Christmas in Italy

I didn’t take a lot of pictures while in Italy.  I didn’t realize that until recently when I was organizing my hard drive.  I guess I was more focused on getting video footage for my Youtube Channel.  But I like to think I was also trying to be in the moment and really experience the places I saw.  Who’s to say…

Anyway, the few pictures I did take ended up on my instagram but I did manage to take a few while briefly visiting Lugano, Switzerland.

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This place is absolutely gorgeous.  I could literally just sit down somewhere and stare at everything for hours.  I didn’t, of course, because there wasn’t much time but I did attempt to soak in as much as beauty as possible before heading back to Milan.

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After seeing Varese, Milan, Gallarate and Lugano (among a few other nearby places) we headed back to London on New Year’s Eve and managed to get this really nice shot…

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It was a lovely Christmas spent with very lovely people who were all just…lovely.  No really, I felt very welcomed and comfortable even if I didn’t understand the language.  I guess that’s what Rosetta Stone’s for.  (Did I mention I get free Rosetta Stone while enrolled in University over here?  Yeah…think I’ll take advantage of that.)

If you’d like to see how my first trip to Italy was please check out the new video on my channel.

Don’t forget to subscribe and comment!  More travel videos coming soon!

Have a good week!

Benefit Cosmetics Make Up Haul

For the New Year I decided to treat myself to a few new products from Benefit Cosmetics.

Make Up Haul

I was a little leery at first but after the very nice Boot’s employee gave me a mini-makeover using the products I knew I’d finally found ‘The One.’

Benefit Pore-fessional Primer

The Pore-fessional Primer is oil-free and light weight.  It basically felt like air on my skin.  I rarely wear foundation and never use a primer.  Previously, all I needed was Origins tinted moisturizer and I was happy.  But now that I live in London and no longer have that Los Angeles sunshine to naturally brighten my skin I now find it necessary to wear foundation, which means the primer comes in handy.

Benefit hello flawless foundation

The Benefit Hello Flawless foundation is supposed to be good for your skin.  It feels nice going on, doesn’t clump or get all crusty looking and does the job of making my skin look brighter.  Paired with the Hello Flawless powder, I feel camera ready and pretty rockstar.

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally get into Benefit (probably the price tag – eep$$$!  But totally worth it.) but I’m glad I came around.

Maybelline Falsies Mascara

I’m also using the Maybelline Falsie’s Volum’ Express mascara and I must say I’m in love.  The product really makes my eyelashes look longer, fuller – to the point where someone recently asked me if I was wearing falsies.  I was flattered because obviously I don’t have the patience to put on falsies for real so it’s nice to know that the mascara is doing the trick.

Bonus!  I went to a Christmas dinner where there was a secret santa gift exchange.  My gift was a figurine of a solar waving Queen but by some happy turn of events I ended up with an amazingly perfect gift set from The Body Shop that contained body wash, body butter and this coconut hand cream.

The Body Shop Hand Cream

This London weather has me on the hunt for a new skincare routine and especially for lotions that actually work.  I truly lucked out with this Body Shop gift set because it got me through my ten day Holiday in Italy.  Thanks extra Secret Santa!

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No New Resolutions!

It’s 2015 in London!

Spent my Christmas in Italy and got back to London just in time to say goodbye to 2014.  My New Year started with an empty refrigerator, no electricity and lentils at midnight.  But Happy friggin’ New Year!

After the longest commute from Gatwick airport I arrived home to find that the electricity had run out so I had to light candles to see my way around.  It was kind of cool, if not slightly creepy.  The part of me that still enjoys scary movies thought about the possibility of a stranger lurking in the dark waiting to pounce and for a thrilling moment I was a little bit afraid.  Then the electricity came back on and my scary movie moment was over.  I took a couple of minutes to empty the fridge because all the food had gone bad.  Then at 11:59pm I counted down to midnight and ate lentils.  Fingers crossed for a super prosperous year!

For the first time since the age of 16 I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions.  So when March comes around I won’t have any resolutions to break – Yay!  I also didn’t end the year in a bar or totally drunk, which means tomorrow I won’t be hungover.  Also, I didn’t watch the NYC ball drop on TV.  I did, however, watch the London Eye fireworks on TV, which was a nice change of pace.

I thought I’d feel a little bummed about not going out for New Year’s but it turns out my quiet, sober night indoors was just what I needed to start my year off right.  How you start the year is how you’ll end it, right?  (Maybe that’s not entirely true since last year I was definitely hungover on New Year’s Day.)

Anyway, I don’t know if any of these changes will make a difference in my 2015 but I’m looking forward to seeing what the New Year brings.  Somehow I have a good feeling about it.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Minor Setbacks & Winter Wonderland

I’ve fallen behind on my blogs and it’s not because of midterms or essays or presentations.  Media Communication majors didn’t have midterm exams this time around, which was a relief.  I submitted my first essay of 1000 words and my presentation about the history and process of dubbing and subtitling was not only done with two other people who shared the workload but it was a blast.  So it wasn’t school that kept me from sticking to my weekly schedule.  It was me.

I had a troublesome couple of weeks and I let that get in the way of my experiencing London.  It started when I opened a bank account at Barclays.  My debit card was immediately stolen and funds were stolen from my brand new account.  Instead of handling the situation like professionals the people at Barclays lost their minds.  They kept transferring me to different departments and each person that I spoke too was ruder than the last.  At least by the end of it, after I wrote a letter of complaint to the CEO of Barclays of course, I was able to get my stolen money back PLUS an additional £100 for the drama these ridiculous customer service reps caused me.  So that felt like a small victory.

Where school is concerned, I just have to remember that every institution has its good and bad parts.  My campus is gorgeous.  Every time I get to school I have a breathtaking view of the building and the surrounding property and it’s just awesome.  Unfortunately, some of the people who work at my school don’t have the best attitudes.  They pass the buck a lot.  They say inappropriate things like, “that’s above my pay grade” when asked questions they really should be able to answer.  

But again these are small, insignificant moments.  They don’t really matter and I shouldn’t have let them get in the way of enjoying my first six weeks in London.  Setbacks happen.  People will make life difficult either intentionally or simply because they don’t know any better.  I can’t let that stop me from doing what I need to do.  It’s my job to deal with these setbacks and shove on.

So I’m back.  Here are some bright spots I’ve had over the past couple of weeks.

While looking for the Student Union office, I got lost and somehow wound up in the Film/TV department.  I met some of the teachers and actually got to spend some time with the undergrads as they rehearsed their TV studio project.  It was just like old times – I was even put to work and got to be the floor manager for a bit – except these undergrads were so serious.  I was so impressed with how focused everyone was.  When I was a freshman at NYU I was laughing and goofing off and flirting with my classmates so much it’s a wonder I managed to learn anything.  Ah well, we all have our paths.

Andrea had his birthday party at the Blue’s Kitchen.  We ate a ton of BBQ and drank Prosecco while a live band played some of my favorite blues music.  It was loud and super crowded and I’d made the mistake of wearing heels but boy did I love my dress.

Black Dress

It’s a Mia Plunge Neck Bodycon Midi from Boohoo.com and I’m officially addicted to shopping that site.  Up until now I never thought I could wear bodycon but that’s all changed now.  In fact, I’ve already put three more bodycon dresses on my wishlist.

I also went to Winter Wonderland.  The beer was nice as were the giant Bratwursts.  Actually, the bratwurst was my favorite part of the whole day.  Yum!

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Hopefully it’ll be a little colder next time I go so that I can enjoy my first mulled wine experience.  But for a first time around, Winter Wonderland was pretty magical.  It definitely helped me get into the Holiday spirit.

After our visit to Winter Wonderland we stopped by Harrods to check out their Christmas window displays.

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Which brings us to Thanksgiving.  My first Thanksgiving in another country was interesting.  First of all, as I am not particularly homesick, I didn’t feel the need to actually celebrate Thanksgiving.  But Andrea wanted to celebrate as he’s never participated in Thanksgiving festivities so I finally agreed.

We made baked macaroni, fried chicken, cornbread from scratch and some other delicious fixings and invited a few friends over for dinner.  It was nice.  Even though I got a migraine, argued with Andrea about how to fry the chicken and discovered that the stuffing in the UK is VERY different from the stuffing I’m used to eating – I don’t regret hosting the meal.  I did, however, miss having a turkey and apple pie though.  Ah well.  Maybe next year.

One really cool thing that came out of the event was this gravy boat which, for some reason, Andrea insisted on buying.

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I’ve never had a gravy boat before.  At home, whenever we made gravy for the mashed potatoes we just left it in the pot and spooned it directly onto the mashed potatoes.  This was a new experience for me and I rather enjoyed it.  It made celebrating Thanksgiving in another country that much more special.  I also really liked how seriously Andrea took the tradition despite it not being part of his culture.

Next up is a Christmas dinner, which will feature a turkey plus Secret Santa so I’m really looking forward to that.  Today I’m going to go buy what I think will be the perfect gift for the person to whom I will be Secret Santa.  Then it’s off to the museum for the rest of the day.

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend so far!

So Now What?

I’m blasting Beyonce’s, “XO” as I’m writing this.  It’s helping.  A little.

Today was not a good day.  Despite my morning Prayer I was not resilient today.  I was not in high spirits.  And I don’t feel like it’s Christmas Eve.  It feels more like a random day in March than the Holiday Season.  Cue the Debbie Downer music.

I’m struggling tonight.  My inner critic is on a mission to break me tonight.  She whispers, “You’re working in retail…you’re not a writer…you’re a failure,” and her voice is getting louder and louder and no matter how loud I blast Beyonce’s “XO” I can still hear her.

I know I’m just feeling tired.  I worked a super long shift tonight (Yay for overtime thanks to last minute Christmas shoppers) and I’m feeling like even though I spent 11 hours of my day doing something…I have nothing to show for it.  I pushed buttons, counted money and said Merry Christmas to people who were too distracted by the numbers on my cash register to even hear me.  That’s how I spent my day.  That’s why my inner critic is laughing at me tonight.

Ah but that’s not even why I’m feeling sorry for myself.  Because feeling like a failure as a writer is nothing new to me at this point.  It’s whatever.  I thought I would’ve made it by now.  I haven’t.  Oh well.

It just sucks watching people I used to collaborate with move on without a backward glance.  Start new writing teams.  Develope ideas we originally started.  My first reaction is be snarky about it – be a hater.  But I suppress that.  Because the whole reason I severed ties with so many people in 2013 was so that I could become a better person.  So that I could look at myself in the mirror and not hate what I saw.  Being angry about what they do now that they are no longer in my life would be counterproductive.  And a waste of energy.  So I suppress the snarky thoughts.  I woo-sah through my jealousy.

I let go of the past and people who weren’t right for me but…the hurt still lingers.

And that’s the honest truth.

So how do I get into 2014 without bringing this hurt with me?  I’m supposed to be looking forward to the New Year.  I’m supposed to be getting my Resolutions ready.  I’m supposed to be swearing off alcohol and junk food and finally finally finally losing that weight.  I’m supposed to be getting ready for yet another reinvention.  Instead I’m sitting here watching Youtube personalities put their seemingly awesome lives on the internet and I’m feeling a little green.  I probably should not have gone on Youtube tonight even if it was to watch some of my favorite vloggers.  Tonight they did not make me feel inspired.  Tonight they made me feel…a bit useless.

Tomorrow will be better…but tonight I’m struggling and so I needed to vent about it.  Because I really do want 2014 to be significantly better than 2013.  I’ve done a lot in 2013.  I won’t let my inner critic try to tell me I sat on my ass for 12 months.  I did accomplish some things.  One of them was being more consistent with my Blog and Youtube Channel.

But now what?

How can I improve on this in 2014?  I can’t spend another year in Los Angeles doing the same thing and pretending like I’m actually getting somewhere in life. In fact, I can’t spend another year in Los Angeles – period.

It has to get better from here.  It just has to.  This is rock bottom.  With no friends and no career and only my rinky dink vlog as my creative outlet- it really has to get better from here.

But how?

I guess I’m going to have to figure that out.  Somehow.