Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Monday, January 30, 2012

When The Walls Close In...

When the walls of your life seem to be closing in, one must ask how do you get out alive? This is to all of you stressful, yet hopeful college students...keep your head up!

Let it go!
8 Ways to Destress:
1) Get Moving! 
    - It is scientifically proven that exercise gives you endorphins, which make you happy. Get rid of some of the stress in your life by exercising, walking, dancing, or whatever creative way you can think of.
2) Eat a healthy diet. 
    -When your diet suffers, your body suffers. People become irritable due to low blood sugar, so eat healthy to keep the energy going.
3) Get enough sleep!
4) On occasion, have a glass of wine. Consider it a treat for dealing with stress :)
5) Organize your life! Create memos and timelines for what needs to be done. 
6) Find humor in the problems that cause stress. 
7) Find time for yourself! Take yourself out for a spa day or a nice lunch. Alone time is peaceful.
8) Talk with friends or family.

I know this is not all of the things you can do to destress, but that is okay. Find what works for you and be creative! 

-Good luck, fellow bloggers!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Good love letters ask for nothing."

One of my SSB (secret single behaviors) is to watch romance movies. These movies tend to be old black and white films, but tonight was different. It all started while I was browsing the movie section at Target, I found a movie for $10 called Waiting For Forever. Purchased it and watched.

The movie is a bit of a tear jerker, but such a cute love story. I would recommend watching it...maybe for Valentine's Day. Oh, and maybe you should have a box of tissues and some chocolates next to you :)

This movie made me think about love letters. Why do people not write them anymore? Is our society so cynical that we don't really believe in spending time to write our thoughts? 

So, what are some of the best love letters in history?

1) John Keats to Fanny Brawne:

"My Dearest Girl,

I have been a walk this morning with a book in my hand, but as usual, I have been occupied with nothing but you: I wish I could say in an agreeable manner. I am tormented day and night. They talk of my going to Italy. ‘Tis certain I shall never recover if I am to be so long separate from you: yet with all this devotion to you I cannot persuade myself into any confidence of you….

You are to me an object intensely desirable — the air I breathe in a room empty of you in unhealth
y. I am not the same to you — no — you can wait — you have a thousand activities — you can be happy without me. Any party, anything to fill up the day has been enough.

How have you pass’d this month? Who have you smil’d with? All this may seem savage in me. You do not feel as I do — you do not know what it is to love — one day you may — your time is not come….

I cannot live without you, and not only you but chaste you; virtuous you. The Sun rises and sets, the day passes, and you follow the bent of your inclination to a certain extent — you have no conception of the quantity of miserable feeling that passes through me in a day — Be serious! Love is not a plaything — and again do not write unless you can do it with a crystal conscience. I would sooner die for want of you than —

Yours for ever

J. Keats”

2) Lewis Carroll to May Mileham

"Dearest May,

Thank you very much indeed for the peaches. They were delicious. Eating one was almost as nice as kissing you; Of course not quite; I think, if I had to give the exact measurement, I should say three – quarters as nice; We are having such a lovely time here; and the sands are beautiful. I only wish I could some day come across you, washing your pocket -handkerchief in a pool among the rocks? But I wander on the beach, and look for you, in vain; and then I say, Where is May? And the stupid boatmen reply, It isn’t May, sir? It’s September?’ But it doesn’t comfort me.

Always your Loving C.L.D.” 

3) Why not one from the movie? Will to Emma

"Dear Emma,

Those two words “Dear Emma” take me away to another time when we used to write to each other after Mom and Dad died. I used to tell you about my new friends and my new life. And you used to tell me about the grand time my mom and dad were having in heaven.

Truth is nothing. What you believe to be true is everything. And the main thing that I used to believe was that I would be with you forever. Forever. The reason it has taken me so long to write to you is that I see that I have been a fool. I’ve spent my life fooling myself.

Every letter I’ve ever written to you has been a love letter. How could they have been anything else? I can see now that all of them except this one were bad love letters. Bad love letters beg for love back. Good love letters ask for nothing. This, I’m pleased to announce is my first good love letter to you because there is nothing more for you to do. You’ve already done everything. I have enough of you in my head to last forever. So please don’t ever worry about me. I’m peachy. I really am. I have everything.

If I had one wish it would be that your life brings you a taste of the happiness you have brought to me. That you can feel what it’s like to love.

Your friend forever,


How do you write a love letter?
-Grab a pen and paper...
1) Say how much you miss them
2) Mention what you love about them
3) Share your fondest memory
4) Express your deepest feelings
5) Look forward to the future

When was the last time you received a love letter? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Art is what you can get away with"

As the water runs, I wash off the brushes covered in the many colors of tonight's adventure. My olive skin is no more, but is dyed many colors. The once polished looking nails at the end of my long fingers are now pink, blue, and black.  This discoloration will not last long, but is one of the many consequences of painting. 

Every once in awhile, I feel the urge to paint and express myself. Tonight, my wanderlust struck and led me to paint my wants and needs...traveling the world.


-Paint Brushes
-Cup of Water
-Paper Towels

How to Recreate:
1) Take the canvas you have and sketch (very lightly) a map of the world. I suggest sketching the map with a pencil. This is your creation, so don't worry if you make a small mistake. 
2) Set up shop. Take your canvas and lay it on newspaper or a plastic bag to avoid painting the floor. Then, line up a cup of water, paper towels, paint brushes, and paint.
3) Choose at least 3 colors of paint for this project. Again, this is your creation so feel free to choose more colors. 
4) Paint the canvas first. Try to avoid painting the map you sketched out because you won't be able to see the sketched lines as clearly when they are covered in paint.
5) Paint the map. 
6) If you choose, paint the phrase "let's get lost" on it or customize it with your own phrase.
7) Congratulations! Let the canvas dry. Then, hang that beautiful creation up for the world to see.

-Warhol once said, 


In other words:
-Be creative
-Have fun
-Be yourself

Monday, January 16, 2012

Culinary Delight: Dolmathakia me Kima

It is only about 1 p.m. and I am already thinking about dinner. So, I know what I want for dinner, but do you? Well, read on to indulge your senses and tastebuds...if you dare to try some international cuisine. Don't worry! If I can make it, so can you!

My whole life, I have been very lucky to have indulged in delicious, culinary delights. One of my favorite meals growing up and still today is a type of Greek food called Dolmathakia me Kima. Don't worry, I don't speak Greek either. In English, it means stuffed grape leaves with meat and rice.

How long does it take to make?
-Roughly 60 minutes

What will you need?

  • 1 jar of large grape leaves in brine (about 60-75 leaves)
    • you can find these at most grocery stores like Target
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
    • Can be replaced with pork or fish
  • 1 cup of uncooked short-grain rice
  • 1 medium-large onions, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • lemon slices
  • unflavored yogurt (your choice, not really needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
-Boil the rice
-Heat the oven to 425 degrees
-Combine and cook the ground beef and onions
-When both the rice and meat are done, mix them together in a big bowl. Then, add the pepper, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the bowl.
-Separate the leaves and have about two for each dolma. Put about a tablespoon on the two combined leaves' non-shiny surface. In other words, the shiny part of the leaf will be the outside. Roll up the leaves so the mixture doesn't fall out.
Place in an ovensafe pan
-Place next to each other in an ovensafe pan.
-Pour a small amount of water in the pan to keep the leaves moist while cooking.
-Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.

-Place about 4-5 dolma on a plate with a lemon wedge and unflavored yogurt on the side. Of course, the yogurt and lemon wedge are not necessary but typically it is served that way.

Didn't finish all of them?
-Don't worry, you can store them in a refrigerator for about 5 days. Drizzle some olive oil on them before placing in the fridge to keep them moist. Then, you can reheat them or serve at room temperature. And believe me, they make for a great lunch the next few days!

If you are more of a beginner cook, feel free to check out this video. However, the recipe in this video may differ from my family's recipe. 

-Are you brave enough to attempt this recipe?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"So this is love. So this is what makes life divine. I'm all aglow..."

During a woman's life, she is often found questioning the aspect of relationships, love, and even what Walt Disney gave us as children...fairytales. Here is to all the women searching for their prince charming...

What type of love are women looking for?
Carrie and Big
Well, in my opinion, Carrie, from the hit series Sex and the City, said it the best...
"I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love."

Girls grow up with fairytales. Can you blame us for wanting a man to rescue us when we are a "damsel in distress?" Disney provided us with the silly, yet beautiful stories of finding love. Unlike Romeo & Juliet, women want a happy ending not a tragic ending. Women want to ride off into the sunset with prince charming. 

Sleeping Beauty
Still not getting it? Well, simply put, women want to be rescued. I'm sure many girls will scorn me for saying that, but think about it. Whether you want to be rescued by a man, a dog, or your best friend, you still want to have that fantasy fulfilled. And there is nothing wrong with that.

How do women find their prince?
  • Dating sites
  • Happy hour
  • School
    • My Mom always says, "you will find your true love in college or graduate school."
  • Random places: 
    • Dog parks
    • Home Depot
    • Starbucks
    • Hey, maybe even riding the airplane if you are an avid traveler!
Sometimes, women look for their prince and sometimes, he finds them.

My opinion?
B and I
Well, I believe relationships and love are complicated. Also, I believe that there is a prince charming for every little princess born into this world. Yet, I believe that women have to kiss a lot of frogs before they find him. And when you do find him, it will be a rough ride on the carriage through life. Love is not easy, but it is the fairytale you are looking for. Keep an open mind and stay strong, love will find you

What happens when love is found and becomes complicated?
Well, you definitely found it if it is complicated. Work at it everyday and remember the wise words of CoCo Chanel, "As long as you know most men are like children, you know everything."

Perhaps, you don't like what CoCo said. What about what Audrey Hepburn said?
Breakfast at Tiffany's
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."

Have you lost faith and need some reminding?
  • The Notebook
  • The Last Song
  • The Little Mermaid (my favorite!)
  • Hercules
  • Well, any Disney movie
  • The Ugly Truth
  • Sex and The City 1&2
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's (another favorite!)
  • Gone With The Wind (my grandparents saw this on their first date!)
  • The Wedding: Nicholas Sparks
  • Twilight Series: Stephenie Meyer
  • Pride & Prejudice: Jane Austen
  • Gone With the Wind: Margaret Mitchell

Have you found your prince and are ready for marriage? Check out this fun blog that is filled with clever ideas for save-the-date invitations!

Have you found your prince? Share your story with us!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Start 2012 Right

Today, I woke up thinking about the new adventures that await me. This year, I will take my last semester of classes (hopefully), graduate, and get thrown into the chaotic world of job hunting. After careful examination, I decided I need to get started with the planning and searching.

Step 1:
I started with the basic, a resume. Before today, I never had a resume because I never actually needed one. I found resume writing to be quite easy with the help of the Internet. Of course, I plan on having my boyfriend look over mine because he has had experience with resumes. If you do not have one and plan to start writing one, then I suggest visiting a google search or sites like Livecareer.

Step 2:
After finishing a simple looking resume, I decided to head to NatGeo for a possible internship. I sent out my resume for an internship in marking and communications. Fingers crossed that I get it! Now it is your turn to search for your dream internship, whether it is for NatGeo or a hospital, get started today!

Step 3:
Social networking is a great way to find future employers. A professional form of Facebook is called LinkedIn, so I suggest you check it out. I went there and created a profile in about 2 minutes. Of course, this profile is not finished and I have no recommendations yet, but in time, it will happen.

Step 4:
View from my window
Now that you have written a resume, applied for an internship, and became a member of LinkedIn, you can relax...for now.  I am sure by the time you successfully finished these tasks, it probably took about 2 hours of your day. Right? Well, then I suggest you grab the kettle and boil some water. Make yourself a nice, hot cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the site of the snow falling (if there is snow ;) ).

Remember, life is only as hard as you make it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tall, and Tan, and Young, and Lovely, The Girl From Ipanema Goes Walking

Hello, fellow bloggers!  

B and I 

I am officially back in Virginia and kind of sad. However, I have stories to share and reviews to give.

Where did I stay?
I stayed in the Brothers Hostel located in Botafogo, Brazil.

Review of the hostel:
Brothers Hostel
The hostel was not very big, but it is charming in its own way. The design is similar to a townhouse and consists of three levels with a fabulous spiral staircase. A few rooms do have air conditioning and others depend on the window and cool breeze of the Rio nights. Did I mention that there are no private rooms available? The rooms are strictly dorm style, which means they consist of bunk beds. Unfortunately, the dorm style rooms do not have their own bathroom. The bathroom is a bit small and is on the first floor. The bathroom is cramped, but the water in the showers is hot! 
What I loved most about the hostel was how wonderful the employees were. Each employee knew our names and was very friendly. The owner was very charismatic and friendly. If you don't speak Portuguese, don't worry because the employees speak English too. 

The pros of the hostel are: 
  • walking distance to the metro
  • drugstores and supermarkets are located around the corner (about a 5 minute walk)
  • lots of little restaurants within walking distance
  • two bars located directly across the street from the hostel (they get busy at night, but you can stand and drink)
  • common area in the hostel with a computer and free Internet
  • bar in the hostel
  • free breakfast until 10 a.m.
The cons of the hostel are:
Rainforest of Brazil
  • cramped spaces (bathroom and common area)
  • bathrooms are on the bottom floor
  • no kitchen for guests to make their own meals
  • no private rooms

What did I do in Rio?
  • Visited the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon
  • Visited the Rainforests
  • Checked out the famous statue of Cristo Redentor
  • Shopped in all the little boutiques around the beaches
  • Visited street vendors (who sell amazing artwork)
  • Indulged in desserts!
  • Celebrated New Years on the beach with an amazing firework display
Cristo Redentor

Was safety ever an issue?
If you have been following me, then you know that I suggest blending-in when traveling. Only bring the money you need for the day and never wear flashy jewelry. I always suggest that you stay aware of your surroundings. Pretend like you belong there and know what you are doing (even if you don't). Use common sense when walking around during the day or at night. Follow my simple guidelines and you will survive Brazil. 

A bum that B and I bought lunch for.
As for the bums and children that wonder the streets...Well, they just want food. On occasion, it is okay to be generous and give the bums some "street meat," but if you do it too much then you will run out of Unlike major U.S. cities like D.C. and Georgetown, homeless people in Brazil want food not money. 

Traveling to countries like this will make you appreciate what you have in life.

For more information on Rio visit Lonely Planet.

Check out how the beach of Ipanema became famous: