Bubble Wrap

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This skirt makes me feel like I carefully wrapped (and pleated) some kind of comfy, bubble wrap-like blanket around my waist and walked out the door. I don’t often buy skirts; mainly because I feel like most of them are too tight, too short, are so long that I look stocky, rise up when I walk, flow up in the wind…you get the drift. Plus, I have to think a little bit harder with them because it requires pairing it with a top (something I don’t have to worry about with dresses).

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So when I saw this one I picked it up, put it down, picked it up, put it down and then I just stood there. How often am I going to wear a comforter around my waist? Do I really want to walk around wearing something that people might mistake for bubble wrap and want to pop? Then I thought, I really like to sleep and I always use a blanket when I sleep, and I really enjoy popping bubble wrap, so why not? (My logic is always so on point). In the end, I loved the versatile length of it (it can be worn high-waisted or a little lower for a knee-length or below-the-knees look. Plus, the dark mint/sea green color of it is so pretty; I don’t own anything like it. So this blanket-bubble-wrap skirt came home with me. I got it from H&M a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t find it online. Here are a couple of similar items: one and two.

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Linked up on: I Would So Rock This, Myriad Musings, Cappuccino and Fashion, and Style to Inspire.

Insta-Whaaat / July Re-cap

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Morning Run Around Spy Pond in Boston, Taking a Ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands, Book Club on the Beach of Georges Island, Exploring Fort Warren on Georges Island, Getting Salt Water Taffy Stuck in My Teeth, Subway Art in the T, Boston Skyline, Me, Jenny and Joanne at our Friend Frank’s Wedding, Fresh Veggies from Udey’s Garden, Double Trouble, Palm Trees on W. Gray Street in River Oaks, Houston

You know you want to follow me: jyoti_patel !

Hot Air Balloon Ride

I’ve always had this habit of either playing with my food or leaving bits of it on my plate—two things that drive my mom insane. I just can’t help it! What she doesn’t know is what happened to me once in third grade. I was playing with my food during lunch period (a questionable “burrito” from the school cafeteria and a Dr. Pepper), when the boy across from me, told on me to the lunch monitor. Like who are you and why did you even care? (I hate boys) The monitor came over, told me she was going to throw up and went on to say “proper, young ladies do not play with their food.” I’m really not sure where she got the word “proper” from. The next day, she made me sit apart from my class…alone…at a small desk…to eat my lunch…facing a brick wall…at the front of the cafeteria. It was harsh times.

Now, I play with my food a bit differently.

If you follow me on Instagram (at jyoti_patel), you’ll have seen this short video. The other two involve Skittles and Whoppers.

Insta-Whaaat / May & June Re-cap

I tend to forget that I have an Instagram account, which is weird because it’s my FAVORITE social media platform. To bring it more into the spotlight, I’m going to try and do a monthly re-cap. Since I’m quite a few months behind (I did a First Quarter Re-cap in May), I’ll do May and June this week, then July and August over the next two weeks.

May-June_Instagram Recap

Houston Skyline at Discovery Green, Leather Pants & Flowers, Chocolate Croissant at Common Bond Café, Homemade Masala Burgers, Craft Night – Painting Pots, Completed Jar of Nutella, Texas Pride, Morning Sunlight in My Bedroom, Hiking Down to Hamilton Pool in Austin, Floating the River in Austin, Strawberry-topped Pancakes for Father’s Day

You know you want to follow me: jyoti_patel !

Girls at the Gym

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The other day, while I was at a yoga class, I realized that I have a few gym-related pet peeves, all centered around girls. Why is this? I’m all about #GIRLPOWER, but at the gym, I find some of them to be quite obnoxious. For example

1. A few months back, I built up the courage to venture to the front of a very popular Zumba class at my local gym. (By “front”, I mean 3rd row out of a 10 row class). Girls line up outside the door 30 minutes prior to class (yes, it really is that good), and then race in so that they can get to the front. Since I’m in the class before, I get to see this shit-show take place. It’s like a pack of hungry hyenas running to grab gazelle scraps. Most of them absolutely LOVE staring at themselves in the mirror and making pouty faces while dancing. From my usual place in the back, it’s quite entertaining. I never noticed the “social-gap” between the people in the front and those in the back until that day. It first started off with one girl yelling “Get out of my way! You’re in my spot!” to a new girl. Then continued to say that she couldn’t see herself in the mirror. (Ugh…if I was the mirror I wouldn’t want to see her). Poor new girl. Luckily, a nice girl allowed her to stand next to her in the front. To which the plastic huffed and puffed about, then turned around to ask us, “Did I do something wrong? Am I not right? AM I NOT RIGHT?!” Then I’m pretty sure she z-snapped us.

Also, before I knew it a group of much older women (who definitely come every week to release their inner-sexiness), somehow managed to dance their way into the teeny bit of space in front of me. How this happened, is beyond me. They even turned around and gave me dirty looks as if I had taken their assigned spot. Older women + their booties + death stares = I’m scared.

Not only that, I got yelled at a couple times by the girl behind me that said “You’re all up in my space. If you can’t keep up move to the back.” There was so much animosity the front, that I was eventually forced to the back and have never ventured up there again.

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2. There’s a girl in my Pilates class that comes in late every week and goes straight to the front of the class, next to the instructor. Then proceeds to pull out her cell phone and starts texting, surfing the web, answering e-mails, making phone calls, Instagramming, etc.—all the way through class. To make this even better, while doing the exercise she limply raises her leg or arm, while holding and staring at her phone. After that one set of exercises is done, she puts her phone down and then starts doing the poses that WE JUST DID, on purpose. She totally knows that while the instructor is teaching the next pose, everyone will be staring at her in the front. Therefore, she takes advantage of this time to show everyone how “awesome” she thinks she is at Pilates. WHY ARE YOU HERE? No one likes you…trust me.

3. The girl who places her yoga mat either RIGHT in front or RIGHT next to mine, every single week, and then proceeds to breathe extremely loud throughout class. Its common courtesy, in any yoga class, that you stagger the mats and place them a good distance away from each other. Not plop your butt down where you feel like it. Come on now…I actually care about yoga. I want to make sure I’m doing the poses right and you’re ruining my hour of Zen by breathing like a dinosaur in my space. Go away.

4. Girls that cake their make-up on for the gym. Like CAKE IT on. This is completely beyond me. One, you’re here to work out, not to win the Southern Belle Beauty Pageant. Two, you barely even exercise because you’re scared if you sweat, your mascara will drip down your face and make you look like a crack-addict. What is the point? Just wipe it off.

5. The girls who constantly strike a pose, after each and every single routine in Zumba. This isn’t drill team, no one is a football cheerleader, and this isn’t soul train. One or two times, after a really good song – I get it. But thinking you’re a Pussycat Doll – it’s just weird.

However, I’d like to give props to the girls who come in every week, try their hardest and are there for good reasons. I’m with ya – I don’t like them girls either. Ok, end rant.

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Linked up on: I Would So Rock This, Myriad Musings, Penniless Socialite, Style to Inspire, and Cappuccino and Fashion.

Double Trouble

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It’s only my favorite thing to get when I make a bee-line to any Nestle Toll House café—2 large chocolate chip cookies…wait for it…wait for it…WITH a big dollop of icing/cream in the middle. Oh yes…oh hell yes. I’m a sucker for sugary, mall food. Sometimes if I’m being a good girl, I’ll get the Lil’ Bit o’ Trouble—a much tinier version of the Double Trouble. I figure if I get one in the beginning, by the time I’m finished walking around the mall, I would have burned off the calories from it. My logic is pretty amazing guys.

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On to something that actually makes a bit more sense when it comes to the word “double”. Here I’ve taken the same two basic items—jean shorts and a stripe button-down shirt and shown how I’d wear them both casually and dressed up (or from day to night). Each outfit is comfortable and pretty darn easy to put together. All you need to amp up the day-time outfit is a blazer, heels and a statement necklace—that’s it. Let your hair down, add a red lip and you’re ready to go. I don’t think it can get any simpler than this.

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I really like the cut and material of the stripe top. Plus, it’s extremely versatile. I found it at H&M a little over a month ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it online so I could supply you guys with a link. I’ve talked about American Eagle shorts in this post, but the one’s here were also a great find. These are bit more snug than the other ones but I really liked the wash and you can roll them up and down. You can find them here.

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Linked up on: I Would So Rock This, Myriad Musings, Penniless Socialite, Style to Inspire, Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday, Simply Just Lovely, For the Love of Fancy and Design Life Diaries.

Look at Dem’ Hot Pink Jeans

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It’s that weird time of the year again—the summer/fall transition—it’s back to school, the fashion-world is “craving” darker, fall colors (Why?), Starbucks telling us their pumpkin-spice products are coming out early (I have no words.) and I’ve seen people bust out their tall boots (Are you kidding me?). Why is there always this rush into fall? I mean, who doesn’t love patio-seating, sweat rolling down their backs, snow-cones, mosquitoes and crazy-bright colors that make people’s eyes hurt? No one. Come on now guys…there’s no rush. No rush.

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I for one, will not let this weird “OMG! I am SO ready for fall to be here!”-stuff get to me. This includes, rocking these blinding, hot pink pants until someone has to pry me out of them. Literally (they are kind of tight on me). So, I take a stand against maroon pants, boots and candy cane-peppermint mochas. (I’m just tough like that).

Also, for all you fall-time squash lovers that got excited when I said Starbucks is releasing their pumpkin spice line early…I’m not kidding, you can get it starting September 2. Happy Labor Day Weekend to you too!

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Linked up on: I Would So Rock This, Myriad Musings, Penniless Socialite, & Style to Inspire

Change It Up?

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Hay…haaay! I’ve been taking a break from blogging. Let’s say it’s more like “conscious unblogging” (I’d like to thank Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin for that witty play-on words).

A few months back, the blog turned 3. I wrote a post talking about how the blog was here to stay, that I was still going to write in it…blah blah blah. I guess I’m a hypocrite because a few weeks ago, I considered stopping…all together. I have to admit, I’m a bit lost right now as to what I want to accomplish with it/where I want it to go. So, I’ve spent the last few weeks re-evaluating our relationship. To be honest, I still haven’t quite figured it out. However, I have realized that I miss it—I like having one.

I don’t have anything concrete decided upon—What is the focus? Should I get rid of content? What else can I write about that I enjoy? and of course, Am I going to keep it? However, I have been making a few changes:

    • creating side bar icons to access style, DIY, make-up and photography posts
    • the My Style icon will now connect to an archives page with every outfit that I’ve worn and update automatically so that I don’t have to do it (woo hoo!)
    • editing the content of my About Me and Wondering? pages to reflect my personality a bit more (I hadn’t changed those in over 3 years)

I have a couple of ideas brewing in my head, but incorporating them means focusing less or not at all on other content in the blog. So we’ll see. Again, nothing concrete. Let’s just say, that for now, I need a place where I can relay my awesome wit, express my hate for Instagrammed cappuccinos with hearts drawn in them and poke fun of myself. Now that my semi-break up from blogging is on hold, let’s see if we can reconnect.

Also, I’d like to apologize for the lack of creativity in this outfit. I don’t have too many new outfit pictures right now (I will next week) so here’s one from earlier this summer. I mean, the hat kind of spices things up, doesn’t it?

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 Blazer – Banana Republic, Hat and t-shirt – Target, Shorts – CR

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

Linked up on: Myriad Musings, I Would So Rock This, Penniless Socialite

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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MP Signs

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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.

 

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