Spanish Flower

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I was going to title this post I Love Queso but after going through the photos I changed my mind. I’m thrilled at how they turned out and the last thing I want people to think is thick, gooey, melted cheese. However, I can’t lie – the only thing that does come to mind from them, is Mexican food. So let’s talk queso, shall we? I’m a fan. Like a HUGE fan. If I could live off of queso, guacamole and chips—my life would be made.

Can I make queso? My friends will tell you “no”. On the other hand, I will tell you, “yes”. I’m not going to lie to you guys though, I don’t know a secret recipe for some fantastic queso. I’m pretty simple – cubed Velveeta, milk and Rotel. It ain’t fancy but it does the job and does it well (especially when I don’t burn it). At restaurants there are times where I prefer to eat just queso and chips. Other times, not only will I ask for cheese enchiladas but I’ll also ask them to pour queso on top as my “sauce”. So disgusting…yet soooooo damn good. Add a dollop of guacamole and I’m in heaven. Thank god I’m not lactose intolerant.

I’ve tried queso at pretty much every restaurant I’ve been to that carries it. Here’s a list of my top favorites in Houston:

  1. Torchy’s Tacos
  2. Chuy’s (I actually dislike everything about this place, except their queso).
  3. Tony’s
  4. Barnaby’s Café (Theirs is made with white cheddar and it’s still just as good).

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Now, let’s talk about these photos—they were taken by my two of my friends, Kristen and Rocio (of Ten & Ro). They helped me with my last post, Midnight in Paris, which was 1920s themed. For this one, we wanted more of a Spanish-influence and set out for a couple of areas in the East End of Houston, which I think fit perfectly with the theme we were going for. Kristen made the amazing floral head-piece and Rocio just happened to have the perfect props for the shoot. We wanted it to be fun and extremely colorful. So I opted to wear this skirt I made awhile back and the pom-pom shoes featured in a DIY last year. While I do love this outfit, it’s definitely something more-so for photography purposes. Not sure if I would wear the whole she-bang out anywhere. I have paired the skirt with a simple white t-shirt and heels, to wear in real-life.

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These two definitely go the extra-mile in any photo shoot that they do—from bringing the props, making you feel comfortable and to their editing. I had so much fun doing this one—I loved the colors, theme and really tried to bring my “cha-cha A game” for them (though, I failed miserably)! Thanks guys for letting me be a part of this!

Olé!

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Outfit details: Top – Charlotte Russe, Skirt – DIY, Pom-pom heels – DIY (tutorial here), Bracelets and Necklace - H&M (old), Silver/nude wedge heels – Chinese Laundry (via DSW), Lipstick – MAC Viva Glam I

Travel // Peru – Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu & Aguas Calientes

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Day 6 (Ollantaytambo)

This morning we stalked Sergio, the owner of Hotel El Albergue, which is located inside the train station of Ollanta. Knowing we had a pretty rough couple of days (and also knowing we refused to leave without a room), Sergio managed to get us a gorgeous room with huge, white-linen beds, a stone sink, hardwood floors, gorgeous views of the gardens and a bit of peace. Today turned out to be hot and beautiful, so after freshening up, we decided to do some hiking through the free Incan ruins on the north-east side of town. These are not the same as the more popular Ollantaytambo Ruins (located on the north-west side that you pay for). The hike up in certain parts was steep but completely worth it once you got to the top. You get an amazing panoramic view of the entire town plus the ruins on the other side. I seriously could have just plopped down and done yoga for a bit, it was that peaceful. It was so much fun just going through them and I was definitely a bit bummed when it was time to come down. We ended up hitting the sack early today since we had to wake up at 6 a.m. to catch the first Inca Rail train to Machu Picchu; luckily the platform was right outside our hotel. (No, it was not Platform 9 ¾).

MACHU PICCHU

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AGUAS CALIENTES (town at the base of Machu Picchu)

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Day 7 (Machu Picchu)

I can’t even begin to describe this place. Everything we went through to get here (stomach bug, bad hostels, no food, a “situation” with Jenny’s entrance ticket, a rock slide, bus after bus, walking up slippery rock steps)—all completely worth it. It’s amazing and as much as I hate to sound cliché, pictures do not do this place justice. Unfortunately, after the situation with Jenny’s entrance ticket, we didn’t have enough money to hire a tour guide to explain the history of it, so we had to venture out on our own. It’s definitely a place that can take all day – there are so many hiking trails, areas and ruins you can climb through—that I don’t even know where the time went. Jenny and I explored each section of the ruins—Guardhouse, Temples Zone, Astronomical Observatory, Group of the Three Doorways, Royal Enclosures, Temple of the Condor and the Agricultural Zone (where the llamas hang out), just to name a few. We also took the Inka Trail that led us through a forest-like area and onto a trail behind the mountain. We eventually came to the edge where it was blockade off and learned that this is where the Incas would come to in times of war to block their enemies. We ended up taking MP-selfies, watching Asian tourists hold up their infamous peace signs, sitting, relaxing, chatting with a friend we had made at the hostel a couple of days ago and I got to feed a llama (!) Again, like the ruins in Ollanta it is so peaceful up in the mountains. The weather cooperated with us and towards the end an insanely-awesome fog took over the mountains and ruins later. It had a ghostly, eerie feel to it but added a really surreal effect to the entire area. If it wasn’t against governmental regulations—I could have stayed up there.

Unfortunately, the park does close early so we took an evening bus back down to Aguas Calientes (base of the mountain). This is a very small town which really only takes a couple of hours to explore. I don’t recommend staying here unless you’re going to be the first group of people to climb Wayna Picchu since you have to get in line at the MP entrance around 4 a.m. We ate a “margherita” pizza at a restaurant sitting on top of the Urubamba River, walked through the local markets and a few side streets before deciding we were pooped. On our way to the train station we heard a commotion and then dogs barking, we turned around only to find a large group of wild dogs headed…yup…straight to us. While I find dogs to be super cute, this was not one of those times – Jenny and I started to frantically run and ironically ran into the same restaurant that the dog the other dogs were chasing lived at. Luckily amongst the barking and screaming (Jenny and I) the owner came out with a broom and saved us (but I think she was really saving her own dog). We immediately boarded the train, enjoyed some in-cart entertainment through a Peruvian fashion show put on by the staff of the train (I wonder if they put that in the job description) and made our way back to Ollanta.

CUSCO

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Day 8 (Back to Cusco)

After bidding our lovely friend Sergio good-bye, Jenny and I loaded up another taxi and headed out of Ollantaytambo and back to Cusco. Here we ended up ditching the hostel that we had first booked and got another one right in the Plaza de Armas with a Starbucks in it. You can only imagine that by this time we were exhausted. Since Jenny didn’t get to see Cusco the first time we were there, we spent most of the day walking around, indulging in McDonalds, visiting a cathedral and tried to do a bit of shopping. In Aguas Calientes, Jenny and I had seen two girls wearing hand-made headbands with llamas embroidered on them. We decided that’s what we wanted as one of our Peruvian keepsakes, so we went in search of it. After what seemed like hours, we couldn’t find them anywhere and then while we were on the last leg of the shopping markets – there they were – only three of them. In the evening we put on our new headbands and decided to explore Cusco nightlife.

In Ollanta, we happened to have sat next down to an Australian-based wine importer (who decided to take one of those “I need to find myself…let me backpack through South America”-spiritual journeys), that the bars and clubs in Cusco were awesome. That he had never had such a great time in his life and partied till all sorts of hours in the morning. Being the party-animals that we are, Jenny and I were fascinated. The first bar we headed to had a live band. Thinking that this was going to be some great salsa-dancing music, I had my Zumba moves ready. No…no…no. They turned out to be an awesome English-singing rock band. Who knew South Americans loved old rock music so much? Seriously, everyone in that club knew every word to every song. It was quite fascinating. Then we headed to a techno-playing bar which was full of 17 – 18 year old…GUYS (it was like a 10:1 guy/girl ratio). Awkward. We didn’t stay long. The night ended with us crawling back to our beds for our super early flight to Lima the next day.

Day 9 (Back to Lima)

As soon as I sat down in my plane seat, the guy next to me started talking to me. Now I already knew this was going to be odd because no one…I mean NO ONE ever talks to me on a plane. Turns out he was still super drunk from night before (go figure) and in my mind he will always be known as the “Drunk Polish Guy”. We bonded over his love for India (he’s been at least 7 times), a mutual hatred for flying (he kept telling me he hoped we wouldn’t crash) and his month-long trip through South America. Every time I made a joke, he’d push me and yell “You’re so fuuuuucking funny.” The mom with the baby in the aisle across from us, was not thrilled. As scraggly and weird as he was, he turned out to be a ridiculously smart computer programmer, based in Poland. I swear, it’s always the ones that look stupid that are not. When the plane landed, he asked if we could be friends on Facebook. I said no. But then he said “Well, I’m glad we didn’t die.” To which I responded “Yes, I am too.” We quickly parted ways.

Since we only had a few hours in Lima, I headed to the Museo de Arte in some sketchy part of the city while Jenny did some work. The museum was closed for renovation so I only got to see two extremely “interesting” exhibitions—both depicting various stages and demonstrations in Peruvian history through sexual acts. So yeah…that was that. Before heading to the airport, Jenny and I did some last-minute shopping in the Inca Market (which I think is the best place to shop in Lima), picked up our luggage from a hostel and finally made our way through the busy, winding streets of Lima to the airport. Peru was done.

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Hope you guys have enjoyed my Peruvian travel adventures! If you need tips or recommendations for traveling to Peru, where to eat, what to do, how to get around, etc. – please feel free to contact me! I learned a ton planning this and can definitely help.

For more of my travel photos, click here: Capture It.

 

Taco Bell to the Rescue

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If you look really closely—I have about 20 mosquito bites on my left leg. I locked myself out of my apartment for 4 hours this past Saturday. I waited in the heat—no phone, no money, with only a pair of super short night-time boxers with hearts on, a t-shirt (no bra) and a broom. The broom because I went to sweep the front patio and the self-locking door took over. However, I kept myself busy by sweeping, reading old magazines my roommate had thrown in our recycling bin, clearing up the patio, watering some dead plants, discovering a plate of slugs (ew) and taking a walk through the neighborhood. I had every intention of familiarizing myself with my new surroundings and I figured this was the perfect opportunity. (Even though, I got quite a few “she’s doing the walk of shame” stares). So not as unproductive as you would think and I’m sure my neighbors all “love” the weirdo living next door.

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I’d also like to thank Taco Bell for not only creating those awesome Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos but for also employing a great person who helped me track down my roommate, gave me a glass of water, let me use the restroom and told me “It’s OK sweetie, we ALL do stupid things”. Again, Taco Bell saves the day.

I hauled a large portion of my collection of shorts to my new place since it’s definitely spring/summer down here. These from American Eagle happen to be one of my favorite pairs since they are so versatile. I can roll them up or down (depending on how slutty I feel like being that day), wear them to the beach or out to drinks, just like this. Plus, they are a bit loose fitting, so they don’t hike up my butt when I walk (as A LOT of jean shorts do these days) and are just plain comfortable. Here’s a link to a similar pair: AE Boyfriend Short, in case you’re interested.

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Travel // Peru – Lima & Cusco

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I had every intention of creating a Peru Travel Diaries piece like I did last year with my Spain and Morocco trip. Then February went by, March crept up on me and April just vanished, like that. The last few months have been a bit hectic for me—moving, turning 31, becoming a first-time owner of real-live plants (!)—so I never got around to compiling my experiences into blog posts. Since I really want to share some of my travels with you guys, I decided to go ahead and split Peru up into just two posts. I’ve curated a selection of pictures and will give you a brief synopsis of my day there based on my log.

Day 1 (on the plane)

While it’s still soaking in that one of my best friend’s (Jenny) and I are actually going to South America, I can’t help but feel pretty darn proud of myself for jumping at the opportunity to take a trip without mulling over it for days (or even months).

This happens to be the first trip I planned as far as where we are going to stay, places to eat, how to get around, what kind of transportation to take, what to do, etc. I’m excited but a bit nervous since it really is something new for me and neither one of us has ever been to South America. Throwing this together in 3 weeks was hectic but let me tell ya…the hardest thing was trying to figure out whether or not to buy hiking boots. (I did buy them and promptly traded out the ugly brown shoelaces for red ones. Would you have expected anything else from me?) Also, I think I may have found the cure to my pre-plane travel anxiety. Wine. Good wine.

LIMA

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Day 2 (Lima)

Since we were going to be in Lima for the next couple of days, I wanted to familiarize myself with the area. Grabbing a map, directions from the concierge, my trusty Lonely Planet travel guide and our awesome instincts, Jenny and I set out to see what Lima was all about. We walked up and down Avenida José Larco (one of the main streets) and ventured into local coffee shops, stores and visited Parque Kennedy (which happens to be filled with cats). We ate at a local sandwich shop and discovered this amazing spicy sauce/salsa. Seriously, they need to “Sriracha” that stuff and sell it by the bottle—it’s really that good. Then we headed towards the beach to meet some friends and ended up at Larcomar. Which is a huge, modern shopping center sitting on top of the cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The view from up there is fantastic, especially during sunset. After taking what seemed like a million super touristy pictures, we headed to Pescados Capitales for ceviche. This was my first time having it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who travels to Peru. It tastes so fresh and the seasoning/juices they put on it…yeah…you’ll not find that anywhere else.

Day 3 (Lima)

Today we ventured to a couple districts surrounding downtown Lima. We first made our way to the Inca Market in Miraflores. It’s quite similar to the souks in Morocco but MUCH tamer. No one is hounding you to buy anything or yelling out “India! India!” to you. Then we taxied our way to Centro Histórico (historical center). It was packed with people and unfortunately we didn’t get to go to some of the sites and buildings listed in the guide. However, we got to walk around and it was quite interesting to see the similarities in architecture between Lima and Spain. The colors, detailing and structure of the buildings reminded me a lot of the Gothic District and Gaudi creations in Barcelona. I also got to eat churros and all of the caramel from one squirted out on to my clothes. Cool points for me. According to LP there is an awesome sandwich shop called El Chinito nearby so we went try it out. They first make a sweet potato patty, add a spicy onion-sauce mix and pile on whatever meat you want. Out of the few bites that I had, all I can say is that it was pretty damn good. I highly recommend it. We then zipped out of that area and into the Barranco district (which is about 25 minutes South of Miraflores). Here we ate burgers, had ginger ale pisco sours and drank Lima-brewed beer at the Barranco Beer Brewery. Since we hadn’t had enough to drink or eat, we went to another cool bar called Ayahuasca and ate Chiffa (Peruvian-Chinese food). Yeah, the food was not as awesome as Jenny and I thought it was going to be. Plus, it gave us a hell of time for the remainder of our trip (if you know what I mean). To end the night, we took some altitude sickness meds for our trip to Cusco the next day. We live on the edge.

CUSCO

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Day 4 (Cusco)

Today we arrived in Cusco. As soon as we got to our hotel (which turned out to be more igloo-looking rather than tropical, garden-chic as described online), I decided to take a shower. Turns out a huge ass spider wanted to just hang there from the ceiling while I did this. It was quite an uncomfortable situation—me…no clothes on…dripping wet…a spider…one cramped shower – you know how it goes. Unfortunately, Jenny got food poisoning earlier in the day so she wasn’t able to explore with me. Cusco is an adorable, charming city with quite a European-esque feel to it. I walked around Plaza de Armas and some surrounding streets, soaking in the heat and realizing that I was getting more and more tired by the minute; so I decided to visit the Choco Museo. Where I not only tasted and learned about the history of the cocoa bean but I also found out that there is no limit to what you can do with it (i.e. turning it into chocolate deodorant or even chocolate condoms…go Peru!) While I was here, I decided to rest and sip on some chocolate caliente (hot chocolate). Now this is where Starbucks needs to step up its game. Instead of serving it to you prepared in a mug, you make it yourself. They give you a small bowl of cinnamon, another of cardamom, a small pot of steaming hot milk and a huge dollop of thick, gooey, sweet chocolate. Yeah, I chunked the entire thing of chocolate into the mug, poured in the milk and downed it—all while sitting on the balcony overlooking the Plaza Regocijo.

Then it hit me. The sickness (and the reason behind all the tiredness). I spent the rest of the day confined to a bed next to Jenny’s. If it wasn’t for wi-fi and “Friends” on Netflix, Jenny and I would have only had each other (eh), Powerade, Imodium and a toilet.

Cusco to Ollantaytambo

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Day 5 (Cusco to Ollantaytambo)

Somehow, we got our sickly selves up so we could head out to a small town, Ollantaytambo, which would give us easy access to Machu Picchu. While checking-out of our hostel in Cusco, we met Keri. If you guys want to know someone with serious baller status…she’s it. She happened to see us struggling with the front desk (mainly because our Spanish sucks) and came to save the day. She got us a taxi to Ollanta, had our luggage locked up so that we could venture out into Cusco and check out the Plaza de Armas, gave us some tips on how to cure our stomach bug (turns out she is a nurse), and told us where we could get meds + food. Then we found out that she used to actually live in Ollanta, owned a restaurant and started an NGO there. She drew out a map for us and told us to check out her restaurant, which she recently sold.  Basically, she’s our hero.

The scenery from Cusco to Ollanta is a site. I could not stop staring and our driver was kind of enough to give us information about the history of the area. He even stopped at another small town, Urubamba, and took some pictures of us. As soon as we arrived in Ollanta we headed to Keri’s ex-restaurant, La Esquina. Ricart, the new owner, turned out to be an insanely awesome guy who took really good care of us. I guess that’s why we ended up eating there like 2 or 3 more times before we even left Ollanta.

Then we went off to search for our hostel. After 20 minutes of winding turns and dragging Jenny’s “India suitcase” across 10 minutes of cobblestone, we got to Casa de Wow. Yeah…not so “wow”. I don’t know if it was the sickness, if it was the rain or what…but the second I stepped in, I wanted to leave. The room was cramped, had wooden bunk beds, hard mattresses, we did not have the private bathroom I had asked for, there were bugs and ants all over the walls and in the beds. Jenny called it “glamp-ing”, I called it “hell no”. Plus, the owner who is American had gone back home to Georgia for a bit and her husband did not speak English at all. I was quite disappointed in the place considering it is listed as one of the top hostels to stay at both on AirBNB and in the Lonely Planet guide. Jenny and I tried to nap, but eventually we got up to check out the town. It started raining (the weather in Peru is very unpredictable) so we ended up back at La Esquina. Ricart made us camomille tea to help ease our stomachs (coca tea tastes horrible and did nothing for us) and gave us some chocolate chip cookies for the trek back. After what seemed like hours, neither one of us really wanting to go, we dragged ourselves back to the casa, in the rain and cold. The next day we moved out.

#youbadblogger #firstquarterinstagramrecap

I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand, the number of times I’ve posted a blog piece in the last 4 months. This is actually kind of sad. However, the dust has settled, I’ve kicked my cowboy boots off (mainly because it’s too hot and I can’t sleep in them) and I’m ready to get back to blogging. To kick-start May, I thought I’d do a little Instagram recap from the last couple of months. As you can see, my commentary is in the infamous “pound sign”. You are most welcome.

machu picchu

#machupicchu #yesitreallydoeslooklikethis #itwasaliens

school supplies

#pencilbagsfromperu #schoolsuppliesobsession #theysmellsogood

color and stripes

#toomanycolors #toomanypatterns #donothate #thatbagisfromamazon

bridesmaid package

#cutestbridesmaidpackagesever #shebzanddevz #bestweddingtheme

yoga

#elephantyogamat #everyonewantsit

celebrating 31

#thirtyone #birthdaybreakfast #iknowyourjealous

purple scarf

#mixingitup #lemonsonmyfeet

succulents

#firsttimeownerofplants #scared #alreadywateredthemtoomuch #onealmostdied

spain postcards

#travelmemories #whydoinotliveinspain #icouldusesometapas

cowboy boots

#irockcowboyboots #finallytexan #theyarehardtotakeoff (as in lying on the floor, grunting and prying them off)

For more Insta-antics from me, follow me on Instagram at jyoti_patel!

 

Sweater Weather

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It’s still cold in Houston. In fact, it goes from 60 to 70 and down to 50 in one day. Seriously, what the hell is that? It makes dressing 10 times difficult because you’re cold in the morning so you layer up, then you’re hot in the afternoon and everything comes off. Once the evening rolls in, you’re so damn confused, you just stand there in your yoga pants and tank top hoping you won’t get hot or cold. Then it rains. True story.

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Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m still sporting sweaters. Since I have so few of them, I’ve really been utilizing the same ones over again. I’ve worn this cream sweater a number of ways (here it is with this cream coat and then here with this red/white combo). While my office doesn’t require us to dress business-casual, there are times when I like to bring my A-game to my cube. (Plus, I know most of you guys work in corporate so this might be something you can try).

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I purchased these pants from the Limited a couple of years ago. Speaking of Limited, I was slightly jealous of the popular girls in junior high, who had the “LTD.” sweatshirts, tops or matching plaid skirt/blazer outfits that Cher wore in Clueless. Some of you may or may not know what I’m talking about. Now, I rarely ever shop there (and those girls…not so popular anymore). The one time I did go into the store, I scored these pants (they fit so well, I got them in white). I like that these are a gray-blue, a bit of a different color. I kept everything with this outfit pretty simple, sticking to a blue/gray color palette and wearing nude pumps. Nothing fancy—just nicely tailored pants and a sweater (yet again).

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Square Dancing with Boys

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Let me start by saying, I LOVE the rodeo; however, this wasn’t always the case. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years and I can count on half of one hand how many times I went to the rodeo pre-mid 20s. It’s not because I used to hate country music (though Taylor Swift’s tween, country-pop crap really makes me reconsider the music…Reba fo’ life!) or that haystacks give me the worst allergy attacks ever. It was the fact that when the rodeo came to town it also brought the elementary and junior high Physical Education (aka PE) course of SQUARE DANCING.

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How I dreaded, hated and ultimately forced myself into the gymnasium for those few weeks of god-awful dancing (side note: even this, wasn’t going to stop me from getting the Perfect Attendance award). Now you’re either A. Wondering Why did Jo hate this so much? or B. Know exactly how I felt. For some of us, especially the socially awkward ones, situations like this in elementary or junior high were a nightmare. Throw in some boys and well…our lives are over. (Yes, my fear of boys started at a very young age). It didn’t help that the PE teachers insisted we do these ridiculous dances while Promenading, Do-Si-Do-ing and Allemande-ing but we had touch boys…like actually had to hold their hands. Ew. All of this, FOR A GRADE. Double Ew. I mean, MY Report Card relied on the fact that I had to learn how to dance…in a square…with a boy.

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After a whole hour of torture, there were the girls who stayed back in their little gym shorts (especially in junior high) to giggle with the boys, those who walked back to the locker room either because they didn’t care or were hoping to catch the eye of some boy (and who secretly wanted to be one of those giggling-girls) and then, there was me. Running, as if I were being chased by a herd of wild animals, to get to a sink so that I could wash off whatever horrid, snotty, germy substance the boys had left on my precious hands. Then quickly dressing, speed walking to my desk or locker—to my books—where I was finally safe.

By the time junior high came around, I had become an independent, my-mom-makes-my-lunch, semi-confident, 4-eyed geek who was unwilling to rely on some boy to help me get an “A” in PE. It was time to do something about this. Three jr. high years later, there I was, letting some weirdo boy “swing me by the arm” to the sound of a banjo and a chicken. Mission unaccomplished.

Now, not everything about square dancing was horrible. It actually taught me quite a few life lessons—who Billy Ray Cyrus is, the Macarena dance and that boys still don’t know how to Do-Si-Do worth crap.

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Cat in the Hat

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We have a third birthday to celebrate. I know…how did that even happen? I don’t mean this in the OMG! Time goes by so fast! It’s been 3 years!—sense. I mean it more in the Whoa…you’re still here?—sense. In this era of, let’s say…”social media domination”, the blogging world is saturated. Practically, everyone and everything has a blog. Even retailers who already have great websites and content (i.e. J. Crew or Kate Spade) also have blogs. I believe it’s the best media for storytelling; which is what every marketer aims to do. The key is to form a bond with your readers or clients. The best way to do this is to give them the inside scoop, make them feel connected to your brand.

However, blogs tend to die off fast and for hundreds of reasons other than, the blogger gets busy. While, I’ve gone through times, even a month or so when I barely posted anything (eh…life happens), I’ve always tried to re-center myself and come back here. It still serves as my most creative outlet. Even if people don’t like my outfits, the way I write, my limited backgrounds, hell…even how I change the look every few months—I’ve made a commitment to it. Plus, there are a select few individuals who enjoy it too. A good blog doesn’t necessarily mean one that is inundated with comments, sponsors, viewers, etc. but one in which the writer truly enjoys what they are doing and has committed themselves to making it theirs or one that fulfills the mission of an institution/company.

In other words, let’s just say blogs (this one in particular) are not going anywhere. Well, mine may go onto a self-hosted platform one day, but that’s for us weird blog-tech geeks to be enthusiastic about. Here’s to another 3 years!

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I really don’t know what it is about this outfit but I kind of feel like a Dr. Seuss character. Maybe it’s the hat? Maybe with the red/white/black and leopard print – I literally am the Cat in the Hat? Also, mixing leopard with stripes – I’m a fan. Like a HUGE fan. Now all I need is green eggs and ham.

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To see how I wore this combo last year, click here.

P.S. Every year around this time, I try and put up a blogging tips piece. This year will be no different. Right now, I have a “How to Design Your Own Blog” post in the works. It still needs a few touch-ups but for the most part, it’s done. So, if you guys are interested in some first-hand knowledge about how to create a simple, well-thought out blog or website design, it’s coming. Don’t you fret.

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Leather & Butter – Do Not Go Together

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Yes, I am a repeat offender. Kind of. Unfortunately, the two main pieces from the original post, Leather & Jewels, are no longer with us. Both the leather skirt and shirt were involved in a freak-washing-machine accident, having gone to their respective heavens just a few months ago. RIP.

I’ve since replaced one of them. Seriously though, why are all the black, leather skirts these days too tight, too short or too skanky? Anyways, this is still one of my favorite combinations – you can find the first take on this outfit here. While the styling and fabrics used are very similar – chambray, leather and shirt buttoned-up with a necklace, both looks are still quite different. I have to say, leather and chambray are kind of like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together.

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Speaking of food, can I just plug in a blogging pet peeve here? Bloggers who call leather “buttery”. For example, “I love the soft, smooth buttery feeling these leather pants give off.” What in the hell does this even mean? Like how would you even know this, unless you actually sat down and spread butter all over your legs? Which I can guarantee would probably not feel that awesome. Plus, you’ll be slipping and sliding everywhere and getting it in unmentionable parts. Just simply say, “it feels smooth”. Don’t compare it to butter. I eat butter – and I love it. I don’t eat leather.

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Related posts:

Leather & Jewels

DIY: Hello! or Good Day! Sweatshirt

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Udey (aka Dad) Talks Marriage

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Note: I realize these images have nothing to do with my dad but I couldn’t help but post this experience as opposed to talking about what I’m wearing. FYI: Dads really are some of the cutest people on this planet.

My dad has never been on my case about getting married the way my mom has. Yes, there’s the occasional “Get married!” or if he wants to be a bit more specific: “What are you doing with your life? Nothing. Get married!” But never has he expressed any interest in being involved. (Well, there was one time where he collected my e-mail address, gave it out incorrectly and then my mother blamed me for giving him the wrong one (?) when the guy never e-mailed me).

However, the other week, he took a slightly different approach. This, I will try and reenact here. Hopefully, it unfolds just the way it actually happened.

I’ve just sat down to catch up on Downton Abbey and am scarfing down a slice of pizza.

Dad (while digging around in the fridge for something sweet to eat): Soooooooooooo Joooooo…

Me: Yes?

Dad: I was wondering if we could talk?

Me: About what?

Dad: About the word.

Me: What word?

Dad: Well, you know…THE word.

Me: What the hell are you talking about?

Dad: You know…the big “M” word.

Me: No.

Dad: You know, I just want to talk.

Me: I don’t talk. (I’m very good at making conversation).

Dad: I just feel like as your dad, we should talk about things.

Me: I pass.

Dad: You’re my daughter. I care about you. This is what dads and daughters do. They talk.

Me (with a huge piece of pizza in my mouth): No, I’m uncomfortable.

Dad: Fine, I’ll come back when you are more comfortable.

Dad leaves the room with a bowl of ice cream and returns 10 minutes later with a big smile.

Dad: Hi Jyoti!

Me: Go away.

Dad: I don’t want to go away, I want to talk.

Me: And I want to watch my show.

Dad: Do you date?

In my head: Whoa! What is happening?!? Naturally, I said…

Me: What? Ew. Why are you asking me these things?

Dad: Like, do you need any help? Do you want MY help?

Me: This is making me feel awkward.

Dad (looks down at the floor, shuffling his feet): You know…I’m turning 64 in 3 weeks. I just want to make sure…

Me: Dad, this is a weird conversation and we’re not having it.

Dad: Marriage is not weird.

Me: I did not say that. I said THIS CONVERSATION is weird.

Dad: Why? Your mom got married at a young age.

He is obviously not listening to anything that I’m saying.

Dad: She said OK and did it.

Dad: Do you think she made the right choice?

I am just staring at him, I have no words.

Dad (looks down again in a shameful way): I think she made a pretty good choice.

I think I might have just died a little inside.

Dad: I mean, she’s happy. Things turned out good. Don’t you think so?

I am still just staring at him. I still have not responded.

Dad (looks up at me): You know what? You’re tired today. We’ll save this conversation for tomorrow. Same time. Same place.

He leaves and I’m sitting there with a droopy pizza hanging from my mouth.

Was this just a real conversation? Did he really just say all these things? Obviously, it was his attempt at trying to get through to me. While my mother’s approach tends to be more pressure-filled and dramatic – “You’re SOOOOO old! No one is ever going to like you now.” Or his mom (aka my grandmother/ba) who often says, “Can you get married? Go on the internet. Do this before I leave this world.” His was so sweet and subtle.

 Did he break me? No. However, every time I recap this “conversation” in my head, I can’t help but smile and want to give him a great big hug. Engineers…sneaky, smart ones, they are…trying to tug at your heart strings. Bravo Udey! I give you an “A” for effort.

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