A Year in Perspective

This time exactly a year ago I was living out the adventure of a lifetime in Madrid, Spain. I had been living and going to school there for a little over a week and had just begun to memorize the metro lines and the many neighborhoods as well as the important places in the bustling city. My mediocre spanish and blond hair (not common in Madrid) made me stick out at first, but after a while people began to think I was actually a Madrileña, or someone who lives in the city. They would ask me for directions (in español) and where they should go and eat tapas or have a drink. Having grown up near LA in a city that relies heavily on driving, it was refreshing to use walking as a form of transportation and have more regular human interaction with strangers.

Fast forward to now, I have just moved home to Ventura from LA for the summer, and am working several jobs and am constantly nostalgic about returning back to Spain. I’m not sure if it’s just the idea of living there, or how happy I was, or the friends I had but I miss it so much. This is so cliche and cheesy, but I truly feel like I left a part of my heart there. There’s something that Los Angeles lacks as a city in being very unconnected and filled with people who are not from here and don’t consider it their home (although I’m a hypocrite since I’m not from Spain).

Although Spain was the obvious highlight of the past year, I think of all the large (and small) things I accomplished since leaving for that trip; I learned conversational spanish (and a bit of Catalan), I made many close friends from all over the United States and world, I learned what it was like to be part of a big Spanish family thanks to Laura Roca, I brought some Dutch friends home to experience a true American Thanksgiving, I started at a new university and got on the Dean’s list, I did an internship, I moved (twice), I traveled to 3 new countries and about 13 new states, I experienced partying in New Orleans, and LONG car rides, I finally turned 21, attended a big fashion trade show, got back into blogging, I learned how to take a decent photograph, I made a lot of great professional connections, started roller blading and that’s about all I can think of at the moment…

Here’s a taste of the past year

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From one of my first days in Madrid

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Outside Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid

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Toledo, Spain

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Cadaqués, Spain

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La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, Paris

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Me with some famous Ladurée macaroons, Paris

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The Louvre, Paris

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LA Fashion Week, Los Angeles

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Las Vegas, Nevada for WWD Magic

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The Dutch girls and I in Ventura for Thanksgiving

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Charleston, South Carolina

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New Orleans, Louisiana

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Nashville, Tennessee

From all these great experiences this year, I learned that I want different things out of life than I originally thought I might have in the past. Human interaction and experiences are what makes your life rich and full, not necessarily what you do or where you go. Also, sometimes living in the moment in where you are is what is most important. I know that’s a cliché that you hear time and time again, but I’ve realized it’s true. So in this new chapter, I hope to live more like that and take things as they come…

What are you guys hoping to accomplish this year?

Thanks for reading,

Aly xx

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Spring Break Road Trip 2014

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go on the Spring Break trip of a lifetime with 3 other girls! They go to school in Oklahoma and my long-time friend Jessica engineered the idea that we go on a road trip through all the southern states for this year’s spring break. I flew from Los Angeles and met them in Dallas, Texas where we started our trip. After that we traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile (and Troy) Alabama; Destin, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Charleston (and Myrtle Beach), South Carolina; Nashville (and Memphis) Tennessee; and finally Oklahoma. We also traveled through North Carolina and Arkansas. I touched three oceans in one week, which I thought was pretty cool (Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic). In total we drove for about 60 hours over the course of about 3500 miles! I will never complain about a long car ride again! haha

Although we were in each place for a fairly brief amount of time, we had just enough time to sample everywhere and figure out where we want to return to in the future. For me  would have to say my favorites were New Orleans and Charleston. Here are some photos I took on the trip with my iPhone 5c and Canon rebel T5i.

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Backyard Exploration

As I continue to miss Europe each day that it grows farther away from me (sorry I’m dramatic), I try to find ways to entertain myself in the beautiful city of Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, this city is amazing and has SO much to offer but since I’ve spent a majority of my life here, I need to find things that are new and exciting. Au contraire to most, I enjoy change and the challenge of trying new things. I’m not afraid of putting myself out there because what is the point of being alive if you’re not truly living?

Yesterday I decided to make a solo exploration to Downtown to a bookstore recommended by many of my friends and I’m so glad I did! I like to explore alone because I feel that I open up my senses more, I hear and see things I wouldn’t observe if someone was with me and sometimes you just need some alone time. On that note, I entered THE LAST BOOKSTORE with hopes of finding some great books on art history (one of my passions) and whaddayanoo I found a plethora of treasures on everything from Gothic Architecture to Surrealism. I was in HEAVEN. I was hoping to find a book on Salvador Dalí whom I find to be incredibly intriguing and spent most of this past summer studying and seeing his works first hand. Fortunately I was able to find a compilation on surrealism describing the movement in its entirety as well as an overview of Picasso (Dalí’s predecessor and somewhat mentor).

After finding and skimming thru many amazing books I decided to take a peek around the store itself. It is decorated in a sense to make you feel as though you’re in an old library but it has been revamped with modern twists. The worn-in comfy leather chairs are a contrast to the Harry Potter-esque books literally flying off the walls towards you. If you walk upstairs you find several artists’ studios and shelves upon shelves of books. I spent about 2 hours there but I could easily see someone spending nearly the entire day searching through classic literature, old records, books on language and more!

I highly recommend to plan a visit if you haven’t been before!

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A quote for Monday. Have a great week.

xx Aly

Cadaqués: A Hidden Treasure

While in Spain, I stayed with my friend friend Laura Roca of ROCAVENEN as I mentioned before. She invited me on the final weekend of me staying there to meet up with her family in the town called Cadaqués located in the provence of Girona on the Mediterranean Sea. The town is about a three hour drive from Barcelona around a mountain with sheer cliffs making it slightly difficult for people to get to (this journey also weeds out a lot of tourists there).

I not only wanted to visit the town of Cadaqués because I had heard of its amazing beauty, but I also knew that the artist Salvador Dalí, had a residence there for most of his life. I have studied him a lot and know that the unique beauty of Cadaqués inspired much of if not all of his artwork.

Here are a few snaps taken in the hidden and perfectly tranquil paradise of Cadaqués.

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Laura took this of me on a perfect day wearing traditional shoes from Catalonia, they cost 8 EURO.

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The main playa in Cadaqués.

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The views are incredible there. I don’t think you can take a bad photo.

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This photo doesn’t even do justice to the stark contrast between the bright white walls and vibrant flowers.

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Salvador Dalí’s house and personal cove on the back side of Cadaqués called Port Lligat.

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Backside of Dalí’s house surrounded by olive trees.

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Let’s just day it was REALLY hard to leave…

Besos,

xx Aly

A New Chapter

WOW! What a crazy past few months it has been! Unfortunately, when I was in Spain I was too busy truly living the adventure to keep up my blog. (I apologize) but, I can certainly now share the wonderful photos and moments I was able to capture while on my life-chaning experience abroad.

While there I stayed mostly in Madrid, España where I attended Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. I also had the chance to explore Valencia, Granada, Toledo, Segovia, Barcelona, Cadaqués and Girona (all cities in Spain). I also visited Porto, Portugal and of course, Paris, France!

In the last two weeks of my trip I had the INCREDIBLE opportunity to stay with my dear friend Laura Roca of ROCAVENEN (who I met through blogging) and her extremely gracious and welcoming family in Barcelona. Learning to live like a true Spaniard and feel like I was part of the family was an invaluable experience and easily the best part of my trip!

I got back from my trip a month ago today just in time to start school at Woodbury University in Burbank, California. I am studying Fashion Marketing and Communications and couldn’t be happier. I see starting back in LA again is a new experience and adventure (it’s not a bad place to call home). Although, I do miss España TERRIBLY. I love LA (my first home) but my heart is back in España.

Aquí están fotos de mi viaje a Europa! Gracias para visitas mi blog!

(Here are photos from my trip to Europe! Thank you for visiting my blog!)

*Please note all these photos were taken by me unless otherwise specified

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Madrid, outside the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia where the amazing

Salvador Dalí exhibit was on display.

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My friends walking in Retiro Park, one of our favorite places in Madrid.

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 Banco de España, one of the busiest places in Madrid.

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The incredible ancient city of Toledo (one hour outside of Madrid).

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Me enjoying a sweet sip in Barcelona by la playa.

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Amigas enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean Sea in Valencia.

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And for the finale… The Eiffel Tower…

Until we meet again… Besos

XOXO Aly

 

¡Viva España!

¡Hola! 

Tomorrow I embark on a journey of a lifetime to Madrid, Spain. I will be studying art, spanish and photojournalism for the whole summer! I am also lucky enough to visit my friend Laura en Barcelona after my program is over! Check out her blog here about travel rocavenen.blogspot.com

Follow my blog here as I try to keep it as updated as possible about my endeavors abroad! 

xx Aly 

Spain 2013

Hello everyone,

Unfortunately, I have been neglecting my blog for the past few months due to being extremely busy with school, work, etcetera. However, I am very excited to announce that  I will be studying for the summer in Madrid, Spain.  I will be taking classes in art history, photo journalism, and of course Spanish!

I am hoping that this trip revives my love of blogging and I can share some of my experiences with all of you here. I just purchased a great new digital camera (Canon Rebel T5i) that I plan to take with me so I can properly blog fashion, food, site seeing and much more!

I leave in a little less than a month so stay updated for photos and fun!

xx Aly