Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Happy weekend!  What are you up to?  I will be going home to visit my mom and trying to mentally photograph those last few precious golden moments of summer.  I hope you all have a great holiday!

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Farmhouse Style

It has always been a dream of mine to live in an old converted farmhouse.  And this countryside beauty that was featured in Rue Magazine and Decor8 a few years back does not disappoint.  I love the combination of antique, rustic, and modern pieces in a gorgeous fresh color palette.  Can you imagine coming home to a place like this?  So dreamy.

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!
Images via Decor8

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Korakia Pensione

Have you ever been to Palm Springs?  I have not and it is definitely high on my must-visit list {I have actually never been to the desert before!}  I know the iconic Parker is definitely one of the most popular joints in town {and for good reason}, however I am really drawn to the Moroccan-inspired dreaminess of Korakia Pensione.  From the gorgeous interiors to the bevy of serene activities such as yoga, afternoon tea, spa services, and outdoor movies, it seems like the perfect weekend getaway.

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!
Images via 100 Layer Cake

Monday, August 26, 2013

So Much Love

Well hello friends!  Long time no speak!  Sorry for my absence, these past couple of weeks have been extremely busy in the best way possible.  A lot of exciting changes, but first and foremost I want to introduce you to the newest member of our family....Yoda.  Backstory:

I volunteer at a few local animal rescue organizations including the Humane Society and Every Dog Counts Rescue {EDCR}, and two and a half weeks ago received an urgent email from EDCR saying that Indianapolis Care & Control was overflowing with dogs and if they couldn't find short-term fosters there would be no choice but to euthanize the dogs.  Clearly this was not something I would sit by and allow to happen, so I quickly called EDCR and opened up our house to a foster.  Ryan and I have always had family pets growing up but neither of us had ever had a pet of our own, so we were a bit apprehensive about letting a dog we had never even met into our house.  What if it was mean?  Aggressive?  Destroyed our belongings?  We weren't sure what to expect, but both decided it was the right thing to do.

The next morning a woman dropped off a little 8.5 pound long-haired Chihuahua mix named Yoda off at our house.  When they found him he had almost no fur due to horrible malnutrition.  His fur has grown back, but he still has patches on his neck, ears, chest, and legs where the skin is furless and damaged from a bad skin infection.  The poor thing was so nervous he cried for the first three hours at my house.  However, he quickly came out of his shell, literally falling asleep in our hands every time we gave him any kind of affection.

Initially we had said we would foster him for the required two days {they had a spot open up for him at a "halfway house" for dogs}, however it was going so well we figured why not let him stay a few more days.  We could see how well he was doing, and wanted to give him a little more time to continue to improve his health and happiness.  The first week he walked around with his tail between his legs.  Now he lifts his tail high into the air, proud and happy, wagging it like all pampered pets should.  By the end of the first week we had absolutely fallen in love with him and both knew that little Yoda boy would not be leaving us again.

Since then it has been an absolute joy to have this little sweetie in our home.  I give him antibacterial baths twice a week, take him hiking and swimming, let him meet my parents two 70+ pound dogs {who he absolutely loved}, and let him sleep in our bed.  I get excited every time I come home, knowing I get to see him.  It amazes me how much happiness he has given me in the short 2.5 weeks we have had him in our home.  My heart literally overflows with love for this little guy, and I can't wait to officially adopt him this week and make him a permanent part of our family!


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tory Burch Fall 2013

As much as I love summer, I always feel that excited anticipation for the impending fall weather.  Although I am no longer a student, I still am inspired by the back to school mentality - a fresh wardrobe, a fresh start.  Tory Burch's Fall 2013 line has absolutely intrigued me.  The jewel tones, the luxurious fabrics, the gorgeous prints, the supple textures, the structured bags, the statement coats - it screams chic.  

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Images via Honestly WTF

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Traveling Solo

{High tea at Harrods}

I had such a great response last week to my post on fulfilling my dream of traveling through Europe alone {see post here} that I thought I would tell you a little more about my journey, and give some advice to ladies {or gentleman} who are thinking about doing it themselves!  While these recommendations are by no means foolproof, they are simply what worked for me.  I think the best rule is just to listen to your gut and follow your heart!  You know better than anyone else what is right for you.
  • Sleeping: This for me was my biggest decision.  Since I never had the opportunity to study abroad in college, I also never had the experience of staying in a hostel.  Now this was something I went back and forth on.  I was interested in it because obviously it's cheaper, but also because it would have been a great way to meet people.  However on the opposite side, I am very affected by my surroundings and like to wake up somewhere that is both aesthetically pleasing and cosy.  I was worried that if I stayed in hostels the entire time I would be unhappy and not feel comfortable if I wanted to stay in for a rainy afternoon and read.  I was also worried that I was already going so far outside of my comfort zone by traveling through Europe alone that I would push myself too far and not be able to enjoy myself.  Ultimately I decided on a mixture of staying in guest houses and renting flats, which turned out to be perfect for me.  I had my own studio in Paris, and by the end of my two weeks it truly felt like home.  It was definitely more expensive than staying in hostels {but much cheaper than your traditional hotel} and thankfully I had saved up enough that I could afford to travel the way that felt most comfortable to me.
  • Eating: Have you ever gone out to eat alone?  Thankfully I have before so this wasn't as uncomfortable for me as it would have been for some.  At lunch I would sit at a cafe with my favorite book and watch the people pass by--definitely one of my all time favorite activities while traveling!  Dinner was a bit different and I would be lying if I didn't say that I did feel strange at times being the only solo diner in a restaurant, so many nights I would sit at the bar and make friends with the bartender!  But ultimately you are your own best company, so just enjoy the time to relax and take it all in.
  • Meeting People: The last time I was in a completely new city and forced to meet all new people was when I was a freshman in college.  That was nearly 8 years ago {even though it seems like only yesterday}, so I was definitely a bit rusty in this area.  But I'm happy to say I met some amazing people along my trip.  How did I do it?  Signing up for free walking tours was a great way to get oriented in a new city as well as meet fellow travelers.  I also took a cooking class in Paris where I learned how to make croissants and pain au chocolat {photos here} and met an absolutely darling girl from the UK who I ended up spending quite a lot of time with over my two weeks there.  Again, if this is your number one concern then I think the best way to meet people is staying in a hostel.  However, I was lucky in the fact that I had friends in both London and Switzerland, and my mom decided to come visit me for a few days in Paris!
  • Safety: As I mentioned in my post last week, I was definitely concerned about my safety while traveling abroad.  I did some research, and to appease my fears purchased a few "personal safety" items to bring along with me.  I can't tell you if these would actually help keep you safe {thankfully I didn't have to use them} but they did make me feel more confident which is half the battle!  I brought a door stop alarm {to alert you if someone is opening your front door}, neck stash to keep my important documents during travel days, personal alarm, and a self defense keychain {not sure if this actually would do anything, but Amazon recommended I add it to my cart so I just went with it}.  Paranoid a little?  Probably.  But I always believe that it's better safe than sorry!
  • Staying in Touch: For me, this was simple!  I started my blog as a way for friends and family to follow my adventures.  I didn't get any kind of data plan, as I simply didn't use my phone {except for those few times I was absurdly lost and had to turn on my Google Maps, which unfortunately cost me an arm and a leg in roaming fees}.  And Skype really is a modern miracle!
  • Averting Pickpockets: Europe has a reputation of being full of thieves and pickpockets, and while in most areas this isn't true it does have quite a few more folks that are praying on unsuspecting tourists.  The best way to protect yourself from this?  Don't be a "tourist."  It is always important to be cognisant of your surroundings and your belongings, especially while on public transportation or at any popular tourist destination {i.e. the Eiffel Tower}.  Nose behind a map?  Wearing a fanny pack?  Yelling in English {in non-English speaking countries}?  Yeah, most likely a thief will be able to pick you out of a crowd.  My best recommendation is to simply act confident and try to blend in.  Do as the locals do.  And just be aware.  If you do that, I believe you can prevent nearly 90% of most likely there is a "tourist" ripe for the picking next to you.
  • Documenting Your Travels: Bring the best camera you can afford and be sure not to forget a charger, extra batteries, memory cards, etc.  I love to sit down and look through old photos of my travels, and know that the older I get the more I will cherish them.  Also, I brought along a journal for me to write down memories, save mementos, sketch, etc.  I didn't use it to simply document my day to day activities, but rather wrote down small moments throughout the trip.  I believe it's the little things that are the most important, so it is critical to find some way to remember your special moments and feelings.  And if you like blogging, that is a great way to document your journey as well!  
  • Other Pieces of Advice: Have fun!  Go outside of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with a stranger, you never know where it may lead.  Take mental photographs.  Eat {and drink} local specialities.  Go off the beaten path.  Notice the big things and the little things.  Remember, it is not always the destination but how you get there that is the most important part of the journey.  Push yourself to try something new every day!  Live life with no regrets!
PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Rustic Chic Home

I recently stumbled across the gorgeous London home of designer Jo Willer, and suffice it to say I am smitten.  The home is light, airy, and filled with beautifully distressed floors, molding, and furniture.  I was already feeling home envy, and then I saw her bed and bath.  Both images have been long-time favorites on my pinterest inspiration board, but I had no idea they both belonged to the same {lucky} lady!  Total loveliness.  

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Venetian Style

I had so much fun dreaming of looks inspired by my upcoming trip to the Cinque Terre {see them here} I decided to do the same for Venice.  I used this photo of Venice at twilight as my inspiration and found luxurious {often Italian} pieces made of silk, buttery-soft leather, and cashmere in muted pinks, neutrals, and navy.  While many of these are majorly out of my budget {hello Prada bag!} a girl can dream right?

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Six Years

Saturday marks Ryan and my six-year anniversary.  It will be six years ago tomorrow that we had our first kiss and absolutely fell head over heels for each other.  Thank you for being my best friend, my travel buddy, my partner in crime, my love, my rock.  I am so glad to finally be living in the same city as you {5+ years of long-distance is enough if you ask me!} and truly feel like we can conquer the world together.  Here's to a lifetime of happiness!

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Making a Dream Come True

{Taking it all in, in Paris}

I started this blog ten months ago as a way to document my life-changing experience of traveling through Europe solo.  I didn't get the chance to do a study-abroad in college {I was busy with four marketing internships} and had hoped to take a year off between graduation and starting a full-time job to travel.  However, I received a great job-offer, and that coupled with the fact that the recession had severely affected the job market {many of my friends were either jobless or had to take low-paying, thinkless jobs since they were not able to find anything in their field} pushed me to jump into the working world right after graduation. 

Slowly but surely the travel bug began to consume me, and I became filled with regret that I didn't get the opportunity to spend time abroad as a student.  I am a firm believer that it is better to have tried and failed than to live with regret, so I decided to follow my dreams and travel through Europe alone.  

Now for those of you who don't know me, this decision was quite out of character.  I have always been very timid, and honestly didn't think I was brave enough to travel in a foreign country alone.  I remember laying in bed at night thinking, "You can't do this.  You will be miserable.  You won't meet anyone.  You will be homesick.  You will miss Ryan too much to be able to enjoy yourself."  Those nights continued, but over the next few weeks my thoughts started to change.  One night I was in bed and thought to myself "Why can't I do this?"  And that was that.  I had made up my mind, and the next day bought a round-trip flight from Cincinnati, Ohio to Paris.

My parents and Ryan were both extremely supportive and excited about my decision, however I would be lying if I didn't tell you they weren't incredibly nervous for me.  They worried that I would be lonely.  That I would be homesick.  And mostly, they worried about my safety.  I would also be lying if I said that I too wasn't concerned about my safety.  Movies like "Taken" {thank you Hollywood!} lurked in the back of my mind, and I worried about walking home late at night on unknown streets, getting lost, getting my beloved camera stolen, and worse.  To appease my fears I purchased a few safety supplies such as a personal alarm which I kept in my hand at all times while walking alone at night {I didn't have to use it, thank goodness!}  It may or may not have made me safer, but it did make me feel more confident which I think is half the battle.

The day Ryan took me to the airport I cried.  I wished that he was able to come with me.  I worried about eating dinners alone.  I worried again about my safety.  I worried that this was a huge mistake and I would be lonely and miserable.  We kissed goodbye and I was off.  Honestly, having to say goodbye to Ryan was the hardest part of the entire journey.  But from there, it was all uphill.  I couldn't believe I was about to spend two weeks in my favorite city in the world - Paris - then travel to countries I had never seen before.  A quick nine-hour plane ride later and I was in the City of Light, and well, the rest is history!  

Looking back, I know this was a huge turning point in my life.  The experience was absolutely wonderful, but even more than that, I feel like doing it has made me a stronger, more empowered, and courageous woman.  I wanted to travel, but didn't have anyone to do it with me.  So instead of pushing that dream aside and always looking back and wondering "what if...?" I made it happen.  And that itself was a life-lesson that was worth every penny I spent on the trip. 

I will leave you with a favorite quote, which has been a huge inspiration for my life.  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

Care to see more?  Detailed posts from my trip are below:

Paris: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11} {12} {13}
Switzerland: {1} {2} {3} {4}
Austria: {1} {2} {3}
England: {1} {2

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Santorini Dreams

The stark white and cobalt blue against the Aegean Sea and the sunny sky.  The tiny buildings hanging onto the edge of volcanic rock cliffs.  The sunrises.  The sunsets.  Santorini, you are just a dream {and majorly on my travel bucket-list}.  Have you been?

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here!

Image via

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sugary Sweet

I am now cohabitating with my long-time boyfriend Ryan, and with a new house comes the desire to gussy the entire place up to look like a magazine spread {see our bedroom inspiration here}.  Now for those of you who don't know me I have always had a rather feminine sensibility, so trying to decorate with a man's perspective in the mix can be a challenge.  I am quite lucky in the fact that Ryan trusts my judgement and pretty much gives me free rein to design the house how I choose fit, but a sugary sweet room like these?  That could be pushing it.  So instead of pinks, florals, and pastels all over the walls I have decided to instead inject pops of color into our house like this rug.  Sweet indeed! 
Images via {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7}