Barcelona: a beautiful city

An artsy, modern city with a Roman wall, beach, Picasso, tapas, and Gaudi, to name a few.

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A street near La Rambla

When I first arrived in Barcelona with my friend, I had great expectations for the city. For years people told me “visit Spain!” That they loved the “vibes of the people”. On our way from Rome to Barcelona, a Italian man told us of all his favorite spots to visit and that Barcelona was one of his favorite cities in Europe. Barcelona was so clean and modern (Free wifi in the streets!) yet artsy. The people were very friendly and there were many other Americans visiting too.

We stayed at a boutique hotel that was a converted convent (figures) and were pretty pleased with our choice right by La Rambla

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Hotel Peninsular

La Rambla is a long street lined on both sides by restaurants and some small shops as well. It’s great for people watching and checking out what you are in the mood to eat. As tapas are a pretty popular thing for visitors to try we got our taste of some on our first day, but learned that many tapas are made with pork (insert sad face).

But no matter! We found a Kosher restaurant to eat at. At first hesitant to enter, when we finally decided one night in starvation to go. We just kept walking and a server came to seat us quickly. I left for the restroom and when I had returned, my friend informed me that the server’s name was Mohammad and he was from Morocco. He treated us so well and we had an amazing dinner there enjoying the food!

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Paella made with chicken

One of the amazing things about Barcelona is that you will never know what you will find or run into. Cute stores, a ROMAN WALL(!), and hidden museums. One thing that was a last minute decision, was to visit the Picasso Museum. There was a long line in an alley to enter, and one could not take pictures inside. Once inside, I marveled at all the artwork that could not be Picasso, but was, while my friend explained to me his history: that Picasso traveled and lived in different cities, mingled with the artists there, gained inspiration from them, and grew his craft. That Picasso painted, sculpted, and drew many thing in so many different styles before the art he is famous for today. That his father actually supported him to be an artist from a young age. These golden nuggets of information, what I would later read in Robert Greene’s book Mastery are some of the patterns of other geniuses.

Prior to leaving for Europe, I had hoped that this trip would be trans formative or at least maybe give me some direction. It inspired me to focus in on my own possibilities and I think that can happen to anyone who goes beyond their comfort zone whether in their own city or even from listening to someone’s ideas that are different from ones own.

 

 

 

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How to unwind without sex, drugs, or alcohol

Wait a second! There’s another way?! Yes, why yes there is.

In a society that has a tendency to project what is fun, cool, or popular, these may not work for everybody. Individuals with health problems, religious guidelines to follow, or who have just become fed up with the hookup culture of their city; maybe you or someone you know is looking for alternatives to that lifestyle.

I personally don’t care what people are doing in their private time, but what I do not like is that people can get so caught up in these behaviors that it can become toxic, unhealthy, or disruptive, and possibly, just not make you happy at the end of the day.

For example, think about what you used to do as a child. What were the things that made you happy? Things you could not, not do. You got so caught up that it wasn’t a chore or task. Here’s some suggestions:

  • Look through your old music collection. Music especially music without words, is a great way to center oneself, and scientifically there have been studies that music can affect our brain: Brain and Music there’s tons of other articles to read about it.
  • Go to a sauna or salon and or get a massage done more frequently. In other cultures, people go to the salon or sauna every week or so. Its relaxing, and a way to de-stress your mind and body. OR do a at home spa/sauna stay-cation.
  • Take classes, keep learning, and read. Read whatever you like to read (even a guilty pleasure romance). We as a society have fallen out of this great habit and mind release. Concentrating on a text and focusing to read can take our minds and thoughts to a different place and is a great way to learn. Books are free! You can even download books for free from Project Gutenberg and catch up on the classics. It will make you look smart and sexy while having cool things to talk about beside silly “stories” on social media that everybody has already seen or heard.
  • Plan a weekend getaway. Go somewhere whenever you can. Even a local trip or trying a new spot can make you feel more rejuvenated.
  • Get a pet or play with someone else’s pet or walk someone else’s pet. Pet’s and animals in general, can be very soothing and pleasing to care for. I realized that after I moved away, I really missed my pet and the comfort that she provided.
  • Play games. Games challenge our minds and help us feel motivated because for every win or problem solved it teaches us to keep trying and to not fret the small stuff. Every challenge in life can be approached with this positive mindset.
  • Keep a diary, blog, or daily journal. Keep track of things you want to do, eat, talk about or think about. Sometimes we can’t find someone to talk or share our thoughts or we need to process them more before sharing. Maybe somethings don’t need sharing but personal understanding.
  • Have a group of trusted friends. You don’t need a lot of friends just a few gems will do. Keep them close and text/call whenever you can. Meet up for coffee or have them over.

I hope these suggestions help. Stay happy and healthy!

Easy Parisian Chic

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The museum Louvre in Paris

As fall approaches, one can learn a thing or two about updating the warm winter essentials from Parisian women. There is nothing really to it, actually you may find you already have what you need.

When I visited Paris earlier this year in late May, it would get chilly at varying times of the day then the sun would magically appear warming things up. In Atlanta, we have sporadic weather sometimes as well in the fall. But while walking around Paris and observing what is it that Parisian women wear, I noticed a pattern.

Women would wear either a wool blazer, leather jacket, or a dark trench/parka. They would usually carry a understated bag (not necessarily a brand name), a simple light colored scarf around the neck, dark sneakers or ankle boots, and dark fitted jeans or fitted trousers. Hardly if no makeup, and simple undone hair. Parisian chic really is effortless.

Instead, I would say, Parisians emphasize: layers, easy reliable go to pieces, a carry all simple bag to use while commuting, and more importantly: Parisian women probably emphasize skincare. Their skin, no matter what their race, was flawless. Organic food probably helps a lot as well, and the fact that French skincare works great. Some of my favorite French skincare brands are Clarins and Loccitane  because they include a lot of natural ingredients from plants. Having Asian skin, those work for me as well (though my favorite skincare brands are Japanese and/or Korean and they have become pretty trendy as well in America, which makes me so happy!).

Thanks for reading my blog post about how to be fashionably effortless like Parisian women! I hope this helps save you time (and maybe some money) with the variety of choices for fall, these go to pieces you can use season after season!

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Me and my friend were walking around the Eiffel tower and it became hot again after a chill spell! I had to hang my bulky sweater coat over my shoulder ha ha.