March 30, 2014


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photo links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

So I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to take a break from blogging... While I've definitely slowed down, I guess I'm not really taking a break after all. And honestly, I do have a lot of exciting posts in mind, and some have pictures and everything, just no words. It's so hard to find the time and energy to sit down and write sometimes. But I do hope that once this semester is over, and it's summer, I'll be able to sit down and actually write more. Thanks for your patience! Here's another round of sunday links to explore. Enjoy. Vx

Homemade energy drinks
aloe vera is the bomb
what is your health problem? here is your food solution.
I try to remember to drink lemon water every morning. Soon it'll become a habit!
5 of the worst foods to eat. I rarely have any of them (good for me! progress) especially soda, it's not my thing. But I do like french fries from time to time. However I make them myself and bake them! They're so good that way.
Sugar Addiction - I'm really looking into doing a sugar detox...
More about sugar addiction. Wow Facts!


some amazing life lessons. Absolutely enjoyed reading this
Are you a new age hippie? I... am not.
Habits of the wealthy - interesting! 5am wake up, everybody! sure.
great beauty tips!

free workouts - yes please!
50 reasons to exercise
um... how does she do this!

Read about this spring equinox
New Local Milk blog post... go check it out.
Native Fox - looking good!

March 27, 2014


On my second day I had a delicious breakfast. Cushing dining hall had hard boiled eggs and I grabbed six (!!), peeled them and ate two or three egg whites with cottage cheese and put the rest in a bag with some nutritional yeast and saved 'em for later. Just the egg whites – it's what I like; it's the protein. You wouldn't believe how good and full I felt all morning long. During ballet I ate two or three almonds just out of habit of snacking even when not hungry (not the best habit!). For lunch I had an amazing chicken salad. I added all the egg whites too... As a dessert/early afternoon snack I had a small green banana with peanut butter... I wasn't hungry so it was a mistake. I hit the gym and remembered to keep hydrated. For dinner I definitely slipped up. I got kale, quinoa, edamame, broccoli, mushrooms (all good) and then out of temptation, I tasted the pork dumplings... oh so delicious. I had a few of those with duck sauce (oops!!). For dessert I ate a green apple. Surprisingly good! I usually like red delicious apples. This one was nice and crunchy.

I just wanted to give a couple examples of what I eat during the day. I won't do it for every day though. The third day wasn't too bad, though I had a late night snack even though I wasn't hungry... food, why are you so tempting! Today is the fourth day. Breakfast was perfect but I skipped snack and was starving for lunch - result? I ate a lot very quickly without realizing when I'd had enough. I had a green apple for dessert but I wish I had waited a bit and had it as an afternoon snack. Now I feel uncomfortably full.

At least I can say I ate too much of some good stuff. I mean, I'm not going to sit here and slap myself for eating an extra apple... ummm, they're pretty darn healthy so let's move on. I am also super proud of myself for walking by – and here's the full list – mango crumble, brownies, muffins, pumpkin bread, lemon bars, yogurt, and a sundae ice cream bar and not giving into temptation. I'd say I've taken a few steps forward in kicking the sugar addiction!

By the way, in the book she asks some questions to determine if the detox is for you. Here are some examples:
• do you crave sugar all day, every day? Do you crave carbohydrates?
• do you experience spikes and dips in your energy levels throughout the day?
• are you trying to burn body fat?

She also talks about some signs of sugar addiction.
short term: mood swings, acne, PMS, fatigue, weakness...
long term: anemia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, type 2 diabetes...

Some interesting stuff... Have you read any interesting books about sugar?
I'm excited about this detox. I'm feeling good and healthy. Plus I've been going to the gym every day since monday and already I can see a huge improvement! So much muscle. woop! Vx

March 26, 2014


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Thinking about what that second tattoo will be... slowly, slowly. Do you have any? What kinds of tattoos do you like? Feel free to take a look at my Tattoo Pinterest board. It's full of tattoos, mostly small and simple black tattoos, not much color, I admit! Vx 

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March 25, 2014


Sugar Detox 2
My first day of the sugar detox wasn't terrible – probably because I didn't follow the rules exactly... I followed the level 1 rules where you can still eat some dairy.

In the morning I ate a big plate of scrambled eggs with cottage cheese. I left feeling full (too full, actually) and didn't have to eat my snack until much later. My snack was 10 almonds and a few pumpkin seeds and cashews. Then I ate a spinach salad with chicken and a hard boiled egg for lunch. It was perfect and kept me full all afternoon. I ate another nut snack (same amount) right before I hit the gym. On my way home, the dining halls were still open and I grabbed a plastic plate and got some chicken for dinner. It was chicken parmesan and I scraped most of the top off but who am I kidding, there was still some kind of crust on it I probably shouldn't have eaten. I ate it with some marinated broccoli (in what, I don't know, so again, not sure about the sugar), some snow peas, some beets and carrots. I sprinkled spirulina over it all. It was amazing. 

As always, my sweet tooth kicked in after dinner, and I tried really hard to ignore it but it was almost impossible. The only sweet thing you're allowed is a green apple or a green banana. I didn't have any of those. I saw gum and I chewed that... sugar, right? damn.

Some of the negative effects reported are "headaches, cold-like symptoms, low energy, constipation, body odor, skin breakouts, irritable, sporadic sleep"... It's been one day so I can't say I've noticed anything different. I don't think I've eaten so much protein in a while. It keeps me full and feeling energetic.

Nothing much to report. It's hard saying no. That is all. See you in the next couple days for another sugar detox report...! Vx

March 24, 2014


Sugar Detox 1
The other day I was browsing Bethesda's Barnes and Noble while I waited for my cousin to get off work. I was there in the late afternoon, some time after eating a huge and delicious frozen yogurt with fruit and nuts and caramel on top. The sugar high was atrocious. I had an awful stomach ache, felt terrible and tired, but my heart was racing... I looked up and on the top shelf I saw this book called 'The 21 day sugar detox' which was funny – perfect timing. 

I read some of it and answered the questions for 'Is this detox for you?' yes, yes, yes again... So I'm diving in. I am all in (though I'm still deciding if I want it to last 21 days).

I'm very skeptical about all the info I find on the internet so I don't want to simply copy a list of benefits, pros and cons for a sugar detox but I encourage you to search it, maybe even take a look at the book I perused. Obviously sugar is not great for us. I have been eating way too much sugar and carbs and extremely little protein. So for me, this makes sense! Today was my first day, I'll fill you in with the details tomorrow. Have a wonderful evening. Vx

March 22, 2014


Gabriela - Valentina Duracinsky
Tomorrow is the last day of spring break. I have been in Washington DC (well, Bethesda, really) for the past week visiting my cousin and their adorable baby Gabriela. I was meeting her for the first time and so excited about it. Indeed, I was not disappointed. She is very cute and calls me "tia" - aunt, though I'm not really her aunt, I like it. We did a lot of hanging around, eating out, facetime with our family in Colombia. I did some shopping in Georgetown (oh Madewell...), some sightseeing (all my pictures are on the disposable camera), and a lot of kissing this little cutie! We ate at some amazing places and I hope to have some recommendations up on the blog soon! Let me just say that if you visit Georgetown Cupcakes - first of all, the one in Bethesda doesn't have a long line, and definitely get the salted caramel. Holy jesus is it good! Vx

March 19, 2014


Go'Head by Rocstrong

This is such a fun song by Rocstrong! I absolutely love listening to it. I hope you will enjoy it too. Have a great Wednesday. Love, Vx

March 13, 2014


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Pictures found here

I feel so ready to graduate, so ready to get out of here. Right now I'm in the 'hate' phase of my love/hate relationship with this place. Smith College is great, sure, but I'm done... I'm done with the classes that I'm not passionate about, and the people that seem to live on another planet that I'm not even going to try to be on anymore, and the weather (snow, nobody wants you anymore), and the room that is not feng shui in any way - always cluttered, always cramped, always dirty (my fault, I know), and the dining hall food that I don't want, and the college life that I feel I've most certainly outgrown. Ready for the next step. Vx

[ If you're on your phone and can't see the pictures, scroll all the way down and look for the link that allows you to view the desktop version of the blog, not the mobile version. ] 

Other Pinterest boards of mine...
Make up // Hairstyles // Paris // Sea // Food // Plantlife // Places // Home // Baby // Tattoo

March 10, 2014


Fumbally 1 Fumbally 2 Fumbally 2.5 Fumbally 3
In January I was in Dublin for ten days. It was wonderful in totally new ways. Surprisingly, it was a visit totally devoid of music. I met some pretty great people, had some amazing cocktails, stayed out until 9am again, hung out with Graham and had lively conversations about music that left me confused and exhausted but with the feeling that I learned something new (what, I'm not sure), and I went to the Fumbally every single day. Thanks for the recommendation, Cormac. Everyone at the Fumbally was nice, and lovely Ger always brought over my lattes which were so very good. I kept count of how many I had during the trip. A thousand, that's how many. On the last day, I sat down with one of the owners, Luca, for a quick chat about the Fumbally and life. 

I recorded my interview with the darling Luca and am trying to write down the exact words he said, without correcting anything. I wish you could listen to it but since that's not possible, may I recommend reading this interview in your head in the voice of a cheerful Italian man who has been smoking for a while. And he's wearing a really cool blue hat that I wanted. Here it goes.

Fumbally 4 Fumbally 4.5 Fumbally 5

Why don't you tell us a little about yourself...

Well you see this place is not made just by me but is made by two of us, so it's not at all just about me, but also Aisling... and all these amazing people who are working with us. We could have opened the nicest place in the world but if we didn't have the most incredible people working with us, it would have been a very, very, very plain place without character. So we try to surround ourselves with our friends. Obviously not all of them are working with us, but there's not a lot of professionals. In the kitchen we do not have chefs but just cooks. Cooks, because we love food so much and we wanted something completely different. We didn't want a kitchen where there is a head chef, like somebody giving orders, but more like a collaboration. So I guess that's why it came out so quirky with this lovely atmosphere... 

Yeah! that is one of the first things I noticed. It feels very... family... I don't know, everyone is lovely.

Yeah... yeah... and we all hug each other when we arrive and there's this feeling that we love to get to work. Nobody works more than four days a week as well. It's a rule that took place from day one. The idea is that when you come over, you are very happy. And then there are a lot of people who are just one or two days here; they might be musician, they might be artist, they might have their own thing going on. So it's a nice, very lovely collective of people. So I wouldn't talk about me because I'm nothing in this project without them hahahahaha!

So who got the idea of opening up the Fumbally? 

Me and Aisling, my business partner and friend. We met six years ago at the wedding of her sister and we thought to work toward opening something and just chatting... 'What do you want to open?' a falafel place. So we say 'Let's do it together', and since then we worked doing food in festivals. When the summer would finish we would go a little bit around the world, around Europe with what we did. We weren't paid a lot but we would travel and discover what other people were doing and street food... we love street food! So the idea was to go around and see other places, get ideas, chat with the owner and chat with the people, travel, and just try all the street food we could. And five years ago, a good idea that in one, two years we were going to open... – six or seven years ago now! and then it took us five years because, well, we couldn't find a place that was suiting us. We wanted to be in the city center, having a very small place... and then little by little we realized that we wanted something that creates a community base. People were not taking us seriously. So you would go to the city center and they would look at you, and they were not calling you back, not showing you premises, and things like that. We have an office – we organize the Dublin flea market as well. It is a market once a month. And we have our office here in the back and we could never find any place to go for lunch in the area so one day Aisling was in front of here and said "let's go to have a look in this place" and when we entered we were like 'wow'. This was an office space ten years ago and it was empty for eight years. So we entered and we were like 'Yeah this is it'. 

About the decoration...

And we organize the flea market so we've been collecting for years. And we go to auctions to find very cheap things. So everything you see was bought at a flea market or auction. A friend of ours made some of the furniture. Nothing is made by an architect; there is no designer behind this. Just an idea that we wanted a lot of space. We just put less than fifty seats so when you enter you get this amazing feeling. We did talk to some architects and designers as friends. Some said 'Why don't you drop the ceiling a couple of meters?' but we thought 'Why would you drop the ceiling when you have all this space?'. The idea was very clear straight away. They were going more into the usual thing – like all the other places, all the furniture the same... but no, we wanted something completely our own style, our own little broken things, recycled flea market things. But the idea at first was to open something with only street food. 

How did you put the menu together?

Obviously now it's not just street food. It moved into a big research of food, trying to develop new recipes, new ideas, and trying to give the best we can. We try to have very good product and sell it for cheap. We try to use most we can organic. If not organic, then local. These are the worst three months of the year, nobody grows anything. Then March we'll start to have a lot of product again.
We already ran a little cafe in a cooperative... The eggs that everyone loves that are the simplest thing in the world. We realized places that were doing brunch were only doing it Saturday and Sunday, so we really wanted a place where you can go all week. Very simple but very nice eggs fried on a toast - that was the base. Then we wanted one sandwich to be everyday and we love porchetta so we developed our own porchetta that is between Irish and Italian. Pulled pork with the flavor of porchetta. And falafel, obviously, because we wanted to open a falafel place. Then, what else is always in the menu... the avocado! another very simple vegan food. Rustic bread with the best avocado you can find with a bit of tomato and olive oil. The basic menu is based on simplicity. And then we have two sandwiches of the day and two specials, that we change every day. And we tend to try to let our creativity just go a little bit wild. We try to find new flavors and new recipes.

Other plans?

We bought the very old building next door - and we will be paying for the next fifty years! We wanted to have a space where we can play even more with food. So there will be a yoga studio, a residency, just a room with a bed and a desk, where we will invite artists, foodies, and colorful people to stay with us for two weeks and work on some projects. Together we can develop ideas and share knowledge. There's a lot for artists, but not a lot for food and coffee people, so we decided to do it. Also a bread kitchen for The Fumbally so we could maybe start opening at night time.

Fumbally 8 Fumbally 9 Fumbally 10 Fumbally 11 Fumbally 12 Fumbally 13 I'd like to thank Mr. Steve who let me use his lovely camera so I could take pictures of the Fumbally.

March 9, 2014


Valentina Duracinsky / Paris
Remember how Into the Wild ends with that message "Happiness only real when shared"? I understand that, but I can't believe it. As much as I love that story, I never did believe that part. If that were true, then I must be constantly miserable these days. I spend 85% of my time at Smith alone. I work as many hours as I can at the daycare, I go to classes, and then I'm alone. And sometimes it's agonizing to feel so lonely in a house full of people, in a college of two or three thousand women, in such a lovely lively town.

I consider myself a bit of a loner, but I reach a certain point sometimes where I start to crack and crave attention and conversation and the presence of another soul next to me. There are things I can do about it. Reach out. I do that from time to time but not as much as I should, maybe. Mostly, I've been trying to find the happiness in the peaceful nature of solitude. 

Especially with all the technology and social networks, I feel we have all grown to become afraid of solitude. In fact, I know it. Sometimes when I close my computer right after spending a long time online, I get a strange feeling that is so uncomfortable, I feel the urge to open the computer and check Facebook... or something. But I can get a lot done when I'm alone! Write songs. Write letters. Paint. Sleep. Organize my room. Declutter. Yoga. Journal. Meditate. Read books. Play the guitar. etc.

Last semester was very difficult because I was only starting to deal with being alone all the time, but now I feel like I've grown to understand it better, to deal with it better. Knowing how to be alone without feeling lonely opens so many doors. You can do anything. You don't have to rely on the availability of others. You don't have to wait for anyone. You only ask yourself 'Are you ready?' and then go ahead and live it up! I spend more time doing things that make me happy. I've been reading a lot more. It used to be my favorite activity. I remember coming home from middle school, to a quiet, empty apartment, and just laying on my bed with the sun coming in through the window, reading a book in silence. 

There is strength in solitude, but we are all so numb by being connected 24/7. To simplify everything, let me just say that we created language, and we created the words "loneliness" and "solitude". They basically describe the same phenomenon. The mind is everything and I think our minds are powerful enough that we can choose to either feel the agony of loneliness or the glory of solitude. So what is it?

March 2, 2014


Valentina and Hemingway
The reality is that I haven't had the time, the desire or the energy to blog much lately. I have a lot on my plate, and I waste a lot of time too (which I need to stop), and the blog isn't exciting me as much as it used to. What is the point of having a blog if I don't even try to write quality posts? The truth is I have one more blog post that I want to write this week, and then there's a good chance I will take a break from blogging for a while. I want to want to blog and I hope that with time, I will find that desire again and come back with more to offer. Here's another Sunday Links post...

Fitness & Health

Around the internet

Art & photography:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

Fashion & style:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

I've been
... drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day. It's the most disgusting thing ever but they say it's good for you so I'm trying! 1 / 2 / 3 
... eating really unhealthy food lately. The hardest part about being at Smith is that they feed us, and yes, there's a salad bar but they also always have terrible and very tempting food. Sometimes (a lot of the time now) it's hard to say no to cookies. I'm trying to have more self control.
... reading The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway) and loving it. Getting back into reading often, yes! I love having the desire to read any chance I get.

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