimentation that either my roommate or I make just about every week. This tastes great on tacos, nachos, spaghetti, rice...pretty much anything you might want to top with spicy meat sauce. My roommate adds beans to make a chili-esque concoction. 


1 package of soy crumbles
1 jar of salsa
1/2 jar of pasta sauce
1 bottle of beer
1 package of taco seasoning
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder to taste


After cooking the soy crumbles, you will want to add the salsa, pasta sauce, and about half a bottle of whatever kind of beer you have laying around. Let simmer while chopping the green pepper and onion. 


Add the chopped onion and green pepper as well as the taco mix. If the mixture is getting too thick add more beer. Let simmer for a little while -- I'd say about 20 minutes. Mix often and add spices if you feel it necessary.


Voila! Delicious meal accomplished. To fully appreciate this meal I would suggest pairing nachos with Rum Runners, the season finale of LOST, and 2 beautiful roomies.

30 June 2012

Week One

Week One of 20 for 80

....I need to find a better name for it, I KNOW. But my creativity seems to fail me after trying to put together a multitude of outfits with a limited number of clothing. If you're feeling particualrly creative, how about sending me a suggestion...yes? I'll even give you a prize if I like your name (a prize which will most likely come in the form of a virtual high five accompanied by a "shuuuh--weet, thanks!". But hey, a prize is a prize). Or keep your suggestions to yourself and silently mock me about my name choice. I don't blame you if that is more appealing.

Edit: Huzzah! I shall call this little project of mine "Suitcase Style." Looks like I will be the receiver of my own high-five and expression of thanks. Go me!

Belgium and Luxembourg

Germany and Poland

28 June 2012

20 for 80?

Helloooooo dear readers (most of whom, I believe are random pinteresters. But, hey, you're here, and that's what counts, so I'm not complaining)!

Here's the deal: I've been hitchhiking around Europe since May 16th and have therefore been poorly neglecting my blog. As I've gotten into the swing of traveling, however, I've decided to start writing outfit posts again. You have to put clothes on every day either way, right? (If your answer is something different, then a fashion blog probably isn't the best website for you...then again, if it'll teach you to put on clothes, maybe it is.)

I like the challenge of living out of a backpack for a summer without looking like I am living out of a backpack (minus the horrid and unavoidable wrinkles). In a Kendi-esque fashion, I've decided to see how many outfits I can make out of a limited amount of clothing. I've packed the items below (20 articles of clothing in all, 2 belts, 2 pairs of shoes) and I'm aiming to wear a different outfit everyday between now and September 5th, roughly 80 outfits total. Now, I know 20 for 80 doesn't quite have the same ring to it as 30 for 30, but I hope you'll still find the idea just as admirable.

When I return to the States, I will blog about the places I've visited (17 countries in all!) with recommendations for things to do and see. For now though, I'm sticking with the much simpler and less time consuming task of taking photos of my outfits and posting the week's worth on Saturdays (Cassie will continue to post recipes on Fridays and a random post of her choice on Tuesdays).

Wish me luck!

(starting in the top left and going clockwise)
Forever 21, Old Navy, Lacoste, Thrifted, and Forever 21. I also packed a white button up Lacoste shirt which I forgot to photograph.

Forever 21, Loft, Thrifted, Forever 21, and Hot Topic

Jackets & Dresses
Thrifted, Abercombie, Cotton On
Mostly Target. Thelacy tights are from dELiA*s.
For shoes I have a pair of black flats and a pair of black gladiator sandals.