A Three-Sentence Movie Review

(we interrupt our regularly scheduled travel posts for a movie review post)

1. Boyhood
I heard about this movie years ago--a movie filmed over the span of 12 years capturing a young boy actor actually growing up before your eyes--and it truly didn't disappoint. This movie will go down as a poignant masterpiece that succeeded in capturing the human disposition. A deeper-than-the-surface work of art that not only makes you think, but makes you relate so much you start to cringe in your seat from all the realness.

2. Endless Love 

I would rename this Endless Love (or At Least Until We're Twenty), cause that's what it really it is. Young love is still fun to watch and if you want a little bit of badly-acted fun, this is your movie! Kids these days.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

The soundtrack is as good as they say, especially because they added Marvin in the mix. One of the better done Marvel movies--it entertained and even made me cry! All I can end with is: WE ARE GROOT (tear).

4. Girl Most Likely

Compared to Bridesmaids (because, you know...Kristen Wiig), this movie is a C at most. However, there's something great about watching Kristen play in these down-and-out to fabulous roles. Because of her adorable awkwardness, the movie is worth a one-time watch.

Images via 1/2/3/4


Christmas in July Party

Whilst in London, I had the pleasure of being able to attend my friend Stu's "Christmas in July" party. Everything I love about London can be found in these photos: a cheeky community coming together drinking copious amounts of wine, wearing silly hats, and allowing for a little bit of humor. 

Stu = Sad Santa?

 I know you're chowing down, boys, but CHEESE! (I'm evil) 

 I had ripped my contact that morning and foolishly did not bring a back-up. So it was glasses for the rest of the trip (argh). Giorgio was my glasses buddy! 

 I just love when English companies go overboard with American-themed stuff ^

 We had a Secret Santa gift exchange! 

 The whole crew. 

Ya know. 

The aftermath ^

Laura and I actually couldn't stay at the party for terribly long because we had to dash to our train for Scotland. We hurriedly made our way to Kings Cross (one of my fave stations):

 And yes, this is the station to find Harry. 

We took our seats, ordered some tea and water to sober up a bit (ha!), and relaxed on a five-hour train ride up the U.K.! 

Next post: Scotland. 


Snapshots of London

As mentioned in my post before, London is a second home of mine. I didn't take a gazillion pictures because I felt like I was simply kickin' it in my neighborhood. I do have a few snapshots to share, though.

When I first got into London, I felt an intense need to visit all my favorite spots, places that I missed being in and looking at. This included:

The Natural History Museum: still my favorite building in ALL of London.

The Muffin Man: Cute little corner cafe I used to frequent to get cheap Devon Cream Teas. 

Notting Hill: Gosh, I love Portobello Rd. Market! 

Pub Quiz in Vauxhall: When I lived across the pond, we used to go to pub quiz almost every Tuesday. I told everyone we were having a mandatory quiz night when I came over! 

And Richmond: The part of London I used to live in, complete with cute cafes by the river. 

Besides my main checklist, the rest was just gravy: 

Oh yeah, um...I graduated!

Obviously, the best part about London was the fantastic and amazing people I got to (re)visit. My heart was so happy to see such a great lot again! 


After London: A Rejuvenated Woman

I've been back in San Diego a few days and have had the chance to catch up to this time zone and my thoughts. Going to the UK was sooooooo good for my soul. I feel refreshed and less lost. I feel like I have a semi-plan. I feel like I can rest a little easy. 

Before leaving, I had this fantasy of London in my mind. It's what we do with memories: whilst I had remembered the bad things about London, the good things were dominating my every thought. There was nothing anyone could say, any therapy session could bring forward, or that I could even tell myself to calm my lusting over London. I had to go back. I had to experience the actual place again. 

London is and always will be a fantastic, cultured, and gorgeous city. It's one of my cities. But it's not the only city I can live in. By the end of my trip, I resolved that while I love London dearly, I do not have to move so many miles away from San Diego to be happy. There are comparable places to London here in the U.S., places I intend to look into. Places I'd like to check out and apply to (making big plans around here). And while I would move back to London for a good job opportunity, it's not my main target. It's a love, but not my only love. 

To finally make a decision on London and not be so confused, wishy-washy, and full of doubt is...REJUVENATING. I feel like new!

Now, get ready for an onslaught of travel posts and shameless bragging over the very inspiring, emotional, beautiful trip I just had. Dare I say I deserved it? Yes, I think going to London was simply divine. 


The (Girl) is Back in Town

Back in London and it feels like I never left. It's amazing how I can so easily slip into an old life: I instinctually remember what tube stops to change at to catch my next train, I recall the shortcuts and alleyways to whizz through to beat the crowds, and all my British English is in tact (i.e. ordering food for 'take away' as opposed to 'to go'). My body remembers how to be a Londoner--what a happy realization that this will always be a second home for me.

As per usual, I've been having very contemplative, deep thoughts while sitting on the train (oh, how I've missed the trains!). I've been thinking about how this place somehow evokes a spark within my soul, and if I should consider a return. I don't know for sure that I will return, but I do know deep down that I would return. I guess I can only leave it at that for now.

What I do know is this: I feel strong here. Probably because this is a place where I gained true independence and built a community and a life from scratch. Because of that, this will always be more than a home for me, but a symbol of freedom.


Travel Day

You know how a lot of girls are giddy over the thought of their wedding day? Replace wedding day with traveling, and you will understand the very soul of who I am.

Today I leave for London! I may blog a couple times while there if feeling inspired, but otherwise don't be surprised if I'm a bit absent for the next two weeks...



A Post on Failure

Recently I went for something I really wanted, and I fell short.

Ugh. I do hate when that happens. And at the same time I sort of love it. Losing an opportunity always reminds me that there are lots of opportunities out there. Feeling like I failed is, at the very least, a feeling. What's worse than failing is not putting yourself out there at all. Period. A life without feeling is my worst fear!

"Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well have not lived at all; in which case, you've failed by default." -- J.K. Rowling

The typical bike metaphor works so well here. Basically, we were all bound to fall off that damn bike while learning how to ride. That first fall is the worst, but the others that follow get progressively undramatic. Somehow, failure leads to trying more, and then a realization that failure is simply part of the process. Once you manage to stay on the seat, you feel like you're flying, don't ya?

Might I call my recent failure a muse in disguise? Oh yes, it's inspired me to start going for [the biggest] opportunities again. Because I can dare to fail.


The Change Up

Wanted to de-clutter and play around with a new layout. Still might change the header, though! Feels good to do a bit of spring summer cleaning.

Image from Pinterest (where else?)
Layout from Carrie Loves Design Studio


As For Me, I'm Looking for a Little Chaos in My Life

This post is pretty necessary; not so much for me, but more so for ALL THE LADIES.

I can not tell you how many times I have heard some variation of this complaint in the last 3 weeks from friends: "I've had panic attacks over the fact I am not in a relationship/married/having kids/(fill in perceived life crisis here)!!!"

Honestly, people are freakin' out! Now, I know. I'm at that age. The age where the pressure is THICK: 29 years old. You would think that we all die at 30, given this psychotic urge to accomplish every life milestone, NOW.

Whoa, guys, whoa! I'm going to go ahead and say this: if you are always trying to plan your life, when exactly are you living your life? 

The push to have kids, be married, and be on "the plan" has affected me less, because well...I'm weird. Well, maybe not so much weird as understanding of the fact that this is MY LIFE. MY JOURNEY. MY UNIQUE STORY. That means I get to write this anyway I choose! If I want to go live in Granada, Spain for two years completely disregarding any notion of marrying or having kids in "my prime," I can! (And I would).

Even if you want marriage and kids, you need to ask yourself, do you truly want them now? Or do you want them because you've been told that's what you should have at this time in your life? Are you a follower in your own damn life???? (harsh, but true). 

Going to England in 2012 at the age of 27 was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Why? Because it went against any sort of plan I should have been following, and aligned more with the desires of my little Ashley heart. It also introduced some chaos to my life, which is the most refreshing medicine to stress, anxiety, and panic attacks!

There is something freeing in learning how to let life unfold the way it is supposed to instead of trying to mold and manipulate life into what you think it's supposed to be. Planning can be so limiting.  Especially when we waste time trying to implement someone else's plans into our lives. Or try to speed up plans before their time. Because sometimes, SOMETIMES, life has bigger plans for us than what we could have even imagined or thought up.

As for me, I prefer a little chaos.


That Time I Got Dunked in the Kiddie Pool on the Fourth

Yeah. That happened this weekend.

It started with an innocent water balloon fight, and turned into this.

Maybe proof that water balloon fights are never innocent.

Ryan was just so proud of his dirty deed. So I splashed him in the face with a bucket full of water (or three). Even Stevens.

Ok, so secretly I enjoy getting dunked in the pool (don't tell anyone!). I can definitely say this Fourth of July was a true, fun, 'Merican affair! 

 Red Cup Chic. 

I wasn't the only one who got dunked in the pool. In fact, everyone got dunked in a pool or jacuzzi by the end of the night!

Hope your Fourth was smashing, dahhhhling! Now excuse me while I got on a bit of a diet this week and lay off the booze!