I’m no longer dreaming of spring…it’s here! More like summer, actually. When was the last time I was laying in the sun in my bikini on March 18th? Sounds more like June to me.

But who’s complaining? In the spirit of summer spring, here are some images to feast your eyes on.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


I had such a moving experience this morning, I thought it was worth sharing:

On my way to the café this morning I walked by the same homeless man that I always see in Dinkytown. He smiles at me every morning on my way to class and usually asks if I can spare a sandwich or some change. I have always said no, because I’m in a hurry or don’t have cash, and he just smiles and tells me it’s okay and to have a great day. Today, after our usual interaction ending with me saying “I’m sorry, but good luck!” I felt guilty…I wasn’t in a hurry this morning. So I changed my mind, went into the café and bought a blueberry muffin to go. When I went outside, he was gone. I walked a block down and found him on the next corner, but when I approached him to give him the bag, he looked up at me, shook his head, and closed his eyes. I reached out to hand it to him, telling him that I picked him up some breakfast, and he started to cry. He put his hands in his pockets and wouldn’t accept it. I set the bag on the ground at his feet and told him that I’d already eaten breakfast, so I hoped he’d take it, and I turned around and walked the opposite way.

Halfway down the block I turned back and the bag and the man were gone.

It turns out, to him that muffin meant a lot more than just breakfast.

Sometimes it takes an experience like this to remember to notice people, to not make assumptions, and to take a minute of your day to do something small that will make a big difference for someone else.

Reach out to someone today!

Apartment envy…

would be an understatement.

I was up late last night searching for the perfect 1 bedroom apartment… just so someday I can turn it into this.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

It might be a stretch, but who says I can't be inspired?
A girl can dream.

Valentine or no Valentine…they’re still fun to make! I spent the majority of my Saturday night making sure at least 12 people in my life would feel special tomorrow…

A good craft session with a good friend (not to mention a really delicious dinner) might just make up for my lack of “Valentine” this year. Friends > valentines, anyway.


This is my grandma – one of the most remarkable women I know. Today is her 70th birthday, and although I’ve only known her for 20 of those 70 years, she has taught me at least 70 years worth of wisdom!

I love you, Grandma. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

It’s funny how a dreary day – drizzly, damp, and grey – can actually put you in the best mood. Today it is giving me a clear mind. It’s washing away all of the stress and chaos that sometimes comes with a busy day on campus. and allowing me to embrace my favorite grey sweater, largest coffee mug, and un-worn rainboots.

It’s an excuse to curl up on the couch and just relax. Sometimes I find it hard to justify when all I can think about is my mile-high stack of textbooks waiting patiently for me on my desk. But today, I don’t feel guilty. Today is a quiet day with no distractions, and a good day for relaxing, thinking, and writing.

The lesson of the day today is to make the best of things, to see the beauty in small deeds, and to find the hidden opportunities each day brings, even the grey ones.

“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person”

As I was filling up my water bottle the other day during my break from class, a girl ran up to me and told me that she wanted to give me a gift. She was a bit younger than me, a Venezuelan student studying english at my school, and she reminded me that the week before, I’d helped her answer a question on her homework.

She smiled up at me and handed me a small truffle – a macadamia nut covered in chocolate.

When I say that I want to leave this country with me some of the qualities of the people here, this is exactly what I mean: the selflessness and the willingness and enthusiasm to go the extra mile to make someone’s day, to leave a good impression or to make a friend. It’s amazing…and it’s just a part of life here.

I have been challenging myself to adopt and internalize these qualities from my first week here in Venezuela, and I can honestly say that I notice myself reaching out more to people who I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to talk to before. Their responses always makes me smile.

The other day I was leaving the little in-home laundry mat in our neighborhood. On my way out the door, the owner of the laundry mat (a thin woman with pigtails and braces in her early 30s) waved at me saying “¡Chao mi cielo!” which means “goodbye my heaven” – a common term of affection used here. Then, as I was halfway down the block, her two adorable children yelled at me from the balcony, “¡Chao linda!”, meaning “goodbye pretty girl!” These “palabras de cariño” or terms of affection are the norm, even among perfect strangers. Oh, I almost forgot to  mention the kiss on the cheek I received when I walked in the door to drop off my laundry 🙂

I’m no expert, but these are just a few pieces of advice that I’ve learned over the years from the people that I love most…mainly my mom, dad, and grandma. They have taught me a lot more than seven things, but these are some of the lessons that have really stuck with me and that apply most directly to my life right now, adjusting to things here in Venezuela.

1. Allow yourself chocolate, but in moderation.

2. Always strive for optimism. A positive outlook goes a long way.

3. Never stop learning how to cook.

4. Take full advantage of the resources you have around you…especially the comfort of family and close friends.

5. Relax. Give yourself at least an hour to get ready in the morning so you can shower, cook a big breakfast, or just sip your coffee and read a book instead of taking it on the go.

6. Really pay attention to the people that surround you on a daily basis – whether it is your family members, friends, neighbors, or the girl that made your morning latte.

7. Embrace your time alone, don’t dread it. Do something that makes YOU happy.

Another goal for my trip: take my own advice.

I’m determined to keep these things in mind (I shouldn’t have trouble with allowing myself chocolate when it’s available =) ) and to really adapt and enjoy my time here as much as I possibly can.

I hope you got a little something out of these simple pieces of advice…whether it made you think, inspired you, made you laugh, or just made you smile because you realized which of the seven pieces of advice you helped to teach me.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

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