4.17.2015

Say Yes

I've been reading Bossypants and I thought Friday would be a good time to share a great quote from it. It's where Tina Fey extracts life lessons she learned from improv school:

"The first rule of improvisation is AGREE...at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you. As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. 'No we can't do that.' 'No that is not in the budget.' 'No I will not hold your hand for a dollar.' What kind of way is that to live? The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree then add something of your own...To me YES, AND means don't be afraid to contribute." 

This works well for life, doesn't it? When faced with a big opportunity or decision is my first inclination to say yes or no? In some instances I think quite grand, but sometimes I default to a small-minded way of thinking. I limit myself. I like Tina's idea of learning how to lead with a yes and seeing what comes from it. Even more, I like the "YES, AND" bit of the quote. It's the part of the quote that makes us responsible for what we bring to the table both professionally and personally. Some questions to ask:

  • What am I (and are you) contributing to the world? 
  • Do I share new ideas at work? 
  • Am I contributing positively to my friends lives? 
  • Am I being kind and generous to my parents? 
  • Am I contributing to my own well being (health, mind, soul)?   


What do I have to contribute? The answer is PLENTY!! Spending too much time thinking negatively or diminishing my own value takes away from the time I can be DOING SOMETHING/CONTRIBUTING SOMETHING.

Obviously, I've been on a positivity kick lately. I want to continue that trend. I'm choosing to start with a yes. Thanks, Tina.


4.15.2015

Five Reasons I Fancy Prague



I'm going to do a few posts on Prague, because, WOWWWWW WAS I STUNNED BY IT! But I thought a "Five Reasons" post would be a nice introduction. So here are the five reasons I fancy Prague:

1. Absolutely Gorgeous Architecture 

Every turn down a street had me flabbergasted. This place is just drop-dead gorgeous; like, your heart might stop from the beauty of it all. The above photo was taking in the Jewish Quarter, arguably the prettiest part of Prague. 

2. Great Street Food  


Think sausage, warm deserts (with Nutella), potato and cheesy goodness, all for mere pennies!  

3. Cheap, Delicious Beer

Overall, Prague is very cheap. I could get a full meal with two beers for under 10 USD. Now I wouldn't say Czech beer is any better than German, Belgian, or Swiss beer, but it's equal to them. And again...CHEAPER. Total win! 

4. European Cheekiness

Found this eatery in a mall. I love Europeans. 

5. A City That is a Photographer's Dream 

I happily snapped away at all the good things around me! Prague is a well-kept, well-designed, well-EVERYTHING kind of city! 

***

Have you been to Prague? Were you as enthusiastic about it as me? 

4.14.2015

(Finally a Proper Post on) Portobello Market in Notting Hill

One of my favorite (er, favourite) markets in London is the famed Portobello Market which has grown in size exponentially over the years. It's got all the good stuff of most markets, but has a particular focus on antiques as its specialty. Of course, one of the best things about this market is that it's in the ever-charming Notting Hill, still one of my very favorite parts of London.
I think it's good that I got to photograph this market on a typical London day, overcast weather and all, because that's the true experience! I find that movies are always finding the sunny days in London to film...I like to show a place for exactly what it is. The truth is that London hardly gets sun! 

Of course, the market has every gadget and gizmo you could think of. Oh, and food. 
 I bought one of the African necklaces below. I love supporting those who make handmade jewelery! 

After you are done with your shopping (and eating) a stroll through Notting Hill itself is an absolute must! This is one of the most colourful neighborhoods in London--an excellent contrast to the ever-present gloomy skies. Although I will say, if you catch NH on a sunny day, it's even more spectacular!

Maybe one day I will own that purple house?? Well, I can keep on dreaming...

If you visit London, this should definitely be on your 'must-see' list. Every time I am in LDN, it's on mine!  

4.11.2015

Florence: A View from the Top (and My Views on Tourism)

The cool picture above was taken by my talented photographer friend, Sasha Stylinksi. I believe she captured my true essence here! For more of her work, visit: legsflorentine.com
Ah, Florence (actually called Firenze in Italy) is one special city, one that hasn't been altered much over time. It's easy to stroll through the streets and envision Michelangelo roaming around there, finding great inspiration out of a city that is no doubt a creative powerhouse. This is a dreamy place, especially when seen from above. 


But I will say Florence is not my favorite Italian city. Rome still takes the cake, and there's a good reason why. The Florentines are a colder bunch of people--distant and distracted in their demeanor. However, I don't blame them. Whilst Florence looks peaceful and perfect from above, below its small frame can barely hold the amount of tourists crowding every crevice. There seemed to be more tourists than Italians, and thus, I heard English everywhere.

Story time:

Being that I am obsessed with coffee, I have learned how to order a cappuccino in Italian, which I did at a local cafe. Next to me comes strolling up an Australian who orders straight away in English without a flinch. I ask her (thinking I can teach her something), "Oh, are you visiting Florence for the weekend?"

She answers,"No, I've been here for three weeks. I'm studying here."

UGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH. ^ MY PET PEEVE! English speakers of the world! If you are living in a country (or even visiting), you owe the country you are visiting respect by at least TRYING to speak their language.

No wonder the Florentines are annoyed. I would be too. Of course, for all my complaints about too much tourism, I was myself a tourist there and can't say much. Florence is a city that has a love/hate relationship with tourism: it's overrun by it, but it needs it to survive.

And could I ever tell you to skip Florence? Hell no. She's too damn beautiful to skip. And so the tourism cycle continues. But what we can learn to do is respect a culture and their language when we are being tourists. We are responsible for that. 

That's enough of my rant, though. ONTO PICTURES! Because seriously, I was enamored by that dome! 







And I was especially enamored by this dude. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT:


 Look at the incredible detail: 

Lest I forget to show you the food (this IS Italy, after all): 




 When you see the above sign in a restaurant, it means it's a historical eatery/bakery in Florence. The business has been making their goods for many centuries and is passed down through the generations. 




For all of her faults, Florence is still loveable. She's just a complicated girl. I can relate to that.


4.08.2015

And, She's Back!

Hyde Park in London. If ever you feel that life is dismal, make sure to look up. You might be missing the beauty right in front of you. 

Hey bloggers! I totally missed being in the blogosphere, but now I'm BACK!

I've returned with a very happy heart, one that is excitedly beating for all the possibilities of this life. Travel and time away has inspired me once again; I'm ready to go after the things I want (I'm on the PROWL)! If you're feeling complacent like I was, go and do that one thing you know will brighten your soul. Again I say, FOLLOW YOUR HEART, dammit! (I swear I'm not on any drugs, just 2 cups of coffee).

I'll be posting some travel photos soon (I'm sure you're so surprised). Until then, it's time to catch up on your blogs that I have so badly missed! It's time for another cup of coffee...

3.20.2015

Life is Happening


I've been here for almost a month, and I have about 18 days to go until I head home (that means I will be here for a hefty 6 weeks! How's that for a holiday?). It's been a refreshing, often contemplative, and wonderful trip. It's given me a good dose of London, sufficient enough to "calm my cravings" and allow me to head home with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

I often spend so much time worrying about the future, it's as if I'm planning on building a time machine to leave the present. This extended stay in London has redirected my thoughts to all the life going on around me. I guess it's just more practice in the art of being mindful of the present.

I do not know if I will ever live in London again; obviously, it's something I've thought about since I've been here. It's a city that I adore, and one that will always be here for me if I need it...and I can only leave it at that. What I do know is I want to continue on with this wonderful job that has let me work while abroad--HOW OFTEN DOES THAT HAPPEN?!

I'm very excited because I have booked two trips for next week: Florence and Prague! Sometimes when I step back from my life and look at it from the outside I realize two things:

1. I am a privileged and lucky girl. My life is grand.
2. It's not all luck. I brought myself here and I am proud of my accomplishments. I am a big thinker; but more than that, I am a big doer!

I may not be blogging as much these next 18 days, so forgive me for that! I will have some banging posts after I return! Until then, enjoy your surroundings today no matter where you are. Life is happening, so don't miss it! 

3.17.2015

My London Mosaic


So much running around, so many iPhone photos, and words seem arbitrary! So the mosaic above shows you most of what I've been doing, which is EVERYTHING. And lots of river walks. Yes. 

3.12.2015

Favorite Thing Thursday

Lately, these have been a few of my favorite things...

1. Being in the U.K. for an Extended Period

I love extended trips. When I was younger, my family and I would always go to Turkey for 6 weeks at a time and I truly think it's the best way to travel. It gives me the chance to really soak in the every day life of a country, and even gives me a chance to miss California a little. For an extreme wanderluster as myself, this is crucial!

2. Sunbathing with Oscar


3. Fresh Basil


4. STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING!


I've put this in all caps because I LOVE sticky toffee pudding. Pretty sure I'm going to gain a few pounds eating copious amounts of this, but I just don't care! Thank you Waitrose, I love you too.

***

What are some of your favorite things of the week? 
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