Making Travel A Priority:

Many years ago I asked my best friend how she was able to spend New Year's in Rome, pet tigers in Thailand, and zip-line in Costa Rica... financially, that is. (You can talk like that with your best friend... I absolutely abhor when strangers feel that this is an appropriate question to ask me. I'm quite confident that you'd be appalled as well if you knew how many times this has happened.) 

Anyways, her answer has stuck with me all this time. She answered, "I make travel my priority." 

[Me in the Barcelona airport back in March.]

She went on to explain that she didn't mind that her clothes weren't great, she was content driving her Kia around town, and she didn't eat out nearly as often as many of her friends. At the time I wasn't willing to make those sacrifices, but now I feel like I know what it is she meant... 

I have one watch. (It is Michael Kors, but it's also all I'm working with.) 
I'm not saving to buy a house like almost all of my friends are doing/have done. (I have a savings account for emergencies, but it's no down payment.) 
When I want fun I lay on the beach or hike in the mountains. (It's free, people.) 
My car has dents and dings aplenty. (Bodywork is expensive!) 
I live outside LA in a smaller town. (You pay premium for a zip code here in Cali.) 

This is the honest truth of it. Stripping down the glitz and glamor of it all (although that's not really what we're accustom to here in the blogosphere). I make sacrifices for the sake of adventure and expanding my mind to new experiences. At this stage in my life, it is just fine by me!

Equipped for Aquatic Adventure:

With my upcoming trips to San Antonio, Texas - where we'll be floating the Guadalupe River one afternoon - and Nicaragua - where we plan to lounge on beaches for the majority of our stay - I have an intense desire to purchase this little gadget...

It's a Lifeproof case that can be completely submerged in water up to six feet! My friend Jenn has been taking the coolest underwater Instagram photos at the pool with hers, and I just can't get over how amazing it would be to do the same! Or at least just be able to bring my iPhone along with me without being completely and utterly terrified the entire time we are on the water...

Although pricey, replacing an iPhone is no cheap endeavor itself. See what I did there? It's called "validating unnecessary purchases". I'm quite good at it! Try me!

Deep In The Heart:

When the beau informed me that he would be in Germany for the last half of July for work, I immediately knew that I wanted to schedule my own trip. (I have total trip envy, like, all of the time.) It just made sense to work out a girls trip since I'd have zero guilt for leaving my sweetie behind. And a girl trip is what we've booked!

My good friend and I are off to her hometown of...


My travels from Georgia to California aside, this will be my very first time visiting Texas, and I am so excited! We plan to float the Guadalupe, eat lots of BBQ, explore River Walk, see the Alamo, do a little two-stepping at some genuine honky tonks*, and hang out with old friends of hers... 

I just have this feeling that Texas will resonate with me similar to how New Orleans did. There's something about that Southern charm I will never, ever get tired of! Also, after the great success that was our most recent Vegas trip, I know that my friend and I travel very well together. It is going to be nothing short of a complete blast

*Let it be known that I am so far being considered as even a decent dancer, so this kind of terrifies me. My friend has promised to teach me some moves before we go, but little does she know what she's working with here... 

Champagne Birthday:

Tuesday marked my twenty-sixth birthday.

At the very last minute on Monday afternoon, I proceeded to text a few friends in an attempt to get a small group to go out and celebrate with me at midnight. Those who could get out of their obligations quickly attended, and it was awesome.

The next morning, with a hazy head, the beau and I went to the Santa Monica pier for some arcade games and sea breezes.

We went a little south to Venice Beach afterwards, where we watched skateboarders at the skateboard park and walked around the vendors.

A delicious dinner in Corona Del Mar, and then we were off to Claremont for more celebratory drinks with friends.

I am rarely one for excessive indulgence these days, but this birthday hit me harder than any other had. There were so many mixed emotions felt. But alas, here I am - 26 years young - ready to move into my future, whatever it may bring! Here we go...

Settling In:

[Photo taken out my window one peaceful sunset.]

We moved into our little loft almost two months ago now. It's difficult for me to even imagine that time has passed so quickly! I just love this oasis of mine so much... The ultimate place to unwind or recharge or just lounge around unabashedly.

I'm trying not to fill spaces here simply for the sake of being filled. Accumulating stuff is one of my least favorite things. I'd much prefer to keep everything simple... Keep myself mobile for the next adventure that is thrown my way. (And believe me, there is talk of a doozie of an adventure up next for us!)

I don't feel too bold in saying that it has already become my favorite living space to date.

Ultimate Independence:

I did something quite daring yesterday...

I went to the movies. Alone.

I'd been absolutely dying to see 'Moonrise Kingdom' since the trailer was released, and yet every time I had the beau convinced to see it, our plans would somehow change, thus making it inconvenient to make a specific showtime. Having the entire day to myself yesterday while he worked, I finally opted to just take myself...

Let me first say that it was ultimately relaxing! I felt oddly nervous about the idea of saying "One ticket, please." to the cashier, but sitting in the dark with strangers to experience something was quite liberating... There was no pressure to analyze the film for discussion immediately following its ending either, so I was able to just enjoy my own thoughts and reflections during the drive home. (I also couldn't help but notice that I was far from the only solo movie-goer in attendance!)

Secondly, I could not possibly sing the praises of the film enough. It would inevitably still fall sort of everything it deserves. A truly magical piece of work for so many reasons. Possibly even Wes Anderson's best? 

(Also worth noting: I have the most intense crush on Jason Schwartzman, like, ever. He is so handsome and ultimately alluring to me! His cameo made my heart pitter-patter.) 

Beach Towns:

The beau's parents moved from Nashville, Tennessee to the Los Angeles area for work purposes a few weeks ago. We have already been over twice for barbecues on their patio...

Aside from being able to see family and get a home-cooked meal, their presence also provides us with an excuse to get onto the other side of town more often for little excursions. Yesterday we went down the street to Manhattan Beach on our way over for dinner. We walked the pier, watched a pod of dolphins, then strolled along the darling downtown area for some shopping just before storefronts began to close.

Each beach town that I've been able to experience since moving here from Georgia a little over a year ago has given me renewed appreciation for Southern California. They are all slightly varied, and yet embody that SoCal lifestyle with such charm. I find myself thoroughly enjoying this process of getting to know their intricacies.

I think what I'm trying to say is that I cannot wait to move closer to the water... Until then, I just adore my visits!

Central American Destination:

Being the travel addict that I have become, waiting until January for our trip to India proved to be entirely too difficult for me. I spent an afternoon doing some research, pitched a country to the beau, he did even more research that evening, and then we slept on it. Over our coffee the next morning I asked what his thoughts were... He responded, "I'm in."

Tickets are booked. Hotels are being mulled over. Excitement is building. We are going to Nicaragua! 

[Photos from National Geographic.]

We will be spending six days in early September exploring this beautiful Central American country! Based on our research, Nicaragua is safer than El Salvador or Honduras and less touristy than Costa Rica. I'm always one to seek out an authentic experience, and I think that Nicaragua will be able to provide us with just that. 

So now the countdown to September begins! 

The Way We Move:

In need of some new cruising tunes, I began perusing the iTunes store late the other night. I stumbled upon the new release by Langhorne Slim & The Law and made an uncharacteristically impulsive album purchase. (It's so easy to do when all one needs to do is press one little button! Damn you, iTunes for being so dang convenient.) 

If you're as into soulful vocals and upbeat banjo strumming as I am, you'll probably dig this a lot. I already think this may easily become the soundtrack to my summer.

Birthday Wish List:

For many years I have purchased myself a birthday dress to commemorate being another year older, but a closet that is bursting at the seams needs no encouragement. These accessories are both beautiful and space efficient... 

[Nixon Spur watch. For catching flights on time or ignoring on lazy afternoons.]

[Some stylish rose-colored glasses, Ray Ban style. To see the world in a better light.]

[This pretty artwork for my loft. So as to have plenty of pink around when those glorious peonies go out of season again.]

[YSL Arty ring. To distract people from my freakishly large hands.] 

[Tory Burch Robinson Envelope Wallet. For holding all kinds of foreign currencies during my travels.]

Around the Loft:

I know, I know. I've been promising for some time to show you around my shiny new loft in all of its old glory. Well today is the day that I follow through! There is still a lot to be done, keep in mind, but here is the progress thus far...

[Some of our downtown views.]

[My self-built walk-in closet. Some hooks still need to be hung, and I have yet to find the perfect little rug for this area yet.]

[The card catalog that literally took me four years to finish. So worth it.]

[Our living room area that still needs some additional seating. I have my eye on a pretty little upholstered bench that would suit the small space perfectly. Behind that world map tapestry is where that great little closet of mine lives.]

[From our living room looking into our kitchen/office area. The beau's desk is on its way, a sofa table will be added for my record player and books, and another large rug will most likely be purchased rather soon. And yes, those are dirty dishes because, well, I'm a real person after all with real procrastination skills.]

[My desk. I want to put a coat rack there by the door as well to make it a little more home-y.]

A City of A New Name:

So yesterday I told you about the Delta buddy passes that are allowing us to travel anywhere in the world. Well, after much discussion we have decided that we will be traveling to...

[All photos from National Geographic.]

Mumbai, India!

This is going to be a far cry from our Europe experience, but I feel like I am ready for the challenge. I cannot wait to see the pure and utter chaos of the fourth most populous city in the world with its tuk tuks and cows roaming the streets and Bollywood obsession... I wish we didn't have to wait six months to go but avoiding the miserable humidity and monsoon season will make our trip all the more enjoyable. Or so we are hoping. (Any locals we have talked with have advised this above all else, so we felt as if we should heed their one warning.) 

There is it! As our departure approaches I'll be sure to share our plans, little facts about the city formerly known as Prince Bombay, and my anxieties or enthusiasms depending on the day. 

A quick disclaimer: The date and destination of our tickets can be changed at any time so if something were to change with the political climate of India between now and January, a new place will be chosen.