August 31, 2013

THE SEMESTER OFF

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Oh, hello, hi there. Look at that pinky of mine – what the hell? I always do that when I'm holding a drink. It looks so weird... Today, I wanted to talk about my semester off. Yes, yes... If you've been reading since October, you'll know I took this last semester off. I thought this picture (taken at Candelaria) would go well with this post, as I look pretty vulnerable: naked face, hair up, not trying or pretending to be anything but myself... which is what I'm doing now – peeling off all the layers and showing you my soul.

In the fall of last year, I was anxious, beat, tired, blue, bored, you name it. One day in class – lightbulb – I thought: "why not take some time off!?" So after Christmas, I headed back home to my dad's apartment in Paris. I needed to think, to become even more of an introvert, to figure some stuff out. I wanted to become a better, happier version of myself.

Honestly, I am so happy I took some time off. I wrote some of my best songs yet, started drawing again, traveled loads, met some amazing people, and most surprisingly, lost almost ten pounds. Do you know how good it feels to look in the mirror and say "Huh, I look pretty damn good!"? It feels pretty fucking amazing, let me tell you. I'd never thought that until recently. I didn't know you didn't have to beat yourself up every time you glanced in the mirror.

I wanted to figure out who the f**k I am. I swear a lot in my head, and watching Dexter just makes me swear even more, so I apologize but I am a person who swears (I figured that out.) My thoughts are also never very clear, and the way I write probably shows how I jump from one thought to the next. It's not a problem for me. For the reader, it's another story. Sorry.

What a person wears says a lot about who they are (I think) so I needed to figure out what my personal style said about me. When you're reading blogs all the time, like me, sometimes you get sucked into this world of fashion, thinking you need more, more, more... Last year was a year of excess. I bought way too much of everything. When I told people how many dresses I owned, their eyes fell out and their heads exploded. During my semester off, I tried to rid myself of as much as possible. I'm going back to Smith tomorrow morning and I'm happy to report that I'll be taking less than usual. Though somehow, and I really can't figure out how, I have TONS of things in the cosmetics department, so I'll be sure to use up as much as possible this year. Why do we always buy so much? What is with bloggers writing monthly 'wishlists'? I realize I'm not perfect, and even though I wish to become a minimalist, it's oh so easy to crave something new.

Having a blog helps me realize what's important too. I'm more private than most bloggers I know, but the content I do post means a lot... and lately it's been all travel, fitness/health and minimalism. I do realize I talk a lot about minimalism, but that's what I'm going through right now. And the road to minimalism is not a short one. While I still think it's fun to dress nicely and post outfit pictures, this year, I'd rather focus on music, dance, art and friendship... I love having the blog, but it feels strange to write something when you know you're changing, and you don't know what you feel comfortable with anymore. One small example is, you will not see wishlists on this blog anymore. That much I know.

I'm okay with being a loner now. I know it, and I don't care anymore. That was a big step, believe it or not.

I'm so happy to be going back to Smith tomorrow. New beginnings are always exciting. I'm still majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education. I still actually plan on being a musician. I'm still freakishly excited about starting ballet. How the European inside me will live without alcohol, I don't know, but we'll figure it out. I truly hate the way American college kids drink. It's why I don't party. That, and the fact that I'm a loner. Still, I can't wait to make the most out of this year. Taking a semester off was definitely the right choice for me. I feel like I've grown, like I've lived. I'm now a hundred years old in my head.

If someone were to ask me if I recommend taking a semester off, well, I do, depending on who you are and what your plans are. I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to PAUSE my life and just sleep for twenty straight hours. But you can't, so I always feel guilty for sleeping too much or wasting time. And there are always responsibilities... I still had many responsibilities during my time off, but they were mostly goals I set myself so I could go at whatever pace I needed, like the goal to be ok with sleeping in (you know, until 9:30am, let's not be drastic). In fact, I still wasn't able to pause anything but I had more time to figure out how to deal with, I don't know, life and stuff. My semester off felt a little like hitting the pause button.

You may not be able to see it from the photo above, but I am so happy and relaxed. Smith College, here I come, new and improved. Vx

August 29, 2013

CANDELARIA IN WHITE

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dress: unknown • sunglasses: H&M • tote bag: Candelaria • shoes: Bocage • scarf: Primark

These pictures were taken with my mom's iphone in Paris. I bought this dress in Nantes. It's a size "large" but I love how it feels. It feels like I'm walking around naked. As you can see, I have a "Candelaria" tote bag. I am such a fan of that place. I. love. it. I love that the back is also cool: "Live by the sun, love by the moon". And yes, that is a gigantic bruise on my leg. One of many, as always! Ah well. Vx

August 27, 2013

FOUR THINGS

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1. I am all packed and ready to go. What? YES. I did all of my packing for Smith on Sunday! Ok, there are some clothes I will take that I've left out so I don't have to walk around naked this week, and the shoes are still in the closet. But other than that, everything is packed. There's a pretty big "donate" pile, which I'm proud of. 

2. The secret to packing in one day? I didn't watch TV shows while doing it. Yes, I'm guilty of watching stuff on my computer while I do other things but my brain is fried from finishing seven seasons of Dexter in one month. I spend too much time on the computer and too much time watching shows, and I want to stop. So far, I've been pretty freakin' productive. Woop!

3. I've gone walking/running three mornings in a row! I'm trying to go to sleep at 11pm and get up at 6:30am every day. Hopefully it'll stick. 

4. Thom Yorke has been on repeat for the last month. I am in love with The Eraser. It is in my top albums of all times with Music in Mouth (Bell X1) and The Year of Hibernation (Youth Lagoon). There are more, but those are the two I could think of. If I could sing with anyone right now, it would be Thom Yorke.

August 25, 2013

ENOUGH FOR A SMALL COUNTRY

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Holy shit. F*#&! I have enough clothes for a small country. It is painful to think I was able to justify buying every single item. Out, out, out it all goes. I am at my grandparents' house in Pennsylvania and we will be driving up to Smith on Sunday so I've decided to go through everything I own, get rid of anything that's too big, anything I don't need. It's not just clothing. It's also cosmetics, accessories. Who needs all this!? I've come downstairs to take a five minute break so my brain doesn't pour out my ears and my heart doesn't explode. This is exhausting and overwhelming and about a thousand other things. I never need to buy anything again in my life. Ever. It breaks me just a little bit that I can't call myself a minimalist. It would be a lie. Now I will go up for round two. Wish me luck. Vx

August 23, 2013

GOODBYE PARIS

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It is midnight which means I leave in 13 hours. Goodbye Paris, goodbye parents, goodbye friends, goodbye being close to Ireland. I literally cannot believe eight months just flew by. This picture was taken tonight... I think it says a lot about me and my parents (oh, and I was jumping – I am not a giant). I have loads of pictures to share, loads of thoughts, loads loads loads... buuut so little time. If you want to see some pictures from my time in Spain last week, check out my latest Instagram pictures. A new chapter of this crazy life of mine begins tomorrow and I cannot wait. Wish me luck and I'll see you soon. Vx

August 19, 2013

RECIPE: BEETS & GOAT'S CHEESE

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This here's a simple, very very very simple recipe. And so tasty! I was never a big fan of beets, which I thought was a shame 'cause the color is just fantastic and they look good... but, as you may know, I'm a huge fan of goat's cheese so when I saw this on the menu at a restaurant in Vézelay, I just had to try it. It. was. delicious. It looked pretty easy to make so I tried... and succeeded on my first try! It's the only way I can eat beets but hey, it's a good start... Vx

1/2 cup of beets
A slice of goat's cheese
1/2 tsp of heavy cream
1 tsp of truffle infused olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
(around 160 calories per serving)

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August 17, 2013

COLORBLOCK

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top: Pacsun • pants: thrifted • necklace c/o Lisa Leonard • cardigan: mom's • shoes: Bocage • bag: Primark

When I saw this wall, I knew I had to take pictures in front of it. I think this outfit goes great with the wall, which wasn't done on purpose so yay. This outfit was from a trip to Nantes so the lovely Marie is behind the camera. I also took a bunch of pictures of her. She has officially asked me to be the photographer at her wedding (someday) – apparently I'm the only one who takes pictures of her that she likes haha. Vx

August 14, 2013

NANTES

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A couple weeks ago I went to Nantes with my friend Marie and our moms. These are the pictures from our trip... It was great fun. Marie and I have known each other for ten years now. We're like family. I love the first picture of the two of us because we look so childish and 'cute', like we're still ten years old. Vx

August 12, 2013

{ FILM }

Tomorrow I leave for a little over a week. My mom and I are going hiking... I won't have access to the Internet most of the time but I may post a couple things on my Instagram if there's the occasion so stay tuned. Time flies, my god. I go back to Smith so soon. Before I know it, it'll be Christmas and I'll be in Paris again... I'm so glad I started taking pictures with disposable cameras this year. I love looking back and remembering the moments I took those pictures... Here are some from my travels around Europe. Vx

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1. Abruzzo, Italy  •  2 & 3. Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France  •  4. Barcelona, Spain
5. Amsterdam, the Netherlands  •  6. London, England

August 10, 2013

BALLET

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I can no longer hide how excited I am about starting ballet at Smith! Only three weeks until I go back to the US. I've bought a white leotard (still looking for a black one I like), some tights... I can't wait, I can't wait. I've been stretching and dancing all around the apartment. My main goal for the next three weeks is to become more flexible. I love dancing. Since I'm part Colombian, salsa dancing is in my blood, but ballet is new to me! I mean, I don't remember anything from the ballet classes I took when I was four. It's going to be so fun... 

Are any of you dancers? Any tips or quick lessons you can give me? 

August 7, 2013

FITNESS & HEALTH - THOUGHTS IN AUGUST 2013

Fitness & Health - Valentina Duracinsky
Ohhh where to start? Last year someone asked me to write about my fitness routine and how I stay in shape. Obviously looking at myself now and looking at pictures of myself then, I was nowhere near "in shape". I don't know if I should describe 'last-summer-me' as chubby seeing as I hate confrontation and I feel a lot of people would want to enter that debate (not going to happen), but I had flabby arms, fat inner-thighs (Inner thighs, I've always hated you so), a childish round face and a stomach I always had to suck in.

The message out there is always 'accept yourself'. Hmmm... Well yes, obviously love yourself, no argument there but if you want to lose weight... do it. Some people couldn't care less about their weight, their body, and they're super happy and that is super great! But a lot of people also complain about their bodies. I was one of those people. And you know what we are? Annoying. Kind of like Nick Miller and his zombie novel... Just finish it, man!

The first thing I did was shut up about it. Do you have a Pinterest board with exercises and work out programs (like I do)? That's a great start! But the obvious answer is that you're going to have to get up and do it. I'm guilty of just sitting around pinning work out programs and cool stuff that 'I would do later'. Later is now, lads. GET UP.

The second thing I did was open a 'lose it' account online. I talked to one blogger who was very against the idea of counting calories but this worked for me.. I guess the other VERY important thing I learned was that I had to do my own thing. Yes, the protein diet worked for me before but I've tried to do it again and again with no luck. You find a lot of diets and work out regimes and good/bad ideas online. You really have to find what's right for you.

The third thing I did was learn about portion control. I literally eat whatever I want... but not in whatever quantities I want. Yeah I can have ice-cream but not this much (yup that was three weeks ago. I haven't had ice-cream since then). I can't remember the last time I had pizza. I simply eat a lot less. It was really hard at first but I've done it. I've come to the point where it isn't hard anymore. I can finally leave food on the plate if I know I'm not hungry anymore. I don't leave the table feeling atrociously full – and that means I've achieved one of my goals. I hated that feeling.

The fourth thing is... I don't eat junk food. This may be one of those times I just don't relate to a lot of people out there, especially in the US. I go into people's houses or see people on TV with potato chips and cheese balls and candy and chocolate and all this stuff in their house at all times... I don't really get the point of it? When are you supposed to eat it? For me, it just doesn't make sense and it has never and will never fit into any healthy diet. So I guess this was something worth mentioning. I don't really eat junk food, ever.

The fifth thing is... Eating healthy and exercising go hand and hand. Ever had this thought: "I just worked out for an hour on the elliptical so that means I can have a giant pizza/a big dinner/a candy bar (etc)"? Sorry lads, that has to change. Working out isn't an excuse to eat more. Trust me, when you see the results after working out and eating healthy for a while, you'll be very happy.

August 5, 2013

WORN IN VEZELAY

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top: H&M • skirt: thrifted • shoes: Bocage • sunglasses: H&M 

Funny how these three pictures are taken in three different locations... probably because I didn't intend to make it an outfit post, but then I said hey, why the hell not. I'm wearing clothes and I like the pictures. This is an outfit I wear quite often. Last year I bought two H&M tank tops (this one and the other blue one in the Vézelay post) that I wear aaaaall the time in the summer. Perfect. This is what I want. I want less clothes but I want to be left with things I wear often and truly love. 
If any of you have been waiting for another Health/Fitness post (hello, Anonymous, are you still out there?) , just letting you know I'll try to have one up by the end of the week. I'm surprised at how much weight I've lost and how toned I've gotten. See, all I needed was to say to my dad "That's IT. Let's go to Decathlon and buy some weights." Hopefully I can give you some good tips and thoughts on all this. Cheers! Vx

August 1, 2013

VEZELAY

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July was another great month. While I just realized – and freaked out about – how I haven't finished a song at all this month, I've done some living and Thoreau did say “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” So...there. These pictures are from our trip to Vézelay. My mom took me and one of her best friends, Nuria to this gorgeous little town for the weekend. At that point I wasn't sure anything would make me feel better, but going on a mini adventure actually did. I think it's funny how I can tell exactly how I feel in the third picture. We had just arrived and I was surprised at how nice the town was. There's a little surprise, a little sadness, a little curiousity and some happiness in that face of mine.
Vézelay was lovely, small and cute and the food was good. The heat was unbearable at times, but I managed to stay alive (going into the river was the best). Can I repeat for the millionth time how much I love that skirt? It's so perfect. It's my favorite.
I wonder what it is about traveling that can take your mind off things... I love traveling. so. so. much. Vx

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