Flawless festival style tips

In my opinion, no summer vacation is complete without a music festival. This year, I decided to go to one of my absolute favorites, Global Dance Festival, an electronic music festival at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I’ve been to this festival four times now, and I must say this one not only had the best music (Seven Lions, please call me if you’re ever single) but also my best dressed festival to date. Granted, the last time I went was two years ago, but when I’m lucky enough to stumble upon the photos of my high school days, I can’t help but cringe. I’ll spare you the gruesome details and the even more offensive photos, but hey, at least I finally got it together.

Night One

global 1(Free People top, high-waisted shorts, gold arm cuff, best friend with a great hair do)

For the first night of Global, I was at a little bit of loss for what to wear because I felt so out of practice with festival dressing. But after a recent trip to Nordstrom Rack, I had been waiting for the perfect occasion to wear my new Free People shirt. Feeling a little Grecian inspiration from this flowy frock, I added in a gold arm band, a few rings and left my hair wavy. When it comes to dressing up, I always like to follow one rule. If one item is loose, keep the other one tight. For example, with a shirt like this I made sure to choose a tight pair of shorts to avoid looking sloppy. Note: this rule doesn’t apply if you’re going for purposefully over-sized look.

Night Two

The second night fell victim to a late start, and therefore no time to take a cute picture. I wore a striped, over-sized tank, burgundy shorts and a rainbow choker that some kind stranger gave me on the first night. Because I don’t have a picture for you, here’s a shot of the beautiful venue.

FullSizeRenderRed Rocks, you never cease to amaze me.

Night Three

global2(Forever 21 off-the-shoulder top, high-waisted shorts, Steven Madden gladiators)

For the final night of the festival I opted for a floral off-the-shoulder top, black shorts, and my favorite gladiators. Typically, I shy away from patterns any crazier than stripes, although it is something I’m working on, but when I saw this top on sale, I couldn’t help but snag it. I balanced out the vivacious print with the black shorts and sandals. This outfit was hands-down my favorite because it combined a super feminine top with bad-ass shoes. Gotta save the best for last right?

Even though festival season is nearing its end, here’s some last minute inspiration if you have a concert coming up on your calendar.

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When the sun starts to shine

The sun is finally shining in Paris, and my legs are starting to see sunshine for maybe the 5th or 6th time since I’ve been here. The sad thing about that? I’m leaving in two weeks. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be taking full advantage of the few days left that I have with skirts and crop tops (yep, I wore crop tops in the best-dressed city in the world).

IMG_6739As a die-hard crop top fan, you best believe that I brought a few with me on my trip across the pond. The key to wearing crop tops in a classy way is making sure that you match them with something with a nice high waist. This pleated beaut from Forever21 covers my belly button, which in my opinion is an absolute must when you have it pierced liked I do.

FullSizeRenderPretty much all of my friends back in the US have made no effort to hide their disgust toward my New Balances. Well, let me tell you two things. First of all, they are absolutely crucial to making sure your feet don’t fall off when you are walking on average 10 miles per day through the city. Second, 90% of Parisians wear them, so basically you’re the weirdo if you don’t own a pair (not me).

Overall, I cannot believe that my time left in this city is down to only two weeks and leaving is the last thing I want to do. Plus, that means I only have fourteen more days to get as many cute outfit selfies as possible. Wish me luck! (Although in this city, I doubt I’ll need it)

Where’s the beach?

In Barcelona, of course! This weekend, a friend and I made a trip to the incredible city of Barcelona. It was a weekend filled with beautiful architecture, sandy beaches and tapas. Despite bringing back an unforgiving sunburn, this weekend was certainly one of the books.

IMG_6500Walking through the streets of Barca

After traveling to nine different countries this semester, I’ve learned that walking tours are the absolute best way to see a city. They normally knock out pretty much all of the major tourist attractions, and you can almost always find one for free! We visited stunning cathedrals and local hotspots, all while learning a little bit of Catalan history.

11377382_10154435882987837_18612084385331421_nSippin’ sangria during a walking tour pit stop

After our walking tour, we decided to take a trip to the beach. Considering I live in Arizona, it is needless to say that I don’t frequent the beach often. So despite the less-than-desirable winds whipping sand into my eyes, it felt wonderful to lay in the sun after spending the past four months in cold, cloudy Paris.

IMG_6542Fun fact: I didn’t shed a single tear when I got that rib tattoo

IMG_6545Loving the high necklines on swimsuits this season (despite the brutal tan lines)

The beach and the sights were certainly something to be remembered, but ultimately my favorite part about Barcelona was the food. When it comes to dinner time, the Spaniards opt for something a little bit lighter, and it’s called tapas. Tapas consists of a bunch of smaller plates, kind of like appetizers, that are meant for sharing. Ranging from olives to baked potatoes, the Barcelona tapas menus had something to offer for everyone.

IMG_6534Baked, creamy cheese with crusty bread and some marinated artichokes

Call me crazy, but I think the Spanish definitely give the French a run for their money when it comes to culinary talent. After the recommendation of a friend, we visited Brunch and Cake, a breakfast restaurant located in a part of Barcelona that reminded me of Los Angeles. After about two bites into my meal, I completely understand why this restaurant had my friend raving for weeks.

IMG_6508Avocado and greens bagel with mushroom and herb scrambled eggs

After these past few days, it’s clear to see why everyone says that you have to visit Barcelona when you’re in Europe. My weekend getaway left me with a satisfied tummy, a decent tan and a happy heart. The only part that I hate about traveling is only having a few days to try and get to know an entire city. With that being said, I can’t wait to come back to Europe and get to spend even more time in all of the unique places I’ve been fortune enough to get a little taste of this semester.

Hot off the press

Paris is a wonderful city to get inspired. There is art everywhere, ranging from hidden galleries to violinists playing in the metro. This abundance of beauty has inspired me to write about about lesser known, but equally enticing, places in Paris. Let’s begin with La Galcante, a tiny librarie tucked away in the 3rd arrondissement.

FullSizeRenderWhen you first walk in you’re greeted by piles up piles of old magazines, newspapers, books and advertisements. Ranging from WWII era editions of Le Monde to circa 1970 issues of the New Yorker. It’s honestly a bit overwhelming, but nonetheless any history buff or journalist’s dream.

FullSizeRenderBesides the archives that stack all the way up to the ceiling, I’m not really sure if there is any rhyme or reason to how the store is organized. Considering this section held the majority of the women’s fashion magazines, I spent most of my time right here in front of this shelf.

FullSizeRenderThe archives contain anything and everything you could ever hope to read about. We saw boxes with labels including the likes of Madonna, vins (wine), Barack Obama, architecture and homosexuality.

FullSizeRenderThis 1973 issue of Vogue Paris: Special Beauté was my favorite find in the store. Even though we spent about an hour in the store, I still felt like there was too much left undiscovered to commit to a purchase. I plan on returning to La Galcante later on in my semester to buy the perfect artifact to sum up my Parisian experience.

What are some of your favorite hidden gems in Paris? Let me know in the comments!

Easter in Eataly

With spring break just around the corner, I figured it was finally about time that I got to writing about Florence. I was going to try and put it all into one giant post, but after realizing how many beautiful sights I saw and how much delicious food I ate, I decided that it wasn’t possible. So for now, I’m going to save the sightseeing for later and focus on my absolute favorite part of the trip– the food.

For our first meal, we decided on an outdoor cafe just outside of our apartment. Choosing what to eat seemed impossible because I wanted to try everything on the menu. As soon as our waitress came over I faced a moment of panic, and just stuck to what I knew and went for plain ol’ spaghetti pomodoro. It did not disappoint. I’ve never tasted such an amazing marinara sauce in my life, and as an avid tomato-lover I couldn’t have been more pleased with how fresh and flavorful it was.IMG_0041Someone please put this stuff in a bottle because the whole world deserves to try something so delightful.

After relaxing lunch on the terrace, we spent the afternoon exploring the streets of Firenze. After living in Paris for two months, it was so bizarre being in a city where you can walk from one end to the end in less than 45 minutes. Nevertheless we still managed to work up an appetite for dinner. I treated myself to some pesto gnocchi and tiramisu. The gnocchi was soft and buttery and the tiramisu not only had the traditional lady fingers soaked in espresso, but also a little bit of cookie to add some unexpected crunch.

IMG_0074Pesto counts as vegetable, right?

IMG_0075Of the two tiramisus that I tried in Florence, this one definitely took the cake.

Much to our dismay, the next afternoon was filled with nothing but some serious April showers. Lucky for us, a legendary pizzeria was just a few steps away from our door. After running home from the opposite side of town in the pouring rain, we scurried into Gusta Pizza, which served as our light at the of a very wet tunnel. I decided on classic margarita pizza that cost me a whopping 5 euro and had a taste that you can’t put a price on.

IMG_0059I think I’ll marry an Italian man just so I can inherit a family who can make pizza sauce like the one on this bad boy.

When the rain finally stopped we decided to head back out to the city center to visit the Gucci Museo. Right before I arrived in Florence, a high school friend told me that she was studying there for the semester, so we decided to get dinner together after the museum. Now that I had crossed a few Italian classics off my list, it was time to add on another of my favorites– eggplant parmesan. Unlike the fried eggplant parm that we know in the US, this one was layered like lasagna and, obviously, a million times better.

IMG_0057(1)I love you.

After dinner I decided to try myself to one of my new-found favorite desserts– a canoli. I had never tried one before coming to Italy, and I’m so happy that I was with a friend who is such an avid canoli lover, because I don’t know if my life would be the same without trying one.

IMG_5883Call me crazy, but I can’t help taste a hint of powdered donut whenever I eat a canoli.

For our final night in Firenze we decided to try somewhere a little fancier for dinner. Thanks to the our gracious host and his advice, we learned about apertivo, which is where you go out to get a pre-dinner drink to stimulate your appetite, but the best part about it is that it comes with a buffet. We decided on some artsy strawberry daiquiris and a traditional Italian beverage made with presecco and bitters.

IMG_0055The Mango Deck strawberry daquiris have nothing on these.

When I heard that apertivo was just a bunch of appetizers, I wasn’t very excited considering all of the amazing food that Italy has to offer. Much to my delight, this buffet was anything but ordinary. It featured a caprese salad (and let me tell you, you have to try fresh mozzarella in Italy before you die), a broccoli salad, mini focaccia sandwiches, charcuterie, olives and even more cheese. I felt brave and tried octopus, but after realizing it tasted like what my cat’s food smells like, I decided to stick to my veggies.

IMG_0056Overall, I really cannot complain at all about the food that we ate in Italy, but you probably will hear me complaining about how badly I want to go back so I can eat some more ;)

It’s all Gucci

For Easter weekend I took a trip down to the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. The weekend was filled with amazing food, beautiful sights and even an unexpected trip to the Gucci Museo, a three-floor museum dedicated to the legendary Italian designer. This museum featured all facets of the designer’s career and started off off with the 20th century baggage that gave him his start in the fashion world.

IMG_0060IMG_0061IMG_0062After the baggage we worked our way up to the second floor– the clothes. There were incredible evening gowns, including a stunning gold number worn by Blake Lively. There were also daytime dresses, many of which featured the Gucci monogram on the fabric.IMG_0071Day dresses with the Gucci monogram imprinted on the fabric.

IMG_0067Blake Lively’s dress from her 2012 Gucci perfume ad.

IMG_0066IMG_0068Evan Rachel Wood’s stunning gown from the 2012 Golden Globes.

Last but not least was my favorite room of all– handbags. The main focal point was an exhibition of bamboo-handled bags from the past 70 years. The were positioned in an dark room and spotlights took turns illuminating different time periods, ranging from the 1940s to today.

IMG_0072(1)Fun fact: these bamboo handles are made completely by hand and take 13 hours to make.

IMG_0073IMG_0065Other bags independent of the dark room exhibit.

I know I’ve been a little bit off the ball with my blog posts, but check for soon for a full synopsis about my trip to Florence! It’s going to be filled with all the gorgeous sights of Firenze and all of the amazing food I got to eat while I was there too.

Strolling through the cemetery

Now that I’ve crossed the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame off my list of things visit in Paris, I’m starting to work my way through the smaller, lesser known tourist attractions. This past Friday I had some time to kill so I figured what a better way to spend a beautiful day than in a cemetery. I know, I know it sounds morbid, but the Père Lachaise Cemetery was so beautiful I almost forgot that I was wondering amongst the deceased.

FullSizeRenderFollow me up the stairs and let’s begin…FullSizeRender

FullSizeRenderThis giant mausoleum is situated smack dab in the middle of the cemetery. I’m not sure who is buried in here buy I’m assuming their last name starts with “T” and they were probably veryyyy important.

FullSizeRenderAlthough this rest spot was full of beautiful flowers and offered an amazing view of Paris, I did find it a little bizarre to find people eating their lunches in the middle of a giant cemetery. Call me crazy, but the thought of chowing down knowing I’m surrounded by corpses is anything but appetizing.

FullSizeRenderFor Americans, this cemetery is the most known for being home to Jim Morrison’s grave. Considering the huge size of this place and the fact that I’ve never listened to a Doors’ song, I decided to forgo searching for it.

FullSizeRenderAs bizarre as it sounds to go visit a cemetery for recreational purposes, I would definitely recommend visiting this one if you have some free time in Paris.

That’s all for now, but I am heading to Florence, Italy for the weekend for an Easter festival called Scoppio del Carro. Make sure to check back soon for my post about my little weekend getaway to the land of pizza, wine and beautiful men.

Mini cupcakes and a quick trip to South America

When it comes to food, I know what I like. I rarely venture outside my known countries of Italy and Mexico when I sit down for a meal, especially because I’m a vegetarian and I know that meat is a huge part of most cuisine. But the beautiful part about Paris is that I’m 99% sure that it’s impossible to find a pastry that isn’t vegetarian. Along with that, when you live in a city as large as Paris, you can try food from just about any country that you want to.

A cupcake a day…

FullSizeRenderThis mini cupcake from Berko, a little cupcake and cheesecake bakery, served as the perfect afternoon snack. I opted for chocolate peanut butter, but they had every flavor you could ever imagine, including a raspberry one that had the prettiest, most vibrant frosting I’ve ever seen.

Pain au chocolat dans le parc

IMG_5757I know this little pain au chocolat doesn’t look like much, but I think it might be the best one I’ve had since arriving in Paris– and that says a lot because I eat these almost every day. I got it from La Boulangerie des Invalides-Jocteur and enjoyed it while sitting at a beautiful little park in front of Invalides.

Not bread and cheese

FullSizeRenderLet’s take a break from the sweet stuff and talk about this amazing vegetarian rice bowl I got from Bob’s Kitchen. This place is pretty well-known and has quite a few celebrity fans, including Karlie Kloss, but after trying this peanut saté vegetable stew, I totally understand why. It was filled with roasted vegetables, brown rice, and a handful of fresh spinach.

A turnaround trip to Argentina

FullSizeRenderI’ve never tried any kind of South American food, but after trying to get lunch at a restaurant that was way too crowded, we ended up down the street at Clasico Argentino. Situated in the Marais, this restaurant serves Argentinian empanadas and seals them with different designs that serve as a key for the what’s stuffed inside. We tried cheese/onion (circle pattern) and cheese/spinach (triangle pattern) with rocquette salads, and if all South American food is anything like this place, I will definitely be trying more.

Wine, wine, wine

FullSizeRenderAlong with taking a class about fashion, I am also taking a class about food. Our teacher gave us tickets to the Salon des Vins des Vignérons Indépendants, which is a giant wine festival where you receive as glass your ticket and can try as many wines as you please. I’ve done some cool things since being in Paris, but this wine tasting was hands down my favorite. I learned a lot about different wines and how they are made, and even tried everyone’s favorite after dinner treat– cognac (let’s just say I probably won’t be ordering it at a restaurant). My favorite find of the day was a chardonnay-champagne mix, which I didn’t even know was a thing.

So  in case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m eating and drinking pretty well in Paris and I love sharing all of my culinary discoveries with everyone. Make sure to check back soon for more of French foodie finds!

A French twist on field trips

Although I spend most of my time in Paris eating obscene amounts of food, visiting museums and exploring the arrondissements, I actually do go to school as well. I’m currently taking 3 classes, one of which is entitled “les français et la mode.” This translates to “the French and their fashion” and we spend our time learning about the most grand couturiers that the world has ever seen and the influence that fashion has had on French culture. This week we took a break from the classroom and visited the Jeanne Lanvin exhibition to learn about one of the most talented women the fashion world has ever known.

FullSizeRenderThe exposition was created by current Alber Elbaz, the current creative director of Lanvin, and it is set in the beautiful Palais Galliera. Elbaz used mirrors to create reflections of the pieces in order to change the perspective that one will look at the clothing in order to make it seen from the perfect angle. Unfortunately, it was prohibited to take photos, but being the sneaky and dedicated blogger that I am, I managed to snap a couple.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderBecause we were attending the exhibition as a class, we had to complete a pretty extensive worksheet that covered all things Lanvin. At first I was a little bit frustrated that I had to spend my time completing five pages of classwork while at this beautiful exhibition, but ultimately it worked out in my favor because I learned so much about Jeanne Lanvin and where she drew her inspiration from.

63b8a620-a44d-4008-bc57-0b0ac9296ae1-759x1020Image credited to The Guardian

Above is a drawing of the famous Cavallini dress, a navy ball gown with a giant crystal bow embroidered onto it. The bow serves as one of Lanvin’s signatures, because the bow serves as a symbol of the bond that ties her and her daughter, Marguerite, together. This was my favorite thing that I learned at the exhibition, because I think it is so beautiful that Jeanne Lanvin’s love for her daughter is what inspired one of her most iconic gowns.

Overall, this field trip has hands down been my favorite day in fashion class. We also learned that we will be visiting “Fashion Mix” in May, which is another exposition at Palais Galliera that shows how foreign designers have made an impact on the French fashion scene, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that post. The Jeanne Lanvin exhibition runs until August 23rd, so if you will be in Paris anytime before then and have any sort of interest in fashion I highly recommend going!

Looking on the bright side

Time for another hidden Parisian gem! If you’ve ever searched “Paris” on Pinterest, you’ve probably stumbled across a picture of Rue Cremieux without even knowing it, so today we decided to check out this social media sensation in person. This tiny little street is filled with brightly colored homes, all of which are painted in a different shade of pastel.

FullSizeRenderUnfortunately the sun had started to set when we visited, so you can’t quite see just how vibrant these homes were.
FullSizeRenderThis street may or may have not been painted solely for outfit selfies, but I’m thinking it’s probably the former ;)

Before we visited Rue Cremieux, we got brunch at the Bottle Shop and got our daily dose of culture at the Musée National Picasso. I decided to opt for boyfriend jeans, H&M ankle boots, a black sweater, black coat, floppy hat and my ever-so-trusty Rebecca Minkoff satchel– and the over-sized shades were the perfect accessory to accompany my complete lack of motivation to put on any makeup this morning.

FullSizeRenderThis little pink house was the cutest.

FullSizeRenderIn case you didn’t believe me about how bright the houses are on this street…

Days like today remind me just how lucky I am to be in Paris. The combination of an incredible brunch that only set me back 15 euro, a museum visit that sparked a new-found interest in surrealist art, and a quick stop in a café (despite its incredibly average mousse au chocolat) made for the perfect Sunday. Even though it is so difficult to be away from the people that I love, I’ve been filling the void with new interests and trying learn as much as possible about the amazing city that I’m in. I have spent my metro rides rekindling my love for reading and my weekends discovering a love for modern art that I never knew I had. I’m so excited to see how I view the world by the end of this trip, and I’m even more excited about the person that studying abroad is turning me into.