Five Highlights

There is no way around it, so I am going to name the elephant in the room right off the bat—

I definitely overestimated how ambitious I would be over the summer in consistently posting while vacationing in Europe. One oversight on my part was how often we would be traveling from place to place with only a few days at each location and trying to maximize the time we spent outside and away from technology. Another oversight was the amount of time it took for me to load the pictures onto my computer from my camera, select the ones I liked, reflect on what was done each day, and then write about it. Hopefully, I will be able to play “catch-up” at an efficient speed and be back on track in no time! ūüôā

Moving on to this week’s fiveeeee highlights!

1. “Hunt, Don’t Fish”

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Photo: Lifehack

I initially heard quote¬†from a professional development session last week, and it just stuck with me. I believe¬†this motto applies not only for the classroom, but also in our personal lives. I think there is a certain mindset that we all sometimes adopt where we think that because so many aspects of our lives are out of our locus of control (and also unknown!), we do not really take the time or assertiveness to go after the things we really want.… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Back-to-School Book Bags (Guest Post by Grace)

About a month ago, I finally decide to get my mid-20’s crap together and get serious about finishing up my Bachelor’s. ¬†Yesterday was my first day of class, and although¬†I’m doing my classes purely online so that I can work full time, it’s got me in a somewhat “back to school” mood (that plus I can’t wait for Fall…cooler weather¬†now please!). ¬†Therefore this week’s “Wishlist Wednesday” is focused on the school workhorse… the book bag: backpack, messenger bag, tote…it’s the thing you use to schlep your tons of stuff to and from class every day!

1) ¬†Jansport “Superbreak” Backpack:¬†$36

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Every person I know had a Jansport backpack at one time or another. ¬†This is¬†THE backpack; you can throw it around, carry all your crap in it, and with the exception of maybe running it through a shredder, it just doesn’t die. ¬†I still have mine from high school, and it’s still in one piece. ¬†It’s available in a plethora of colors and prints to suit everybody’s tastes (I won’t lie, I’m actually quite envious of all the patterns available these days).

2) Herschel & Co “Little America” Backpack: $90-$170

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Herschel & Co’s “Little America” is a backpack I’ve seen the last two years that is growing in popularity. ¬†… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Cooler West Coast Cities (Guest Post by Grace)

With the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in full swing at the moment, all I’ve heard about lately is shopping and sales. ¬†To break up the topic monotony, and to save myself from the temptation of spending more¬†money, I’m switching things up this Wednesday by doing another travel post (I’ve been itching to go places lately). ¬†It’s quite warm in most of the U.S. by now, and we’re having a¬†muggy¬†stretch here in Southern California, so all I can think about is going somewhere that isn’t too hot…

1) San Francisco, CA: average¬†summer temps¬†in San Francisco are only about 70-75 degrees, and there’s lots to explore, from the Golden Gate¬†Bridge to Alcatraz, ¬†or the famous street cars and Painted Ladies.

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2) Portland, OR: summer temps in Portland don’t seem to get¬†too much warmer than San Francisco, averaging between 75-80 degrees most days. ¬†Portland has a little something for everyone: exploring Crater Lake, the Oregon coast or Multnomah Falls; Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world; lots of great restaurants and independent coffee shops to try; and SHOPPING because no sales tax!! (okay, so there’s one small blurb about shopping…sue me)

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3) Alaska: I feel like most people tend to visit Alaska¬†as a cruise destination, so I figured I’d just pop it on here as a whole. ¬†… READ FULL POST

Lisbon, Portugal (Europe Tour 2015)

Lisbon was the unexpected bonus from our European adventure. Admittedly, we did not know much about this understated yet charming city when we initially booked the first leg of our trip. I decided on a whim to stop through this city on our way to Spain since one of my friends, Erica, raved about her visit from a few years back.

We really enjoyed our brief stay. The people were incredibly nice, the sights were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the streets were not overcrowded with tourists. It was also the perfect first stop to ease us into our three week whirlwind of a vacation.

We landed in Lisbon on Sunday (7/12) and left late Tuesday (7/14)  for the overnight train ride to Madrid. Below are some of our highlights:

Note: all of the photos below were taken by me and were not retouched in any way. I am using my Nikon D3200 (purchased from my college days) to document this trip. 
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View from our hop-on/hop-off bus tour (My advice? Skip the ride– not necessary. Save your Euros for a bigger city bus tour like Barcelona!)

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Bel√©m–¬†Mosteiro dos Jer√≥nimos

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Past√©is de Bel√©m— arguably serve the best egg custard in the world.… READ FULL POST

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks & Travel Updates

I am still very much in the process of downloading all of my Lisbon and Madrid pictures from my camera to my computer, so please bear with me on my overdue travel adventure post that will be coming up shortly!

John and I will be leaving the beautiful city of Madrid tomorrow for the equally stunning Barcelona. I have been asking a lot of Spanish locals about the distinct difference between these two cities– one compared Madrid as the “quirky cousin” to the “hippy and cool” Barcelona. Interesting. I¬†will make my own judgements soon and cannot wait to share them with y’all!

Today, however, I really wanted to write a post about some of my favorite items from this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I know Grace wrote about¬†some of her favorites just last week so I wanted to make sure that I do the same. I will divide my selections into three sections; my own purchases (some of which are already waiting for me in my apartment for my return!!), my wishlist for when I am rolling in dough, and the items I bought from the early access sale that are no longer available.… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Summer Sunglasses Under $150 (Guest Post by Grace)

It’s been¬†extra sunny around SoCal, so¬†I figured it was high¬†time I¬†dusted off¬†my sunglasses and pulled them out of the cold storage that is my closet (I wear glasses, so sometimes I get too lazy to put on contacts). ¬†Since it’s summer, I figured I should do a sunglasses post for those readers who live in areas that might not warrant having a pair of sunnies on hand all year round. ¬†For those readers who DO¬†live in year round sunshine,¬†another pair of sunglasses never hurt anyone! See below for my picks, almost all of which I either own or have personally tried on. ¬†Best of all, every pair is under $150! (Who said nice things had to cost an arm and a leg?)

For a classic pair, try these¬†Ray Ban “New Small Wayfarers”¬† ($130) on for size! ¬†Gives a great casual summer vibe, and you can’t go wrong with basic black._6319402For a fun, colored twist on classic wayfarers, I am in love these¬†TOMS “Dodoma” Vintage Keyhole Sunglasses¬† ($139) in seaglass green! Summer always makes me feel extra colorful, and the teal color of the frames is gorgeous.… READ FULL POST

Lisa and John’s Europe Tour 2015

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Madrid At Twilight HD Desktop Background

Photo: PATCH

John and I have officially begun our three-week adventure through Europe! We landed in Lisbon today and will be making our way to Madrid, next, followed by Barcelona, Nice, Copenhagen, Santorini, and Athens! It will be such a thrilling, magical, and (most likely!) tiring rideРand we are on the edge of our seats with excitement.

Whenever we end¬†our journey¬†in one city, I will compile a photo blog post that will highlight all of the attractions¬†from our itinerary. When we return home in August, I will be sure to finally finish my “Europe Planning 101” post so that if you¬†are thinking about your next European excursion, I can provide some helpful suggestions ahead of time!

Until we meet again, have a wonderful beginning of your week wherever you might be! ūüôā… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (Guest Post by Grace)

I received my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Catalogue in the mail today, so thought I’d do a quick post on things that caught my eye. ¬†They have a good selection of fall offerings, and the Anniversary Sale is Nordstrom’s biggest sale of the year (this dates for this year¬†will be from 7/17-8/3). ¬†If you are a Nordstrom credit or debit card holder, you will get early access to the best deals¬†that will¬†begin tomorrow, 7/9.

Happy browsing!

*When clicking on the product links for more information, the current price will be listed. The sale prices will not be available until the listed dates above!

1) Melinda Maria “Tessa” Pendant: sale $84.90; post-sale $128

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2) Sonya Renee Tassel Necklace: sale $49.90; post-sale $78

_105306523) Halogen Cashmere Wrap: sale $98.90; post-sale $148

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4) Diane von Furstenberg Envelope Clutch: sale $165.90; post-sale $248

dvf_239231_dbldgs_s5) Halogen Twill Cape: sale $84.90; post-sale $128

_10655164READ FULL POST

Current Obsession: Workout Gear

Taking into consideration how often I write¬†about fitness and exercise on this blog, it is pretty crazy that¬†I have never done a post¬†about what I choose to wear for a great chunk of my daily life. You will probably catch me every single day during the summer in these clothes and I am not ashamed to admit that I am normally not the type of gal who switches back into her “regular” clothing post workout if I do not have something important planned afterwards. #lazinessatitsfinest

Since I do spend a lot of time lounging around and exercising in my workout gear, I have gathered quite a collection. I have also purchased most of these items that I will recommend here so I can personally attest for their quality, practicality, and durability!

Sports Bras:

I have tried and tried the Old Navy sports bras¬†in order to save an extra buck or two, but I am here to tell you that they do not work. The bras¬†hurt and are extremely irritating on¬†the skin. Since finding a comfortable sports bra is pretty much a necessity if you are going to have a productive workout, I quickly realized that I needed to find a different brand.… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week

Happy Sunday!

I know I usually write my “Five Highlights” either Thursday or Friday, but with so much going on this week, it had to be postponed until I actually had a chance to sit down and give this post its proper due!

This past week has been really amazing; I got to meet up with old friends/make new ones, workout at¬†my favorite studios, read a ton of interesting books (so excited to share these on July’s book recommendation post!), and chill around in the house. What more can I want from this summer break?! John and I leave for Europe in less than a week (EEK!!) so I am taking any opportunity I can get to lounge around and “take it easy” since I know moments like these will be hard to come by once we return.

Here is the long overdue “top hits” recap!

1. When you work at a stress-inducing place, you really need to surround yourself with people who¬†have your back. Luckily, I have a few! This past Monday, I grabbed lunch with two of them. We ate at one of my favorite Manhattan Chinatown places and it was simply divine.… READ FULL POST