Waterloo, Promise to Love You Forevermore

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Top from Ivory Ella.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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London was probably one of my favorite places to visit.

It was expensive, yes, but place was just so cool.

AND it was the first time in months that everything was in English. #BLESS

The three of us stayed in, what was probably the coolest hostel I’ve been to, The Birds Hostel. It’s placed right above a bar and constantly holds fun events. Like themed trivia games (i.e. Harry Potter, Disney Villains, etc.), movie nights (in our case, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), and had an overall cool setup. Not to mention that the people there are genuinely nice and hilarious to be around.

Oh, and the food is to die for. I most particularly loved their chicken popcorn.

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We spent our first morning in Covent Garden, particularly in a tea store called Whittard of Chelsea. While I am not a big fan of tea, the shop was filled with gorgeous items and delicious smelling teas. There was also tons of Alice in Womderland themed products, one of which was chocolate that I gladly ate and shared at school later on. If not for the chocolate itself, then for the beautiful packaging.

We then scurried off to see Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

One of us is an art major and I, for those of you who don’t know, considered being one myself. That was, of course, before I realized I didn’t like being stressed out by deadlines when it came to art. Now you can imagine how excited we were to visit the National Gallery, where some of the world’s greatest artworks are. Although our time was limited, the one piece of art that I absolutely HAD to see was the famous Sunflower by Vincent van Gogh (the one with the vase to be precise).

My good friend and I took turns geeking out over our favorite artists and taking pictures with their pieces.

Van Gogh is my guy, Monet is hers.

We also made sure to visit Abbey Road (although we could’ve been run over) and Platform 9 3/4 (despite the long line).

We even made reservations to have tea at a place called Candella. It’s a quaint but beautiful place, perfect for living out one’s tea time dreams.

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We ended the day with a live show of Les Misérables.

Earlier that day our group met a very nice woman staying at the same hostel we were in. She had discounts on tickets to musicals being shown during our stay, and graciously offered us to any of our choosing. Since two of the three in our group had never actually seen the production, the third a fervent fan of it, we decided to watch Les Misérables.

Despite its tragedy and dark tone (don’t worry, no spoilers here), the story was beautiful and filled with talented actors.

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On our last night in London, all three of us went on the London Eye.

The initial idea was to be in it while the sun was setting. But London, however, is all fog and rain. So that plan went down the drain. But the overall experience was so much fun. The line, while long, was exceedingly fast and the views were amazing.

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My two favorite things about London are 1) their Metro system and 2) Primark.

For the first point, it’s so incredibly easy to understand. And no, not just because it’s in English. But the lines make more sense and aren’t incredibly complicated like freaking spiderwebs (ahem, Paris). The Overground, which we particularly used, was never a stressful thing. We never once got lost.

Primark, which I know can be found in other countries, was first discovered by moi in London. It’s basically a cool place to find clothes and other items that will not break the bank. Unless you go overboard of course, but that’s not the point.

Overall, London was the best. With it’s red buses and telephone booths and cool accents. I definitely recommend going there and encourage study abroad students to seek out The Birds Hostel.

And remember to mind the gap!

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Wheelin’ Around Northern Italy

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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Now, home girl did something pretty stupid before the Northern Italy trip.

It was the Halloween Party.

I, who was perfectly sober by the way, sprained her right ankle getting too lit. I danced that night, hardcore like I usually do, on an ankle that was already somewhat fragile from a previous rolling. But if you know me, you know that once my jam(s) come on, there’s no way to stop me.

So I got a cane.

And a wheelchair. Just in case.

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Our first stop was Assisi and the first site we went to was the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.

The mosaics and artwork there was absolutely breathtaking.

But what really took my breath away was the climb. The very steep climb. At this point I only had my cane, which was named Ichabod by its previous owner, since I didn’t know where the wheelchair was. Or if the staff was being serious when they said they were bringing it.

While I successfully, and triumphantly, climbed up on my own, the climb down was a different story. You would think it’d be better considering, well, gravity but it wasn’t. By the time we had to leave, I had physically exhausted myself from climbing up to the basilica and going around the big church exploring (stairs and such). I literally could not hold myself up.

So my friends, my wonderful and insane friends, decided to manhandle me against my will. At this point we were behind the pack and needed to find a way to speed me up. So the carried me. Literally one friend per arm and another for my legs. And Ichabod landed with someone. It was probably a really weird sight. Seeing these American students hustling and carrying a human being in the middle of Assisi.

And in front of our professors.

But honestly, by then they had seen weirder things from us.

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Our next stop, which was my favorite, was Florence.

From it’s gorgeous monuments to it’s leather markets and it’s delicious food. In fact, I had Asian food there for the first time in months.

I almost cried right there.

In a restaurant filled with the most amount of Asians I had seen in what felt like forever.

But another reason why I loved my time in Florence so much was that everywhere I went I was wheeled around. So imagine a bunch of college kids running around a foreign city, pushing their friend around and having wild races. If we didn’t stick out already, we most certainly did after decorating my chair in gold tinsel.

Now at this point I’d been carried around multiple times. Assisi was the first. And then two piggyback rides in Florence, both in one day and most appreciated.

But my dumb ass, probably due to pride and ego and insanity, was determined to climb up the Duomo. If you didn’t know, the Duomo has 463 steps (I looked it up). I can’t even climb one flight of stairs with both of my ankles, now I wanted to climb hundreds on a crutch.

But despite my ganky ankle, I actually made it. AND in under half an hour.

Did I almost die?

Hell yes.

Was it worth it?

Hell yeah.

Especially since I had a whole squad with me for motivation and in case I fell.

 

 

 

 

 

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We then moved on to Venice.

As an avid fan of the novel, The Thief Lord, being in Venice was exciting. If you don’t know what that is, definitely check it out!

While Venice itself is indeed beautiful and unique, it was the hardest place for me to be in. Venice is small, therefore the pathways are narrow and there are multiple bridges to cross. It’s basically inevitable to encounter some. And a special shoutout to Mia, who was basically stuck with me for a whole day in Venice. She most definitely did not plan on having to wheel me around all day, but she did so anyway. Mostly because she had no choice, otherwise I’d be stranded. But I am, however, incredibly grateful.

It also meant that we took as many water taxis as possible. But it gave us a great opportunity to see all of Venice in the limited time that we had.

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My favorite places in Venice was Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and St. Mark’s Square. Both are gorgeous places one should definitely visit!

Venice, however, was where I had one of the worst not chocolates ever. I meant, it was baaad. It was so viscous and burnt my throat. Also, BEWARE OF THE BIRDS. The birds are vicious as hell. They will actually fight you for your food!!! So I advise you, no matter how nice it is outside or how pretty the views are, don’t eat outside unless you want to fight or die…

Despite the scary birds, Venice was overall really nice. Since Northern Italy was the last class trip we would all be taking together, everyone spent the last night being together and thanking our professors and the staff for all the trips they put together.

It was a wonderful last night spent together on the last class trip.

 

 

 

 

After making a quick stop at Ravenna, where we ate pizza and visited Dante’s grave, we headed back to Rome and went back to work.

I also said goodbye to my wheelchair since campus is incredibly small.

Less than a week later I also said goodbye to Ichabod.

And as a way of saying “Thank You,” I bought Pringles for the friends who consistently helped me get around all of Northern Italy and for being just overall awesome people.

I have very sweet friends.

But don’t tell them I said that.

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I Can Go the Distance

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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Our class trip to Greece was basically a week-long vacation.

We went on an overnight boat, which I had never done before! Although the rooms were incredibly small and tight (four per room), the boat itself was massive. The bar was open to all and was placed right in front of a lounge area everyone hung out in.

There are two things I remember most that night:

First, there was a long drive to the port itself. It was a 7 hour drive, so by the time we got on the actual boat I had so much energy! Amongst all the other students who were jetlagged and tired, I was doing the “Wobble” like the fool that I am.

Second, the party of the top deck. Despite the chilly wind and legit fear of falling overboard, it was a lot of fun. It was basically filled with only University of Dallas kids doing random things. Like singing and rapping along to music, reading Aristophanes’ The Frogs for homework, having a dance party, and playing Ninja.

I even scraped my knee pretty badly playing Ninja too hardcore. But I won. Twice. And that’s what really matters.

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So many things happened on this trip that I couldn’t possibly write about. Mostly because, to be honest, I can’t remember a lot of it off the top of my head.

But I do remember visiting some of the most gorgeous monasteries in the world. One of which was on Meteora. While the climb was a nightmare, the view was an absolute dream. With the gorgeous rock formations, and clear blue skies, and amazing landscapes that blew me away.

I will say this, however, beware of the bathrooms in monasteries . . .

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Over the course of our time there, we had multiple on-site lectures given by our professors. One of which was the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.

Now at this particular archaeological site there are three different levels you can see. So on every level we had a different professor give a lecture.

In general I hate climbing, so imagine how it was for us when it began to rain. And I don’t mean just a little drizzle, but like hardcore pouring rain.

While everyone checked earlier that morning what the weather would be like, none of us could have anticipated just how bad it would be. Some of us didn’t even have umbrellas or rain jackets that day.

But despite the nasty weather that day, it was one of the most memorable afternoons those ten days.

Everyone persevered and listened to all three lectures, despite being given an out. We all chose to instead enjoy that afternoon by singing rain-related tunes and jumping in/over puddles we pretended were oceans.

This one, big insane family stuck together in the rain like pros.

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Another on-site lecture we had was at Mycenae.

It’s an archaeological site that contains a tholos tomb called the Treasury of Atreus. This tomb is shaped like a beehive and allows visitors to go inside it. Initially we were outside when our professor began the lecture. Midway through, however, it began to rain…

So this big group of Americans (except for myself and one other kid) rush to the tomb below us to take cover and finish the lecture there.

Our professor, noting the amazing acoustics in the tomb, invited students to stand in the middle where the sound was best and sing.

From Italian opera to a sea ballad to a Shakespeare recitation, we filled the tomb we glorious sound. But it was the finale that was unforgettable.

One of my best friends goes up and invites us all to sing Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. Now throughout our semester together, there were a few songs in particular everyone knew and sang together. Such as Edelweiss from The Sound of MusicHey Stephen by Taylor Swift, Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande, and the song mentioned above.

So altogether, in a circle with our arms around each other’s shoulders, we sing.

Loud and proud and happily.

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We also spent a whole day island hopping.

There were two boats we went on where the top deck was open for seating. The ride was about 2-3 hours long, so some of us would sleep under the warm sun on the top deck or even talk with our professors. I distinctly remember how nice it felt to have the sun come down on my shoulders as the cool wind blew in my face. There was also music paying in the background along with a bit of chatter.

That day we visited two islands that were just gorgeous. One of which had awesome food and views, and the other an open beach and adorable shops. The day was spent looking at things to buy in a bathing suit and running around like madmen.

Even the boat ride back to our hotel was fun. In order to pass the time, we would play cards or hand-clapping games with each other.

The day was equal in fun and exhaustion.

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Our last night in Greece was spent dancing.

There was a group of professional dancers that came to both perform for us and teach us some moves. The night was filled with loud music and sweaty people joyfully dancing the night away. I remember being in my polka dotted and flamingo print dress that I had bought on one of the islands, hair up in a ponytail, with my black ankle booties stomping the ground.

Greece was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

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P.s. Gibbs and the Kids rule.

Stephen’s Heathens suck.

The Hills Are Alive

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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My second long weekend was spent in Austria.

Just like Paris, I was luck to to visit Salzburg more than once. But I’ll talk about that a little later. For now it’ll be about Vienna.

For my first trip, a small group of us went on an overnight train crossing the borders between Italy and Austria. It was one of my favorite parts of the semester. The train was set up like the one that goes to Hogwarts. A carriage compartment you can share with friends and have tons of snacks in.

One of us even had our 20th birthday that night.

So we had our own little celebration with pringles and some beer (well, in my case orange juice). Everyone spent the night talking and making jokes as we headed into another new country.

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Our time in Vienna was calm and lovely.

We hit the ground running once we arrived.

As we walked to our hostel we stopped by a few places since checkin wasn’t open yet. I had, what I personally believe, to be the best hot chocolate ever. The lady even asked if I wanted white hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate, or milk ho chocolate. I didn’t even know I had options! Pair that with some yummy brownies and I’m good to go.

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After dropping off our bags at the hostel, we went exploring.

Right outside a church we were visiting, there was a small fresh market that sold freshly baked bread and fruits. Everyone sat together, having our own little picnic, eating strawberries and raspberries and pumpernickel bread (a whole loaf of it!).

Soon after we came across a playground with a big merry-go-round and a set of swings. One of which was like a mosh pit and so big that two people could ride it!

Are we too old to be fooling around on playgrounds?

Probably.

Did we care?

Not really.

After spending what was probably an unhealthy amount of time there, we stopped by a burger place nearby.

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Our last day in Vienna was spent visiting a museum and studying at a cool place called Pickwick’s. It’s actually a British pub with tons of great food and books to read for fun.

But our time in Austria wasn’t just spent in Vienna…

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It was also spent in Salzburg, where every Sound of Music fans’ dreams come true!

We went everywhere we could.

From the beautiful gardens where the children learned how to sing, to the Von Trapp household, to the gazebo where two thirsty teenagers shared their first kiss, and many more!

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We even climbed up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Now, when whomever proposed us visiting the place, it was never mentioned that there would be a climb. A big, STEEP climb. Probably the worst I’ve ever done.

Out of the five in our group, two of us were struggling hardcore. And the worst part is that there are literally no places to take break! It’s just a constant uphill battle.

You know, when Mother Superior said to climb every mountain, I thought she meant it figuratively. Not literally for a bunch of out-of-shape college kids.

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We were also fortunate enough to visit Salzburg while a festival was being held there.

We didn’t exactly know it was for, or understood when we tried asking someone, but it was a joy nonetheless.

There was a never ending stream of booths that sold pretzels, and schnitzel, and gelato, and ornaments, and other wonderful things! There was eve n a few rides set up, like a small Ferris wheel and swing ride.

We spent the day eating as much as we could handle (both interns of our stomachs and our wallets), starting from chocolate covered strawberries that tasted like heaven. Afterwards, a young group of drummers and singers were leading the general crowd towards someplace. Intrigued, we joined in until we reached the beautiful church Kollegienkirche. Although Salzburg is typically a quiet place to be in, our time there was filled with festivities and fun that will forever be cherished.

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Little Me, In Paris

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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I was fortunate enough to visit the City of Lights twice.

It took both times and two 3 hour visits for me to barely finish one floor of the Louvre. And let me tell you, that Mona Lisa is teeny. The museum taunts you by putting up signs everywhere saying “She’s this way” and making visitors climb stairs after stairs after stairs. And of course you do so quickly because you want to get there before the crowd gets too big. But at least I got to say that I saw it in person.

The museum is a maze. It is never ending in its treasures and beauties. The floor I explored was 1 (the others being -2, -1, 0 and 2). My personal favorite was the Denon Wing, in particular the Napoleon III Apartments.

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There is also a great cafe called Hubsy that I recommend to college students visiting Paris. It is exceedingly cheap considering all the things they provide you. You pay a set fee depending on the number of hours you are there, and in return you get free WiFi and unlimited snacks and drinks. It also helps that the place itself is pretty cozy.

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Lucky for us, climbing the Arc de Triomphe was free!

Since we had to stay for such a long time in Italy, everyone has student visas that made us legal residents of the EU for the time being. Apparently for EU residents it’s free to climb the monument!

The climb, while exhausting, was worth it in my opinion. The view allowed us to see not only the overall city, but also the Eiffel Tower during it’s light show. It was just a few of us, fooling around in the cool air while looking around like the tourists that we are.

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During my second visit, we took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles.

Although we had purchased tickets online, the line was simply horrendous. It was so long that it created three huge loops outside the palace, kind of like a huge snake. And while the wait was long and the heat was strong, our little group passed the time making jokes and playing games.

The palace is gorgeous.

With it’s black and white tiles and elaborate gold ornaments, the palace was indeed beautiful. A friend and I even had a meal there. Albeit a little expensive, but delicious nonetheless (with a much cheaper dinner that night). Their orange juice was probably one of the best I’ve ever had. It even came with their own fancy bottle and label! 😀

I was most excited to see the Hall of Mirrors, but ended up falling in love with other items within that room. While the mirrors were indeed impressive, it was the multiple chandeliers and painting-covered ceiling that made me awestruck.

We ended the trip with some macaroons from Laudurée. Expensive, and small, but delicious! If you ever visit one, make sure to get a ribbon there! There’s blue, green, lavender and pink.

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My favorite part of both my trips to Paris was seeing the Eiffel Tower at night.

After the trip to Versailles, we took our macaroons and sat down in an open space right in front of the Tower. It’s a clear, grass field that is open to the public and perfect for seeing the entire Tower.

There were tons of people there.

Families with their children playing around, couples taking romantic photos, and groups of young adults just like us having picnics.

We watched the sun set right before the light show began.

The rest of the night was spent eating our macaroons, making funny videos, and dancing along to “Stand By Me.” It was one of my favorite moments in the entire semester.

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And while I was blessed to see Paris twice, there is still so much more to see and do there!

Such as climbing the Eiffel Tower (once I earn more money, of course).

And visiting Saints Chapelle with all its glorious stained glass!

And the booklover in me must of course visit Shakespeare and Company too!

There is still so much wonder to discover in the city that I have yet, and will hopefully one day, see for myself.

I will, however, warn future fellow university student visitors that Paris is very expensive. It is a very hectic place and their Metro system made my head hurt.

But Paris will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first time I had ever traveled somewhere without any parental OR school guidance. Not to mention that it’s also the first, and I proudly proclaim the only, place I was ever lost in.

For two hours.

Alone.

With a dying phone.

It was truly an experience to remember.

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If Bliss Could Be A Color, It’d Be Amalfi Blue

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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Our first class trip was to Souther Italy, otherwise known as Campania.

One of the few places we went to was Amalfi Coast. It’s famous for it’s delicious lemons and gorgeous beaches. We spent the morning strolling around, visiting churches and eating delicious lemon treats. My favorite was the lemon-flavored granita, which is basically a fancy version of a slushy.

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We were told that the Amalfi beach inspired many Greek stories, like the Sirens in The Odyssey. The day was unbearably hot and humid, making the blue waters that much more welcoming. We all practically ran towards the cool waters, with sweat dripping down our faces and backs.

As beautiful as it was, however, the waves were hella wild. They kept throwing us against the sharp boulders, covered with mushy algae and sea urchins. I even almost fully stepped on one. Eventually I just gave up actual swimming and stuck to the shore.

The sand there wasn’t even sand either. It was instead small pebbles that burned like the sun and were painful to walk on barefoot.

Some kids even went cliff diving. In theory this is a pretty cool (probably insane) idea. If it weren’t for the height. Or the 20 minute nonstop swim to it. Or the crazy waves. Or the sharp boulders. One of us even hurt their leg and had to put it in a cast. A lot of us also got cuts and bruises.

The Amalfi Coast, while gorgeous, was not in the least relaxing or calm.

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We ended the trip in Positano, where some of my favorite memories are.

Like the dance parties in the hotel lobby and the sunset watching at the beach. Especially the beach.

It was about a five minute walk from the hotel we were staying at, and almost everyone wanted to watch the sunset there for our last night of the trip. The beach, unlike the one at Amalfi, was calm. With soft sand and warm waves that gently rocked us about.

The sky was magnificent. A complete gradient of colors that reflected off of the waters like an impressionistic painting. One moment it would be orange and yellow, and in another purple and pink. With this as our gorgeous backdrop, everyone sang songs and acted like complete fools. For that one night everyone let loose before heading back to work the following morning.

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A Twelve Year Reunion

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Lips are Marrakesh by 100 Percent Pure.
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Eyeliner is Royal by 100 Percent Pure.

For those of you who don’t know I was born in Singapore.

A tiny island that’s so small you’ve probably missed it on a map more than once.

It is incredibly hot and filled to the brim with malls. Since they can’t expand horizontally they do so vertically instead.

It’s also a great place for tourists.

It had been twelve years since I was last there, so to say I was excited and nervous to go back for a week over the summer is an understatement.

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Tank from an indie store.
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Jacket is Urban Outfitters via Poshmark.

We arrived at two in the morning, which was so great, and off the bat did stuff.

Like getting my first tattoo.

Yup.

If you haven’t seen it on my Instagram account, then, well first of all, what are you doing? And then go look. It didn’t hurt at all; it was a cool experience. So much so that I decided to go get another one. On the side of my rib cage. That one definitely hurt.

Like a bitch.

I’m pretty sure I screamed so loudly and frequently that I scared off other clients that were waiting. There were a lot less people in the waiting area when I came then when I first arrived.

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I also reunited with my paternal side of the family for the first time in years.

My grandpa, as savage and blunt as ever, and my sweet grandma, but whose sassy too.

My hilarious and equally savage godmother/aunt and her husband (my uncle-in-law) in his awesome Darth Vader t-shirt.

Some of my cousins: Mark the responsible third grade teacher, Marcus the cool guy with tattooes all over his body who should’ve been an artist (it’s complicated), and Marian a.k.a. Squirt (for her height) my girl.

And, of course, my father. An incredibly tanned auditor whom I love very much. Who apparently remarried some time ago. Yup, I’ve got a stepmom. She just kinda popped up on me. But it’s ok. He seems happy. And she seems to enjoy giving me gifts, so who am I to refuse her?

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Choker is Gianna from Ettika.

*This portion of the post has nothing to do with the main topic, but I’ve gotta give a shout -out to Ettika and Planet Blue for this awesome choker collab.*

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My mother and I also had our own little adventures.

Like the zoo.

Yes, the zoo.

It’s awesome.

Don’t judge.

We had breakfast with the orangutans (the baby was soooo cute) and saw tons of animals. Like flamingos, naked mole rats, a polar bear (yes, in a hot continent but he’s ok), etc.

But the most important one was, of course, elephants. If you think otherwise you need to get yourself together cause elephants are the bomb dot com. I’m pretty we, meaning me, spent a good ten minutes just sitting and staring at them. And taking videos. and squealing like a little kid.

They’re so cute and sweet.

Ok, I’m done.

For now.

Not to mention our day at Universal Studios. Neither of us had ever been to one to it was pretty exciting. There were different sections like Sci-Fy, Jurassic Park, Hollywood, etc. But my personal favorite was Far Far Away. It reignited my love for the Shrek franchise.

My favorite rides were the Transformers 4D experience and The Mummy. They were both epically epic. We did The Mummy twice (even though it initially scared the shit out of me) and wanted to do the Transformers one again too (if it hadn’t had technical difficulties and had to stop).

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Shorts from Forever 21.
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Booties from JustFab.

I think it’s safe to say that the trip overall was wonderful.

From the family reunions to the touristy adventures.

And hopefully I’ll get to go back sooner.

Preferably not in twelve years.

Or eleven.

Or ten.

Ok, maybe just not in double digits.

Or above five.

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Until next time.

 

Beauty for Everyone. Again.

 

As you can see in the above pictures, punctuality is not my mother’s strong suit.

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If you’ve read my last post you’d know that I attended Sally Beauty’s Beauty for Everyone Influencer Executive Summit a while back.

On the second day bloggers were given the opportunity to talk to over 25 different brand partners and got tons of free products.

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There were two Sally Beauty hairstylists available to bloggers throughout the day in the Presidential Suite.

The woman in the picture above is my friend Cris Zaragoza (styleanthropy) and I promise she looked a lot better than what you see above ;D

And yes, the woman behind her is the one and only Mama Mai.

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Bloggers were welcomed with, of course, free products and an assortment of fruits and muffins.

Their blueberry muffins are amazing by the way.

I usually hate them but damn.

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Meeting Jeannie Mai.

At first glance I thought I was hallucinating because, I mean, there’s no way that that could be her! But the more I looked (yes, I know I sound like a stalker) the more I started to realize that it was indeed Jeannie Mai!

And after seeing Mama Mai too my mind just blew up.

I’m not going to lie, I spent the entire morning presentation looking over at her table to see if she really was real.

By the end of it my momma got fed up with me and told me to just ask for a picture. And I did! Well, she did for me because I couldn’t speak.

Jeannie was so nice and is a hardcore hugger. I just smiled and nodded at everything she said while momma took our picture together.

I have never been starstruck before so it was apparently very amusing for my mother to see me that way…

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While the trade show was going on there was also an entire section in the hotel that gave pedicures, manicures, haircuts, styling, and false lashes.

I had never tried falsies before so I was definitely apprehensive when the opportunity to try presented itself.

I kept blinking and closing my eyes and was a wreck throughout the process.

Yes, all five minutes of it.

But I liked the end result. Just not enough to do the work on a regular basis.

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#WERK

 

All of the brands were awesome.

There were so many that it was difficult to look at all of them. And not to mention the crowds and lines.

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Dinner was at one Dallas’s top nightclubs where people can ride mechanical bulls.

It was Sally Beauty Hairstylist Gregory Patterson’s birthday and apparently he’s always wanted to try it.

But…

Since I’m still underage and momma is not a huge fan of nightclubs anymore we decided to have room service instead.

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On the last day bloggers were given the opportunity to try the Experimental Pop Up Social Lounge and Content Studio during breakfast on the last day. It occupied a small section of the Grand Hyatt’s dining hall.

It had a light pink background with wooden stool in front of it. Bloggers could choose from a list of questions they could answer and were allowed to film as many as they wish. Like “What products can you not live without?” or “What’s the best beauty advice you have ever received?’

There was also an entire wall stacked with products for us to take.

You should have seen the bloggers who ran for it.

Even in those hella high heels of theirs.

It was quite impressive.

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Peace out!

I want to thank Sally Beauty and the Brain Trust for inviting me to the summit!

It was a lot of fun and I’m going to love trying out all the products I got.

Beauty for Everyone

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Yes, yes, this is incredibly late.

With school and college applications in the way, I had no time to properly describe my experience with Sally Beauty in Dallas a few months ago. (Yes, months.)

But now that it’s Winter Break (thank God) and I’ve been accepted by a few schools (thank God, again), I can finally sit down and blog about it.

My mother, Sheela Writes, and I were invited to Sally Beauty’ Beauty for Everyone Influencer Excutive Summit (quite a mouthful). It was basically a three-day event that allowed influencers to check out some of Sally Beauty’s products and learn how to develop our brand.

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Welcoming Gift

The summit took place in Dallas, Texas and my mother actually let me skip school in order to attend since it began on a Friday (such a rebel).

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and upon arrival we were given a bag of goodies (as seen in the above picture). Our room was sooo cool. The blinds would automatically raise up when we entered the room, displaying a great view of the city. There was also one of those cosmetic mirrors with fancy lights that YouTube makeup tutorialists use.

And it was pretty awesome having a big TV too.

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Day 1: Fashion Show

The event was a fashion and hair show hosted by Project Runway and Lead Sally Beauty Hairstylist, Gregory Patterson. For those of you who dodn’t know who that is, it’s the guy you see on TV when Project Runway comes on. Turns out he’s real! (Don’t judge me.)

The show opened with a montage video of Project Runway Season 14 and other various fashion shows around the country. The atmosphere was what I imagine a club to be like, with Calvin Harris and Zedd tracks on full blast.

There were models in chairs lined up.

Gregory would give the audience some tips on how to do each model’s hairstyle, and of course showed which products to use, as each model kept on their black coverups.

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Gregory then proceeded to introduce a surprise guest: Ashley Tipton! Winner of Project Runway Season 14 and the first plus size designer to win.

The models, afetr getting their hair presentations done, took off the coverups and revealed Tipton’s new line with JCPenney.

It had a retro vibe with tons of a black and pink dominant color palette.

And it was also really cool that she had models of ALL sizes.

Not just the usual skinny ones, but not just the curvy ones either.

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Meeting Ashley Tipton
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The unconventional challenge

The dress above was Tipton’s unconventional dress that was asked for by Sally Beauty.

I think it’s made out of boxes. A lot of boxes.

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Dress from Forever 21.
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Cuff is Loewe. Rings from Poshmark, Shasa, and various indie boutiques. Necklace from Poshmark.
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Shoes are Jeffrey Campbell.

Now to give you some perspective, we left our house early in the morning because the airport is about an hour away. After dealing with our bags, going through check-in, and finding food we boarded our plane at around noon. The flight itself was super short, but once we landed we were working nonstop.

The show was originally supposed to be at 4 but began a little over an hour early.

The event (which included meet-and-greets and pre-show chatting) ended at around 5:30.

Basically momma and I were exhausted.

Dinner was at 6 but we, well, took a nap. A looong nap. Like three hours.

So we had room service instead and watched Descendants (yes, we still watch Disney movies).

By the way, the Grand Hyatt’s mac n’ cheese is amazing!

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Thanks for letting us shoot, Fuddruckers! And for the coupon 🙂
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#BEAUTYFOREVERYONE

And that was just Day 1.

I promise to write about the rest soon. It’s just a lot of stuff to write about 🙂

Til next time!

Reincarnation

I’ve just returned from my trip to Yale for the Ambassador Leaders program.

And I must say, it was pretty awesome.

Right off the bat I made some pretty cool friends.

Insane, but nonetheless cool.

We were a huge group representing places from around the globe. From China, Nigeria, Latvia, the United Kingdom, and many many more.

Also, Yale itself is gorgeous.

Every building looks like a cathedral. Even the gymnasium!

We were lucky enough to get to tour the campus. From the libraries (yes, plural), to the residential colleges, and to the dining halls. One of the residential schools – which looks like a town you’d see in a live action Disney film – had a bell tower! A BELL TOWER! And apparently it sometimes plays pop songs out of the blue. I guess Yale University is an Ivy League school for a reason. Plus the food there is amazing.

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It’s been a packed week.

We’ve had a ropes course wherein I was left hanging midair for a few moments (and I was slightly spinning), and I’m ashamed (not really) to say that I got pretty competitive into the activities.

And when I get competitive, I get crazy.

Like “Everyone-Do-What-I-Say-Or-I’ll-Bitchslap-You-All-The-Way-Back-To-Your-Ancestors” crazy. Yeah, not my best moment. But once I cooled down by running through the sprinklers, I was a little bit more bearable.

Then we got to hang out with three representatives of United Way and spent over an hour putting together literacy kits (which was quite addictive). We were given four children’s books to choose from to decorate our kits around. I was torn between Bunny Money (because the name is adorable) and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Ultimately my friends and I chose the bear because it had tons of animals in different colors, which was great to model after for our kits.

We also got to meet two awesome people. Sunjay Nath, a hilarious motivational speaker that looks like a cross between Steve Carell and the guy Ross from F. R. I. E. N. D. S., and Melora , a loud and lovable teacher of the 7 Highly Effective Habits of Teens by Sean Covey.

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Dress from an indie Korean brand.

The day after we spoke with some Yale alumni, we attended an hour-long session with the Yale Undergraduate Admissions Counselor.

It started off pretty awesome.

We had just finished our tour of the campus and she began describing student life at Yale. Upperclassmen excitedly bombard freshman the second they arrive to question them on which residential college they’ve been sorted into (kind of like Harry Potter and the various Houses) and take their luggage into the dorms for them. They also have these “Tea Parties” wherein students invite public figures to speak with them on, well, anything. And the counselor told us that all financial needs are always met. No matter what your family’s home situation or yearly income may be aid is apparently always given once you’ve been accepted.

So by now we’re all feeling as though we could take on the world, until a parent asks what the acceptance rate is.

6%

As you can guess, our high ride ended pretty quickly.

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Earrings are Chanel. Shades from Poshmark.

On Thursday we traveled to the Big Apple.

Our tour guide showed us Wallstreet, the progress of the World Trade Center transit hub (a Phoenix rising from its ashes), had lunch in Central Park and saw the John Lennon Memorial, visited Rockefeller Center, and, of course, took pictures in Times Square.

Our guide, a true New Yorker, made tons of movie references and threw tons of shade towards the Kardashians and Trump.

We also saw a couple of street performers and had a delicious strawberry Popsicle.

We ran into a man who made these huge bubbles that almost seemed as though they were about to attack us. I think that was probably the best part of our trip to New York.

I mean, who doesn’t love bubbles? Especially gigantic ones.

On our way back to New Haven, the staff told us to watch the film He Named Me Malala and that we would have to answer some questions later on. In short, I saw the beginning and woke up just in time to see the ending.

Sorry Malala.

I was exhausted.

I promise to give my utmost attention when I’m much more awake.

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Cuff from H&M via Poshmark.

On the last day each group presented their community action plans, which we’ve been working on since Day 1, to the rest of the group and three Lead 2 Feed representatives.

My group was the last one.

Now, here’s some background information you need to know:

1. I caught a cold midway through the program.

2. Students were asked by the Primary Leaders to put together something to honor the Teacher Leaders.

As I waited for my turn to speak, I noticed that a few students were either sleeping or playing on their phones. Safe to say that I was pretty annoyed. Especially since I gave my undivided attention to them when it was their turn. So, in true Eve-Has-Lost-Her-Shit Fashion, before saying my piece I sarcastically thanked those for giving my group their time.

Since I had a cold, I was very nasal. So I wasn’t sure whether or not anyone even understood what I said.

I then apologized for sounding like an idiot because of my said-cold, which, apparently, people found quite amusing. Especially after I rolled my shoulders and pulled my hair back sassily (which was not intentional mind you).

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Shoes are Jeffrey Campbell.

After all presentations were given, we had about two hours of free time .

I immediately asked to go to the Yale Bookstore.

I wanted to buy some form of Yale merchandise. Some form of proof that I had visited the Ivy League school, because, you know, my momma did pay a lot of money for the trip.

My friend and I finished early and headed back to our dorms.

We were both so exhausted that we slept through our alarms and missed dinner. Naturally the staff freaked out and thought we were dead. Apparently people had been calling us but we slept through that too. When I awoke from my nap I saw that it was about 5:45. Then I had a mini “Oh crap!” moment when I remembered that dinner was at 5. I grabbed my things and headed out of my dorm when I ran into the nurse, who was sent to find my friend and I. Kailee, my Sleeping Sista, and I were later brought to the Trumbell Dining Hall for dinner.

I was torn between being incredibly embarrassed and laughing uncontrollably.

I have never in my life been late to something because I had fallen asleep. But hey, at least I did it on the last day so it’s not I could get into trouble or anything.

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Afterwards we had our last Ambassador Leaders meeting and groups were given the time to thank their Teacher Leaders.

My group’s leader Ruben, a hilarious and energetic short Mexican (as he calls himself), was thanked last because we were Group #7. Because we were all so preoccupied with our Lead 2 Feed project, we hadn’t really prepared anything. But then again, most of the other groups hadn’t either. However, that morning I put together a 27 second video about why Ruben is awesome.

Here it is:

He willingly spends time with crazy teens.

He encourages you to eat ice cream.

He gladly takes your mustard packs.

He laughs at you when you fall.

And also when you’re scared of dying (a. k. a. me at the ropes course).

But most of all he will love you unconditionally.

Or at least is nice enough to pretend.

After he saw the video, Ruben thanked not only us, but the entire Ambassador Leaders group, for “…letting him be an audience member of your (our) show…”

Kailee and I then asked him why he didn’t cry like the other Team Leaders.

He said he didn’t have to.

He said, “Beacuse you’ve made me strong.”

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Everyone then headed back to Yale and celebrated all of our hard work.

We ate ice cream in the basement and went around crying and hugging everyone, reflecting on the past week’s events. And even though we were all sad that the program was coming to an end, we were also just happy to be around each other.

So one of the girls from Brooklyn whipped out her Beats Pill speaker, set up a playlist of throwback jams, and we all danced the night away.

Happy to be with each other.

 

 

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