October 31, 2015


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Here are some photos from Instagram taken over the summer. Many good memories and many great people. Blue shoes I had never worn bought in Barcelona, living in my closet, asking "Wheeeen are we going to get worn?" finally being worn for Genya's last night in Paris. I have a closet full of shoes, but I still manage to feel like I don't have any most of the time. I have four or five pairs that I wear too often, so I get scared that I'll wear them out. I try to rotate, but some shoes are for fancy occasions, not every day wear. When I was working as a waitress, I really didn't need any of my shoes because I didn't want to get them dirty. I bought a cheap pair of black sneakers at Decathlon and wore them to work every day. There is a certain peace of mind that comes with wearing a uniform. Not that I did for work, but at least I didn't have to give any thought to the shoes I would be wearing. 

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When I lived in Spain as a child, I did have a uniform. I remember looking up to the twelve or thirteen year olds who no longer wore uniforms. They seemed like the most sophisticated, educated adults ever. Boy, everything seems different once you're older. I don't remember my thoughts about wearing a uniform (I'll have to ask my mom) but I remember wanting to be their age so I could wear my own clothes, so... I guess I wasn't a fan? 

Today, I've read posts and even entire blogs about people who wear uniforms to work every day. This one girl looked for the perfect shirt and perfect pair of pants, bought four or five of each, and wore that outfit to work every day. Apparently some of the most successful people wear the same thing every single day (did the first person you think of wear a black turtleneck? yep) Then there is the capsule wardrobe movement. And the minimalist movement. This girl had a blog called un-fancy in which she posts pictures of her capsule wardrobe outfits. And it's great!

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Last year, I definitely had myself a little make-up bag clean-up party and what resulted in the most minimalist of make-up bags – and I love it. I never think about my make-up. Now I want to be able to have that good of a clean-up party with my wardrobe. What I like about the capsule wardrobe is that you don't have to get rid of all your clothes, you can just rotate. How I would love to be like Leo and own, like, two shirts and two pairs of jeans and call it a day, but I have a lot of things I love to wear, and I'm not making that drastic a change quite yet. But the idea of picking 30 to 40 items that aaaaall work with each other, and the idea that you don't have to think about what you're going to wear every morning for three hours... I like that, I like that a lot. In a way, I had a capsule closet for a month in Colombia! haha. I don't have too many clothes there. I probably have 40 items. (I'm in!) 

In this Becoming a Minimalist article, the first reason for a minimalist, capsule wardrobe is to end decision fatigue. Yes! I can't do this anymore. I can't put so much thought and effort into what I'm going to wear, what I'm going to eat (more on capsule kitchen in the future haha), I want to focus on music, on work, on travel, on everything that actually matters. 

Look for more thoughts like these in "minimalism" tab... Any good articles or blogs or books out there you can recommend? 

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October 29, 2015


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I was quite adventurous with breakfast the first half of this year. I didn't work until the evenings most of the time, and could take my time preparing different things, making them beautiful, taking photos. But now I'm a bit more boring when it comes to breakfast. This weekend I had homemade hojadra with eggs and cheese from the farm... at the farm. (I would spend all my weekends at the farm if I could.) Before the gym, I had a protein bar. Before our hike, I had a protein shake. There's beautiful food, and nourishing food. It's great when they're both, but I realize it's much more important when it's the second. Food that keeps me full for everything I want to do. Live, live, live an exciting life. Travel. Breathe. Sleep. Food that is not an obsession over what colors go well together, or over what angle and light it looks best. 

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Have you heard of the slow food movement? I listen to loads of podcasts and interviews about it. You should check it out. I want to slow down. Enjoy what I have. Sometimes I make something so good that I want seconds. I have that problem often, actually. And I finish so quickly that I don't feel full yet. Whenever something is delicious, I want more, even when I'm not hungry anymore. I remember my peanut butter and jelly on toast phase earlier this year. Or my oatmeal phase. Or my fig obsession (still an obsession!). Eating more boring food (unfortunately) is a good way to make myself listen to my stomach. I eat it, and then don't think about it. I'm full. It was nourishing. It did its job well. Thank you, food! ;)

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top to bottom: granola with roasted banana • different rice cracker toppings & half a grapefruit • scrambled eggs with ham, tomatoes, lettuce & slice of homemade life-changing bread with PB&J • oatmeal with turmeric & figs • PB&J on half english muffin, egg white with ham and cucumber, mango • english muffin with cheese, cucumber, salmon and homemade tzatziki-like sauce • homemade granola with mango, figs, pumpkin seeds • scrambled egg whites with avocado, kale, tomato & fresh fig 

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October 27, 2015


Coffee :: Sylvan Esso

This song has been stuck in my head for weeks now! I love it so much. It's beautiful and intense and simple. I first heard about it on Song Exploder, one of my new favorite podcasts. Then Kady arrived and told me about another song of theirs, which turned out to be equally great. I have only listened to two Sylvan Esso songs but I really need to listen to a few more songs because they are a-mazing. I also can't wait to check out more of singer Amelia's Mountain Man work. 

October 20, 2015


ValentinaD Dublin Outfit 1

I loved taking these pictures with Emma while I was in Dublin in September. I forget how fun it can be to model. Emma was such a lovely person to work with, too. When I go to Dublin next month, the weather probably won't allow such pictures to be taken. I'll have to wear a feeeew more layers. Oh dear, I don't know how I will transition back to Europe's cold weather after being in Colombia for a month, and leaving right before it got chilly over there!

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Speaking of transition, my visits to Dublin are so different than they were even two years ago. I knew people back then, but not as much as I do today. I would stay for a weekend, maybe a little bit longer and would do things with a tourist's eye most of the time. Today I walk around Dublin and hardly get lost – but I am lucky, I have a pretty wicked sense of direction anyway ;) I know more than the way to the Fumbally, too, eh! As per usual, I know zero street names (well, maybe three: Dara's street, Stevie's street and Fumbally lane) so I can't quite find my way around in thaaat sense. But if you tell me "Meet me at Grogan's" or "See you at [insert cafe name]" I'll get there with no problem most of the time! It happened slowly in Paris, but Dublin is so small, it's just easier to get around. 

I'm meeting more people, and they are amazing. Incredible people that start their own magazine, or bake amazing cakes, or make beautiful art (and more beautiful art). People who make me want to do everything. To say yes to every opportunity! Music and art and dance and writing and cooking and whatever might sound fun. To work with talented people and be creative and have fun. 

There's something about Dublin. There's also something about Paris, and Boston, and Northampton, and every other city I've visited or lived in. There's always that special something. You can't always put your finger on what it is that makes a certain place special to you. Nobody understands why you feel comfortable and whole in one place more than another. I don't know myself. But there's something about Dublin that makes me feel good. 

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top: Uniqlo • necklace c/o Chandler the Robot • bag: Madewell • skirt: thrifted • boots: André

October 13, 2015


I finally met one of Dara's closest friends, Cormac Breslin, while I was over in Dublin in September. He goes by CC Brez in the music world. He drinks craft beer and is as nice as could be and plays the guitar like a boss. He came over once to see what we could add to one of my own songs, and I hope that next month we'll be able to do a video with Luke as well! Check him out on Facebook here. He used to be in another Irish band, and now is doing his own thing.

I adore this song. It's so catchy and funky and fun. I love the tune, the guitar playing, the weird voices, and for some reason I love watching the drummer play! (maybe that has to do with watching Whiplash with Stevie?) Mogerley did a wicked amazing job with the video too. I hope you like it as much as I do!

October 12, 2015


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top: Uniqlo • skirt & bag: Madewell • tights: Danskin • boots: André • necklace c/o Junam

Don't you love finding an item you know you will wear again and again? Every single piece I'm wearing in this post is like that. They are all my "go-to" items. The skirt and bag are new, I only got them in the past two months, but everything else in my outfit I've worn again and again and again for over a year. 

The necklace. Junam Jewelry on Etsy. She was kind enough to send me this necklace, and it quickly became a favorite. I love classic gold that I can wear with most things. I tend to go through necklace phases. And if I go traveling, I usually take two or three necklaces and I realize that's all I ever need! Alas, getting rid of jewelry has not been easy. This piece is a keeper!

The shirt. Uniqlo. Uniqlo is a wonderful place to get basics. I was looking for the perfect, simple black shirt and after a long (long!) search, I stumbled upon this classic piece at Uniqlo. As I've said before, I'm tired of buying crappy clothes. I want things that I can wear often, that are GOOD QUALITY, and that are classic. I don't mind spending a little extra for something that will last, but Uniqlo still has excellent prices! I just got a pair of jeans and a cashmere sweater from Uniqlo that I am so in love with. It's a magical place!

Madewell skirt and bag. Oh Madewell, all the love in the world for Madewell! I know I've talked a lot about this brand in the past few months. Especially since I dedicated a whole post to my new bag last week. What can I say? Madewell is amazing. I can't wait to travel to the US so I can visit one of their stores... (items I'm loving: chambray shirt / jumpsuit / boots)

Danskin tights. When I started ballet at Smith, I bought two leotards, a few pink and black tights, Repetto ballet slippers, a skirt, and a shrug. It's hard to find an excuse to wear the sheer skirt and the slippers, but I have bought four more pairs of black tights since then because I have been converted! Ballet tights are the best. You can find some for 10 dollars, and some for 30 dollars. I had always been the one to buy cheap tights – 3 euro tights and such, because tights never last, so why spend money on them? These do last. I spend around 15 dollars a pair, and I've yet to get a hole in any of them. Even after dancing! Now I wear them all the time. Highly recommend ballet tights. 

Andre boots. I remember getting these. I remember they were classic and simple and exactly what I wanted, and I remember wearing them the first few times and thinking I had made a mistake because my feet hurt a lot. Luckily, I was able to break them in quickly, and they have become my go-to travel boots. I've worn them so much I actually need to go get the inside fixed because my heel wore the back of the boot! I love them, I love them, I love them.

Worn in Dublin // 04 Valentina Duracinsky

October 10, 2015


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France! Ireland! Italy! All the countries featured here today...

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"Lately" here is used the way my mother uses the phrase "the other day". Yesterday (as in yesterday) she said, "the other day I [insert activity here]" and when I asked when this was she said January. Some of these pictures date back to June, and we are already in October. As of late, time is going by too quickly and "lately" now encompasses last week and last year. I am becoming my mother. 

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It's almost strange going through these pictures again because so much has happened since each one was taken that it seems like a lifetime ago, but some are only from last month. The fresh mozzarella and homegrown tomatoes were eaten in Italy only two months ago. I still remember being on the barge with Stevie in August like it was yesterday. 

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Photos in order: Sinead and her bike after my birthday dinner • new bathing suit • joined the gym in July! • beautiful sky in Italy • swan in Ireland while on a barge with stevie • stairs to the metro in Paris • reading Guts on the metro • unbelievably good mozzarella in Italy • Lauren left! nooo • looking for an electric guitar in Paris • my guitar and some flowers my mother sent for my bday! • barge. barge. barge.  

October 8, 2015


Valentina Paris Bored 1

Today I thought I'd share a little Paris guide of a few things you can do when you have no money. That would be me at this time. With an intense love of travel, I need to save up, and I can't afford to go for coffee or lunch or drinks or dinner (etc) every day. Paris is an expensive city. Traveling back and forth to the US, to Dublin, to Colombia has definitely shown me how expensive it is. Sometimes I just get lazy and stay at home because it's so much cheaper than going out... but you get cabin fever that way. Binge watching a TV show is fun from time to time, but it gets old really quickly. 

Paris is big and you usually have to take the metro. Personally, I always need to take the metro to get into Paris. One ticket is 1.80€ or and the monthly navigo is 70€. Once you take that into account, you try to walk way more and try to skimp on other things like food... or fun. But it's such a shame! We don't have to be miserable at home because we have no money. Here are a few ideas on things to do! 

1. picnic in the park or by the Seine

There are so many parks and so many places by the Seine where you can sit for a picnic! My high school was near Parc Monceau, so that's where loads of us would go for lunch. It's a gorgeous little park. For my birthday, we went to Tuilleries (read here), but there are many others depending on which area you are in. Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower), Quai de la Tournelle (Notre Dame), place des Vosges (Marais), square du vert galant (Pont Neuf), Buttes-Chaumont (northeast), Bois de Boulogne (west)...

2. walk along the canal St Martin (aaaand picnic)

I haven't spent enough time walking around that area. I've only gone to the canal a handful times in the past few years. Insanity! It's very lively and lovely and full of young people. If you walk long enough, you'll see many different sides of Paris. Once again, this is another place to have a nice picnic. Two-for-one deal.

3. visit free exhibitions and galleries

This is Paris. There are loads of museums and loads of places to see art. There are free galleries and exhibitions all over, during the entire year. All you need to do is a bit of research, and be on your way! PLUS: On the first Sunday of every month, many museums are free! (careful, lines can be very long on those days.)

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4. go to open mics

There are many open mics around Paris, some better than others. If you want to go out for a cheap happy hour priced drink with friends (or alone) and enjoy some music/poetry and fun, I can help you. Mondays: Oz Bar in the 13th or Galway in the 6th. Tuesdays: Oz Bar in the 9th. Wednesdays: The Highlander in the 6th. 

5. on Tuesdays and Fridays, go to Belleville market

Maybe try to plan your picnic at canal St Martin on one of those days... The Belleville market is insane, full of people, hard to walk through, but so amazing. Prices! oh the prices! And the beautiful fruit and vegetables... Finally mangos that aren't a million euro a piece! Finally avocados I can afford. So many good deals. I once got four cucumbers for ONE euro. Now, I don't know if you need four cucumbers on your picnic... but it's a great deal. 

6. go to cemeteries

I've yet to visit Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise. I'm sorry Jim, I am. It's been on my to-do list for ages now. I ever read about Patti Smith visiting cemeteries in Just Kids last month, and here I am in Paris, 12 years and not one cemetery. But they are free, and they are spooky attractions apparently, so why not? 

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7. get a cool view of the city

Enter Galeries LaFayette near Saint Lazare (lines 3, 12, 13, 14), Chaussé d'Antin La Fayette (line 7, 9) or Opéra (line 3, 7, 8). Buy nothing because you're broke. Go up seven or so floors. You're on top of the woooorld. It's quite a lovely view, I have to say. I went there once this summer. There were places to sit, even vendors where you could buy street food. Roof top food, really. I bought nothing, but I sat on the fake grass and wrote for a while. I bet you can even bring a sandwich and have a picnic here... so many places for picnics in Paris! 

8. walk down La Promenade Plantée

My friend Kady told me about this one. She loves plants so I guess that's why this appealed to her most of all? It's for everyone, of all ages. It takes you 4.5km from Bastille to Bois de Vincennes, and is elevated in certain sections so you get some lovely views of Paris. I can't wait for Kady to be back – this is the first thing we will do. It's Paris, expect long (beautiful) walks!

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9. discover Paris! Walk around, see monuments, admire the architecture

Honestly, this is what I do most of the time. Just walk. Why wouldn't you? Paris is beautiful, and every neighborhood is unique. I loved getting to know the 13th with Rozena and Ari on two different occasions. I know the 6th oh so well, and the Marais even better. My favorite thing is to piece all the different arrondissements together. Paris used to be just four different chunks 

10. make a reservation at a restaurant through La Fourchette

You probably want to eat out from time to time. I eat out way more these days than I did as a teenager. But I've been trying to cut back because it can be quite expensive. If you join La Fourchette, you can some really great deals. My mom and I once went to a pretty fancy restaurant where I had a lobster avocado sandwich (I still dream of going back) and we had a 40 or 50% discount, so while it was still pricier than usual (we did get a bottle of rosé though), we saved a bunch and enjoyed an amazing dinner!

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October 6, 2015


When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago, I helped my friends Luke and Eithne with the making of this video... I held a speaker. But they said they couldn't have done it without me!! ;) We probably listened to the song 10 times on a row. Thank god it's so lovely. 

Luke did a great job with this and I really hope you enjoy it. God, watching it is bringing back memories of being very cold waist-deep in the ocean haha. Eithne goes by Inni-K in the music world, and you can find her on Facebook here or check out a few other videos like Myles' video here. Cheers!

October 5, 2015


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First installment of a new series called "Bags & Beer"... no, just kidding. I don't think I will do that. But I did want to share some new things I love. 

First let's talk about this bitchin' Madewell bag (I've never called anything 'bitchin' before... I never will again.) This is THE bag. I got it the day before I left for Ireland, and I used it every day there because it is the perfect size. The other Madewell bag I have is this one in the mini size. It was my favorite bag until I got the Glasgow satchel. The quality of the leather is top notch. The bag is sturdy and holds everything you could need in a day, but it's still pretty soft. There are handles as well as a great shoulder strap. If you're looking for a new bag, I recommend you take a look at what Madewell has to offer. And I'm definitely not being paid to say this. (Or anything. Will someone pay me?)

Some other Madewell items I love: shoes / sweater / booties / shirt / jumpsuit / dress

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The second part in this "Bags & Beer" post is beeeeeeer! Stevie introduced me to some great beer when I was over in Ireland. We drank Brewdog Punk IPA on several occasions and it's a pretty great beer. The revelation was Hardcore IPA though. A beer of 9.2% made me think it would be similar to the beers in Belgium that are way too sweet and I just don't like. This one was insanely good. "Citrusy. Resinous. Intense." is how the website describes it. I'm not good at describing beer or wine so I'll leave it to what they said. Brewdog is a relatively new Scottish brewery and while the price is a bit high, their beer is damn delicious. Try it out! Especially Hardcore IPA. 

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