Madrid Is For Lovers….And For Me 

Well. HELLOOOOOO Madrid!!! We started the last leg of our trip today. Madrid had a lot to live up to after such amazing times in Marbella and Barcelona. What I have been most excited about for this part of the trip is the family aspect. I have been anticipating a true Spanish family feel and have NOT been disappointed (you’ll meet all of them in tomorrow’s blog).

I wasn’t sure if the city exploring was going to live up to what we had already seen. Then, once we got off the metro, it was like Madrid said “girl, please….get over here and let me show you what we got”

SITES

At first it was cloudy and colder. We needed to sit by the heaters to enjoy lunch outside. But then, the skies cleared. The bluest sky came through and we enjoyed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL park walk. This park made Central Park feel uninteresting and underwhelming (Sorry NYC, you still have great pizza going for ya). Most of my pics were taken on the real camera today (thanks Apple for crappy iPhone battery life these days), but the ones I did get on my phone didn’t even need a filter to make the colors pop! The sky really is that blue!!!

The very first thing I noticed when we got into the park (after I scooped up a pair of fake Nikes from the street vendor) was how it could be so easy to fall in love here. There were people kissing, street musicians playing, little rowing boats. Ah. I couldn’t even hate it! If my future husband is reading this, go ahead and book a trip for us……kiss me by the fountain, buy me an ice cream and then let’s rent a segway and laugh at how clumsy I would probably be on it😝


FOOD

It will be hard for America to convince me to have certain things again, like cappuccino and tuna. I don’t know of any places that could match what I have tasted here. The food is just so good. I neber thought I would be this rmotional about food or even have that mich to carry on about it. But here, you definitely do. So much in fact, that when we shared a table with some other people who didn’t even show ANY emotion over their tapas, I was annoyed at them! The homemade food is even better! Tonight for family dinner we enjoyed homemade paella and a pear dessert that is probably illegal somewhere, it’s so good!! I LOVE that dinner in itself here is an event. It’s not just eat and done. We visit for hours with lots of laughter! If anyone in this country goes to bed hungry and sad, they are crazy!!


SHOPPING

I hate shopping. I truly do. But I sure found a way to love it with all the fantastic shops here. Any shop you could ever want. Our fav from today was Primark. It’s 5 stories, cheap prices and good stuff! I fell victim to so many things that I have had to buy another suitcase. How silly of me to declare before I came that I wasn’t interested in buying anything I was here. I really thought I meant that 😜


I have two HUGE regrets today. Not following through with buying this sequined fanny pack (I wish you could see how flashy it was in this pic) and letting the pink glittered wallet get away…….sigh…..


I also am quite envious of this unicorn tape dispenser my friend snatched up!

Today was good! Tomorrow is family lunch with the WHOLE Madrid family and I can hardly stand the wait!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Tapas and Tiaras…Fancy Goes To Barcelona 

Where do I even begin for today’s recap?Today has been a day that definitely deserves a “hashtag blessed” with no shame. I have used every cliche white girl phrase I know to go on and on about the day!

MY MIND AND MY HAIR

It occurred to me this morning on the way to the train station (as I was furiously typing and journaling notes before I forgot them) that my mind hasn’t been this clear in ages!!!!!! I keep equating it to a visual of a custodian with an industrial broom, sweeping and cleaning up the floor. There is nothing in the room, it’s a clean slate. Ahhhhh….that feeling is so great!!!! I owe Spain big time for that alone.
In America my hair is dry and brittle and I spend an ungodly amount of money to try and make it soft and luscious! In Spain, it’s a dang hair commercial and so soft I can’t do anything with it…yet, I wanna touch it all the time and want everyone to know how soft it is!



HOTEL

Let’s start with the hotel. We are staying at the Olivia Balmes and it is D I V I N E! We were greeted by the best staff. We were early and hoping they would just hold our bags until we could check in, so we wouldn’t have to carry them while we explored. That wasn’t acceptable to them. They instead went ahead and prepared our room AND gave us champagne while we waited! Not to mention, our host Lenin is VERY easy on the eyes! ☺️ There is a rooftop pool (that sadly thanks to unexpected cooler weather, we wont be able to use-but the rooftop in general is pretty awesome), our room is great, we met some lovely people from Connecticut and it’s surprisingly quiet here.

Temperature 

It. Is. perfect. 

Enough said. For me anyway. For my friend and others, it could be interpreted as cold. I will admit that I needed a scarf at dinner, but that is still the just right weather for me!!

FOOD

Our new friend on staff, Lenin, gave us a lunch suggestion and this, people, is where the day gets good!!!! MY GOODNESS the food!! We sat down, allowed our waiter Carlos to order tapas for us and pour us sangria and life just got exponentially better from there. THE FRESHEST tuna, THE MOST succulent crab/tropical salad, some form of chips with a caramel glaze AND…..fried potatoes with fried egg and some magic sauce (this last one- my my my -it’s what I imagined A 6 star Waffle House with a hangover would be 😜). JUST LOOK AT THE FOOD!!!! Praises ALL AROUND!!! I’m not ashamed to say I savored and made sweet love to every bite I took! Tonight we had dinner on the oceanfront, with more huge yachts. It was filled with great convo as well as a phenomenal and peaceful atmosphere! It’s not that busy this time of year, which makes getting into restaurants pretty easy.


SHOPPING

High end shopping was not something we were gonna pass up since the gang is all here (Luis, Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany’s, Hermes, Cartier, etc). We knew we could hang so we did what anyone of our economic stature would do…..we started at Tiffany’s to use the bathroom and stood in line to be admitted to shop Luis V, to get their free water (we were parched, yo) 😝


All joking aside (sort of)……Apparently nobody has huge boobs and butts in Barcelona. I’m literally the only one. It’s fine, it saved my wallet some damage…No one should ever go shopping after eating tapas and a liter of sangria anyway. I finally had to accept the fact that all I was going to try on without feeling like I swallowed 4 Barcelonians, were sunglasses, scarves, earrings and necklaces (not that I’m complaining because I got some cute ones -I mean, look how this necklace fits!!)!!


I don’t know why I spent most of the day talking myself out of a nice treat (like a new Tumi bag that I ended up going back for -scratch that. I ditched the Tumi bag for some AMAZING clothes that I can’t wait to show you! Sneak peak here with this cape…which is totally Bad-A…annddd I’m bringing home a kelly green leather jacket -obviously what you read in the next few sentences has been cured!).


I saved hard for this trip so that I wouldn’t worry about things and be able to shop for something nice. Yet, I spent half the day justifying…..as if I didn’t deserve it. And that is simply not true. It’s ok to buy nice things on vacation. Thankful for a friend who has reminded me of that, and a frw other things!


My dinner outfit was the perfect find for a fall night in Barcelona!! Thankfully after whining about clothes, my friend found a store for me and I RACKED UP! She did too with this great sheep leather jacket!


THE BUILDINGS

Today was more of a shopping day. You can’t shop tomorrow because they are all closed for Columbus day. So tomorrow, we hit the architecture. All the buildings are so great, but I am especially excited to explore Gaudi!!!!

Earning My Stripes

Today’s shopping in my closet comes courtesy of copy catting. I have seen plaid and stripes a lot and been wanting to try it on myself. I am sure some of you out there can relate to a fear of putting stripes on a bigger body. But, if I am gonna live unapologetically this year, I can’t say I am sorry for trying off beat patterns. 
  
It is probably still too soon to wear this dress for the stomach I still have. But i did it and I am not sorry. This dress was made to do you favors and those criss-cross stripes are my friend! Most importantly, it’s all comfy for the all day meetings I am headed into. 

Luckily, thanks to great hair and good lipstick, my only decisions are how to manage my water intake to bathroom trip ratio when I am stuck in a conf room all day!! 

  
I dare you to wear stripes and plaid. And I dare you to have a good day doing it!!

The One That Got Away

You know how sometimes you just know?  You KNOW that was the right job to take.  You KNOW moving to that new city was just right.  You KNOW that coffee and caramel and whip cream all go together.  You just KNOW.

Imagine walking into a room and just KNOWING that what was across the way was meant for you.  Sure, you might pass by it trying to convince yourself that your mind is just playing tricks on you.  You try to amuse yourself with other distractions as to forget about what you knew when you first walked in.  You try to ignore that feeling in the pit of your stomach and the increased beats of your heart.  You might even try to fill that space that you KNOW is supposed to be filled with just this one thing, with other things instead.

But sometimes you just know.  So, finally you drift over to that part of the room where THAT THING is waiting on you.  You reach out for just a soft touch and before you know it, arms are intertwined and you lose all inhibition.  

That folks, is what it felt like when I went into Target recently.  This furry vest drew me in like a moth to a flame.  I tried other areas of the store for comfort.  I am not supposed to be buying new clothes anyway so I needed to just put it out of my mind.  Ok, maybe I’ll buy something new, but there is no reason for me to own a pink furry vest.  I will just buy shoes instead.  Nope.  Nothing satisfied.  I finally go over to try the vest on and convince myself that it just didn’t look right.  I didn’t need the added layers on my body.  Where would I really wear it to anyway?  We just weren’t a match, I told myself.  It would never work.  

 

So, I left it. Hanging here for someone else to love.  I’ll never be the same.  

Even though this was maybe written a bit dramatically for a fur vest, it resembles my life more than I care to talk about.  I cannot keep letting things get away just because I convince myself that I shouldn’t have them!  If you KNOW something, if you feel it in all your bones and your heart beats faster for it…..then you have to go after it.  It doesn’t have to to work.  It doesn’t have to be the greatest thing you’ve ever done.  But it cannot go unapproached.  It just can’t!

Farewell pink furry vest of greatness.  I will never forget the lesson you have taught me.  

Shopping In My Closet

I should’ve titled it “Coming Out of the Closet” just to watch my small hometown peeps go crazy thinking they were about to get major Alicia gossip…..but I have to think of my mother 😝

ANYWAY

In an effort to be a better me this year, I decided to start trying to improve finances by grounding myself from new clothes. I have enough clothes to open my own small boutique (no I am not exaggerating). I decided to make whatever I already had work and only buy something new if it was necessary (or if it was free). Thus, the shopping in my closet launch.  
So far, I would just snap pics of whatever outfit I was wearing for the day in an effort to show others that:

1) you can still be fashionable and create out of what you already have

2) big girls can be cute too

3) cute doesn’t have to mean expensive all the time (but I will not deny the happiness a spend brings every now and again).


This has been so much fun. And people have been so much nicer than I expected, that this weekend I got a bit braver. I spent the weekend really digging into just how much I could put together. I enlisted the help of a friend to use my pro camera for more legit pics (orrrrrr maybe I just wanted to feel like I could hang with those other cool fashion bloggers – no worries though- I am not claiming to even hold a candle to that group). We had a ton of fun and from my 2×2 camera screen I REALLY liked what I saw. The process itself was exhausting though. Who knew??!!
Yeah. So, I REALLY liked what I saw (and hopefully you will too. Pics shown here are a collection of what I have put together in past posts)….until I loaded them on my computer screen.

Not the prettiest, definitely not the skinniest…and sadly working on repairing some damage and harsh words from someone that I thought cared…..

I have felt so disgusting and was not kind to myself. I had no idea these health issues and other factors would do such a number on me. I have felt “not good enough” for a while now.


THEN I REMEMBERED that I have cute clothes to cover it all up with 😝. As Anita Renfro says “If you can’t lose it, decorate it!”
I decided that I will give hurtful people and horrible thoughts about myself no more energy. Skinny or fat, my heart is still the same size (I don’t mind being a 2x in that department)!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Shopping in my closet has been fun. After this weekend of putting more stuff together, I can ground myself from shopping just a bit longer!!
Sharing my whole body with the interwebs is HARD (especially when I am the biggest that I have ever been). So thank you for letting me share and thank you for being kind!! Can’t wait to show you what I dug out this weekend! It’s going to be a fun week!


Genera Shopping In My Closet Project notes:

1. There will be repeat pieces. But isn’t that what makes it so cool (that I can mix up so much)?

2. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.

3. You don’t have to like what I do. You do you. But you don’t get to make me feel bad for me doing me and feeling confident about it.

4. Share! Share! Share! Wouldn’t it be SO COOL if everyone shared their closet from time to time?? LET’S SEE IT!! What can you put together? Heck, let’s issue a hashtag so we can all follow it too!! #shoppinginmycloset
Ohhhhh this is going to be soooooooo fun!!!!

Know Your Shopper….Shopping at Ulta

Recently I had quite the experience on a shopping trip to Ulta….followed by a not so pleasant customer service call.  I decided to “tell” you the story versus typing it all out (I know I get wordy and thought if you heard me actually tell a story then reading some of them would be a different experience in the future too)!!

 

What the ultra rep gave me in lieu of not having free gift with purchase
What the ultra rep gave me in lieu of not having free gift with purchase