Monday, August 23, 2010

over my head

So much to do and so little time! I'm back in the U.S. and already the work is piling up! This is just a quick note to show I made it back safely and more to come when I have a second to myself.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

last laughs in london

I can't believe that tomorrow I will be back in the States! I feel like I just left the country yesterday! The funny thing is that I feel that this time next week, I probably will have settled into my routine and being abroad will feel so far away.  I've had a really good time in London, relaxing with my cousins and siblings, doing a little bit of shopping, and exploring a bit. Even though I'm seriously low on cash, I was able to pick up a few items:

I love nail polish, clearly! I'm excited to complete my rainbow (I needed yellow and orange) and also to snag that really bright blue color and the gunmetal color that I've been chasing after for months!

The H&M ring I wanted so badly! I finally tracked it down and I have to say I'm very happy :)

Black oxfords- I think these will be a great addition to my wardrobe. I can't wait to wear them!

Also, I got my hair done! Although it was admittedly a nice change having my natural hair out for a while, I really needed to get a no fuss hairdo done since school will be starting in a bit. In the pics below you can see the transition from afro to straightened natural hair to twist extensions. Fun fact- some of my really good friends have never seen my natural hair!

And last but not least, I promised some pictures of my day in central London. I'm going to miss this city and I can't wait to come back!

my cousin told me this is the "Times Square" of London

my cousin Ifee

lions, rain, and Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery

she smiled!

Big Ben

Love from London,

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Monday, August 16, 2010

last week in london

I can't believe that I only have five days left in London and then I'll be heading back to school! It seems like I took my last final just yesterday. Of course, when I really think about it, I realize that several months have gone by. I'm already turning my attention to school- the other day I started browsing the Ikea website to pick up ideas for my room this year. I can't really remember the layout of my single though, so it will be easier to put things together when I see the room again and refresh my memory about the decorating elements I already have. I wanted to go for a purple and blue theme, but the problem is many of the posters and accents I picked up in Spain are red, so I have to figure out how to tie that in somehow. Also, found out that the package I mailed from Madrid arrived safely, so yay for shipping things by boat! The beginning of school is one of my favorite times, before all the schoolwork and classes start, so I'm really excited to go back and make my new room me.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

a day on the town

Finally I got off my lazy butt and got out of the house! Today, my cousin Ify and I planned a full-day excursion to the center of London. The plan was to leave the house at 10am to be able to catch the first train, but considering my cousin took an hour to get up and get showered (which I full well knew would happen), we didn't leave the house until nearly 11.30am. First we took the bus to Surbiton Station and from there we took a train to Waterloo Station. I remember Waterloo from the last time I was in London, when one day my mom and I had a wonderful day exploring and being super touristy. It reminds me of Grand Central, just because it so big and so busy! From Waterloo, we took the tube (my cousin laughed at me for calling it the metro!) to Oxford Circle.

Wooo, Oxford Street! So many shops and many tempting things. I was supposed to be a good girl because I really have no money to spend until I get back to school and start working again. And I was doing fine, for a while. We went to all the usual stores, H&M, Zara, TopShop, and such, and I was getting bored because I was had seen most of the stuff before and especially because I was tired of looking at things I couldn't afford. Then, we got the the accessories section and I saw the loveliest ring! It was large and circle-shaped and the face of the ring was a pretty turquoise color. The ring band was a striking gold with detailed cut-outs on the side. Out of everything I had seen so far, it was my favorite and I really wanted it. But I told myself I had to be good and let my cousin convince me to put it down. She said that we would pass several more H&Ms as we continued shopping and I thought if I saw it again, I would buy it. The thought crossed my mind to hide it so that I could come back for it (Is that bad? Does anybody else hide items if they know they're going to come back and buy them later?), but for some reason that I can't remember, I put it back in its proper place. As I did so, I noticed that there were only two left, one size M (the one that fit me) and one size L. Even after we had been to several other shops, the ring was still on my mind. We went to another H&M, and then another one, and the ring was no where to be found. Then, when we made our way back up the street, I insisted we stop in the original H&M where I had first seen the ring so that I could buy it. As I made my way downstairs to the accessories section, my heart was beating slightly faster and I knew that I would be really disappointed if the ring wasn't there. And it wasn't. The moral of the story, for me at least, is that I know myself pretty well and I should have listened to my instincts (I had a feeling that it wouldn't be there when I came back) and just bought it in the first place because I knew that I really wanted it and I would have been much happier than the feeling I got from saving a few pounds.

After we finished shopping and eating lunch, we walked over to Picadilly Circus, which contains LED billboards like you'd see in Times Square, except there are only three of them. Then we took the metro one stop and walked to South Bank, where the London Eye is located. I rode the Eye last time I was in London, so I didn't feel like riding it again, but it was cool to see it again as we strolled along the river Thames. From there, we made our way back to Waterloo and then took the metro to Shepherd's Cross, where the London Westfield is just across the street. It's the same chain/franchise? that controls a bunch of malls throughout America. The Westfield did have an H&M, and of course I checked for the ring and it wasn't there. The mall closed at 9 and by that time all we wanted to do was go home, eat dinner, and put our feet up. Using various forms of transportation, by the time we got home it was after 10 pm! I had a lot of fun hanging out out with my cousin and going around to see London independently. If it wasn't so expensive to go into the city (7.5 pounds for an all-day travel card) I would make many more trips in! Pics to come when my cousin uploads them from her camera!

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Friday, August 6, 2010

el escorial and segovia

Time for another travel post! One weekend in June, I traveled to two cities close to Madrid, El Escorial and Segovia.  In El Escorial, we went to the Basilica, which was really cool. It actually had several museums, which included pieces by artists like El Greco.  There was also an architecture section that showed the original plans of the basilica, including the courtyards and underground structure.  After wandering about there for a bit, we had lunch at a little restaurant off the main street- bocadillo de calamares, yumm! We also wanted to go to La valle de los caídos, where Franco is buried, but unfortunately it was closed for construction.  As we were driving away, I did see the huge cross that marks the valley, way up in the mountains.

The next day, we traveled to Segovia, and saw the Roman aqueducts (I have this pretty cool picture of the aqueducts where a car is driving right through!), the cathedral, and the alcazár that they say Walt Disney modeled the castle in Sleeping Beauty after. I liked Segovia, but I didn't love it. I am glad I went though, because I wanted to last year but I didn't get a chance. It was a busy weekend, but it was fun getting out the city for the day and then being able to come back to our apartment at night. Pics below!

Basilica in El Escorial

El Escorial

El Escorial

Alcazár in Segovia

The aqueduct and I

Plaza Mayor, Segovia

Cathedral in Segovia

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mushroom top

I've been at my cousin's house for a few days now. The day I got in, I was too tired to do anything but lie on the couch and watch tv.  Same goes for the day after that. Today though, I vowed to get up, shower, and... I took out my braids! I washed my hair and everything and currently my cousin is straightening it for me. Right now, only part of my hair is straightened, so the bottom part is all smooth and silky and the top part is completely in its natural state, so it's a huge afro! This is the first time in a long time that I'm letting my hair "breathe." Normally, the turnover between one set of braids and another is no more than 24 hours, which everyone continuously tells me is not healthy for my hair. It just got to the point where I was so tired of the braids that I had to take them out immediately, so I did, and I don't plan to get them done again for at least two more weeks. Who knows what I'll do with my hair in-between then?! The plan for tomorrow is to leave the house, and I really want to pick up some yarn so I can start my new project. If that happens tomorrow, it will be the subject of my first knitting post. Also, travel post about days trip from Madrid coming right up!

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been without internet for the past few days. This is just a quick update to let everyone know that I'm alive and my next post will be from London! On to the next one...

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star-crossed smile: August 2010

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