July 31, 2014


1 2 3 4
top: F21 • jean shorts: Stradivarius • bra: GEF

I wore this at the Tayrona National Park. We walked from our ecohab to the beach Cabo san Juan'which was beautiful. The walk was long but nice, and so very hot and humid. I was so glad I wore this! Funny thing is I almost got rid of this top since I never really wore it... Well I wore it a lot in Colombia! It's staying in the closet.

July 28, 2014


Valentina Duracinsky Cartagena
As you read this, I am on a flight back to Paris. I really don't want to leave – though part of me is happy to go home... Mostly for the detox I plan on doing (seriously needed at this point). I spent loads of time with my family and didn't post as often but trust me, there are many more pictures to come! Colombia is such a magical place, I hope you all get the chance to visit some day. Vx

July 24, 2014


Val Duracinsky Beach 1 Val Duracinsky Beach 2 Val Duracinsky Beach 3 Val Duracinsky Beach 4

I leave for Paris on Monday. I really don't want to; I'm happy in Colombia. I want to take all the pictures I took with me so I'll have to put them on a CD or something, and I've been trying to go through them all to edit and delete as many as I can. I can't wait to share more pictures of my travels with you! Here are but a few pictures of me at the beach in the Tayrona National Park. Rare pictures! I never used to like going to the beach. This was one of my favorites ever because our 'ecohab' - a fancy hut, really - was literally 2 minutes away. All I had to do was go up some stairs and I could be back in our room. When the heat got unbearable, I would go in the water, and when I was sick of it all, I just walked back up. I actually spent my birthday (July 14, hum hum) on the beach and enjoyed it! I also enjoyed the coconut lemonade. Jeeeesus, that is good stuff. More pictures of our time in Tayrona and Cartagena soon! Vx

July 23, 2014


Rosa Kiwi Rosa Kiwi 2 Rosa Kiwi 3 Rosa Kiwi 4

You guessed it – iphone pictures. I keep doing that for reviews, I have to stop. I have a camera, a good one, damn it. I've started to say 'damn' a lot more. Blame Hemingway. I bet he said 'damn' a lot. I'm obsessed. I just finished Farewell to Arms and I'm confusing real wars with episodes in the book. The way he writes makes me feel like I'm right there with his characters; I see everything so clearly. His characters weren't as lovable in this one though. Caroline was especially annoying. 

And that all relates to Rosa Kiwi Frozen Yogurt in no way whatsoever. 

If you're in Paris – which I hope you are, were, or one day will be – during the summer, well, it can get really hot. Especially august. God damn, the month of august is a nightmare (and also the month I will be back in Paris). When it's that hot, all you want is something nice and cold. Or to jump into a big tub of ice. Maybe that's just me. When it's that hot, it's also almost impossible to eat a normal meal. Feeling full and stuffy in hot weather is possibly the worst feeling ever. And also why statistics show you lose more weight in the summer. Well, I did. So if you want to trust my one-person sample, then yeah, 100% guaranteed results. All you want in the summer is something small and refreshing. Ice-cream is pretty great but nothing beats frozen yogurt (I'm in Colombia and I've already gone to three different frozen yogurt places. I'm so damn happy frozen yogurt is taking over the world.) Rosa Kiwi is on rue Mouffetard in Paris which I'm told is a very popular street but I don't spend any time around there (maybe I should start using stops other than just my regular Odéon, Anvers and Hotel de Ville). My friend Rozena took me to Rosa Kiwi. I told her all I wanted that day was frozen yogurt and she said she knew just the place. 

Indeed, Rosa Kiwi was the right place to take me. It's self served (which I love) and they have quite a few flavors to try and a whole array of toppings. It was delicious and refreshing and I was left wanting more. They've obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the decoration and presentation so that people will want to sit and stay for a bit. Like everything in Paris, it was slightly on the expensive side of things. Most self-serve places use the same trick where they only offer gigantic cups so you fill it up (damn mind tricks). And I did. Mine was around 6.50 euros, which is about 8.70 dollars. Before you spit out your coffee, let me offer my opinion. We all know Paris is an expensive city. If you convert everything into dollars, you'll leave bitter from the guilt of spending what you perceive to be too much. But a normal price in Paris will usually be slightly more than a normal price... in any other goddamn place, really. It's fucking Paris. But Paris is amazing and you don't want to miss out on the fun and the excellent things it has to offer! Who eats frozen yogurt every day? No one (I would hope). So it's a treat. And I don't think you should put a price on most treats. Rosa Kiwi – go for a lovely, frozen, delicious treat! (maybe don't fall for the gigantic cup trick)

July 22, 2014


Valentina Duracinsky - minimalism
Things... Damn my possessions. I've written about minimalism a lot (I've probably just thought about writing about minimalism a lot, and then never gotten around to actually doing it. Goddamn, must I be so lazy?) Another day in a life of a wannabe minimalist. I swear, I will get there.

Maybe you're wondering why I care so much about becoming a minimalist. What's wrong with stuff? The way I see it, it's all about happiness. Isn't that what we all want? And all the crap I own is making me unhappy. I mean, I'm fine, I'm not depressed and crying at night "why, why is this happening to me!" It's just... stressful. When I was packing up to leave Smith in May, I was so angry at all the boxes filled with little things, things, things.

I have such a hard time getting rid of it all.

Have I bought anything new in the past six months? Indeed I have. I still enjoy shopping. Yet, there is a reason for everything I buy. That's not an excuse, just a semi-explanation... There's room for improvement, but there's also a lot to be proud of. I used to buy so much more than I do now. I never thought 'do I need this?' or 'will this add anything to my wardrobe?' or 'will this go with anything I own?' I was close to buying a black bikini top the other day and I just couldn't justify it. It made me angry for wanting it, angry for not being able to get it but now I'm happy because I know I didn't need it.

"to need" is used so freely these days. "I need shoes" I said to my mom last week, so we went off to look for a new pair. I bought a pretty pair of summer shoes that will go with a lot of my clothes. But in reality, I did not need them. All you need is to have something on your feet so you don't leave the house barefoot. Just like none of us need more than two pairs of pants and two or three tops.

Let's imagine that life... I get up, I have a pair of black jeans, a pair of blue jeans and some cotton shorts. I have a black button down top, a green tank top and a white t-shirt. I have some sandals, some rain boots and some sneakers. It's a summer day, it's an easy choice. I put on one of the three pairs of underwear I own and one of the three bras I own. I brush my hair, put on some mascara and blush and some lipstick. I don't need chap-stick because I use coconut oil. I have class so I need my big bag which fits my computer. I take one notebook and one pen. When I get home at night, I change into a nightgown and wash the shirt and the underwear so they're dry the next day or the day after. I take a shower and use the coconut oil as body lotion. It's natural and it smells nice. There's little clutter because I own few possessions. There's a lot of space and the room is peaceful.

Now in the real world, I'm nothing like that. I'm not trying to tell you that I'm some great minimalist that knows more than you or has succeeded in some way. This is my own journey; a journey I'm happy to be taking. I share my thoughts to understand myself better and to encourage others to change if they wish to do so. If anything, to incite some thoughts about minimalism, some kind of conversation, some self-reflection in everyone.

As far as jeans go... I have two black, three blue, one red, one yellow, one purple, one beige. That's almost ten pairs of jeans. And the funny thing is I can't get rid of them. I use this pair all the time. On a fat day or a normal day, they seem to always fit. So what now? Use them until they're so used, I have to throw them away, I guess.

As long as you use something, there's no need to get rid of it.

The best thing about having less and washing clothes at night is that you rarely have to do laundry. I use to think it was so cool I had so much that I could go without doing laundry for a long time. But every time I did do laundry, it took forever. For a bit, I started to wash my underwear, socks and tops in the evenings. I didn't always remember or have time, but I will definitely remind myself to do so when I get back to Smith in September.

It's going to be a great semester. I've already brought so many things back to Paris, that I won't have that much with me this semester – my last semester. I feel like every time I leave Smith, I've made some kind of breakthrough. Here's to becoming a minimalist. At a slow pace, at any pace. Vx

Q: What are the benefits of minimalism?

A: There are many. It’s lower in stress. It’s less expensive and less debt. It’s less cleaning and maintaining. It’s more enjoyable. There’s more room for creating, for loved ones, for peace, for doing the things that give you joy. There’s more time for getting healthy. It’s more sustainable. It’s easier to organize. These are only the start. [LINK]

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” - Lao Tzu

July 20, 2014


IMG_0112 Heya everyone! Well, if it isn't another Sunday Links type post... it's been a while, eh? Let's never count on me to be that consistent with series on the blog... m'kay? Great! Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. (there's no order to this list)

July 19, 2014


Farm 1 Farm 2

I'm back from my week long trip to Tayrona National Park and Cartagena with my mom. Back in Cali. It's funny though – I posted that on Facebook and people asked me what I was doing in California... No, no, no, Cali, as in the city in Colombia where my family lives! haha

There are roughtly three billion pictures I have to go through and edit but here is a first batch of pictures from Colombia! We have a farm up in the mountains. It's truly a wonderful place, it's paradise and I absolutely love going there. There landscape is spectacular and everyone who has ever visited has wanted to stay forever. Well, until you're tired of the icy cold water in the shower and the spiders and the mosquitoes that are stronger than the repellent you spray on yourself every two minutes. But I love it there. Here are some pictures of me and my family and the dogs and the farm. Much love, Vx

Farm 3 Farm 4 Farm 5 Farm 6 Farm 7 Farm 8 Farm 9 Farm 10 Farm 11 Farm 12 Farm 13 Farm 14

July 17, 2014


for blog - VCD

1. Start small 

Don't try to run 30km the first day. Start small. If you're like me and you really dislike running then go for a short run and then do a lot of walking as well. Try to remind yourself why you're doing it. Running feels like torture (to me) but when I'm really anxious, I just know that the exercise is going to help me feel better and look better so I keep going.

2. create your own 'health/fitness' Pinterest board 

My fitness board is full of workouts that I refer to very often! I also have some nice quotes to keep me motivated like the one above. I think it's a great reminder to stay calm and focused. 

3. stay zen

Try to incorporate a little yoga, meditation or just simple quiet stretching. Just for a moment, forget everything around you and take some nice deep breaths. Anxiety can be terrible and I'm definitely an emotional eater. Find other ways to soothe yourself.

4. be patient

You're probably not going to lose a very noticeable amount of weight each day but don't give up! Eating well and exercising = worth it. Trust me. I just got back from a work out and I feel so energized and good.

5. smile

Stay positive and don't forget to smile. You've decided to make a change, stick with it, you're halfway there already. There's a reason to smile! 

6. do something every day

They say we should exercise at least 3 times a week but try to do little things every day as well: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk after dinner, remembering to drink 8 glasses of water during the day, getting on the floor and doing a 1 minute plank at random times during the day, listening to Shakira and dancing your ass off for 10 minutes!

July 11, 2014


Valentina Duracinsky Colombia
I apologize, I know I said I wouldn't but I kind of need to. I've been a crappy blogger. I'm currently visiting my mom (and the whole extended family) in Colombia and I haven't been spending that much time online. But that's just been the last two weeks. I've been inconsistent and unresponsive for months and months. I don't like spending time on the computer (which is a great quality for a blogger, I know) and when I do, I'm never productive. So all these blog posts I have in mind never get done. Some only have a title, some an idea, some are 1/2 written, some only have the pictures. I get excited about them but then get sidetracked, distracted. I'm almost impressed at the time I can waste online. I leave tomorrow for a little trip where I probably won't have internet or time to post so here's to catching up in a little while. Vx

July 5, 2014


Chez Libanais Paris 1

Another place in the VIe arrondissement... I admit, I probably use "Odeon" more than any other metro stop in Paris. There's so much to do and to see and to drink and to eat around there!! My friend Nikki who used to work at The Moose as well told me about this place. Let's be honest, whenever I go to a lebanese restaurant I order a shawarma viande with extra cornichons et sauce taratore to go. Always. It's one of my favorite things to eat ever. There are two places I go to the most in Paris. The other was close to my high school. I was hoping to become a regular so they would greet me the way regulars are greeted. I love the idea of being a regular some place... But then high school ended and I had little reason to walk around the area anymore. Chez le Libanais is small and there's usually a line but it's worth the wait. Decent prices and delicious shawarma. I'll go anytime, lunch or dinner; some people think it's the perfect place to go to late at night after one too many drinks. Whatever works for you... Highly recommend it. Above you can see that they were nice enough to give me extra taratore sauce in a cup! Also please enjoy this adorable picture of Kady enjoying her lunch from Chez le Libanais. Vx

Chez le Libanais • 35 rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris

Chez Libanais Paris

July 3, 2014


Semilla 1 Semilla 2 Semilla 3 Semilla 4 Semilla 5
The other night my dad and I went to Semilla, a restaurant that my friend Rozena told me about many moons ago. I'd been wanting to go for the longest time. The reviews are good and the prices are pretty high. We don't tend to go to very fancy places but damn it, I really wanted to try this one! 

As a starter I ordered the pollock ceviche and my dad ordered the feta salad. Both were really good. The portions are small though, so be warned. This is not America. Then I got the half portion of lamb and my dad went for the half portion of red tuna. Red wine for me, white wine for him. I wasn't sure which wine I wanted and the waiter was very nice and came with two choices and had me try them and choose which one I wanted! Also, it's pretty cool that you can order half portions. I never would have been able to order dessert had I gotten the full portion of lamb. My dad didn't order dessert but I sure did. The choux with a caramel au beurre salé center and a light and creamy chantilly. So good! 

Now comes the incredible part. A table of three American ladies and their two young girls were at the table next to us. They enjoyed three bottles of wine, many side dishes and many desserts. They were loud and having fun. Good for them! What a fun night it must have been. At the end, one of the ladies turned to me with the wine and said "I saw you were drinking red. We can't finish this! Would you like another glass?" I was stunned by the unusual offer but who was I to refuse. It was a good bottle of wine too. We joked around with them a bit, especially when the bill for 390 euros came and we said "uuuuuuuh, waiter, I think you gave us their bill!" Laughter, laughter. He was very kind and came back with our 80 euro bill. Pretty darn expensive but again, not something we do every day. Especially seeing as last time we went out for dinner we ate beef shawarma and those are 5 euro each (and heavenly). But you gotta follow Tom and Dona's advice sometimes and treat yo self. We got up to pay but the waiter said "No, no, it's taken care of." More confused faces. "What do you mean?" "The ladies next to you are buying you dinner tonight." He'd already accepted the card and put it through and we stood there. I was smiling like a crazy person because that's one of the craziest and nicest things to ever happen! I don't think I'll forget that. It's insane. And amazing. What a night. If you're in Paris, Semilla is a good place to try for a nice evening. I think it can be casual, family friendly and romantic. Whatever you want it to be. Vx

Semilla • 54 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris 

Semilla 6

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