Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Words of Wisdom: October 5

Hello friends,

Today in the last Wednesday of October. Can you believe how quickly this month flew by?! Here are this week's words of wisdom. :)
Picture & Quote go perfectly together!


Do your best, always!

Which one did you like most? Have you heard any great quotes recently?

Ashley

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Trade: The Great Gatsby

Hello!
Today I’m sharing with you my thoughts on a classic book, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Have you read this before? What did you think of it? I am very curious. :)
Now on to Gatsby:
Was he truly great?
As I finished reading the last words of this book, that was the question echoing in my mind. Who was Gatsby and why call him great? Sure, “great” is synonymous with “grand” and he lived in a seemingly grand way with immense wealth and a house fit for dozens but called home to him alone but there has to be more to him than that. Who is he really? Where is his family? Where are his friends? How does he spend his days?
Even after completing this book, filled with helpful notes from the previous owner, I find I cannot adequately answer any of my questions. From the beginning of this book, the reader is left with a sense of mystery about this “Great Gatsby” fellow. His life is ensnared by gossip and doubt. Nobody seems to know much of anything about him or believe what he has to say.
The main players in this novel include Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Tom and Daisy (Nick’s cousin) Buchanan, Jordan Baker and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. As this story unfolds, Carraway narrates what he slowly learns about his neighbor, including Gatsby’s obsession with recreating his past with Daisy.
In the end, I have decided that the reason I have so many questions about Gatsby is because I have fallen prey to the cynicism and skepticism surrounding this baffling character. At the conclusion of this book, I did not feel that the story was concluded at all. That is in part for my love of a happy ending which was lacking here but it is also due to the fact that in the end, I still doubted Gatsby’s words, his truth. I try always to push out the negativity and find the good in people but in this story, I got so caught up in the obscurity of it all that I assumed the worst and in turn, wrongly accused him, just like everyone else had done.
Among others things, this book is a good reminder to stay optimistic whenever positivity can be found.
Quick Facts:
Genre- Fiction/Classics
Copyright- 1925
Pages- 180
If you have read this, let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Did anything stand out to you?
Left confused,

Ashley

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photo Diary: Adjusting to Life in Spain

Hello!
I published my first photo diary here two weeks ago. See the start of my adventure here. Since then, I have been doing all sorts of fun things. I’ve experienced some new places and foods. I’ve learned more of the Spanish language. Come see what else I’ve been up to!

My Daily Views:
On the train heading in to BCN each weekday
Walking home from the train station
Coming up the metro on my to Spanish class
Innovative Barcelona:
Recycle EVERYTHING!
 Being a Tourist in My New Home:
Square at Placa Cataluna on Las Ramblas
Statue with Christopher Columbus facing the Mediterranean



Delicious fruit cups & much more at La Bouqeria
Cathedral atop Mt. Tibidabo, Temple de Sagrat Cor 
View of BCN atop Mt. Tibidabo
La Sagrada Familia Candid

What have you been doing?! Anything you’d like to share? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. :)

So happy I took the plunge,
Ashley

Do you want to hear more about Spain? Check out these posts!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Words of Wisdom: October 4

Hi!

I truly hope your week is going well, but regardless of that, we can all use a little pick-me-up and these picture quotes should do the trick. Enjoy! :)
This seemed especially appropriate this week!

This is spot on advice, truly experience all you can!
Be you. No matter what.

Have you heard any sage advice lately?

Ready to be myself,
Ashley

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Autumn Bucket List & Summer Recap

Hi there,
This time last year I made a Fall Bucket List. The idea of a seasonal list was forgotten for the next few months but picked back up in summer and I really enjoyed it, so much so that I want to start them regularly now. I think they provide a fun, simple way to make some short-term goals for yourself to achieve. Posting them here holds me even more accountable too. I enjoy taking you guys on my journey and I don't want to let you down as much as myself. 
First, let’s take a look at my Summer Bucket List and see how I did.


I’m very happy to say I achieved everything from my summer list. I also have some great memories and a lot to be thankful for associated with those times. When I made that list, I put a few generic things that are typical of the season as well as a few things I knew would probably happen and a few I wanted to make happen. Each item on the list was achievable which took the stress and guesswork out of planning how to make it my reality.
Here's a closer look at how I got a few of these accomplished:

This was the women of honor & my sidekick
for the night of my perfect summer date :)
Soaking up sun in CHI with my passport & visa
BCN-bound!
For autumn of this year, I have fewer goals on my bucket list but it’s even more ambitious.


Do you think I can check off each of these items this season? What’s on your fall bucket list?  

Ready to rock fall,
Ashley

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beauty Swap Success!

Hello friends,
A few months ago, I shared my Makeup Collection with you. In that post, I received a comment from a fellow blogger who lives in Spain and was dreaming of getting her hands on some makeup goodies that were unavailable to her. I told Elli of Marshmellow's Diary, that I was in the process of moving to Spain and that if I ended up getting my papers in order, I would buy a palette from her wish list and mail it to her after I flew across the Atlantic. She was excited about that so I pushed my luck a bit and asked if she would be willing to do a swap. You see, I know nothing about the beauty brands in Spain, or the rest of Europe and I saw Elli as my way of getting a peek into the beauty world here. She eagerly agreed and I made my final preparations for Spain.
As you know, I’ve been in Spain for a few weeks now and it has been quite the adventure already. I started my Spanish classes a week after landing and gave my first presentation to the class today. I went to La Boqueria too, which is a must-see for any foodie headed to Barcelona. I also made my way to the post office to send off Elli’s beautiful IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty palette. Read her thoughts on it here!
My side of the swap was simple, as I just went to Ulta and picked up the palette she chose. Elli’s side was definitely more challenging. I gave her some background on me, my current beauty routine and beauty likes and dislikes.
Elli told me she had never bought products for someone else and she hoped I liked what she chose for me. It turns out she had no reason to worry as she did a fantastic job!
I picked my package up from the post office and happily opened it up when I arrived home. I was so giddy as she wrapped each individual item and though they were presents; it was so sweet! After I opened everything and took pictures, I thanked Elli for her job well done and then proceeded to play with my new goodies.

My beauty box:

  • ‘Zaija’ Manuka Tree Cleansing Gel
  • ‘Balance Me’ Face Oil
  • ‘China Glaze’ nail polish in “Be Merry, Be Bright”
  • ‘Model Co.’ eyeshadow duo “Bronzed Goddess”
  • ‘Essence’ eyeliner in white
  • ‘Essence’ eyeliner in “Leaves are the New Beef”
  • ‘Essence’ lipliner in “Honey Berry”
  • ‘Essence’ XXXL Shine lipgloss in “True Love”
  • ‘Catrice’ Shimmering Bronzing Powder
  • ‘Catrice’ Light-Reflecting Concealer
  • ‘I <3 Makeup’ Goddess of Love Highlighter
  • pouch with samples
  • double pocket mirror
  • bracelet
  • ‘Valor’ (Spanish brand) chocolates

My first beauty swap was a resounding success! I have already used about half the products so look for a review on them later this month. 

Feeling loved,
Ashley

Friday, October 10, 2014

La Boqueria- Ultimate Farmer's Market

Hey everyone!
Have you ever been to a farmers market? Well I finally experienced my first and I must say, it will be hard to find one that ever compares to this one. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would go to La Boqueria, a massive farmers market in the heart of Barcelona, after landing here about two weeks ago.  It’s conveniently located on Las Ramblas, just a short minute walk from the school which I am attending Spanish classes so you know I will frequent it many times in the coming year.
This past Thursday, I finally strolled in to this lively place with a girl from class, Caroline. Together we steered through the large crowds and discovered all this market has to offer. As you might guess, there are dozens of vendors selling food from around the world, including a lot of local food stuffs, like the seafood and fruits you find prevalent on this side of the Mediterranean. 

Many of the merchants sold very specific items like olives in all varieties imaginable, Middle Eastern spices, jamón, all types of fresh fruit, bread and pastries, candy, chocolate, and on and on it went. It was quite a fantastic place to wander and explore- can you say sensory overload?! There were captivating sights and smells with every step.

Those flavorful fruit cups were 2 Euro and so worth it! 
Drooling over olives!
On our way :)
Needless to say, I’ll be back very soon. :)

Farmers market enthusiast in training,
Ashley