Travel Thursday

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Nutcracker has ended and my finals are officially finished, so for the first time in what feels like forever I have a moment to sit down and write... not for research and not for a grade, but just for fun.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about I saw Caitlin's most recent Wanderlust Wednesday post and I thought it would be fun to take a page out of her book blog.


Right about this time four years ago I was heading to India where I would study for a month with a group of students from my college.  The night before we left I was sick, sleep deprived, and hadn't even begun packing.  Needless to say, I was not even remotely prepared for the madness that the next month would bring.


We traveled extensively throughout the Northern parts of India.  We started in New Delhi and from there ventured to Dharamsala, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Jaipur, Amritsar, Khajuraho, and Agra.  We spent Christmas Day at the Bodhi Tree and rang in the New Year with Aloo Gobi and Bollywood hits.



We studied the five major religions of India: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.  We visited temples and spoke with Monks, Imams, and Priests.  We visited countless temples and holy sites.




We watched people fervently practicing faiths which I had previously never heard of.  I was forced to examine my own faith, my lack of devotion, and my beliefs about those who didn't believe in Jesus.  I questioned how some of these religions could be so similar to my own yet also so different. 


When people ask me what India was like I find it hard to give an answer.  I was there for a month yet was never in one spot for more than two nights.  There was so much to see, so much to take in, so much to learn, so much to process. 


India was beautiful.  It was colorful and vibrant and full of life and laughter and music and chaos and incredible smells.




India was also heartbreaking.  It was full of poverty and corruption and sickness and impositions on freedom.  


India was confusing for me.  There were times when I just couldn't understand why certain things happened and why people believed certain things.  Below is a picture of an open-air crematorium where bodies are burned 24 hours a day.  The ashes are then dumped in the Ganges river where faithful Hindus bathe daily.  The fumes settle over the city in a thick black smoke and our entire group became ill during our time there.  The question that hung over all of us was "why?!"  To our Western brains the practice seemed barbaric, not to mention unsanitary.  But does that make it wrong? 




I like to think of myself as open-minded and culturally sensitive.  But India showed me just how limited my views were.  It challenged the belief that I needed to know why certain things happen in order to respect them.  There was a point where I had to stop analyzing, stop questioning, and simply watch.  Absorb.  Learn.


I'd like to go back to India someday.  I'd like to stay in one place for an extended period of time and really get to know what everyday life is like there.  I'd like to go with a humble and open heart that is ready to learn, even if it cannot understand.  


Life Lately...

Friday, October 17, 2014

 

...has primarily consisted of reading and classes and reading and writing papers and rushing to dance rehearsals and reading on the bus and trying to find a ride home and reading and sometimes finding time to eat and collapsing into bed at the end of the night and dreaming about the things I've been reading such as psychosis and schizophrenia.  Grad school, y'all.  It's no joke.

  

Last week I was pretty dang stressed and my sweet (not to mention fine looking) husband sent me flowers.  In a pumpkin. Melt my heart, whydoncha.



It's officially cooled down 'round these parts which means the need for cozy has gone up exponentially.  All I want to wear is leggings, all the time.  Except that I really only have one top that's long enough to cover my bum, and I have a hard and fast rule about not wearing leggings without my bum covered, especially since I buy cheapo leggings and holes seem to materialize out of nowhere. (do holes materialize? there's your existential thought for the day.)  Anyway.  This was a serious problem on Thursday when i got up at 5 am and had two quizzes and was on my you-know-what and basically pants were just not an option.  Since my only arse-hiding tunic was in the laundry I improvised with Ty's smallest flannel.  Cozy to the max.

This weekend is going to consist of baking apple things, hanging out with my favorite woman, and cuddling with the-guy-I-think-I'm-married-to-but-feel-like-I-haven't-seen-in-forever.  Oh, and reading.

What are you up to this weekend?

Transitional Style With Twice

Thursday, September 25, 2014



Living in LA for the past few years has really taught me the value of thrift store shopping.  I've always hated malls (well, except for the ones that house Cinnabons) and living within walking distance to so many great vintage and thrift stores has pretty much eliminated the need to ever set foot inside a mall again.  I especially love Crossroads because everything is already sorted through so I know that anything I find will be in great condition and in style.  Plus, it's nice to know that by buying secondhand I am helping somewhat to lower my carbon footprint.


Recently I stumbled upon an online store of the same variety called Twice and was immediately hooked.  I snatched up this Anthropologie dress with a 50% off coupon I'd found, bringing the total to $32.48 with free shipping.  It was originally $184.80!  It's a beautiful, high quality piece that transitions perfectly from late Summer to early Fall and I have a feeling it will be a staple in my closet for years to come.  It fit perfectly, but even if it hadn't Twice has a 30 day full refund policy and they'll even pay for the shipping.  It's a win-win!  If you're interested in checking out Twice you can sign up here and get a $20 credit!



Have you ever bought used clothes online?  What was your experience like?

Dress: Anthropologie via Twice
Shoes: Old Navy (old, similar here)

Currently on Repeat

Saturday, September 20, 2014


The windows are open.  The sky is cloudy.  The throw blanket is ever-so-slightly necessary.  The dog is snuggly and muffins are baking in the oven.  This song is on repeat and weekend mode is in full effect.  Happy Saturday, friends.

Beat by the Heat + a Green Smoothie

Thursday, September 18, 2014


It seems that all I can talk about lately is this heat wave we've been experiencing for the past week.  The neighborhood we live in is pretty old (well, old by California standards) so most of the houses, including ours, don't have air conditioning.  It's crazy how the extreme heat can permeate every piece of your life.  The house is hot so I don't want to get out of bed.  It's scorching outside so I don't want to walk to work.  Even the dog can't find the energy to do much besides lay under the dining room table (which, I found out after joining him down there, happens to be the coolest spot in the house.  Smart dog.)  I'm well aware that other areas of the country get way hotter/ more humid than this but this is LA and we are wusses when it comes to extreme weather of any kind.  Besides, those other areas have a/c, yes?



Cooking has been a completely elusive activity this week.  I don't even want to go near the stove and I'm scared to see on our bank statement how much money we've spent eating out just this week alone.  Pretty much the only thing I can muster up the energy to make is this green smoothie.  It's cold and refreshing and provides enough energy to sustain me on the walk to my blessed, chilly office.  I know that everyone and their mother has a green smoothie recipe on the internet these days and this one is probably quite similar to those save for one thing; I add fiber.  Most people think of fiber supplements as a necessity solely for the elderly but the truth is that not getting enough fiber in your 20's is a big nutritional mistake.  I swear my quality of life has increased immensely since adding more fiber to my diet.  I won't go into details but... just trust me on this one.


Thankfully today is a bit cooler and I'm grateful not only for myself but also for all the people in this city who work as manual laborers.  I'm not sure how they do it.



Green Smoothie
makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 Cups washed, chopped kale
  • 1/3 Cup frozen pineapple
  • A few slices frozen peach
  • 1/4 Cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp Fiber Powder
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds
  • handful crushed ice


Instructions

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more almond milk if desired.  Serve immediately.

5 Very Important Updates

Thursday, September 11, 2014

That shirt is probably the best gift I've ever bought.

1.  As of last weekend I am officially a member of the LA Unbound dance company!  I'm so stoked to be on stage performing again come December, even if it means I'll be wearing this.

2.  I can officially cross "Call 911 Because I Think I'm Having A Heart Attack Only To Be Told It's Probably Gas" off my bucket list.  Yeah, for real.

3. My home-brew master of a husband just won first place at the county fair for one of his beers.  (see photo above)  The beer is called "Thomas Hefferson" and it was all the paramedics could talk about as they were watching me try to convince them I was dying.  So blase.

4. I'm REALLY excited to start school.  Like, I already have my schedule mapped out and my outfit picked out and have told myself the same lie I've been telling myself for 14 years that THIS will be the year that I do things on time and don't stay up til 3 AM writing a paper that's due the next day.

5. I know I said I wasn't ready, but with news that next Monday is supposed to be 100 degrees (!!!) I'm getting a teeeensy bit jealous of those of you who are starting to enjoy Fall weather.

It's not Fall yet!

Thursday, September 4, 2014



 The internet is hardcore trippin' right now about PSLs and leggings and boots, while in LA we are currently still enduring enjoying 90+ degree weather.  I want to stand up on a building and shout "Wait! It's not time yet! We still have three more weeks!"  While I know that some people count Labor Day as the unofficial start of Fall (and end to white clothing, which is BS in my book)  this year is supposed to be an El Nino year so I am planning on rocking my summer uniform for as long as possible.  Don't get me wrong... I love Fall... cloudy mornings and hot coffee and Friendsgiving are a few of my favorite things.  But Summer is my all-time favorite season and since I don't start school until Sept 29th I'm happy to enjoy the sun (and maybe a few more beach days!) in the meantime.



I have been living in these boyfriend shorts all Summer long... they are SO comfy and I love that I can roll them to whatever length I'm feeling like at the moment.  This hat has also gotten plenty of use this year.  I bought it a couple of years ago but it wasn't until this Summer that I felt gutsy enough to wear it without feeling like a John Mayer wannabe.  It's a bit hard do see in the pictures above but don't worry, I took the most awkward self-timer-selfie of all time so that you could see the details.  You're welcome.


What about you? Are you enjoying the last few weeks of Summer or are you in Fall mode yet?

Shorts: Old Navy (currently on sale!)
Tank: Old Navy
Hat: Forever 21 (old) Similar here
Earrings: Forever 21 (old) Similar here
Sandals: Rainbow factory (if you've never owned Rainbows you must make the switch... you'll never look back)