4 Books You Really Should Read This Summer.

4 Books You Really Should Read This Summer.

There’s truly nothing quite as wonderful as the smell of books. Walking into Barnes & Noble or the public library (or really anywhere that has tons of books) fills my heart with an inexplicable peace and joy. Even if I’m not reading them, I like being around them. Maybe because it makes me feel smarter. In any case, I compiled a tiny list of my summer reading suggestions because I just can’t stop thinking about these books. Check out these classics.

For the critical philosopher: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Arguably one of the most well-known novels of the 19th century, Crime and Punishment explores the psyche of Rodion Raskolnikov, a poor college dropout who murders an old lady and then must deal with all the consequences. The entire novel is one giant psychological and philosophical analysis disguised in a fictional tale.

For the romantic optimist: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I would be amiss not to mention my favorite book of all time. This novel is intricate, thrilling, captivating, and absolutely enthralling. I cannot say enough about it. Dantes, a sailor, is wrongly imprisoned and taken away from the love of his life. The complexity of this novel will woo your heart and fascinate your mind. Within each chapter is woven the virtues and vices of mankind.

For the podcast enthusiast: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

This is the original “Serial.” Capote fuses journalism and novel writing in this non-fiction novel about an entire family who was brutally murdered. Fun fact: Harper Lee helped him interview people for this novel.

For the sci-fi geek: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

A futuristic society with no pain and all the pleasure your heart could think of. Technological advancements soared, leaving the human race with nothing but their wildest dreams. But is it really everything we imagined? Huxley explores the possibilities of a utopian society in a very “Black Mirror” -esque way.


Have you read these books? What do you think? I’m also looking to expand my summer reading list. Drop some book suggestions for ME in the comments below!

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Music Moment: Paper Kites

Music Moment: Paper Kites

It’s after midnight, and you’re driving down the highway. The windows are down and your hair is almost (but not quite) blocking your view. The wind is warm and sticky, and you know summer is coming. You could drive for hours and let your mind wander because these are the days you’ll miss the most when they’re gone.

Can you tell I’m ready for summer? Not to mention I’ve already found the perfect album to accompany it. Today’s music moment is about On The Corner Where You Live by The Paper Kites.

On The Corner Where You Live album cover. Photo courtesy of The Paper Kites.

I found this album by accident one day, and I was shocked to find out it was by the Paper Kites. I had only ever heard their single “Bloom,” which was very very indie folk. But unbeknownst to me, they had released two entire albums in 2018. The first album is titled On The Train Ride Home and was released on April 18, 2018. Just five months later, the band released On The Corner Where You Live.

On The Train Ride Home is a good album, but On The Corner Where You Live really got me. It is infused with lo-fi and synth sounds, pays homage to the Blue Nile (where are my ’80s indie pop fans?!), and epitomizes heartbreak in the 21st century.

The album opens with “A Gathering on 57th,” an instrumental track that combines city sounds and a saxophone. It smoothly follows up with tracks that detail two lovers hopelessly striving for the perfect relationship in a postmodern society. Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy switch out lead vocals throughout the album to make it feel like a sort of dialogue.

Though it is stylistically different than their other albums, The Paper Kites made sure to keep a folk track in there with “Midtown Waitress.” They also included “Does It Ever Cross Your Mind” as a nice, introspective piano ballad. The album ends with the soothing yet emotionally charged “Don’t Keep Driving,” leaving the listener unsettled and longing for more as Bentley’s and Lacy’s voices trail off singing

Don’t push me, push me away (Don’t leave me).

Music journalist Thomas Hocknell describes it as “the sort of album you’d marry were it a person, although it would probably break your heart just to improve its context. It’s a delicate, yet muscular beauty of an album.”

The entire album just ebbs and flows in a way that is perfectly intricate. A cascade of emotions hits me every time I listen to it. The main critique I have is that it doesn’t seem to have a climactic song. However, the album flows so well that you get lost in the songs and don’t even realize when it’s over.

Favorite track: Deep Burn Blue or Does It Ever Cross Your Mind

Least favorite track: Red Light or On The Corner Where You Live

Overall, I give this album a 9/10. I simply adore the nostalgic sound mixed with the modern dilemmas. It feels so raw and real and true to life. And I love it.

USA brand brings European style to the West Coast

USA brand brings European style to the West Coast

If you look at her Instagram, you might think she’s a travel blogger. But she’s actually at every fashion week to get inspiration for her newest collections. From Portugal to Paris, fashion designer Brittany Correy is always on-the-go.

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Correy is the name and face behind the lady & the sailor, a simple clothing collection based on a solid fashion philosophy. “Good basics are the foundation to creating beautifully uncomplicated style.” With three boutiques in L.A., her brand is bringing European fashion to the U.S. one classic piece at a time. 

How did you become interested in fashion?

“I wouldn’t say there was one pivotal moment. I come from creative roots; that was my upbringing, art. It was just the natural progression. Fashion is just a daily form of art to me. It’s unique to the person. Each day you choose colors and textures. It’s like everyday you wake up and say, “Who am I today?” Such a fun form of expression.”

How did you start the lady & the sailor?

“With a set of ideas and long hours! I built the idea for the collection initially on my need for certain things. I would get dressed and feel like I was missing certain “building pieces.” For example, a tee refined enough to wear to a nice dinner. Or a tank long enough to layer under a specific sweater. The brand was built on the five pieces I always thought I was missing to complete an outfit.”

How would you describe your brand?

“Feminine with a nod to boy.”

What’s your favorite accessory?

“Hands down my favorite vintage Levis! I wear them endlessly, and they seem to fit the bill for almost any occasion in LA. Daytime with a sweatshirt or striped tee. Nighttime with a perfect leather jacket, black tee and heels.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“I usually start my day at the office and check in with the 3 boutiques. Once they are all situated, I move on to design and production. There’s daily design, playing with color palettes and fabrics. And then fittings several times a week. Fashion moves fast; there’s never down time.”

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

“All my favorite hobbies are not fashion related. This business is so consuming for me, when I get free time, truly the last thing I want to do is fashion related. Sometimes I need to rest my mind so I can be inspired when it counts. I love travel, yoga and it sounds crazy, but organizing! There’s nothing more enjoyable for me than a quiet evening at home organizing my closet or bathroom drawers.”

What inspires you?

“Travel, always. I can’t get enough. I love to see what people are wearing, men and women both. There’s also so much inspiration found in cityscapes, food, everything. I was in St. Tropez this summer and came across this incredible street of pink buildings: each had a different color trim. I wrote down every color combo there was!”

What’s it like constantly traveling? Are there things from home you miss while you are gone?

“First and foremost, my French bulldog, Clyde. After a day, I miss him so much it hurts! Then, of course, my husband and my family. Then it’s the little things, like my favorite coffee and my bed. Also just the luxury of having down time between travels. There’s nothing better than being home on a Saturday afternoon with literally nothing to do. No deadlines, no pressure. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

What tops your bucket list?

“I wouldn’t say it’s a single destination or experience. Rather, I would love to get to a place in the future where I could spend a full summer abroad. Relocate for May or June until August. I’d pick a place that I find the most inspiring at the time. I’d spend the summer absorbing the culture and then of course designing and sourcing. The summer would culminate with shooting our spring campaign, which we shoot every August. It’s our biggest and most important lookbook of the year. The campaign would likely be inspired by my summer.”

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

“I’ve always envisioned the lady & the sailor as a lifestyle brand, comprised of more than just clothing. We’re currently working on branching into accessories, bags, shoes and things of that nature. During my travels, I’ve seen so many beautiful things made by international artisans! There’s so many of these things I’d like to infuse into this realm of the brand.”

 

To shop, visit the website.

Photos courtesy of Brittany.

 

Everything Now.

Everything Now.

“Every inch of sky’s got a star. Every inch of skin’s got a scar.”


 

I read an article recently on the website Man Repeller. Rachel Siemens, the writer of said article, was discussing the idea of “having it all” and what an illusion that really is. She states:

“…All I could see were a group of people who gave absolutely everything of themselves to everyone around them (albeit bathed in the halcyon glow only a closet full of vintage caftans and a rose-water addiction can give you). I wondered why I was working myself until exhaustion to get to where they were.”

That statement resonated so strongly with me, bringing me almost to the point of tears. I often feel the exact same way. My eyes glitter at the sight of those who are “all-capable” and can do anything. However, do I ever consider how those people feel because they’ve given pieces of themselves to everything around them, leaving them empty and unfulfilled?

For far too long, I have been trapped in a mindset that convinces me that I need to be everything for everyone. Whether the cause is cultural/societal norms or simply my own mind or a little bit of both, it’s time to stop being confined to that box.

So, here’s some statements I need to make.

I cannot be a perfect Christian. (sorry, fellow Christ-followers. That’s just not how it works.)

I cannot be a perfect mother, wife, girlfriend, daughter, friend, employee, __________ (insert noun here).

You get the point.

We’ve heard it said time and time again: none of us are perfect. So why are we allowing this digitally-engrossed culture to dictate our lives, saying that we must have a million-and-one outstanding aspects to our lives in order to enrich us?

Social media has a funny way of distorting lives and sucking us into the virtual reality called the Internet. It shows the beauty, success, and sometimes even the tough (aka real) aspect of life. What it doesn’t show, however, is the hard work that comes with each success. The time and effort put into each beautiful thing.  And the heartbreak that can come with hard times.

Ladies, I am particularly addressing you in this post. (After all, I suppose I can speak from experience, considering I am also a lady.) Society screams “girl power” at you and then acts as if motherhood is a disgrace to feminism. Furthermore, society shows that you can indeed be a “business powerhouse and dedicated mother,” but it refuses to show your personal exhaustion and ultimate destruction as a result.

We cannot live like this and we shouldn’t. As women. As humans in general.

I suppose my point is this: we need not be good at everything. If everyone were good at everything, much of life would be utterly pointless. God gave us all specific talents and passions and purposes, and that is one of the most beautiful things about humans. You are so so unique. Don’t throw that away for some idea that you should be good at everything and do everything for everyone.

So here’s my challenge today. Listen to “I Want to Break Free” by Queen. Dance a little. Live a little. Realize what you’re good at and what you just suck at doing. Take some time for self-reflection. Maybe get off the internet for a day or two. Remember that those who love you don’t love you because you’re perfect. They love you because you aren’t.

 

KV

 

P.S. You should totally check out Man Repeller. Sometimes they hit me with some seriously deep and inspiring articles. Other times they make fun of hipsters and I laugh.

P.P.S. The title of this blog is brought to you by none other than the song “Everything Now” by Arcade Fire. You should also check that out. Maybe I should just make another playlist for you all?

La Vie Française.

La Vie Française.

As many of you are (I’m sure) aware, I spent the last year in France. It was one of the most wonderful, eye-opening, exhilarating experiences of my life.

I want you to meet some of the people who made my experience so great. I interviewed many of my fellow students about their experiences abroad. (To those I did not interview, my sincerest apologies. I still would really love to hear your answers to these questions if you’re interested.) I know this is a long post, but it is very dear to my heart. I love these raw, beautiful responses that are so specific to each person in our group.

 

1. Why did you come to France?

Tifani: I wanted to come back, I already had friends here, and it’s a place that I love. I don’t visit many places that I actually wanna go back to.

Christian: It was a last minute decision, honestly. I decided to come because I thought learning to speak French, even at a basic level, would help me in my future work as a surgeon in places where they are needed most.

Zachary: Since I was I kid I have always wanted to learn French and to visit France. Also, I know there are a lot of benefits from learning g a second language and I knew that it would be more easy to find a good job in the US if I had French on my resume.

Franco: When I was in middle school I had planned to study abroad. And when I got to high school my dad wouldn’t let me take Spanish…

Jason: I think it’s a beautiful language. It’s very useful. I’m also fascinated by French culture: the food, the sports, the people. 

Sarah: To acquire the language skills necessary to complete my BA in French studies with the goal of working internationally.

Shayla: Legit don’t actually know. There are several different reasons why I found myself in France. I had almost come two years ago, and there was still that part of me that wanted to learn French and use this opportunity to travel abroad.

Kaz: I’ve wanted to learn French since the moment I realized English wasn’t the only existing language. I was about 6 or 8 when that happened. But I had lost sight of that for awhile and then I met Sarah and she told me about the language program at Andrews and I signed up to come the following Monday.

Harrison: I love languages, first of all. Also, I love Europe. So I came up with plan that I would do France this year and Italy next year.

 

2. What has been your favorite part of studying abroad?

Tifani: The cultures, the people, and the friendships you make. Getting to try new things and experiences.

Christian: Expanding my cultural horizons. I still have a long way to go, but I feel much more understanding now about cultural differences and the problems they can pose to foreigners.

Zachary: Traveling around Europe and meeting new people along with being able to speak French with people

Franco: The traveling. Also, being able to travel for not that much money.

Jason: All the trips. And to be able to meet locals, that’s fun too. Because when you push yourself and push your boundaries to talk to other people, I think that’s when life-changing experiences and memories are made.

Nephta: Traveling is really cool, but I’d say just the people and the memories.

Sarah: Experiencing different cultures as I get to travel and opening my mind to new ways of doing things

Kaz: It’s been exactly like I thought it would be. Europe is like living in a fairytale.

Shayla: Probably the people and traveling.

Harrison: Actually, the trips I take away from here. I think being here is kind of the day-to-day life, which is good, but then you have that contrasted with your experiences wth other people and your experiences with getting to know yourself.

 

3. What do you think will be the hardest thing about going back?

Tifani: It’s always weird to see how people dress differently. You forget how many people always wear sweats and yoga pants… People just don’t do that here. Men here dress so much nicer. And just realizing that friends and family have moved on while you’ve been here.

Christian: Leaving people that, in such a short time, I grew to love, some as much as old friends.

Zachary:  Knowing that it will be a long time before I can return to Europe. And not being able to see my European friends.

Franco: It’s so different here that basically the whole idea of it is going to be super hard. The people, the traveling, just everything. I can do the same thing at home but it won’t be exactly the same.

Jason: Quite frankly, I don’t know if I can say this, but I’m not a big fan of American culture. Just going back to the whole American system will be kind of hard for me.

Sarah: Missing the people I spent the year abroad with and our adventures together

Shayla: Talking to people at home. And they won’t actually listen and a lot of people just won’t understand how things really are here.

Kaz:  Michigan is boring and Andrews is quite honestly in the middle of nowhere. Nothing at all like a fairytale. So back to reality and the fact that it seems like in America, the world is ending. Readjusting will be difficult for me.

Harrison: I think just not waking up every day here, in a different place in Europe. Again, getting to travel around. I sort of feel like I’m pretending to study and work hard, but I’m going to miss that kind of fancy life where I’m abroad and being a young person. Going back to America means going back to life and the things we have to do.

Nephta: I think just getting back in the rhythm of American culture. Being here has opened my mind to a different place. I almost feel like I’m snobby now.

Reuben: I think it’s going to be interesting how accessible everything will be again.

 

4. Where’s your favorite place to relax, either on campus or in Geneva?

Tifani: Camille and I go on these hikes, and they’re very relaxing.

Christian: The act of relaxing is one that has evaded my mastery as of yet. I am most relaxed when I take walks through the beautiful forest surrounding the campus.

Zachary: I don’t really have a good answer for this question, other than I usually like to go to Geneva on the weekends and lately I’ve really enjoyed Lausanne. It’s so beautiful there next to the lake and with the view of the Alps.

Jason: Top of the Salève, even though it’s not very relaxing getting up there. Or the little well-house next to the soccer field.

Sarah: The top of the shed overlooking Geneva, or hiking in the woods!

Shayla: My bed is better than most people’s. Also, I did like escaping into the woods.

Kaz: Neither. There is a place near Annemasse, with a beautiful view and a nice river. Filled with life. It’s absolutely peaceful and beautiful. Straight out of a story book. Nice little countryside.

Nephta: My favorite place to relax was in the piano room.

 

5. How has this experience helped form who you are? Do you have a stronger sense of self?

Christian: It has not helped form me as much as it has contributed to a better understanding of who I am and in what ways I can further guide myself towards becoming the man I want to be.

Zachary: I’ve finally been able to become more comfortable with myself and less afraid about meeting strangers and traveling alone.

Franco: I definitely think I’ve grown a lot as a person. Being in a different country and being without your family helps you grow as a person. It helps you become more independent. You don’t ever have the option of, “Oh, I’m homesick. I’m gonna go home.” You’re far away with different cultures, different rules, different everything.

Jason: Definitely. I think this year has not only been the best year, but the year I’ve learned the most. Not only academically but also with interpersonal relationships. And street smarts. And I have more of a sense of “I can do this.”

Sarah: Going to France was out of my comfort zone. It was something I really wanted to do, but I was scared. I think it helped me push myself to keep trying new things but to balance that with comfortable things too and not stress myself too hard.

Shayla: People here have different lifestyles than me, and it made me feel like the lifestyle I was living wasn’t necessarily right. I came to realize that it’s okay for me to stick to being me and not make changes for anyone. So I’m more confident in being like, “No, this is who I am, and you have to deal with it.”

Kaz: Definitely feel like I have a stronger sense of self. What I need, want out of life, and where I want to end up at the end. How I learn things in comparison to others.

Harrison: Totally. It’s completely changed my perspective about traveling. But coming here really re-focused my whole life in the sense that I’ve really set my goals towards being a polyglot. It’s completely changed my life path in that sense. But also just having all these experiences. I’ve been to more countries now. I feel like I have a much fuller experience.

Reuben: Different experiences just helped me develop as a person and see how I react in certain situations. 

 

6. What are some of your favorite foods you’ve tried throughout your travels?

Tifani: Moroccan food has been delicious. Their drinks are fabulous. (the orange juice and Moroccan tea.) Italy has incredible pizza and pasta and gelato.

Christian: I wish I could say something fancy, like expensive mushrooms or rare cheeses, but in all honesty, home-cooked meals. My girlfriend and I had the privilege of staying and eating with her family in northern France for a weekend. Best food I had during my time here, hands down.

Zachary: Wow, I don’t know except that I think France has definitely has the best cuisine in the world and no one comes close to France when it comes to desserts and pastries.

Franco: Orange juice from Morocco. Best orange juice I’ve ever had in my life.

Jason: Coming from the guy who sticks to baguettes and bananas, actually the hot wine in Strasbourg was nice. And stroopwafels.

Sarah:  I am not very adventurous when it comes to food, but I’ve loved the crepes of France and gelato of Italy.

Shayla: The falafel and grilled cheese in Paris. In Prague, we came across this bagel shop. Best bagel I have ever had. Tried the waffle in Brussels; they’re not anything to write how about I don’t think. Same with their french fries… Why are they famous for that?! Also, Subway’s always good.

Kaz: So I’m vegetarian, and it’s not the easiest lifestyle to keep up when you eat out at restaurants. I’ve found that my go to’s are Indian and Italian food. I also really like ratatouille, which I got to try homemade for the first time made by an actual French person.

Nephta: So recently we had this mushroom with bread… BEST CAF FOOD EVER

Reuben: I really liked the Hungarian goulash. It was pretty great. I had some really good pizza in Italy. And all the Dutch food I always eat.

 

7. What do you want to do when you go back to the States?

Christian: Spend as much time with family and friends as I can before coming back to Europe this coming school year, to study in Germany this time.

Zachary: Work, make money,  and finish college as soon as possible.

Sarah: I will be at home for the summer, then finishing up my bachelors and plan on using my French to make some extra money during the school year by teaching or tutoring.

Shayla: Cry. Also I’ll be able to go to Starbucks and order things in English, and they won’t look at me funny when I say things in English… EVEN THOUGH THEIR MENU IS IN ENGLISH.

Kaz: Be a real adult! Basically, do everything in my power to finish school and get back to France as fast as I can!

Nephta: I’m not super satisfied with my French. As a film major, I know that French cinema is a big part of film, and I think it would be really cool to maybe one day come back and work here a couple of years.

 

8. What is one thing you wish you had brought with you?

Tifani: Welllll.. Um… maybe my kitchen back home? I miss making food so much. (And having my parents buy the ingredients.) Or my cat.

Christian: Nothing. I’d want to bring some of the people I met here back home with me though.

Zachary: I wish I had my car with me!

Franco: Xbox. That would’ve actually be soooo useful on rainy days or in the projector room.

Sarah: A blow dryer that worked! Mine ended up still blowing out from the extra power, and then I considered buying a new one in Europe, but eventually I gave up. Hey, my hair is super healthy because of that !

Shayla: My navy blue Hollister sweater. Also my eyelid primer. That would’ve been nice.

Kaz: Nothing. I actually wish I had brought less. I’m a terrible packer. But if I could have, I would have brought my best friend. I haven’t seen her in 4 years, and she lives in Jamaica.

Reuben: Some hot cheetos.

Emily: At this moment, I wish I had a hair straightener.

 

9. If you could only have visited one city, where would it have been?

Christian: Prague. I made several unforgettable memories there.

Zachary: Paris.

Franco: I think I’d have to say Liverpool.

Jason: Prague or Lisbon. Same with Brussels, but you said one city….. I might just have to go with Venice.

Sarah: I loved Italy… but I think I’d say Barcelona!

Shayla: Probably Vienna. I have fabulous memories from Vienna.

Kaz: Other than the one I’m currently in, Barcelona might have been my next choice.

Harrison: Tromsø, Norway. It’s the northern most city in the world.

Nephta: Florence. *laughs* Just kidding.. Ummmm.. Probably Cannes.

Emily: Honestly, I feel like every town has it’s perks to it. It’s little bits of history. Even the small ones.

 

10. What’s your favorite French word/expression?

Tifani: Avoir la tête dans les nuages.

Christian: Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Jason: Fais gaffe, mec!

Sarah: Incroyable ou Tenir le chandelier.

Kaz: Avec.

Harrison: N’importe quoi ou Evidemment.

Nephta: Stupide ou Coucou.

Reuben: “Tu m’apportes un vrai bonheur.” Because it sounds bad but it’s not. Unlike everything else in French, which sounds normal but is bad.

 

11. What was some culture shock you experienced coming here?

Christian: How open the professors are with grades, especially among your fellow classmates.

Zachary: The Socialist political ideology and so much cigarette smoke!

Jason: One thing that caught me by surprise was that you’re expected to give kisses as greetings. French people can be very open and direct also. They definitely let you know how they feel.

Sarah: Honestly, just the language barrier was really rough for the first few months. It made me feel more like I didn’t belong, so I would withdraw from the cultural experience when I didn’t understand.

Kaz: The kissing when you meet someone new. And overall how polite and well polished people here are.

Nephta: The amount of water in the toilets. And transportation.

 

12. Any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?

Christian: Every single time I speak French to a native speaker. Seriously.

Zachary: Yes, I have several but they’re not appropriate for children…so I can’t share them. Although, I did tell my French history professor “je suis excité” to see the Mont Blanc so that was pretty embarrassing.

Sarah: Ummm, I like to keep myself from embarrassment, and I think I avoided that? Or I’ve blocked out the moments.

Kaz: The first week of classes I broke my tooth and I wore my mouth guard and I scarf over my face till I could get the tooth fixed. It was brutal.

Harrison: I have some embarrassment if I’m trying to speak to someone in French and they speak back in English. Or if I completely mess up what I’m saying, and I know and they know and we both know. Like, you tried.

Nephta: I’d probably say french class because everyone just dogged on me because I sucked. Actually just like speaking to people in general.

Reuben: I always tripped in front of Sarah, which was the worst. I wouldn’t trip very often, but when I would trip, it would be in front of Sarah. Every time. It was kind of annoying.

 

13. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Tifani: Worry less about what other people think of you. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Christian: If something feels wrong, don’t do it.

Sarah: Study to learn – to expand your mind and to better yourself. Don’t be selfish, it’s probably more fun to give away what you’re holding on to. Give your time to people and express love – you’ll never regret it – but know when to walk away from people/friends who aren’t investing in you.

Shayla: Don’t ever get Tinder. That’s stressful.

Kaz: Nothing is that serious. Stop worrying so much. Things always work out the way they should. Don’t stress yourself just take a deep breath, and thank God for eventually getting you through to the end to see what he was doing.

Nephta: Experience more. Go out more. Stop watching YouTube so much because that’s not going to help you in the future. Unless it’s helpful YouTube videos.

 

14. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to study abroad?

Tifani: Really throw yourself into it. Don’t hold anything back. You don’t want to leave at the end of the year wishing that you had done more.

Christian: Do it. Just do it.

Sarah: DO IT! Know that the travels will be amazing, and the sights will be glorious and learn from everyone you meet! Open your mind to new things! Never forget that it’s the people you’re with who make the experiences incredible and unforgettable.

Shayla: Do it.

Kaz: Take advantage of every opportunity. Travel as much as you can. Eat as much as you can. In terms of learning the language, be conscious of your learning style.

Harrison: I think it’s just a matter of deciding it’s something you can do something and getting outside of your comfort zone.

Nephta: I’d suggest that you take a class before you come here. Also, learn how to adapt quickly because you don’t want to be running around looking like a tourist. And talk to French people. It feels like home because you all speak English, but honestly the French people are really cool.

 

15. What’s one overarching lesson you’ve learned while studying abroad?

Tifani: To be open-minded. You can’t assume that you’re always right and that you always know best. Just because someone does something different doesn’t make it less worthy.

Christian: Don’t waste your precious and fleeting time with people you don’t like.

Zachary: Because a lot of people in Europe speak English, you have to really learn to push yourself to practice French.

Sarah: Be open to new people, new experiences. It’s hard to let go, but sometimes things/experiences/people only stay for a little while to move you along in life and then they let you go with the current and you move onto a new chapter without those things. But never forget what they’ve taught you.

 

And finally, I asked people to give some anonymous comments dedicated to individuals, as well as the group in general. Here are some of the things that were said:

“What I really like about this group is that we’re a very diverse group. I think most of our group have dual citizenships. It’s great just because there is a lot of diversity and a lot of room for experiences with different people.”

“Learn how to use your brain and learn how to listen.”

“Christian, you’re an emotionally strong guy, in touch with yourself, loving, and you give to others, even when you’re not feeling your best. Keep plugging away at life because it has beautiful things to offer to beautiful souls like you.”

“Franco, let your love/kindness come to the surface a bit more. It makes people feel really special when you show them your affection.”

“Some people I feel like I’ve had great experiences with. I would definitely like to say an overall thank you. I really did like the group, by and large. The group spirit was pretty good.”

“I think that it was definitely kind of clique-ish.”

“Delia, you shouldn’t have left I miss you.”

“Franco, you turned out to be a really cool person. I wasn’t always sure.”

“Nephta, I didn’t really get him at first. I was like, what are you doing. But I grew to find him really funny.”

“Lily, I just love you. I love her so much. She’s literally like one of my favorite people I’ve ever met.”

“I believe I’ve said everything I have wanted to say. I’d like the think I’m honest and straightforward with people.”

“I love most of the people here, and we’ve definitely become a weird type of family. But I think it would also be nice if people would still be just as friendly but mind their own business.”

“Stop complaining so much about everything and just suck it up.”

“You all need to relax a bit more. You guys worry too much and worry leads to stress and disease and wrinkles.”

“To the whole group, I love you guys. Honestly. I feel like we were blessed with amazing people. Keep on learning languages and working on French. I’d like to thank everyone for making this one of the best years of my life.”

 

Alors, c’est tout. Merci d’être vulnérable et réel avec moi. Merci de m’avoir permis de faire l’expérience de l’Europe avec vous. Je vous aime tous.

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KV

Fashion Flashback: ’90s Sitcom Edition

Fashion Flashback: ’90s Sitcom Edition

Happy Friday et joyeux 14 juillet à tous!!! 🇫🇷

The end of another week means the beginning of another fashion flashback post. Today we are exploring the wonderfully bizarre decade known as the 1990s.

Ahhh, the ’90s. Since the turn of the century, people have been reminiscing on the nostalgic beauty (and horror) of the 1990s.

The style of the ’90s is definitely in a category of its own. From Friends to Fresh Prince, the style encapsulated in the classic 90s sitcoms is enduring even today. While each one of these TV series could realistically have their own separate blog post, I am going to attempt to briefly show you a few of my favorite ’90s sitcom looks.

  1. Saved by the Bell
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    I am not even lying when I said I spent my entire freshman year of high school trying to be Kelly Kapowski. And I constantly crushed over Zack Morris (yes, I know it’s kind of weird if you think about it. I mean, he’s like 25 years older than me). When it comes to the crazy fashion of this even crazier TV series, all of them have a distinct yet somehow relatable style. Whether it’s Kelly’s matching floral pieces, Jessie doubling up on denim, or Slater’s muscle shirts, there is something everyone can enjoy.

  2. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
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    Just hearing the name of this show makes me want to sing the theme song. Not only is the show itself so amazing, but it also has some great fashion cameos. See: Carlton’s preppy cardigans and plaid shorts, Will’s patterned everything outfits, and Hillary’s blazers with absolutely gigantic shoulder pads.
  3. The Nanny
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    Even if you had never before watched this show (and I’ll admit, I hardly have), you will automatically recognize two things about The Nanny: Fran Drescher’s distinct voice and absurd outfits. Yet somehow I’m still insanely jealous of her wardrobe.
  4. Full House
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    What. A. Classic. This show has such a variety of stereotypical 90s looks! I mean, really, the list goes on and on. DJ and Stephanie Tanner kept up the trend of floral and denim everything. Kimmy Gibbler made sure that scrunchies didn’t go out of style. Uncle Jesse was the cool (and extremely good-looking) uncle. Danny Tanner is, like, the ultimate dad. He has the dad jeans, the dad hair, and the dad jokes. And, like all other ’90s babies, Michelle rocked those overalls.

  5. Seinfeld
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    By far one of the funniest/best sitcoms ever made, Seinfeld definitely has some iconic fashion moments, including Kramer’s weird button up shirts and Jerry sporting all the Nike merchandise. Truth be told, Elaine Benes is actually one of my style icons. Her persona is so business casual/cool (maybe it’s just wishful thinking that I can pull off blazers with shoulder pads).

  6. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
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    It’s no secret that the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. craze has been vamped up yet again with all the ’00s babies now watching it on Netflix. I can’t deny that I’m super jealous of how well Rachel and Monica pull off those mom jeans. I pretty much want their wardrobes. Even Ross has some killer looks in this series! And don’t get me started on the weird matching cast photos. This show is honestly probably one of the most well-known sitcoms ever, and it’s style is just a reflection of how iconic it was.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite looks from such an interesting era in TV history. So tell me, what are YOUR favorite ’90s sitcom looks? Are there any that aren’t on this list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

KV

Playlist of the Month: July 2017.

Playlist of the Month: July 2017.

Hello everyone! I’m super excited to be sharing this month’s playlist with you. I put a lot of heart and soul into this one.

This playlist reflects what you might catch me jamming to on any given summer day. It’s a massive compilation of an extremely bizarre mix of music. I’m convinced, however, that you’re sure to find something you like in this playlist, whether it’s George Michael or Drake. (And yes, you can quote me on that.)

But there’s a catch: the order of the songs is essential to the playlist. Don’t worry, I have a method to my madness.

 

1-10: Morning.

11-20: Afternoon.

21-31: Evening.

31-41: Late Night.

(Click HERE for my ultimate summer playlist.)

Coast through your day with this playlist as your soundtrack. Happy listening!

KV